1.) In 1963, congress passed a law creating a government-owned corporation named Manila War Memorial Commission (MWMC), with the primary function of overseeing the construction of a massive memorial in the heart of Manila to commemorate victim of the 1945 Battle of Manila. The MWMC charter provided an initial appropriation of P1,000,000, empowered the corporation to raise funds in its own name, and set aside a parcel of land in Malate for the memorial site. The charter set the corporate life of MWMC at 50 years with a proviso that Congress may not abolish MWMC until after the completion of the memorial. Forty-five (45) years later, the memorial was only 1/3 complete and the memorial site itself had long been overrun by squatters. Congress enacted a law abolishing the MWMC and requiring that the funds raised by it be remitted to the National Treasury. The MWMC challenged the validity of the law, arguing that under its charter its mandate is to complete the memorial no matter how long it takes. Decide with reason.
The contention of MWMC is untenable. An implied limitation on legislative power is the prohibition against the passage of irrepealable laws. Such laws deprive succeeding legislatures of the authority to craft laws appropriate to the milieu (City of Davao v. Regional Trial Court 467 SCRA 280)
2.) Suppose the President submits a budget which does not contain provisions for CDF (Countrywide Development Funds), popularly known as the pork barrel, and because of this Congress does not pass the budget. a. Will that mean paralization of government operations in the next fiscal year for lack of an appropriation law? b. Suppose in the same budget, there is a special provision in the appropriations for the Armed Forces authorizing the Chief of Staff, AFP, subject to the approval of the Secretary of National Defense, to use savings in the appropriations provided thereto to cover up whatever financial losses suffered by the AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits System (RSBS) in the last five (5) years due to alleged bad business judgment. Would you question the constitutionality validity of the special provision?
a.) NO, the failure of Congress to pass the budget will not paralyze the operations of the Section 25(7), Article VI of the Constitution provides: "If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed reenacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Congress.
b.) Yes, the provision authorizing the Chief of Staff, with the approval of the Secretary of National Defense, to use savings to cover the losses suffered by the AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits System is Section 25(5], Article VI of the Constitution provides: "No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriation law for their respective offices from savings in other Items of their respective appropriations."
In Philippine Constitution v. Enriquez, 235 SCRA 506, 544, the Supreme Court held that a provision in the General Appropriation Act authorizing the Chief of Staff to use savings to augment the funds of the AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits Systems was unconstitutional. "While Section 25(5) allows as an exception the realignment of savings to augment items in the general appropriations law for the executive branch, such right must and can be exercised only by the President pursuant to a specific law."
3.) Give the limitations on the power of the Congress to enact the General Appropriations Act? Explain your answer
The following are the limitations on the power of Congress to enact the GAA:
It must be devoted to a public purpose;
The sum authorized to be released must be determinate or at least determinable;
Congress may not increase appropriations recommended by the President for the operations of the government;
Form, content and manner of preparation of budget shall be provided by law;
No provision or enactment shall be embraced in the bill unless it releases specifically to some particular appropriations therein;
Procedure for approving appropriations for Congress shall be the same as that of other departments in order to prevent sub rosa appropriations by Congress; and
Prohibition against transfer of appropriations from one branch (judiciary, legislative, and executive) to another.