Bar Q and A #4

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)

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)

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:

  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.

  3. 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.”

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)

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.

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)

  1. 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.

  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 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.

Initiative is the power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to propose and enact legislations through an election called for the purpose [Section 3(a), R.A. No. 6735]. Referendum is the power of the electorate to approve or reject a legislation through an election called for the purpose [Section 3(c), R.A. No. 6735].