Essay About Philippines Government And Constitution

THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT

This paper discusses the three departments of the Philippine Government (legislative, executive, and judicial department) and three Constitutional Commissions, the principles and doctrines underlying their structure and composition, and their respective roles, powers, and functions. The paper basically discusses the Constitution of Government.

At the end of the discussion, the students must be able to:

1. Explain the basic political law doctrines involving the Philippine Government;

2. Explain and distinguish the three branches of the government;

3. Identify and compare the respective roles, functions and composition of the branches of the government; and

4. Explain and distinguish the powers, functions, and jurisdiction of the three Constitutional Commissions.

 

PRELIMINARIES

1. Definition of Government. Government has been defined as that institution or collection of institutions through which a sovereign society makes and implements law which enable men to live with each other or which are imposed upon the people forming the society by those who have the authority of prescribing them.
2. Definition of “Government of the Republic of the Philippines.” Under Section 2(1) of the Administrative Code of the Philippines, the “Government of the Republic of the Philippines” is defined as “the corporate governmental entity through which the functions of government are exercised throughout the Philippines, including, save as the contrary appears from the context, the various arms through which political authority is made effective in the Philippines, whether pertaining to the autonomous regions, the provincial, city, municipal, or barangay subdivisions, or other forms of local government.” In other words, it refers to the corporate institution which acts as an instrument through which the people exercise their sovereignty. It is composed of the central or national government and local government units.
3. Overview of the Structure of the Philippine Government. As provided in Article II of the Constitution, the Philippine Government is democratic and republican. It follows the separation of powers, so that as provided in Articles VI, VII and VIII, it divides itself into three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Although these branches have their own particular powers and functions, they form only one coherent government with a common purpose. Independent Constitutional Commissions were also created as constitutional safeguards for the other aspects of governance in the Philippines, such as audit of public funds, conduct of elections, and maintenance of civil service. The intricacies of Philippine bureaucracy are laid down in the Constitution of Government, which will be discussed below.

 

SEPARATION OF POWERS

Meaning of the Doctrine

The Doctrine of Separation of Powers entails: first, the division of the powers of the government into three, which are legislative, executive, and judicial; and second, the distribution of these powers to the three major branches of the government, which are the Legislative Department, Executive Department, and the Judicial Department. Basically, it means that the Legislative Department is generally limited to the enactment of the law and not to implementation or interpretation of the same; the Executive Department is generally limited to the implementation of the law and not to the enactment or interpretation of the same; and the Judicial Department is generally limited to the interpretation and application of laws in specific cases and not to the making or implementation of the same.

Purpose of the Doctrine
Prevention of Monopoly of Power. Separation of powers is said to be an attribute of republicanism, in that, among other reasons, it seeks to prevent monopoly or concentration of power to one person or group of persons, and thereby forestalls dictatorship or despotism. Sovereignty resides in the people, and it should remain that way. Government officials, who are the representatives of the people, must exercise the powers of their office in the interest of the public. While representational exercise of power brings out the essence of republicanism, too much concentration of power rips it apart, as was experienced some administrations.
Separation not Exclusive
Important to understand is the meaning of “separation” not as exclusivity but as “collaboration.” While each of the Departments exercises its respective power, it does so in collaboration with the other Departments because in the end they all belong to one unified government with a common purpose. Appointment, for example, of Members of the Supreme Court by the President must be upon the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council. In here before the President, who belongs to the executive branch, appoint a Supreme Court justice, a recommendation must first be given to him by the JBC, which is an independent body in the judiciary. Another example would be the use of public funds. In here, the President prepares the budget, on the basis of which the Congress enacts an appropriations bill which will then be submitted and approved by the President.

Checks and Balances

From the examples above one can understand the corollary doctrine of “checks and balances.” Under the doctrine, there is no absolute separation of the three branches of the government, but to maintain their coequality each department checks the power of the others. Generally, the departments cannot encroach each others’ power, but constitutional mechanisms allow each one of them to perform acts that would check the power of others to prevent monopoly, concentration, and abuse of power. For example, the Judicial and Bar Council recommends nominees to the President so that the latter will not capriciously appoint someone whom he can easily convert into a puppet and thereby become his medium to control the judiciary. In the same way, the disbursement of public funds cannot depend solely upon the discretion of the President, but must be based on legislation by the Congress.

Presidential System

The Philippines has a presidential form of government because it observes the principle of separation of powers. The ordinary connotation of presidential system is that it is headed by a president, as distinguished from a parliamentary system which is headed by a prime minister. The real essence, however, of the presidential system and that which distinguishes it from the parliamentary is its strict observance of the separation of powers. Under the presidential system, any governmental act in violation of the said doctrine is null and void. The government is divided into three branches and each is limited to the power delegated to it. On the contrary, under the parliamentary form, the legislative and executive branches are “coordinate branches” so that the two organs are fused together as one body performing both legislative and executive functions. The Prime Minister, for example, is chosen from among the lawmakers in the parliament to become the head of the state. His term is at the pleasure of the parliament, thus, making the executive branch intrinsically merged with the legislative.

THE LEGISLATURE AND THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

Legislative Power

1. Meaning. The word “legislative” is derived from the Latin “lex” which means “law.” In general, legislative power refers to the power to make and unmake laws. Laws are rules or collection of rules, whether written or unwritten, prescribed under the authority of a political society for the common good. The “Legislative Department” (Legislature) is the law-making branch of the government.
2. Delegation to the Congress. Fundamentally, legislative power is an attribute of sovereignty, in that the Constitution itself, the fundamental law of the State, is a legislation of the sovereign people. However, through the Constitution, the people “delegated” the legislative power to the Congress of the Philippines. Section 1, Article VI states that “Legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines…” The delegation of power entails a surrender of authority to the representatives, or in the case of legislative power, to the Congress. Thus, law-making can only be performed by the Congress, even if the law it enacts involves the people.
3. Reservation to the People. The Constitution, however, makes a reservation as to the delegation, in that it explicitly states: “… except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.” In other words, there is no complete delegation of law-making power to the Congress, as the power is reserved to the people in cases of initiative and referendum. Thus, laws are made or unmade, first, by the Congress in the form of “statutes,” and second, by the people in initiatives and referendums; legislative power is exercised by the Congress and the sovereign Filipino people.
4. Legislative Power as Exercised by Congress. Legislative power as exercised by Congress manifests itself more specifically in the Constitution as “power of appropriation,” “power of taxation,” and “power of concurrence.”
(a) Power of Appropriation. Section 29 (1), Article VI speaks of the power to appropriate. It states, “No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.” Appropriation means the authorization by law for the use of a certain sum of the public funds. An appropriations law is necessary before public funds may be spent by the government for its projects. The government needs money in all its activities and projects so that the power of appropriation, also known as the “power of the purse,” is said to be one of the most important prerogatives of the Congress.
(b) Power of Taxation. The power, which is one of the inherent powers of the state, is generally exercised by the legislative department. The Constitution limits such power as follows: “The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The Congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.” As was discussed in Chapter 4, taxation must be uniform, equitable, and progressive. Any law passed by the Congress contrary to this provision is null and void.
(c) Power of Concurrence. Section 21, Article VII states that “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.” This refers to the power of concurrence of the Congress in which no treaty can become binding and effective as a domestic law without the two-thirds concurrence of the Members of the Senate.

Non-Delegation of Powers

1. Meaning and Explanation. The Congress cannot further delegate the power delegated to it by the people. This is in keeping with the principle of non-delegation of powers which is applicable to all the three branches of the government. The rule states that what has been delegated cannot further be delegated – potestas delegata non delegari potest. A delegated power must be discharged directly by the delegate and not through the delegate’s agent. It is basically an ethical principle which requires direct performance by the delegate of an entrusted power. Further delegation therefore constitutes violation of the trust reposed by the delegator on the delegate. The people, through the Constitution, delegated lawmaking powers to the Congress, and as such, it cannot as a rule delegate further the same to another.
2. Exceptions. In order to address the numerous and complex demands of legislative function, the Constitution provides exceptions to the rule. Further delegation is permitted in the following cases:
(a) Delegation to the people at large. The Congress further delegates its legislative power by allowing direct legislation by the people in cases of initiative and referendum;
(b) Delegation of emergency powers to the President. Section 23 (2), Article VI of the Constitution states that “in times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy.” Emergency powers are delegated to the President by the Congress to effectively solve the problems caused by war or other crisis which the Congress could not otherwise solve with more dispatch than the President;
(c) Delegation of tariff powers to the President. Section 28 (2), Article VI of the Constitution states that “the Congress may, by law, authorize the President to fix within specified limits, and subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the framework of the national development program of the Government.” Tariff powers are delegated to the President by the Congress to efficiently and speedily solve economic problems posed by foreign trade which the Congress could not otherwise address with more dispatch than the President;
(d) Delegation to administrative bodies. The Congress delegates the so called “power of subordinate legislation” to administrative bodies. Due to the growing complexity of modern society, it has become necessary to allow specialized administrative bodies to promulgate supplementary rules, so that they can deal with technical problems with more expertise and dispatch than the Congress or the courts. Regulations or supplementary rules passed by the administrative bodies are intended to fill-in the gaps and provide details to what is otherwise a broad statute passed by Congress. For the rules and regulations to be valid and binding, they must be in accordance with the statute on which they are based, complete in themselves, and fix sufficient standards. If any of the requirements is not satisfied, the regulation will not be allowed to affect private rights; and
(e) Delegation to the local governments. This delegation is based on the principle that the local government is in better position than the national government to act on purely local concerns. Legislative power is therefore given to them for effective local legislation.

Bicameralism and Composition of Congress

1. Bicameralism in the Congress. The Constitution prescribes bicameralism in the Congress. Congress, to whom legislative power is vested, “shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.” Bicameralism is a traditional form of legislative body consisting of two chambers or houses, one representing regional interests and the other representing national interests. The Congress of the Philippines is said to be bicameral because it consists of two houses: the House of Representatives, which is concerned with local issues, and the Senate, which is concerned with national issues. These two are co-equal branches and their primary function is law-making.
2. The Senate. The Senate and its members are described in the Constitution as follows:
(a) Composition. The Senate is “composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.” It is said to be the training ground of future Presidents because membership in the Senate requires national constituency and demands a broad circumspection of the issues and problems of the country.
(b) Qualifications of a Senator. To be a senator, one must be a “natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.”
(c) Term. Each Senator shall have a term of six years and he shall serve for not more than two consecutive terms.
3. The House of Representatives. The House and its members are described in the Constitution as follows:
(a) Composition. The House of Representatives is composed of “District Representatives” and “Party-list Representatives.” On the one hand, district representatives or congressmen as they are commonly called, whose number is now fixed by law, are elected from the “legislative districts” in provinces and cities. On the other hand, party-list representatives are elected at large through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. Twenty percent of the total number of all the members of the House of Representatives constitutes the party-list representatives.
(b) Qualifications of a Member. To be a member of the House of Representatives, one must be “a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, and, except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.”
(c) Term. Each Member has a term of three years and shall serve for not more than three consecutive terms.
4. The Officers of the Congress are the Senate President, who heads the sessions in the Senate, and the House Speaker, who heads the House of Representatives. They are elected by majority vote of all their respective members. If it deems necessary, each House can choose other officers.

Party-list Representation

1. Meaning and Purpose. The party-list system aims at establishing representation of the underprivileged. It is a social justice tool designed not just to make the underprivileged mere beneficiaries of law but to make them lawmakers themselves. It opens up the political system to the prejudiced and underrepresented sectors of the society. Under the present rule, however, party-list representatives need not represent only the marginalized and the underrepresented; national political parties can participate through their sectoral wings provided they are registered separately in the COMELEC. Party-list representatives after all may represent not just a marginalized or underrepresented sectors but also “ideologies” germane to democracy.
2. Parameters for Allocation of Seats. As to the allocation of seats of party-list representatives in the House of Representatives, the parameters are:
(a) Twenty percent allocation in the House (Sec. 5(2), Art. VI);
(b) To qualify to a seat, at least two percent of the votes is casted on the party;
(c) A qualified party is entitled to a maximum of three seats; and
(d) Proportional representation as to the number of additional seats vis-à-vis the total number of votes cast.

Sessions and Quorum

1. Kinds of Session. The Congress has regular sessions and special sessions. On the one hand, the regular sessions are conducted once a year starting on the fourth Monday of July and continue as long as the Congress deems it necessary but only until thirty days before the next regular session. On the other hand, special sessions are conducted anytime upon the call of the President on subjects he wishes to consider. This can last for as long as the Congress wants.
2. Quorum. In order to transact business during its regular or special sessions, each House must meet the quorum or majority of the body. One half of the members plus one is the majority. No law can be passed or a legislative function discharged unless the quorum is reached. In determining the quorum, however, members who are abroad, suspended or otherwise prevented from participating are not counted. Only those who are in the Philippines and on whom the Congress has coercive power to enforce its authority and command are counted. For example, if one of the members of the Senate is outside the Philippines, the base number is twenty three because the Senator abroad is not counted. The quorum is therefore twelve since it is the majority of twenty three.
3. Recess. Thirty days before the next regular sessions, the Congress shall have its compulsory recess or adjournment. But each House can adjourn for a voluntary recess provided that the consent of the other House is obtained if the adjournment is for three days or to any other place than that to which the two Houses are sitting.

Parliamentary Immunities

1. Meaning. Parliamentary immunity refers to the privilege given to Members of the Congress intended to ensure their effective discharge of legislative functions and maintenance of representation in the Congress.
2. Two Kinds of Immunity. The Constitution provides two kinds of immunities: “immunity from arrest” and “privilege of speech and debate.” Section 11, Article VI states: “A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.”
(a) Immunity from arrest refers to the freedom of Senators and Members of the House of Representative from arrest while the Congress is in session, whether regular or special, from the time it convenes until its final adjournment. The offense, however, of which the arrest is made must not be punishable for more than six years of imprisonment. For example, if Senator Pedro is charged for the crime of simple theft while the Congress is still in session, he cannot be arrested because simple theft is not punishable for more than six years of imprisonment. But if he is charged for rape, he may be arrested even though the Congress is in session because rape is punishable by more than six years imprisonment.
(b) Privilege of speech and debate refers to the freedom of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives from being questioned or held liable in any place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof. This is to give leeway to the members of the Congress to express their ideas without fear of being held liable in the courts of justice for the effective discharge of their duties. It must be noted, however, that the privilege is effective only in speeches and debates made in the Congress or in those uttered by the legislator in his capacity as member of the Congress. Moreover, although the legislator cannot be held liable before the courts, he could be held liable in the Congress itself for words or conduct unbecoming of a member. For example, if Congressman Pedro, during his speech before the House, uttered unsavory remarks against a fellow member, he cannot be charged for libel before the courts but he can be made liable in the House itself for words or conduct unbecoming of a member of the House.

Restrictions and Disqualifications

1. Conflict of Interest. The Constitution demands transparency in the Congress, particularly in the financial and business interests of its members, in order for the legislature to be aware of a “potential conflict of interest.” Potential conflict of interest happens when a legislator derives financial advantage from a law which he legislates or was legislated during his term and the body was not notified of such conflict. It constitutes betrayal of public trust in that the personal interest of the legislator is placed over that of the public. Note however that the legislator can still propose a law even if there is a potential conflict of interest for as long as he has notified the body about it. The purpose therefore of this requirement is to allow the House to better examine the legislation vis-à-vis the legislator.
2. Incompatible Office. In keeping with doctrine of separation of powers, the Constitution provides that “no Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat.” This disqualification refers to the “incompatible office” which is any other office in the government that if held by a member of the Congress would result to the forfeiture of his seat in the Congress. The provision allows a member to hold an incompatible office but the result is the automatic forfeiture of his seat. For example, if during the term of Senator Pedro he becomes the head of a government-owned and controlled corporation, he will no longer be Senator because of the automatic forfeiture, the GOCC being an incompatible office.
3. Forbidden Office. Another disqualification involves the so-called “forbidden offices” or offices which have been created or the emoluments of which were increased while the legislator was a member of the Congress. The purpose of this disqualification is to prevent legislators to create an office or to increase its emoluments for personal gain. Pursuant to this disqualification, a Senator, for example, cannot be appointed to a civil or military office which was created while he was still a senator. The disqualification lasts for the entire six-year term even if the member resigns before the end of his term.

Independent Bodies

1. The Constitution creates two independent bodies in the Congress especially to perform non-legislative functions and to check the appointing power of the Chief Executive, to wit: (a) the Electoral Tribunals and (b) Commission on Appointments. Although majority of their members come from the Congress, they considered independent bodies in that they have the exclusive right to prescribe their own rules of procedure, they have their own set of employees who are under their control and supervision, and they have their own function distinct from that of the Congress.
2. Electoral Tribunal. To ensure fairness and impartiality in deciding election contests involving members of the Congress, each House in the Congress shall have an Electoral Tribunal: the “Senate Electoral Tribunal” in the Senate, and “House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal” in the House of Representatives. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each shall be composed of nine members, three are Justices of the Supreme Court, and six are members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be. The Chairman shall be the senior Justice. While the member Justices are designated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the six other legislator members are chosen on the basis of proportional representation from political parties and party-list organizations (duly registered under the party-list system) in the Congress. Thus, if there is an election contest, for instance, involving the qualifications of Congressman Juan, the case shall be decided by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal which is the sole judge of election contests involving the Members of the House of Representatives.
3. Commission on Appointments. Another independent body in the Congress is the Commission on Appointments which was created to check the appointing power of the President, specifically in appointments to importance offices in the government. It consists of twenty five members: the Senate President, as ex officio Chairman, twelve Senators, and twelve Members of the House of Representatives. The Senators and Members of the House are elected by their respective Houses based on proportional representation from the political parties and party-list organizations (duly registered under the party-list system) in the Congress. The function of the Commission is to approve or disapprove the nominations submitted to it by the President to appointments that require its approval. For example, before a Cabinet Member may be appointed, the President must first submit his nomination for approval to the Commission on Appointments. With the approval, there could be no appointment.

Procedure of How a Bill Becomes a Law

1. Bill vs. Statute. Among the most important things studied in Article VI, The Legislative Department, is the procedure of how a bill becomes a law. A bill is a proposed law. As such, it is not yet binding nor does it confer or affect the rights and duties of individuals. It becomes a law only after it has gone through all the formalities and solemnities of the legislation process as prescribed in the Constitution. The law enacted by the Congress is called a statute.
2. The procedure is as follows:
(a) A bill is introduced by any Member of the Senate or the House of Representatives by filing it with the Office of the Secretary where it is calendared for the First Reading. Some bills, however must originate exclusively from the House of Representatives, such as the appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills, although the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.
(b) During the first reading the number, title, and name/s of author/s are read. The subject of the bill as expressed in its title must only be one in order to avoid hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation which entails insertion of many unrelated subjects. The bill is referred to an appropriate committee for study. Public hearings or consultations may be conducted by the committee before it recommends the bill for approval, with or without amendments, or for consolidation with similar bills, or for disapproval. If it is disapproved, the bill is said to be “killed.” If approved or reported out, it will calendared for the second reading.
(c) During the second reading, which is the start of the most important stage, the bill is read in its entirety, together with the amendments introduced by the committee, if there are any. The bill will thereafter be debated upon and amended if the members deem it necessary.
(d) The approved bill in the second reading is printed in its final form and copies of it are furnished to the members three days before the third reading. During the third reading, only the title of the bill is read, and immediately after, the Members will vote thereon and their votes (yeas and nays) will be entered in the journal. No further amendments are allowed.
(e) The approved bill is referred to the other house where it also undergoes three readings on three separate days. If compromise or reconciliation of conflicting provisions is necessary because of the differences in the House Bill and Senate Bill version, the bill shall be submitted to a joint bicameral committee.
(f) After the bill has been approved on third reading on both Houses it shall be submitted to the President for his action. He approves by signing the bill; he disapproves by vetoing and returning the bill with his objections to the House of origin. In order to override the veto of the President, two-thirds of all the Members of each house voting separately must agree to pass the bill. If the President will not act on the bill in thirty days, the bill shall become a law as if signed by him. “Pocket veto” is not allowed under the laws.
(g) The enrolled bill or bill as printed and approved by the Congress and the President shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation or in the Official Gazette of the Government and shall become binding fifteen days following its publication unless another date is provided therein.
3. Three Readings on Three Separate Days. What is important to remember in all these steps is the rule of “three readings on three separate days.” Except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency, no bill can become a law unless it passes three readings on three separate days in both Houses of the Congress.

Non-legislative and other Powers of Congress
1. Non-Lawmaking Powers. Aside from lawmaking, Congress performs non-lawmaking functions, such as initiation and holding of impeachment (Art. XI, Sec. 2), acting as a constituent assembly (Article XVII, Sec. 1), declaration of existence of war (Art. VI, Sec. 1), approval of Presidential appointments through the Commission on Appointments (Art. VI, Sec. 17), and deciding election cases involving its members (Art. VI, Sec. 16).
2. Power to Declare the Existence of War. Section 23 (1), Article VI states that “the Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.” This means that when the Philippines is under attack by foreign invaders, the Congress by means of enacting a law, affirms that the Philippines is already at war with the enemy. War is not solely controlled by the President who is the commander in chief of the military; it is likewise controlled by the legislature because it has power over the money used in the war.
3. Legislative Inquiries. The Congress also conducts legislative inquiries which power is necessarily implied in its power to legislate. Legislative inquiry is a process held in the Congress especially conducted to compulsorily obtain requisite information from witnesses in aid of legislation. The process and the requite information taken are necessary to legislate wisely and effectively. The Constitution provides limitations, to wit: (1) the inquiries must be in aid of legislation; (2) it must be in accordance with the duly published rules of procedure of the Congress; and (3) the rights of persons appearing shall be respected.
4. Question Hour. Inquiries may also be conducted to obtain information from the heads of departments on matters pertaining to how laws are implemented. This is called the question hour. The manner of obtaining information, however, is not compulsory because of the doctrine of separation of powers. The heads of the departments are alter egos of the President; to maintain the co-equality of the executive and legislative branch, either House of Congress may only request for the appearance of the department heads. Conversely, the department heads may appear but the Congress is not obliged to hear them. Question hour is different from legislative inquiry in that appearance in the former is not compulsory, while appearance in the latter is compulsory; information derived in the former is in exercise of “oversight functions,” while informative derived in the latter is in aid of legislation; and the former is not among the traditional processes of a presidential government, while the latter is an inherent legislative power under a presidential government.

 

THE EXECUTIVE AND EXECUTIVE PROCESS

Executive Power
1. Meaning. Executive power includes, first, the power to implement and administer the law, and, second, other powers necessary to carry out the same. Section 1, Article VII provides that “the executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines,” so that his primary role is to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. That executive power is given to the President alone makes him the most potent official in the government. But while much is given to him, much is also expected. The limits of his awesome powers are structurally provided in the Constitution to prevent irresponsible and despotic exercise thereof.
2. Doctrine of Qualified Political Agency. While executive power is given only to the President, the President can appoint “Members of his Cabinet” whom the law considers as his “alter egos” (extensions of himself). Under the doctrine of qualified political agency, the acts of the Members of the Cabinet are deemed to be the acts of the President unless reprobated or altered by him. The Cabinet Members are political agents of the President who help him discharge his powers and duties which alone he cannot efficiently perform. They are the heads of the departments who serve as presidential advisers. Just as the President has the power of control over them, he also has the power to remove them, him being still the chief of administration.

Presidential Privileges
1. Meaning. Presidential privilege refers to an immunity or privilege granted to the President intended for the effective performance of his executive functions and duties.
2. Kinds. The President is granted the privilege of immunity from suit and executive privilege.
(a) Immunity from suit means that the President cannot be sued, if he invokes such privilege, for any civil or criminal action during his tenure. In one case, the Court said that “the rationale for the grant of the privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the exercise of the Presidential duties and functions free from any hindrance or distraction, considering that being the Chief Executive of the Government is a job that, aside from requiring all of the office-holder’s time, also demands undivided attention.” After his tenure, however, the President can no longer invoke immunity for non-official acts.
(b) Executive privilege refers to the power of the President to withhold confidential information from the other branches of the Government and the public. Among these types of information covered by the privilege are: (i) conversations and correspondence between the President and the public officials (covered by E.O. 464); (ii) military, diplomatic, and other national security matters which in the interest of national security should not be divulged; (iii) information between inter-government agencies prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements; (iv) discussion in close-door Cabinet meetings; and (v) matters affecting national security and public order. These types of information are closed or withheld from the other branches and the public because they are crucial for the exercise of executive functions and to prevent the potential harm resulting from the disclosure of the same. Thus, the President and the Cabinet Members, for instance, can invoke executive privilege even in the Congress during legislative investigations.
Qualifications, Manner of Election, and Term
1. The President. The Constitution provides the qualifications, manner of election, and term of the President as follows:
(a) Qualifications. Section 2, Article VII of the Constitution provides the qualifications of a President, to wit: (i) he must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines; (ii) a registered voter; (iii) able to read and write; (iv) at least forty years of age on the day of the election; and (v) a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.
(b) Manner of Election. He is elected at large by the direct vote of all qualified citizens.
(c) Term. His term is six years, for which he cannot seek for reelection. He may be removed from office through “impeachment.”
2. The Vice-President. Section 3, Article VII states that the Vice-President has “the same qualifications and term of office as the President,” for the reason that his primary role is to succeed the President in case of vacancy due to the latter’s death, permanent disability, or resignation. He may also be removed from office in the same manner as the President. However, the Vice-President may serve for two consecutive terms.
3. When Qualifications must be Present. It must be noted that the qualifications must be present on the day of the election and not on the day of filing the Certificate of Candidacy or the day of proclamation of the President-elect. Thus, one can still run for President even if he is still thirty nine years old on the day of filling the certificate of candidacy, for as long as he is forty years old on the day of the election. Worthy of note also is the Constitutional limitation on the term of the President, that is, he cannot seek for reelection. The manifest purpose of this is to prevent despotism and to protect the highest public official from being consumed by the overwhelming powers of Presidency.

Presidential Succession
1. Two Rules on Presidential Succession. Section 7 and Section 8, Article VII prescribe the rules for presidential succession or the manner of filling a vacancy in the presidency. Section 7 talks of succession when vacancy happens at the start of the term of the President-elect, while Section 8 talks of succession when vacancy happens at the mid part of the term of the incumbent President. These rules are important because they provide immediate remedy for filling the vacancy in the highest and most crucial seat of the land.
2. Succession at the Start of the Term. Under Section 7, Article VII, the rule is:
(a) The Vice-President becomes the Acting President in the event that the President-elect fails to qualify, or when no President was chosen;
(b) The Vice-President becomes the President in the event that the President-elect dies or becomes permanently disabled; and
(c) The Senate President or, in case of his inability, the House Speaker, becomes the Acting President on the event that no President and Vice-President are chosen or qualified, or where both died or become permanently disabled.
In the first case, the Vice-President acts as President until a President-elect is qualified and chosen. In the second case, the Vice-President does not only act as President but becomes the President. And in the third case, the Senate President or, in his inability, the House Speaker acts as President until a President or a Vice-President are chosen and qualified.
3. No Presidential Hold-Over. Note well that the former President, whose term already expired, has no right of “hold-over.” So as not to repeat the dictatorship of the past, the Constitution is strict with the six-year term limit. No extensions are allowed, not even in a hold-over capacity. Thus, if no President assumes office after the election, the former President is not allowed to continue discharging the functions of the presidency.
4. Succession at the Mid-Part of the Term. Under Section 8, Article VII, the rule is:
(a) the Vice-President becomes the President for the unexpired term in case of the latter’s death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation; and
(b) if the same happens to both the President and the Vice-President, then the Senate President or, in case of his inability, the House Speaker, will act as President until the President or Vice-President will be elected and qualified.
5. Vacancy in the Office of the Vice-President. If the Office of the Vice-President is vacant as a consequence of presidential succession, the President shall nominate a Vice-President from among the Members of Congress who shall assume office upon confirmation of the Members of Congress. For example, when former President Joseph Estrada was ousted from Malacanang through People Power, he was succeeded by then Vice- President Gloria Arroyo. As a matter of course, the Office of the Vice-President became vacant. Thus, the new President, Gloria Arroyo, nominated then Senator Teofisto Ginggona for Vice-President whose nomination was confirmed by the Members of Congress. Note that President Arroyo could have nominated any Member of the Congress, that is, either a Senator or a Member of the House of Representatives for Vice-Presidency.
6. Temporary Disability of the President. And lastly, Presidential succession also happens when the President is “temporarily disabled.” The temporary disability of the President, of which the public must be informed, is determined by:
(a) the President himself through a written declaration transmitted to the Senate President and House Speaker, in which case the Vice-President becomes the Acting President;
(b) majority of Cabinet Members through a written declaration transmitted to the two officials, in which case the Vice-President becomes the Acting President; and
(c) 2/3 vote of both Houses of Congress, voting separately, in case there is a dispute between the President and the Cabinet Members, in which case the Vice-President also becomes the Acting President.
Presidential incapacity is said to be terminated when the President or his Cabinet Members transmit to the Congress that the inability no longer exists, or in case the temporary disability was declared by the Congress, when both Houses by 2/3 vote, each voting separately, declare the termination of presidential incapacity.

Inhibitions and Disqualifications

The Constitution provides many inhibitions and disqualifications on the President, Vice-President, Cabinet Members, and their deputies and assistants. The subjects of the inhibitions and disqualifications are: (1) increase in their salaries and emoluments; (2) the holding of other offices; (3) appointment of relatives; and (4) midnight appointment.
1. Inhibition on Salary. The Congress fixes by law the salaries of the President and Vice-President. The salaries cannot be decreased during their tenure, but the same can be increased. The increase takes effect only after the expiration of the term of the President and Vice-President during whose term the increase was approved.
2. Disqualification on Holding Other Offices. They cannot also receive during their tenure any other compensation or allowances from the Government or any other source. The reason for this is that they cannot hold any other office or employment, unless otherwise provided in the Constitution. Their office, being very important and crucial in the government, demands their full time and attention. The disqualification also prevents them from extending special favors to their own private business which comes under their official jurisdiction, and assures the public that they will be faithful and dedicated in the performance of their functions. Public office is public trust, so that it cannot be used for personal benefit and familial advantage. Thus, they shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.
It should be noted that the Vice-President can be appointed as Member of the Cabinet and his appointment need not go through the Commission on Appointments. This is an exception to the above prohibition, of which its purpose is to give due reverence to the second highest office of the land and more importantly to give him a function other than being a mere President Reserve.
3. Prohibition against Appointment of Relatives. Nepotism is prohibited by the Constitution. Nepotism happens when the President, during his tenure, appoints his spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree as Members of the Constitutional Commissions, or the Office of the Ombudsman, or as Secretaries, Undersecretaries, chairmen or heads of bureaus or offices, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries. Public office is not a property, nor can it be shared and passed as a matter of right to family members. The Philippines is not the kingdom of the President; his office is only entrusted to him by the people who are the sovereign rulers of the country and to whom he must serve with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency.
4. Prohibition against Midnight Appointments. Midnight appointments are also prohibited by the Constitution. Midnight appointment refers to presidential appointment after election but before assumption to office of the next President. Section 15, Article VII provides that “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.” This is essentially a limitation to the appointing power of the President. The purpose of the prohibition is to avoid using the Presidency for partisan considerations and for vote buying. It is also rude and unstatesman-like for an outgoing President to appoint within the said period so as to prevent the incoming President to exercise his prerogative of selecting his own set of officers.

Powers of the President

The President of the Philippines has specific powers provided in the Constitution, to wit: (1) appointing power; (2) power of control and supervision; (3) military power; (4) pardoning power; (5) diplomatic power; (6) residual power; (7) delegated power; and (8) veto power.
1. Power of Appointment.
(a) Meaning. Appointment is one mode of putting a person in office in which an appointing authority selects a person to discharge the functions of an appointive office. The power is exercised by the President, although legislative and judicial officials can also appoint their respective personnel.
(b) Types of Appointment. There are four types of presidential appointments:
(i) Appointment by an Acting President ;
(ii) Temporary appointment ;
(iii) Regular appointment ; and
(iv) Ad interim appointment.
(c) Appointments Distinguished from Each Other. Appointment by an Acting President may be revoked by the elected President within ninety days from his assumption or reassumption of office. If it were not revoked, the appointment remains effective, as if it were the President-elect who made the appointment. Temporary appointment is appointment made prior a presidential election that is subject to a possible cancellation or revocation of the President-elect. As an exception to midnight appointments, temporary appointments may be extended by an outgoing President to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety. Regular appointment is presidential appointment made with or without the consent of the Commission on Appointments. And Ad interim appointment is appointment made during the recess of the Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, which is effective until disapproved by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.
(d) Ad Interim Appointment vs. Regular Appointment. Ad interim appointment is different from regular appointment, in that the purpose of the former is to prevent hiatus or lull in government offices, while that of the latter is to simply fill an office in the ordinary course of business; an ad interim appointee immediately assumes office, while a regular appointee does not, since confirmation by the Commission on Appointments is still required. Moreover, an ad interim appointment is different from temporary appointment. Although the former is subject to the revocation of the Congress (through the Commission on Appointments), it is not temporary because it takes effect immediately and cannot be revoked or withdrawn by the President if the ad interim appointee is qualified. In fact, ad interim appointment is permanent and its subsequent disapproval does not change its nature. Lastly, an ad interim appointment is different from appointment in acting capacity, in that the former requires confirmation of the Commission on Appointments, while the latter does not; the former is permanent, while the latter is temporary; and the former is made during recess, while the latter in made either during recess or not.
(e) Appointments Requiring Confirmation. Section 16, Article VII provides an exclusive list of Presidential appointees whose appointments require the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments. These officials are: (1) the department secretaries, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; (2) officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain; (3) other officers whose appointments are vested in him in the Constitution; (4) 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; and (5) the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, boards, those lower in rank in the President. Members of the Constitutional Commissions and regular members of the Judicial and Bar Council are officers whose appointments are vested in him in the Constitution. The list is exclusive, thus, other appointments by the President do not require consent of the Commission on Appointments.
The appointees are subject to the control of the President in line with the doctrine of the qualified political agency. The President has the power to change and set-aside their acts.
2. Power of Control and Supervision.
(a) Control. The President has control over all executive departments, bureaus, and offices; as chief administrator, he has the primary duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. Power of control refers to the power of the President, being the Chief Executive, to alter, modify or set aside the acts of his subordinates and substitute his judgment for that of the latter. His subordinates include the Cabinet Members or heads of the executive departments, heads of bureaus and offices, and their subordinates and assistants. The Cabinet Members are alter egos of the President as enunciated in the doctrine of qualified political agency; thus, the President has the power to alter or set aside their acts. Moreover, the power of control is connected to the appointing power of the President. Just as he can put people to appointive positions, he can also investigate, discipline, suspend, and remove them when they become inefficient or corrupt.
(b) Supervision. The power of control includes the power of supervision. The power of supervision refers to the authority to oversee a subordinate officer and to see to it that he performs his functions and duties in accordance with law. It generally includes the power to investigate. It must be noted that the power of control is broader than the power of supervision, since the former includes the latter. The President has power of supervision over local government units, in which he can investigate and see to it that they perform their duties in accordance to established laws. He does not, however, have power of control over them, so that he cannot change their acts or substitute his judgment for their judgment.
3. Military Powers.
The President is granted military powers, the primary purpose of which is to maintain civilian supremacy over the military. The power includes: (a) calling-out power; (b) power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; and (c) power to declare martial law.
(a) President as Commander-in-Chief. Section 18, Article VII states that the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Philippines, and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. As the highest civilian officer, the President is also the highest military authority. This is so because civilian authority should, at all times, be supreme over the military in the democratic, republican Philippines. The military is the single most power institution equipped by law to use violence and force. Thus, to prevent military takeover, the fundamental law makes a civilian the commander-in-chief of the military. Although the President lacks military training, the ideals of democracy dictate that he should possess the tremendous power of controlling and directing the military even in times of war. While he may delegate to, and ask advice from, military men, the ultimate authority to direct and call out the armed forces is with him. Not even the courts can question him in exercise of this prerogative of calling the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.
(b) Suspension of the Privilege of Habeas Corpus. Section 18, Article VII also expressly gives the President the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The writ of habeas corpus is a written order issued by the court directing a person detaining another to produce (habeas) the body (corpus) of the latter and to explain before the court his authority for detaining the latter. Habeas corpus is a special proceeding which provides speedy remedy for the immediate release of an unlawfully detained person. Thus, a person who was arrested and detained without a valid warrant may file a petition for habeas corpus for his immediate release, after the judge determines that there is no valid ground for his detention. Under Section 18, this “privilege” of habeas corpus may be suspended by the President in case of invasion or rebellion, and when public safety requires it. The rationale for such power is to allow the President to expediently reestablish peace and order by detaining apparent offenders without the hindrance or threat of their immediate release. Note, however, that what is suspended is the “privilege,” not the right to file the petition for habeas corpus. Thus, even when the President suspends the privilege, persons unlawfully detained may still file a petition for habeas corpus. Only the privilege of immediate release is suspended.
(c) Martial Law. The power to declare martial law is likewise expressly granted in Section 18. Martial law, within the Constitutional context, means temporary military rule especially declared not to replace civilian authority but to help it recover in case of invasion or rebellion, and when public safety requires it. Martial law, unlike a military takeover, does not suspend the operation of the Constitution and guarantee for respect of human rights. It is not permanent; it is declared only for a limited duration, that is, for not more than sixty days. In addition, the President must also report in writing to the Congress within forty eight hours from proclamation, and the Congress may conduct special sessions even without the call of the President. As far as the courts are concerned, the military courts do not acquire jurisdiction over cases involving civilians if civil courts are still able to function. These constitutional limitations are intended to uphold democracy and civilian supremacy in the Philippines, as well as to prevent the rise of an abusive military regime that does not respect due process and takes for granted the liberties of the sovereign people.
(d) Comparison of the Military Powers. To compare the military powers of the President, it must be noted that the power to declare martial law and the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus are the greater powers since it curtails the freedoms and civil liberties of the citizens. The calling out power is said to be lesser or benign power, in that it has no such effect. Thus, the Constitution limits the former powers by making them susceptible to review by the courts, whereas the calling out power is exercised by the President with full discretion and wisdom as the commander-in-chief of armed forces, not subject to judicial review.
4. Pardoning Power.
The pardoning power of the President refers to the exercise of executive clemency. It includes: (a) pardon; (b) commutation; (c) reprieve; (d) amnesty; and (e) parole.
(a) Pardon is an act of grace which exempts an individual from serving his sentence or punishment which the law inflicts for the crime he committed. It forgives the offender by not letting him pay for the crime he committed. For pardon to be given, a person must first be declared guilty of a crime by final judgment of the court, and the President thereafter extends pardon. Instead of making him serve his sentence, the President exempts him through his personal act of grace. What the convict is exempted from is criminal liability not civil liability.
There are two kinds of pardon: absolute and conditional. Absolute pardon is one that absolves the convict from criminal liability without any conditions whatsoever, while condition pardon absolves the convict from criminal liability under the penalty of recommitment to prison in case any condition provided is violated.
It must be remembered, however, that pardon cannot be granted in cases of impeachment; or in violations of election laws without favorable recommendation of the COMELEC; or in cases of legislative contempt or civil contempt; or can it restore forfeited public offices.
(b) Commutation refers to reduction or mitigation of the penalty. For example, instead of serving ten years of imprisonment, reduction has the effect of reducing the penalty to five years, for instance, at the discretion of the President.
(c) Reprieve refers to the postponement of sentence or stay of execution. This was applicable when death penalty was still effective. For instance, the execution of a death convict may be postponed by the President to another date if he extends reprieve.
(d) Parole is probational release from imprisonment. It is given to a convict who has served the minimum sentence of his penalty and has acted in good behavior inside the penal institution. Parole does not fully restore the freedom of the parolee since he is still in the custody of the law although not in confinement.
(e) Amnesty is an act of grace by the President extended to groups of persons who committed political offenses. It requires the concurrence of the legislature and puts into oblivion the offense itself. It is distinguished from pardon, in that: the former forgives political offenses (such as treason and rebellion) deemed expedient for the public welfare than prosecution of the same, while the latter forgives crimes against the peace of the state (such as homicide and murder); the former is usually given to groups of offenders, whereas the latter is given to an individual; the former requires concurrence of the Congress, while the latter does not; the former is a public act which the courts takes judicial notice, whereas the latter is a private act of the President which must be pleaded by the person pardoned for the court to take judicial notice; and the former looks backward and abolishes the criminal and civil liability of the offenders, while the latter looks forward and relieves only the criminal liability of the offender.
5. Diplomatic Powers.
The President has diplomatic powers because, as the head of the State, he is the spokesman of the nation on matters of external affairs. “He may deal with foreign states and governments, extend or withhold recognition, maintain diplomatic relations, enters into treaties, and otherwise transact with the business of foreign relations,” The Constitution, however, limits this power of the President, as it expressly states “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.” Thus, if the President, for instance, enters into an international agreement with the United States of America for the establishment of civilian rights mutually benefiting the citizens of both countries, then on the part of the Philippines, least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate must concur with the said international agreement.
6. Residual Powers.
The President, as the head of the State, is given residual powers. Under the presidential system, the President is not a mere symbolic head; he is the chief executive granted with powers, so broad to include even those not mentioned in the Constitution. “The powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution.” He has unstated powers called “residual powers” which are implied from the grant of executive powers and necessary for the exercise of his duties under the Constitution. It is called “residual” because it is whatever power which the legislature or the judiciary does not possess and which the President could, thus, legitimately exercise consistent with his functions. This is not to foster another dictatorship or an unbridled exercise of power as was experienced during the Marcos administration; nor is it a violation of the Constitutional intent to limit the specific powers of the President to avoid another abusive regime (since appropriate measures are already provided in the new Constitution). The grant of residual powers, rather, is just in recognition of the general grant of executive power to the President.
7. Delegated Powers.
As previously discussed, the Congress can delegate legislative powers to the President, among which are emergency powers (Section 23(2), Article VI) and tariff powers (Section 28(2), Article VI).
8. Veto Power.
The President exercises veto power in relation to his role of checking the power of the Congress. If he thinks that a bill enacted by Congress should be disapproved, he exercises his veto power and returns the same with his objections to the House of origin. As a general rule, the veto must pertain to the entire bill, so that he is not allowed to veto separate items of the bill. The exception, however, is “item veto” allowed in case of appropriation, revenue and tariff bill. The Constitution expressly provides that “President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object.”

 

THE JUDICIARY AND THE JUDICIAL PROCESS

Judicial Power
1. Meaning in General. In a broad sense, judicial power refers to the power of the different courts of justice to interpret and apply the laws in particular cases. Interpretation, on the one hand, refers to the process by which the court discovers the true meaning of the language used by the law. Its purpose is to give effect to the intent or spirit of the law. The application of the law, on the other, refers the process by which the court relates the pertinent legal provisions to the set of facts of a particular case.
2. Strict Meaning. In a strict sense, the Constitution provides that “judicial power includes the 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 a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.” The definition includes two aspects of judicial power: (a) duty to settle actual controversies; and (b) authority to determine if there is grave abuse of discretion.
(a) The first aspect, settlement of actual controversies, is the traditional meaning of judicial power. In here, there exists an “actual controversy” which, if properly filed, the court has duty to settle. For an actual controversy to exist there must be a legally demandable or enforceable right which is violated by another who, in turn, has the correlative duty to respect it. If the other party asserts an opposite legal claim, then it becomes susceptible of judicial adjudication. A right is legally demandable or enforceable if it is recognized by law and enforceable before the courts. A right which has no basis in law cannot be enforced in the courts and violation of which does not produce an actual controversy. Thus, while a woman has a right to demand for financial support from the father of her son, she does not have the right to demand for marriage from a person who impregnated her because the right has no basis in law; the first can give rise to an actual controversy, while the other cannot.
(b) The second aspect, determination of grave abuse of authority, is the expanded part of judicial power. It is said to be expanded because traditionally the courts cannot question the “political acts” of the other departments of the government (executive and legislative – political departments). The courts can only settle justiciable questions or questions involving rights and laws, and not political questions or questions addressed to the wisdom or discretion of political departments. But with the expanded authority, the courts can now determine if the political departments gravely abused the exercise of their discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Grave abuse of discretion refers to “such capricious and arbitrary exercise of judgment as is equivalent, to the eyes of the law, to lack of jurisdiction” and for it to be covered by judicial power, abuse of discretion must be palpably grave. Thus, the President and the Congress cannot escape the authority of the courts in determining whether or not their political acts are void, even if they invoke that their political acts are matters of political question. This is manifestly in line with the principle of checks and balances, and consequently, with the doctrine of separation (in the sense of collaboration) of powers.
For example, the President is given the so-called calling out power which is a discretionary power solely vested in him. Generally, the courts cannot inquire in this and substitute it for its own decision since this is a political question. But if it can be shown that there is a grave abuse of discretion on the part of the President, it will be subject to judicial review. This is now the effect of the expanded power of the judiciary.
3. Who Exercises Judicial Power. Section 1, Article VIII, states that judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. This means that the power to interpret and apply the laws in actual controversies is given to, first, the Supreme Court, and, second, to other/lower courts.
4. Supreme Court and Other Lower Courts. There could only be one Supreme Court, and its supremacy puts finality to all legal disputes. The other courts are all lower than it, thus, they are referred as lower courts. Lower courts are also called “statutory courts” because they are created by the act of Congress. The only Constitutional court is the Supreme Court, while statutory courts include the Court of Appeals, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals, among others. The Court of Appeals, Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court are “regular courts” created by the Judiciary Reorganization Law (as amended). Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals are “special courts” respectively created by P.D. No. 1606 and R.A. No. 1125 (as amended). These courts comprise the judicial department which exercises judicial power.
Power of Judicial Review
1. Meaning. The courts also have the power of judicial review or the power to test the validity or constitutionality of the legislative and executive acts, such as treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation. It is an aspect of judicial power, in that it is essentially derived from the duty of the court to settle controversies between conflicting parties by applying the appropriate law. The applicable law may be the Constitution or some appropriate statute; in case of conflict between the two, the Constitution must prevail, and the statute which is not in accordance with it must be stricken out, or at least some parts of it. The Constitution is the fundamental law and therefore all the acts or laws passed by the government must be in accordance with it.
2. Requisites. The requisites of judicial review are: (a) there must be an actual controversy; (b) the question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (c) the question is raised at the earliest opportune time; and (d) the resolution of the constitutional question is the main issue.
3. Explanatory Example. Pedro is running for reelection for his third term as congressman. However, the Congress passed a law prohibiting reelection for the third term. Apparently, the statute is in conflict with the Constitution which allows reelection of a congressman for his third term. He questions the validity of the statute. Judicial review is proper in this case. There is an actual controversy between Pedro and the government. He likewise has a legal standing because he has a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he will be directly benefited or injured by the decision to the case. The question was raised in the earliest possible time and the resolution of the constitutional question is the main issue.

Judicial Independence
The Judicial Department plays an indispensable role in the government as the administrator of justice. The government and consequently the State will not survive without the judiciary. It preserves the cohesiveness of the different governmental organs, always seeing to it that they function in accordance with the Constitution. And inasmuch as the Philippines is a government of laws and not of men, the judiciary protects the very essence of democracy being guardian of rights and legal processes. Thus, in order for the judiciary to function effectively and impartially, the Constitution provides safeguards for its independence, to wit:
(1) The Supreme Court, as a constitutional body, cannot be abolished by law passed by the Congress;
(2) Members of the Supreme Court can only be removed through impeachment;
(3) The Supreme Court cannot be deprived of its minimum and appellate jurisdiction; appellate jurisdiction may not be increased without its advice or concurrence;
(4) The Supreme Court has administrative supervision over all inferior courts and personnel;
(5) It has exclusive power to discipline judges/justices of inferior courts;
(6) Members of the judiciary have security of tenure;
(7) Members of the judiciary may not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions;
(8) Salaries of judges may not be reduced;
(9) The judiciary enjoys fiscal autonomy;
(10) The Supreme Court alone can initiate the Rules of Court;
(11) It alone may order temporary detail of judges; and
(12) It can appoint all officials and employees of the judiciary.

Jurisdiction
1. Meaning. Jurisdiction is the power and authority of the court to hear and decide cases. Judicial power is exercised by the various courts within their respective jurisdictions, so that if judicial power is exercised without or in excess of jurisdiction, then the decisions of the courts are said to be null and void.
2. Role of Congress. The various courts have their respective jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction is defined, prescribed, and apportioned by the Congress, except that of the Supreme Court whose jurisdiction (as enumerated in Section 5, Article VIII) is Constitutionally prescribed so that it cannot be lessened or taken away by the Congress.
3. Kinds of Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction could be “general or limited,” “original or appellate,” and “exclusive or concurrent.” On the one hand, a court has a general jurisdiction when it is empowered to hear and decide all disputes filed before it except those falling in the jurisdiction of other courts; on the other hand, a court is said to have a limited jurisdiction if it can hear and decide specific cases only. Example of a court of general jurisdiction is the Regional Trial Court, and an example of a court of limited jurisdiction is the Court of Tax Appeals. Moreover, a court has an original jurisdiction, on the one hand, if it is empowered to hear and decide cases filed for the first time, whereas a court has appellate jurisdiction, on the other, if it can review a decision rendered by a lower court. The Municipal Trial Court, for instance, has original jurisdiction over forcible entry cases, while the Regional Trial Court has appellate jurisdiction to review the decisions of the Municipal Trial Court. And lastly, a court has exclusive jurisdiction if it alone has authority to hear and decide a case filed before it, while it has concurrent jurisdiction if other courts can hear and decide a case which could be filed before it. For example, a Regional Trial Court acting as Family Courts has exclusive jurisdiction over family cases, whereas it (Regional Trial Court) has current jurisdiction with the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court over habeas corpus cases.

Qualifications and Tenure
1. Qualifications of Members of the Supreme Court. Section 7(1), Article VIII provides the qualifications of a Member of the Supreme Court or any lower collegiate court: (a) he must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines; (b) at least forty years of age; (c) must have been a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines for fifteen years or more; and (d) must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence. The qualifications of judges in lower courts shall be prescribed by Congress, but the qualifications must include Philippine citizenship and membership in the Philippine Bar.
2. Tenure. Justices and judges can hold office until they reach the age of seventy or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. They must be in good behavior during their tenure; otherwise they (judges) may be disciplined or dismissed by the Supreme Court (sitting en banc).

Composition of the Supreme Court
1. Composition. The Supreme Court is composed of fifteen members: a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. Any vacancy must be filled within ninety days from its occurrence.
2. How Cases are Heard. In hearing cases, the Supreme Court may either sit en banc or in division of three, five, or seven Members. On the one hand, if it sits en banc, majority of the members who actually took part in the deliberations of the case must concur or come up with the same vote, in order to resolve the case. En banc cases include those involving constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, or law, those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations. Also, only the Court sitting en banc can modify or reverse a doctrine or principle which it itself laid down. Discipline and dismissal of judges are likewise decided by the Court sitting en banc.
On the other hand, if the Court sits in division, at least three members must take part in the deliberations and hearings of the case, and must have the same vote thereon in order to resolve the case. If the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc. For example, if the Court sits in division of seven, then at least three of the members must actually deliberate the case and have the same stand thereon. If only two concurred or have the same vote, then the case will now be decided by the Court en banc, meaning majority of all the fifteen Justices must take part in the deliberations and majority of those who took part must have the same stand on the case. Nonetheless, if Court sits in division of three, all the members must take part in the deliberations and come up with the same vote in order to resolve the case. This is because the “at least three members” requirement must also be followed.
3. Prohibitions. It must be noted that the Members of the Supreme Court and the lower courts cannot be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions. An agency is said to perform a “quasi-judicial” function if it acts like a court in that it hears and decides cases even if it is not a court. Administrative agencies are under the executive branch and may be delegated quasi-judicial powers in deciding specific cases which it could competently and efficiently resolve. Justices and judges cannot be designated to these agencies in accordance with the principle of separation of powers. If they are allowed to be designated to administrative agencies, then they are likewise performing executive function, thus violating the said principle.

Judicial and Bar Council
1. Meaning. The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is a constitutional body under the supervision of the Supreme Court that has the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary. As was previously discussed, the Justices or Members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts are among the officials who are appointed by the President. For their appointments to be valid, they must first be nominated by the JBC. For every vacant seat in the judiciary, the Council prepares a list of at least three nominees from which the President shall select and appoint. Manifestly, this is form of constitutional check on the appointing power of the President which is already deemed sufficient even without the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments. Thus, if there is a vacancy for judgeship in a court, the JBC must first provide a list of at least three nominees. From the list the President shall select whom he shall appoint.
2. Composition. The JBC is composed of seven members: (a) the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman; (b) the Secretary of Justice as an ex officio member; (c) a representative of the Congress as ex officio member; (d) a representative of the Integrated Bar; (e) a professor of law; (f) a retired Member of the Supreme Court; and (g) a representative of the private sector. The ex officio members are the Chief Justice, Secretary of Justice, and representative of the Congress. The four others are called regular members. The ex officio members, on the one hand, are those who by reason of their office are also members of the Council. The regular members, on the other, are appointed by the President for a term of four years with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. The Secretary of the Council, who shall be in-charge with the records keeping, is the Clerk of the Supreme Court.
Powers of the Supreme Court
The powers of the Supreme Court are expressly provided in Section 5, Article VIII. Its powers are classified into: (1) its original jurisdiction; (2) its appellate jurisdiction; (3) power to temporarily assign judges; (4) power to change venue; (5) rule-making power; (6) power to appoint court personnel; and (7) administrative supervision over lower courts.
1. Original jurisdiction means the authority to settle cases filed for the first time. Among the cases which can be filed and settled for the first time in the Supreme Court are, first, cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and, second, petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.
The first set of cases involves diplomatic agents, who under international law are considered representatives of the States where they are nationals. An ambassador, being a representative or extension of a sovereign State, has immunity from suits in the receiving state. The immunity is based on the international law doctrine of State immunity and the equality of sovereign states. For example, the ambassador of U.S. cannot be sued for a criminal offense committed in the Philippines, unless the immunity or privilege is waived. In here the Philippines is the receiving State and the ambassador is a representative of U.S. Note, however, Filipino ambassadors are not immune from suits here in the Philippines. A consul, likewise, although a diplomatic agent, has no diplomatic immunity. Nevertheless, all cases involving these diplomats, ambassadors, public ministers and consuls, may be heard for the first time in the Supreme Court.
The second set of cases involves special civil actions (certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, and quo warranto) and a special proceeding (habeas corpus). The Rules of Court provide for their definition and the manner of their filing.
(a) Certiorari is a special civil action which is filed by a person who is aggrieved by any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions that had acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no plain and speedy remedy in the ordinary course of law. Its purpose is to invalidate a judgment rendered without or in excess of authority or jurisdiction.
(b) Prohibition is a special civil action filed by a person aggrieved in the proceedings of any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person, whether exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions, which proceedings are without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no plain and speedy remedy in the ordinary course of law. Its purpose is to stop a tribunal or person from further engaging in proceedings done without or in excess of authority or jurisdiction.
(c) Mandamus is a special civil action filed by a person aggrieved by any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person, who unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, there is no plain, adequate, and speedy remedy in the ordinary course of law. Its purpose is to compel the performance of a ministerial duty or duty mandated by law to be performed under certain circumstances.
(d) Quo Warranto is a special civil action instituted by the Philippine Government against a person, public officer, or association which usurps, unlawfully holds, intrudes into an office, position, or franchise. Its purpose is to recover an office or position from a usurper or from an officer, who has forfeited his office, and a franchise from a false corporation (one without legal personality).
(e) Habeas corpus is a special proceeding the purpose of which is to grant speedy remedy for the release of a person illegally confined or detained, or for the grant of rightful custody over a child or person to someone from whom the custody is withheld or to whom it rightfully belongs.
2. Appellate jurisdiction refers to the authority to review decisions of a lower court. The Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.
(b) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.
(c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue.
(d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher.
(e) All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.
The review of cases involves the right to appeal. As a general rule, the right to appeal is only “statutory,” meaning it is the Congress, by means of a statute, that determines whether a person can appeal an adverse decision of a lower court to a higher court. However, the present provision dealing with the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is not statutory but constitutional, meaning the Congress cannot diminish or lessen the Court’s jurisdiction and consequently prevent a person from appealing thereto. Thus, persons adversely affected by final judgments and decrees of lower courts involving the above enumerated cases may file an appeal or certiorari in the Supreme Court if all the requirements are met.
It could be gleaned also from the present provision that the power of judicial review is exercised also by lower courts. The constitutionality or validity of laws and decrees may be passed upon by the lower courts whose decisions may be subjected to review by the Supreme Court upon filing of the proper party.
Important to note also that only cases involving error or question of law are appealable to the Supreme Court, except some cases. If it involves questions of fact or a mixture of fact and law, the case cannot be elevated to Supreme Court. On the one hand, a case involves a question of fact if it requires the determination of the truth or falsity of a fact in dispute as alleged in the pleadings of the parties. For example, if the issue of the case is whether or not the document is genuine, then it involves a question of fact. On the other hand, a case involves a question of law if it does not involve the determination of the truth or falsity of a fact but only a question of validity or applicability of a law. An example is a case involving the constitutionality of a statute. Under the Rule of Court, the mode of appeal to the Supreme Court appropriate in cases involving purely question of law is certiorari under Rule 45.
3. Temporary Assignment of Judges. The Supreme Court also has the power to “assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six months without the consent of the judge concerned.” This power reinforces the independence of the Supreme Court from the Executive Department as well as balances the powers of the government. Even if he is the appointing authority, the President has no power to temporarily assign or transfer at his pleasure judges to other courts. Under the law and the present rules, only the Supreme Court has the power to do so and under the conditions that the temporary assignment results to a better administration of justice, faster disposition of cases, and impartial decision making.
4. Change of Venue. The Court is empowered to order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. Venue refers to the place where the trial is conducted. The Rules of Court provide the rules on venue, which are clearly intended for the speedy, impartial, and convenient disposition of cases. If instead of being convenient, venue causes miscarriage of justice, the Supreme Court has the power to change the venue. Even if venue is jurisdictional in criminal cases, the Supreme Court still has the power to change the same. For example, venue maybe changed by the Supreme Court to allow a witness to give an objective testimony without fear of retaliation from the adverse party. The venue may also be changed when there is danger to the life of the accused.
5. Rule-Making Power. The Court has the power to promulgate rules concerning:
(a) The protection and enforcement of constitutional rights;
(b) Pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts;
(c) The admission to the practice of law;
(d) The Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and
(e) Legal assistance to the under-privileged.
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.
This power of the Supreme Court is the basis for making the Rules of Court.
6. Power to Appoint Its Own Personnel. The Court has the power to appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law. Although the power to appoint is vested in the President, the Supreme Court has the power to appoint officials and employees of the Judicial Department. However, the appointment must be in accordance with the Civil Service Law.
7. Administrative Supervision. Section 6, Article VIII states that the Supreme Court has administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel. This is one of the constitutional safeguards for the independence of the judiciary. During the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, the Department of Justice had administrative supervision over the lower courts which compromised the independence of the courts as their decisions were often swayed by the executive department. But with the transfer of supervision to the Supreme Court, courts are empowered and freed from the political pressures of the executive branch.
Decisions of the Supreme Court
1. Consultation. The Supreme Court is a collegiate court, in that it is composed of many members and its decisions are reached through consultation or thorough deliberation of its members. Consultation is necessary before the case is assigned to a member for the writing of the opinion of the Court. Justices of the Court must discuss with each other and vote on the settlement of the case before a certification is given assigning the writing of the opinion to a member. For members who did not participate, abstained, or dissented from a decision or resolution, they must explain and state their reason for it. The same requirements must also be observed by lower collegiate courts.
2. Constitutional Requirement. In rendering a decision, the Court must express clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which the decision is based. The purpose of this constitutional requirement is to inform the parties, most especially the adversely affected party, the reasons why the judgment is rendered as such. The Court must, therefore, state the factual and legal basis of its decision. In the same way, resolutions refusing a petition for review or denying a motion for reconsideration of a court decision must state the legal basis for it.
3. Period for Rendering Judgments. After the trial and parties already submitted the case for decision, the court is duty bound to render the decision within a certain period of time. A case or matter is deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself. From date of submission, the Supreme Court must decide the case or resolve any matter within twenty-four months, and lower courts must decide and resolve within twelve months, unless reduced by the Supreme Court. If the court fails to render a decision within the applicable mandatory period, it must still decide or resolve the case or matter without further delay and without prejudice to such responsibility incurred because of the delay.

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS

Independence of the Commissions
The three Constitutional Commissions are the Civil Service Commission, Commission on Elections, and Commission on Audit. They are independent bodies not under the jurisdiction of any department in the government. To ensure their independence, the Constitution provides for the following safeguards:
(1) They are created by the Constitution and cannot therefore be abolished by a statute passed by Congress;
(2) Each has powers and functions which cannot be diminished by statute;
(3) The Constitution expressly describes them as independent;
(4) The Chairmen and members of the Commissions have a fairly long term of seven years;
(5) The Chairmen and members can only be removed through impeachment;
(6) The Chairmen and members cannot be reappointment or appointed in an acting capacity;
(7) Salaries of Chairmen and members cannot be decreased;
(8) The Commissions enjoy fiscal autonomy;
(9) Each Commission can promulgate its own rules;
(10) Disqualifications are provided to strengthen the integrity of the Commissions; and
(11) The Commissions may appoint their own officials and personnel in accordance with the Civil Service Law.

Powers and Functions of Each Commission
1. The Civil Service Commission is the central personnel agency of the Government. As such, it has the following powers and functions:
(a) Establish a career service and adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy in the civil service;
(b) Strengthen the merit and rewards system, integrate all human resources development programs for all levels and ranks; and
(c) Institutionalize a management climate conducive to public accountability.
2. The Commission on Elections is a constitutional creature which safeguards the core of republicanism and democracy by being an effective instrument for ensuring the secrecy and sanctity of ballots being the expression of the will of the people. It shall exercise the following powers and functions:
(a) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.
(b) Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.
(c) Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.
(d) 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.
(e) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.
(f) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies.
(g) Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to, its directive, order, or decision.
(h) Submit to the President and the Congress, a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.
3. The Commission on Audit is the watchdog of the financial operations of the government. It sees to it that government funds are well accounted for and that they are spent in accordance with the appropriations law. As such it has the following powers and functions:
(a) Examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government;
(b) Keep the general accounts of the Government and preserve the vouchers and other supporting papers pertaining thereto;
(c) Define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques and methods required therefor; and
(d) Promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures or uses of government funds and properties.
Jurisdiction of the Commissions
1. The Civil Service Commission has jurisdiction over all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters as far as civil service is concerned. Civil service refers to that part of public service composed of professional men and women working for the government as their lifetime career basically governed by the so-called merit system.

PREAMBLE

ARTICLE I National Territory

ARTICLE II Declaration of Principles and State Policies

ARTICLE III Bill of Rights

ARTICLE IV Citizenship

ARTICLE V Suffrage

ARTICLE VI Legislative Department

ARTICLE VII Executive Department

ARTICLE VIII Judicial Department

ARTICLE IX Constitutional Commissions

ARTICLE X Local Government

ARTICLE XI Accountability of Public Officers

ARTICLE XII National Economy and Patrimony

ARTICLE XIII Social Justice and Human Rights

ARTICLE XIV Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports

ARTICLE XV The Family

ARTICLE XVI General Provisions

ARTICLE XVII Amendments or Revisions

ARTICLE XVIII Transitory Provisions

 

Principles

THE 1987 CONSTITUTION

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

PREAMBLE

We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.

ARTICLE I

National Territory

The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial, and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. 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.

ARTICLE II

Declaration of Principles and State Policies

Principles

SECTION 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.

SECTION 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

SECTION 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.

SECTION 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal military or civil service.

SECTION 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.

SECTION 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.

State Policies

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.

SECTION 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.

SECTION 10. The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development.

SECTION 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.

SECTION 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.

SECTION 13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.

SECTION 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.

SECTION 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.

SECTION 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

SECTION 17. The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.

SECTION 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.

SECTION 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.

SECTION 20. The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments.

SECTION 21. The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform.

SECTION 22. The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development.

SECTION 23. The State shall encourage non-governmental, community-based, or sectoral organizations that promote the welfare of the nation.

SECTION 24. The State recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.

SECTION 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

SECTION 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.

SECTION 27. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.

SECTION 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

ARTICLE III

Bill of Rights

SECTION 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

SECTION 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

SECTION 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.

(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

SECTION 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

SECTION 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.

SECTION 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

SECTION 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

SECTION 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.

SECTION 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

SECTION 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.

SECTION 11. Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.

SECTION 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.

(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this section as well as compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices, and their families.

SECTION 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

SECTION 14. (1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.

(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

SECTION 15. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it.

SECTION 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.

SECTION 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

SECTION 18. (1) No person shall be detained solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations.

(2) No involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

SECTION 19. (1) Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua.

(2) The employment of physical, psychological, or degrading punishment against any prisoner or detainee or the use of substandard or inadequate penal facilities under subhuman conditions shall be dealt with by law.

SECTION 20. No person shall be imprisoned for debt or non-payment of a poll tax.

SECTION 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.

SECTION 22. No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted.

ARTICLE IV

Citizenship

SECTION 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines:

(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution;

(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines;

(3) Those born before January 17, 1973, of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; and

(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

SECTION 2. Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens.

SECTION 3. Philippine citizenship may be lost or reacquired in the manner provided by law.

SECTION 4. Citizens of the Philippines who marry aliens shall retain their citizenship, unless by their act or omission they are deemed, under the law, to have renounced it.

SECTION 5. Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.

ARTICLE V

Suffrage

SECTION 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.

SECTION 2. The Congress shall provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.

The Congress shall also design a procedure for the disabled and the illiterates to vote without the assistance of other persons. Until then, they shall be allowed to vote under existing laws and such rules as the Commission on Elections may promulgate to protect the secrecy of the ballot.

ARTICLE VI

The Legislative Department

SECTION 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.

SECTION 2. The Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.

SECTION 3. No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.

SECTION 4. The term of office of the Senators shall be six years and shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election.

No Senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

SECTION 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

(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 seats 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 sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.

(3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative.

(4) Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section.

SECTION 6. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, and, except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

SECTION 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election.

No member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

SECTION 8. Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of the Senators and the Members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May.

SECTION 9. In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.

SECTION 10. The salaries of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall be determined by law. No increase in said compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the full term of all the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives approving such increase.

SECTION 11. A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.

SECTION 12. All Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests. They shall notify the House concerned of a potential conflict of interest that may arise from the filing of a proposed legislation of which they are authors.

SECTION 13. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat. Neither shall he be appointed to any office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.

SECTION 14. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as counsel before any court of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies. Neither shall he, directly or indirectly, be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during his term of office. He shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office.

SECTION 15. The Congress shall convene once every year on the fourth Monday of July for its regular session, unless a different date is fixed by law, and shall continue to be in session for such number of days as it may determine until thirty days before the opening of its next regular session, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The President may call a special session at any time.

SECTION 16. (1) The Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its respective Members.

Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.

(2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner, and under such penalties, as such House may provide.

(3) Each House may determine the rules of its 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.

(4) Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, affect national security; and the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, be entered in the Journal.

Each House shall also keep a Record of its proceedings.

(5) Neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

SECTION 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.

SECTION 18. There shall be a Commission on Appointments consisting of the President of the Senate, as ex officio Chairman, twelve Senators and twelve Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The Chairman of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The Commission shall act on all appointments submitted to it within thirty session days of the Congress from their submission. The Commission shall rule by a majority vote of all the Members.

SECTION 19. The Electoral Tribunals and the Commission on Appointments shall be constituted within thirty days after the Senate and the House of Representatives shall have been organized with the election of the President and the Speaker. The Commission on Appointments shall meet only while the Congress is in session, at the call of its Chairman or a majority of all its Members, to discharge such powers and functions as are herein conferred upon it.

SECTION 20. The records and books of accounts of the Congress shall be preserved and be open to the public in accordance with law, and such books shall be audited by the Commission on Audit which shall publish annually an itemized list of amounts paid to and expenses incurred for each Member.

SECTION 21. The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.

SECTION 22. The heads of departments may upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or upon the request of either House, as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.

SECTION 23. (1) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.

(2) In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof.

SECTION 24. All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.

SECTION 25. (1) The Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government as specified in the budget. The form, content, and manner of preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by law.

(2) No provision or enactment shall be embraced in the general appropriations bill unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation therein. Any such provision or enactment shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates.

(3) The procedure in approving appropriations for the Congress shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other departments and agencies.

(4) A special appropriations bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposed therein.

(5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 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.

(6) Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by law.

(7) If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed reenacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Congress.

SECTION 26. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.

(2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.

SECTION 27. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same, he shall sign it; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the House where it originated, which shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the Members of that House, it shall become a law. In all such cases, the votes of each House shall be determined by yeas or nays, and the names of the Members voting for or against shall be entered in its Journal. The President shall communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty days after the date of receipt thereof; otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it.

(2) The President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object.

SECTION 28. (1) The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The Congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.

(2) The Congress may, by law, authorize the President to fix within specified limits, and subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the framework of the national development program of the Government.

(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.

(4) No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress.

SECTION 29. (1) No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.

(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 leprosarium.

(3) All money collected on any tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purpose only. If the purpose for which a special fund was created has been fulfilled or abandoned, the balance, if any, shall be transferred to the general funds of the Government.

SECTION 30. No law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution without its advice and concurrence.

SECTION 31. No law granting a title of royalty or nobility shall be enacted.

SECTION 32. The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body after the registration of a petition therefor signed by at least ten per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters thereof.

ARTICLE VII

Executive Department

SECTION 1. The executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines.

SECTION 2. No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.

SECTION 3. There shall be a Vice-President who shall have the same qualifications and term of office and be elected with and in the same manner as the President. He may be removed from office in the same manner as the President.

The Vice-President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet. Such appointment requires no confirmation.

SECTION 4. The President and the Vice-President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date six years thereafter. The President shall not be eligible for any reelection. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.

No Vice-President shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected.

Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election for President and Vice-President shall be held on the second Monday of May.

The returns of every election for President and Vice-President, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city, shall be transmitted to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the President of the Senate shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election, open all certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session, and the Congress, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law, canvass the votes.

The person having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected, but in case two or more shall have an equal and highest number of votes, one of them shall forthwith be chosen by the vote of a majority of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress, voting separately.

The Congress shall promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the certificates.

The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice- President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose.

SECTION 5. Before they enter on the execution of their office, the President, the Vice-President, or the Acting President shall take the following oath or affirmation:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President (or Vice-President or Acting President) of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God.” (In case of affirmation, last sentence will be omitted.)

SECTION 6. The President shall have an official residence. The salaries of the President and Vice-President shall be determined by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure. No increase in said compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the term of the incumbent during which such increase was approved. They shall not receive during their tenure any other emolument from the Government or any other source.

SECTION 7. The President-elect and the Vice-President-elect shall assume office at the beginning of their terms.

If the President-elect fails to qualify, the Vice-President-elect shall act as President until the President-elect shall have qualified.

If a President shall not have been chosen, the Vice-President-elect shall act as President until a President shall have been chosen and qualified.

If at the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died or shall have become permanently disabled, the Vice-President-elect shall become President.

Where no President and Vice-President shall have been chosen or shall have qualified, or where both shall have died or become permanently disabled, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall act as President until a President or a Vice-President shall have been chosen and qualified.

The Congress shall, by law, provide for the manner in which one who is to act as President shall be selected until a President or a Vice-President shall have qualified, in case of death, permanent disability, or inability of the officials mentioned in the next preceding paragraph.

SECTION 8. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President, the Vice-President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of both the President and Vice-President, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall then act as President until the President or Vice-President shall have been elected and qualified.

The Congress shall, by law, provide who shall serve as President in case of death, permanent disability, or resignation of the Acting President. He shall serve until the President or the Vice-President shall have been elected and qualified, and be subject to the same restrictions of powers and disqualifications as the Acting President.

SECTION 9. Whenever there is a vacancy in the Office of the Vice-President during the term for which he was elected, the President shall nominate a Vice-President from among the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who shall assume office upon confirmation by a majority vote of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress, voting separately.

SECTION 10. The Congress shall, at ten o’clock in the morning of the third day after the vacancy in the offices of the President and Vice-President occurs, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call and within seven days enact a law calling for a special election to elect a President and a Vice-President to be held not earlier than forty-five days nor later than sixty days from the time of such call. The bill calling such special election shall be deemed certified under paragraph 2, Section 26, Article VI of this Constitution and shall become law upon its approval on third reading by the Congress. Appropriations for the special election shall be charged against any current appropriations and shall be exempt from the requirements of paragraph 4, Section 25, Article VI of this Constitution. The convening of the Congress cannot be suspended nor the special election postponed. No special election shall be called if the vacancy occurs within eighteen months before the date of the next presidential election.

SECTION 11. Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.

Whenever a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall reassume the powers and duties of his office. Meanwhile, should a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit within five days to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Congress shall decide the issue. For that purpose, the Congress shall convene, if it is not in session, within forty-eight hours, in accordance with its rules and without need of call.

If the Congress, within ten days after receipt of the last written declaration, or, if not in session, within twelve days after it is required to assemble, determines by a two-thirds vote of both Houses, voting separately, that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall act as the President; otherwise, the President shall continue exercising the powers and duties of his office.

SECTION 12. In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The Members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.

SECTION 13. The President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly, practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.

The spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree of the President shall not during his tenure be appointed as members of the Constitutional Commissions, or the Office of the Ombudsman, or as Secretaries, Undersecretaries, chairmen or heads of bureaus or offices, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.

SECTION 14. Appointments extended by an Acting President shall remain effective, unless revoked by the elected President within ninety days from his assumption or reassumption of office.

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.

SECTION 16. 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.

The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only until after disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.

SECTION 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.

SECTION 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without any need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with the invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.

SECTION 19. Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment.

He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress.

SECTION 20. The President may contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. The Monetary Board shall, within thirty days from the end of every quarter of the calendar year, submit to the Congress a complete report of its decisions on applications for loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the Government or government-owned and controlled corporations which would have the effect of increasing the foreign debt, and containing other matters as may be provided by law.

SECTION 21. 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.

SECTION 22. The President shall submit to the Congress within thirty days from the opening of every regular session, as the basis of the general appropriations bill, a budget of expenditures and sources of financing, including receipts from existing and proposed revenue measures.

SECTION 23. The President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session. He may also appear before it at any other time.

ARTICLE VIII

Judicial Department

SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Judicial power includes the 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 a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts but may not deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 hereof.

No law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members.

SECTION 3. The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.

SECTION 4. (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 divisions 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 laid down by the court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en banc.

SECTION 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

(1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.

(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:

(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.

(b) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.

(c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue.

(d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher.

(e) All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.

(3) Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six months without the consent of the judge concerned.

(4) Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice.

(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.

(6) Appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law.

SECTION 6. The Supreme Court shall have administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof.

SECTION 7. (1) No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court or any lower collegiate court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. A Member of the Supreme Court must be at least forty years of age, and must have been for fifteen years or more a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.

(2) The Congress shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of lower courts, but no person may be appointed judge thereof unless he is a citizen of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar.

(3) A Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence.

SECTION 8. (1) A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex officio 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, a retired Member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector.

(2) The regular Members of the Council shall be appointed by the President for a term of four years with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. Of the Members first appointed, the representative of the Integrated Bar shall serve for four years, the professor of law for three years, the retired Justice for two years, and the representative of the private sector for one year.

(3) The Clerk of the Supreme Court shall be the Secretary ex officio of the Council and shall keep a record of its proceedings.

(4) The regular Members of the Council shall receive such emoluments as may be determined by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court shall provide in its annual budget the appropriations for the Council.

(5) The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary. It may exercise such other functions and duties as the Supreme Court may assign to it.

SECTION 9. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. Such appointments need no confirmation.

For the lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within ninety days from the submission of the list.

SECTION 10. 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.

SECTION 11. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reached the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to discipline judges of lower courts, or order their dismissal by a vote of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon.

SECTION 12. The Members of the Supreme Court and of other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions.

SECTION 13. The conclusions of the Supreme Court in any case submitted to it for decision en banc or in division shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned to a Member for the writing of the opinion of the Court. A certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice shall be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case and served upon the parties. Any Member who took no part, or dissented, or abstained from a decision or resolution must state the reason therefor. The same requirements shall be observed by all lower collegiate courts.

SECTION 14. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.

No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis therefor.

SECTION 15. (1) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts.

(2) A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pending, brief, or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself.

(3) Upon the expiration of the corresponding period, a certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice or the presiding judge shall forthwith be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case or matter, and served upon the parties. The certification shall state why a decision or resolution has not been rendered or issued within said period.

(4) Despite the expiration of the applicable mandatory period, the court, without prejudice to such responsibility as may have been incurred in consequence thereof, shall decide or resolve the case or matter submitted thereto for determination, without further delay.

SECTION 16. The Supreme Court shall, within thirty days from the opening of each regular session of the Congress, submit to the President and the Congress an annual report on the operations and activities of the Judiciary.

ARTICLE IX

Constitutional Commissions

A. Common Provisions

SECTION 1. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit.

SECTION 2. No Member of a Constitutional Commission shall, during his tenure, hold any other office or employment. Neither shall he engage in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which in any way be affected by the functions of his office, nor shall he be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract with, or in any franchise or privilege granted by the Government, any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.

SECTION 3. The salary of the Chairman and the Commissioners shall be fixed by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure.

SECTION 4. The Constitutional Commissions shall appoint their officials and employees in accordance with law.

SECTION 5. The Commission shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Their approved annual appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released.

SECTION 6. Each Commission en banc may promulgate its own rules concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices. Such rules however shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.

SECTION 7. Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any case or matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution. A case or matter is deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the rules of the Commission or by the Commission itself. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof.

SECTION 8. Each Commission shall perform such other functions as may be provided by law.

B. The Civil Service Commission

SECTION 1. (1) The Civil Service shall be administered by the Civil Service Commission composed of a Chairman and two Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, with proven capacity for public administration, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment.

(2) The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for seven years, a Commissioner for five years, and another Commissioner for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

SECTION 2. (1) The civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters.

(2) Appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined, as far as practicable, and, except to positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical, by competitive examination.

(3) No officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law.

(4) No officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign.

(5) The right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees.

(6) Temporary employees of the Government shall be given such protection as may be provided by law.

SECTION 3. The Civil Service Commission, as the central personnel agency of the Government, shall establish a career service and adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy in the civil service. It shall strengthen the merit and rewards system, integrate all human resources development programs for all levels and ranks, and institutionalize a management climate conducive to public accountability. It shall submit to the President and the Congress an annual report on its personnel programs.

SECTION 4. All public officers and employees shall take an oath or affirmation to uphold and defend this Constitution.

SECTION 5. The Congress shall provide for the standardization of compensation of government officials and employees, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, taking into account the nature of the responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions.

SECTION 6. No candidate who has lost in any election shall, within one year after such election, be appointed to any office in the Government or any government-owned or controlled corporations or in any of their subsidiaries.

SECTION 7. No elective official shall be eligible for appointment or designation in any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure.

Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the Government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.

SECTION 8. No elective or appointive public officer or employee shall receive additional, double, or indirect compensation, unless specifically authorized by law, nor accept without the consent of the Congress, any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind from any foreign government.

Pensions or gratuities shall not be considered as additional, double, or indirect compensation.

C. The Commission on Elections

SECTION 1. (1) There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be Members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

(2) The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

SECTION 2. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:

(1) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.

(2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable.

(3) Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.

(4) Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

(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 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.

(6) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.

(7) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies.

(8) Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its directive, order, or decision.

(9) Submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.

SECTION 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies. All such election cases shall be heard and decided in division, provided that motions for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc.

SECTION 4. The Commission may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information, all grants, special privileges, or concessions granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal opportunity, time, and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

SECTION 5. No pardon, amnesty, parole, or suspension of sentence for violation of election laws, rules, and regulations shall be granted by the President without the favorable recommendation of the Commission.

SECTION 6. A free and open party system shall be allowed to evolve according to the free choice of the people, subject to the provisions of this Article.

SECTION 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid, except for those registered under the party-list system as provided in this Constitution.

SECTION 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters’ registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law.

SECTION 9. Unless otherwise fixed by the Commission in special cases, the election period shall commence ninety days before the day of the election and shall end thirty days after.

SECTION 10. Bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination.

SECTION 11. Funds certified by the Commission as necessary to defray the expenses for holding regular and special elections, plebiscites, initiatives, referenda, and recalls, shall be provided in the regular or special appropriations and, once approved, shall be released automatically upon certification by the Chairman of the Commission.

D. Commission on Audit

SECTION 1. (1) There shall be a Commission on Audit composed of a Chairman and two Commissioners, who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, certified public accountants with not less than ten years of auditing experience, or members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment. At no time shall all Members of the Commission belong to the same profession.

(2) The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for seven years, one Commissioner for five years, and the other Commissioner for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

SECTION 2. (1) The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and duty to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, and on a post-audit basis: (a) constitutional bodies, commissions and offices that have been granted fiscal autonomy under this Constitution; (b) autonomous state colleges and universities; (c) other government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; and (d) such non-governmental entities receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the Government, which are required by law or the granting institution to submit to such audit as a condition of subsidy or equity. However, where the internal control system of the audited agencies is inadequate, the Commission may adopt such measures, including temporary or special pre-audit, as are necessary and appropriate to correct the deficiencies. It shall keep the general accounts of the Government and, for such period as may be provided by law, preserve the vouchers and other supporting papers pertaining thereto.

(2) The Commission shall have exclusive authority, subject to the limitations in this Article, to define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques and methods required therefor, and promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties.

SECTION 3. No law shall be passed exempting any entity of the Government or its subsidiary in any guise whatever, or any investment of public funds, from the jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit.

SECTION 4. The Commission shall submit to the President and the Congress, within the time fixed by law, an annual report covering the financial condition and operation of the Government, its subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and non-governmental entities subject to its audit, and recommend measures necessary to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. It shall submit such other reports as may be required by law.

ARTICLE X

Local Government

General Provisions

SECTION 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided.

SECTION 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.

SECTION 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.

SECTION 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.

SECTION 5. Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees, and charges subject to such guidelines and limitations as the Congress may provide, consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy. Such taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local governments.

SECTION 6. Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them.

SECTION 7. Local governments shall be entitled to an equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and development of the national wealth within their respective areas, in the manner provided by law, including sharing the same with the inhabitants by way of direct benefits.

SECTION 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.

SECTION 9. Legislative bodies of local governments shall have sectoral representation as may be prescribed by law.

SECTION 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the Local Government Code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.

SECTION 11. The Congress may, by law, create special metropolitan political subdivisions, subject to a plebiscite as set forth in Section 10 hereof. The component cities and municipalities shall retain their basic autonomy and shall be entitled to their own local executives and legislative assemblies. The jurisdiction of the metropolitan authority that will hereby be created shall be limited to basic services requiring coordination.

SECTION 12. Cities that are highly urbanized, as determined by law, and component cities whose charters prohibit their voters from voting for provincial elective officials, shall be independent of the province. The voters of component cities within a province, whose charters contain no such prohibition, shall not be deprived of their right to vote for elective provincial officials.

SECTION 13. Local government units may group themselves, consolidate or coordinate their efforts, services, and resources for purposes commonly beneficial to them in accordance with law.

SECTION 14. The President shall provide for regional development councils or other similar bodies composed of local government officials, regional heads of departments and other government offices, and representatives from non-governmental organizations within the regions for purposes of administrative decentralization to strengthen the autonomy of the units therein and to accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units in the region.

Autonomous Region

SECTION 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.

SECTION 16. The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous regions to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.

SECTION 17. All powers, functions, and responsibilities not granted by this Constitution or by law to the autonomous regions shall be vested in the National Government.

SECTION 18. The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multisectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units. The organic acts shall likewise provide for special courts with personal, family, and property law jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of this Constitution and national laws.

The creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only provinces, cities, and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region.

SECTION 19. The first Congress elected under this Constitution shall, within eighteen months from the time of organization of both Houses, pass the organic acts for the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras.

SECTION 20. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over:

(1) Administrative organization;

(2) Creation of sources of revenues;

(3) Ancestral domain and natural resources;

(4) Personal, family, and property relations;

(5) Regional urban and rural planning development;

(6) Economic, social, and tourism development;

(7) Educational policies;

(8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and

(9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region.

SECTION 21. The preservation of peace and order within the regions shall be the responsibility of the local police agencies which shall be organized, maintained, supervised, and utilized in accordance with applicable laws. The defense and security of the regions shall be the responsibility of the National Government.

ARTICLE XI

Accountability of Public Officers

SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.

SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.

SECTION 3. (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.

(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.

(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.

(6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. When sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not vote. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment according to law.

(8) The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section.

SECTION 4. The present anti-graft court known as the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided by law.

SECTION 5. There is hereby created the independent Office of the Ombudsman, composed of the Ombudsman to be known as Tanodbayan, one overall Deputy and at least one Deputy each for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. A separate Deputy for the military establishment may likewise be appointed.

SECTION 6. The officials and employees of the Office of the Ombudsman, other than the Deputies, shall be appointed by the Ombudsman according to the Civil Service Law.

SECTION 7. The existing Tanodbayan shall hereafter be known as the Office of the Special Prosecutor. It shall continue to function and exercise its powers as now or hereafter may be provided by law, except those conferred on the Office of the Ombudsman created under this Constitution.

SECTION 8. The Ombudsman and his Deputies shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines, and at the time of their appointment, at least forty years old, of recognized probity and independence, and members of the Philippine Bar, and must not have been candidates for any elective office in the immediately preceding election. The Ombudsman must have for ten years or more been a judge or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.

During their tenure, they shall be subject to the same disqualifications and prohibitions as provided for in Section 2 of Article IX-A of this Constitution.

SECTION 9. The Ombudsman and his Deputies shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least six nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council, and from a list of three nominees for every vacancy thereafter. Such appointments shall require no confirmation. All vacancies shall be filled within three months after they occur.

SECTION 10. The Ombudsman and his Deputies shall have the rank of Chairman and Members, respectively, of the Constitutional Commissions, and they shall receive the same salary, which shall not be decreased during their term of office.

SECTION 11. The Ombudsman and his Deputies shall serve for a term of seven years without reappointment. They shall not be qualified to run for any office in the election immediately succeeding their cessation from office.

SECTION 12. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and shall, in appropriate cases, notify the complainants of the action taken and the result thereof.

SECTION 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions, and duties:

(1) Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.

(2) Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any public official or employee of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as of any government-owned or controlled corporation with original charter, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties.

(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith.

(4) Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law, to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the disbursement or use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity to the Commission on Audit for appropriate action.

(5) Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents.

(6) Publicize matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and with due prudence.

(7) Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the Government and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency.

(8) Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law.

SECTION 14. The Office of the Ombudsman shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Its approved annual appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released.

SECTION 15. The right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials or employees, from them or from their nominees or transferees, shall not be barred by prescription, laches, or estoppel.

SECTION 16. No loan, guaranty, or other form of financial accommodation for any business purpose may be granted, directly or indirectly, by any government-owned or controlled bank or financial institution to the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Constitutional Commissions, the Ombudsman, or to any firm or entity in which they have controlling interest, during their tenure.

SECTION 17. A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law.

SECTION 18. Public officers and employees owe the State and this Constitution allegiance at all times, and any public officer or employee who seeks to change his citizenship or acquire the status of an immigrant of another country during his tenure shall be dealt with by law.

ARTICLE XII

National Economy and Patrimony

SECTION 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.

The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.

In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. Private enterprises, including corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall be encouraged to broaden the base of their ownership.

SECTION 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.

The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.

The Congress may, by law, allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons.

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