Palace cites importance of emergency powers, but Duterte won't beg Congress
President Rodrigo Duterte would not beg Congress to approve the emergency powers for him in order to address the traffic woes in Metro Manila, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
But Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a press briefing, cited the importance of Duterte having the emergency powers.
"Well, ever since he (Duterte) wanted it, but 'if you don't want, never mind', he said. In other words, he will not go down his knees and plead," he said.
Lawmakers should know what Duterte needs in order to solve the problems of the country, Panelo said.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, in a Senate inquiry regarding the provincial bus ban on Monday, reiterated the importance of granting Duterte emergency powers to address massive traffic congestion in the metropolis.
But Senator Grace Poe, who opposed emergency powers since it was proposed by the DOTr during the early years of the Duterte administration, has remained lukewarm on the proposal.
She has expressed belief traffic woes could be solved even without emergency powers.
"There are many things that an emergency power can do to solve this problem," Panelo said.
One instance, he said is the prevention of the filing of temporary restraining order before the courts.
"Like for instance, if there are some projects that require construction, maybe project that may help in the traffic problem. Like when you want to open some roads in some areas which residents there might not want it. There are many things that an emergency power can do to solve this problem," he explained.
He said apparently there was only one senator who was against the granting of emergency powers to Duterte.
"But I understand, it seems that there's only one senator who is opposing (the grant of emergency powers) right now. I have not heard of any other than the good Senator Grace," he said.
Meanwhile, on a news report some patients being transported by an ambulance died as they could not immediately reach the hospital due to traffic congestion, Panelo said this could be one reason that Congress would grant Duterte emergency powers.
"Because of that then with more reason that the members of the Senate consider the grant of emergency powers given that particular situation wherein even patients are dying because the ambulance carrying them could not reach the hospital on time," he said.
He also proposed that the Department of Health coordinates with the Department of National Defense to allow military choppers to be utilized if there are emergency situations.
"Well, we can always utilize the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) with respect to choppers," Panelo said. Celerina Monte/DMS