Former Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) chief Rudolf Philip Jurado has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to halt the government’s exercise of emergency powers and release of public funds as provided for under Republic Act 11494, also known as the Bayanihan 2, since the law already expired last Oct. 12.
“Since these emergency powers are essential, especially during this time of crisis, it is of paramount importance to determine whether the President’s emergency powers had ceased so that he could be given anew, upon Congress’ discretion,” he pointed in his petition for certiorari and prohibition.
With this, Jurado asked the high tribunal to issue a temporary retraining order (TRO) or a writ preliminary injunction to stop the “further disbursing and/or processing the disbursement of public funds” and the “further exercising the emergency powers” under the law.
With this, he also sought to declare as “invalid and void” public funds disbursed after Oct. 12 and have the SC issue a writ of prohibition directing all persons from enforcing the provisions of the law after having expired on Oct. 12.
“R.A. No. 11494 became effective on 15 September 2020, and was originally scheduled to remain effective only until Congress’ next adjournment,” said the former OGCC chief as he cited Sec. 18 of the law.
“Section 18, R.A. No. 11494 did not distinguish between a regular session’s adjournment and a special session’s adjournment,” added Jurado who reiterated that it “became ineffective and unenforceable as early as 12 October 2020.”
He cited that Budget Sec. Wendel Avisado has confirmed that “out of the Php165 billion funds under R.A. No. 11494, approximately Php105 billion has yet to be disbursed.”
“It is, thus, of paramount importance, as well as to our country’s best interest, to conclusively determine if these funds are properly and legally disbursed or released from the treasury. If not, then a positive action from the Honorable Court, through the instant Petition, would allow the relevant branch(es) of the government to execute the necessary issuance that would render subsequent disbursements as legal,” Jurado said.
Jurado added that it is also “of paramount importance to support the public officers and private entities who intend to enter into these transactions by shielding them from the risk of being subsequently charged with administrative and criminal cases because they were unaware that R.A. No. 11494 already expired.”