SC says Lacson stays as rehab czar

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2014 04:10 PM | Updated as of Jun 04 2014 12:26 AM

MANILA - The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition questioning the appointment of former senator Panfilo Lacson as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery.

In its decision, the SC dismissed Louis Biraogo's petition vs Lacson's installation as rehab czar and President Aquino's Memorandum Order No. 62, dated Dec. 6, 2013, which creates and defines Lacson's functions and authority as rehabilitation czar.

The High Court said it found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Malacanan in creating Lacson's office and appointing him.

Biraogo, in his petition, argued that MO No. 62 violates Republic Act (RA) No 10121 which created the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) "for the purpose of carrying out post-disaster rehabilitation programs of the government," and designated the Secretary of Defense as head of the NDRRMC.

He stressed that a presidential memorandum order cannot confer upon the Presidential Assistant an authority and function conferred by law on the defense chief.

Biraogo pointed out that there was no need to create and fund a new office to take charge of government's disaster rehabilitation efforts.

Mr. Aquino appointed Lacson as the country's rehabilitation czar on the heels of the devastation caused by super typhoon 'Yolanda' in Leyte and nearby areas.

Biraogo is the same petitioner in the case agaist Mr. Aquino's Executive Order (EO) No. 1, creating the Philippine Truth Commission; the high court agreed with Biraogo's petition and thumbed down as unconstitutional Mr. Aquino's first official issuance.