Bar Q and A#15

FALSE. Such a law entails amendment of the Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court. The present Constitution has taken away the power of Congress to alter the Rules of Court (Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice, 301 SCRA 96 [1999]). The law will violate the principle of separation of powers.

The law is constitutional. The Constitution has taken away the power of Congress to repeal, alter or supplement the Rules of Court. The fiscal autonomy guaranteed the Judiciary by Section 3, Article VIII of the Constitution recognized the authority of the Supreme Court to levy, assess and collect fees. Congress cannot amend the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court for the payment of legal fees by granting exemptions (In re: Petition for Recognition of Exemption of the Government Service Insurance System from Payment of Legal Fees, 612 SCRA 193); In re: Exemption of National Power Corporation from Payment of Filling/Docket Fees, 615 SCRA 1]; In re Exemption from Payment of Court and Sheriff’s Fees of Duly Registered Cooperatives, 668, SCRA 1).

The statutory authority granted to the administrative Board to promulgate rules and regulations cannot encroach upon the exclusive authority of the Supreme Court to regulate the admission to the practice of law (Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution)

Thus, The Administrative Board cannot prescribe additional standards for admission to the practice of law, adopt a course study which is inconsistent with the requirements to take the bar examinations (Philippine Lawyer’s Association v. Agrava, 105 Phil. 173). Since Congress has no power to repeal, alter or supplement the Rules of Court, it cannot delegate such power to the Administrative Board.

Patricio is correct. It is unconstitutional for being contrary to the rule-making authority of the Supreme Court under Section 5(5), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. The power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is now in exclusive domain of the Judiciary and no longer shared with the Executive and Legislative departments. Plea bargaining is essentially a rule of procedure. It is towards the provision of a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases in all courts that the rules on plea bargaining was introduced. As a way of disposing criminal charges by agreement of the parties, plea bargaining is considered to be an "important,""essential,""highly desirable," and "legitimate" component of the administration of justice. (Estipona Jr v. Abrigo, G.R. No. 226679, August 15, 2017)

The rule-making power of the Supreme Court is the power of the Court to “promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the under-privileged.”

On the other hand, judicial legislation is a breach of the doctrine of separation of powers. Verily, the primordial duty of the Court is merely to apply the law in such a way that it shall not usurp legislative powers by judicial legislation and that in the course of such application or construction,  it should not make or supervise legislation, or under the guise of interpretation, modify, revise, amend, distort, remodel, or rewrite the law, or give the law a construction which is repugnant to its terms. The Court should apply the law in a manner that would give effect to their letter and spirit, especially when the law is clear as to its intent and purpose. Succinctly put, the Court should shy away from encroaching upon the primary function of a co- equal branch of the Government; otherwise, this would lead to an inexcusable breach of the doctrine of separation of powers by means of judicial legislation

According to Palmera v. Civil Service Commission, 235 SCRA 87, Security of Tenure means that no officer or employee in the  Civil  Service shall be suspended or dismissed except for cause as provided by law and after due process.

a.) NO, the term  “unless sooner terminated”  could not mean that his position is terminable at will. Security of tenure means that dismissal should only be for a cause, provided by law and not otherwise (Palmera v. CSC, G.R. No. 11018, August 4, 1994)

b.) Ricardo was removed from his position as dean. Having an appointment with a fixed term, he cannot, without his consent, be transferred before the end of his term. He cannot be asked to give up his post nor appointed as dean of another college, much less transferred to another position even if it be dignified with a dean’s rank. More than this, the transfer was a demotion because deanship in a  university, being an academic position which requires learning, ability and scholarship, is more exalted than that of a special assistant who merely assists the President, as the title indicates. The special assistant does not make authoritative decisions unlike the dean who does so in his own name and responsibility. The position of dean is created by law, while the special assistant is not so provided by law; it was a creation of the university president (Sta. Maria v. Lopez, G.R. No. L-30773, February 18, 1970).

Although Professor Masipag is correct  in saying that “he cannot be accused of receiving double compensation” as he would not actually be receiving additional or double compensation, it is submitted that he may nevertheless not be allowed to accept the position of Executive Assistant of the Court of Appeals during his incumbency as a regular employee of the University of the Philippines, as the former would be an incompatible office not allowed to be concurrently held by him under the provisions of Article IX-B, Section 7 of the Constitution, the second paragraph of which species that “unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office in the Government.”