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Senate vs. Ermita (G.R. No.

169777) - Digest
This case is regarding the railway project of the North Luzon Railways
Corporation with the China National Machinery and Equipment Group as
well as the Wiretapping activity of the ISAFP, and the Fertilizer scam.
The Senate Committees sent invitations to various officials of the
Executive Department and AFP officials for them to appear before
Senate on Sept. 29, 2005. Before said date arrived, Executive Sec.
Ermita sent a letter to Senate President Drilon, requesting for a
postponement of the hearing on Sept. 29 in order to afford said officials
ample time and opportunity to study and prepare for the various issues
so that they may better enlighten the Senate Committee on its
investigation. Senate refused the request.
On Sept. 28, 2005, the President issued EO 464, effective immediately,
which, among others, mandated that all heads of departments of the
Executive Branch of the government shall secure the consent of the
President prior to appearing before either House of Congress. Pursuant
to this Order, Executive Sec. Ermita communicated to the Senate that
the executive and AFP officials would not be able to attend the meeting
since the President has not yet given her consent. Despite the lack of
consent, Col. Balutan and Brig. Gen. Gudani, among all the AFP officials
invited, attended the investigation. Both faced court marshal for such
Whether E.O. 464 contravenes the power of inquiry vested in Congress.
To determine the constitutionality of E.O. 464, the Supreme Court
discussed the two different functions of the Legislature: The power to
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation and the power to conduct inquiry
during question hour.
Question Hour:
The power to conduct inquiry during question hours is recognized in
Article 6, Section 22 of the 1987 Constitution, which reads:
The heads of departments may, upon their own initiative, with the
consent of the President, or upon the request of either House, as the

rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such
House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions
shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the
House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled
appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but
may cover matters related thereto. When the security of the State or
the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, the
appearance shall be conducted in executive session.
The objective of conducting a question hour is to obtain information in
pursuit of Congress oversight function. When Congress merely seeks to
be informed on how department heads are implementing the statutes
which it had issued, the department heads appearance is merely
The Supreme Court construed Section 1 of E.O. 464 as those in relation
to the appearance of department heads during question hour as it
explicitly referred to Section 22, Article 6 of the 1987 Constitution.
In aid of Legislation:
The Legislatures power to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation is
expressly recognized in Article 6, section21 of the 1987 Constitution,
which reads:
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. The rights of persons
appearing in, or affected by, such inquiries shall be respected.
The power of inquiry in aid of legislation is inherent in the power to
legislate. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the
absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is
intended to affect or change. And where the legislative body does not
itself possess the requisite information, recourse must be had to others
who do possess it.
But even where the inquiry is in aid of legislation, there are still
recognized exemptions to the power of inquiry, which exemptions fall
under the rubric of executive privilege. This is the power of the
government to withhold information from the public, the courts, and the
Congress. This is recognized only to certain types of information of a
sensitive character. When Congress exercise its power of inquiry, the
only way for department heads to exempt themselves therefrom is by a

valid claim of privilege. They are not exempt by the mere fact that they
are department heads. Only one official may be exempted from this
power -- the President.
Section 2 & 3 of E.O. 464 requires that all the public officials enumerated
in Section 2(b) should secure the consent of the President prior to
appearing before either house of Congress. The enumeration is broad. In
view thereof, whenever an official invokes E.O.464 to justify the failure
to be present, such invocation must be construed as a declaration to
Congress that the President, or a head of office authorized by the
President, has determined that the requested information is privileged.

Baker vs Carr, 369 US 186

Summary. Appellants brought suit, challenging
malapportionment of state legislatures under the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
Synopsis of Rule of Law. An apportionment case may be reviewed on
Fourteenth Amendment grounds, so long as these grounds are
independent from political question elements.

The letter sent by the Executive Secretary to Senator Drilon does not
explicitly invoke executive privilege or that the matter on which these
officials are being requested to be resource persons falls under the
recognized grounds of the privilege to justify their absence. Nor does it
expressly state that in view of the lack of consent from the President
under E.O. 464, they cannot attend the hearing. The letter assumes that
the invited official possesses information that is covered by the
executive privilege. Certainly, Congress has the right to know why the
executive considers the requested information privileged. It does not
suffice to merely declare that the President, or an authorized head of
office, has determined that it is so.

Facts. Charles Baker (P) was a resident of Shelby County, Tennessee.

Baker filed suit against Joe Carr, the Secretary of State of Tennessee.
Bakers complaint alleged that the Tennessee legislature had not
redrawn its legislative districts since 1901, in violation of the Tennessee
State Constitution which required redistricting according to the federal
census every 10 years. Baker, who lived in an urban part of the state,
asserted that the demographics of the state had changed shifting a
greater proportion of the population to the cities, thereby diluting his
vote in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth

The claim of privilege under Section 3 of E.O. 464 in relation to Section

2(b) is thus invalid per se. It is not asserted. It is merely implied. Instead
of providing precise and certain reasons for the claim, it merely invokes
E.O. 464, coupled with an announcement that the President has not
given her consent.

Baker sought an injunction prohibiting further elections, and sought the

remedy of reapportionment or at-large elections. The district court
denied relief on the grounds that the issue of redistricting posed a
political question and would therefore not be heard by the court.

When an official is being summoned by Congress on a matter which, in

his own judgment, might be covered by executive privilege, he must be
afforded reasonable time to inform the President or the Executive
Secretary of the possible need for invoking the privilege. This is
necessary to provide the President or the Executive Secretary with fair
opportunity to consider whether the matter indeed calls for a claim of
executive privilege. If, after the lapse of that reasonable time, neither
the President nor the Executive Secretary invokes the privilege,
Congress is no longer bound to respect the failure of the official to
appear before Congress and may then opt to avail of the necessary legal
means to compel his appearance.
Wherefore, the petitions are partly granted. Sections 2(b) and 3 of E.O.
464 are declared void. Section 1(a) are however valid.

Issue. Do federal courts have jurisdiction to hear a constitutional

challenge to a legislative apportionment? What is the test for resolving
whether a case presents a political question?
Held. Yes. Federal courts have jurisdiction to hear a constitutional
challenge to a legislative apportionment.
1. The factors to be considered by the court in determining whether
a case presents a political question are:
1. Is there a textually demonstrable constitutional
commitment of the issue to a coordinate political
department (i.e. foreign affairs or executive war powers)?
2. Is there a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable
standards for resolving the issue?

3. The impossibility of deciding the issue without an initial

policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial
4. The impossibility of a courts undertaking independent
resolution without expressing lack of the respect due
coordinate branches of government.
5. Is there an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a
political decision already made?
6. Would attempting to resolve the matter create the
pronouncements by various departments on one
The political question doctrine is based in the separation of powers and
whether a case is justiciable is determined on a case by cases basis. In
regards to foreign relations, if there has been no conclusive
governmental action regarding an issue then a court can construe a
treaty and decide a case. Regarding the dates of the duration of
hostilities, when there needs to be definable clarification for a decision,
the court may be able to decide the case.
The court held that this case was justiciable and did not present a
political question. The case did not present an issue to be decided by
another branch of the government. The court noted that judicial
standards under the Equal Protection Clause were well developed and
familiar, and it had been open to courts since the enactment of the
Fourteenth Amendment to determine if an act is arbitrary and capricious
and reflects no policy. When a question is enmeshed with any of the
other two branches of the government, it presents a political question
and the Court will not answer it without further clarification from the
other branches.
See Brown v. Board of Education for a constitutional law case brief
featuring an interpretation and application of the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in an opinion involving
segregation in public schools.
Casibang v. Aquino
G.R. No. L-38025 August 20, 1979
Makasiar, J.

Respondent Remigio P. Yu was proclaimed on November 9,

1971 as the elected Mayor of Rosales, Pangasinan in the 1971 local
elections, by a plurality of 501 votes over his only rival, herein
petitioner, who seasonably filed a protest against the election of the
former with the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, on the grounds of
(1) anomalies and irregularities in the appreciation, counting and
consideration of votes in specified electoral precincts; (2) terrorism; (3)
rampant vote buying; (4) open voting or balloting; and (5) excessive
campaign expenditures and other violations of the 1971 Election Code.
In the meantime or on September 21, 1972, the incumbent
President of the Republic of the Philippines issued Proclamation No.
1081, placing the entire country under Martial Law; and two months
thereafter, more or less, or specifically on November 29, 1972, the 1971
Constitutional Convention passed and approved a Constitution to
supplant the 1935 Constitution; and the same was thereafter
overwhelmingly ratified by the sovereign people of the Republic of the
Philippines on January 17, 1973; and on March 31, 1973, the Supreme
Court declared that there is no further judicial obstacle to the new
Constitution being considered in force and effect.
Thereafter or on October 10, 1973, at which time petitioner had
already completed presenting his evidence and in fact had rested his
case, respondent Yu moved to dismiss the election protest of petitioner
on the ground that the trial court had lost jurisdiction over the same in
view of the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution by reason of which
principally) Section 9 of Article XVII [Transitory Provisions] and Section 2
of Article XI a political question has intervened in the case.
Respondent Yu contended that ... the provisions in the 1935
Constitution relative to all local governments have been superseded by
the 1973 Constitution. Therefore, all local government should adhere to
our parliamentary form of government. This is clear in the New
Constitution under its Article XI. He further submitted that local elective
officials (including mayors) have no more four-year term of office. They
are only in office at the pleasure of the appointing power embodied in
the New Constitution, and under Section 9 of Article XVII.
The thrust of the political question theory of respondent Yu is that
the 1973 Constitution, through Section 9 of Article XVII thereof,
protected only those incumbents, like him, at the time of its ratification
and effectivity and are the only ones authorized to continue in office and
their term of office as extended now depends on the pleasure of, as the
same has been entrusted or committed to, the incumbent President of

the Philippines or the Legislative Department; and that Section 2 of

Article XI thereof entrusted to the National Assembly the revamp of the
entire local government structure by the enactment of a local
government code, thus presenting a question of policy, the necessity
and expediency of which are outside the range of judicial review. In
short, for the respondent Judge to still continue assuming jurisdiction
over the pending election protest of petitioner is for him to take
cognizance of a question or policy in regard to which full discretionary
authority has been delegated to the Legislative or Executive branch of
the government.
whether the issue involves a political question and therefore
beyond judicial ambit
No. Section 9 of Article XVII of the 1973 Constitution did not
render moot and academic pending election protest cases. The
constitutional grant of privilege to continue in office, made by the new
Constitution for the benefit of persons who were incumbent officials or
employees of the Government when the new Constitution took effect,
cannot be fairly construed as indiscriminately encompassing every
person who at the time happened to be performing the duties of an
elective office, albeit under protest or contest and that subject to the
constraints specifically mentioned in Section 9, Article XVII of the
Transitory Provisions, it neither was, nor could have been the intention of
the framers of our new fundamental law to disregard and shunt aside
the statutory right of a candidate for elective position who, within the
time-frame prescribed in the Election Code of 1971, commenced
proceedings beamed mainly at the proper determination in a judicial
forum of a proclaimed candidate-elects right to the contested office.
The right of the private respondents (protestees) to continue in
office indefinitely arose not only by virtue of Section 9 of Article XVII of
the New Constitution but principally from their having been proclaimed
elected to their respective positions as a result of the November 8, 1971
elections. Therefore, if in fact and in law, they were not duly elected to
their respective positions and consequently, have no right to hold the
same, perform their functions, enjoy their privileges and emoluments,
then certainly, they should not be allowed to enjoy the indefinite term of
office given to them by said constitutional provision.

Until a subsequent law or presidential decree provides otherwise,

the right of respondent (protestee) to continue as mayor rests on the
legality of his election which has been protested by herein petitioner.
Should the court decide adversely against him the electoral protest,
respondent (protestee) would cease to be mayor even before a law or
presidential decree terminates his tenure of office pursuant to said
Section 9 of Article XVII of the 1973 Constitution.
There is a difference between the term of office and the right
to hold an office. A term of office is the period during winch an
elected officer or appointee is entitled to hold office, perform its
functions and enjoy its privileges and emoluments. A right to hold a
public office is the just and legal claim to hold and enjoy the powers
and responsibilities of the office. In other words, the term refers to the
period, duration of length of time during which the occupant of an office
is .entitled to stay therein whether such period be definite or indefinite.
Hence, although Section 9, Article XVII of the New Constitution made the
term of the petitioners indefinite, it did not foreclose any challenge by
the herein petitioners, in an election protest, of the right of the private
respondents to continue holding their respective office. What has been
directly affected by said constitutional provision is the term to the
office, although the right of the incumbent to an office which he is
legally holding is co-extensive with the term thereof, and that it is
erroneous to conclude that under Section 9, Article XVII of the New
Constitution, the term of office of the private respondents expired, and
that they are now holding their respective offices under a new term.
They hold their respective offices still under the term to which they have
been elected, although the same is now indefinite.
The New Constitution recognized the continuing jurisdiction of
courts of first instance to hear, try and decide election protests: Section
7 of Article XVII of the New Constitution provides that all existing laws
not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until
amended, modified or repealed by the National Assembly. And there has
been no amendment, modification or repeal of Section 220 of the
Election Code of 1971 which gave the herein petitioners the right to file
an election contest against those proclaimed elected, and according to
Section 8, Article XVII of the New Constitution all courts existing at the
time of the ratification of this Constitution shall continue and exercise
their jurisdiction until otherwise provided by law in accordance with this
Constitution, and all cases pending in said courts shall be heard, tried
and determined under the laws then in force. Consequently, the Courts
of First Instance presided over by the respondent-Judges should continue

and exercise their jurisdiction to hear, try and decide the election
protests filed by herein petitioners.
While under the New Constitution the Commission on Elections is
now the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns, and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly as well as elective
provincial and city officials (par. 2 of Sec. 2, Article XII-C of the 1973
Constitution), such power does not extend to electoral contests
concerning municipal elective positions.
General Order No. 3, issued by the President of the Philippines
merely reiterated his powers under Section 9 of Article XVII of the New
Constitution. The President did not intend thereby to modify the
aforesaid constitutional provision.
General Order No. 3, as amended by General Order No. 3-A, does
not expressly include electoral contests of municipal elective positions
as among those removed from the jurisdiction of the courts; for said
General Order, after affirming the jurisdiction of the Judiciary to decide in
accordance with the existing laws on criminal and civil cases, simply
removes from the jurisdiction of the Civil Court certain crimes specified
therein as well as the validity, legality or constitutionality of any decree,
order or acts issued by the President or his duly designated
representative or by public servants pursuant to his decrees and orders
issued under Proclamation No. 1081.
In the light of the foregoing pronouncements, the electoral
protest case herein involved has remained a justiciable controversy. No
political question has ever been interwoven into this case. Nor is there
any act of the incumbent President or the Legislative Department to be
indirectly reviewed or interfered with if the respondent Judge decides the
election protest. The term political question connotes what it
means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to
those questions which under the Constitution, are to be decided by the
people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full
discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or
executive branch of the government. It is concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure.
The term has been made applicable to controversies clearly
non-judicial and therefore beyond its jurisdiction or to an issue involved
in a case appropriately subject to its cognizance, as to which there has
been a prior legislative or executive determination to which deference
must be paid. Political questions should refer to such as would under

the Constitution be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity or

in regard to which full discretionary authority is vested either in the
President or Congress. It is thus beyond the competence of the judiciary
to pass upon.

Daza v. Singson
After the congressional elections of May 11, 1987, the House of
Representatives proportionally apportioned its twelve seats in the
Commission on Appointments in accordance with Article VI, Section 18,
of the Constitution. Petitioner Raul A. Daza was among those chosen and
was listed as a representative of the Liberal Party.
On September 16, 1988, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino was
reorganized, resulting in a political realignment in the House of
Representatives. On the basis of this development, the House of
Representatives revised its representation in the Commission on
Appointments by withdrawing the seat occupied by the petitioner and
giving this to the newly-formed LDP. The chamber elected a new set of
representatives consisting of the original members except the petitioner
and including therein respondent Luis C. Singson as the additional
member from the LDP.
The petitioner came to this Court on January 13, 1989, to challenge his
removal from the Commission on Appointments and the assumption of
his seat by the respondent.
Whether or not the realignment will validly change the composition of
the Commission on Appointments

At the core of this controversy is Article VI, Section 18, of the

Constitution providing as follows:
Sec. 18. There shall be a Commission on Appointments
consisting of the President of the Senate, as ex officio
Chairman, twelve Senators and twelve Members of the
House of Representatives, elected by each House on the
basis of proportional representation from the political
parties and parties or organizations registered under the
party-list system represented therein. The Chairman of the
Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The
Commission shall act on all appointments submitted to it
within thirty session days of the Congress from their
submission. The Commission shall rule by a majority vote
of all the Members.
The authority of the House of Representatives to change its
representation in the Commission on Appointments to reflect at any time
the changes that may transpire in the political alignments of its
membership. It is understood that such changes must be permanent and
do not include the temporary alliances or factional divisions not
involving severance of political loyalties or formal disaffiliation and
permanent shifts of allegiance from one political party to another.
The Court holds that the respondent has been validly elected as a
member of the Commission on Appointments and is entitled to assume
his seat in that body pursuant to Article VI, Section 18, of the

Sanidad vs COMELEC
(G.R. No. L-44640, October 12, 1976)
On 2 September 1976, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential
Decree 991 calling for a national referendum on 16 October 1976 for the
Citizens Assemblies ("barangays") to resolve, among other things, the
issues of martial law, the interim assembly, its replacement, the powers
of such replacement, the period of its existence, the length of the period
for the exercise by the President of his present powers.

Twenty days after or on 22 September 1976, the President issued

another related decree, Presidential Decree 1031, amending the
previous Presidential Decree 991, by declaring the provisions of
Presidential Decree 229 providing for the manner of voting and canvass
of votes in "barangays" (Citizens Assemblies) applicable to the national
referendum-plebiscite of 16 October 1976. Quite relevantly, Presidential
Decree 1031 repealed inter alia, Section 4, of Presidential Decree 991.
On the same date of 22 September 1976, the President issued
Presidential Decree 1033, stating the questions to he submitted to the
people in the referendum-plebiscite on 16 October 1976.
The Decree recites in its "whereas" clauses that the people's continued
opposition to the convening of the interim National Assembly evinces
their desire to have such body abolished and replaced thru a
constitutional amendment, providing for a new interim legislative body,
which will be submitted directly to the people in the referendumplebiscite of October 16. The Commission on Elections was vested with
the exclusive supervision and control of the October 1976 National
On 27 September 1976, Pablo C. Sanidad and Pablito V. Sanidad, father
and son, commenced L-44640 for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction
seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections from holding and
conducting the Referendum Plebiscite on October 16; to declare without
force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. 991 and 1033, insofar as they
propose amendments to the Constitution, as well as Presidential Decree
1031, insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to supervise,
control, hold, and conduct the Referendum Plebiscite scheduled on 16
October 1976. They contend that under the 1935 and 1973
Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President to exercise
the constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution.
As a consequence, the Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16 has no
constitutional or legal basis. On 30 September 1976, another action for
Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction, docketed as L44684, was
instituted by Vicente M. Guzman, a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional
Convention, asserting that the power to propose amendments to, or
revision of the Constitution during the transition period is expressly
conferred on the interim National Assembly under action 16, Article XVII
of the Constitution. Still another petition for Prohibition with Preliminary
Injunction was filed on 5 October 1976 by Raul M. Gonzales, his son Raul
Jr., and Alfredo Salapantan, docketed as L-44714, to restrain the

implementation of Presidential Decrees relative to the forthcoming

Referendum Plebiscite of October 16.
Concentration of Powers in the President during crisis government.
1. In general, the governmental powers in crisis government the
Philippines is a crisis government today are more or less concentrated in
the President. 20 According to Rossiter, "(t)he concentration of
government power in a democracy faced by an emergency is a
corrective to the crisis inefficiencies inherent in the doctrine of the
separation of powers. In most free states it has generally been regarded
as imperative that the total power of the government be parceled out
among three mutually independent branches executive, legislature, and
judiciary. It is believed to be destructive of constitutionalism if any one
branch should exercise any two or more types of power, and certainly a
total disregard of the separation of powers is, as Madison wrote in the
Federalist, No. 47, 'the very definition of tyranny.' In normal times the
separation of powers forms a distinct obstruction to arbitrary
governmental action. By this same token, in abnormal times it may form
an insurmountable barrier to a decisive emergency action in behalf of
the state and its independent existence. There are moments in the life
of any government when all powers must work together in unanimity of
purpose and action, even if this means the temporary union of
executive, legislative, and judicial power in the hands of one man. The
more complete the separation of powers in a constitutional system, the
more difficult and yet the more necessary will be their fusion in time of
crisis. This is evident in a comparison of the crisis potentialities of the
cabinet and presidential systems of government. In the former the allimportant harmony of legislature and executive is taken for granted; in
the latter it is neither guaranteed nor to be to confidently expected. As a
result, cabinet is more easily established and more trustworthy than
presidential dictatorship. The power of the state in crisis must not only
be concentrated and expanded; it must also be freed from the normal
system of constitutional and legal limitations. 21 John Locke, on the other
hand, claims for the executive in its own right a broad discretion capable
even of setting aside the ordinary laws in the meeting of special
exigencies for which the legislative power had not provided. 22 The
rationale behind such broad emergency powers of the Executive is the
release of the government from "the paralysis of constitutional restrains"
so that the crisis may be ended and normal times restored.

2. The presidential exercise of legislative powers in time of martial law is

now a conceded valid at. That sun clear authority of the President is
saddled on Section 3 (pars. 1 and 2) of the Transitory Provisions, thus: 23
The incumbent President of the Philippines shall
initially convene the interim National Assembly and
shall preside over its sessions until the interim
Speaker shall have been elected. He shall continue
to exercise his powers and prerogatives under the
nineteen hundred and thirty-five Constitution and
the powers vested in the President and the Prime
Minister under this Constitution until the calls upon
the interim National Assembly to elect the interim
President and the interim Prime Minister, who shall
then exercise their respective powers vested by
this Constitution.
All proclamations, orders, decrees, instructions,
and acts promulgated, issued, or done by the
incumbent President shall be part of the law of the
land, and shall remain valid, binding, and effective
even after lifting of martial law or the ratification of
this Constitution, unless modified, revoked, or
superseded by subsequent proclamations, orders,
decrees, instructions, or other acts of the
incumbent President, or unless expressly and
explicitly modified or repealed by the regular
National Assembly.
"It is unthinkable," said Justice Fernandez, a 1971 Constitutional
Convention delegate, "that the Constitutional Convention, while giving
to the President the discretion when to call the interim National
Assembly to session, and knowing that it may not be convened soon,
would create a vacuum in the exercise of legislative powers. Otherwise,
with no one to exercise the lawmaking powers, there would be
paralyzation of the entire governmental machinery." 24 Paraphrasing
Rossiter, this is an extremely important factor in any constitutional
dictatorship which extends over a period of time. The separation of
executive and legislature ordained in the Constitution presents a distinct
obstruction to efficient crisis government. The steady increase in
executive power is not too much a cause for as the steady increase in
the magnitude and complexity of the problems the President has been
called upon by the Filipino people to solve in their behalf, which involve

rebellion, subversion, secession, recession, inflation, and economic

crisis-a crisis greater than war. In short, while conventional constitutional
law just confines the President's power as Commander-in-Chief to the
direction of the operation of the national forces, yet the facts of our
political, social, and economic disturbances had convincingly shown that
in meeting the same, indefinite power should be attributed to tile
President to take emergency measures.

COCOFED vs. Republic 663 SCRA 514

Topic: Separation and Delegation of Power
Case Background:
The case is related to the various petitions for review on certiorari of the
decisions of the Sandiganbayan with regards to the Coco levy and illgotten wealth of the Marcoses.
In 1971, Republic Act No. 6260 was enacted creating the Coconut
Investment Fund (CIF). The source of the CIF was a P0.55 levy on the
sale of every 100 kilo of copra. The Philippine Coconut Administration
was tasked to collect and administer the Fund. Out of 0.55 levy, P0.02
was placed at the disposition of the COCOFED, the recognized national
association of coconut producers declared by PCA. Coco fund receipts
were ought to be issued to every copra seller.

of COCOFUND receipts were registered and a large number of the

coconut farmers opted to sell all/part of their UCPB shares to private
Parts of the coconut levy funds went directly or indirectly to various
projects and/or was converted into different assets or investments
through the years. After EDSA Revolution, President Corazon Aquino
issued Executive Order 1 which created the Presidential Commission on
Good Government (PCGG). The PCGG aimed to assist the President in
the recovery of ill- gotten wealth accumulated by the Marcoses and
their cronies. PCGG was empowered to file cases for sequestration in
the Sadiganbayan.
Among the sequestered properties were the shares of stock in the UCPB
registered in the name of over a million coconut farmers held trust by
the PCA. The Sandiganbayan allowed the sequestration by ruling in a
Partial Summary Judgment that the Coconut Levy Funds are prima facie
public funds and that Section 2 of PD No. 755 was unconstitutional.
The COCOFED representing the over a million coconut farmers via
Petition for review under Rule 45 sought the reversal of the ruling
contending among others that the sequestration amounted to the
taking of private property without just compensation and impairment
of vested right of ownership.
What is the Nature of the Coconut Levy Fund?

During the Martial Law regime, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued
Presidential Decrees purportedly for the improvement of the coconut
industry. The most relevant among these is P.D. No. 755 section 2, which
permitted the use of the Fund by PCA for the acquisition of commercial
bank for the benefit of the coconut farmers and the distribution of the
shares of the stock of the bank it acquired free to the coconut farmers.


Thus, the PCA acquired the First United Bank, later renamed United
Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB). The PCA bought the 72.2% of the
outstanding capital stock or 137,866 shares at 200 per share from Pedro
Cojuangco in behalf of the coconut farmers. The rest of the fund was
deposited to the UCPB interest free.

P.D No. 755 which permitted the use of the Fund by PCA for the
acquisition of commercial bank for the benefit of the coconut farmers
and the distribution of the shares of the stock of the bank it acquired
free to the coconut farmers, involves invalid delegation of legislative
power. It is fundamental that Congress may not delegate its legislative
power, what cannot be delegated is the authority to make laws and to
alter and repeal them.

Farmers who had paid the CIF and registered their receipts with PCA
were given corresponding UCPB stock certificates. Only 16 million worth

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Republic, the Coconut Levy was
imposed in the exercise of the States inherent power of taxation.
Indeed, the Coconut Levy Funds partake the nature of Taxes. The Funds
were generated by virtue of statutory enactments by the proper
legislative authorities and for public purpose.

The test is the completeness of the statute in all term and provisions
when it leaves the hands of the legislature. To determine whether or not
there is an undue delegation of the legislative power, the inquiry must
be directed to the scope and definiteness of the measure enacted. The
legislature does not abdicate its functions when it describes what job
must be done, who is to do it, and what the scope of his authority is.
There must be a standard, which implies at the very least that the
legislature itself determines matters of
principle and lays down
fundamental policy.

A standard thus defines the legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out
its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the
circumstances under which the legislative command is to be effected. It
is the criterion by which the legislative purpose maybe carried out.
To determine the validity of the delegated power, two test must be
(1) completeness test A law is complete when it set forth therein
the policy to be executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate.
(2) the sufficient standard test when it provides adequate
guidelines or limitations in the law to map out the boundaries of the
delegates authority and prevent the delegation from running riot.
To be sufficient, the standard must specify the limits of the delegates
authority, announce the legislative policy to identify the conditions
under which it is to be implemented.