Sotto 'confident' Supreme Court will uphold constitutionality of Bayanihan Law

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 02 2020 06:21 PM

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III leads the resumption of the upper chamber’s hybrid session on May 26, 2020. Alex Nueva España, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said he is "confident" that the Supreme Court will uphold the constitutionality of a law that allows President Rodrigo Duterte to realign funds for coronavirus-related programs, after a former law school dean questioned the measure before the high court.

Jaime Ibañez, former law dean of the Laguna State Polytechnic University, filed a petition before the Supreme Court arguing that the Bayanihan Act is "partly unconstitutional" as provisions of the law give the President "undue delegation of legislative power and usurpation of the same."

"We did not pick the Act out of thin air. We were supported by the best legal minds available to us. So, I'm confident the Supreme Court will see the point of Congress," Sotto told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

"By the time the Supreme Court discusses it, the law would have expired," he added.

The Bayanihan Act will expire on June 24, 2020. The Senate and the House of Representatives are working on separate measures that seek to extend the President's power to realign funds and grant cash aid for low-income families and sectors during the coronavirus crisis.

Sotto told reporters that the "Bayanihan to Recover as One", also called the Bayanihan 2, would "be a new law [and] not an extension" of the first Bayanihan Act.

Congress passed the Bayanihan Act in late March as the Philippine government scampered to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019.