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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW JURISPRUDENCE

Separation of Powers

DOCTRINE CASE JURISPRUDENCE


E. Separation of Powers In Re: Manzano Judge Rodulfo Manzano of Executive Judge of Branch XIX, Regional Trial Court, First Judicial Region was
166 SCRA 246 appointed by the governor of Ilocos Norte as member of Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice. He
(1988) wrote a letter to the Supreme Court to issue a resolution authorizing him to accept the position.

Case Title: Issue arises, whether or not, the position as member of the Committee on Justice would be violative to the
IN RE: DESIGNATION OF JUDGE doctrine of Separation of Powers mandated in the Constitution.
RODOLFO U. MANZANO AS
MEMBER OF THE ILOCOS Doctrine of Separation of Powers; Members of the Supreme Court and other Courts shall not be designated to
NORTE PROVINCIAL any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions. Under the Constitution, the members of
COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE. the Supreme Court and other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing
quasi-judicial or administrative functions (Sections 12, Art. VIII, Constitution). Considering that membership
Citation: 166 SCRA 246 of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice, which discharges administrative
functions, will be in violation of the Constitution, the Court is constrained to deny his request. Former Chief
Justice Enrique M. Fernando in his concurring opinion in the case of Garcia vs. Macaraig (39 SCRA 106) ably
Docket Number: Adm. Matter
sets forth: While the doctrine of separation of powers is a relative theory not to be enforced with pedantic
No. 88-7-1861-RTC
rigor, the practical demands of government precluding its doctrinaire application, it cannot justify a member
of the judiciary being required to assume a position or perform a duty non-judicial in character. That is implicit
Ponente/Other Opinion: in the principle. Otherwise there is a plain departure from its command. The essence of the trust reposed in
PADILLA
him is to decide. Only a higher court, as was emphasized by Justice Barredo, can pass on his actuation. He is
not a subordinate of an executive or legislative official, however eminent. It is indispensable that there be no
Dispositive Portion: exception to the rigidity of such a norm if he is, as expected, to be confined to the task of adjudication. Fidelity
ACCORDINGLY, the aforesaid to his sworn responsibility no less than the maintenance of respect for the judiciary can be satisfied with
request of Judge Rodolfo U. nothing less.
Manzano is DENIED
EO 856 - CREATING A PROVINCIAL/CITY COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE IN OTHER REGIONAL AREAS
Angara v. Electoral Commission Facts:
63 PHIL 139 This is an original action instituted in this court by the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, for the issuance of a writ of
prohibition to restrain and prohibit the Electoral Commission, one of the respondents, from taking further
cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua, another respondent, against the election of said petitioner as
Case Title: member of the National Assembly for the first assembly district of the Province of Tayabas.
JOSE A. ANGARA, petitioner,
vs. THE ELECTORAL Issues:
COMMISSION, PEDRO YNSUA, 1. Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the
MIGUEL CASTILLO, and controversy upon the foregoing related facts, and in the affirmative,
DIONISIO C. MAYOR, 2. Has the said Electoral Commission acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in assuming to take
respondents. cognizance of the protest filed against the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the
previous confirmation of such election by resolution of the National Assembly? Angara vs. Electoral
Commission, 63 Phil. 139, No. 45081 July 15, 1936
Citation: 63 Phil. 139
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SEPARATION OF POWERS. The separation of powers is a fundamental
Docket Number: No. 45081 principle in our system of government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual division
in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within
Counsel: Godofredo Reyes, its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere.
Solicitor-General Hilado, Pedro 2. ID.; ID.; SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES. But it does not follow from the fact that the three
Ynsua powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely
unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system
of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of various departments of
Ponente/Other Opinion:
government. For example, the Chief Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on the
LAUREL
legislative power that his assent is required in the enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to
the further check that a bill may become a law notwithstanding the refusal of the President to
Dispositive Portion: The
approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or three-fourths, as the case may be, of the National Assembly.
petition for a writ of
The President has also the right to convene the Assembly in special session whenever he chooses.
prohibition against the
On the other hand, the National Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the sense that its
Electoral Commission is hereby
consent through its Commission on Appointments is necessary in the appointment of certain
denied, with costs against the
officers; and the concurrence of a majority of all its members is essential to the conclusion of
petitioner. So, ordered
treaties. Furthermore, in its power to determine what courts other than the Supreme Court shall be
established, to define their jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for their support, the National
Assembly exercises to a certain extent control over the judicial department. The Assembly also
exercises the judicial power of trying impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme
Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to
determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the
Constitution.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; JUDICIARY THE ONLY CONSTITUTIONAL ARBITER TO ALLOCATE CONSTITUTIONAL
BOUNDARIES. But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines,
allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government.
The overlapping and interlacing of functions and duties between the several departments, however,
sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves off and the other begins. In times of social
disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten
or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only
constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers
between the several departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; MODERATING POWER OF THE JUDICIARY is GRANTED, IF NOT EXPRESSLY, BY CLEAR
IMPLICATION. As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and
perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power of our people, acting through their delegates
to so provide, that instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however limited, has
established a republican government intended to operate and function as a harmonious whole,
under a system of checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided
in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and
limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are
transcended, it would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by
which to direct the course of government along constitutional channels, for, then, the distribution
of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of sentiment, and the
principles of good government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the limitations and restrictions
embodied in the Constitution are real as they should be in any living constitution. In the United States
where no express constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of this
moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has
been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries. In our
case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article
VIII of our Constitution.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; WHAT is MEANT BY "JUDICIAL SUPREMACY". The Constitution is a definition of the
powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The
Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when
the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over
the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the Legislature, but only
asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting
claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy
the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved
in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the
Constitution.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; JUDICIAL REVIEW LIMITED TO ACTUAL LITIGATION; WISDOM, JUSTICE OR EXPEDIENCY
OF LEGISLATION. Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and
controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further
to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could
only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities.
Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom,
justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of
constitutionality to legislative enactments not only because the Legislature is presumed to abide by
the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and
controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their
representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government.
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; SYSTEM ITSELF NOT THE CHIEF PALLADIUM OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY; SUCCESS
MUST BE TESTED IN THE CRUCIBLE OF FILIPINO MINDS AND HEARTS. But much as we might
postulate on the internal checks of power provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less to be
remembered that, in the language of James Madison, the system itself is not "the chief palladium of
constitutional liberty * * * the people who are authors of this blessing must also be its guardians *
* * their eyes must be ever ready to mark, their voice to pronounce * * * aggression on the authority
of their constitution." In the last and ultimate analysis, then, must the success of our government in
the unfolding years to come be tested in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than in the
consultation rooms and court chambers.
8. ID.; OUR CONSTITUTION HAS ADOPTED THE AMERICAN TYPE OF CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT.
Discarding the English type and other European types of constitutional government, the framers
of our Constitution adopted the American type where the written constitution is interpreted and
given effect by the judicial department. In some countries which have declined to follow the
American example, provisions have been inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the courts from
exercising the power to interpret the fundamental law. This is taken as a recognition of what
otherwise would be the rule that in the absence of direct prohibition courts are bound to assume
what is logically their function. For instance, the Constitution of Poland of 1921, expressly provides
that courts shall have no power to examine the validity of statutes (article 81, chapter IV). The former
Austrian Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries whose constitutions are silent in
this respect, courts have assumed this power. This is true in Norway, Greece, Australia and South
Africa. Whereas, in Czechoslovaka (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law to Constitutional Charter of the
Czechoslovak Republic, February 29, 1920) and Spain (arts. 121-123, Title IX, Constitution of the
Republic of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to pass upon the validity of ordinary
laws.
9. ID.; JURISDICTION OVER THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION. The nature of the present controversy
shows the necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to determine the conflict of authority between
two agencies created by the Constitution. If the conflict were left undecided and undetermined, a
void would be created in our constitutional system which may in the long run prove destructive of
the entire framework. Natura vacuum abhorret, so must we avoid exhaustion in our constitutional
system. Upon principle, reason and authority, the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the Electoral
Commission and the subject matter of the present controversy for the purpose of determining the
character, scope and extent of the constitutional grant to the Electoral Commission as "the sole
judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the
National Assembly."
10. ID.; THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION; CONSTITUTIONAL GRANT OF POWER TO THE ELECTORAL
COMMISSION TO BE THE SOLE JUDGE OF ALL CONTESTS RELATING TO THE ELECTION, RETURNS AND
QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.The original provision regarding this
subject in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902 (sec. 7, par. 5) laying down the rule that "the assembly
shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members", was taken from clause
1 of section 5, Article I of the Constitution of the United States providing that "Each House shall be
the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members, * * *." The Act of
Congress of August 29, 1916 (sec. 18, par. 1) modified this provision by the insertion of the word
"sole" as follows: "That the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole
judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members, * * *" apparently in
order to emphasize the exclusive character of the jurisdiction conferred upon each House of the
Legislature over the particular cases therein specified. This court has had occasion to characterize
this grant of power to the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, as "full, clear
and complete". (Veloso vs. Boards of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar [1919], 39 Phil., 886, 888.)
Eastern Shipping Lines v. POEA The private respondent in this case was awarded the sum of P192,000.00 by the Philippine Overseas
166 SCRA 533 Employment Administration (POEA) for the death of her husband. The decision is challenged by the petitioner
on the principal ground that the POEA had no jurisdiction over the case as the husband was not an overseas
worker.
Case Title:
EASTERN SHIPPING LINES, Vitaliano Saco was Chief Officer of the M/V Eastern Polaris when he was killed in an accident in Tokyo, Japan,
INC., petitioner, vs. March 15, 1985. His widow sued for damages under Executive Order No. 797 and Memorandum Circular No.
PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS
2 of the POEA. The petitioner, as owner of the vessel, argued that the complaint was cognizable not by the
EMPLOYMENT
ADMINISTRATION (POEA), POEA but by the Social Security System and should have been filed against the State Insurance Fund. The
MINISTER OF LABOR AND POEA nevertheless assumed jurisdiction and after considering the position papers of the parties ruled in favor
EMPLOYMENT, HEARING
OFFICER ABDUL BASAR and
KATHLEEN D. SACO, of the complainant. The award consisted of P180,000.00 as death benefits and P12,000.00 for burial
respondents. expenses.

Citation: 166 SCRA 533 The petitioner immediately came to this Court, prompting the Solicitor General to move for dismissal on the
ground of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies.
Docket Number: No. L-
76633
1. Same; Same; Delegation of power; Legislative discretion as to the substantive contents of the law
cannot be delegated; What can be delegated is the discretion to determine how the law may be
Counsel: Jimenea, Dala &
enforced. The second challenge is more serious as it is true that legislative discretion as to the
Zaragoza Law Office, The
Solicitor General, Dizon Law substantive contents of the law cannot be delegated. What can be delegated is the discretion to
Office determine how the law may be enforced, not what the law shall be. The ascertainment of the latter
subject is a prerogative of the legislature. This prerogative cannot be abdicated or surrendered by
Ponente/Other Opinion: the legislature to the delegate.
CRUZ 2. Same; Same; Same; Accepted tests to determine whether or not there is valid delegation of legislative
power. There are two accepted tests to determine whether or not there is a valid delegation of
Dispositive Portion: legislative power, viz., the completeness test and the sufficient standard test. Under the first test,
WHEREFORE, the petition is the law must be complete in all its terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such that
DISMISSED, with costs when it reaches the delegate the only thing he will have to do is enforce it. Under the sufficient
against the petitioner. The
temporary restraining order
standard test, there must be adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to map out the boundaries
dated December 10, 1986 is of the delegates authority and prevent the delegation from running riot. Both tests are intended to
hereby LIFTED. It is so prevent a total transference of legislative authority to the delegate, who is not allowed to step into
ordered. the shoes of the legislature and exercise a power essentially legislative.
3. Same; Same; Same; Principle of non-delegation of powers is applicable to all the 3 major powers of
the government, but is especially important in the case of the legislative power. The principle of
non-delegation of powers is applicable to all the three major powers of the Government but is
especially important in the case of the legislative power because of the many instances when its
delegation is permitted. The occasions are rare when executive or judicial powers have to be
delegated by the authorities to which they legally pertain. In the case of the legislative power,
however, such occasions have become more and more frequent, if not necessary. This had led to
the observation that the delegation of legislative power has become the rule and its non-delegation
the exception.
4. Same; Same; Same; Reason for the frequent delegation of power by the legislature. The reason is
the increasing complexity of the task of government and the growing inability of the legislature to
cope directly with the myriad problems demanding its attention. The growth of society has ramified
its activities and created peculiar and sophisticated problems that the legislature cannot be expected
reasonably to comprehend. Specialization even in legislation has become necessary. To many of the
problems attendant upon present-day undertakings, the legislature may not have the competence
to provide the required direct and efficacious, not to say, specific solutions. These solutions may,
however, be expected from its delegates, who are supposed to be experts in the particular fields
assigned to them.
5. Same; Same; Same; Reasons for delegation of legislative powers are particularly applicable to
administrative bodies; Delegated power to issue rules to carry out the general provisions of the
statute is called power of subordinate legislation. The reasons given above for the delegation of
legislative powers in general are particularly applicable to administrative bodies. With the
proliferation of specialized activities and their attendant peculiar problems, the national legislature
has found it more and more necessary to entrust to administrative agencies the authority to issue
rules to carry out the general provisions of the statute. This is called the power of subordinate
legislation.
6. Same; Same; Same; Administrative bodies implement the broad policies by promulgating their
supplemental regulations, such as the implementing rules issued by the Department of Labor on the
new Labor Code. With this power, administrative bodies may implement the broad policies laid
down in a statute by filling in the details which the Congress may not have the opportunity or
competence to provide. This is effected by their promulgation of what are known as supplementary
regulations, such as the implementing rules issued by the Department of Labor on the new Labor
Code. These regulations have the force and effect of law.
7. Same; Same; Same; Memorandum Circular No. 2 which prescribes a model contract is not challenged
by the employer. Memorandum Circular No. 2 is one such administrative regulation. The model
contract prescribed thereby has been applied in a significant number of cases without challenge by
the employer. The power of the POEA (and before it the National Seamen Board) in requiring the
model contract is not unlimited as there is a sufficient standard guiding the delegate in the exercise
of the said authority. That standard is discoverable in the executive order itself which, in creating
the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, mandated it to protect the rights of overseas
Filipino workers to fair and equitable employment practices.
Casibang v. Aquino Respondent Remigio P. Yu was proclaimed on November 9, 1971 as the elected Mayor of Rosales, Pangasinan
92 SCRA 642 in the 1971 local elections, by a plurality of 501 votes over his only rival, herein petitioner, who seasonably
filed on November 24, 1971 a protest against the election of the former with the Court of First Instance of
Case Title: Pangasinan, on the grounds of (1) anomalies and irregularities in the appreciation, counting and consideration
DANTE O. CASIBANG, of votes in specified electoral precincts; (2) terrorism; (3) rampant vote buying; (4) open voting or balloting;
petitioner, vs. HONORABLE and (5) excessive campaign expenditures and other violations of the 1971 Election Code.
NARCISO A. AQUINO, Judge
of the Court of First Instance
of Pangasinan, Branch XIV, Thereafter or on October 10, 1973, at which time petitioner had already completed presenting his evidence
and REMEGIO P. YU, and in fact had rested his case, respondent Yu moved to dismiss the election protest of petitioner on the
respondents. ground that the trial court had lost jurisdiction over the same in view of the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution
by reason of which(principally) Section 9 of Article XVII [Transitory Provisions] and Section 2 of Article XI
Citation: 92 SCRA 642 a political question has intervened in the case. Respondent Yu contended that x x the provisions in the 1935
Constitution relative to all local governments have been superseded by the 1973 Constitution. Therefore, all
Docket Number: No. L- local government should adhere to our Parliamentary form of government, This is clear in the New
38025 Constitution under its Article XI. He further submitted that local elective officials (including mayors) have no
more four-year term of office. They are only in office at the pleasure of the appointing power embodied in
Counsel: Nicanor S. the New Constitution, and under Section 9 of Article XVII.
Bautista, Agaton D. Yaranon,
Bince, Sevilleja, Agsalud &
Associates
1. Same; Same; Jurisdiction to try of Election Contests. While under the New Constitution the
Commission on Elections is now the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns, and
Ponente/Other Opinion:
qualifications of members of the National Assembly as well as elective provincial and city officials
MAKASIAR (Par. 2 of. Sec. 2, Article XII-C of the 1973 Constitution), such power does not extend to electoral
contests concerning municipal elective positions.
Dispositive Portion: 2. Same; Political Question; Jurisdiction in cases involving the validity of acts of the Executive
WHEREFORE, RESPONDENT Department. It is for the Court rather than the Executive to determine whether or not We may
COURTS ORDER OF
take cognizance of any given case involving the validity of acts of the Executive Department
DISMISSAL IS HEREBY SET
ASIDE AND THE purportedly under the authority of the martial law proclamations.
RESPONDENT COURT IS 3. Same; Same; Political Question, Defined. The term political question connotes what it means
DIRECTED TO IMMEDIATELY in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to those questions which under the
PROCEED WITH THE TRIAL Consitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full
AND DETERMINATION OF discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government.
THE ELECTION PROTEST
BEFORE IT ON THE MERITS.
It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure. x x x If
THIS DECISION SHALL BE to be delimited with accuracy; political questions should refer to such as would under the
IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY Constitution be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity or in regard to which full
UPON PROMULGATION discretionary authority is vested either in the President or Congress. It is thus beyond the
HEREOF. NO COSTS. competence of the judiciary to pass upon. x x x
4. Same; Justiciable Question, Defined. The only issue in the electoral protest case dismissed by
respondent Judge on the ground of political question is who between protestantherein
petitionerand protesteeherein respondent Yuwas the duly elected mayor of Rosales,
Pangasinan, and legally entitled to enjoy the rights, privileges and emoluments appurtenant thereto
and to discharge the functions, duties and obligations of the position. If the protestees election is
upheld by the respondent Judge, then he continues in office otherwise, it is the protestant, herein
petitioner. That is the only consequence of a resolution of the issue therein involveda purely
justiciable question or controversy as it implies a given right, legally demandable and enforceable,
an act or omission violative of said right, and a remedy, granted or sanctioned by law, for said breach
of right.
Tanada v. Cuenco Senator Lorenzo M. Taada and Congressman Diosdado Macapagal instituted the case at bar against Senators
103 PHIL 1051 Cuenco and Delgado, and said Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes, as well as
Fernando Hipolito, in his capacity as Cashier and Disbursing Officer of the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Petitioners allege that on February 22, 1956, as well as at present, the Senate consists of 23 Senators who
Case Title: belong to the Nacionalista Party, and one (1) Senatornamely, petitioner, Lorenzo M. Taadabelonging to
LORENZO M. TAADA and the Citizens Party; that the Committee on Rules for the Senate, in nominating Senators Cuenco and Delgado,
DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL, and the Senate, in choosing these respondents, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, had "acted
petitioners, vs. MARIANO
absolutely without power or color of authority and in clear violation * * * of Article VI, Section 11 of the
JESUS CUENCO, FRANCISCO
A. DELGADO, ALFREDO Constitution"; that "in assuming membership in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, by taking the corresponding
CRUZ, CATALINA CAYETANO, oath of office therefor", said respondents had "acted absolutely without color of appointment or authority
MANUEL SERAPIO, PLACIDO and are unlawfully, and in violation of the Constitution, usurping, intruding into and exercising the powers of
REYES, and FERNANDO members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal"; that, consequently, the appointments of respondents, Cruz,
HIPOLITO, in his capacity as Cayetano, Serapio and Reyes, as technical assistants and private secretaries to Senators Cuenco and
cashier and disbursing
officer, respondents.
Delgadowho caused said appointments to be madeas members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, are
unlawful and void; and that Senators Cuenco and Delgado "are threatening and are about to take cognizance
Citation: 103 Phil. 1051
of Electoral Case No. 4 of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, as alleged members thereof, In nullification of the
rights of petitioner Lorenzo M. Taada, both as a Senator belonging to the Citizens Party and as representative
Docket Number: No. L-
of the Citizens Party in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and in deprivation of the constitutional rights of
10520 petitioner Diosdado Macapagal and his co-protestants to have their election protest tried and decided by an
Electoral Tribunal composed of not more than three (3) senators chosen by the Senate upon nomination of
Counsel: Taada, the party having the largest number of votes in the Senate and not more than three (3) Senators upon
Teehankee & Macapagal, nomination of the party having the second largest number of votes therein, together with three (3) Justices
Solicitor General Ambrosio
of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, instead of by an Electoral Tribunal packed with
Padilla, Solicitor Troadio T.
Quiazon, Jr. five members belonging to the Nacionalista Party, which is the rival party of the Liberal Party, to which the
petitioner Diosdado Macapagal and his co-protestants in Electoral Case No. 4 belong, the said five (5)
Ponente/Other Opinion: Nacionalista Senators having been nominated and chosen in the manner alleged * * * hereinabove."
CONCEPCIN
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SELECTION OF MEMBERS OF THE SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL; NATURE
Dispositive Portion: OF TRIBUNAL. Although the Constitution provides that the Senate shall choose six (6) Senators to
Wherefore, judgment is be members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the latter is part neither of Congress nor of the Senate.
hereby rendered declaring (Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil., 139; Suanes vs. Chief Accountant, 81 Phil., 818; 46 Off.
that respondents Senators Gaz., 462.)
Mariano Jesus Cuenco and
Francisco A. Delgado have
2. ID.; ID.; MEANING OF "POLITICAL QUESTION"; CASE AT BAR .The term "political question"
not been duly elected as connotes, in legal parlance, what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers
Members of the Senate to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign
Electoral Tribunal, that they capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the Legislature or
are not entitled to act as executive branch of the Government (16 C. J. S., 413). It is concerned with issues dependent upon
such and that they should
the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure. In the case at bar, the question for determination
be, as they are hereby,
enjoined from exercising the is whether the election of two senators, by the Senate, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal,
powers and duties of upon nomination by another senator, who is a member and spokesman of the party having the
Members of said Electoral largest number of votes in the Senate, on behalf of its Committee on Rules, contravenes the
Tribunal and from acting in constitutional mandate that said members of the tribunal shall be chosen "upon nomination * * * of
such capacity in connection the party having the second largest number of votes" in the Senate, and hence, is null and void. This
with Senate Electoral Case
No. 4 thereof. With the
is not a political question. The Senate is not clothed with "full discretionary authority" in the choice
qualification stated above, of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. The exercise of its power thereon is subject to
the petition is dismissed, as constitutional limitations. It is clearly within the legitimate province of the judicial department to
regards respondents Alfredo pass upon the validity of the proceedings in connection therewith. Hence, this Court has, not only
Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, jurisdiction, but, also the duty, to consider and determine the principal issue raised by the parties
Manuel Serapio and Placido
herein.
Reyes. Without special
pronouncement, as to costs. 3. ID.; ID.; MAIN OBJECTIVE IN PROVIDING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ELECTORAL TRIBUNALS. The
It is so ordered.In view of main objective of the framers of the Constitution in providing for the establishment, first, of an
the failure or unwillingness Electoral Commission, and then of one Electoral Tribunal for each House of Congress was to insure
of Senator Lorenzo M. the exercise of judicial impartiality in the disposition of election contests affecting members of the
Taada of the Citizens Party, lawmaking body. To achieve this purpose, two devices were resorted to, namely: (a) the party having
the party having the second
largest number of votes in
the largest number of votes, and the party having the second largest number of votes, in the National
the Senate, to nominate two Assembly or in each House of Congress, were given the same number of representatives in the
other Members of the Electoral Commission or Tribunal so that they may realize that partisan considerations could not
Electoral Tribunal, the control the adjudication of said cases, and thus be induced to act with greater impartiality; and (b)
Senate was justified, in the Supreme Court was given in said body the same number of representatives as each one of said
obedience to the
political parties, so that the influence of the former may be decisive and endow said Commission or
constitutional mandate, to
chooseas it didsaid two Tribunal with judicial temper.
Members 4. ID.; ID.; MOST VITAL FEATURE OF ELECTORAL TRIBUNALS. The most vital feature of the Electoral
Tribunals is the equal representation of the parties having the largest and the second largest number
of votes in each House therein, and the resulting equilibrium to be maintained by the Justices of the
Supreme Court as members of said Tribunals.
5. ID.; ID.; PROCEDURE PRESCRIBED FOR SELECTION OF MEMBERS; COMPLIANCE WITH PROCEDURE
MANDATORY. The framers of the Constitution intended to prevent the majority party from
controlling the Electoral Tribunals, and the structure thereof is founded upon the equilibrium
between the majority and the minority parties therein, with the Justices of the Supreme Court, who
are members of said Tribunals, holding the resulting balance of power. The procedure prescribed in
section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution for the selection of members of the Electoral Tribunals is
vital to the role they are called upon to play. It constitutes the essence of said Tribunals. Hence,
compliance with said procedure is mandatory, and acts performed in violation thereof are null and
void.
6. ID.; ID.; PRESENT SITUATION NOT FORESEEN BY FRAMERS OF THE CONSTITUTION; SPIRIT OF THE
LAW PREVAILS OVER ITS LETTER. While it is true that the membership of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal, in the case at bar, would in effect be limited to seven (7), instead of nine (9), members it
must be conceded that the present composition of the Senate, wherein twenty-three (23) of its
members belong to one party and one (1) member belongs to another, was not foreseen by the
framers of the Constitution. Furthermore, the spirit of the law prevails over its letter, and the
solution herein adopted maintains the spirit of the Constitution, for partisan considerations cannot
be decisive in a tribunal consisting of three (3) Justices of the Supreme Court, three (3) members
nominated by the majority party and either one (1) or two (2) members nominated by the party
having the second largest number of votes in the House concerned.
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; MODERATING ROLE OF JUSTICES OF THE SUPREME COURT. If the Nacionalista Party
would be allowed to nominate five (5) members to the Senate Electoral Tribunal instead of three (3),
it would have the absolute majority, since there would be one (1) member of the Citizens Party and
three (3) members of the Supreme Court, and hence, the philosophy underlying the Constitution
would be entirely upset. The equilibrium between the political parties therein would be destroyed,
and, what is worse, the decisive moderating role of the Justices of the Supreme Court would be
wiped out, and, in lieu thereof, the door would be thrown wide open for the predominance of
political considerations in the determination of election protests pending before said Tribunal, which
is precisely what the fathers of our Constitution earnestly strove to forestall.
8. ID.; ID.; RELIANCE BY THE CONSTITUTION UPON THE METHOD OF SELECTION ESTABLISHED THEREIN.
When the election of members of Congress to the Electoral Tribunal is made dependent upon the
nomination of the political parties referred to in the Constitution, the latter thereby indicates its
reliance upon the method of selection thus established, regardless of the individual qualities of those
chosen therefor. The delegates to the Convention did not ignore the fact that the Constitution must
limit itself to giving general patterns or norms of action. In connection, particularly with the
composition of the Electorals, they believed that, even the most well-meaning individuals often find
it difficult to shake off the bias and prejudice created by political antagonisms and to resist the
demands of political exigencies, the pressure of which is bound to increase in proportion to the
degree of predominance of the party from which it comes.
9. ID.; ID.; ID.; WAIVER OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS INTENDED FOR ONE'S BENEFIT. Although
"an individual may waive constitutional provisions intended for his benefit;" particularly those meant
for the protection of his property, and, sometimes, even those tending "to secure his personal
liberty" the power to waive does not exist when "public policy or public morals" are involved. (11
Am. Jur. 765; I Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, pp. 368-371.) The procedure outlined in the
Constitution for the organization of the Electoral Tribunals was adopted in response to the demands
of the commonweal, and it has been held that "where a statute is founded on public policy, those to
whom it applies should not be permitted to waive its provisions" (82 C. J. S., 874).
10. ID.; ACTS OF CONGRESS; AUTHORITY OF COURTS TO PASS UPON THEIR CONSTITUTIONALITY. The
provision in the Constitution vesting the legislative power in the Congress of the Philippines does not
detract from the power of the courts to pass upon the constitutionality of acts of Congress. Since
judicial power includes the authority to inquire into the legality of statutes enacted by the two
Houses of Congress, and approved by the Executive there can be no reason why the validity of an
act of one of said Houses like that of any other branch of the Government, may not be determined
in the proper actions. In fact, whenever the conflicting claims of the parties to a litigation cannot
properly be settled without inquiring into the validity of an act of Congress or of either House
thereof, the courts have, not only jurisdiction to pass upon said issue, but, also, the duty to do so,
which cannot be evaded without violating the fundamental law and paving the way to its eventual
destruction.
Sanidad v. Comelec Same; Same; Issue of whether the President can assume the power of a constituent assembly is a justiciable
73 SCRA 333 question. What is in the heels of the Court is not the wisdom of the act of the incumbent President in
proposing amendments to the Constitution, but his constitutional authority to perform such act or assume
the power of a constituent assembly. Whether the amending process confers on the President that power to
Case Title: propose amendments is therefore a downright justiciable question.
PABLO C. SANIDAD and
PABLITO V. SANIDAD, Same; Same; There are two periods contemplated in the constitutional life of the nation, i.e., period of
petitioner, vs. HONORABLE
normalcy and period of transition. There are, therefore, two periods contemplated in the constitutional life
COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS and HONORABLE of the nation, i.e., period of normalcy and period of transition. In times of normalcy, the amending process
NATIONAL TREASURER, may be initiated by the proposals of the (1) regular National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its
respondents., VICENTE M. members; or (2) by a Constitutional Convention called by a vote of two-thirds of all the Members of the
GUZMAN, petitioner, vs. National Assembly. However, the calling of a Constitutional Convention may be submitted to the electorate
COMMISSION ELECTIONS, in an election voted upon by a majority vote of all the members of the National Assembly. In times of
respondent., RAUL M.
GONZALES, RAUL T.
transition, amendments may be proposed by a majority vote of all the members of the interim National
GONZALES, JR., and Assembly upon special call by the interim Prime Minister.
ALFREDO SALAPANTAN,
petitioners, vs. HONORABLE Same; Same; President will determine when interim National Assembly shall initially be convened. This
COMMISSION ON Court in Aquino v. COMELEC had already settled that the incumbent President is vested with that prerogative
ELECTIONS and HONORABLE
of discretion as to when he shall initially convene the interim National Assembly.
NATIONAL TREASURER,
respondents.
Same; Same; Philippines is in a crisis today and in such a situation governmental powers generally
Citation: 73 SCRA 333 concentrated in the President. In general, the governmental powers in crisis governmentthe Philippines
is a crisis government todayare more or less concentrated in the President. According to Rossiter, (t)he
Docket Number: No. L- concentration of government power in a democracy faced by an emergency is a corrective to the crisis
44640, No. L-44684, No. L- inefficiencies inherent in the doctrine of the separation of powers. x x x There are moments in the life of any
44714 government when all powers must work together in unanimity of purpose and action, even if this means the
temporary union of executive, legislative, and judicial power in the hands of one man. The more complete
the separation of powers in a constitutional system, the more difficult and yet the more necessary will be
Ponente/Other Opinion: their fusion in time of crisis. x x x the power of the state in crisis must not only be concentrated and expanded;
MARTIN it must also be freed from the normal system of constitutional and legal limitations. x x x the rationale behind
such broad emergency powers of the Executive is the release of the government from the the paralysis of
Dispositive Portion: constitutional restraints so that the crisis may be ended and normal times restored.
ACCORDINGLY, the vote
being 8 to 2 to dismiss, the
said petitions are hereby Same; Same; Presidential exercise of legislative powers a valid act in times of martial law. The presidential
dismissed. This decision is exercise of legislative powers in times of martial law is now a conceded valid act. That sun clear authority of
immediately executory.IN the President is saddled on Section 3 (pars. 1 and 2) of the Transitory Provisions.
VIEW OF THE FOREGOING
CONSIDERATIONS, We vote Same; Same; It is within constitutional and legal bounds for the President to assume the constituent powers
to dismiss the petitions.
of the interim National Assembly. Would it then be within the bounds of the Constitution and of law for the
President to assume that constituent power of the interim Assembly vis-a-vis his assumption of that bodys
legislative functions? The answer is yes. If the President has been legitimately discharging the legislative
functions of the interimAssembly, there is no reason why he cannot validly discharge the function of that
Assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution, which is but adjunct, although peculiar, to its gross
legislative power. This, of course, is not to say that the President has converted his office into a constituent
assembly of that nature normally constituted by the legislature. Rather, with the interimNational Assembly
not convened and only the Presidency and the Supreme Court in operation, the urges of absolute necessity
render it imperative upon the President to act as agent for and in behalf of the people to propose
amendments to the Constitution. x x x The Presidents action is not a unilateral move. As early as the
referendums of January 1973 and February 1975, the people had already rejected the calling of the interim
National Assembly.

Same; Same; In the Philippines sovereignty resides in the people. In the Philippines, a republican and unitary
state, sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. x x x This is the
concept of popular sovereignty. It means that the constitutional legislator, namely, the people, in sovereign.
In consequence, the people may thus write into the Constitution their convictions on any subject they choose
in the absence of express constitutional prohibition. Sanidad vs. Commission on Elections, 73 SCRA 333, No.
L-44640, No. L-44684, No. L-44714 October 12, 1976
Daza v. Singson 1. Constitutional Law; Jurisdiction; Political question defined; The Supreme Court has the competence
180 SCRA 496 to act in the case at bar since it involved the legality of the act of the House of Representatives in
removing the petitioner from the Commission on Appointments. Ruling first on the jurisdictional
issue, we hold that, contrary to the respon-dents assertion, the Court has the competence to act on
Case Title: the matter at bar. Our finding is that what is before us is not a discretionary act of the House of
REP. RAUL A. DAZA, Representatives that may not be reviewed by us because it is political in nature. What is involved
petitioner, vs. REP. LUIS C. here is the legality, not the wisdom, of the act of that chamber in removing the petitioner from the
SINGSON and HON. RAOUL
Commission on Appointments. That is not a political question because, as Chief Justice Concepcion
V. VICTORINO IN THE
LATTERS CAPACITY AS explained in Tanada v. Cuenco: x x x the term political question connotes, in legal parlance, what it
SECRETARY OF THE means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. In other words, x x x it refers to those
COMMISSION ON questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity,
APPOINTMENTS, respondent. or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the Legislature or executive
branch of the Government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of
a particular measure.
Citation: 180 SCRA 496
2. Same; Same; Same; Same; Expanded jurisdiction of the Supreme Court conferred by Art. VII, Sec. 1
Docket Number: G.R. No. of the Constitution; Case at bar. In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes
86344 even less tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue
presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from resolving it under
Ponente/Other Opinion: the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the political
CRUZ
question. Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution clearly provides: Section 1. The judicial power
shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Judicial
Dispositive Portion:
power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which
WHEREFORE, the petition is
DISMISSED. The temporary are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave
restraining order dated abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
January 13, 1989, is LIFTED. instrumentality of the Government.
The Court holds that the
respondent has been validly 3. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The transcendental importance to the public of cases where
elected as a member of the
Commission on
serious constitutional questions are involved demands that they be settled promptly and brushing
Appointments and is entitled aside the technicalities of procedure. The respondents contention that he has been improperly
to assume his seat in that impleaded is even less persuasive. While he may be technically correct in arguing that it is not he
body pursuant to Article VI, who caused the petitioners removal, we feel that this objection is also not an insuperable obstacle
Section 18, of the to the resolution of this controversy. We may, for one thing, treat this proceeding as a petition for
Constitution. No
quo warranto as the petitioner is actually questioning the respondents right to sit as a member of
pronouncement as to costs.
the Commission on Appointments. For another, we have held as early as in the Emergency Powers
Cases that were serious constitutional question are involved, the transcendental importance to the
public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we
must, technicalities of procedure.

4. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The Supreme Courts expanded jurisdiction includes the authority
to determine whether grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction has been
committed by any branch or instrumentality of the government; Case at bar. To summarize, then,
we hold, in view of the foregoing consideration, that the issue presented to us is justiciable rather
political, involving as it does the legality and not the wisdom of the act complained of, or the manner
of filling the Commission on Appointments as prescribed by the Constitution. Even if the question
were political in nature, it would still come within our powers of review under the expanded
jurisdiction conferred upon us by Article VIII, Section 1, of the Constitution, which includes the
authority to determine whether grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction
has been committed by any branch or instrumentality of the government. As for the alleged technical
flaw in the designation of the party respondent, assuming the existence of such a defect, the same
maybe brushed aside, conformably to existing doctrine, so that the important constitutional issue
raised maybe addressed. Lastly, we resolve that issue in favor of the authority of the House of
Representatives to change its representation in the Commission on Appointments to reflect at any
time the changes that may transpire in the political alignments of its membership. It is understood
that such changes must be permanent and do not include the temporary alliances or factional
divisions not involving severance of political loyalties or formal disaffiliation and permanent shifts of
allegiance from one political party to another.
Abakada Guro Party List v. Hon. 1. Delegation of Powers; Test; A law is complete when it sets forth therein the policy to be executed,
Cesar V. Purisima, carried out or implemented by the delegate and lays down a sufficient standard when it provides
August 14, 2008 adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to map out the boundaries of the delegates authority
and prevent the delegation from running riot. Two tests determine the validity of delegation of
legislative power: (1) the completeness test and (2) the sufficient standard test. A law is complete
when it sets forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate. It
lays down a sufficient standard when it provides adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to map
out the boundaries of the delegates authority and prevent the delegation from running riot. To be
sufficient, the standard must specify the limits of the delegates authority, announce the legislative
policy and identify the conditions under which it is to be implemented. Abakada Guro Party List vs.
Purisima, 562 SCRA 251, G.R. No. 166715 August 14, 2008

2. Separation of Powers; Legislative Veto; Congressional oversight is not unconstitutional per se,
meaning, it neither necessarily constitutes an encroachment on the executive power to implement
laws nor undermines the constitutional separation of powers, but to forestall the danger of
congressional encroachment beyond the legislative sphere, the Constitution imposes two basic and
related constraints on Congress it may not vest itself, any of its committees or its members with
either executive or judicial power, and, when it exercises its legislative power, it must follow the
single, finely wrought and exhaustively considered, procedures specified under the Constitution,
including the procedure for enactment of laws and presentment; Any post-enactment congressional
measure should be limited to scrutiny and investigationany action or step beyond that will
undermine the separation of powers guaranteed by the Constitution. It is clear that congressional
oversight is not unconstitutional per se, meaning, it neither necessarily constitutes an encroachment
on the executive power to implement laws nor undermines the constitutional separation of powers.
Rather, it is integral to the checks and balances inherent in a democratic system of government. It
may in fact even enhance the separation of powers as it prevents the over-accumulation of power
in the executive branch. However, to forestall the danger of congressional encroachment beyond
the legislative sphere, the Constitution imposes two basic and related constraints on Congress. It
may not vest itself, any of its committees or its members with either executive or judicial power.
And, when it exercises its legislative power, it must follow the single, finely wrought and
exhaustively considered, procedures specified under the Constitution, including the procedure for
enactment of laws and presentment. Thus, any post-enactment congressional measure such as this
should be limited to scrutiny and investigation. In particular, congressional oversight must be
confined to the following: (1) scrutiny based primarily on Congress power of appropriation and the
budget hearings conducted in connection with it, its power to ask heads of departments to appear
before and be heard by either of its Houses on any matter pertaining to their departments and its
power of confirmation and (2) investigation and monitoring of the implementation of laws pursuant
to the power of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. Any action or step beyond that
will undermine the separation of powers guaranteed by the Constitution. Legislative vetoes fall in
this class.

3. Same; Same; Words and Phrases; Legislative veto is a statutory provision requiring the President or
an administrative agency to present the proposed implementing rules and regulations of a law to
Congress which, by itself or through a committee formed by it, retains a right or power to approve
or disapprove such regulations before they take effect; Congress has two options when enacting
legislation to define national policy within the broad horizons of its legislative competenceit can
itself formulate the details or it can assign to the executive branch the responsibility for making
necessary managerial decisions in conformity with those standards. Legis-lative veto is a statutory
provision requiring the President or an administrative agency to present the proposed implementing
rules and regulations of a law to Congress which, by itself or through a committee formed by it,
retains a right or power to approve or disapprove such regulations before they take effect. As
such, a legislative veto in the form of a congressional oversight committee is in the form of an inward-
turning delegation designed to attach a congressional leash (other than through scrutiny and
investigation) to an agency to which Congress has by law initially delegated broad powers. It radically
changes the design or structure of the Constitutions diagram of power as it entrusts to Congress a
direct role in enforcing, applying or implementing its own laws. Congress has two options when
enacting legislation to define national policy within the broad horizons of its legislative competence.
It can itself formulate the details or it can assign to the executive branch the responsibility for making
necessary managerial decisions in conformity with those standards. In the latter case, the law must
be complete in all its essential terms and conditions when it leaves the hands of the legislature. Thus,
what is left for the executive branch or the concerned administrative agency when it formulates
rules and regulations implementing the law is to fill up details (supplementary rule-making) or
ascertain facts necessary to bring the law into actual operation (contingent rule-making).
Belgica vs Ochoa 1. Same; Separation of Powers; The principle of separation of powers refers to the constitutional
710 SCRA 1 demarcation of the three fundamental powers of government; To the legislative branch of
government, through Congress, belongs the power to make laws; to the executive branch of
government, through the President, belongs the power to enforce laws; and to the judicial branch of
Case Title: government, through the Court, belongs the power to interpret laws. The principle of separation
GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B.
of powers refers to the constitutional demarcation of the three fundamental powers of government.
BELGICA, JOSE M.
VILLEGAS, JR., JOSE L. In the celebrated words of Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139 (1936), it
GONZALEZ, REUBEN M. means that the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power
ABANTE, and QUINTIN to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. To the legislative
PAREDES SAN DIEGO, branch of government, through Congress, belongs the power to make laws; to the executive branch
petitioners, vs. HONORABLE of government, through the President, belongs the power to enforce laws; and to the judicial branch
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.,
of government, through the Court, belongs the power to interpret laws. Because the three great
SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND powers have been, by constitutional design, ordained in this respect, [e]ach department of the
MANAGEMENT FLORENCIO B. government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own
ABAD, NATIONAL sphere. Thus, the legislature has no authority to execute or construe the law, the executive has no
TREASURER ROSALIA V. DE authority to make or construe the law, and the judiciary has no power to make or execute the law.
LEON, SENATE OF THE
The principle of separation of powers and its concepts of autonomy and independence stem from
PHILIPPINES, represented by
FRANKLIN M. DRILON in his the notion that the powers of government must be divided to avoid concentration of these powers
capacity as SENATE in any one branch; the division, it is hoped, would avoid any single branch from lording its power
PRESIDENT, and HOUSE OF over the other branches or the citizenry. To achieve this purpose, the divided power must be wielded
REPRESENTATIVES, by co-equal branches of government that are equally capable of independent action in exercising
represented by FELICIANO S. their respective mandates. Lack of independence would result in the inability of one branch of
BELMONTE, JR. in his
government to check the arbitrary or self-interest assertions of another or others.
capacity as SPEAKER OF THE 2. Same; Same; From the moment the law becomes effective, any provision of law that empowers
HOUSE, respondents. Congress or any of its members to play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law
violates the principle of separation of powers and is thus unconstitutional; Any post-enactment-
Citation: 710 SCRA 1 measure allowing legislator participation beyond oversight is bereft of any constitutional basis and
hence, tantamount to impermissible interference and/or assumption of executive functions. The
Docket Number: G.R. No. Legislative branch of government, much more any of its members, should not cross over the field of
208566
implementing the national budget since, as earlier stated, the same is properly the domain of the
Executive. Again, in Guingona, Jr., the Court stated that Congress enters the picture [when it]
Counsel: Eduardo V.
deliberates or acts on the budget proposals of the President. Thereafter, Congress, in the exercise
Bringas and Alfredo B. Molo
III, et al. of its own judgment and wisdom, formulates an appropriation act precisely following the process
established by the Constitution, which specifies that no money may be paid from the Treasury except
Ponente/Other Opinion: in accordance with an appropriation made by law. Upon approval and passage of the GAA,
PERLAS-BERNABE, J. Congress law-making role necessarily comes to an end and from there the Executives role of
implementing the national budget begins. So as not to blur the constitutional boundaries between
them, Congress must not concern itself with details for implementation by the Executive. The
foregoing cardinal postulates were definitively enunciated in Abakada where the Court held that
[f]rom the moment the law becomes effective, any provision of law that empowers Congress or any
of its members to play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law violates the
principle of separation of powers and is thus unconstitutional. It must be clarified, however, that
since the restriction only pertains to any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law,
Congress may still exercise its oversight function which is a mechanism of checks and balances that
the Constitution itself allows. But it must be made clear that Congress role must be confined to
mere oversight. Any post-enactment-measure allowing legislator participation beyond oversight is
bereft of any constitutional basis and hence, tantamount to impermissible interference and/or
assumption of executive functions.
3. Same; Same; Delegation of Powers; Congress; As an adjunct to the separation of powers principle,
legislative power shall be exclusively exercised by the body to which the Constitution has conferred
the same; It is clear that only Congress, acting as a bicameral body, and the people, through the
process of initiative and referendum, may constitutionally wield legislative power and no other;
Exceptions. As an adjunct to the separation of powers principle, legislative power shall be
exclusively exercised by the body to which the Constitution has conferred the same. In particular,
Section 1, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution states that such power shall be vested in the Congress
of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the
extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum. Based on this provision,
it is clear that only Congress, acting as a bicameral body, and the people, through the process of
initiative and referendum, may constitutionally wield legislative power and no other. This premise
embodies the principle of non-delegability of legislative power, and the only recognized exceptions
thereto would be: (a) delegated legislative power to local governments which, by immemorial
practice, are allowed to legislate on purely local matters; and (b) constitutionally-grafted exceptions
such as the authority of the President to, by law, exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out
a declared national policy in times of war or other national emergency, or fix within specified limits,
and subject to such limitations and restrictions as Congress may impose, tariff rates, import and
export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the framework of the
national development program of the Government.
Dispositive Portion: WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED. In view of the constitutional
violations discussed in this Decision, the Court hereby declares as UNCONSTITUTIONAL: (a) the entire
2013 PDAF Article; (b) all legal provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such
as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which authorize/d
legislators whether individually or collectively organized into committees to intervene, assume
or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution, such as but not
limited to the areas of project identification, modification and revision of project identification, fund
release and/or fund realignment, unrelated to the power of congressional oversight; (c) all legal
provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF
Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which confer/red personal, lump-sum allocations to
legislators from which they are able to fund specific projects which they themselves determine; (d) all
informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (e) the phrases (1) and for such
other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President under Section 8 of Presidential Decree
No. 910 and (2) to finance the priority infrastructure development projects under Section 12 of
Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, for both failing the
sufficient standard test in violation of the principle of non-delegability of legislative power. Accordingly,
the Courts temporary injunction dated September 10, 2013 is hereby declared to be PERMANENT.
Thus, the disbursement/release of the remaining PDAF funds allocated for the year 2013, as well as
for all previous years, and the funds sourced from (1) the Malampaya Funds under the phrase and
for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President pursuant to Section 8 of
Presidential Decree No. 910, and (2) the Presidential Social Fund under the phrase to finance the
priority infrastructure development projects pursuant to Section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 1869,
as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, which are, at the time this Decision is promulgated, not
covered by Notice of Cash Allocations (NCAs) but only by Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs),
whether obligated or not, are hereby ENJOINED. The remaining PDAF funds covered by this permanent
injunction shall not be disbursed/released but instead reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the
general fund, while the funds under the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund shall remain
therein to be utilized for their respective special purposes not otherwise declared as unconstitutional.
On the other hand, due to improper recourse and lack of proper substantiation, the Court hereby
DENIES petitioners prayer seeking that the Executive Secretary and/or the Department of Budget and
Management be ordered to provide the public and the Commission on Audit complete lists/schedules
or detailed reports related to the availments and utilization of the funds subject of these cases.
Petitioners access to official documents already available and of public record which are related to
these funds must, however, not be prohibited but merely subjected to the custodians reasonable
regulations or any valid statutory prohibition on the same. This denial is without prejudice to a proper
mandamus case which they or the Commission on Audit may choose to pursue through a separate
petition. The Court also DENIES petitioners prayer to order the inclusion of the funds subject of these
cases in the budgetary deliberations of Congress as the same is a matter left to the prerogative of the
political branches of government. Finally, the Court hereby DIRECTS all prosecutorial organs of the
government to, within the bounds of reasonable dispatch, investigate and accordingly prosecute all
government officials and/or private individuals for possible criminal offenses related to the irregular,
improper and/or unlawful disbursement/utilization of all funds under the Pork Barrel System. This
Decision is immediately executory but prospective in effect.