Bar Q and A #7

AVE cannot collect salaries and allowances from the government for the first two years of his term, because in the meanwhile BART collected the salaries and allowances. BART was a de facto officer while he was in possession of the office. To allow AVE to collect the salaries and allowances will result in making the government pay a second time (Mechem, A Treatise on the Law of Public Offices and Public Officers, [1890] pp. 222-223). BART is not required to refund to the government the salaries and allowances he received. As a de facto officer, he is entitled to the salaries and allowances because he rendered services during his incumbency (Rodriguez v. Tan, 91 Phil. 724). The bills which BART alone authored and were approved by the House of Representatives are valid because he was a de facto officer during his incumbency. The acts of a de facto officer are valid insofar as the public is concerned. (People v. Garcia, 313 SCRA 279)

A.) The 185 members of the Progressive Party of the Philippines represent 58 percent of the 202 members of the House of Representatives, in accordance with Article VI, Section 18 of the Constitution, it is entitled to have ten of the twelve seats in the Commission on Appointments. Although the 185 members of Progressive Party of the Philippines represent 10.98 seats in the Commission on Appointments, under the ruling in Guingona v. Gonzales, 214 SCRA 789 (1992), a fractional membership cannot be rounded off to full membership because it will result in overrepresentation of that political party and under-representation of the other political parties.

B.) The political alliance formed by the 15 members of the Citizens Party with the Progressive Party of the Philippines will not result in the diminution of the number of seats in the Commission on Appointments to which the Citizens Party is As held in Cunanan v. Tan, 5SCRA 1 (1962), a temporary alliance between the members of one political party and another political party does not authorize a change in the membership of the Commission on Appointments. Otherwise, the Commission on Appointments will have to be reorganized as often as votes shift from one side to another in the House of Representatives.

T, the losing candidate, should question the election of Y before the Senate Electoral Tribunal, because the issue involved is the qualification of Y to be a Senator. Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provides that.  The  Senate  and  the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members."

The function of the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal is to be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of Senators and congressmen, respectively. (Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution)

The Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal are composed of nine members, three of whom are Justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six members are Senators and Congressmen, respectively, chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties as well as the parties registered under the party-list system represented in the House of Representatives, in the case of the latter. (Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution)

The House of Representatives Electoral  Tribunal has acquired exclusive jurisdiction over the case of Beauty, since she has already been proclaimed.  The proclamation of the winning candidate is the operative fact that triggers the exclusive jurisdiction of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal over election contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the winning candidate,. The proclamation divests the Commission on Elections of jurisdiction over the question of disqualifications pending before it at the time of the proclamation. Any case pertaining to questions over the qualifications of a winning candidate should be raised before the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal. (Limkaichong v. COMELEC, 583 SCRA 1; Jalosjos, Jr. v. COMELEC, 674 SCRA 530)

 

It is well-entrenched in a long line of cases decided by the Supreme Court that the jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunal begins once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office. It is only after the occurrence of these events that a candidate can be considered as either a Member of the House of Representatives or a Senator.

The practical application of these rulings, at least insofar as the HRET is concerned, has been that it commences to exercise such jurisdiction, to the exclusion of the COMELEC, which has initial jurisdiction over said matters, upon the proclamation of the winning candidate.  (Cruz, 2014)

a.) The argument is not tenable; since this is an essential component of legislative power, it cannot be made subordinate to criminal and civil actions. Otherwise, it would be very easy to subvert any investigation in aid of legislation through convenient ploy of instituting criminal and civil actions. (Standard Chartered Bank [Philippine Branch] v.  Senate Committee in Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, 541 SCRA 456)

b.) The argument is untenable. Since the IUB officials were not being subjected to a criminal penalty, they cannot invoke their right against self-incrimination unless a question calling for an incriminating answer is propounded. (Standard Chartered Bank [Philippine Branch] v. Senate Committee in Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, 541 SCRA 456)

c.) NO, because the power to invoke executive privilege is limited to the President (Senate v. Ermita 488 SCRA 1)

X may be compelled to appear and testify. Only the President or the Executive Secretary by the order of the President can invoke executive privilege (Senate v. Ermita, 488 SCRA 13). He can be cited for contempt and ordered to be arrested (De la Paz v. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 579 SCRA 521).

a.) The Secretary of Budget and Management is not shielded by executive privilege from responding to the inquiries of the House Committee on Appropriations, because the inquiry is in aid of legislation and neither the President nor the Executive Secretary by the order of the President invoked executive privilege. (Senate v. Ermita, supra.) For refusing to testify, he may be cited for contempt and ordered to be arrested (De la Paz v. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, supra.)

Under Section 5, Article XVI of the Constitution, the President is the Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. By virtue of this power, the President can prevent the Brigadier General Matapang and Liutenant Colonel Makatwiran from appearing before the Senate to testify before a legislative investigation. (Guidani v. Senga, 2006)

The provision in the Executive Order which authorized Department Secretaries to invoke executive privilege in case senior officials in their departments are asked to appear in a legislative investigation is unconstitutional. It is upon the President that executive power is vested. Only the President can make use of Executive Privilege. (Senate v. Ermita, 2006)