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This review course will focus on the basic principles and concepts of constitutional law within
the context of decisions of the Supreme Court. It will emphasize the supremacy of the
Constitution as the fundamental law of the land. A close examination of the three branches of
Philippine political system will be reviewed and the principles that govern its operations like the
separation of powers, principle of checks and balances, judicial power of review. A separate
review of the relationships between the national and local government units as well as the
independent constitutional commissions and special governmental bodies will likewise be done.
A segment of the course will be devoted to the constitutional foundations of the bill of rights,
protection of these rights, and the essence of due process.
The course will likewise cover administrative law, the law on public accountability and election
There will be a separate discussion on Public International Law which will emphasize current
issues that prevail in the world.
This review course seeks to deepen the law students’ critical thinking competence in
conceptualizing and analyzing constitutional issues while applying constitutional doctrines or
rules to each issue. To engage law students in developing this vital competence for their
preparation for the bar examinations and a career in the legal profession, this course will rely
mainly on basic principles and relevant provisions of law and will relate such with leading

PREREQUISITES: Constitutional Law I (Political Law), Constitutional Law II (Bill of Rights,

Citizenship and Inherent Powers of Government), Administrative Law Proper, Election
Law (Right of Suffrage, Qualifications and Disqualifications for Elective Positions, Term
of Office, Removal from Office and other pertinent laws) Law of Public Accountability
(Law on Public Officers: Qualifications, Disqualifications, De jure and De facto public
officers, Security of Tenure, Merit and Fitness Principle, Removal from office to include
impeachment, jurisdiction of Ombudsman, Civil Service Commission and
Sandiganbayan), Public Corporations (Fundamentals of Local Governments) and Public
International Law.
By the end of the course, the student will be able to:
1. Define clearly one or more constitutional issues in a given case.
2. Apply the most appropriate constitutional doctrines or rules to a particular constitutional issue.
3. Engage in analytical process when examining constitutional issues.

I. The Philippine Constitution

A. Constitution: Definition, Nature and Concept
1. Definition: The Constitution is the body of rules and maxims in accordance with which the
power of sovereignty is habitually exercised. (Cooley)

2. Purposes: The Constitution provides for a framework of government, identifies basic

structures of government and assigns their respective powers and duties, establish principles
upon which the government is founded and its relationship to its constituents.

3. The Constitution as the Fundamental Law of the Land -

Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803) Read from the internet, see the facts and main issue
for resolution and the portion of the decision which laid down the rule why the Court may
intervene to reconcile a law subordinate to the Constitution.
Constitutional supremacy is a doctrine which provides that all acts of Congress, issuances of
the President and rules and regulations of administrative agencies must conform to the
provisions of the Constitution.
Constitutions classified: Written or unwritten; Rigid or flexible; Enacted or evolved

The Philippine Constitution is written, rigid and enacted.

Nicolas v. Romulo, 578 SCRA, Read the facts and cover only the portion of the decision on the
adoption of the Mutual Defense Treaty under the 1935 Constitution: every treaty needs
ratification of the Senate; any agreement in furtherance of a duly-ratified treaty does not need
any action from the Senate.
4. The Constitution and the Three Branches of Government
Read Articles VI, VII and VIII of the Constitution
Demetria v. Alba, 148 SCRA 208 (1987), concentrate on pp. 209-210; pp. 214-218: The
enactment of an appropriations act strictly belongs to the legislative branch; no funds under the
G.A.A. may transferred from one item to the other without congressional action. The Court said -
“The conflict between paragraph 1 of Section 44 of Presidential Decree No. 1177 and Section
16[5], Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution is readily perceivable from a mere cursory reading
thereof. Said paragraph 1 of Section 44 provides:
The President shall have the authority to transfer any fund, appropriated for the different
departments, bureaus, offices and agencies of the Executive Department, which are
included in the General Appropriations Act, to any program, project or activity of any
department, bureau, or office included in the General Appropriations Act or approved
after its enactment.
On the other hand, the constitutional provision under consideration reads as follows:
Sec. 16[5]. No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations,
however, the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker, 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 appropriations law for their
respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.
The prohibition to transfer an appropriation for one item to another was explicit and categorical
under the 1973 Constitution. However, to afford the heads of the different branches of the
government and those of the constitutional commissions considerable flexibility in the use of
public funds and resources, the constitution allowed the enactment of a law authorizing the
transfer of funds for the purpose of augmenting an item from savings in another item in the
appropriation of the government branch or constitutional body concerned.”

5. Operative Fact Doctrine

Under the Operative Fact Doctrine, a law or an act may be declared unconstitutional but may
produce legal effects.
The doctrine of operative fact recognizes the existence of the law or executive act prior to the
determination of its unconstitutionality as an operative fact that produced consequences that
cannot always be erased, ignored or disregarded. In short, it nullifies the void law or executive
act but sustains its effects. It provides an exception to the general rule that a void or
unconstitutional law produces no effect. But its use must be subjected to great scrutiny and
circumspection, and it cannot be invoked to validate an unconstitutional law or executive act, but
is resorted to only as a matter of equity and fair play. It applies only to cases where extraordinary
circumstances exist, and only when the extraordinary circumstances have met the stringent
conditions that will permit its application.
According to Justice Brion in his Separate Opinion in Araullo v. Aquino, the doctrine of
operative fact does not always apply, and is not always the consequence of every declaration of
constitutional invalidity. It can be invoked only in situations where the nullification of the effects
of what used to be a valid law would result in inequity and injustice; but where no such result
would ensue, the general rule that an unconstitutional law is totally ineffective should apply.
Justice Brion has clarified that the doctrine of operative fact can apply only to the PAPs that can
no longer be undone, and whose beneficiaries relied in good faith on the validity of the DAP, but
cannot apply to the authors, proponents and implementors of the DAP, unless there are concrete
findings of good faith in their favor by the proper tribunals determining their criminal, civil,
administrative and other liabilities.
Read any material available in the internet.
Tanada v. Tuvera, 136 SCRA 27(1985) focus on pp. 33-35; pp. 40-41: Even under extraordinary
circumstances, a law must be published; the Civil Code provision on effectivity of laws will
apply unless the law provides for another date of effectivity.
The clear object of the publication requirement is to give the general public adequate notice of
the various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice
and publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non

excusat." It would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the
transgression of a law of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
The implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their publication in the Official
Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences which cannot be justly ignored. The
past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
Araullo v. Aquino, G.R. No. 209287, 1 July 2014; Read the facts and Part 6 of the main
decision only: while DAP is not “unconstitutional”, cross border transfer of funds is
unconstitutional; read discussion on the impoundment of public funds under approved budget
and the power to discontinue use of public funds.
According to Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez: "Impoundment refers to a refusal
by the President, for whatever reason, to spend funds made available by Congress. It is the
failure to spend or obligate budget authority of any type." Impoundment under the GAA is
understood to mean the retention or deduction of appropriations.

B. Parts of the 1987 Constitution

1. Constitution of Liberty: Bill of Rights
2. Constitution of Government: Government Organization and Functions
3. Constitution of Sovereignty: Method of Amendment
Interpretation of the Constitution
1. Verba legis – Wherever possible, the words used in the Constitution must be given their
ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed.
2. Ratio legis est anima – Where there is ambiguity, the words of the Constitution should be
interpreted in accordance with the intent of the framers.
2. Ratio legis est anima – Where there is ambiguity, the words of the Constitution should be
interpreted in accordance with the intent of the framers.
Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 83896, Feb. 22, 1991: While it is
permissible to consult the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention in order to
arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution, resort thereto may be had only
when other guides fail as . . . when the meaning is clear.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Hon. Ronaldo Zamora, G.R. No. 141254, Aug. 15, 2000,
Puno, C.J. separate opinion: The proceedings of the Convention are less conclusive in the
proper construction of the fundamental law than are legislative proceedings of the proper
construction of a statute, for in the latter case, it is the intent of the legislature the courts seek,
while in the former, courts seek to arrive at the intent of the people through the discussions and
deliberations of their representatives.
3. Ut magis valeat quam pereat – The Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole (Francisco v.
House of Representatives, G.R. No. 160261, Nov. 10, 2003).

C. The Amending Process: Two-step process: proposal and the ratification

1. How amendment is instituted

a. Congress, Art. XVII, Sec. 1: By Congress as a constituent assembly upon a vote of ¾
of all its members
b. Constitutional Convention, Art. XVII, Sec. 3: By 2/3 vote of all members of Congress
call a constitutional convention or by a majority vote of all its members, submit to the
electorate the question of calling such convention.
c. The people through initiative, Art. XVII, Sec. 2: Upon petition of at least 12% of the
total number of registered voters, of which every district must be represented by at least
3% of the voters therein.

Kinds of Initiative under the Initiative and Referendum Act (RA 6735)
a. Initiative on the Constitution – Refers to a petition proposing amendments to the Constitution.
b. Initiative on statutes – Refers to a petition to enact a national legislation.
c. Initiative on local legislation – Refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial,
municipal, city, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance [RA 6735, Sec. 3 (a)].
Sec. 3 (b) of RA 6735 provides for:
a. Indirect Initiative – Exercise of initiative by the people through a proposition sent to Congress
or the local legislative body for action.
b. Direct Initiative – The people themselves filed the petition with the COMELEC and not with

Defensor-Santiago v. COMELEC G.R. No. 127325, March 19, 1997:Under R.A. 6735,
initiative on the Constitution is confined only to proposals to amend. The people are not
accorded the power to "directly propose, enact, approve, or reject, in whole or in part, the
Constitution" through the system of initiative. They can only do so with respect to "laws,
ordinances, or resolutions." Secondly, the Act does not provide for the contents of a petition for
initiative on the Constitution. The use of the clause "proposed laws sought to be enacted,
approved or rejected, amended or repealed" denotes that RA 6735 excludes initiative on the
amendments of the Constitution. Also, while the law provides subtitles for National Initiative
and Referendum and for Local Initiative and Referendum, no subtitle is provided for initiative on
the Constitution. This means that the main thrust of the law is initiative and referendum on
national and local laws. If RA 6735 were intended to fully provide for the implementation of the
initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle, considering
that in the order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the right of the people
to directly propose amendments to the Constitution is far more important than the initiative on
national and local laws.
While RA 6735 specially detailed the process in implementing initiative and referendum on
national and local laws, it intentionally did not do so on the system of initiative on amendments
to the Constitution.
Lambino v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 174153, Oct. 25, 2006: Petitioners failed to convince the
Court that the provisions which they sought to change in the Constitution are proper for a
People’s Initiative process as the same are intended only for revision. The People’s Initiative is
limited to amendment of the Constitution only.
Referendum –
Referendum is the power of the electorate to approve or reject legislation through an election
called for that purpose.
Kinds of Referendum
a. Referendum on Statutes - Refers to a petition to approve or reject a law, or part thereof, passed
by Congress.
b. Referendum on Local Law – Refers to a petition to approve or reject a law, resolution or
ordinance enacted by regional assemblies and local legislative bodies.
2. How revision is instituted
a. Congress, Art. XVII, Sec. 1: By Congress as a constituent assembly upon a vote of ¾ of all its
b. Constitutional Convention, Art. XVII, Sec. 3: By 2/3 vote of all members of Congress call a
constitutional convention or by a majority vote of all its members, submit to the electorate the
question of calling such convention.

Tests to determine whether a proposed change is an amendment or a revision

1. Quantitative test – Asks whether the proposed change is so extensive in its provisions as to
change directly the ‘substantial entirety’ of the Constitution by the deletion or alteration of
numerous existing provisions. One examines only the number of provisions affected and does
not consider the degree of the change.
2. Qualitative test – Asks whether the change will accomplish such far reaching changes in the
nature of our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision (Lambino v. Comelec, G.R. No.
174153, Oct. 25, 2006)

3. How is the Constitution ratified:

In case of amendments proposed by Congress or a Convention, Art. XVII, Sec. 4, paragraph 1:
Ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite conducted by COMELEC which shall
be held not earlier than 60 days nor 90 days after the approval of the amendment or revision.
In case of amendments proposed through initiative, Art. XVII, Sec. 4, paragraph 2: Ratification
by a majority of votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than 60 days no later
than 90 days after certification by COMELEC of the sufficiency of the petition.

Requisites for a valid ratification

1. Ratification must have been held in a plebiscite conducted under the Omnibus Election Code;
2. Plebiscite must been supervised by COMELEC; and
3. Only registered voters participated in the plebiscite.

Doctrine of Proper Submission
Gonzales v. COMELEC, G.R. No. L-28196, Nov. 9, 1967: A plebiscite may be held on the same
day as a regular election. The people must be sufficiently informed of the amendments to be
voted upon, for them to conscientiously deliberate thereon, to express their will in a genuine
manner. Submission of piece-meal amendments is unconstitutional.
Tolentino v. COMELEC, G.R. No. L-34150, Oct. 16, 1971:All amendments must be submitted
for ratification in one plebiscite only. The people have to be given a proper frame of reference in
arriving at their decision

4. Frequency of amendment/ratification under People’s Initiative: once every 5 years (Sec.

2, Art. XVII)
5. Judicial review of the amending process, Art. VIII, Sec. 1, paragraph 1
Lambino v. COMELEC, 505 SCRA 160: The Court. may exercise judicial review over any
matter relative to the process of amending or revising the Constitution. Revision of the
Constitution cannot be carried out through People’s Initiative.

D. Self-Executing and Non- self -executing Provisions

A self-executing provision is one which is complete by itself and becomes operative without the
aid of supplementary or enabling legislation, or that which supplies sufficient rule by means of
which the right it grants may be enjoyed or protected; nature and extent of the right conferred
and the liability imposed are fixed by the Constitution itself and there is no language indicating
that the subject is referred to the legislature for action.
Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS, G.R. 122156, Feb. 3, 1997: The general rule is a constitutional
provision is self-executory unless the provision provides otherwise..
A contrary rule would give the legislature discretion to determine when, or whether, they shall be
effective. These provisions would be subordinated to the will of the lawmaking body, which
could make them entirely meaningless by simply refusing to pass the needed implementing
Belgica v. Ochoa (G.R. Nos. 208566, 208493 and 209251, November 13, 2013: Non-self –
executing provisions are provisions which need congressional action to take effect. There is a
need for Congress to define political dynasty.

E. General Provisions

1. The Philippine Flag, Art. XVI, Sec. 1

It shall be red, white, and blue, with a sun and three stars, as consecrated and honored by the
people and recognized by law.
2. The Country’s Name, National Anthem and Government Seal, Art. XVI, Sec. 2
Symbols of nationality
1. Philippine Flag – the flag may be changed by constitutional amendment;
2. Name for the country;
3. National anthem; and
4. National seal
Note: It will require a constitutional amendment to change the Philippine Flag but the
name of the country, the national anthem and the national seal will require only
congressional acts but the change must be approved by the people in a referendum
conducted by the COMELEC.

Congress may, by law, adopt new symbols in numbers 2, 3 and 4. Such law shall take effect only
upon its ratification by the people in a national referendum.
3. The Armed Forces of the Philippines
Concept of a citizen army, Art. XVI, Sec. 4
It shall be composed of a citizen armed force which shall undergo military training and serve, as
may be provided by law. It shall keep a regular force necessary for the security of the state (1987
Constitution, Art. XVI, Sec. 4).
Regulation of the armed forces, Art. XVI, Sec. 5, Art. XVIII, Sec. 24
It shall be insulated from partisan politics. No member of the military shall engage directly or
indirectly in any partisan political activity, except to vote.
Period of the tour of duty of the Chief of Staff
General Rule: It shall not exceed three (3) years.

Exception to the Rule: It can be extended by the President during times of war or any other
national emergency, provided that the existence of such is declared by the Congress (1987
Constitution, Art. XVI, Sec. 5).
4. The national police, Art. XVI, Sec. 6
Command responsibility is applicable to the chain of command within the PNP structure only but
in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the command responsibility extends to the President
because the President is the Commander-in-Chief. (Reason: Civilian authority is supreme over
the military.)
5. The retirement and other benefits: War veterans, Art. XVI, Sec. 7; and
6. Government and private sector retirees, Art. XVI, Sec. 8
Congress shall adopt laws to improve the conditions of war veterans and government and private
sector retirees.
7. Consumer protection, Art. XVI, Sec. 9
There must be a continuing effort to protect consumers to ensure proper standards in products.
8. Mass and advertising media, Art. XVI, Sec. 10
Ownership and management of mass media, Art. XVI, Sec. 11(1) 100% Filipino-owned
Ownership of advertising companies, Art. XVI, Sec. 11(1), Art. XVIII, Sec. 23: 70% Filipino-
II. General Considerations
A. National Territory
The National Territory, Article I, Philippine Constitution
Archipelagic Doctrine
The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their
breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines (1987 Constitution,
Art. I).
Basis to Determine the Baselines of the Philippines under UNCLOS
Under the Archipelagic Doctrine, the outermost points of the Philippine archipelago are
connected with straight baselines and consider all the waters enclosed thereby as internal waters.
The entire archipelago is regarded as one integrated unit instead of being fragmented into so
many thousand islands (Cruz and Cruz, Philippine Political Law, p. 24).
The main purpose of the archipelagic doctrine is to protect the territorial interests of an
archipelago, its territorial integrity. Without it, there would be “pockets of high seas” between
some of our islands and islets, thus foreign vessels would be able to pass through these “pockets
of seas” and would have no jurisdiction over it.

The Philippine Archipelago under Domestic Laws

Treaty limits: Treaty of Paris, Art. III
Method of determining baselines under R.A. No. 3046, June 17, 1961 based on Treaty between
Spain and U.S. concluded at Washington on November 7, 1900 and that between U.S. and Great
Britain on January 2, 1930
R.A. No.5446, September 8, 1968 amended R.A. 3046 to correct typographical errors therein and
to redefine the baselines of the territorial sea of the Philippines; and R.A. No. 9522 otherwise
known as the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law, March 10, 2009, using the straight line
approach and covered the Kalayaan Island Group under P.D. No. 1596 ( June 11, 1978) and Bajo
de Masinloc also known as Scarborough Shaol as the Regime of Islands over which Philippines
exercises sovereignty and jurisdiction consistent with Article 121 of the UNCLOS.

Relevant provisions of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Seas, April 30, 1982:
1. Internal waters of the Philippines consist of waters around, between and connecting the
islands of the Philippine Archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, including
the waters in bays, rivers and lakes. No right of innocent passage for foreign vessels exists in
the case of internal waters. (Harris, Cases and Materials on International Law, 5th ed., 1998,
p. 407).
2. Territorial waters include the waters which extend to twelve nautical miles from the
Arigo v. Swift: A foreign-owned vessel may pass through territorial waters when it is
performing a governmental function.
Under UNCLOS, however, warships enjoy a right of innocent passage when a portion
of the territorial water of the coastal state is used for international navigation.

Article 42(2) of UNCLOS provides that there shall be no suspension of innocent passage
through straits used for international navigation. The right of the coastal state to suspend the
same requires that the coastal nation must publish the same and without any publication, it
cannot insist to suspend the use of such body of water. A claim that suspension of innocent
passage is necessary for national security may be cited by the coastal state. Upon the other
hand, if a war ship delayed its right of innocent passage, the same may justified under Article
18(2) of UNCLOS if the delay was caused by rendering assistance to persons or ship in
3. Contiguous zone is the zone contiguous to the territorial sea and extends up to twenty-four
nautical miles from the territorial sea and over which the coastal state may exercise control
necessary to prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and
regulations within the territory or territorial sea. (Article 33 of UNCLOS)
4. Continental Shelf is 150 nautical miles from the baseline.
5. Exclusive Economic Zone is the zone extending up to 200 nautical miles from the baselines
of a state over which the coastal state has sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring
and exploiting, conserving and managing its natural resources, whether living or non-
living, of the waters super adjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and subsoil and with
regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone. (Articles
56 and 57, UNCLOS)
Refer of Article I (National Territory) for Continental Shelf and Territorial Waters

Flag state means a ship has the nationality of the flag of the state it flies, but there must be a
genuine link between the state and the ship. (Article 91, UNCLOS)

Flag of convenience refers to a state with which a vessel is registered for various reasons such as
low or non-existent taxation or low-operating costs although the ship has no genuine link with
that state. (Harris, ibid p.425)

Freedom of navigation (FON) is a principle of customary international law which states that
ships flying the flag of any sovereign state shall not suffer interference from other states while in
international waters.
This right is now also codified as Article 87(1) a of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the
Law of the Sea.

Right of Innocent Passage means navigation through the territorial sea of a State for the
purpose of traversing the sea without entering internal waters, or of proceeding to internal
waters, or making for the high seas from internal waters, as long as it is not prejudicial to the
peace, good order or security of the coastal State. (Articles 18 [1] and [2], 19[1], UNCLOS)

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) enshrines the concept of
innocent passage through a coastal state’s territorial sea.
Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the
coastal state.
A vessel in innocent passage may traverse the coastal state’s territorial sea continuously and
expeditiously, not stopping or anchoring except in force majeure situations.

Transit Passage is the right to exercise freedom of navigation and over flight solely for the
purpose of continuous and expeditious transit through the straits used for international
navigation, i.e., between two areas of the high seas or between two exclusive economic zones.
All ships and aircraft enjoy the right of transit passage. For aircrafts, this may refer to the
freedom of over flight.
The requirement of continuous and expeditious transit does not preclude passage through the
strait for the purpose of entering, leaving or returning from a State bordering the strait, subject to
the conditions of entry to that State. (Magalona, 2005; Article 38[2], UNCLOS)

Distinction between Innocent Passage and Transit Passage

Innocent passage is for travel within territorial waters while transit passage is for any zone.
Innocent passage applies only to ships while transit passage applies to aircrafts as well.
In transit passage, military vessels are also allowed which are not allowed in innocent passage.

Nature of Space occupied by a Foreign Embassy

William C. Reagan v. CIR, G.R. No. L-26379, Dec. 27, 1969. While foreign embassies retain
their status as native soil. They are still subject to Philippine authority. Its jurisdiction may be
diminished, but it does not disappear. So it is with the bases under lease to the American Armed
Forces by virtue of the military bases agreement of 1947. They are not and cannot be considered
as foreign territory.
The ground occupied by an embassy is not in fact the territory of the foreign State to which the
premises belong through possession or ownership. The lawfulness or unlawfulness of acts they
committed is determined by the territorial sovereign. If an attaché commits an offense within the
precincts of an embassy, his immunity from prosecution is not because he has not violated the
local law, but rather for the reason that the individual is exempt from prosecution. If a person not
so exempt, or whose immunity is waived, similarly commits a crime therein, the territorial
sovereign, if it secures custody of the offender, may subject him to prosecution, even though its
criminal code normally does not contemplate the punishment of one who `commits an offense
outside of the national domain. It is not believed, therefore, that an ambassador himself possesses
the right to exercise jurisdiction, contrary to the will of the State of his sojourn, even within his
embassy with respect to acts there committed. Nor is there apparent at the present time any
tendency on the part of States to acquiesce in his exercise of it.

B. Sovereign/ State Immunity

1. Basis, Art. XVI, Sec. 3

Basis of the Doctrine of State Immunity: It is obvious that indiscriminate suits against the state
will result in the impairment of its dignity, besides being a challenge to its supposed infallibility.
To Justice Holmes, however, the doctrine of non-suability is based not on “any formal
conception or obsolete theory but on the logical and practical ground that there can be no legal
right against the authority which makes the law on which the right depends.”
Another justification is the practical consideration that demands and inconveniences of litigation
will divert the time and resources of the State from the more pressing matters, demanding its
attention, to the prejudice of the public welfare (Cruz and Cruz, Philippine Political Law, p. 48).
Department of Agriculture v. NLRC, 227 SCRA: governmental function (an act of sovereignty)
distinguished with proprietary function (a commercial act or an activity from which government
derives income)
Liang v. People, G.R. No. 125865. January 28, 2000: an officer of the Asian Development Bank
may not invoke immunity if his personal acts are directed against a fellow employee and does not
pertain to the discharge of his official duty. Courts cannot blindly adhere and take on its face the
communication from the DFA that petitioner is covered by any immunity. The DFA’s
determination that a certain person is covered by immunity is only preliminary which has no
binding effect in courts. In receiving ex-parte the DFAs advice and in motu proprio dismissing
the two criminal cases without notice to the prosecution, the latter’s right to due process was
violated. It should be noted that due process is a right of the accused as much as it is of the
prosecution. The needed inquiry in what capacity petitioner was acting at the time of the alleged
utterances requires for its resolution evidentiary basis that has yet to be presented at the proper
2. When a suit is against the state and when it is not

Arigo v. Swift, G.R. No. 206510, Sept. 16, 2014:All states are sovereign equals and cannot assert
jurisdiction over one another, consonant with the public international law principle of par in
parem non habet imperium. A contrary disposition would "unduly vex the peace of nations."
Garcia v. Chief of Staff, G.R. No. L-20213, January 31, 1966: The rule is that if the judgment
against such officials will require the state itself to perform an affirmative act to satisfy the same,
the suit may be regarded as against the state itself although it has not been formally impleaded.
Consent; Manner by which consent is given.
The well established rule that no recourse to court can be had until all administrative remedies
had been exhausted and that actions against administrative officers should not be entertained if
superior administrative officers could grant relief is a matter which the Court must consider.
Accreditation; reciprocity; treaty obligation
GTZ v. CA, 585 SCRA 150: claim of immunity by a foreign entity

Where suit is filed not against the government itself or its officials but against one of its entities,
it must be ascertained whether or not the State, as the principal that may ultimately be held
liable, has given its consent to be sued. This ascertainment will depend in the first instance on
whether the government agency impleaded is incorporated or unincorporated.
An incorporated agency has a charter of its own that invests it with a separate juridical
personality, like the Social Security System, the University of the Philippines, and the City of
Manila. By contrast, the unincorporated agency is so called because it has no separate juridical
personality but is merged in the general machinery of the government, like the Department of
Justice, the Bureau of Mines and the Government Printing Office.
If the agency is incorporated, the test of its suability is found in its charter. The simple rule is that
it is suable if its charter says so, and this is true regardless of the functions it is performing.
Municipal corporations, for example, like provinces and cities, are agencies of the State when
they are engaged in governmental functions and therefore should enjoy the sovereign immunity
from suit. Nevertheless, they are subject to suit even in the performance of such functions
because their charter provides that they can sue and be sued.
State immunity from suit, one which focuses on the particular functions exercised by the party
and determines whether these are proprietary or sovereign in nature. The nature of the acts
performed by the entity invoking immunity remains the most important barometer for testing
whether the privilege of State immunity from suit should apply. At the same time, our
Constitution stipulates that a State immunity from suit is conditional on its withholding of
consent; hence, the laws and circumstances pertaining to the creation and legal personality of an
instrumentality or agency invoking immunity remain relevant. Consent to be sued, as exhibited
in this decision, is often conferred by the very same statute or general law creating the
instrumentality or agency.

Arigo v. Swift, G.R. No. 206510, Sept. 16, 2014: The VFA is an agreement which defines the
treatment of United States troops and personnel visiting the Philippines to promote “common
security interests” between the US and the Philippines in the region. The invocation of US
federal tort laws and even common law is thus improper considering that it is the VFA which
governs disputes involving US military ships and crew navigating Philippine waters in pursuance
of the objectives of the agreement. However, the waiver of State immunity under the VFA
pertains only to criminal jurisdiction and applicable only to US personnel under VFA and not to
special civil actions such as the present petition for issuance of a Writ of Kalikasan. The
principle of State immunity therefore bars the exercise of jurisdiction by this Court over the
persons of the U. S. government covered by the VFA.
Remedy of a person who feels aggrieved by the acts of a foreign government
Holy See v. Rosario, G.R. No. 101949, Dec. 1, 1994:.Under both Public International Law and
Transnational Law, a person who feels aggrieved by the acts of a foreign sovereign can ask his
own government to espouse his cause through diplomatic channels.
In Public International Law, when a state or international agency wishes to plead sovereign or
diplomatic immunity in a foreign court, it requests the Foreign Office of the state where it is sued
to convey to the court that said defendant is entitled to immunity.
See ruling in Barcelona Traction case under Public International Law which lay done the
doctrine that in cases of claims of stockholders against a state, it is material to determine
the place of incorporation of the stock corporation.
Express Consent will not excuse the state from immunity
General Law -
a. Act No. 3083 and CA 327 as amended by Sections 49-50, PD 1445 – Money claims arising
from contracts which could serve as a basis of civil action between private parties to be first
filed with COA before a suit may be filed in court. The COA must act upon the claim within
60 days. Rejection of the claim authorizes the claimant to elevate the matter to the Supreme
Court on certiorari.
b. Art. 2180, NCC – Tort committed by special agent;
c. Art. 2189, NCC – LGUs liable for injuries or death caused by defective condition of roads or
public works under their control (City of Manila v. Teotico, et al., G.R. No. L-23052,
January 29, 1968);
d. Sec. 22(2), RA 7160, LGC of 1991 – LGUs have power to sue and be sued; and
e. Sec. 24 of LGC – LGUs and their officials are not exempt from liability for death or injury
or damage to property.
Special law may grant immunity
PD 1620: immunity of the Director-General of the International Rice Research Institute

Callado, v. IRRI, G.R. No. 106483, May 22, 1995: By virtue of PD 1620, the grant of immunity
to IRRI is clear and unequivocal, and an express waiver by its Director General is the only way
by which it may relinquish or abandon this immunity.
The Court reiterated its earlier pronouncement in WHO v. Hon. Benjamin Aquino, et al., to wit:
“It is a recognized principle of international law and under our system of separation of
powers that diplomatic immunity is essentially a political question and courts should
refuse to look beyond a determination by the executive branch of the government, and
where the plea of diplomatic immunity is recognized and affirmed by the executive
branch of the government as in the case at bar, it is then the duty of the courts to accept
the claim of immunity upon appropriate suggestion by the principal law officer of the
government . . . or other officer acting under his direction. Hence, in adherence to the
settled principle that courts may not so exercise their jurisdiction . . . as to embarrass the
executive arm of the government in conducting foreign relations, it is accepted doctrine
that in such cases the judicial department of (this) government follows the action of the
political branch and will not embarrass the latter by assuming an antagonistic

Express consent on the part of the state when government institutes action in court
Yujuico. Atienza, 472 SCRA 463: The institution of an expropriation case allows the court to
have jurisdiction over a local government unit.
In Republic v. Lim, this Court made the following pronouncement:
“. . . while the prevailing doctrine is that the non-payment of just compensation does not
entitle the private landowner to recover possession of the expropriated lots, however, in
cases where the government failed to pay just compensation within five (5) years from
the finality of judgment in the expropriation proceedings, the owners concerned shall
have the right to recover possession of their property. This is in consonance with the
principle that the government cannot keep the property and dishonor the judgment. To be
sure, the five-year period limitation will encourage the government to pay just
compensation punctually. This is in keeping with justice and equity. After all, it is the duty
of the government, whenever it takes property from private persons against their will, to
facilitate the payment of just compensation.”

Money claims arising from contracts executed between the government and a private

Government take-over of a private during the period of Martial Law:

Republic v. Hon.Hidalgo, 534 SCRA 619: Property owner was deprived of her property along
Arlegui Street in Manila during the martial law period. Property owner filed a suit to cover her
property or in the alternative, to recover lease rental during the period it was used by the
government. The trial court awarded more than what the property owner prayed. The Court
remanded to the trial court to fix the amount of the lease because this is a factual matter for
determination of the trial court and not the Supreme Court.

Torts committed by special agents under the Civil Code, Art. 2180 (Consent to be sued
includes actions for tort)
Teotico v. City of Manila, 22 SCRA 267 (1968): A local government unit may be held liable for
quasi-delict under a special provision of the Civil Code.
Incorporation of government owned or controlled corporations
PNR v. Kanlaon Construction, Inc., G.R. No. 182967, Apr. 6, 2011: Liability under a contract
can only attach if all requirements of law may been fully satisfied; a government corporation
may not be held liable for payment of an obligation if the project covering such obligation is not
included in the approved budget of the agency.
Spouses Jayme v. Apostol G.R. No. 163609, Nov. 27, 2008: Liability cannot attach if the public
official is acting as a special agent of government, performing a governmental function

Implied consent
When the Government enters into business contracts
EPG Construction v. DPWH Sec. Vigilar, 354 SCRA 566: Government can be held liable for
non-payment of just obligation under a contract.

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When it would be inequitable for the government to claim immunity
Department of Education v. Oñate 524 SCRA 200: A government agency can be held liable if
continued enjoyment of use of a “donated” property would impair the enjoyment of property
rights of a private individual; read on the concept of unjust enrichment and the principle of

4. Scope of Consent
Chavez v. Sandiganbayan, 193 SCRA 282: A public officer cannot be held liable under a
counterclaim in a pending case when he is performing a governmental function.
Rule on Garnishment of Public Funds under a Contract
U.P. v. Hon. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54(2012): U.P. is a government instrumentality and its funds
cannot be diverted for any other purpose except for those appropriated by Congress. The remedy
of the party is to file its claim before the COA.
Buisan v. COA, 816 SCRA 346 (2017): COA denied the money claims of the Petitioners in the
total amount of P122,051,850.00 for the construction of the Liguasan Cut-off Channel
(Project) in Tunggol, Pagalungan, Maguindanao. COA held that for the petitioners’ failure to
file their money claims within a reasonable time, they are deemed to have committed
laches. Furthermore, the petitioners’ cause of action had already prescribed in view of
Article 1146 of the Civil Code.
The Doctrine of Non-Suability of State insulates the DPWH, a governmental entity, from
claims of damages. It is a fundamental postulate of constitutionalism flowing from the juristic
concept of sovereignty that the State, as well as its government, is immune from suit unless it
gives its consent. The rule, in any case, is not absolute for it does not say that the State may not
be sued under any circumstances. The doctrine only conveys that “the state may not be sued
without its consent;” it’s clear import then is that the State may at times be sued.
As the State’s engineering and construction arm, the DPWH exercises governmental functions
that effectively insulate it from any suit, much less from any monetary liability.


General Rule: The state principles and policies enunciated in the Constitution are guidelines
and are intended to be self-executing principles.
Purpose: They serve as aids or guides to the legislature in the enactment of laws, for the
executive in the implementation of laws and for the judiciary in its exercise of its power of
judicial review. (Tondo Medical Center Employees Assn. v. Court of Appeals, 527 SCRA 746)
The Health Sector Reform Agenda (“HSRA”) cannot be nullified based solely on petitioners’
bare allegations that it violates the general principles expressed in the non self-executing
provisions they cite herein. There are two reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged
infringement of broad constitutional principles: basic considerations of due process and the
limitations of judicial power.
1. Principles
1.1. Sovereignty of the People and Republicanism (Art. II, Sec. 1 and Art. V)
Macquiling v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 195649, July 2, 2013: to govern, one must have the
necessary qualifications; effect of filing a void Certificate of Candidacy
The use of foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship is a positive and voluntary
act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship; it does not divest Filipino citizenship
regained by repatriation but it recants the Oath of Renunciation required to qualify one to run for
an elective position.
Qualifications for public office are continuing requirements and must be possessed not only at
the time of appointment or election or assumption of office but during the officer's entire tenure.
Once any of the required qualifications is lost, his title may be seasonably challenged.
The citizenship requirement for elective public office is a continuing one. It must be possessed
not just at the time of the renunciation of the foreign citizenship but continuously. Any act which
violates the oath of renunciation opens the citizenship issue to attack.
The purpose of the Local Government Code in disqualifying dual citizens from running for any
elective public office would be thwarted if we were to allow a person who has earlier renounced
his foreign citizenship, but who subsequently represents himself as a foreign citizen, to hold any
public office.
Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of identity that comes with attendant
civil and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant
duty to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country. While those who acquire dual citizenship
by choice are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or appointment to public

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office are required to renounce their foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust.
Holding public office demands full and undivided allegiance to the Republic and to no other.
Arnado vs. COMELEC and Captain, G.R. No. 210164, August 18, 2015, the Court ruled:
"Under Section 4(d) of the Local Government Code, a person with "dual citizenship" is
disqualified from running for any elective local position.
Under Section 4(d) of the Local Government Code, a person with "dual citizenship" is
disqualified from running for any elective local position. In Mercado v.Edu Manzano, it was
clarified that the phrase "dual citizenship" in said Section 4(d) must be understood as referring to
"dual allegiance.'' Subsequently, Congress enacted RA 9225 allowing natural-born citizens of the
Philippines who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization abroad to
reacquire Philippine citizenship and to enjoy full civil and political rights upon compliance with
the requirements of the law. They may now run for public office in the Philippines provided that
they: (1) meet the qualifications for holding such public office as required by the Constitution
and existing laws; and, (2) make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign
citizenships before any public officer authorized to administer an oath prior to or at the time of
filing of their CoC.
1.2. Adherence to International Law (Preamble, Art. II, Sec. 2, Sections 7-8)
Philip Morris, Inc. v. CA, G.R. No. 91332, July 16, 1993: The fact that the international law has
been made part of the law of the land does not by any means imply the primacy of international
law over national law in the municipal sphere. Petitioners may have the capacity to sue for
infringement irrespective of lack of business activity in the Philippines on account of Section 21-
A of the Trademark Law but the question whether they have an exclusive right over their symbol
as to justify issuance of the controversial writ will depend on actual use of their trademarks in the
Philippines in line with Sections 2 and 2-A of the same law. It is thus incongruous for petitioners
to claim that when a foreign corporation not licensed to do business in Philippines files a
complaint for infringement, the entity need not be actually using its trademark in commerce in
the Philippines. Such a foreign corporation may have the personality to file a suit for
infringement but it may not necessarily be entitled to protection due to absence of actual use of
the emblem in the local market.

Enforceability in the Philippines of Final Judgments of Foreign Courts

Republic v. Mupas, G.R. No. 181892, Sept. 8, 2015: In the course of the RTC expropriation
proceedings, the RTC allowed Takenaka and Asahikosan to intervene in the case. Takenaka
and Asahikosan based their intervention on the foreign judgments issued in their favor in the
two collection cases that they filed against PIATCO {London awards). Takenaka and
Asahikosan asked the RTC to: (a) hold in abeyance the release of just compensation to PIATCO
until the London awards are recognized and enforced in the Philippines; and (b) order that the
just compensation be deposited with the RTC for the benefit of PIATCO's creditors.
The Supreme Court held that it can only recognize and/or enforce a foreign judgment or order
after a conclusive and a final finding by Philippine courts that:
1. the foreign court or tribunal has jurisdiction over the case;
2. the parties were properly notified; and
3. there was no collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.
BPI v.Guevara, G.R. No. 167052, March 11, 2015).It is an established international legal
principle that final judgments of foreign courts of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally
respected and rendered efficacious subject to certain conditions that vary in different countries.
In the Philippines, a judgment or final order of a foreign tribunal cannot be enforced simply by
execution. Such judgment or order merely creates a right of action, and its non-satisfaction is the
cause of action by which a suit can be brought upon for its enforcement.
It is an established international legal principle that final judgments of foreign courts of
competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and rendered efficacious subject to certain
conditions that vary in different countries. In the Philippines, a judgment or final order of a
foreign tribunal cannot be enforced simply by execution. Such judgment or order merely creates
a right of action, and its non-satisfaction is the cause of action by which a suit can be brought
upon for its enforcement. An action for the enforcement of a foreign judgment or final order in
this jurisdiction is governed by Rule 39, Section 48 of the Rules of Court.
Secretary of Justice v. Judge Lantion, 343 SCRA 377: The Court said that the individual citizen
is but a speck of particle or molecule vis-à-vis the vast and overwhelming powers of government.
His only guarantee against oppression and tyranny are his fundamental liberties under the Bill of
Rights which shield him in times of need. The Court was called upon to decide whether to
uphold a citizen's basic due process rights, or the government's ironclad duties under a treaty.

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In a situation where the conflict is irreconcilable and a choice has to be made between a rule of
international law and municipal law, jurisprudence dictates that municipal law should be upheld
by the municipal courts (Ichong vs. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155 [1957]; Gonzales vs. Hechanova,
9 SCRA 230 [1963]; In re: Garcia, 2 SCRA 984 [1961]).
Doctrine of Auto Limitation
Tanada v. Angara , G.R. No. 118295, May 2, 1997 :While sovereignty has traditionally been
deemed absolute and all-encompassing on the domestic level, it is however subject to restrictions
and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines, expressly or impliedly as a member of
the family of nations.
By the doctrine of incorporation, the country is bound by generally accepted principles of
international law, which are considered to be automatically part of our own laws. One of the
oldest and most fundamental rules in international law is pacta sunt servanda -- international
agreements must be performed in good faith.
A treaty engagement is not a mere moral obligation but creates a legally binding obligation on
the parties. By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the absoluteness of
sovereignty. By their voluntary act, nations may surrender some aspects of their state power in
exchange for greater benefits granted by or derived from a convention or pact.
The sovereignty of a state therefore cannot in fact and in reality be considered absolute. Certain
restrictions enter into the picture like:
(1) limitations imposed by the very nature of membership in the family of nations; and
(2) limitations imposed by treaty stipulations.
1.3. Supremacy of Civilian Authority (Art. II, Sec. 3, Art. VII, Sec. 18, Art. XVI, Sec. 5(4), Art.
XVI, Sec. 5(2))
Constitutional provisions which ensure civilian supremacy
1. By the installation of the President, the highest civilian authority, as the commander-in-chief
of all the armed forces of the Philippines (1987 Constitution, Art. VII, Sec. 18).
2. Through the requirement that members of the AFP swear to uphold and defend the
Constitution, which is the fundamental law of a civil government (1987 Constitution, Art. XVI,
Sec. 5, Par. 1).
1.4. Government as Protector of the People and People as Defender of the State (Art. II, Sec. 4
and Sec. 5)
People v. Zosa, G.R. No. L-45892-93, July 13, 1938: One cannot avoid compulsory military
service by invoking one’s religious convictions or by saying that he has a sick father and several
brothers and sisters to support. Accordingly, the duty of government to defend the State cannot
be performed except through an army. To leave the organization of an army to the will of the
citizens would be to make this duty to the Government excusable should there be no sufficient
men who volunteer to enlist therein. The right of the Government to require compulsory military
service is a consequence of its duty to defend the State and is reciprocal with its duty to defend
the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.
1.5. Separation of Church and State (Art. II, Sec. 6, Art. III, Sec. 5, Art. IX, C, 2 (5), and Art. VI,
Sec. 5 (2))
Provisions of the Constitution that support the principle of separation of Church and State:
1. Art. III, Sec. 5: “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship,
without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required
for the exercise of civil or political rights.”
2. Art. VI, Sec. 5[2]: “The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the
total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms
after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the allocated to party-list representatives
shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor,
indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sections as may be provided by
law, except the religious sector.
3. Art. IX-CI, Sec. 2[5]: “Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or
coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of
government; and accredit citizens' arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious
denominations and sects shall not be registered. Those which seek to achieve their goals through
violence or unlawful means, or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are
supported by any foreign government shall likewise be refused registration. Financial
contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties, organizations,
coalitions, or candidates related to elections, constitute interference in national affairs, and, when

13 | P a g e
accepted, shall be an additional ground for the cancellation of their registration with the
Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law.”

Exceptions: Art. VI, Sec. 28(3) and Sec. 29(2); Art. XIV, Sec. 3(3) and Sec. 4(2):
1. Art. VI, Sec. 28[3]: “Charitable institutions, churches and parsonages or convents appurtenant
thereto, mosques, non-profit cemeteries, and all lands, buildings, and improvements, actually,
directly, and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes shall be exempt
from taxation.”
2. Art. VI, Sec. 29[2]: “No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or
employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church,
denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, or
other religious teacher, or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or
dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or
3. Art. XIV, Sec. 3[3]: “At the option expressed in writing by the parents or guardians, religion
shall be allowed to be taught to their children or wards in public elementary and high schools
within the regular class hours by instructors designated or approved by the religious authorities
of the religion to which the children or wards belong, without additional cost to the
4. Art. XIV, Sec. 4[2]: “Educational institutions, other than those established by religious groups
and mission boards, shall be owned solely by citizens of the Philippines or corporations or
associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens. The
Congress may, however, require increased Filipino equity participation in all educational

Theories on the separation of church and state:

1. Separation Standard - May take the form of either (a) strict separation or (b) the tamer
version of strict neutrality, or what Justice Carpio refers to as the second theory of governmental
a. Strict Separationist – The establishment clause was meant to protect the State from the
church, and the State’s hostility towards religion allows no interaction between the two.
b. Strict Neutrality Approach – It is not hostility towards religion, but a strict holding that
religion may not be used as a basis for classification for purposes of governmental action,
whether the action confers rights or privileges or imposes duties or obligations. Only
secular criteria may be the basis of government action. It does not permit; much less
require accommodation of secular programs to religious belief.
2. Benevolent Neutrality Approach – The “wall of separation” is meant to protect the church
from the State. It believes that with respect to governmental actions, accommodation of religion
may be allowed, not to promote the government’s favored form of religion, but to allow
individuals and groups to exercise their religion without hindrance (Estrada v. Escritor, A.M. No.
P-02-1651, June 22, 2006).
2. Policies
2.1. Independent foreign policy and a nuclear-free Philippines (Art. II, Sections 7-8 and Art.
XVIII, Sections 4 and 25)
Article II –
Section 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states,
the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest,
and the right to self-determination.
Section 8. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of
freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.
Article XVIII
Section 4. All existing treaties or international agreements which have not been ratified shall not
be renewed or extended without the concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the Members of the
Section 25: After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the
Philippines and the United States of America concerning military bases, foreign military bases,
troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in
by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the
people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other
contracting State.
Saguisag v. Executive Secretary Ochoa, G.R. No. 212426, January 12, 2016: nature of
agreements which cover presence of foreign military personnel

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The President carries the mandate of being the sole organ in the conduct of foreign
relations. Since every state has the capacity to interact with and engage in relations with other
sovereign states, it is but logical that every state must vest in an agent the authority to represent
its interests to those other sovereign states.
EDCA authorizes the U.S. military forces to have access to and conduct activities within certain
"Agreed Locations" in the country. It was not transmitted to the Senate on the executive's
understanding that to do so was no longer necessary.
Despite the President's roles as defender of the State and sole authority in foreign relations, the
1987 Constitution expressly limits his ability in instances when it involves the entry of foreign
military bases, troops or facilities. The initial limitation is found in Section 21 of the provisions
on the Executive Department: "No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective
unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate." The specific
limitation is given by Section 25 of the Transitory Provisions, the full text of which reads as
“SECTION 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of
the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign
military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a
treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a
majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose,
and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”
It is quite plain that the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution intended to add to the
basic requirements of a treaty under Section 21 of Article VII. This means that both provisions
must be read as additional limitations to the President's overarching executive function in matters
of defense and foreign relations.
The President, however, may enter into an executive agreement on foreign military bases,
troops, or facilities, if (a) it is not the instrument that allows the presence of foreign military
bases, troops, or facilities; or (b) it merely aims to implement an existing law or treaty.

2.2. A just and dynamic social order (Preamble, Art. II, Sec. 9)
2.3. The promotion of social justice (Art. II, Sec. 10, Art. XIII, Sections 1-2, Art. II, Sec. 26 and
Art. VII, Sec. 13, par. 2)
2.4. Respect for human dignity and human rights (Art. II, Sec. 11, Art. III, Sections 17-19, and
Art. XVI, Sec. 5(2))
2.5. Fundamental equality of women and men (Art. II, Sec. 14; Art. XIII, Sec. 14)
2.6. Promotion of health (Art. II, Sections 15-16 and Art. XIII, Sections 11-13)
Oposa v. Factoran, G.R. No. 101083, July 30, 1993: The Supreme Court held in favor of the
petitioners as represented by their parents. It said that while the right to a balanced and healthful
ecology is to be found under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under the
Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less important than any of the civil and political rights
enumerated in the latter. Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it
concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation — aptly and fittingly stressed
by the petitioners — the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and
constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution
for they are assumed to exist from the inception of humankind. If they are now explicitly
mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because of the well-founded fear of its framers that
unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies
by the Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance and imposing upon
the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and protect and advance the second, the day
would not be too far when all else would be lost not only for the present generation, but also for
those to come — generations which stand to inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of
sustaining life.
The present generation must ensure that the future generations can enjoy the natural resources
which now benefit the present generation (intergenerational responsibility)
2.7. The priority of education, science, technology, arts, culture and sports (Art. II, Sec. 17; and
Art. XIV, Sec. 2)
2.8. Urban land reform and housing, (Art. XIII, Sections 9-10)
2.9. Reform in agriculture and other natural resources (Art. II, Sec.21; Art. XIII, Sec. 4-8)
2.10. Protection of Labor (Art. II, Sec. 18 and Art. XIII, Sec. 3)
The right of employees from the private and public sectors to form unions, associations and
societies not contrary to law (Art. III, Sec. 8; Art. IX, B, Sec. 2(5)
2.11. Independent people’s organizations (Art. II, Sec. 23; Art. XIII, Sections 15-16)

15 | P a g e
2.12. The Family as a Basic Autonomous Social Institution (Art. II, Sec. 12, Art. XV ,The
Family; Art. II, Sec. 13)
See Civil Code, Art. 52: Marriage is not a mere contract but an inviolable social institution.
2.13. A self-reliant and independent economic order (Art. II, Sec. 19, Sec. 20);
Art. XII National Economy and Patrimony
Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS, 267 SCRA 408: The Constitution provides for preferential
treatment of Filipinos. This constitutional provision is supreme over the guidelines issued by the
GSIS when it invited bids for its shares of stock in Manila Hotel. Adhering to the doctrine of
constitutional supremacy, the subject constitutional provision is, as it should be, impliedly
written in the bidding rules issued by respondent GSIS, lest the bidding rules be nullified for
being violative of the Constitution. It is a basic principle in constitutional law that all laws and
contracts must conform with the fundamental law of the land. Those which violate the
Constitution lose their reason for being.
When the Constitution speaks of national patrimony, it refers not only to the natural resources of
the Philippines, as the Constitution could have very well used the term natural resources, but
also to the cultural heritage of the Filipinos.
Manila Hotel has become a landmark — a living testimonial of Philippine heritage.
The term qualified Filipinos as used in the Constitution also includes corporations at least 60%
of which is owned by Filipinos.
Heirs v. Gamboa v. Sec. Teves, 652 SCRA 640: The grandfather rule will apply to determine
control of Filipino citizens in a corporation classified as public utility provider. The Court
emphasized that while a stock corporation may issue common shares, there are common voting
shares and there non-voting common shares which are known also as preferred shares.
Roy v. SEC Chairperson Herbosa, G.R. No. G.R. No. 207246 November 22, 2016: The term
'capital' in Section 11, Article XII of the 198 7 Constitution refers only to shares of stock entitled
to vote in the election of directors, and thus in the present case only to common shares, and not
to the total outstanding capital stock (common and non-voting preferred shares )." The Court
adopted the foregoing definition of the term "capital" in Section 11, Article XII of the 1987
Constitution in furtherance of "the intent and letter of the Constitution that the 'State shall
develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos'
[because a] broad definition unjustifiably disregards who owns the all-important voting stock,
which necessarily equates to control of the public utility."
IDEALS, Inc. v. PSALM, G.R. No. 192088, October 9, 2012: PSALM is a government-owned
and controlled corporation created by virtue of Republic Act No. 9136, otherwise known as the
"Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001" (EPIRA). The EPIRA provided a framework for
the restructuring of the electric power industry, including the privatization of the assets of the
National Power Corporation (NPC), the transition to the desired competitive structure, and the
definition of the responsibilities of the various government agencies and private entities
Petitioners contend that with the award of the contract to K-Water Coproration, a foreign
corporation, PSALM clearly violated the constitutional provisions on the appropriation and
utilization of water as a natural resource, as implemented by the Water Code of the Philippines
limiting water rights to Filipino citizens and corporations which are at least 60% Filipino-
Under the EPIRA, the generation of electric power, a business affected with public interest, was
opened to private sector and any new generation company is required to secure a certificate of
compliance from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), as well as health, safety and
environmental clearances from the concerned government agencies. Power generation shall not
be considered a public utility operation, and hence no franchise is necessary. Foreign investors
are likewise allowed entry into the electric power industry. However, there is no mention of
water rights in the privatization of multi-purpose hydropower facilities. Section 47 (e) addressed
the issue of water security, as follows:
(e) In cases of transfer of possession, control, operation or privatization of multi-purpose hydro
facilities, safeguards shall be prescribed to ensure that the national government may direct water
usage in cases of shortage to protect potable water, irrigation, and all other requirements imbued
with public interest;
x xxx (Emphasis supplied.)”
The Court concluded that foreign ownership of a hydropower facility is not prohibited under
existing laws.
2.14. Communication and information in nation-building (Art. II, Sec. 24, Art. XVI, Sections 10-
11, Art. XVIII, Sec. 23)
2.15. Autonomy of local government (Art. II, Sec. 25, Art. X Local Government)

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2.16. Recognition of the rights of indigenous cultural communities (Art. II, Sec. 22, Art. VI, Sec.
5(2), Art. XII, Sec. 5, Art. XIII, Sec. 6, Art. XIV, Sec. 12)
Protection of Ancestral Lands of Indigenous Communities (1987 Constitution, Art. XII, Sec. 5)
Carino v. Insular Government, G.R. No. 2869 March 25, 1907, reversed by U.S. Supreme Court,
212 U.S. 449 (1909):The Organic Act of the Philippines made a bill of rights embodying
safeguards of the Constitution, and, like the Constitution, extends those safeguards to all.
Every presumption of ownership is in favor of one actually occupying land for many years,
and against the government which seeks to deprive him of it, for failure to comply with
provisions of a subsequently enacted registration act.
Title by prescription against the crown existed under Spanish law in force in the Philippine
Islands prior to their acquisition by the United States, and one occupying land in the
Province of Benguet for more than fifty years before the Treaty of Paris is entitled to the
continued possession thereof.
Application of Principles of Agrarian Reform and Stewardship to Indigenous Communities and
Landless Farmers (1987 Constitution, Art. XIII, Sec. 6).
Preservation and Development of the Culture, Traditions, and Institutions of Indigenous
Communities (1987 Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 17).
Consolidated Petitions: Province of Cotabato v. G.R.P.: the right to self-determination
It is the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao to identify themselves
and be accepted as Bangsamoros. It defines Bangsamoro people as the natives or original
inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at
the time of conquest or colonization, and their descendants whether mixed or of full
blood, including their spouses.
The MOA-AD refers to the Bangsamoro homeland, the ownership of which is vested
exclusively in the Bangsamoro people by virtue of their prior rights of occupation. Both parties
to the MOA-AD acknowledge that ancestral domain does not form part of the public domain.
2.17. Honest Public Service and Full Public Disclosure (Art. II, Sec. 27, Art. XI, Sections 4, 5-
15), Art. II, Sec. 28, Art. XI, Sec. 17, Art. VII, Sec. 12, Art. VII, Sec. 20, Art. XII, Sec. 21, Art.
XII, Sec. 2, par. 5, Art. VI, Sections 12 and 20, Art. IX, D, Sec. 4, and Art. III, Sec. 7)

The 1987 Constitution provides for a policy of transparency relating to matters of public interest:
1. Policy of full public disclosure of government transactions (1987 Constitution, Art. II,
Sec. 28).
2. Right to information on matters of public concern (1987 Constitution, Art. III, Sec. 7).
3. Access to the records and books of account of the Congress (1987 Constitution, Art. VI,
Sec. 20).
4. Submission of Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth (1987 Constitution, Art. XI,
Sec. 17).
5. Access to information on foreign loans obtained or guaranteed by the government (1987
Constitution, Art. XII, Sec. 21).
These provisions on public disclosures are intended to enhance the role of the citizenry in
governmental decision-making as well as in checking abuse in government (Valmonte v.
Belmonte, G.R. No. 74930, Feb. 13, 1989).
3. Social Justice, Human Rights and other Guaranteed Rights
3.1. Social Justice defined, Art. XIII, Sec. 1, Sec. 2
Calalang v. Williams, 70 Phil. 726 (1940) Read: Definition of social justice - Social justice is
"neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the humanization of laws
and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and
objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion
of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure
economic stability of all the competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper
economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community,
constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally,
through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored
principle of salus populi est suprema lex. Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the
recognition of the necessity of interdependence among divers and diverse units of a society and
of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in
our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the
state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about "the
greatest good to the greatest number."

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3.2. Aspects of social justice
a. Labor, Art. XIII, Sec. 3
b. Agrarian and natural resources reform, Art. XIII, Sections 4-8
Tano et. al. v. Socrates et. al., G. R. No. 110249: protection of marine resources
Since the Constitution does not specifically provide a definition of the terms subsistence or
marginal fishermen, they should be construed in their general and ordinary sense. A marginal
fisherman is an individual engaged in fishing whose margin of return or reward in his harvest of
fish as measured by existing price levels is barely sufficient to yield a profit or cover the cost of
gathering the fish while a subsistence fisherman is one whose catch yields but the irreducible
minimum for his livelihood. Section 131(p) of the LGC (R.A. No. 7160) defines a marginal farmer
or fisherman as an individual engaged in subsistence farming or fishing which shall be limited to
the sale, barter or exchange of agricultural or marine products produced by himself and his
immediate family. It bears repeating that nothing in the record supports a finding that any petitioner
falls within these definitions.
Besides, Section 2 of Article XII aims primarily not to bestow any right to subsistence fishermen,
but to lay stress on the duty of the State to protect the nation’s marine wealth. What the provision
merely recognizes is that the State may allow, by law, cooperative fish farming, with priority to
subsistence fishermen and fish workers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons. Our survey of the statute
books reveals that the only provision of law which speaks of the preferential right of marginal
fishermen is Section 149 of the LGC of 1991 which allows the local government units to grant
fishery privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussels or other aquatic beds or bangus fry areas,
within a definite zone of the municipal waters, as determined by it: Provided, however, That duly
registered organizations and cooperatives of marginal fishermen shall have preferential right to
such fishery privileges.
c. Urban land reform and housing, Art. XIII, Sections 9-10
City of Mandaluyong v. Aguilar, 350 SCRA487: choice of site for public housing
Lands for socialized housing are to be acquired in the following order: (1) government lands; (2)
alienable lands of the public domain; (3) unregistered or abandoned or idle lands; (4) lands
within the declared Areas for Priority Development (APD), Zonal Improvement Program (ZIP)
sites, Slum Improvement and Resettlement (SIR) sites which have not yet been acquired; (5)
BLISS sites which have not yet been acquired; and (6) privately-owned lands.
d. Health, Art. XIII, Sections 11-13

e. Women, Art. XIII, Sec. 14: maternal function of women

3.3. People’s organizations, Art. XIII, Sec. 15

3.4. Education
Development of national talents consisting of Filipino scientists, entrepreneurs, professionals,
managers, high-level technical manpower and skilled workers and craftsmen (1987 Constitution,
Art. XII, Sec. 14).
Mandate on educational institutions [1987 Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 3(4)].
Priority to research and development, invention, innovation of science and technology (1987
Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 10).
Incentives, tax deductions, and scholarships to encourage private participation in programs of
basic and applied scientific research (1987 Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 11).
Encouragement of widest participation of private groups, local governments, and organizations
in the generation and utilization of science and technology (1987 Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 12).

a. Right to quality education, Art. XIV, Sec. 1

Miriam College v. CA 348 SCRA 215: use of indecent/ vulgar language as a ground for
b. Educational mandate of the state, Art. XIV, Sec. 2, Sec. 5
University of San Agustin v. CA 270 SCRA 761: effect of failure to comply with academic
c. The educational system, Art. XIV, Sec. 3, Sec. 4
Ateneo v. Capulong 222 SCRA 643: power of the school to discipline students involved in
violent fraternity initiation rites

3.5. Language, Art. XIV, Sections 6-9

National Language: Filipino
Official Language: Filipino and English

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Auxiliary official languages: regional languages
Voluntary and optional languages: Spanish and Arabic

3.6. Science and technology, Art. XIV, Sections 10-13

Development of national talents consisting of Filipino scientists, entrepreneurs, professionals,
managers, high-level technical manpower and skilled workers and craftsmen (1987 Constitution,
Art. XII, Sec. 14).
Mandate on educational institutions [1987 Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 3(4)].
Priority to research and development, invention, innovation of science and technology (1987
Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 10).
Incentives, tax deductions, and scholarships to encourage private participation in programs of
basic and applied scientific research (1987 Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 11).
Encouragement of widest participation of private groups, local governments, and organizations
in the generation and utilization of science and technology (1987 Constitution, Art. XIV, Sec. 12).

3.7. Arts and Culture, Art. XIV, Sections 14-18

Knights of Rizal v. DMCI Homes, Inc., 824 SCRA 327 (2017): The Venice Charter is merely a
codification of guiding principles for the preservation and restoration of ancient monuments,
sites, and buildings. It brings together principles in the field of historical conservation and
restoration that have been developed, agreed upon, and laid down by experts over the years. Each
country, however, remains “responsible for applying the plan within the framework of its own
culture and traditions.”
The Venice Charter is not a treaty and therefore does not become enforceable as law. The
Philippines is not legally bound to follow its directive, as in fact, these are not directives but
mere guidelines- a set of the best practices and techniques that have been proven over the years
to be the most effective in preserving and restoring historical monuments, sites and buildings.
3.8. Sports, Art. XIV, Sec. 19

3.9. The Family, Art. XV

Imbong et. al. v. Ochoa et. al. (Consolidated Petitions) G.R. No. 204819, April 8, 2013:
Constitutionality of RH Law; exercise of police power; right to privacy

D. Doctrine of Separation of Powers

The doctrine of separation of powers is a principle of government under which three separate
branches of government are empowered to carry out functions without interference or
encroachment from another branch.
Angara v. Electoral Tribunal, 63 Phil. 139, 158 (1936): under the principle of separation of
powers, the Supreme Court will have to await the termination of the proceedings before the
Electoral Tribunal for it to take cognizance of the case.
Pimentel v. Joint Committee of Congress, G.R. No. 163783, June 22, 2004: The Congress is a
continuing body and must fulfill its constitutional mandate to conduct the presidential canvass of
votes even it if is in recess. The Senate shall convene in joint session during any voluntary
or compulsory recess to canvass the votes for President and Vice-President not later than thirty
days after the day of the elections in accordance with Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution.
Belgica et. al. v. Executive Secretary et. al. G.R. No. 208566, Alcantara et. al. v. Drilon et. al.
G.R. No. 208493, and Nepomuceno et. al. v. Pres. Aquino et. al., G.R. No.209251, Nov. 19,
2013: Congress is the sole entity authorized to enact the General Appropriations Act; the
President may exercise veto powers over any provision of the GAA; Congress cannot delegate its
power to appropriate; the Executive Branch implements the GAA and Congress cannot have any
post enactment participation in the implementation of the GAA.
Senate Blue Ribbon Committee v. Majaducon, G.R. No. 136760, July 29, 2003:
The RTC or any court may not do so because that would be violative of the principle of
separation of powers. The principle essentially means that legislation belongs to Congress,
execution to the Executive and settlement of legal controversies to the Judiciary. Each is
prevented from invading the domain of the others.
Ampatuan, Jr., v. De Lima, G.R. No. 197291, April 3, 2013: Consistent with the principle of
separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution, the Court deems it a sound judicial policy not
to interfere in the conduct of preliminary investigations, and to allow the Executive Department,
through the Department of Justice, exclusively to determine what constitutes sufficient evidence
to establish probable cause for the prosecution of supposed offenders. By way of exception,
however, judicial review may be allowed where it is clearly established that the public

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prosecutor committed grave abuse of discretion, that is, when he has exercised his discretion “in
an arbitrary, capricious, whimsical or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility,
patent and gross enough as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or virtual refusal to
perform a duty enjoined by law.”
How principle is violated: interference to and assumption of another branch’s functions
Alba v. Demetria, 148 SCRA 208, 209-210, 214-218 (1987): strict adherence to the
constitutional process by which an appropriations act must be passed; the executive branch
cannot interfere with the prerogative of the legislative branch
Consolidated Petitions: Belgica et. al. v. Executive Secretary et. al. G.R. No. 208566,
Alcantara et. al. v. Drilon et. al. G.R. No. 208493, and Nepomuceno et. al. v. Pres. Aquino et.
al., G.R. No.209251, Nov. 19, 2013: legal standing of petitioners; PDAF is unconstitutional; no
cross-border transfer of funds; application of principles of separation of powers and checks and
balances; no delegation of legislative powers; respect for autonomy of local governments;
political dynasty
Republic v. Bayao et. al., G.R. No. 179492, June 5, 2013. The relocation of a government center
is a prerogative of the executive branch unless the implementation is contrary to law, morals,
public policy and the Court cannot intervene in the legitimate exercise of such power.

Principle of Blending of Powers

This principle refers to an instance when powers are not confined exclusively within one
department but are assigned to or shared by several departments.
Illustrations of Application of the Principle of Blending of Powers
a. Power of appointment which can be exercised by each department and be rightfully exercised
by each department over its own administrative personnel;
b. General Appropriations Law – President prepares the budget which serves as the basis of the
bill adopted by Congress;
c. Amnesty granted by the President requires the concurrence of the majority of all the members
of the Congress; and
d. Power of the COMELEC to deputize law-enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the
government for the purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections in
accordance with the power granted to it by the Constitution to enforce and administer all laws
and regulations relative the conduct of elections [Art. IX-C, Sec. 2(1)] (Concurring and
Dissenting Opinion of Justice Puno, Macalintal v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 157013, July 10, 2003).
In Alejandrino v. Quezon, et al. (46 Phil. 83), the Supreme Court held that it could not compel
the Senate to reinstate a Senator who assaulted another Senator and was suspended for disorderly
behavior, because it could not compel a separate and co-equal department to take any particular
In Osmeña v. Pendatun (109 Phil. 863), it was held that the Supreme Court could not interfere
with the suspension of a Congressman for disorderly behavior, because the House of
Representatives is the judge of what constitutes disorderly behavior. The assault of a fellow
Senator constitutes disorderly behavior. However, under Sec. 1, Art. VIII of the 1987
Constitution, the Supreme Court may inquire whether or not the decision to expel a
member of Congress is tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction.
Corpuz v. People, G.R. No. 180016, April 29, 2014: 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 power. (Some Justices of the Supreme
Court proposed to alter the penalties provided for under RPC on the basis of the ratio of
P1.00 to P100.00, believing that it is not fair to apply the range of penalties, which was
based on the value of money in 1932, to crimes committed at present.)

E. The Principle of Checks and Balances

This principle in constitutional law where there is a system-based regulation that allows one
branch to limit actions of another branch in keeping with the doctrine of separation of powers.

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Alba v. Demetria supra: The President cannot effect any changes in the General Appropriation
Act which having the same amended by congress.
Consolidated Petitions: Belgica et. al. v. Executive Secretary, supra: cross-border transfer of
funds is not allowed; Congress cannot delegate the power to legislate to the executive branch
particularly use of powers intended for the power sector; the President cannot allow his veto-
powers to be subverted by Congress
Consolidated petitions of Araullo v. Aquino, supra: DAP is unconstitutional; strict observance
of how savings under the General Appropriations Act can be aligned; power is limited by the
Constitution to the President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the Chief Justice,
the Heads of the Constitutional Commissions (Sec. 25(5), Art. VI)
Doctrine of Necessary Implication
The Doctrine of necessary implication provides that the exercise of the power may be justified
in the absence of an express conferment because the grant of express power carried with it all
other powers that may be reasonably inferred from it.
F. Delegation of Powers
General Rule: Potestas delegata non delegari potest (what has been delegated cannot be
Exception: The legislative branch can promulgate laws which allows the
creation of administrative agencies to carry out quasi-legislative transactions
conforming to the following tests:
1. Completeness test to ensure that subordinate legislation is germane to the purpose of the law.
2. Sufficient Standard test which deal with the parameters in implementing the law.
How law-making power is delegated: suppletory rule-making (filling in details to ensure
enforcement of the law) and contingent rule-making (ascertaining the facts to bring the law
into operation)
Garcia v. Drilon, G.R. No. 179267, June 25, 2013: There is no undue delegation of judicial
power to barangay officials with respect to the authority to issue BPO. The BPO issued by the
Punong Barangay or, in his unavailability, by any available Barangay Kagawad, merely orders
the perpetrator to desist from (a) causing physical harm to the woman or her child; and (b)
threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm. Such function of the Punong
Barangay is, thus, purely executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty under the Local
Government Code to "enforce all laws and ordinances," and to "maintain public order in the
Application of the Principle:
PHCAP v. Sec. Duque III, 535 SCRA 265 on adoption of Implementing Rules and Regulations
considering a domestic law and an international instrument to which Philippines is a party.
Belgica et. al. v. Ochoa et. al. G.R. No. 208566, November 19, 2013; the utilization of the “pork
barrel fund” (PDAF) by members of Congress coursed through the Executive Branch; Congress
cannot delegate to the Executive Branch the power of appropriation.
Abakada v. Sec. Purisima, 562 SCRA, 251: Delegation of power to the Secretary of Finance in
the implementation of the accretion law for BOC and BIR employees
People v. Maceren, 169 Phil., 447-448 (1977): Delegation of power; definition and scope of the
law and penalties to be imposed
Pichay v. Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary et al., G.R. No. 196425, July 24, 2012. The
power of the President to reorganize is a prerogative under his continuing “delegated legislative
authority to reorganize” his own office pursuant to E.O. No.292.
Banda et al. v. Ermita, G.R. No. 166620, April 20, 2010. The power to reorganize executive
offices has been consistently supported by specific provisions in general appropriations laws.
Doctrine of Qualified Political Agency
Resident Mammals of Tanon Strait, Gloria Estenzo Ramos and Rose-Liza Eisma-Osorio, in
their capacity as legal guardians and as responsible stewards of God's creations v. Secretary
Angelo Reyes et al(G.R. No. 180771, April 21, 2015):Under this doctrine, which recognizes the
establishment of a single executive, all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts
of the Executive Department, the heads of the various executive departments are assistants and
agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in cases where the Chief Executive is required by the
Constitution or law to act in person or the exigencies of the situation demand that he act
personally, the multifarious executive and administrative functions of the Chief Executive are
performed by and through the executive departments, and the acts of the Secretaries of such
departments, performed and promulgated in the regular course of business, are, unless
disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive presumptively the acts of the Chief

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Permissible Delegation of Powers
Delegation of powers to the President:
1. Emergency powers to the President (Sec. 23(2), Article VI)
2. Fixing of tariff rates (Sec.28(2), Article VI)
3. Power of subordinate legislation by Congress with the creation of administrative
agencies under the Executive Branch.
G. Forms of Government
“Government” in general defined
Forms: Democracy, Monarchy, Aristocracy, Dictatorship
“Government of the Philippines” defined
See Revised Administrative Code, Sec. 2
See Article VII and Article X

Classifications of government
1. As to the centralization of control
a. Unitary government – One in which the control of national and local, internal and external,
affairs is exercised by the central or national government;
b. Federal government – One in which the powers of the government are divided between two
sets of organs, one for national affairs and the other for local affairs, each organ being supreme
within its own sphere; consists of autonomous local government units merged into a single State,
with the national government exercising a limited degree of power over the domestic affairs but
generally full discretion of the external affairs of the State.
2. As to the existence or absence of title and/or control
a. De jure – Has a rightful title but no power or control, one that is established of a legitimate
b. De facto – Actually exercises power or control but without legal title (Lawyers League for a
Better Philippines v. Aquino, G.R. No. 73748, May 22, 1986).


III. Legislative Department

A. Who may exercise law-making powers?
1. Congress
2. Local Legislative Bodies under the principle of delegation of powers
3. Electorate (people’s initiative on statutes, initiative and referendum)
4. Emergency powers exercised by the President under Martial Law Rule
or in a Revolutionary Government
B. Composition of Congress, Qualifications of Members, and Term of Office
1. Election of Members: Regular election (Art. VI, Sec. 8) and Special Election (Art. VI, Sec.9)
Elections for Senators and representatives are held in the manner and on the dates fixed by law.
Regular elections of Senators and representatives of HOR is held every second Monday of May.
(Sec.8, Art. VI)
Commencement of Term of Office: The Constitution provides that the terms of office of the
Senators and the representatives shall begin at noon of 30 June next following their election.
(Sections 4 and 7, Article VI)
Vacancies, how filled: In case of a vacancy in the Senate or the House of Representatives, a
special election may be called in the manner prescribed by law, but the senator or representative
elected shall serve only for the unexpired term. (Sec.9, Art.VI)
2. Membership of the Senate: 24 Senators chosen by the qualified voters all over the
Philippines and overseas Filipinos duly registered with Philippine embassies and consulates
abroad. Senate (Art. VI, Sections 2-4)
2.1. Qualifications: To be eligible for the Senate, a person:
Must be a natural born citizen of the Philippines;
Must be at least 35 years old on the day of election;
Must be able to read and write;
Must be a registered voter; and
Must be a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the
day of election. (Sec. 3, Art. VI, 1987 Constitution)
David v. Senate Electoral Tribunal, 803 SCRA 435 (2016): A losing candidate may question the
qualifications of an incumbent Senator.

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2.2. Term of Office: A Senator serves for a term of six (6) years and one cannot serve for more
than two (2) consecutive terms. (Sec.4, Art. VI)
Social Justice Society v. Dangerous Drugs Board, 570 SCRA 411, 416-419, 422-425 (2008): no
other substantive requirement may be prescribed for elective positions
3. Membership of the House of Representatives: Congressional district representatives and
party list members. (Sec.5 (1), (2) and (3), Art. VI, 1987 Constitution)
3.1. Qualifications: To be eligible for the House of Representatives, a person:
Must be a natural born citizen of the Philippines;
Must be at least 25 years old on the day of election;
Must be able to read and write;
Except for a party list member, must be a registered voter in the district in which he shall be
elected; and must be a resident of said district for not less than one year immediately preceding
the day of election. (Sec. 6, Art. VI, 1987 Constitution)
Ongsiako Reyes v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 207264, June 25, 2013: A member of Congress must be
a natural-born Filipino; there should be no infirmity in the oath taking ceremonies
3.2 Apportionment: Each congressional district must have at least a population of 250,000
The total number of party list members must not exceed 20% of the total number of members of
the HOR.
3.3. Term of Office: Members of the HOR serve for a term of three (3) years and one cannot
serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms. (Sec. 7, Art. VI)
Sema v. COMELEC, 558 SCRA 700-726, 731-744 (2008): membership; ARMM Legislative
Assembly cannot create political subdivisions reserved to Congress under the Constitution
Aquino and Robredo v. COMELEC, 617 SCRA 623, 630-652 (2010): a congressional district
must meet the 250,000 inhabitant- threshold
Aldaba v. COMELEC, 611 SCRA 137 (2010): population should not be based on projection and
certification must be issued by head of the Philippine Statistics Authority, formerly, National
Statistics Office (NSO)
3.4. Party list system: allocation of seats and sectoral representation
Purpose why marginalized sector needs to be represented (Lokin v. COMELEC, 621 SCRA
System of accreditation; procedural aspect; criteria to be considered (Ladlad v. COMELEC,
G.R. No. 190582, April 8, 2010)
Basic parameters of representation:
1. The maximum representation of party list members is 20% of all members.
2. Each winning party list organization must meet at least the 2% threshold number of votes
of all registered voters.
3. Each party list organization can only have a maximum of three seats. (BANAT v.
Atong Paglaum v. COMELEC, 694 SCRA 477 (2013): sectoral representation need not be
limited to the poor or marginalized group; extent of national membership; performance in party
list election process
Ang Ladlad v. COMELEC, G.R.No. 190582, April 8, 2010: While accreditation of party list is
the prerogative of COMELEC, the Court, when called upon in proper cases, may scrutinize the
basis why a party was not accredited.
PGBI v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 190529, April 29, 2010. The COMELEC has the power to delist a
party list on two grounds under Section6 (8) of R.A. 7941.
Magdalo v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 190793, June 19, 2012. The registration of political parties
does not involve administrative liability as it is only limited to the evaluation of qualifications for
registration of a party.
C. Legislative Privileges and Disqualifications/Inhibitions
Salaries (Art. VI, Sec. 10 and Art. XVIII, Sec. 17)

General Rule: Incumbent members of Congress cannot benefit from salary increases approved
during their term of office.
PHICONSA v. Mathay: 18 SCRA 300-312 (1966): The Court permanently enjoined COA from
authorizing or passing in audit the payment of the increased salaries authorized by Republic Act
No. 4134 to the Speaker and members of the HOR. It held that the law is not operative until
December 30, 1969, when the full term of all members of the Senate and House that approved
will have expired and it also violates the Constitution.

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Ligot v, Mathay, 56 SCRA 823 (1974): The Court dismissed the petition and affirmed the
Auditor-General's decision that petitioner as a Congressman whose term of office expired on
December 30, 1969 and qualified for retirement benefits by virtue of a minimum of twenty years
of government service is entitled only to benefits effective during his term and cannot benefit
from the new law mandating the increase of salaries and benefits approved by Congress during
his incumbency.
Freedom from Arrest (Art. VI, Sec. 11, Rev. Penal Code, Art. 145):Freedom from Arrest in all
offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment while Congress is in session.
Speech and Debate Clause (Art. VI, Sec. 11)
Pobre v. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, A.C.No. 7399, August 25, 2009: a member of Congress
may invoke parliamentary immunity in a speech delivered during session.
Incompatible and Forbidden Offices (Art. VI, Sec. 13 and Sec. 14)
Puyat v. de Guzman, 113 SCRA 32 (1982): an incumbent member of Congress cannot engage in
the practice of another profession.
Other Prohibitions (Art. VI, Sec. 3)

Duty to Disclose (Art. XI, Sec. 17, Art. VI, Sec. 12, Sec. 20)

D. Quorum and Rules of Proceedings

1. Quorum (Art. VI, Sec. 16(2))

Plenary Sessions:
Quorum and Attendance: A quorum is required to conduct business.
Congress may adjourn from day to day when there is no quorum.
It may compel attendance in such a manner it may provide.
It may also impose any punishment it may consider proper on members who refuse to
attend the sessions and whose absence prevents the House from having a quorum.
(Sec. 16 (2), Article VI)
Avelino v. Cuenco, 83 Phil 17 (1949): Physical presence during session is required
2. Rules of proceedings (Art. VI, Sec. 16(3) and Sec. 21)
3. Journal and Record (Art. VI, Sec.16 (4))
Both the Senate and HOR are required to keep a journal of their respective proceedings.
The Journal is a complete official record of what transpired in the chambers, including the
remarks and speeches made by members, the bills presented and deliberated upon, the votes
cast and the decision of every matter included in the Agenda for each session day.
Congressional Journals (Sec.16 (4), paragraph 2 Article VI)

The following matters are required to be included in the Journal:

1. Votes cast in favor of and those against every motion, bill or other question, when the
entry in the journal is requested by 1/5 of the members present. (Art. VI, Sec.16 (4))
2. Yeas and nays on third and final reading of a bill (Art. VI, Sec. 26[2])
3. Veto message of the President (Art. VI, Sec. 27[1])
4. Yeas and nays on the repassing of a bill vetoed by the President (Art. VI, Sec. 27[1])

The Enrolled Bill Theory

Mabanag v. Lopez Veto, 78 Phil., 1-3, 12- 19, 29-31(1947): Under the enrolled bill theory, law
passed upon by the legislative branch is conclusive to the court. The law is question pertains to
the amendment of the Constitution. The Court said the amendment process is "political" in its
entirely, from submission until an amendment becomes part of the Constitution, and is not
subject to judicial guidance, control or interference at any point.
Arroyo v. De Venecia, 343 Phil., 54-60, 71-74 (1997) internal rules must be observed in floor
deliberations. (amendment of the NIRC on “sin” taxes on cigars, cigarettes, wine and other
alcoholic drinks
Probative Value of the Journal
U.S. v. Pons, 34 Phil., 729-735 (1916): The courts may not go behind the legislative journals to
contradict their veracity. (illegal importation of opium)

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Journal Entry Rule vs. Enrolled Bill Theory
Morales v. Subido, 27 SCRA 131 (1969): An omission at the time of enactment, whether careless
or calculated, cannot be judicially supplied however much later wisdom may recommend the
inclusion. (qualification and eligibility to become Chief of Police of Manila)
Astorga v. Villegas, 56 SCRA 714 (1974): The Court held that that the enrolled bill theory is
based mainly on "the respect due to coequal and independent departments," which requires the
judicial department "to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner
stated." Thus it has also been stated in other cases that if the attestation is absent and the same is
not required for the validity of a statute, the courts may resort to the journals and other records
of Congress for proof of its due enactment.
4. Sessions
a. Regular sessions (Art. VI, Sec. 15 and Sec. 16(5))
b. Special sessions (Art. VI, Sec. 15 upon call of the President, Art. VII, Sections 10-11 to fill
vacancies in the Presidency and Vice Presidency Art. VII, Sec. 18, par. 2, Commander-in-Chief
David v. Arroyo, G. R. No. 171396, May 3, 2006: emergency powers of the President can be
exercised pursuant to Sec.23 (2), Art. VI and Sec. 19, Art. VII
Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary, 421 SCRA 656: calling out powers of the President under Sec.
18, Art. VII
Kulayan v. Tan, 675 SCRA 482(2012): A provincial governor cannot exercise the calling out
powers which the Constitution has reserved to the President.
Lagman v. Medialdea, G.R. No. 231658, 4 July 2017): The Supreme Court may be called upon
to review the factual basis of the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of
habeas corpus.

E. Voting Requirements
1. General Rule: When the House has a quorum, a majority vote of the quorum is generally
sufficient for the approval of matters.
2. Exceptions: There are, however, certain matters which prescribe that entire membership is
required like two thirds vote in –
The passage of a bill vetoed by the President. (Sec.27 (1), Art. VI)
The declaration of war. (Sec. 23(1), Art. VI
To call a constitutional convention. (Sec.3, Art. XVII)
The expulsion or suspension of a member. (Sec. 16(3), Article VI)

3. Votes in impeachment proceedings

A majority vote of the members of the Committee on Justice of HOR is necessary for
consideration of its report in a plenary session. (Sec. 3(2), Art. XI)
A vote of at least 1/3 of all members of the HOR is necessary to either affirm a favorable
resolution with the Articles of Impeachment or override its contrary resolution.
A verified complaint or resolution of impeachment filed by 1/3 of all members of the
HOR shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment.
Two thirds vote of all members of the Senate is necessary to convict the impeached
public officer.
Gutierrez v. HOR, Feb. 15, 2011: consideration of two complaints as basis of the
Articles of Impeachment
Francisco v. HOR, 415 SCRA 44: initiation of a complaint for impeachment
Chief Justice Corona v. Senate of the Philippines et al., G.R. No.200242, July 17, 2012:
The power of judicial review includes the power of review justiciable issues in
impeachment proceedings.
Republic v. Sereno (May 2018; M.R. June 2018):the Chief Justice may not only be
removed through impeachment; quo warranto proceedings may be instituted if there is
factual basis that the Chief Justice was not qualified at the time of appointment

F. Discipline of Members (Art. VI, Sec. 16(3))

Discipline of Members (Art. VI, Sec. 16(3)). The Committee on Ethics conducts the
investigation of a member and will submit in plenary its recommendation. A member of
Congress may be suspended or expelled by two –thirds vote of all its members.
Each house may determine the rules of proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior,
and with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its members, suspend or expel a member.
A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days.

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2. Commission on Appointments (Art. VI, Sections 18-19)
Membership of the Commission on Appointments: It is composed of 25 members with the
Senate President at its ex oficio Chairman and 12 senators and 12 members of the House of
Members coming of the Senate and the House of Representatives are chosen on the basis of
proportional representation from political parties and the parties or organizations registered
under the party list system represented therein.
Jurisdiction: Article VII, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution reads:"The President shall
nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the
executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the armed
forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are
vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Government
whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be
authorized by law to appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers
lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies,
commissions, or boards.
Sarmiento v. Mison, 156 SCRA 549 (1987): Appointment of Bureau of Customs Commissioner
does not need confirmation of the Commission on Appointments.
Tatad v. Commission on Appointments, G.R. No. 183171, August 11, 2008: With the
resignation of the nominee, there is no longer an actually justiciable controversy.
Paguia v. Office of the President (G.R. No 176278, June 25, 2010): a lawyer undergoing
suspension may not file a petition which applies his knowledge of the law to challenge the
nomination of former Chief Justice Davide to become the Permanent Representative of the
Philippines to the United Nations.

H. Powers of Congress
1. Legislative Powers:
General Plenary Powers; Limitations on legislative powers (Refer to Sections 22, 25, 29, 28
of Art. VI, and Sec. 22, Art. VII, Sec. 4(3), Art. XIV for express and implied SUBSTANTIVE
restrictions and Sections 26(1), (b) of Art. VI and Art. 2 of the Civil Code for procedural
Power of Inquiry; Investigation (Sec. 21, Art.VI) Question Hour (Sec. 22, Art.VI) (Gudani
v. Senga 498 SCRA 67: Commander-in –Chief powers of the President)
Approval of presidential amnesties/consent to appointees of the President(Commission on
Declaration of state of war and delegation of emergency powers (Section 23, Article VI)
Legislative veto or approval of extension of suspension of privilege of habeas corpus or
declaration of martial law. (Section 18, Article VII)
Senate’s concurrence in treaties. (Section 21, Art.VII)
Enactment of laws related to utilization of natural resources.(Section 2, Article XII)
Amendment of the Constitution. (Sec. 2, Article XVII)

Limitations on Legislative Powers:

Substantive limitations
a. Express substantive limitations (Art. III under the Bill of Rights, Art. VI, Sections 25 and
28, Art. XIV, Sec. 4(3), Art. VI, Sections 29, 30 and 31))
b. Implied substantive limitations
Prohibition against delegation of legislative powers
Prohibition against passage of irrepealable laws
Exemptions to Non-delegation Doctrine
- Delegation to the President: Art VI, Sec. 23(2) and Sec.28 (2)
Delegation to the people (Art. VI, Sec. 32): referendum and initiative

Procedural limitations (Art. VI, Sec. 32)

a. Legislative VETO or approval of extension of suspension of privilege of habeas corpus or
declaration of martial law (Art. VII, Sec. 18)
b. Approval of Presidential Amnesties (Art. VII, Sec. 19)
c. Concur in Treaties (Art. VII, Sec. 21)
d. Declaration of war and delegation of emergency powers (Art. VI, Sec. 23)
e. Power with regard to utilization of natural resources (Art. XII, Sec. 2)

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f. Amendment of the Constitution (Art. XVII, Section 12)
Demetria v. Alba, G.R. No. L-45129, March 6, 1987: no cross border transfer of funds; all
appropriations bill must emanate from the House of Representatives and the executive branch
has no power to transfer one budget for another purpose for which it was originally intended.
Belgica v. Ochoa, G.R.No. 208493, November 19, 2013: limitations on the power to enact
appropriation bills
YMCA v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 33 Phil. 217(1916): taxpayer has burden of proof to
claim tax exemption
Quezon City v. ABS-CBN, G.R. No. 166408, Oct. 6, 2008: LGUs have power to collect local
franchise tax
Del Mar v. PAGCOR, 346 SCRA 484 (2000): only Congress has the power to grant franchise
Tanada v. Tuvera, 136 SCRA 27(1985): effectivity of laws

Power of impeachment (Refer to Sections 2 and 3(1) to (6), Article XI for jurisdiction,
grounds and procedure)
Gutierrez v. House of Representatives, G. R. No. Feb. 15, 2011. Congress may look into
separate complaints against an impeachable officer and consider the inclusion of matters raised
therein in the adoption of the Articles of Impeachment.
The Court further said that: “Impeachment is the most difficult and cumbersome mode of
removing a public officer from office. It is, by nature, a sui generis politico-legal process that
signals the need for a judicious and careful handling as shown by the process required to initiate
the proceeding; the one-year limitation or bar for its initiation; the limited grounds for
impeachment; the defined instrumentality given the power to try impeachment cases; and the
number of votes required for a finding of guilt.” (Contrast this with Francisco v. HOR)
Chief Justice Corona v. Senate of the Philippines et al., G.R. No.200242, July 17, 2012. The
power of judicial review includes the power of review over justiciable issues in impeachment

IV. The Executive Department

A. Qualifications, Privileges, Inhibitions and Disqualifications
1. Qualifications, election, term and oath, (Art. VII, Sections 2, 4 and 5)
2. Privileges and salary (Art. VII, Sec. 6)
3. Prohibitions (Art. VII, Sec. 13)
Compare prohibition against other officials (Art. VI, Sec. 13, Art. IX, A, Sec. 2 and Art. IX, B,
Sec. 7)
Exceptions to rule prohibiting executive officials from holding another office;
Vice President as member of the cabinet (Art. VIII, Sec. 3, par.2)
Secretary of Justice as member of Judicial and Bar Council (Art. VIII, Sec. 8 (1))
Presidential Immunity: The immunity of the President from suit during his incumbency is
rooted in the separation of powers doctrine. The President enjoys the presumption that he is
faithful to his Oath.

B. Powers
1. Executive and Administrative Powers in General (Art. VII, Sections 1 and 17)
The Constitution provides that “the executive power shall be vested in the President of the
President.” (Sec. 1, Article VII)
Under the principle of separation of powers, the executive, legislative and judicial departments
of the government are coordinate co-equal with one another.
Being the head of the state, the President, by general conception, is the highest official of the
2. Power of appointment
a) In general: The President shall appoint all officers of the government whom he may be
authorized by law to appoint and such officers of government whose appointments are not
otherwise provided by law. (Art. VII, Sec. 16)
b) With consent of Commission on Appointments (please commit to memory):
Heads of departments (Art. VII, Sec. 16)
Ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls (Art. VII, Sec. 16)
Officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel and naval captain (Art. VII, Sec.16)
Chairman and members of Constitutional Commissions (Art. IX, B, Sec. 1(2), C, Sec.
1(2), and D, Sec. 1(2))

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Members of the Judicial and Bar Council (Art. VIII, Sec.8(2))

c) Upon recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council

Members of the Supreme Court and all lower courts,(Art. VIII, Sec. 9)
Ombudsman (Tanodbayan) and Deputies (Art. XI, Sec. 9)
Limitations on appointing power of the President (Art. VII, Sections 13 and 15)
Interim or recess appointments, (Art.VI, Sec. 19 and Art. VII, Sec. 16, par. 2)
Limitation on appointing power of Acting President (Art. VII, Sections 14-15)
c) Midnight appointments: The outgoing President refrain from filling vacancies to give the new
President opportunity to consider names in the light of his new policies especially so when he ran
on a platform approved by the electorate.( Art. VII, Sec.15)
De Castro v. JBC, G.R. No. 191002, March 17, 2010: This case questioned the power of the
President to appoint the Chief Justice during the prohibitive period. The S.C. held that the
appointment of the members of the judiciary is not covered by the prohibition on midnight
Judge Aguinaldo v. Pres. Aquino III, GR No. 224302, Nov 29, 2016: Petitioners Aguinaldo, et
al., as nominees for the 16th Saridiganbayan Associate Justice, did not have a clear right to said
position, and therefore not proper parties to a quo warranto proceeding. Being included in the
list of nominees had given them only the possibility, but not the certainty, of being appointed to
the position, given the discretionary power of the President in making judicial appointments. It is
for this same reason that respondents Jorge-Wagan, et al., nominees for the 21stSandiganbayan
Associate Justice, may not be impleaded as respondents or unwilling plaintiffs in a quo
warranto proceeding. Neither can the IBP initiate a quo warrant proceeding to oust respondents
Musngi and Econg from their currents posts as Sandiganbayan Associate Justices for the IBP
does not qualify under Rule 66, Section 5 of the Revised Rules of Court as an individual
claiming to be entitled to the positions in question.
The issue is of paramount importance for it affects the validity of appointments to collegiate
courts and, ultimately, the administration of justice, for if there are questions as to the right of the
appointee to his position as judge/justice, then doubts shall likewise shadow all his acts as such.
This will indubitably undermine the faith of the public in the judicial system. Since at hand is a
constitutional issue of first impression, which will likely arise again when there are simultaneous
vacancies in collegiate courts, it is imperative for the Court to already resolve the same for the
guidance of the Bench and Bar, and the general public as well.
It should be stressed that the power to recommend of the JBC cannot be used to restrict or limit
the President's power to appoint as the latter's prerogative to choose someone whom he/she
considers worth appointing to the vacancy in the Judiciary is still paramount. As long as in the
end, the President appoints someone nominated by the JBC, the appointment is valid. On this
score, the Court finds herein that President Aquino was not obliged to appoint one new
Sandiganbayan Associate Justice from each of the six shortlists submitted by the JBC, especially
when the clustering of nominees into the six shortlists encroached on President Aquino's power
to appoint members of the Judiciary from all those whom the JBC had considered to be qualified
for the same positions of Sandiganbayan Associate Justice.
d) Power of Removal: For appointees who serve at the pleasure of the President, they may also
be removed if there is loss of trust and confidence in them. Other public servants may be
removed for cause provided for by law.
Gonzales III v. Office of the President (G.R.Nos. 196231, 196232, September 4, 2019): Only the
Ombudsman can discipline the Over-all Ombudsman, the other Deputies and the Special
Almario v. Executive Secretary, 701 SCRA 269 (2013): Where the law provides for criteria for
selection, the President must comply with the standards as prescribed.
3. Power of Control and Supervision
a) Concept of Qualified Political Agency
b) Executive Departments and Offices
>Control of executive department (Art. VII, Sec. 17)

Ople v. Torres, 293 SCRA 141(1998): In the exercise of power of control, the President may
substitute his own judgment over a decision of his subordinate; he may amend, affirm, alter or
revoke any issuance of his subordinates.
c) General supervision of local government and autonomous regions but not CONTROL (Art. X,
Sec. 4 and Sec.16)

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Joson v. Executive Secretary, 290 SCRA 279(1998): The President’s power over local
governments is only supervision and not control. Thus, the primary concern is to ensure that
local government officials comply with the law when implementing the same.
4. Powers as Commander-in-Chief (Art. VII, Sec.18, Art. III, Sec. 15, Art. VIII, Sec. 1, par.2)
Emergency powers (Art. VI, Sec. 23(2))
Ampatuan et al. v. Hon. Puno, et al., G.R. No. 190259, June 7, 2011. The President did not
proclaim a national emergency, only a state of emergency. The calling out of the armed forces to
prevent or suppress lawless violence in such places is a power that the Constitution directly vests
in the President, without need of congressional authority to exercise the same.
5. Pardoning Power (Art. VII, Sec. 19, Art. IX, C, Sec. 5)
a) Nature and Limitations: Rooted in the “divine rights of the King”
General Rule: The Constitution grants the President this right to individuals convicted by final
judgment who have demonstrated they have fulfilled their debt to society.
Exceptions: Grant of amnesty requires congressional consent.
Offenses involving violation of election laws require the recommendation of the COMELEC.
Tiu v. Natividad Dizon, G.R. No. 211269, June 15, 2016 (Perlas, Bernabe, J.): It must be
emphasized that pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the
execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the
punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. It is the private, though official act of
the executive magistrate, delivered to the individual for whose benefit it is intended and not
communicated officially to the court. A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is
essential. The necessity for the individual pardon papers is best explained by the nature of a
conditional pardon, which is "a contract between the sovereign power or the Chief Executive
and the convicted criminal to the effect that the former will release the latter subject to the
condition that if he does not comply with the terms of the pardon, he will be recommitted to
prison to serve the unexpired portion of the sentence or an additional one. By the pardonee's
consent to the terms stipulated in this contract, the pardonee has thereby placed himself under
the supervision of the Chief Executive or his delegate who is duty-bound to see to it that the
pardonee complies with the terms and conditions of the pardon."
b) Forms of Executive Clemency: Reprieves, Commutations and Pardons; Remit fines and
forfeitures; Amnesty with consent of Congress
Pardon distinguished from probation

People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 (1937): Under the law on probation, the convicted party does not
serve his sentence in jail while in pardon, the convicted party serves his sentence and upon good
grounds, he may be granted pardon.

Pardon distinguished from parole

Tesoro v. Director of Prisons, 68 Phil. 154 (1939): Parole is granted to a convicted person upon
showing of good behavior but the party is required to report regularly to the Parole Board to
ensure that fulfills the conditions of his parole.

Pardon distinguished from amnesty

Tolentino v. Catoy, 82 Phil. 300 (1948): Pardon is left to the personal discretion of the President
while amnesty requires the imprimatur of Congress. Pardon is normally extended to an
individual while amnesty is extended to group of individuals who have committed crimes against
the state.

Barrioquinto v. Fernandez, 82 Phil. 642 (1949): The right to the benefits of amnesty, once
established by the evidence presented either by the complainant or prosecution, or by the
defense, cannot be waived, because it is of public interest that a person who is pardoned through
amnesty truly deserves to be forgiven.

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Philippine jurisprudence has been influenced by rulings of the U.S. Supreme regarded by the Amnesty
Proclamation which has the force of a law, not only as innocent, for he stands in the eyes of the
law as if he had never committed any punishable offense because of the amnesty,

Effect of Pardon

Cristobal v. Labrador, 71 Phil. 34 (1940): If it is absolute pardon, one is restored to his full civil
and political rights.

Pelobello v. Palatino, 72 Phil. 441 (1941): In the pardon is conditional, the party cannot avail of
the privilege of habeas corpus as he will be incarcerated at once if he violates the condition of his

Effect of Absolute Pardon on Qualification to seek Public Office

Risos-Vidal v. COMELEC: Presidential pardon unless qualified restores a person to his full civil
and political rights.
Revocation of Pardon

In Re: Wilfredo S. Torres, 2 SCRA 109: Since pardon is a an act of grace, the same may be
revoked if the party shows that he does not deserve the same because he has not reformed

Note: The President cannot grant pardon to an impeached officer neither can the grant pardon
to a person convicted of an election offense without the recommendation of the COMELEC.

6. Diplomatic Power

Treaty making power (Art. VII, Sec. 21)

Stages involved in the Adoption of a Treaty

1. Negotiations
2. Execution
3. Ratification in accordance with domestic law
4. Exchange of ratified instruments
5. Deposit of instruments
Treaty distinguished from executive agreements

Arthur Lim et al v. Executive Secretary GR No. 131445, April 11, 2002: A party who does not
any legal standing cannot question the constitutionality of the Visiting Forces Agreement.

Please note that the Court has, in a prior case, made a distinction between an Executive
Agreement and a Treaty. A treaty requires the ratification of the Senate while an Executive
Agreement does not. The VFA is considered supplemental to the Mutual Defense Treaty executed
by the Philippine government and the U.S. government and ratified by both the U.S. Senate and
the Philippine Senate prior to the adoption of the 1987 Constitution.

Deportation of undesirable aliens

Contracting and guaranteeing foreign loans (Art. VII, Sec. 20, Art. XII, Sec. 21, R. A. No. 4860)

7. Powers relative to Appropriation Measures

Address Congress (Art. VII, Sec.23): State of the Nation Address

Preparation and submission of the budget (Art. VII)

Refer to S.C. Rulings on: Demetria v. Alba, supra; Belgica v. Ochoa, supra; Araullo v. Ochoa

Stages in the Adoption of the General Appropriations Act –

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1. Budget Preparation
2. Budget Legislation
3. Budget Implementation
4. Budget Accountability
Budget Savings vs. Unutilized Funds

8. Delegated Powers

Emergency power (Art. VI, Sec. 23 (2))

Fixing of tariff rates (Art. VI, Sec.28 (2))

9. Veto Powers

Veto power (Art. VII, Sec. 27)

Line veto; veto due to constitutional grounds

Effect of inaction for 30 days over a bill submitted for approval

10. Residual Powers: "Whatever is not judicial, whatever is not legislative, is residual power
exercised by the President." Residual powers of the president include things that are considered
to be outside of the office's usual realm. This includes things like having criminal immunity
while in office.

B. The Vice President

1. Qualifications, election, term and oath (Art. VII, Sections 3, 4, and 5)

2. Privileges and salary (Art. VII, Sec. 6)

3. Prohibitions (Art. VII, Sec 13, Sec. 3, par. 2)

C. Succession (Art. VII, Sec.9)

1. In case of vacancy at the beginning of term (Art. VII, Sec. 7 and Sec. 10)

2. In case of vacancy during term (Art. VII, Sec. 8 and Sec. 10)

3. In case of temporary disability (Art. VII, Sections 11-12)

D. Removal (Art. XI, Sections 2-3)

Read provisions on the process of impeachment: HOR “impeaches”; Senate “convicts”


A. Concepts
1. Judicial Power (Sec. 1, Art. VIII): Duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable and to
determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government.
Nature: The power to hear and settle disputes concerning rights and duties between private
persons or between private persons and the government.
When exercised: Only when an actual controversy is presented to the court for
How exercised: When the law is clear, it is the court’s duty to APPLY the law.
When the law is vague, the court must interpret the law and apply it according to its
Philippine jurisprudence has been influenced by rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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The Philippine Supreme Court has extensively relied on the 1803 U.S. case of Marbury v.
Madison to justify the power of judicial review.

2. Judicial Review
2.1. Theory and Justification of Judicial Review: Judicial review is the doctrine where the
judiciary may review acts of the executive and legislative branches. This power is rooted under
the principle of checks and balances and separation of powers doctrine. A court with judicial
review power may invalidate laws and decisions that are contrary to the provisions of the
Consolidated Petitions (Belgica and others) supra: The Supreme Court is not supreme over
the two other branches of the government when it scrutinized the utilization of funds under
the GAA. It merely exercised its constitutional duty to check on the abuse of exercise of
powers by the executive branch and the legislative branch.

2.3. Functions of Judicial Review: Checking, Legitimating and Symbolic

Functions of Judicial Review: Checking – looks into possible abuses of each branch of
government; review of decisions of lower courts; Legitimizing – looks into constitutionality of
laws and its application; and Symbolic – looks into issues although they have become moot and
S.C. Under normal circumstances, S.C. will not disturb the findings of facts of
administrative tribunals and the trial courts. However, S.C. may review findings of facts the
lower courts under recognized exceptions: when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation, surmises or conjectures; when inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or
impossible; where there is abuse of discretion; when judgment is based on misapprehension of
facts, when the findings of facts are conflicting; when the Court of Appeals, in making its
findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to those of the trial court;
when findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are
based; when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners’ main and reply briefs
are not disputed by the respondents; and when the findings of fact of the C.A. are premised on
supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by evidence on record.
a) Operative Fact Doctrine
Araullo v. Aquino, supra: A law or an act may be declared unconstitutional but such law or act
may produce legal effects prior to the pronouncement of nullity.
Effect of Declaration of Unconstitutionality
Under Civil Code, Art. 7, Statute is void when declared unconstitutional
Statute is not always void but may produce legal effects.
Araullo v. Ochoa, supra: the transfer of funds under the Development Acceleration Program of
the Aquino was unconstitutional but the projects funded out of DAP need not be undone.

General Rule: All courts can exercise judicial review.

Ombudsman Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals, Mayor Binay The Court of Appeals is
a court of general jurisdiction. As such, it may review the acts of the Ombudsman when called
upon to render judgment on a particular act of the Ombudsman.
b) Moot Questions
General Rule: A matter is moot if further legal proceedings with regard to it can have no effect,
or events have placed it beyond the reach of the law. Normally, courts will defer to acting on a
matter that has become moot and academic.
Exception: Where matters of transcendental importance arise, the Court render a resolution to
give guideposts to the bench and bar if a similar matter should arise in the future.
Resident Marine Mammals of Tanon Straits v. Secretary Angelo Reyes: Despite the fact that
the issue had become moot and academic when the oil exploration activity was already
stopped, the Court saw it fit to resolve the issue raised by the Petitioners.
Concept of expanded power of judicial review: resolve matters of

transcendental importance/ address matters which have been rendered moot and academic

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c) Political Question Doctrine

The political question doctrine could be read narrowly or more broadly. Read narrowly, the
political question doctrine should be invoked only when the issue presented to the Court is one
that "has been textually committed to another branch of government." That is, if the framers of
the Constitution made clear their intention that the judiciary not resolves a particular question of
constitutional interpretation, that determination must be respected.

More broadly, the political question doctrine might be invoked when there is a lack of judicially
manageable standards to decide the case on the merits, when judicial intervention might show
insufficient respect for other branches of government, or when a judicial decision might threaten
the integrity of the judicial branch. (Baker v. Carr, 1962)
Marcos et al. v. Manglapus et al. G.R. No. 88211 September 15, 1989: When political questions
are involved, the Constitution limits the determination to whether or not there has been a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the official whose
action is being questioned. If grave abuse is not established, the Court will not substitute its
judgment for that of the official concerned and decide a matter which by its nature or by law is
for the latter alone to decide.
B. Judicial Independence
The Constitution has instituted safeguards to ensure the independence of the judiciary.
The judiciary enjoys financial autonomy.
The tenure and salaries of the members of the judiciary are guaranteed.
The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and of judges
of lower courts, shall be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be
decreased. (Sec. 10, Art. VIII)
Members of the judiciary enjoy the tenure of their office during good behavior, until they reach
the age of 70 years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office or by voluntary

C. Judicial Restraint
Judicial restraint is the philosophy of judicial interpretation wherein members of the bench
normally defer to written legislation whenever possible, if it is not in conflict with the

D. Appointments to the Judiciary

The Judicial and Bar Council (Art. VIII, Sec. 8); Memorize composition but it will be more an
appropriate topic in judicial ethics.

Membership of the Judicial and Bar Council (Chavez v. JBC):

- the Chief Justice as ex oficio Chairman;
- the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress as ex officio Members;
- a representative of the Integrated Bar;
- a professor of law;
- retired Member of the Supreme Court; and
- a representative of the private sector.
The Clerk of the Supreme Court shall be the Secretary ex officio of the Council and shall keep
a record of its proceedings
The Constitution provides for the creation of the Judicial and Bar Council (“JBC”) which shall
have the principal function of recommending to the President the appointees to the Judiciary.
The JBC shall submit to the President a list of at least three nominees for every vacancy from
which he may select a person of his choice. Such appointments need no confirmation.
For the lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within 90 days from the
submission of the list while any vacancy in the Supreme Court must be filled within 90 days
from the occurrence of the vacancy. (Castro v. The JBC)
It may exercise such other functions and duties as the Supreme Court may assign to it.
Chavez v. JBC: Congress cannot have two representatives in the JBC. The Constitution provides
only for one representative.
De Castro v. JBC: The President must appoint a member of the Supreme Court within 90 days
from the date the vacancy occurred. Such appointment cannot be restricted by the midnight
appointment rule.

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Republic v. Sereno (Original Decision rendered May 8, 2018 and Decision on Motion for
Reconsideration rendered on June 19, 2018): A member of the Supreme Court may also be
removed through Quo Warranto proceedings if it established that the member of the Court did
not meet the prescribed qualifications at the time of her appointment.
E. Hierarchy of Courts (more on Remedial Law)

Supreme Court

1. Composition (Art. VIII, Sec. 4): there is only one Supreme Court, all other courts are created
by law; Congress also defines the jurisdiction of courts created by law but it is only the Supreme
Court that prescribes the Rules of Procedure and matters related to admission and practice of law
and the discipline of the members of the bench and the bar.

2. Appointment and qualifications (Art. VIII, Sec. 7, Sec.8 (5), Sec.9)

F. Supreme Court

1. En banc and Division Cases (Sec. 4, Art. VIII)

(1) The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. It
may sit en banc or in its discretion, in division of three, five, or seven Members. Any
vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof.
(2) All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, or
law, which shall be heard by the Supreme Court en banc, and all other cases which under
the Rules of Court are required to be heard en banc, including those involving the
constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders,
instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, shall be decided with the concurrence of a
majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the
case and voted thereon.
(3) Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence of a
majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the
case and voted thereon, and in no case without the concurrence of at least three of such
Members. When the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en
banc: Provided that no doctrine or principle of law lay down by the court in a decision
rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en
2. Procedural Rule-Making

Art. VIII, Sec. 5. “(5) 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 underprivileged. Such rules
shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases,
shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or
modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies
shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.”
3. Administrative Powers (more on Judicial Ethics)

Supervision of lower courts (Art. VIII, Sec.6)

Discipline of Judges (Art. VIII, Sec. 11)

G. The Supreme Court as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, (Art. VII, Sec. 4, par. 4)

Macalintal v. PET, G.R. No.191618, November 23, 2010. PET is an institution independent but
not separate from the judicial department.

Legarda v. De Castro 542 SCRA, 125: The justices of the Supreme Court are triers of facts when
they participate in the conduct of an election contest involving candidates for president and vice
president. This allows the party in the election contest to raise any other issue within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court because in this case, the Court now exercises its
power of judicial review.

Issues that may be resolved by the PET in an election contest:

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1. election
2. returns
3. qualifications
H. Judicial Privilege

Protection from any statement made during judicial proceedings that is given to each attorney,
judge, juror, litigant party, or witness who are a part of said legal proceedings. (Black’s

VII. The Constitutional Commissions

A. Common Provisions
READ the common qualifications, disqualifications and tenure of office
B. Civil Service Commission with Law on Public Officers
1. Composition and qualification of Commissions (Art. IX, B, Sec. 1(1), Art. VII, Sec. 13,
par. 2)
2. Appointment and term of office of Commission (Art. IX, B, Sec. 1(2))
3. Appointment of personnel of CSC (Art. IX, A, Sec. 4)
4. Salary (Art.IX, A, Sec. 3 and Art. XVIII, Sec. 17)
5. Disqualification (Art. IX, A, Sec. 2)
6. Removal by Impeachment (Art. XI, Sec. 2)
Functions of the CSC (Art. IX, B, Sec.3, Art. IX, A, Sections 7 and 8)
Scope of the civil service (Art. IX, B, Sec. 2(1))
Terms and conditions of employment in the civil service
(1) Oath of allegiance to the Constitution (Art. IX, B, sec. 4 and Art. XI, Sec. 18)
(2) Merit system
(a) Appointment of lame ducks (Art. IX, B, Sec. 6)
(b) Appointment or designed of elective and appointive officials (Art. IX, B, Sec. 7.
Art. VII, Sec. 13 and Art. VI, Sec. 13)
(3) Standardization of pay and ban on double compensation (Art. IX, B, Sec. 5, Sec. 8)
(a) Ban on partisan political activities (Art. IX, B, Sec.2(4))
(b) Removal or suspension only for cause (Art. IX, B, Sec. (3))
(c) Summary removal
(d) Right of self-organization (Art, III, Sec. 8, Art. IX, Sec.2(5)
7. Review of decision of the CSC (Art. IX, A, Sec. 7)
8. Fiscal independence (Art. IX, A, Sec. 5)
2. Types of public officers: appointive (except for confidential appointees, must comply with
CSC standard qualifications); and elective (derives position by direct mandate of the people.
LOYALTY and EFFICIENCY; act with patriotism and justice and lead modest life.
General Rule: A public servant may only be removed for cause. Every appointment is based on
merit and fitness.
Other pertinent rules governing public officers:
4. Midnight Appointments: A President or Acting President is prohibited from making
appointments two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the
end of his term. (Art. VII, Sec. 15, Constitution)
Exception: Temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies
therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.
5. Three fold liability of a public officer: civil liability, criminal liability and administrative
6. Preventive suspension is not a penalty but is mean to safeguard the integrity of the
administrative investigation. There is no compensation given during this period of
7. Effects on resolution of cases on public officers:
When a public officer is suspended pending appeal, he is entitled to compensation
for the period of suspension if he is found innocent.
If a public officer is illegally removed, he may be reinstated. If there was bad faith
or malice, the superior who caused such illegal removal will be held personally
accountable for the back salaries of subject employee.
The award of backwages is limited to a maximum period of five years. (David v.
Gania, 2003)

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8. Official immunity is not absolute; serves to protect the public officer in the discharge of
his responsibilities; serves as a protective aegis for public officials from tort liability for
damages on account of his responsibilities.
9. De jure and de facto officers, distinguished: elements of in determining is one is a de facto
1. There must be a de jure office\
2. Color of right or general acquiescence by the public
3. Actual physical possession of the office in good faith
10. Quo Warranto – normally brought in cases involving public officers, both elective and
appointive, as to which party has a right or title to the office.
11. Sandiganbayan (Art. XI, Sec. 4)
People v. Luis Morales, G.R. No. 166355, May 30, 2011. A private corporation is beyond the
Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction.
12. Ombudsman
1. Composition (Art. XI, Sec. 5)
2. Qualification (Art. XI, Sec. 8)
3. Appointment and term (Art. XI, Sections 8 and 11)
4. Rank and Salary (Art. XI, Sec. 10)
5. Disqualifications (Art.XI, Sec. 8, Art. IX, A, Sec. 2)
6. Jurisdiction (Art. XI, Sec. 12)
(102) Office of the Ombudsman v. CSC 451 SCRA 570
7. Powers and functions (Art. XI, Sec. 13)
8. Fiscal autonomy (Art. XI, Sec. 14)
9. Appointment of personnel (Art. XI, Sec. 6)
Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty.
Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014:
The Court said that the Ombudsman is vested with broad investigative and disciplinary powers.
These powers include the scrutiny of all acts of malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance of
all public officials, including Members of the Cabinet and key Executive officers, during their
tenure. Under

Section 12, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Office of the Ombudsman is envisioned to be
the “protector of the people” against the inept, abusive, and corrupt in the government, to
function essentially as a complaints and action bureau. This constitutional vision of a Philippine
Ombudsman practically intends to make the Ombudsman an authority to directly check and
guard against the ills, abuses, and excesses of the bureaucracy. As the Ombudsman is expected
to be an ”activist watchman”, the Court has upheld its actions, although not squarely falling
under the broad powers granted it by the Constitution and by R.A. No. 6770, if these actions are
reasonably in line with its official function and consistent with the law and the Constitution.
Office of the Special Prosecutor (Art. XI, Sec. 7)
Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty.
Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014.In
recognition of the importance of the office of the Special Prosecutor as a necessary adjunct of
the Ombudsman, aside from his or her deputies, Congress made the Office of the Special
Prosecutor as an organic component of the Office of the Ombudsman. It also granted the
Ombudsman control and supervision over that office. This power of control and supervision
includes vesting the Office of the Ombudsman with the power to assign duties to the Special
Prosecutor as he or she may deem fit. Even if the Office of the Special Prosecutor is not
expressly made part of the composition of the Office of the Ombudsman, the role it performs as
an organic component of that Office militates against a differential treatment between the
Ombudsman’s Deputies, on one hand, and the Special Prosecutor himself, on the other. What is
true for the Ombudsman must be equally true, not only for her Deputies but, also for other lesser
officials of that Office who act directly as agents of the Ombudsman herself in the performance
of her duties.

C. Commission on Elections

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Composition and qualification of Commissioners (Art. IX C, Sec.1 (1), Art. VII, Sec. 13, par. 2)

Appointment and term of office of Commissioners (Art. IX, C, Sec. 1(2))

Appointment of personnel (Art. IX, A, Sec. 4)

Powers and Functions of the COMELEC (Art. IX, C, Sec.2)

Enforce election laws (Art. IX, C, Sec.2 (1), Sec. 10)

Decide administrative question pertaining to elections, except the right to

vote (Art. IX, sec. 2(3))

File Petition for inclusion or exclusion of voters (Art. IX, C, Sec. 2(6))

Prosecute election law violators (Art. IX, C. Sec. 2(6))

Recommend pardon, parole or suspension of sentence of election, except the right to vote
(Art. IX, C, Sec. 5)

Deputize law enforcement agents and recommend their removal (Art. IX, C, Sec. 2(4),
Sec. 2(8))

REGISTRATION of political parties, organizations, and coalitions and

ACCREDITATION of citizens’ arms (Art. XI, C, Sec. 2(5))

Registration under the party-list system (Art.IX, C, Sections 6, 7 and 8 and Art.VI, Sec.
5(2), Art. XVIII, Sec. 7)

Regulation of Public utilities and media of information (Art. IX, C, Sec. 4, Sec. 9)

Decide election contests and cases (Art. IX, C, Sec. 2(2) Sec. 3)

Rule-making (Art. IX, A, Sec. 6)

Other functions (Art. IX, A, Sec. 8)

Act as National Board of Canvassers for Senators

Review of COMELEC decisions, orders, and resolutions (Art. IX, A, Sec.7)

Fiscal autonomy (Art. IX, A, Sec. 5)

BANAT V. COMELEC, 592 SCRA 294: The Constitution provides that Congress shall not have
more than 250 members unless Congress provides otherwise and out of the total number of
incumbent members not more than 20% shall come from the party list. Of the party list members,
each party list shall be entitled to a maximum of three seats.

Ang Ladlad v. COMELEC, G. R. No, 190852, April 8, 2010: Accreditation is done solely by
COMELEC. The Court said that under the country’s system of laws, every group has the right to
promote its agenda and attempt to persuade society of the validity of its position through normal
democratic means. It is in the public square that deeply held convictions and differing opinions
should be distilled and deliberated upon. The OSG argues that since there has been neither prior
restraint nor subsequent punishment imposed on Ang Ladlad, and its members have not been
deprived of their right to voluntarily associate, then there has been no restriction on their freedom
of expression or association. The Court said that the moral objection offered by the COMELEC
was not a limitation imposed by law. Thus it held: “To the extent, therefore, that the petitioner
has been precluded, because of COMELEC’s action, from publicly expressing its views as a
political party and participating on an equal basis in the political process with other equally-
qualified party-list candidates, we find that there has, indeed, been a transgression of petitioner’s
fundamental rights.”

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Note: In a later decision penned by Chief Justice Sereno, the Court qualified who may accredited
as a party list in the sense the same is no longer limited to the marginalized sector; and a party
list which does not meet the 10% vote will lose its accreditation.

Macquiling v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 195649, July 2, 2013, supra

D. Commission on Audit with public accountability in so far as public funds are concerned

Composition and qualifications (Art. IX, D, Sec. 1(1), Art. VII, Sec. 13, par. 2)

Appointment and term of Commissioners (Art. IX, D, Sec. 1(2))

Appointment of COA personnel (Art. IX, A, Sec. 4)

Power and functions (Art. IX, D, Sec. 2, Sec. 3, Art. VI, Sec. 20)

DBP v. COA, 373 SCRA 356: A government entity may engage the services of a private auditing
firm if the said government entity’s funds consist of loan proceeds from an international funding
agency like the World Bank. Such loan agreement shall be governed by the terms and conditions
agreed upon by the parties and that may include the audit of funds by an external auditor other
the COA. (You may relate this also to the provision on adoption of generally accepted principles
in International Law).

Ramon R. Yap vs. Commission on Audit, G.R. No. 158562, April 23, 2010. COA is the guardian
of public funds. COA is not merely legally permitted, but is also duty-bound to make its own
assessment of the merits of the disallowed disbursement and not simply restrict itself to
reviewing the validity of the ground relied upon by the auditor of the government agency
concerned. To hold otherwise would render COA’s vital constitutional power unduly limited and
thereby useless and ineffective.
E. Prohibited Offices and Interests
Disqualifications (Art. IX, A, Sec. 2): not to hold any other office or employment, no practice of
profession; nor active management or control of business in conflict with functions of his office,
no direct or indirect financial interest in any contract or franchise granted by government.
F. Jurisdiction of Each Commission
1. Civil Service Commission: Sec. 3, Art. IX B
2. Commission on Elections: Sec. 3, Art. IX C
3. Commission on Audit: Sec. 2, Art. IX D
E. Review of Final Orders, Resolutions and Decisions: (Art. IX, A, Sec. 7)

F. Removal by Impeachment (Art. XI, Sec. 2)

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