Granting emergency powers to Pres. Duterte

PHILIPPINE Senators on Wednesday have opened the possibility of appointing a traffic czar in the granting of emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to put an end to the traffic woes in Metro Manila and other cities.

Most of the Senators have nominated Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade be the "point person" if the emergency powers are approved.

This proposal was led by Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon and Senator Grace Poe.

Poe, chairperson of the committee on public services tasked to oversee the issue, said having a single authority is one of the conditions before granting special powers.

"There are people suggesting perhaps you should be the one in charge of the traffic. It's also one of the conditions. We really want one point person in charge [of] implementing the emergency powers," she said adding that Tugade has the leadership strength and "political will" to serve as the point person.

Traffic czar eyed
Arthur Tugade. Photo by Inquirer
"So you would have full control of the emergency powers," Drilon also told Tugade.
Tugade told senators he is open to becoming the traffic czar.

"That is also worth looking into. But I hope my comment does not necessarily mean in a way or two that I am volunteering or accepting," Tugade said.

But, amid all the positive proposals, neophyte senator Leila De Lima, opposed to the motion saying: “When we say we want to grant emergency powers, as the Constitution would contemplate, this is supposed to be a grant of emergency powers to the President." 

"So, I doubt whether we can further grant emergency powers to a particular official, even if that particular official is subordinate or an alter-ego of the president," she added.

De Lima said also said that having a single person as "traffic czar," might post a problem as it might lead to overstepping of powers of other agencies.

"Number two, there would be a problem there, because all of the departments, the line agencies, you do have your own statutory mandate and authorities. A traffic czar, a singular official, cannot just be vested with broad powers to be able to override the functions of these line agencies," De Lima said. AJRSP

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