Case Digest Chapter 7

Case Digest for Chapter 7, constitutional law 1
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  PELAEZ VS AUDITOR   In   1964, President Ferdinand Marcos   issued executive orders creating 33 municipalities – this was purportedly pursuant to Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code which provides in part: The President may by executive order define the boundary… of any…   municipality…   and may change the seat of government within any subdivision to such place therein as the public welfare may require… The then Vice President, Emmanuel Pelaez, as   a taxpayer, filed a special civil action to prohibit the auditor general from disbursing funds to be appropriated for the said municipalities. Pelaez claims that the EOs were unconstitutional. He said that Section 68 of the RAC had been impliedly repealed by Section 3 of RA 2370 which provides that barrios may “not be created or their boundaries altered nor their names changed” except by Act of Congress. Pelaez argues: “If the President, under this new law, cannot even create a barrio, how can he create a municipality which is composed of several barrios, since barrios are units of municipalities?” The Auditor General countered that there was no repeal and that only barrios were barred from being created by the President. Municipalities are exempt from the bar and that a municipality can be created without creating barrios.   He further maintains that through Sec. 68 of the RAC, Congress has delegated such power to create municipalities to the President. ISSUE: Whether or not Congress has delegated the power to create barrios to the President by virtue of Sec. 68 of the RAC. HELD: No. There was no delegation here.   Although Congress may delegate to another branch of the government the power to fill in the details in the execution, enforcement or administration of a law, it is essential, to forestall a violation of the principle of separation of powers, that said law: (a) be complete in itself — it must set forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate   — and (b) fix a standard — the limits of which are sufficiently determinate or determinable — to which the delegate must conform in the performance of his functions. In this case, Sec. 68 lacked any such standard. Indeed, without a statutory declaration of policy, the delegate would, in effect, make or formulate such policy, which is the essence of every law; and, without the aforementioned standard, there would be no means to determine, with reasonable certainty, whether the delegate has acted within or beyond the scope of his authority. Further, although Sec. 68 provides the qualifying clause “as the public welfare may require” – which would mean that the President may exercise such power   as the public welfare may require – is present, still, such will not replace the standard needed for a proper delegation of power. In the first place, what the phrase “as the public welfare may require” qualifies is the text which immediately precedes hence, the proper interpretation is “the President   may change the seat of government within any subdivision to such place therein as the public welfare may require.” Only the seat of government may be changed by the President when public welfare so requires and NOT the creation of municipality. The Supreme Court declared that   the power to create municipalities is essentially and eminently legislative in character not administrative (not executive).  ARANETA VS DINGLASAN  Antonio Araneta is being charged for allegedly    violating of Executive Order 62 which regulates rentals for houses and lots for residential buildings. Judge Rafael Dinglasan was the judge hearing the case. Araneta appealed seeking to prohibit Dinglasan  and the Fiscal from proceeding with the case. He averred that EO 62 was issued by virtue of Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 671 which he claimed ceased to exist, hence, the EO has no legal basis. Three   other cases were consolidated with this one. L-3055 which is an appeal by Leon Ma. Guerrero, a shoe exporter, against EO 192 which controls exports in the Philippines; he is seeking to have permit issued to him. L-3054 is filed by Eulogio Rodriguez to prohibit the treasury from disbursing funds [from ’49-‘50] pursuant to EO 225. L-3056 filed by Antonio Barredo is attacking EO 226 which was appropriating funds to hold the national elections. They all aver that CA 671, otherwise known as AN ACT DECLARING A STATE OF TOTAL EMERGENCY AS A RESULT OF WAR INVOLVING THE PHILIPPINES AND AUTHORIZING THE PRESIDENT TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO MEET SUCH EMERGENCY or simply the Emergency Powers Act, is already inoperative and that all EOs issued pursuant to said CA had likewise ceased. ISSUE: Whether or not CA 671 has ceased. HELD: Yes.   CA 671, which granted emergency powers to the president, became inoperative ex proprio vigore  when Congress met in regular session on May 25, 1946, and that Executive Orders Nos. 62, 192, 225 and 226 were issued without authority of law. In setting the first regular session of Congress instead of the first special session which preceded it as the point of expiration of the Act, the SC is giving effect to the purpose and intention of the National Assembly. In a special session, the Congress may “consider general legislation or only such subjects as he (President) may designate.” Such acts were to be good only up to the corresponding dates of adjournment of the following sessions of the Legislature, “unless sooner amended or repealed by the National Assembly.” Even if war continues to rage on, new legislation must be made and approved in order to continue the EPAs, otherwise it is lifted upon reconvening or upon early repeal. PEOPLE VS VERA In 1934, Mariano Cu Unjieng was convicted in a criminal case filed against him by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).   In 1936, he filed for probation. The matter was referred to the Insular Probation Office which recommended the denial of Cu Unjieng’s petition for probation. A hearing was set by Judge Jose Vera concerning the petition for probation. The Prosecution opposed the petition. Eventually, due to delays in the hearing, the Prosecution filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court alleging that courts like the Court of First Instance of Manila (which is presided over by Judge Vera) have no jurisdiction to place accused like Cu Unjieng under probation because under the law (Act No. 4221 or The Probation Law), probation   is only meant to be applied in provinces with probation officers; that the City of Manila is not a province, and that Manila, even if construed as a province, has no designated probation officer – hence, a Manila court cannot grant probation. Meanwhile, HSBC also filed its own comment on the matter alleging that Act 4221 is unconstitutional for it violates the constitutional guarantee on equal protection of the laws. HSBC averred that the said law makes it the prerogative of provinces whether or nor to apply the probation law – if a province chooses to apply the probation law, then it will appoint a probation officer, but if it will not, then no probation officer will be appointed – hence, that makes it violative of the equal protection clause. Further, HSBC averred that the Probation Law is an undue delegation of power because it gave the option to the provincial board to whether or not to apply the probation law  – however, the legislature did not provide guidelines to be followed by the provincial board. Further still, HSBC averred that the Probation Law is an encroachment of the executive’s power to grant pardon. They say that the legislature, by providing for a probation law, had in effect encroached upon the executive’s power to grant pardon. (Ironically, the Prosecution agreed with the issues raised by HSBC – ironic because their main stance was the non-applicability of the probation law only in Manila while recognizing its application in provinces). For his part, one of the issues raised by Cu Unjieng is that, the Prosecution, representing the State as well as the People of the Philippines, cannot question the validity of a law, like Act 4221, which the State itself created. Further, Cu Unjieng also castigated the fiscal of Manila who himself had used the Probation Law in the past without question but is now questioning the validity of the said law (estoppel). ISSUE:   1. May the State question its own laws? 2. Is Act 4221 constitutional? HELD:  1. Yes. There is no law which prohibits the State, or its duly authorized representative, from questioning the validity of a law. Estoppel will also not lie against the State even if it had been using an invalid law. 2. No, Act 4221 or the [old] Probation Law is unconstitutional. Violation of the Equal Protection Clause  The contention of HSBC and the Prosecution is well taken on this note. There is violation of the equal protection clause.   Under Act 4221, provinces were given the option to apply the law by simply providing for a probation officer. So if a province decides not to install a probation officer, then the accused within said province will be unduly deprived of the provisions of the Probation Law. Undue Delegation of Legislative Power   There is undue delegation of legislative power. Act 4221 provides that it shall only apply to provinces where the respective provincial boards have provided for a probation officer. But nowhere in the law did it state as to what standard (sufficient standard test) should provincial boards follow in determining whether or not to apply the probation law in their province. This only creates a roving commission which will act arbitrarily according to its whims. Encroachment of Executive Power   Though Act 4221 is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court recognized the power of Congress to provide for probation. Probation does not encroach upon the President’s power to grant pardon. Probation is not pardon. Probation is within the power of Congress to fix penalties while pardon is a power of the president to commute penalties. RODRIGUEZ VS GELLA Eulogio Rodriguez et al seek to invalidate Executive Orders 545 and 546 issued in 1952, the first appropriating the sum of P37,850,500 for urgent and essential public works, and the second setting aside the sum of P11,367,600 for relief in the provinces and cities visited by typhoons, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic action and other calamities. They sought to have Vicente Gella, then National Treasurer, be enjoined from releasing funds pursuant to said EOs. These EO’s were pursuant to Commonwealth Act 671. Note that prior to  Araneta vs Dinglasan , Congress passed House Bill 727 intending to revoke CA 671 but the same was vetoed by the President due to the Korean War and his perception that war is still subsisting as a fact. Note also that CA 671 was already  declared inoperative by the Supreme Court in the same case of  Araneta vs Dinglasan . ISSUE: Whether or not the EO’s are valid. HELD: No.   As similarly decided in the  Araneta  case, the EO’s issued in pursuant to CA 671 shall be rendered ineffective. The president did not invoke any actual emergencies or calamities emanating from the last world war for which CA 671 has been intended. Without such invocation, the veto of the president cannot be of merit for the emergency he feared cannot be attributed to the war contemplated in CA 671. Even if the president vetoed the repealing bill the intent of Congress must be given due weight. For it would be absurd to contend otherwise. For “while Congress might delegate its power by a simple majority, it might not be able to recall them except by two-third vote. In other words, it would be easier for Congress to delegate its powers than to take them back. This is not right and is not, and ought not to be the law.”   Act No. 671 may be likened to an ordinary contract of agency, whereby the consent of the agent is necessary only in the sense that he cannot be compelled to accept the trust, in the same way that the principal cannot be forced to keep the relation in eternity or at the will of the agent. Neither can it be suggested that the agency created under the Act is coupled with interest.
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