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Palace advises Barry Gutierrez: Brush up on the law

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By Prince Golez

Malacañang told the spokesperson of Vice President Leni Robredo to “brush up his law” after he argued that her appointment as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs is meaningless because Executive Order (EO) 15 does not mention the position.

Amending EO 15, which created the inter-agency committee and task force to combat the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country, was “unnecessary,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, citing Article 7, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and Book III, Title III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the 1987 Administrative Code.

The constitutional provision states that the President will have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices, and will ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.

The Administrative Code vests the President with the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President.

“We hate to educate a member of the bar but obviously the agent of the principal needs to brush up his law,” said Panelo.

He added that “It is basic legal doctrine that the President, as the sole repository of executive power, has the exclusive and awesome prerogative of control over all offices and officials in the Executive Branch.”

At a press briefing Tuesday, Lawyer Barry Gutierrez said the designation could not be serious since the co-chair position was non-existent under EO 15.

“Very clear na yung co-chair, pag tiningnan mo yung Executive Order Number 15, ay hindi nag-e-exist na position under the EO itself,” he noted.

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