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Guevarra welcomes SC decision junking Bayanihan law

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday (July 2) expressed elation over the Supreme Court’s decision to junk the petition questioning the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and its related presidential proclamations and guidelines concerning the community quarantine.

“I’m happy with the SC resolution,”he said.

“The IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) may be faulted with anything, but gravely abusing its discretion or acting in a whimsical or arbitrary manner is certainly not one of them,” he assured.

Last Tuesday (June 30), the SC en banc dismissed the petition of lawyer Jaime Ibanez as “it failed to show grave abuse of discretion committed by the respondents.”

In his petition, the lawyer he “finds no constitutional symmetry and logic between putting individuals to an imposed Enhanced Community Quarantine, in derogation of their right to liberty and the constitutional state policy of instilling health consciousness among the people when they are quarantined.”

Ibanez pointed out he and other Filipinos have been placed under quarantine “thereby restraining their liberty to move or to cross borders outside the quarantine areas in order to express sympathy or to visit their families, their homes and to inspect their properties.”

The lawyer explained the Bayanihan Act is “unconstitutional for granting the President legislative authority to exercise power than what is necessary and proper to carry out the declared national policy.”

“Hence, it is an undue delegation of legislative power and usurpation of the same, when the President issued Proclamation Nos. 929 and 922, lacking legislative authority and guidelines passed by Congress in a situation of national emergency,” he argued.

“Necessarily, the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) has no valid delegated legislative authority given a void law when it issued the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines on April 29, 2020,” he added.

The lawyer said the Bayanihan Law’s declared policy states that it is intended “to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 involving COVID-19 patients, persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs), to place them under compulsory and immediate isolation (quarantine) and treatments…”

“To include persons or individuals not covered by law and put them into community isolation and quarantine is not only beyond the scone of the legislative police of R.A. 11469 (Bayanihan Act) but also over-intrudes and overbudens individuals right to liberty and property (including right to work) and, hence, violative of the equal protection clause,” he explained.

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