1.) The “Poverty Alleviation and Assistance Act "was passed to enhance the capacity of the most marginalized families nationwide. A financial assistance scheme called “conditional cash transfers" was initially funded 500 million pesos by Congress. One of the provisions of the law gave the Join t- Congressional Oversight Committee authority to screen the list of beneficiary families initially determined by the Secretary of Department of Social Welfare and Development pursuant to the Department implementing rules. Mang Pandoy, a resident of Smokey Mountain in Tondo, questioned the authority of the Committee. Is the grant of authority to the Oversight Committee to screen beneficiaries constitutional?
The grant of authority to the Oversight Committee to screen beneficiaries is unconstitutional. It violates the principle of separation of powers. By being involved in the implementation of the law, the Oversight Committee will be exercising executive power. (Abakada Guro Party List v. Purisima,562 SCRA 251, 2008)
2.) Senator Fleur De Lis is charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan. After finding the existence of probable cause, the court issues a warrant for the Senator's arrest. The prosecution files a motion to suspend the Senator relying on Section 5 of the Plunder Law. According to the prosecution, the suspension should last until the termination of the case. Senator Lis vigorously opposes the motion contending that only the Senate can discipline its members; and that to allow his suspension by the Court would violate the principle of separation of powers. Is Senator Lis's contention tenable? Explain.
The contention of the Senator is not tenable. The power of each House of Congress to “punish its Members for disorderly behavior,” and “suspend or expel a Member” by a vote of two- thirds of all its Members subject to the qualification that the penalty of suspension, when imposed, should not exceed sixty days” under Section 6 (3), Article VI of the Constitution is “distinct” from the suspension under the Plunder Law“ which is not a penalty but a preliminary, preventive measure prescinding from the fact that the latter is not being imposed on petitioner for misbehavior as a Member of the House of Representatives.” The doctrine of separation of powers cannot be deemed to have excluded Members of Congress from the application of the Plunder Law. The law itself does not exclude Members of Congress from its coverage. The Sandiganbayan did not err in issuing the preventive suspension order. (Ceferino Paredes, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 118364, 08 August 1995, cited in Santiago v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 128055, April 18, 2001)
3.) Several concerned residents of the areas fronting Manila Bay, among them a group of students who are minors, filed a suit against the Metro Manila Development • Authority (MMDA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and a number of other executive agencies, asking the court to order them to perform their duties relating to the cleanup, rehabilitation and protection of Manila Bay. The complaint alleges that the continued neglect by defendants and their failure to prevent and abate pollution in Manila Bay constitute a violation of the petitioners' constitutional right to life, health and a balanced ecology. (a) If the defendants assert that the students/petitioners who are minors do not have locus standi to file the action, is the assertion correct? Explain your answer. (b) In its decision which attained finality, the Court ordered the defendants to clean up, rehabilitate and sanitize Manila Bay within eighteen (18) months, and to submit to the Court periodic reports of their accomplishment, so that the Court can monitor and oversee the activities undertaken by the agencies in compliance with the Court's directives. Subsequently, a resolution was issued extending the time periods within which the agencies should comply with the directives covered by the final decision. A view was raised that the Court's continued intervention after the case has been decided violates the doctrine of separation of powers considering that the government agencies all belong to the Executive Department and are under the control of the President. Is this contention correct? Why or why not?
a.) The contention that the minors have no locus standi is In the landmark case of Oposa v. Factoran, the Court held that basis for the minors to have locus standi is intergenerational responsibility. It is pursuant to the obligation of the State under Section 16, Article II of the Constitution to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
b.) The order of the Supreme Court to the defendant to clean up, rehabilitate and sanitize the Manila Bay is an exercise of judicial power, because the execution of its decision is an integral part of its adjudicative Since the submission of periodic reports is needed to fully implement the decision, the Supreme Court can issue a continuing writ of mandamus to the MMDA until full compliance with its order is shown. (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay, G.R. Nos. 171947-48)
4.) In 2014, Congress enacted an appropriation law containing a provision that gives individual legislators the discretion to determine, post- enactment, how much funds would go to a specific project or beneficiary which they themselves also determine. Consequently, disbursements were made in the interim pursuant thereto. Eventually, Mr. Z filed a petition questioning the constitutionality of the statutory provision on the grounds that it violates the separation of powers principle. On the other hand, certain Congressman argued that there was nothing wrong with the provision because, after all, the power to appropriate belongs to Congress. a.) Rule on the arguments of the parties. b.)Assuming that the provision is declared unconstitutional, should the disbursements made pursuant thereto be returned in light of the doctrine of operative fact? Explain.
I will rule in favor of Mr. Z. The provision is unconstitutional for being violative of the separation of powers.
The enforcement of the national budget, as primarily contained in the GAA, is indisputably a function both constitutionally assigned and properly entrusted to the Executive branch of government.
Any post-enactment congressional measure x x x should be limited to scrutiny and investigation. In particular, congressional oversight must be confined to the following:
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
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 (Belgica Ochoa, G.R. 208566, Nov. 19, 2013)
b.) NO, the disbursements need not be returned, as the doctrine of operative fact applies.
The doctrine of operative fact recognizes the existence of the law or executive act prior to the determination of its unconstitutionality as an operative fact that produced consequences that cannot always be erased, ignored or disregarded. In short, it nullifies the void law or executive act but sustains its effects. It provides an exception to the general rule that a void or unconstitutional law produces no effect.
In the case of Araullo v Aquino (G.R. No. 29287, July 1 2014), the Court found the doctrine of operative fact applicable to the adoption and implementation of the DAP. “Its application to the DAP proceeds from equity and fair play. The consequences resulting from the DAP and its related issuances could not be ignored or could no longer be undone.”
5.) Suppose that Congress passed a law creating a Department of Human Habitat and authorizing the Department Secretary to promulgate implementing rules and regulations. Suppose further that the law declared that violation of the implementing rules and regulations so issued would be punishable as a crime and authorized the Department Secretary to prescribe the penalty for such violation. If the law defines certain acts as violations of the law and makes them punishable, for example, with imprisonment of three (3) years or a fine in the amount of P10,000.00 or both such imprisonment and fine, in the discretion of the court, can it be provided in the implementing rules and regulations promulgated by the Department Secretary that their violation will also be subject to the same penalties as those provided in the law itself? Explain your answer fully.
The rules and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Human Habitat cannot provide that the penalties for their violation will be the same as the penalties for the violation of the law. As held in United States v. Barrias (11 Phil. 327), the fixing of the penalty for criminal offenses involves the exercise of legislative power and cannot be delegated. The law itself must prescribe the penalty.
6.) Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670 (The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers) reads: Sec. 32. Penal Provision — A person who shall willfully interfere with, restrain or coerce any teacher in the exercise of his rights guaranteed by this Act or who shall in any other manner commit any act to defeat any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred pesos nor more than one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. Is the proviso granting the court the authority to impose a penalty or imprisonment in its discretion constitutional? Explain briefly.
The proviso is unconstitutional. Section 32 of
R.A. No. 4670 provides for an indeterminable period of imprisonment, with neither a minimum nor a maximum duration having been set by the legislative authority. The courts are thus given wide latitude of discretion to fix the term of imprisonment, without even the benefit of any sufficient standard, such that the duration thereof may range, in the words of the respondent judge, from one minute to the life span of the accused. This cannot be allowed. It vests in the court's power and a duty essentially legislative in nature and which, as applied to this case, does violence to the rules on separation of powers as well as the non- delegability of legislative powers. (People v. Judge Dacuycuy, G.R. No. L-45127, May 5, 1989)
7.) The two accepted tests to determine whether or not there is a valid delegation of legislative power are the Completeness Test and the Sufficient Standard Test. Explain each.
Under the COMPLETENESS TEST, The law must be complete in all essential terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature so that there will be nothing left for the delegate to do when it reaches him except to enforce it. A law is complete when it sets forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate. (Cruz, 2014)
Under the SUFFICIENCY OF STANDARDS TEST, the statute must not only define a fundamental legislative policy, mark its limits and boundaries, and specify the public agency to exercise the legislative power. It must also indicate the circumstances under which the legislative command is to be effected. To avoid the taint of unlawful delegation, there must be a standard, which implies at the very least that the legislature itself determines matters of principle and lays down fundamental policy (Free Telephone Workers Union v. Minister of Labor, G.R. No. L-58184, October 30, 1981). It fixes a standard, the limits of which are sufficiently determinate or at least determinable to which the delegate must conform in the performance of his functions.
8.) Section 8 of P.D. No. 910, entitled "Creating an Energy Development Board, defining its powers and functions, providing funds therefor and for other purposes," provides that: "All fees, revenues and receipts of the Board from any and all sources x x x shall form part of a Special Fund to be used to finance energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President." The Malampaya NGO contends that the provision constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power since the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" gives the President unbridled discretion to determine the purpose for which the funds will be used. On the other hand, the government urges the application of ejusdem generis. Does the assailed portion of section 8 of PD 910 hurdle the two (2) tests [Completeness test and Sufficient Standard Test]?
The assailed portion of the Presidential Decree No. 910 does not satisfy the two tests. The phrase “and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President” gives the President unbridled discretion to determine the purpose for the funds will be used. An infrastructure is any basic facility needed by society. The power to determine what kind of infrastructure to prioritize and fund is the power to determine the purpose of the appropriation and is an undue delegation of the power to appropriate.
The assailed provision does not fall under the principle of ejusdem generis. First, the phrase “energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government states” a singular and general class. Second, it exhausts the class it represents. (Belgica v. Ochoa, Jr., GR. No. 208566, November 19, 2013)
9.) Are the following bills filed in Congress constitutional? 1. A bill originating from the Senate, which provides for the creation of the Public Utility Commission to regulate public service companies and appropriating the initial funds needed to establish the same. Explain. 2. A bill creating a joint legislative- executive commission to give, on behalf of the Senate, its advice, consent and concurrence to treaties entered into by the President. The bill contains the guidelines to be followed by the commission in the discharge of its functions. Explain.
A bill providing for the creation of the Public Utility Commission to regulate public service companies and appropriating funds needed to establish it may originate from the It is not an appropriation bill, because the appropriation of public funds is not the principal purpose of the bill. In Association of Small Landowners of the Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform 175 SCRA 343, it was held that a law is not an appropriate measure if the appropriation of public funds is not its principal purpose and the appropriation is only incidental to some other objective.
A bill creating a joint legislative-executive commission to give, on behalf of the Senate, its advice, consent and concurrence to treaties entered into by the The Senate cannot delegate this function to such a commission, because under Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution, the concurrence of at least two-thirds of the Senate itself is required for the ratification of treaties.