MANILA—Senator Grace Poe on Thursday assured to put enough safeguards, including pro-active oversight committee, in the emergency powers that will be given to President Rodrigo Duterte to address traffic problem.
”Legislators are duty-bound to review and closely monitor the implementation of emergency powers that Congress is poised to grant the President,” Poe said.
The oversight panel, which will be composed of members from the Senate and the House of Representatives, is one of the safeguards that lawmakers declared as necessary during the implementation of the extraordinary powers, which will be limited to two to three years.
“We can put also other certain conditions like there will be an oversight committee composed of some members from the House and some members from the Senate to make sure all the deliverables are complied with,” Poe said.
Last Wednesday, Poe’s Senate committee on public services conducted first public hearing on the proposal to grant President Duterte with emergency powers.
“I am supportive but we are not abdicating our role in also checking on the executive. That it is really important. We have to tread fine line between being supportive and being permissive and being cautious and being an obstructionist. That is why there are three branches of government and not just one so that we can support each other but we can also police each other,” said Poe.
Transportation officials pleaded senators during Wednesday’s Senate hearing that there was urgency in dealing with traffic nightmares and other transportation problems, but vowed such extra powers to the President would not be abused.
Poe earlier said government transactions must be transparent and compliant with the Freedom of Information, adding that such is a non-negotiable principle.
Conditions such as ensuring the track record of the supplier, enough capitalization of suppliers and no conflict of interest are among the details that senators wanted to see in the final form of the emergency measure, Poe stated.
“I would like to see this administration succeed but I am not going to give up on my role to make sure that they actually do it according to the processes that are laid out to become a law,” the lady senator added.
Poe also allayed fears on the proposed emergency powers, saying Congress can withdraw such powers if deemed necessary.
“I think that we should only fear it if Congress does not have the power to withdraw such emergency powers. And I think for as long as [the Executive] is complying with the restrictions and the provisions that [Congress] set forth: the bidding or the procurement process is above board [and] they’re delivering on schedule. If they need those emergency powers to be able to acquire right of way, properties, or to be able to facilitate faster relations with the local government units, why not? Again, there’s that particular provision where Congress can take it back anytime if we feel that it’s not needed anymore,” Poe said.