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More legal loopholes found in Proclamation 1017


Presidential proclamation 1017, which placed the Philippines in a state of national emergency on February 24, raises more legal questions, adding to those already brought up. Lawyer Marvic Leonen on February 28 showed these loopholes. The head of the non-government organization Legal Resource Center (LRC) spoke in a forum attended by at least 200 employees and members of development-oriented NGOs based in Quezon City. The Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD) and Institute for Politics and Governance (IPG) organized the event. Leonen warned the participants on the clause found in the last paragraph of PP1017 that says the President can call on the Armed Forces of the Philippines “to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction…" “The president cannot just promulgate laws or decrees.This statement is a breach of the separation of powers [guaranteed] in the Constitution. The executive only implements laws. " Leonen said. In using Article 12 Section 17 of the Constitution as basis for declaring a state of emergency and ordering the takeover of privately-owned public utilities, President Arroyo in effect claimed the State for herself, Leonen also pointed out. The National Patrimony and Economy Article states that: “In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest." Leonen said this is unconstitutional, making an impeachment case a “foregone conclusion" although the filing will only happen in July this year when Congress opens its new session. On the first preamble describing a supposed conspiracy between “authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists," Atty Leonen said the constitutional burden to show or prove the alleged events or acts constituting the conspiracy is upon government. Marcos’ Presidential Decree 1081 enumerated the supposedly factual details that became the bases for declaring martial law, Leonen said. The third clause, which points to media’s alleged recklessness in magnifying claims of conspirators or lawless elements, again treads on unconstitutional grounds. “The freedom of the press ensures that there shall be no prior restraint on the media," Leonen said. This means the government and other entities can only react and take legal steps against media after the publication or broadcast of news and information and not before, he explained.

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