The number of lawmakers who voted against the bill granting extra powers to President Rodrigo Duterte can be counted with all 10 fingers, and Sen. Risa Hontiveros was one of them.

I voted NO because it grants the President unchecked powers that are open to abuse and corruption. It also gives him a virtual blank check with no clear plan or strategy to defeat Covid-19,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

In the measure, the President has near-absolute control over public funds in national government agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporations. His new powers would authorize him to altogether stop important government projects and divert their funding to other uses, with little checks and balances in place,” she added.

Paano ngayon mamo-monitor ng taumbayan ang paggamit ng napakalaking mga pondo na ito? Ano ang garantiya na hindi mapupunta ang kaban ng bayan sa mga negosyante o Chinese companies na malapit sa administrasyon?” she asked.

(How will the spending of this huge fund be monitored? What is the guarantee that public funds won’t go to businessmen or Chinese companies close to the administration?)

The Senate and the House of Representatives passed identical bills granting extra powers to the president to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, such as the takeover of medical and transport facilities and flexibility in disbursing the national budget.

READ – FULL TEXT: Bill granting extra powers to Duterte breezes through Congress

Voting at the House was 284-9, with no abstentions. At the Senate, it was 19-1, with no abstentions. Twelve members were present on the floor and the rest voted remotely.

Nakakalungkot isipin na kahit kailangan tulungan ang hirap na 18M Filipinos at mga Frontline health workers, meron Pa rin nakuhang bumoto ng contra!” Senate President Vicento Sotto III tweeted.

(It’s sad to think that even if there is a need to help 18 million Filipinos and frontline health workers, someone voted against it.)

Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago warned that “Overly broad and vague provisions in the delegation of emergency powers may be potential bases for abuses.”

In the House, those who voted against the bill were Elago; Gabriel Bordado Jr., 3rd District of Camarines Sur; Arlene Brosas, Gabriela Women’s party-list; Manuel Cabochan III, Magdalo party-list; Eufemia Cullamat, Carlos Zarate and and Ferdinand Gaite, Bayan Muna; France Castro, ACT Teachers; and Edcel Lagman, 1st District of Albay. (