1.) What are the essential elements of a valid petition for a people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution? Discuss.
The elements of a valid petition for a people’s initiative are the following:
At least twelve percent (12%) of the registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three percent (3%) of the registered voters in it, should directly sign the entire proposal; and
The draft of the proposed amendment must be embodied in the (Lambino v. COMELEC, 505 SCRA 160, 2006)
However, as of the present, there is no enabling law for an initiative to propose amendments on the Constitution.
2.) Several citizens, unhappy with the proliferation of families dominating the political landscape, decided to take matters into their own hands. They proposed to come up with a people’s initiative defining political dynasties. They started a signature campaign for the purpose of coming up with a petition for that purpose. Some others expressed misgivings about a people’s initiative for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution, however. They cited the Court’s decision in Santiago v. Commission on Elections, 270 SCRA 106 (1997), as authority for their position that there is yet no enabling law for such purpose. On the other hand, there are also those who claim that the individual votes of the justices in Lambino v. Commission on Elections, 505 SCRA 160 (2006), mean that Santiago’s pronouncement has effectively been abandoned. If you were consulted by those behind the new attempt at a people’s initiative, how would you advise them?
I shall advise those starting a people’s initiative that initiative to pass a law defining political dynasties may proceed as their proposal is to enact a law only and not to amend the constitution. The decision in Santiago v. COMELEC, which has not been reversed, upheld the adequacy of the provisions in Republic Act 6735 on initiative to enact a law. (270 SCRA 106, 1997)
3.) A committee of the Senate invited Mr. X and Mr. Y, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Secretary of Energy, respectively, as resource speakers for an inquiry in aid legislation. Mr. X refused to attend, arguing that the Senate, not its committee, has the power to compel attendance. Meanwhile, Mr. Y attended the committee hearing but upon being asked about discussions made during a closed-door cabinet meeting, he refused to answer invoking executive privilege. The committee members insisted that Mr. Y answer the question pursuant to the right of Congress to information from the executive branch. (a) Based on his argument, is Mr. X’s non- appearance permissible? Explain. (b) Is Mr. Y’s refusal to answer based on executive privilege valid? Explain.
a.) No. Article VI, Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution specifically provides that “the Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure.”
b.) YES, Mr. Y’s refusal is valid. The privilege includes “presidential conversations, correspondences, or discussions during closed-door Cabinet meetings." The intention of the President to prevent leakage of information to the public is crystal clear because the discussions were made in a “closed-door meeting.” (Sereno v. Committee on Trade and Related Matters, G.R. No. 175210, February 01, 2016)
4.) Under the 1987 Constitution, to whom does each duty / power / privilege / prohibition/ disqualification apply: (a) The authority to keep the general accounts of the Government and for such period provided by law, preserve the vouchers and other supporting documents pertaining thereto. (b) The power to allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons. (c) The authority to provide for the standardization of compensation of government officials and employees. (d) The sole power to declare the existence of state of war. (e) The power to ratify treaties and international agreements.
a.) The Commission on Audit. [Section 2(1), Article IX-D, 1987 CONST.]
b.) The Congress, by virtue of a special law. [Section 2, par. 3, Article XII, 1987 CONST.]
c.) The Civil Service Commission. [Section 5, Article IX- B, 1987 CONST.]
d.) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately. [Section 4, par. 1, Article VI, 1987 CONST.]
e.) The President. [Bayan v. Zamora, G.R. No. 138570, October 10, 2000]
5.) The Congress establishes by law Philippine Funds, Inc., a private corporation, to receive foreign donations coming from abroad during national and local calamities and disasters, and to enable the unhampered and speedy disbursements of the donations through the mere action of its Board of Directors. Thereby, delays in the release of the donated funds occasioned by the stringent rules of procurement would be avoided. Also, the releases would not come under the jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit (COA). (2017 BAR) (a) Is the law establishing Philippine Funds, Inc. constitutional? Explain your answer. (b) Can the Congress pass the law that would exempt the foreign grants from the jurisdiction of the COA? Explain your answer.
a.) The establishment of Philippine Funds, Inc. is valid. It was created to enable the speedy disbursements of donations for calamities and disasters, Public purpose is no longer restricted to traditional government functions. (Petitioner-Organization v. Executive Secretary, G.R. Nos, 147036-37 & 147811, April 10, 2012, 269 SCRA 49)
b.) Congress cannot exempt the foreign grants from the jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit. Its jurisdiction extends to all government-owned or controlled corporations, including those funded by donations through the Government. (Art IX-D, Sec. 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution; and Petitioner Corporation v. Executive Secretary, G.R. Nos. 147036-37 & 147811, April 10, 2012, 269 SCRA 49)