Payback time

Reading the Supreme Court decision on Proclamation No. 1017. Let me just summarize it for you and make some comments while I'm at it.

1. The Supreme Court held Proclamation No. 1017 and saccompanying General Order No. 5 a valid exercise per se of executive power. I can live with that. Any incumbent president should have power to cope with emergency situations.

2. Such exercise, however, must be within the bounds of the constitution. The exercise of emergency powers must be limited to prevent or supress lawless violence. Hence, such exercise does not include the power "(1) to issue decrees; (2) to direct the AFP to enforce obedience to all laws even those not related to lawless violence as well as decrees promulgated by the President; and (3) to impose standards on media or any form of prior restraint on the press, are ultra vires and unconstitutional."

That was really pushing it. But all I have is high praises for the Supreme Court for setting the executive straight.

3.The Supreme Court also ruled that under Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution, the President, in the absence of a legislation, cannot take over privately-owned public utility and private business affected with public interest.

Again, that was the product of an overly-creative presidential legal team that likes to push the envelope. The Supreme Court likewise set the executive in its place here.

4. The military and the police should take only the “necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of lawless violence.” But the words “acts of terrorism” found in General Order No. 5 have not been legally defined and made punishable by Congress and should thus be deemed deleted from it. While “terrorism” has been denounced generally in media, no law has been enacted to guide the military, and eventually the courts, to determine the limits of the AFP’s authority in carrying out this portion of the order.

5. Finally, with these restrictions, those aggrieved would probably file civil, criminal and administrative suits against all those who exercised such "invalid powers."

Likewise, this becomes additional cannon fodder for the impeachment of the incumbent president…

Let the lawsuits begin!


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