Press Release
February 28, 2006

* GMA told : Scrap 1017 *

President Arroyo has been told to immediately revoke state of national emergency Proclamation 1017 and to rely on her inherent powers instead to fight off efforts to illegally unseat her.

If 1017 does not grant her additional powers then what is its use? Worse, this useless edict has become a lightning rod for criticism . If it is intended to inject a fear factor into street protests, then it is a useless scarecrow, Recto said.

State of national emergency is a frightening label for an anomaly. It is a name worse than the disease, he said.

Letting 1017 stay is like placing Manila under Typhoon Signal 4 when the storm had passed and it is already sunny, he said.

Allowing the proclamation to linger on, he said, could result in the repeat of abuses as shown in the arrest of Rep. Crispin Beltran and the raid on the Tribune offices.

There is danger in letting people with a different kind of dyslexia read 1017. They may see it as license to suspend the Bill of Rights, he said.

For example, one problem with 1017 is that it has made editors out of policemen, he said, citing a PNP officials statement that the police could now dictate on what newspapers can print.

Recto also assailed the criminal case filed against Beltran.

They have to do some legal archeology to come up with a case that was filed in 1985 for allegedly committing sedition against the Marcos government. If that is the case, then they should also make the two million people who trooped to EDSA 20 years ago as his co-accused, he said.

Recto, however, recognized the right of President Arroyo to use all available resources at her disposal to thwart a coup without inflicting collateral damage on civil liberties.

He asked the opposition not to participate in a violent takeover of the government and instead prepare for Round 2 of the impeachment wars.

Get the numbers , let the constitutional process take its course, and the Senate will do its job, he said.

The president has the right to defend herself especially now that the threat bodes ill of physical annihilation not just of her tenure being cut short, he said.

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