Bar Q and A #12

The grant of executive clemency is not valid. First, in this case, the power of executive clemency cannot be delegated for it was not signed by the President himself but by the Executive Secretary and second, the power of executive clemency cannot extend to administrative cases in the Judiciary, because it will violate the principle of separation of powers and impair the power of the Supreme Court under Section 6, Article VIII of the Constitution of administrative supervision over all courts.  (Petition  for  Judicial  Clemency  of  Romillo, G.R. No. 97091, December 9, 1997)

The terms were defined and distinguished from one another in People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56, 111-112, as follows:

  1. REPRIEVE is a postponement of the execution of a sentence to a day certain,

  2. COMMUTATION is a remission of a part of the punishment, a substitution of less penalty for the one originally

  3. A PARDON, on the other hand, is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.

NO, the House of Representatives cannot take active part in the conduct of foreign relations, particularly in entering into treaties and international agreements. As held in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corporation (299 S. 304), the President alone is the representative of the nation in the conduct of foreign affairs. Although the Senate has the power to concur in treaties, the President alone negotiates treaties and Congress is powerless to intrude into this. However, if the matter involves a treaty or an executive agreement, the House of Representatives may pass a resolution expressing its views on the matter.

Under Section 20, Article VII of the Constitution, the power of the President to contract or guarantee loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines is subject to the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board and subject to such limitations as may be prescribed by law.

a.) The petition of KMM must be denied. Diplomatic negotiations are privileged in order to encourage a frank exchange of exploratory ideas between the parties by shielding the negotiations from the public view. (Akbayan Citizens Action Party v. Aquino 558 SCRA 468)

b.) KMM is entitled to have access to information pertaining to government contracts entered into by the Government in the exercise of its proprietary or commercial capacity, the right to information under the Constitution does not exclude contracts of public interest and are not privileged. (Section 7, Article III of the Constitution; Valmonte v. Belmonte, 179 SCRA 256)

According to Section 28(2), Article VI of the Constitution, Congress may, by law, authorize the President to fix within specified limits, and subject to such limitations and restrictions it 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.

A pocket veto is when the President is considered to have rejected a bill submitted to him for his approval when Congress adjourns during the period given to the President to approve or reject a bill.

On the other hand, an item veto, or partial veto, is the power of a President to nullify or cancel specific provisions of a bill, usually a budget appropriations bill, without vetoing the entire legislative package.

The scope of judicial power under the 1987 Constitution is broader than its scope under the 1935 and 1973 Constitution because of the second paragraph of Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, which states that it includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. As held in Marcos v. Manglapus (177 SCRA 668), this provision limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of juridical inquiry into areas which the courts under the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions would normally have left to the political departments to decide.