Given a looming if not already existing water crisis, under Sec. 17, Art VII of the 1987 Constitution and existing jurisprudence (David vs Arroyo, GR No 171396 on May 3, 2006), Congress may delegate to the President the power of the state to take over the operation of public utilities.
However, the President has to declare an emergency, and if Congress delegates that power to him, the government must be ready to compensate whatever losses the private concessionaire/s would incur during the period of the government takeover.
Even during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he persistently pitched for a six-month deadline to solve the drug problem in the country, I already pointed out it was impossible. It remains as impossible as saying he can stop crime.
After two years, it may be wise and prudent for his top advisers to go back to the drawing board and reassess what they did wrong and what they are doing right, not only in the fight against crime and corruption, which is the centerpiece of the Duterte administration’s deliverables, but in the economic sector as well.
For one, the peace-and-order strategy is long on crime suppression and short on prevention. It should be the other way around. We prevent crimes, and those that cannot be prevented from being committed must be suppressed with solid solution through efficient investigative work and techniques.
On the revenue side, the TRAIN law needs to be revisited and amended, and the President, with all his strong influence over Congress, must put his foot down on vested interests of some members of both houses.
On the expenditure side, a.k.a. the General Appropriations Act, the same influence is suggested to minimize wastage of the government’s hard-earned resources by strictly adhering to the existing jurisprudence outlawing pork barrel, which is still evident among selected members of Congress, a few of whom enjoyed as high as nine-figure insertions during the last two budget years under the Duterte administration.
The opposition need not invent the best antidote to Charter change. No less than the two leaders of both houses of Congress have started campaigning against it, albeit subliminally.
Floating a no-el and term extension scenario, as recent history would suggest, won’t help their advocacy to shift to a federal form of government, inevitably via an amendment of the Constitution.
Related: On floating ‘no-el’ and term extension scenarios
Sen. Lacson attended the special joint session of Congress on July 22, 2017. Senators voted 16-4 in favor of extending martial law over Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2017.
Before the session started, Sen. Lacson met with fellow lawmakers.
Sen. Lacson also joined a meeting of top Congress leaders before the special joint session. With Senate President Koko Pimentel; and Senators Tito Sotto and Gringo Honasan.