Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article IX


Section 1.   Constitutional Commissions

Independent Constitutional Commissions:

1) Civil Service Commission (CSC)

2) Commission on Elections (COMELEC)

3) Commission on Audit (COA)

Why Independent?

They perform vital functions of government.  Their integrity is protected by the fact that they:

1) Are constitutionally created (Sec. 1)

2) Have independent powers of appointment (Sec. 4)

3) Each Commission may promulgate its own procedural rules (Sec. 6)

4) Fiscal autonomy (Sec. 5)

5) Salaries may not be diminished during their office (Sec. 3)

6) Commissioners have a fixed term

7) Commissioners are removable by impeachment only.



Members cannot, during their tenure:

1) Hold any other office or employment;

2) Engage in the practice of any profession;

3) Engage in the active management or control of any business, which, in any   way, may be affected by the functions of their office; and

4) Be financially interested, direct or indirect, in any contract, franchise, privilege granted by the government, any of its subdivisions, agencies, instrumentalities, including GOCC’s and their subsidiaries.

Note:  The Ombudsman and his deputies are subject to the same qualifications.

 Section 3.  SALARIES


1) Salaries are fixed by law and shall not be decreased during their TENURE.

2) Decreases in salaries only affect those members appointed AFTER increase.

3) Incumbent members do not lose any salary.

4) Increases take effect IMMEDIATELY.



1) Rules:  The Commissions may promulgate its own rules EN BANC.

2) Limitation:  It shall not:

a) Diminish,

b) Increase, or

c) Modify substantive rights.

3) Power of SC

a). The SC may not, under Art. VIII Sec. 5(5), exercise the power to disapprove rules of “special courts and quasi-judicial  bodies.”

b). In proceedings before the Commissions, the rules of the Commission prevail.

c). In proceedings before a court, the Rules of Court prevail.

d). The SC may, however, in appropriate cases, exercise JUDICIAL REVIEW



1) Each commission shall decide matter or cases by a majority vote of all the members within 60 days from submission.

  • COMELEC may sit en banc or in 2 divisions.
  • Election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies are decided in division, with motions for reconsideration filed to the COMELEC en banc.
  • The SC has held that a majority decision decided by a division of the COMELEC is a valid decision.

2) As COLLEGIAL BODIES, each commission must act as one, and no one member can decide a case for the entire commission.  (i.e.  The Chairman cannot ratify a decision which would otherwise have been void).


1) Decisions, orders or rulings of the COMELEC/COA may be brought on certiorari to  the SC under Rule 65.

2) Decisions, orders or ruling of the CSC should be appealed to the CA under Rule 43.


  • It has been held that the CSC can issue a writ of execution to enforce judgments which are final.



1) Chairman

2) Commissioners – 2 commissioners


1) Natural-born citizens of the Philippines;

2) At least 35 years old at the time of their appointments;

3) With proven capacity for public administration; and

4) NOT candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment.

5) Appointees by the President to the CSC need Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmation


1) Chairman -7 years; Commissioner1 – 5 yrs; Commissioner2 – 3 yrs

2) Limitation:  single term only, no reappointment

3) Appointment to vacancy: only for unexpired term of predecessor

4) No temporary appointments, or appointments in acting capacity.

Section 2.   Scope:

The Civil Service embraces all:

A.  branches,

B.  subdivisions,

C.  instrumentalities,

D.  agencies of the government,

E.  including GOCCs with original charters.

1.”With Original Charter” means that the GOCC was created by special law/by Congress

2. If incorporated under the Corporation Code, it does not fall within the Civil Service, and is not subject to the CSC jurisdiction.

3. Even if once government-controlled, then becomes privatized, ceases to fall under CSC.

4. Jurisdiction is determined as of the time of filing the complaint.

Appointments to civil service shall be:

A. Competitive positions

  • According to merit and fitness to be determined by competitive examinations, as far as practicable except to positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical.

B. Non-competitive positions

1). No need for competitive examinations.

2). 3 kinds

a) Policy-determining –           formulate a method of action for the gov’t

b) Primarily confidential –      more than ordinary confidence; close intimacy insures freedom of intercourse without betrayals of personal trust…

c) Highly technical     –           requires technical skill to a superior degree.

C. The TEST to determine whether non/competitive is the Nature of the responsibilities, NOT the administrative or legislative description given to it.

D. Both types of positions are entitled to security of tenure. They only differ in the MANNER in which they are filled.

E. Who may be appointed:

1). RULE:  Whoever fulfills all the qualifications prescribed by law for a particular position may be appointed therein.

2). The CSC cannot disapprove an appointment just because another person is better qualified, as long as the appointee is himself qualified.

3). The CSC CANNOT add qualifications other than those provided by law.

F. Next-In-Rank Rule

  • While a person next in rank is entitled to preferential consideration, it does not follow that only he, and no one else, can be appointed.  Such person has no vested right to the position and the appointing authority is not bound to appoint the person next in rank.

Tenure (Classification of Positions)

Career Service

Non-Career Service

1. Entrance based on merit and fitness to be determined as far as practicable by competitive examinations or based on highly technical qualifications. 1. Entrance on bases OTHER than usual tests of merit and fitness.
2. Entitled to security of tenure
  1. Tenure limited to:

a)      Period specified by law,

b)      Coterminous with the appointing authority or subject to his pleasure, or

c)      Limited to the duration of a particular project for which purpose the employment was made.

3. With opportunity for advancement to higher career positions.

Security of Tenure:

1) Officers or employees of the Civil Service cannot be removed or suspended EXCEPT for cause provided by law. It guarantees both procedural and substantive due process.

2) For “LEGAL CAUSE” – Cause is:

a). related to and affects the administration of office, and

b). must be substantial (directly affects the rights & interests of the public)

3) Security of tenure for Non-competitive positions

a). Primarily confidential officers and employees hold office only for so long as confidence in them remains.

b). If there is GENUINE loss of confidence, there is no removal, but the expiration of the term of office

c). Non-career service officers and employees do not enjoy security of tenure.

d). Political appointees in the foreign service possess tenure coterminous with  that of the appointing authority or subject to his pleasure.

4) One must be VALIDLY APPOINTED to enjoy security of tenure. Thus, one who is not  appointed by the proper appointing authority does not acquire security of tenure.

Abolition of Office

To be valid, abolition must be made:

(a) In good faith;  (good faith is presumed)

(b) Not for political or personal reasons; and

(c) Not in violation of law

Temporary employees are covered by the following rules:

1). Not protected by security of tenure – can be removed anytime even without cause

2). If they are separated, this is considered an expiration of his term.

3). BUT:  They can only be removed by the one who appointed them.

4). Entitled only to such protection as may be provided by law.

No officer or employee in the Civil Service shall engage in any electioneering or in partisan political activity

1) Cannot solicit votes in favor of a particular candidate.

2) Cannot give campaign contributions or distribute campaign materials.

3) BUT:  Allowed to express views on political issues, and to mention the names of the candidates whom he supports.

4) Prohibition does not apply to department secretaries

Right to organize

The right to organize does NOT include the right to strike



1) Losing candidates in any election

a). Cannot be appointed to any office in the government or GOCC’s or their subsidiaries.

b). Period of disqualification: One (1) year after such election.

2) Elective officials

a). Not eligible for appointment or designation ANY CAPACITY to ANY PUBLIC OFFICE or position during their tenure.

b). EXCEPTION:  May hold ex officio positions.

  • Examples:
    • The Vice President may be appointed Cabinet member
    • Congressman may sit in the Judicial and Bar Council

c). To be eligible to hold any other office, the elected official must first resign his office

d). Even Congress cannot, by law, authorize the appointment of an elective official.

3). Appointive officials

a). Cannot hold any other office or employment in the government, any subdivision, agency, instrumentality, including GOCC’s and their subsidiaries.

b). EXCEPTION:  Unless otherwise allowed by law, or by the primary functions of his position.

c). This exception DOES NOT APPLY to Cabinet members, and those officers mentioned in Art. VII, Sec. 13.  They are governed by the stricter prohibitions contained therein.


1) Prohibitions:  applies to elected or appointed officers and employees                     

Cannot receive:

A. Additional   –  an extra reward given for the same office i.e. bonus

B. Double  –  when an officer is given 2 sets of compensation for 2 different offices held concurrently by 1 officer

C. Indirect Compensation

2) EXCEPTION:  Unless specifically authorized by law

A. “SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED” means a specific authority particularly directed to the             officer or employee concerned.

B. BUT: per diems and allowances given as REIMBURSEMENT for expenses actually incurred are not prohibited

3) Cannot accept any present, emolument, office, title of any kind from foreign governments UNLESS with the consent of Congress.

4) Pensions and gratuities are NOT considered as additional, double, or indirect compensation.



Composition: (7)

1) Chairman and

2) Commissioners (6)


1) Natural-born citizens of the Philippines;

2) At least 35 years old at the time of appointment

3) Holders of college degrees; and

4) Not candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding elections.

5) Majority of the Commission, including the Chairman must be:

a). Members of the Philippines Bar

b). Engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years: “any activity in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience.”

6) Appointments subject to CA approval


1) Chairman -7 yrs; 3 Members – 7 yrs; 2 Members – 5 yrs; 1 Member – 3 yrs.

2) LIMITATION:  Single term only: no reappointment allowed

3) Appointment to a vacancy: only for unexpired portion of predecessor’s term

4) No temporary appointments, or appointments in acting capacity

a). Thus, the President cannot designate an incumbent commissioner as acting Chairman.

b). The choice of temporary chairman falls under the COMELEC’s discretion.



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

(a)    Ex: COMELEC can enjoin construction of public works within 45 days of an election.

1)      Exercise:

A. Exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective

1. Regional,

2. Provincial, and

3. City officials

B. Appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving:

1. Elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction

2. Elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

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

Exception: Appealable to the SC on questions of law.

  1. Contempt powers

1. COMELEC can exercise this power only in relation to its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial functions.  It CANNOT exercise this in connection with its purely executive or ministerial functions.

2. If it is a pre-proclamation controversy, the COMELEC exercises quasi-judicial/administrative powers.

3. Its jurisdiction over ‘contests’ (after proclamation), is in exercise of its judicial functions.

E. The COMELEC may issue writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.  This is not an inherent power.

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.

Note: Questions involving the right to vote fall within the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts.

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.

a). This power is NOT limited to the election period.

b). Applies to both criminal and administrative cases.

5) Registration of political parties, organizations, or coalitions/accreditation of citizens’ arms of the Commission on Elections.

a). The political parties etc. must present their platform or program of government.

b). There should be sufficient publication

c). Groups which cannot be registered:

i. Religious denominations/sects

ii. Groups which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means

iii. Groups which refuse to uphold and adhere to the Constitution

iv. Groups which are supported by any foreign government.

d). BUT:  Political parties with religious affiliation or which derive their principles from religious beliefs are registerable.

e). Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties, organizations, coalitions, or candidates related to elections constitute interference in national affairs.  If accepted, it is an additional ground for the cancellation of their registration with the Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law.

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

  1. COMELEC has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute cases for violations of election laws.
  2. COMELEC can deputize prosecutors for this purpose.  The actions of the prosecutors are the actions of the COMELEC
  3. Preliminary investigation conducted by COMELEC is valid.

2)    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.

3)    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 or, or disobedience to its directive, order, or decision.

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


Rules of Procedure

1)    COMELEC can sit en banc or in two divisions

2)    It has the power to promulgate its own rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-election controversies.


1) Election cases should be heard and decided in division. Provided that,

2) Motions for reconsideration of decisions should be decided by COMELEC en banc.

3) ”Decisions” mean resolutions on substantive issues.

2)    If a division dismisses a case for failure of counsel to appear, the Motion for Reconsideration here may be heard by the division.

3)    EXCEPTION: COMELEC en banc may directly assume jurisdiction over a petition to correct manifest errors in the tallying of results by Board of Canvassers.


Regulation of franchises

A. What can COMELEC supervise or regulate

1). The enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information.

2). Grants, special privileges or concessions granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including any GOCC or its subsidiary

B. When can COMELEC exercise this power

 1). During the election period

a). Under Article XI, Section 9, the election period commences 90 days before

the day of the election and ends 30 days thereafter.

b). In special cases, COMELEC can fix a period.

2). Applies not just to elections but also to plebiscites and referenda.

3). Plebiscite: Submission of constitutional amendments or important legislative measures to the people ratification

4). Referendum:  power of the electorate to approve or reject legislation through an election called for that purpose.


1). COMELEC cannot compel print media to donate free space to the COMELEC.  It may, however, compel it to provide space after paying just compensation.

2). Power of COMELEC is over franchises and permits, NOT individuals. For example, COMELEC may not regulate media practitioners, for this would violate the freedom of expression.

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

Definition of Political Party

  • organized group of persons pursuing the same political ideals in a government and includes its branches, and divisions

Importance of registration of a political party

1)    Registration confers juridical personality on the party.

2)    It informs the public of the party’s existence and ideals.

3)    It identifies the party and its officers for purposes of regulation by the COMELEC.

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.

Prohibition on block-voting

1) General rule: Block voting NOT allowed

2) EXCEPTION: those registered under the party-list system


No Right to be Represented in Various Boards

  • Political parties, organizations, or coalitions registered under the party-list system shall NOT be represented in the following:

1). Voters’ registrations boards,

2). Boards of election inspectors,

3). Boards of canvassers, or

4). Other similar bodies.

Poll Watchers

  • Political parties, etc. are entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law.

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

  • This section does not give candidates immunity from suit.
  • Discrimination includes unequal treatment in the availment of media facilities.

Section 11.  FUNDING

How provided

1)    Funds certified by the COMELEC as necessary to defray the expenses for holding regular and special elections, plebiscites, initiative, referenda and recalls, shall provided in the regular or special appropriations.

2)    Funds should be certified by the COMELEC as necessary.

Release of funds

  • Once approved, funds should be released automatically upon certification by the Chairman of COMELEC.




1)    Chairman, and

2)    Commissioners (2).


1)    Natural-born citizens of the Philippines

2)    At least 36 years old at the time of their appointment;

3)    Either:

a). CPA’s with at least 10 years auditing experience; or

b). Members of Phil. Bar with 10 years of practice.

4)    Members cannot all belong to the same profession.

5)    Subject to confirmation of the CA.

6)    Must not have been candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment.


1)    Chairman -7 yrs; Commissioner1 -5yrs; Commissioner – 2 -3 yrs.

2)    LIMITATION: – Single terms only; no re-appointment allowed

3)    Appointments to any vacancy shall only be for the unexpired portion of predecessor’s term.

Section 2.  POWERS

1)    Examine, audit, and settle accounts pertaining to:

  1. Revenue and receipts of funds or property; or
  2. Expenditures and uses of funds or property

Owned or held in trust by, or pertain to:

  1. The Government;
  2. Any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities;
  3. Including GOCC’s with original charters.

2)    Conduct post-audit with respect to the following:

  1. Constitutional bodies, commissions, and offices granted fiscal autonomy;
  2. Autonomous state colleges and universities;
  3. GOCC’s and their subsidiaries incorporated under the Corporation Code.
  4. None-governmental entities receiving subsidies or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the government, which are required by law of the granting of institution to submit to such audit.

3)    If COA finds internal control system of audited agencies as inadequate, COA may adopt measures, including temporary or special pre-audit, as may be necessary.

4)    Keep the general accounts of the government, preserving vouchers and other supporting papers pertaining thereto.

5)    Exclusive authority to define the scope of COA’s audit and examination and to establish the techniques and methods required therefor.

6)    Promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations.

  1. Including those for the prevention or disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures or uses of government funds and properties.
  2. Failure to comply with these rules can be a ground for disapproving the payment of a proposed expenditure.


1)    The functions of COA can be classified as:

  1. Examine and audit all forms of government revenues;
  2. Examine and audit all forms of gov’t expenditures
  3. Settle gov’t accounts
  4. Promulgate accounting and auditing rules (including those for the prevention of irregular…expenditures.
  5. To decide administrative cases involving expenditures of public funds.

2)    COA can settle only LIQUIDATED ACCOUNTS or those accounts which may be adjusted simply by arithmetic process.

3)    COA has authority not just over accountable officers but also over other officers who perform functions related to accounting such as verification of evaluations and computation of fees collectible, and the adoption of internal rules of control.

4)    COA does not have the power to fix the amount of an unfixed or undetermined debt.

5)    Where the following requirements are complied with, it becomes the ministerial duty of the COA to approve and pass in audit vouchers for payment:

  1. There is a law appropriating funds for a particular purpose;
  2. There is a contract, made by the proper officer, entered into in conformity with the above-mentioned law;
  3. The goods or services covered by such contract have been delivered or rendered in pursuance to such contract, as attested by the proper officer; and
  4. Payment has been authorized by officials of the corresponding department or bureau. 

6)    Prosecutors may still review accounts already settled and approved by COA for the purpose of determining possible criminal liability.  This is because COA’s interest in such accounts is merely administrative.

7)      COA has the power to determine the meaning of ‘public bidding’ and what constitutes failure when regulations require public bidding for the sale of government property.

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.



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald


About Magz

First of all, I am not a lawyer. I'm a graduate of AB Political Science and went to the College of Law but stopped going to law school for some reasons. I'm a passionate teacher who has been teaching English to speakers of other languages and a person who likes writing and blogging. I lost some important files and software when my computer broke down so the reason I created this website is to preserve the notes, reviewers and digests I collected when I was at the law school and at the same time, I want to help out law students who do not have enough time to go and read books in the library.

Posted on December 20, 2011, in Constitutional Law, Political Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.


  2. Everything is here. 😃 Thanks a lot👏

  3. philippine.warrior1945@gmail.com

    thank you po ^^___^^

  4. The content of your blog is 90%+ similar to the book of our professor. He is Sir Froilan Calilung. Is this plagiarized? Or the other way around? By the way the book is Pol Gov: Essentials of politics and Government with the 1987 Philippime Constitution. Just curious.

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