Duterte's word can't stop judges from challenging vaping ban – IBP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — The courts still hold the power to hear petitions against President Rodrigo Duterte's verbal order to ban vaping in the country, the official organization of Philippine lawyers said on Thursday.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) reiterated the separation of powers stated in the Constitution despite Duterte's word.

"It's a strong position by the President. He's requesting the courts na huwag pakialaman 'yung kaniyang paninindigan diyan [not to meddle with his order]. But at the end of the day, any citizen who feels aggrieved can actually go to the court," IBP President Domingo Cayosa told CNN Philippines.

He said it is up to the courts to decide if there is legal basis for Duterte to apply the law against toxic products to justify his verbally-imposed ban.

"I'm sure the President, who's a lawyer himself, would know that. The fact that he has articulated his position publicly, does not hinder the court from performing their constitutional duties," Cayosa added.

Duterte on Wednesday warned judges not to oppose the ban by issuing restraining orders to the Bureau of Customs and Philippine Coast Guard.

The President also clarified that he is only banning the use of e-cigarettes in public places, despite his earlier order stopping the importation and use of all vaping products.

He said an executive order will come soon. But even without the papers, the Philippine National Police have started arresting those who puff in public and confiscate their e-cigarette paraphernalia.