MIDTERM EXAMINATION, FIRST YEAR
Instruction: Answer the questions briefly and concisely. Always support your answer with reasons or legal basis, otherwise it earns no points.
PART I. BASIC QUESTIONS (5 points each)
1.The Judiciary is an independent and co-equal body with the two other main departments of government. What are the safeguards under the constitution to maintain its independence? Give at least five of these safeguards.
ANSWER: 1.The Supreme Court is a constitutional body. It cannot be abolished nor may its membership or the manner of its meetings be changed by mere legislation. 2. The members of the judiciary are not subject to confirmation by the CA 3.The members of the Supreme Court may not be removed except by impeachment 4.The Supreme Court may not be deprived of its original appellate jurisdiction as prescribed in Art. X, sec. 5 of the Constitution. 5.The appellate jurisdiction of the SC may not be increased by law without its advice and concurrence 6.The SC has administrative supervision over all lower courts and their personnel 7.The SC has exclusive power to discipline judges of the lower courts 8.The members of the Supreme Court and all lower courts have security of tenure which canot be undermned by law reorganizing the judiciary.9.They shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions 10.Their salaries may not be reduced during the continuance in office 11.The judiciary enjoys fiscal autonomy 12.The Supreme Court alone may initiate rules of court.
2.It is provided in Art. VIII, Sec. 14 that “No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based”. State the exceptions to this constitutional provision.
ANSWER:1.This rule is applicable only to a decision,which is described as a judgment rendered after the presentation of proof or on the basis of the stipulation of facts. Mere orders are not covered since they dispose of only incidents of the case, such as postponements of th trial, except a dismissal on the merits. 2.A minute resolution disposing a petition for habeas corpus, certiorari and mandamus is not covered by this provision; or orders of the trial court resolving incidental matters 3.it does not aply to administrative cases decided by the Supreme Court 4. not also applicable to the decisions of the COMELEC and of the military tribunals which are not courts of justice.
3.State the limitations on the rule making power of the Supreme Court.
ANSWER:1.The rules must be uniform for all courts of the same grade 2.The rules must not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.
4.State the constitutional commissions. What are some of the guarantees prescribed in the Constitution to ensure their independence? State at least five.
ANSWER: coa, comelec and csc. 1.These bodies are created by the Constitution and may not be abolished by statute. 2.Each is described by the Const. as independent 3.each is conferred certainpowers and functions which cannot be withdrawn or reduced by statute 3.the chair and members may not be removed from office except by impeachment 4.givenfarily long terms 5. terms are staggered in such a way as to lessen the opportunity of for appointment of the majority of the body by the same president 6. may not be appointed or reappointed in an acting capacity 7salaries are high and cannot be decreased during the continuance in office 9,enjoy fiscal autonomy 10.promulgateits own rules 11.subject to certain inhibitions and disqualifications calculated to strengthen their integrity 12. allowed to appoint their own officials and employees in accordance with CSC rules.
5.State the composition and qualifications of the COMELEC.
ANSWER: CHAIRMAN AND 6 COMMISSIONERS; natural born; at least 35 years old, holders of college degree; must not have been candidates for any elective position in theimmediately precedng elections; majority thereof, including chair, must be members of the bar, engaged in the practice oflaw for at least tenyears.
6.State the function and composition of the Commission on Appointments.
ANSWER:The CA is the body charged for the confirmation of appointments made by the president. It is composed of the Senate Pres. as chair, 12 senators and 12 congressmen as members.
7.What are public funds? Where are they deposited? How are they released? What is the duty of the COA with respect to these public funds?
Answer: Public funds are derived mainly from taxes, fines and loans contracted by the government. All collections are to be turned over to the national treasury and accounted for in accordance with law and regulations. That COA sees to it that this duty is duly perfomed by the officers receiving these collections. Once these funds are deposited with the treasury they cannot be released except in pursuance of an appropiration made by law. This law may come from the Constitution itself or from the Congress.In the absence of such apropriation it is the duty of the COA to refuse to approve the disbursement of funds.
8.What is impeachment? Who are the impeachable officers under the 1987 Constitution? What are the grounds?
ANSWER: Impeachment is a method of national inquest into the conduct of public men; an extraordinary means of removal exercised by the legislature over selected number of officials, the prupose being to ensure the highest care in the indictment and conviction, theimposition of special penalties in case of a finding of guilt, taking into account the degree or nature of the offense committed and the high status of the wrongdoer. The impeachable officers are: Pres, Vice-Pres, members of the Supreme Court, members of the const. Commissions, ombudsman and the members of the Sandiganbayan. Grounds are: culpable violation of the constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.
9.Make a comparison of the Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman with respect to its function and composition.
ANSWER: The SANDIGANBAYAN is an antigraft court, which has jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases involving graft and corrupt practices and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees including those in the government owned or controlled corporatins in relation to their office as may be determined by law. IT consists of a presiding justice and eight associate justices (and sits in divisions of three).
The OMBUDSMAN IS NOT A COURT, but a prosecutory officer, a protector of the people, who shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner aginst public officials or employees of the govt., or nay subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, including GOCC,; functins are outlined in Sec. 13 of Art. XI.
10.Distinguish amendment from revision. Can the people thru initiative propose a revision of the constitution? If so, what is the required percent of the total registered voters and percent requirement per legislative district?
ANSWER: Amendment is a piecemeal change of the constitution, referring only to a portion or certain provision. Revision is the change of the whole constitution itself. Amendment refers to an isolated or piecemeal change only as distiguished from revision, which is a revamp or rewriting of the whole instrument. The people cannot directly propose a revision but only an amendment.
PART II. PROBLEM SOLVING
1. Atty. Jose CRUZ is the Chairman of the COMELEC.He met an accident and died. Atty. Maria Diaz, one of the commissioners of the COMELEC was designated by the President of the Philippines as COMELEC Chair to occupy the vacancy. Is the act of the President valid?
ANSWER: Invalid.The president cannot designate,but can only appoint.The purpose there is not to destroy the independence of the COMELEC .(See. G.R. No. 93867 December 18, 1990SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR. vs. HAYDEE B. YORAC) “The Constitution provides for many safeguards to the independence of the Commission on Elections, foremost among which is the security of tenure of its members. That guaranty is not available to the respondent as Acting Chairman of the Commission on Elections by designation of the President of the Philippines.” “What is the power of the President of the Philippines to make the challenged designation in view of the status of the Commission on Elections as an independent constitutional body and the specific provision of Article IX-C, Section 1(2) of the Constitution that "(I)n no case shall any Member (of the Commission on Elections) be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity."
2. Manuel S. Pineda was employed with the Philippine National Oil Co.-Energy Development Corp. (PNOC-EDC), as subsidiary of the Philippine National Oil Co., from September 17, 1981, when he was hired as clerk, to January 26, 1989, when his employment was terminated. The events leading to his dismissal from his job are not disputed.
In November, 1987, while holding the position of Geothermal Construction Secretary, Engineering and Construction Department, at Tongonan Geothermal Project, Ormoc City, Pineda decided to run for councilor of the Municipality of Kananga, Leyte, in the local elections scheduled in January, 1988, and filed the corresponding certificate of candidacy for the position. Objection to Pineda's being a candidate while retaining his job in the PNOC-EDC was shortly thereafter registered by Mayor Arturo Cornejos of Kananga, Leyte. The mayor communicated with the PNOC-EDC thru Engr. Ernesto Patanao, Resident Manager, Tongonan Geothermal Project to express the view that Pineda could not actively participate in politics unless he officially resigned from PNOC-EDC. 1 Nothing seems to have resulted from this protest.
The local elections in Leyte, scheduled for January 1988, were reset to and held on February 1, 1988. Pineda was among the official candidates voted for, and eventually proclaimed elected to, the office of councilor. Some vacillation appears to have been evinced by Pineda at about this time. On February 8, 1988, he wrote to the COMELEC Chairman, expressing his desire to withdraw from the political contest on account of what he considered to be election irregularities; and on March 19, 1988, he wrote to the Secretary of Justice seeking legal opinion on the question, among others, of whether or not he was "considered automatically resigned upon . . . filing of . . . (his) certificate of candidacy," and whether or not, in case he was elected, he could "remain appointed to any corporate offspring of a government-owned or controlled corporation." Nevertheless, Pineda took his oath of office in June, 1988 as councilor-elect of the Municipality of Kananga, Leyte. And despite so qualifying as councilor, and assuming his duties as such, he continued working for PNOC-EDC as the latter's Geothermal Construction Secretary, Engineering and Construction Department, at Tongonan Geothermal Project, Ormoc City.
QUESTIONS: 1. Does the Civil Service Commission cover Pineda’s appointment? Explain.
2.Is he considered resigned from his employment with the PNOC when he filed his certificatet of candidacy? Explain.
Answer: The Civil Service Commission does not cove Pineda’s appointment it being that the PNOC as an agency doesnot possess an original charter.However he is covered by the provisions of the COMELEC, which provides that an employee who files his certificate of candidacy is considered resigned from his employment.( see G.R. No. 100947 May 31, 1993PNOC ENERGY DEV'T. CORP., ET AL. vs. NAT'L LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.).
When the Congress of the Philippines reviewed the Omnibus Election Code of 1985, in connection with its deliberations on and subsequent enactment of related and repealing legislation i.e., Republic Acts Numbered 7166: "An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and for Other Purposes" (effective November 26, 1991), 6646: "An Act Introducing Additional Reforms in the Electoral System and for Other Purposes" (effective January 5, 1988) and 6636: "An Act Resetting the Local Elections, etc., (effective November 6, 1987), it was no doubt aware that in light of Section 2 (1), Article IX of the 1987 Constitution: (a) government-owned or controlled corporations were of two (2) categories those with original charters, and those organized under the general law and (b) employees of these corporations were of two (2) kinds those covered by the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations because employed in corporations having original charters, and those not subject to Civil Service Law but to the Labor Code because employed in said corporations organized under the general law, or the Corporation Code. Yet Congress made no effort to distinguish between these two classes of government-owned or controlled corporations or their employees in the Omnibus Election Code or subsequent related statutes, particularly as regards the rule that any employee "in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy." 29
Be this as it may, it seems obvious to the Court that a government-owned or controlled corporation does not lose its character as such because not possessed of an original charter but organized under the general law. If a corporation's capital stock is owned by the Government, or it is operated and managed by officers charged with the mission of fulfilling the public objectives for which it has been organized, it is a government-owned or controlled corporation even if organized under the Corporation Code and not under a special statute; and employees thereof, even if not covered by the Civil Service but by the Labor Code, are nonetheless "employees in government-owned or controlled corporations," and come within the letter of Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, declaring them "ipso facto resigned from . . . office upon the filing of . . . (their) certificate of candidacy."
What all this imports is that Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code applies to officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, even those organized under the general laws on incorporation and therefore not having an original or legislative charter, and even if they do not fall under the Civil Service Law but under the Labor Code. In other words, Section 66 constitutes just cause for termination of employment in addition to those set forth in the Labor Code, as amended.”
3.The rules provide that in case of a judgment of the RTC imposing death as a penalty, the case shall be forwarded directly to the Supreme Court for automatice review. Can the Supreme Court change the rules and provide that in said cases, the matter should first be reviewed by the Court of Appeals? Explain your answer.
ANSWER: The Supreme Court can change the rules prusuant to its rule-making powers.( See PP. V. Mateo,)It has the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,pleading nad practice and procedure in all courts x x xwhich shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights [Art. VIII, Sec. 5 (50]
4. The petitioner, Alfredo Guieb and the private respondent, Manuel Asuncion, were candidates for the position of Punong Barangay of Barangay Nilombot, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, in the barangay election of 9 May 1994. After the canvass of votes in the said barangay, the former was proclaimed as the winning candidate. The latter then seasonably filed an election protest with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan.
On 27 May 1994, the MTC, per Judge Lilia C. Español, rendered a decision confirming the proclamation of the petitioner and dismissing the protest of the private respondent.
The private respondent appealed the decision to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City. The case was assigned to Branch 42 thereof.
In its decision of 31 August 1994, the RTC, per respondent Judge Luis M. Fontanilla, reversed the decision of the MTC, annulled the proclamation of the petitioner, and declared the private respondent as the winning candidate with a plurality of four votes over the petitioner.
After the petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the decision was denied on 25 November 1994, the private respondent immediately filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution.
In its order of 8 December 1994, 5 the RTC declared that the motion should be properly filed with the court of origin and that the decision of 31 August 1994 had already become final; it then ordered the remand of the records of the case to the MTC of Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, for proper disposition.
On 12 December 1994, the petitioner filed with this Court a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review on certiorari. On 29 December 1994, he sent by registered mail his petition, which this Court received only on 25 January 1995. It turned out, however, that his motion for extension of time to file a petition had already been denied on 4 January 1995 for his failure to submit an affidavit of service of that motion. On 8 February 1995, he filed a motion for the reconsideration of the denial.
Meanwhile, on 20 December 1994, the private respondent filed with the MTC a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution. 6
In its order of 19 January 1995, the MTC deferred action on the said motion and required the petitioner's counsel to inform the court of the status of his petition with this Court. For failure of the petitioner's counsel to comply with the said order, the court issued an order on 7 February 1995 granting the issuance of a writ of execution. On 13 February 1995, however, the court received the said counsel's Compliance dated 9 February 1995 9 wherein he informed the court of the petitioner's motion to reconsider this Court's resolution denying the motion for extension of time to file his petition.
In the resolution of 8 February 1995, this Court required the respondent to comment on the petition.
On 16 February 1995, the petitioner filed with the MTC an Urgent Motion to Stay and/or Suspend Execution. This motion was, however, denied on the ground that the writ, having been hand-carried by the private respondent to the office of the sheriff, must have already been implemented and, therefore, the motion to stay or suspend the same has become moot and academic.
On 20 March 1995, the sheriff returned the writ of execution with the information that in the presence of a barangay kagawad and barangay residents, he enforced the writ and proclaimed the private respondent as Punong Barangay of Barangay Nilombot, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan.
QUESTION 1.On the basis of the above facts, who should be the rightful punong barangay of Nilombot? Support your answer.
ANSWER: Alfredo Guieb is the rightful winner.The appeal to the RTC made by his opponent is erroneous, hence judgment infavor f Guieb has become final and executory.The appeal should have been made to the COMELEC and not to the RTC.( See. G.R. No. 118118 August 14, 1995ALFREDO GUIEB vs. LUIS M. FONTANILLA, ET AL.) The private respondent should have appealed the decision of the MTC to the COMELEC; the MTC should not have given due course to the appeal; and the RTC should have dismissed outright the appeal for want of jurisdiction.In accepting the appeal and deciding the case on its merits, the respondent judge manifested either ignorance or palpable disregard of the aforesaid constitutional provision and decision
5.Juan is the school administrator of the ZN Trade School.To evade the violation of nepotism, he asked his section head, Jose to recommend the appointment of his son Julius, as janitor of his office. Jose acceded, and the Civil Service Commission upon the recommendation of Jose, Industrial Arts Section head, approved the appointment.
a. Is the appointment of Julius valid?
b. What if Juan appoints his wife as Teacher II of the same school is the appointment valid?
ANSWER: The appointment of Julius is invalid as it is nepotic. However, the appointment of his wife as a teacher is valid, as an exception to the rules on nepotism.( G.R. No. 111471 September 26, 1994ROGELIO R. DEBULGADO vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION) he prohibitory norm against nepotism in the public service is set out in Section 59, Book V of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (also known as E.O. No. 292). Section 59 reads as follows:Sec. 59. Nepotism (1) All appointments in the national, provincial, city and municipal governments or in any branch or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, made in favor of a relative of the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of the bureau or office, or of the persons exercising immediate supervision over him, are hereby prohibited.
As used in this Section the word "relative" and members of the family referred to are those related within the third degree either of consanguinity or of affinity.(2) The following are exempted from the operation of the rules on nepotism: (a) persons employed in a confidential capacity, (b) teachers, (c) physicians, and (d) members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines: Provided, however, That in each particular instance full report of such appointment shall be made to the Commission.
The restriction mentioned in subsection (1) shall not be applicable to the case of a member of any family who, after his or her appointment to any position in an office or bureau, contracts marriage with someone in the same office or bureau, in which event the employment or retention therein of both husband and wife may be allowed.(3) In order to give immediate effect to these provisions, cases of previous appointment which are in contravention hereof shall be corrected by transfer and pending such transfer, no promotion or salary increase shall be allowed in favor of the relative or relatives who were appointed in violation of these provisions. (Emphasis supplied).Section 6 of Rule XVIII, of the "Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 and other Pertinent Civil Service Laws," issued on 27 December 1991, implementing, among other things, the abovequoted Section 59, provides as follows:Sec. 6. No appointments in the national, provincial, city and municipal government or in any branch or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters shall be made in favor of a relative of the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of the bureau or office, or of the persons exercising immediate supervision over the appointee.
Unless otherwise specifically provided by law, as used in this Section, the word "relative" and the members of the family referred to are those related within the third degree either of consanguinity or of affinity.The following are exempted from the operation of the rules on nepotism: (a) persons employed in a confidential capacity; (b) teachers; (c) physicians; (d) members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Provided, however, That in each particular instance full report of such appointment shall be made to the Commission.The restriction mentioned in the first paragraph of this Section shall not be applicable to the case of a member of any family who after his or her appointment to any position in an office or bureau, contracts marriage with someone in the same office or bureau, in which event the employment or retention therein of both husband and wife may be allowed.Cases of previous appointment which are in contravention hereof shall be corrected by transfer, and pending such transfer no promotion or salary increase shall be allowed in favor of the relative or relatives who were appointed in violation of these provisions. (Emphasis supplied)
6.The Municipality of Katipunan purchased some farm implements for the use of its farmers. The COA upon investigation found out that the plows purchased by it are overpriced. It also found out that there was an overstaffing and hiring of employees in its agriculture department.
It then disapproved the vouchers for the payment of overpriced farm implements and the release of salaries of overhired employees. Is it within COA’s power to make said disapprovals/disallowance?
ANSWER: It is within COA’s power to disapprove overpriced farm implements, but not to disapprove salaries of overhired employees. Distinctin should be made. In overpriced farm implements, COA can disapprove that pursuant to its powers to dsiapprove/disallow irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconsciounable expenditures [Art. 1X Sec. 2 (2)] In overhiring of employees however, it cannot do so, without necessarily interfering with the appointment prerogatives of the mayor. Its disallowance of salaries to said employees is interference to the appointing powers of the mayor, who is a part of the independent executive department of the government. The COA HAS NO DISCRETION OR AUTHORITY to disapprove payment on the ground that the aforementioned contract isunwise or tht the amount there on is unreasonable (Riel v. Wright 49 Phil. 195; Guevara v. Jimenez, 6 scra 813).To question the necessityof an appropriation is clearly beyond the jurisdiction of the COA.
7.Senator Pimentel the chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee in Senate discovered that the Chief of Staff of the Military committed an anomally when he bought a piece of land in General Santos City allegedly for military use. The price was allegedly overpriced to 200%. The seller is a certain Atty. Juan Cruz.
a. Senator Pimentel issued a subpoena to the Chief of Staff and to Atty. Cruz to appear before the Blue Ribbon Committee to answer some questions concerning said anomally. Can the two refuse to appear before said committee?
b. Meanwhile, the Ombudsman filed a case before the Sandiganbayan concerning the two persons concerned. Atty. Cruz now refused to appear before the Blue Ribbon Committee. Is he correct?
ANSWER: a. THE two cannot refuse to appear pursuant to the power of the Senate to investigate in aid of legislation. B. In this case Atty. Cruz can refuse to appear as the investigation of the Committee may interfere with the independence of the Sandiganbayan.
(G.R. No. 89914 November 20, 1991 JOSE F.S. BENGZON JR., ET. AL. vs. SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE) The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof provides:The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committee may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.
8. On February 2, 1999, the COMELEC en banc appointed petitioner as "Acting Director IV" of the EID. On February 15, 2000, then Chairperson Harriet O. Demetriou renewed the appointment of petitioner as Director IV of EID in a "Temporary" capacity. On February 15, 2001, Commissioner Rufino S.B. Javier renewed again the appointment of petitioner to the same position in a "Temporary" capacity.
On March 22, 2001, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed, ad interim, Benipayo as COMELEC Chairman, and Borra and Tuason as COMELEC Commissioners, each for a term of seven years and all expiring on February 2, 2008. Benipayo took his oath of office and assumed the position of COMELEC Chairman. Borra and Tuason likewise took their oaths of office and assumed their positions as COMELEC Commissioners. The Office of the President submitted to the Commission on Appointments on May 22, 2001 the ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason for confirmation. However, the Commission on Appointments did not act on said appointments.
On June 1, 2001, President Arroyo renewed the ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason to the same positions and for the same term of seven years, expiring on February 2, 2008. They took their oaths of office for a second time. The Office of the President transmitted on June 5, 2001 their appointments to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation.
Congress adjourned before the Commission on Appointments could act on their appointments. Thus, on June 8, 2001, President Macapagal Arroyo renewed again the ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason to the same positions. The Office of the President submitted their appointments for confirmation to the Commission on Appointments. They took their oaths of office anew.
In his capacity as COMELEC Chairman, Benipayo issued a Memorandum dated April 11, 2001 addressed to petitioner as Director IV of the EID and to Cinco as Director III also of the EID, designating Cinco Officer-in-Charge of the EID and reassigning petitioner to the Law Department. COMELEC EID Commissioner-in-Charge Mehol K. Sadain objected to petitioner’s reassignment in a Memorandum dated April 14, 2001 addressed to the COMELEC en banc. Specifically, Commissioner Sadain questioned Benipayos failure to consult the Commissioner-in-Charge of the EID in the reassignment of petitioner.
On April 16, 2001, petitioner requested Benipayo to reconsider her relief as Director IV of the EID and her reassignment to the Law Department. Petitioner cited Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 7 dated April 10, 2001, reminding heads of government offices that "transfer and detail of employees are prohibited during the election period beginning January 2 until June 13, 2001." Benipayo denied her request for reconsideration on April 18, 2001, citing COMELEC Resolution No. 3300 dated November 6, 2000, which states in part:
"NOW, THEREFORE, the Commission on Elections by virtue of the powers conferred upon it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code and other election laws, as an exception to the foregoing prohibitions, has RESOLVED, as it is hereby RESOLVED, to appoint, hire new employees or fill new positions and transfer or reassign its personnel, when necessary in the effective performance of its mandated functions during the prohibited period, provided that the changes in the assignment of its field personnel within the thirty-day period before election day shall be effected after due notice and hearing."
Petitioner appealed the denial of her request for reconsideration to the COMELEC en banc in a Memorandum dated April 23, 2001. Petitioner also filed an administrative and criminal complaint with the Law Department against Benipayo, alleging that her reassignment violated Section 261 (h) of the Omnibus Election Code, COMELEC Resolution No. 3258, Civil Service Memorandum Circular No. 07, s. 001, and other pertinent administrative and civil service laws, rules and regulations.
During the pendency of her complaint before the Law Department, petitioner filed the instant petition questioning the appointment and the right to remain in office of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason, as Chairman and Commissioners of the COMELEC, respectively. Petitioner claims that the ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason violate the constitutional provisions on the independence of the COMELEC, as well as on the prohibitions on temporary appointments and reappointments of its Chairman and members. Petitioner also assails as illegal her removal as Director IV of the EID and her reassignment to the Law Department. Simultaneously, petitioner challenges the designation of Cinco as Officer-in-Charge of the EID. Petitioner, moreover, questions the legality of the disbursements made by COMELEC Finance Services Department Officer-in-Charge Gideon C. De Guzman to Benipayo, Borra and Tuason by way of salaries and other emoluments.
In the meantime, on September 6, 2001, President Macapagal Arroyo renewed once again the ad interim appointments of Benipayo as COMELEC Chairman and Borra and Tuason as Commissioners, respectively, for a term of seven years expiring on February 2, 2008. They all took their oaths of office anew.
1. Whether or not the assumption of office by Benipayo, Borra and Tuason on the basis of the ad interim appointments issued by the President amounts to a temporary appointment prohibited by Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution;
2. Assuming that the first ad interim appointments and the first assumption of office by Benipayo, Borra and Tuason are legal, whether or not the renewal of their ad interim appointments and subsequent assumption of office to the same positions violate the prohibition on reappointment under Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution;
3. Whether or not Benipayo’s removal of petitioner from her position as Director IV of the EID and her reassignment to the Law Department is illegal and without authority, having been done without the approval of the COMELEC as a collegial body.
RESOLVE THE ABOVE ISSUES.
Answer: 1.An ad interim appointment is defined as an appointment extended by the president when congrees is not in session. It is a regular appointment and not a temporary one, because a person appointed on an ad interim status cannot be removed from office by the president. 2.A reappointment is not illegal, as it is still within the prerogatives of the appointing power of the president.3.The chairman of the Comelec has the power of appointment, reassignment and transfer of a COMELEC employee.
9. Pursuant to Art. X, §18 of the 1987 Constitution, Congress passed R.A. No. 6734, the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, calling for a plebiscite to be held in the provinces of Basilan, Cotobato, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Palawan, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga del Sur, and the cities of Cotabato, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa and Zamboanga. In the ensuing plebiscite held on November 16, 1989, four provinces voted in favor of creating an autonomous region. These are the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. In accordance with the constitutional provision, these provinces became the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
On the other hand, with respect to provinces and cities not voting in favor of the Autonomous Region, Art. XIX, § 13 of R.A. No. 6734 provides,
That only the provinces and cities voting favorably in such plebiscites shall be included in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The provinces and cities which in the plebiscite do not vote for inclusion in the Autonomous Region shall remain in the existing administrative regions. Provided, however, that the President may, by administrative determination, merge the existing regions.
Pursuant to the authority granted by this provision, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued on October 12, 1990 Executive Order No. 429, "providing for the Reorganization of the Administrative Regions in Mindanao." Under this Order, as amended by E.O. No. 439
(1) Misamis Occidental, at present part of Region X, will become part of Region IX.
(2) Oroquieta City, Tangub City and Ozamiz City, at present parts of Region X will become parts of Region IX.
(3) South Cotobato, at present a part of Region XI, will become part of Region XII.
(4) General Santos City, at present part of Region XI, will become part of Region XII.
(5) Lanao del Norte, at present part of Region XII, will become part of Region IX.
(6) Iligan City and Marawi City, at present part of Region XII, will become part of Region IX.
Petitioners in G.R. No. 96754 are, or at least at the time of the filing of their petition, members of Congress representing various legislative districts in South Cotobato, Zamboanga del Norte, Basilan, Lanao del Norte and Zamboanga City. On November 12, 1990, they wrote then President Aquino protesting E.O. No. 429. They contended that
There is no law which authorizes the President to pick certain provinces and cities within the existing regions some of which did not even take part in the plebiscite as in the case of the province of Misamis Occidental and the cities of Oroquieta, Tangub and Ozamiz and restructure them to new administrative regions. On the other hand, the law (Sec. 13, Art. XIX, R.A. 6734) is specific to the point, that is, that "the provinces and cities which in the plebiscite do not vote for inclusion in the Autonomous Region shall remain in the existing administrative regions."
The transfer of the provinces of Misamis Occidental from Region X to Region IX; Lanao del Norte from Region XII to Region IX, and South Cotobato from Region XI to Region XII are alterations of the existing structures of governmental units, in other words, reorganization. This can be gleaned from Executive Order No. 429, thus
Whereas, there is an urgent need to reorganize the administrative regions in Mindanao to guarantee the effective delivery of field services of government agencies taking into consideration the formation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
With due respect to Her Excellency, we submit that while the authority necessarily includes the authority to merge, the authority to merge does not include the authority to reorganize. Therefore, the President's authority under RA 6734 to "merge existing regions" cannot be construed to include the authority to reorganize them. To do so will violate the rules of statutory construction.
The transfer of regional centers under Executive Order 429 is actually a restructuring (reorganization) of administrative regions. While this reorganization, as in Executive Order 429, does not affect the apportionment of congressional representatives, the same is not valid under the penultimate paragraph of Sec. 13, Art. XIX of R.A. 6734 and Ordinance appended to the 1986 Constitution apportioning the seats of the House of Representatives of Congress of the Philippines to the different legislative districts in provinces and cities.
As their protest went unheeded, while Inauguration Ceremonies of the New Administrative Region IX were scheduled on January 26, 1991, petitioners brought this suit for certiorari and prohibition.
On the other hand, the petitioner in G.R. No. 96673, Immanuel Jaldon, is a resident of Zamboanga City, who is suing in the capacity of taxpayer and citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.
Petitioners in both cases contend that Art. XIX, §13 of R.A. No. 6734 is unconstitutional because (1) it unduly delegates legislative power to the President by authorizing him to "merge [by administrative determination] the existing regions" or at any rate provides no standard for the exercise of the power delegated and (2) the power granted is not expressed in the title of the law.
In addition, petitioner in G.R. No. 96673 challenges the validity of E.O. No. 429 on the ground that the power granted by Art. XIX, §13 to the President is only to "merge regions IX and XII" but not to reorganize the entire administrative regions in Mindanao and certainly not to transfer the regional center of Region IX from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City.
QUESTIONS: 1. Given the set of facts, is it within the power of the President to merge administrative regions, transfer regional seats? Explain.
2.Discuss the validity/invalidity of the issues raised by petitioner Jaldon.
ANSWER: It is within the prerogatives of the administrative powers of the president to merge administrative regions and transfer regional seats. The prohibition refers to political subdivisions not admistrative one(G.R. No. 96754June 22, 1995JAMES L. CHIONGBIAN, ET AL. vs. OSCAR M. ORBOS, ET AL.) Thus the creation and subsequent reorganization of administrative regions have been by the President pursuant to authority granted to him by law. In conferring on the President the power "to merge [by administrative determination] the existing regions" following the establishment of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Congress merely followed the pattern set in previous legislation dating back to the initial organization of administrative regions in 1972. The choice of the President as delegate is logical because the division of the country into regions is intended to facilitate not only the administration of local governments but also the direction of executive departments, which the law requires should have regional offices. As this Court observed in Abbas, "while the power to merge administrative regions is not expressly provided for in the Constitution, it is a power which has traditionally been lodged with the President to facilitate the exercise of the power of general supervision over local governments [see Art. X, §4 of the Constitution]." The regions themselves are not territorial and political divisions like provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays but are "mere groupings of contiguous provinces for administrative purposes." 7 The power conferred on the President is similar to the power to adjust municipal boundaries 8 which has been described in Pelaez v. Auditor General 9 or as "administrative in nature."
There is, therefore, no abdication by Congress of its legislative power in conferring on the President the power to merge administrative regions. The question is whether Congress has provided a sufficient standard by which the President is to be guided in the exercise of the power granted and whether in any event the grant of power to him is included in the subject expressed in the title of the law.
First, the question of standard. A legislative standard need not be expressed. It may simply be gathered or implied. 10 Nor need it be found in the law challenged because it may be embodied in other statutes on the same subject as that of the challenged legislation. 11
With respect to the power to merge existing administrative regions, the standard is to be found in the same policy underlying the grant to the President in R.A. No. 5435 of the power to reorganize the Executive Department, to wit: "to promote simplicity, economy and efficiency in the government to enable it to pursue programs consistent with national goals for accelerated social and economic development and to improve the service in the transaction of the public business." 12 Indeed, as the original eleven administrative regions were established in accordance with this policy, it is logical to suppose that in authorizing the President to "merge [by administrative determination] the existing regions" in view of the withdrawal from some of those regions of the provinces now constituting the Autonomous Region, the purpose of Congress was to reconstitute the original basis for the organization of administrative regions.
Nor is Art. XIX, §13 susceptible to charge that its subject is not embraced in the title of R.A. No. 6734. The constitutional requirement that "every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof" 13 has always been given a practical rather than a technical construction. The title is not required to be an index of the content of the bill. It is a sufficient compliance with the constitutional requirement if the title expresses the general subject and all provisions of the statute are germane to that subject. 14 Certainly the reorganization of the remaining administrative regions is germane to the general subject of R.A. No. 6734, which is the establishment of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Finally, it is contended that the power granted to the President is limited to the reorganization of administrative regions in which some of the provinces and cities which voted in favor of regional autonomy are found, because Art. XIX, §13 provides that those which did not vote for autonomy "shall remain in the existing administrative regions." More specifically, petitioner in G.R. No. 96673 claims:
The questioned Executive Order No. 429 distorted and, in fact, contravened the clear intent of this provision by moving out or transferring certain political subdivisions (provinces/cities) out of their legally designated regions. Aggravating this unacceptable or untenable situation is EO No. 429's effecting certain movements on areas which did not even participate in the November 19, 1989 plebiscite. The unauthorized action of the President, as effected by and under the questioned EO No. 429, is shown by the following dispositions: (1) Misamis Occidental, formerly of Region X and which did not even participate in the plebiscite, was moved from said Region X to Region IX; (2) the cities of Ozamis, Oroquieta, and Tangub, all formerly belonging to Region X, which likewise did not participate in the said plebiscite, were transferred to Region IX; (3) South Cotobato, from Region XI to Region XII; (4) General Santos City: from Region XI to Region XII; (5) Lanao del Norte, from Region XII to Region IX; and (6) the cities of Marawi and Iligan from Region XII to Region IX. All of the said provinces and cities voted "NO", and thereby rejected their entry into the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as provided under RA No. 6734. 15
The contention has no merit. While Art. XIX, §13 provides that "The provinces and cities which do not vote for inclusion in the Autonomous Region shall remain in the existing administrative regions," this provision is subject to the qualification that "the President may by administrative determination merge the existing regions." This means that while non-assenting provinces and cities are to remain in the regions as designated upon the creation of the Autonomous Region, they may nevertheless be regrouped with contiguous provinces forming other regions as the exigency of administration may require.
The regrouping is done only on paper. It involves no more than are definition or redrawing of the lines separating administrative regions for the purpose of facilitating the administrative supervision of local government units by the President and insuring the efficient delivery of essential services. There will be no "transfer" of local governments from one region to another except as they may thus be regrouped so that a province like Lanao del Norte, which is at present part of Region XII, will become part of Region IX.
The regrouping of contiguous provinces is not even analogous to a redistricting or to the division or merger of local governments, which all have political consequences on the right of people residing in those political units to vote and to be voted for. It cannot be overemphasized that administrative regions are mere groupings of contiguous provinces for administrative purposes, not for political representation.
Petitioners nonetheless insist that only those regions, in which the provinces and cities which voted for inclusion in the Autonomous Region are located, can be "merged" by the President.
To be fundamental reason Art. XIX, §13 is not so limited. But the more fundamental reason is that the President's power cannot be so limited without neglecting the necessities of administration. It is noteworthy that the petitioners do not claim that the reorganization of the regions in E.O. No. 429 is irrational. The fact is that, as they themselves admit, the reorganization of administrative regions in E.O. No. 429 is based on relevant criteria, to wit: (1) contiguity and geographical features; (2) transportation and communication facilities; (3) cultural and language groupings; (4) land area and population; (5) existing regional centers adopted by several agencies; (6) socio-economic development programs in the regions and (7) number of provinces and cities.
What has been said above applies to the change of the regional center from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City. Petitioners contend that the determination of provincial capitals has always been by act of Congress. But as, this Court said in Abbas, 16 administrative regions are mere "groupings of contiguous provinces for administrative purposes, . . . [They] are not territorial and political subdivisions like provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays." There is, therefore, no basis for contending that only Congress can change or determine regional centers. To the contrary, the examples of P.D. Nos. 1, 742, 773 and 1555 suggest that the power to reorganize administrative regions carries with it the power to determine the regional center.
It may be that the transfer of the regional center in Region IX from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City may entail the expenditure of large sums of money for the construction of buildings and other infrastructure to house regional offices. That contention is addressed to the wisdom of the transfer rather than to its legality and it is settled that courts are not the arbiters of the wisdom or expediency of legislation. In any event this is a question that we will consider only if fully briefed and upon a more adequate record than that presented by petitioners.
10. Upon his assumption to the position of Mayor of Pagbilao, Quezon, petitioner Conrado L. de Rama wrote a letter dated July 13, 1995 to the Civil Service Commission (or CSC), seeking the recall of the appointments of fourteen (14) municipal employees.Petitioner de Rama justified his recall request on the allegation that the appointments of the said employees were "midnight" appointments of the former mayor, Ma. Evelyn S. Abeja, done in violation of Article VII, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides:
Section 15. Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.
While the matter was pending before the CSC, three of the above-named employees, namely: Elsa Marino, Morell Ayala, and Flordeliza Oriazel, filed with the CSC a claim for payment of their salaries, alleging that although their appointments were declared permanent by Conrado Gulim, Director II of the CSC Field Office based in Quezon, petitioner de Rama withheld the payment of their salaries and benefits pursuant to Office Order No. 95-01, which was issued on June 30, 1995, wherein the appointments of the said fourteen (14) employees were recalled.
Based on the documents submitted by Marino, Ayala and Oriazel, the Legal and Quasi-Judicial Division of the CSC issued an Order finding that since the claimants-employees had assumed their respective positions and performed their duties pursuant to their appointments, they are therefore entitled to receive the salaries and benefits appurtenant to their positions. Citing Rule V, Section 10 of the Omnibus Rules which provides, in part, that "if the appointee has assumed the duties of the position, he shall be entitled to receive his salary at once without awaiting the approval of his appointment by the Commission," the CSC Legal and Quasi-Judicial Division ruled that the said employees cannot be deprived of their salaries and benefits by the unilateral act of the newly-assumed mayor.
On April 30, 1996, the CSC denied petitioner's request for the recall of the appointments of the fourteen employees, for lack of merit. The CSC upheld the validity of the appointments on the ground that they had already been approved by the Head of the CSC Field Office in Lucena City, and for petitioner's failure to present evidence that would warrant the revocation or recall of the said appointments.
QUESTION: IS THE ACT OF THE CSC VALID? EXPLAIN YOUR ANSWER.CITE APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE.
ANSWER: The act of the CSC is valid. THE PROHIBITION concerning midnight appointments applies only to presidential appointments not to appointments made by the LGU’s.
END OF THE EXAMINATION