TO help enlighten the public on the nagging issue of an impending national emergency declaration, we enumerate the extraordinary presidential powers at Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s disposal culled from a briefing paper prepared by the Free Legal Assistance Group. The President’s extraordinary powers, FLAG says, generally fall under three classes — powers vested by virtue of being the Commander-in-Chief, emergency powers granted by Congress, and emergency powers as provided for in the 1987 Constitution.

A. Commander-in-Chief Powers (Art. VII, Sec. 18, 1987 Constitution)

    a. Call out Armed Forces

    • To suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion
    • Not subject to congressional approval or judicial review
    • President vested with full discretionary power to determine factual basis for calling out armed forces.

    Note:
    1. In IBP v. Zamora, the Supreme Court held: "When the President calls the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, he necessarily exercises a discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom. This is clear from the intent of the framers and from the text of the Constitution itself. The Court, thus, cannot be called upon to overrule the President’s wisdom or substitute its own. However, this does not prevent an examination of whether such power was exercised within permissible constitutional limits or whether it was exercised in a manner constituting grave abuse of discretion."

    • Power exercised by President Joseph E. Estrada on 24 January 2000, ordering the Marines and the PNP to conduct joint visibility patrols to prevent and suppress crime. Power upheld by Supreme Court
    • Power exercised by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on 1 May 2001 through General Order No.1, directing the AFP and PNP to suppress and quell the rebellion

    Notes:
    1. Hold departure orders issued and implemented
    2. Persons arrested without warrants and specific charges
    3. Checkpoints set up
    4. Order issued to disperse groups of 5 or more massing up near palace

        b. Suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus

    • i. In cases of rebellion or invasion and when public safety so requires
    • ii. Applies only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion

    Note:
    1. Refers specifically and categorically to those facing criminal charges filed in court, not to those facing investigations, preliminary or otherwise, before the fiscaL prosecutor or DOJ

    • Persons arrested or detained must be judicially charged within 3 days, otherwise must be released
    • For period not exceeding 60 days; may be extended by Congress through majority vote of all members of Congress voting jointly, upon initiative of President if invasion or rebellion persists and public safety requires
    • No congressional concurrence required, but Congress has power of revocation through majority vote of all members of Congress voting jointly; revocation cannot be set aside by President

    Notes:
    1. 236 members of House of Representatives; 23 Senators. 259 total members of Congress.
    2. Majority vote required for revocation or extension – 131
    3. No rules on joint voting in Senate or House

    • Subject to judicial review; decision must be promulgated within 30 days from filing
    • If Congress is in session, President required to submit a report to Congress in person or in writing within 48 hours from suspension
    • If Congress is not in session, all members required to convene without need of call within 24 hours from suspension

    Notes:
    1. Congress on recess since 13 October 2005; Senate resumes 24 October 2005 while House resumes 7 November 2005
    2. No rule in Senate on convening without need of call; Rule 84, House of Representatives, replicates constitutional provision

        c. Declare martial law

    • In cases of rebellion or invasion and when public safety so requires
    • Does not suspend Constitution
    • Does not supplant functioning of civil courts or Congress
    • Does not authorize conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function
    • Does not automatically suspend writ of habeas corpus
    • For period not exceeding 60 days; may be extended by Congress through majority vote of all members of Congress yoting jointly, upon initiative of President if invasion or rebellion persists and public safety requires
    • No congressional concurrence required, but Congress has power of revocation through majority vote of all members of Congress voting jointly; revocation cannot be set aside by President

    Notes:
    1. 236 members of House of Representatives; 23 Senators. 259 total members of Congress.
    2. Majority vote required for revocation or extension – 131
    3. No rules on joint voting in Senate or House

    • Subject to judicial review; decision must be promulgated within 30 days from filing
    • If Congress is in session, President required to submit a report to Congress in person or in writing within 48 hours from declaration
    • If Congress is not in session, all members required to convene without need of call within 24 hours from declaration

    Notes:
    1. Congress on recess since 13 October 2005; Senate resumes 24 October 2005 while House resumes 7 November 2005
    2. No rule in Senate on convening without need of call; Rule 84, House of Representatives, replicates constitutional provision

    B. Congressional Grant of Emergency Powers (Art. VI, Sec. 23, 1987 Constitution)

    • In times of war or other national emergency

    Note:
    i. There must be a "compact" relationship between the declaration of war and powers granted to President

    • By two-thirds of both Houses, voting separately in joint session

    Notes:
    i. 236 members of House of Representatives; 157 votes needed to declare existence of war or national emergency
    ii. 23 Senators; 15 votes needed to declare existence of war or national emergency

    • For limited period

    Note:
    i. In Araneta v. Dinglasan, the Supreme Court held: "The words ‘limited period’ as used in the Constitution are beyond question intended to mean restrictive in duration. Emergency, in order to justify the delegation of emergency powers, ‘must be temporary or it can not be said to be an emergency.’"

    • Subject to restrictions Congress may prescribe
    • Unless withdrawn by Congress, powers cease at next adjournment
    • Emergency powers granted to President Corazon C. Aquino on 20 December 1989 through Republic Act 6826

    Notes:
    i. RA 6826 granted the President powers to:

    1. Protect people from hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, price manipulation, product deception, cartels, etc. of food, clothing, medicines, office and school supplies, fuel, fertilizers, etc. whether imported or manufactured locally
    2. Purchase any articles or commodities mentioned for storage, sale or distribution
    3. Fix maximum ceiling prices of articles or commodities mentioned
    4. Regulate fees charged by establishments in connection with production, milling, storage and distribution of articles or commodities mentioned
    5. Seize and confiscate hoarded foodstuffs and commodities, provided goods wrongfully seized shall be subject to payment of just compensation
    6. Call upon and designate recognized NGOs and peoples organizations, and LGUs to assist government
    7. Temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest that violates the declared national policy
    8. Liberalize importation and grant incentives for manufacture, assembly, reconditioning or importation of vehicles or vessels for public transport
    9. Ensure availability of credit to productive sectors, including lowering effective lending rates of interest and reserve requirements of lending institutions
    10. Stagger work hours and adopt flexible work schedules for government workers and when necessary workers in the private sector
    11. Conserve and regulate distribution and use of power, fuel, energy
    12. Issue orders for recovery and accounting of all firearms, explosives and military equipage
    13. Undertake such other measures as may be reasonable and necessary

    ii. Actions taken by President Aquino include:

    1. Executive Order No. 384: Providing General Guidelines in the Implementation of Proclamation No. 503 (declaring a state of national emergency in the Philippines)
    2. Executive Order No. 383: Directing Emergency Measures to Prevent Excessive Increases in the Prices of Certain Prime Commodities in the National Capital Region
    3. Memorandum Order No. 267: Directing the Temporary Take-Over or Direction of the Operations of JD Transit, Inc. and DM Consortium, Inc.
    4. Memorandum Order No. 269: Directing the Temporary Take-Over of the Operations of Manila Central Lines (MCL) Bus Company
    5. Memorandum Order No. 270: Directing the Secretary of Trade and Industry to Ensure Adequate Supply of Cement for the Small and Medium-End Users

    C. Emergency Powers (Art. XII, Sec. 17, 1987 Constitution)

    • In times of national emergency when public interest so requires

    Note:
    i. National emergency may refer to threats from external aggression, calamities, natural disasters, strikes only when they are of such proportion as would paralyze government service, military national emergency, or economic dislocations

    • State may temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest

    Notes:
    i. State refers to executive branch of government
    ii. Business affected with public interest refers to businesses that have the characteristics of a public utility, with mass-based consumer group. "Entire business operations which are not treated as public utilities do not fall under the public utility regulation, but may already be so massive in terms of its consumption, especially as regards the low-income groups, that they should also be subject of the specific section."

    • Does not authorize sequestration
    • For duration of emergency
    • State prescribes reasonable terms

    i. The phrase "under reasonable terms prescribed by it" does not serve to stop the State from taking over the operation of any privately owned public utility or business

8 Responses to Introduction to extraordinary presidential powers

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Chabeli

October 17th, 2005 at 12:59 am

Gheez, Gloria has enough powers pala!!! Apparently, whether she can declare a national emergency or not is not a concern of hers. She will do what she wants to do–GLORIA IS A MALACANANG BRAT! It seems that she will do anything to cling on to power, like GLUE; she has muddled every issue just to remain in power. To begin with, this was all about the TRUTH, diba? Maybe we should start wearing a black ribbon to show our DISGUST and by BOYCOTTING those who suppress the truth–like the PHILIPPINE STAR. [Notice how the day after the hosing down of former VP Guingona the PHILIPPINE STAR had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on the incident?]

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schumey

October 17th, 2005 at 1:37 am

Chabell,
Several bloggers here have been wearing black riboons for almost a month now. We have even tied black ribbons to our cars and some even our gates at home. We have also been wearing black shirts when we spend our family day on weekends. We have also given and encouraged our friends and relatives to do the same.

Welcome to the club. Our purpose is to show our dissent. Some of us may not be able to join the rallies, but this is our way of manifesting how we really feel. We also encourage you to explain and teach our younger generation what democracy, morality, honor, and integrity is all about.

I hope you would be one with us in instilling these virtues to our future generations.

Avatar

Chabeli

October 17th, 2005 at 2:07 am

Hi, Schumey:
That’s great! Thank you for informing me. How wonderful to know that this frustration is shared by many and that there is an outlet to air our dissent. Yes, I will be one with you in instilling the virtues you had mentioned to the youth
Thanks, again, Schumey.

Avatar

fencesitter

October 17th, 2005 at 11:19 am

in case you ahve not read it may i please direct you to the column of MLQ3 at the inquirer today. He has a very realistic and in-depth analysis about the strength or as he says the weakness of the president and the implication of this weakness to u , the govern people.

I’d like to post a comment sana in his blog, but the site could not be opened. what happened, mr. mlq3? let us know in case you are reading this.

Avatar

Cromwell6

October 18th, 2005 at 4:13 pm

I’m actually wearing a yellow shirt guys, yet I find ribbons hard to wear these days owing to bulletins one can contract SARS by just the thought of it, I’m Red Scared!

Inherent in a failing sort of a democracy as such as the Pinoy presidential system, people power may have been the systems override, such are a necessary step by people agreeing to agree of a systems dysfunction, in order to be able to avert disastrous consequences such as civil wars of magnitude thus save lives. The countermeasure as now should exactly read just like the calibrated counterpunches a presidential CEO may initiate, a pretty normal behavior amid global terror or perhaps the thought of it to perhaps make reasons like make do so to avert and avoid undue harm to people the likes of you and I, thus apply security measures the overkill of which can really be soaking wet, a wild thing! And also because under the present terms, a CEO presidential has got real terrorizing powers!

Twice over, people power indeed made headways to do just that –save people. But it failed to provide the leadership nor answers to questions why Ninoy Aquino had to be murdered and who his killers are, they are out there still as free as a dove.

Secondly, the terrorism part started with the failed military super secret invasion plot to annex the Malaysian State of Sabah by military means during the late 60’s by our government, this may be the impetus why we have terrorists because then in the 60’s, government freely, but secretly recruited Muslims from Sulu to be our terrorists for us to be able to annex a prime real estate we still claim to be ours, that’s why no cinch we have had Mujib Susukans and Janjalanis, we were greedy once upon a time that’s why it explains easy why we have ASG-J.I. & Al Qaedah, so don’t fret we were ahead of our times pinoy style, no longer greedy though, just hungry and very poor.

Even Ninoy’s widow, Cory Aquino couldn’t seek to find justice for her slain husband as a sitting president, how can she insist she can now? The former high and mighty officials as they march doused of water cannons, roll the other hundred magnifies not of truth but their failures, they could have done something during their watch but they haven’t.

I would like some answers from just these two questions; has people power been the catalyst for justice? If no answer can be had for just these two questions:

1. The assassination of Ninoy Aquino and

2. The failed invasion of the Sabah State of Malaysia by our government.

Let us change our system of government from a presidential to a parliamentary federal democracy if at all we’re desolate of answers.

Any other way may be bloody and messy!

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INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » A brief history of states of emergency in the Philippines

February 24th, 2006 at 10:58 am

[…] THE possibility of declaring a state of emergency is being considered by Malacañang following the aborted plot to unseat Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo early this morning. Should Arroyo, who is anticipated to appear on national television anytime soon, go ahead with such a declaration, it will be the second time that she will be exercising such power vested in her as Commander-in-Chief (Art. VII, Sec. 18, 1987 Constitution). […]

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INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Making sense of Proclamation 1017

February 24th, 2006 at 1:13 pm

[…] Below is the text of our previous post on extraordinary presidential powers:  […]

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INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » A primer on human rights

February 28th, 2006 at 6:22 pm

[…] The primer identifies the emergency powers the President may employ, differentiates when an arrest is legitimate or not, and offers reminders on what to do when one is being arrested and while in detention. […]

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