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Lagman warns of dangers in amending Constitution

Opposition leader Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman yesterday warned of the dangers in amending the 1987 Constitution following President Duterte’s pronouncement that he would seek the dismantling of congressional and judicial safeguards on the declaration of Martial Law.

Lagman, who heads the “Magnificent Seven” that is composed of pro-Aquino solons, said proceeding with the Charter revision would only endanger the nation since Duterte wants to legitimize “dictatorial powers.”

He called on Congress leaders to put the bid to amend the 1987 Constitution on the legislative backburner, saying that this is the best option democratic institutions have to avert possible one man rule.

“President Duterte’s unequivocal pronouncement for a return to a President’s absolute and sole authority to declare Martial Law and suspend the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus betrays his authoritarian designs which must never be constitutionalized,” the lawmaker stressed.

Earlier, administration and opposition congressmen vowed to block any move in Congress to give in to Duterte’s wish of allowing the Chief Executive to freely declare Martial Law without interference from Congress and the Supreme Court.

In a recent speaking engagement, Duterte criticized the Charter provision that empowers Congress to overrule a presidential declaration placing the country under military rule and the authority given to the Supreme Court to conduct judicial review. (Ben R. Rosario)