YES, cronyism is a legal ground for the impeachment of the President. Under Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust is one of the grounds for Impeachment. This refers to violation of the oath of office and includes cronyism which involves unduly favoring a crony to the prejudice of public interest. (Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 272)
2.) Sec. 3, Art. XI of the Constitution states that "no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year." What constitutes initiation of impeachment proceedings under the provision?
It is initiated by the filing of a verified complaint by any member of the House of Representatives or any citizen upon resolution of endorsement by any member thereof. If the verified complaint is filed by at least 1/3 of all its members of the House of Representatives, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed. [1987 Constitution, Art. XI, Sec. 3 (4)]
In Francisco v. The House of Representatives, the Supreme Court clarified that the “term ‘to initiate refers to the filing of the impeachment complaint coupled with Congress’ taking initial action of said complaint.”
3.) As a leading member of the Lapiang Mandirigma in the House of Representatives, you were tasked by the party to initiate the moves to impeach the President because he entered into an executive agreement with the US Ambassador for the use of the former Subic Naval Base by the US Navy, for free, i.e., without need to pay rent nor any kind of fees as a show of goodwill to the U.S. because of the continuing harmonious RPUS relations. Cite at least two (2) grounds for impeachment and explain why you chose them.
The President can be impeached for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the provision in Article XVIII, Section 25 of the Constitution requires a treaty even for the mere temporary presence of foreign troops in the Philippines. (Bayan v. Zamora, G.R. No. 138570, October 10, 2000, 342 SCRA 499)
The President cannot claim, therefore, that he acted in good faith. (Report of the Special Committee in the Impeachment of President Quirino, Congressional Record of the House of President Quirino, Congressional Record of the House of Representatives, Vol. IV, p. 1553). Betrayal of public trust includes violation of the oath of the office of the President (Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 272). In his oath of office, the President swore to preserve and defend the Constitution. (Article VII, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution)
4.) Upon complaint of the incumbent President of the Republic, "A" was charged with libel before the Regional Trial Court. “A" moved to dismiss the information on the ground that the Court had no jurisdiction over the offense charged because the President, being immune from suit, should also be disqualified from filing a case against “A" in court. Resolve the motion.
The motion should be denied according to Soliven vs. Makasiar, 167 SCRA 393, the immunity of the President from suit is personal to the President. It may be invoked by the President only and not by any other person.
5.) Command responsibility pertains to the responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflicts. The doctrine has now found application in civil actions for human rights abuses, and in proceedings seeking the privilege of the writ of amparo. (a) What are the elements to be established in order to hold the superior or commander liable under the doctrine of command responsibility? (b) May the doctrine of command responsibility apply to the President for the abuses of the armed forces (AFP and PNP) given his unique role as the commander-in- chief of all the armed forces? Explain your answer.
a.) The elements to be established in order to hold the superior liable under the doctrine of command responsibility are as follows:
The existence of a superior-subordinate relationship between the accused as superior and the perpetrator of the crime as his subordinate;
The superior knew or had reason to know that the crime was about to be or had been committed;
The superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the criminal acts or punish the perpetrators thereof (Rodriguez v. GMA, R. Nos. 191805 & 193160, November 15, 2011)
b.) Yes. The President may be held accountable under the principle of command responsibility. Being the commander-in-chief of all armed forces, he necessarily possesses control over the military that qualifies him as a superior within the purview of the command responsibility doctrine.
On the issue of knowledge, it must be pointed out that although international tribunals apply a strict standard of knowledge, i.e. actual knowledge, the same may nonetheless be established through circumstantial evidence. In the Philippines, a more liberal view is adopted and superiors may be charged with constructive knowledge.
As to the issue of failure to prevent or punish, it is important to note that as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the President has the power to effectively command, control, and discipline the military. (Rodriguez v. GMA, G.R. Nos. 191805 & 193160, Nov. 15, 2011)
Presidential communications privilege applies to decision-making of the President. The deliberative process privilege applies to decision-making of executive officials. Unlike the "deliberative process privilege, “the presidential communications privilege" applies to documents in their entirety and covers final and post decisional matters, as well as pre- deliberative ones. The deliberative process privilege includes advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated. (Neri v. Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, 549 SCRA77, 2008)
7.) The President abolished the Office of the Presidential Spokesman in Malacañang Palace and a long-standing Bureau under the Department of Interior and Local Governments. The employees of both offices assailed the action of the President for being an encroachment of legislative powers and thereby void. Was the contention of the employees correct? Explain.
The contention of the employees is not correct. As held in Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Zamora (360 SCRA 718, 2001), Section 31, Book III of the Administrative Code of 1987 has delegated to the President continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency. Since this includes the power to abolish offices, the President can abolish the Office of the Presidential Spokesman, provided it is done in good faith. The President can also abolish the Bureau in the Department of Interior and Local Governments, provided it is done in good faith because the President has been granted continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the National Government to effect economy and promote efficiency, and the powers include the abolition of government offices. (Presidential Decree No. 1416, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1772; Larin v. The Executive Secretary. 280 SCRA 713, I997)
8.) To give the much needed help to the Province of Aurora which was devastated by typhoons and torrential rains, the President declared it in a "state of calamity." Give at least four (4) legal effects of such declaration.
Declaration of a state of calamity produces, inter alia, these legal effects within the Province of Aurora:
Automatic Price Control — under A. No. 7581, The Price Act;
Authorization for the importation of rice under R.A. No. 8178, The Agricultural Tarrification Act;
Automatic appropriation under A. No. 7160 is available for unforeseen expenditures arising from the occurrence of calamities in areas declared to be in a state of calamity;
Local government units may enact a supplemental budget for supplies and materials or payment of services to prevent danger to or loss of life or property, under A. No. 7160;
Entitlement to hazard allowance for Public Health Workers (under A. No. 7305, Magna Carta for Public Health Workers), who shall be compensated hazard allowances equivalent to at least twenty- five percent (25%) of the monthly basic salary of health workers receiving salary grade 19 and below, and five percent (5%) for health workers with salary grade 20 and above;
Entitlement to hazard allowance for science and technological personnel of the government under A. No. 8439; and 7. A crime committed during the state of calamity will be considered aggravated under Art. 14, par. 7 of the Revised Penal Code.