Press Release
September 13, 2016


Hoping to help win the war on drugs and terrorism which have already claimed thousands of lives in the country, Senator Richard J. Gordon is offering a Congress-initiated reform package that would help the Duterte administration eradicate the two pressing problems of drugs and terrorism.

In a privilege speech delivered on September 13, 2016, Gordon pointed out that President Rodrigo Duterte's seriousness about eradicating illegal drugs and ending the country's decades-long terrorism problem cannot be doubted, his hard stance against these pressing problems had even been taken by law enforcement authorities nationwide as a tacit order to kill.

The senator added that in wanting to resolve these problems, the President has declared a state of national emergency. While conceding that there is a need to declare a state of national emergency since it is the prime duty of the State to serve and protect its people, the state should therefore protect its people using emergency powers but under the rule of law.

"I stand here before you to start a conversation on the major issues facing our country today in which our President is trying to solve by himself. He has his hands full with many problems such as drugs, alliances with the Americans, China, Indonesia our relationships with the ASEAN, and the perception of the international community towards the Philippines which may adversely impact investments to our country, hiring and employment of our seamen, exports of tuna and sardine products, and our competitiveness as a country vis a vis our ASEAN neighbors whether for tourism, trade or investment," Gordon noted.

"We, in the Congress, should to help the President solve many of the problems plaguing the country because it is good for the country, it is good for our people. We don't win, you don't win because the people should win," he added.

Illegal drugs have permeated the country that 3.7 million Filipinos have been affected, with 1 million of them youth. Since July 1, 2016, there have been at least 3,000 reported killings or deaths in the country due to drugs, 1,490 were vigilante killings while 1510 were police killings. There have been 402 bombings in the Philippines since 2000, the latest of which was the recent Davao night market bombing where 16 people were killed and 71 others were injured.

Gordon stressed that while the President can unilaterally declare a state of national emergency under Article 7, Section 18 of the Constitution, wouldn't the dignity of every person and human rights be better protected if the declaration would be Legislative-led under Art. 6, Sec. 23 since it would allow the government some slack when there are extra-ordinary emergencies occurring.

He added the Legislative Power to declare a state of national emergency will provide checks and balances to the emergency powers to be granted to the President. Congress would be the one to set the restrictions and limitations of the emergency power.

Art. VI, Sec. 23 (2) states that "in times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof."

Gordon filed Senate Bill No. 1134 or the National Emergency Against Drugs and Terrorism Act of 2016, which seeks to declare a national emergency against illegal drugs and terrorism; to grant Duterte emergency powers, in accordance with the Constitution, to resolve illegal drugs and terrorism; and propose a reform package that should help the President in solving the country's problems.

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