Monthly Archives: December 2011

Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article XIV





Goals of the State:

The State shall promote and protect:

1) The right to quality education at all levels;

2) The right to affordable and accessible education; and

3) Education that is relevant to the needs of people and society.

Right to Education and Academic Freedom

The right to education must be read in conjunction with the academic freedom of schools to require “fair, reasonable, and equitable admission requirements.”

Power to Dismiss Students

1) Schools have the power to dismiss students, after due process, for disciplinary reasons.

2)  Acts committed outside the school may also be a ground for disciplinary action if:

a) It involves violations of school policies connected to school-sponsored activities; or

b) The misconduct affects the student’s status, or the good name or reputation of the school.

Regulation of Right to Education

The right to education in particular fields may be regulated by the State in the exercise of its police power, e.g. the State may limit the right to enter medical school by requiring the applicants to take the NMAT.

Free Education

1) The State shall maintain a system of free education in:

a) Elementary level, and

b) High school level.

2) Elementary education is compulsory for all children of school age. However, this is a moral rather than a legal compulsion.

Educational Institutions

I. Filipinization

A. Ownership:

1). Filipino citizens, or

2). Corporations incorporated in RP and 60% Filipino-owned.

EXCEPT: Schools established by religious groups and mission boards.

3). Congress may increase Filipino equity requirements in ALL educational institutions.

B. Control and Administration:

1). Must be vested in Filipino citizens

2). Refers to line positions, such as President, Dean, Principal, and Trustees

3). Faculty members may be foreigners.

C.  Student Population:

1). GENERAL RULE: Cannot establish school exclusively for aliens. Aliens can only comprise up to 1/3 of total enrollment.

2). EXCEPTIONS: Schools established for foreign diplomatic personnel and their dependents, and unless otherwise provided for by law for other foreign temporary residents.

II. Tax Exemptions

A. Non-stock, non-profit educational institutions:

1) All revenues and assets actually, directly and exclusively used for educational purposes are exempt from taxes and duties.

2) This is self-executory

    B. Proprietary educational institutions, including cooperatives:

1) Entitled to exemptions as may be provided by law, including restrictions on dividends and re-investment

2) Requires an enabling statute

3) Grants, endowments, donations and contributions actually, directly and exclusively used for educational purposes are exempt from taxes, subject to conditions prescribed by law.

III. Academic Freedom

A. Educational Institutions

Schools have the freedom to determine:

1) Who may teach,

2) What may be taught,

3) How it shall be taught, and

4) Who may be admitted to study.

      B. Faculty members

1) Full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties.

2) Freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subjects.

3) When faculty members speak or write in their capacity as citizens, then they are free from institutional censorship or discipline.

     C. Students

They have the right to enjoy in school the guarantees of the Bill of Rights.

    D. Limitations

1) Dominant police power of the State

2) Social interest of the community

    E. Budgetary Priority:

1). Education must be assigned the highest budgetary priority.

2). BUT: This command is not absolute.  Congress is free to determine what should be given budgetary priority in order to enable it to respond to the imperatives of national interest and for the attainment of other state policies or objectives.

Religious Education in Public Schools:

Religion may be taught in public schools subject to the following requisites:

1) Express written option by parents and guardians;

2) Taught within regular class hours;

3) Instructors are designated and approved by the proper religious authorities; and


Section 6. Language

1) National language: Filipino

2) Official Languages: Filipino, and unless otherwise provided by law, English.

3) Regional languages are auxiliary to the official languages.

4 (Spanish and Arabic are promoted only on an optional and voluntary basis.



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald



Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article XIII


Social Justice

1)   Social justice in the Constitution is principally the embodiment of the principle that those who have less in life should have more in law.

2)   The 1987 Constitution advances beyond what was in previous Constitutions in that it seeks not only economic social justice but also political social justice.

Principal activities in order to achieve social justice

1)   Creation of more economic opportunities and more wealth; and

2)   Closer regulation of the acquisition, ownership, use and disposition of property in order to achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth and political power.


  • Section 3 of Article XIII elaborates on the provision in Article II by specifying who are protected by the Constitution, what rights are guaranteed, and what positive measures the state should take in order to enhance the welfare of labor.

Right to organize and to hold peaceful concerted activities

  • Ø The right to organize is given to all kinds of workers BOTH in the PRIVATE and PUBLIC sectors.
  • Ø The workers have a right to hold peaceful concerted activities except the right to strike, which is subject to limitation by law.

Right to participate in the decision making process of employers

The workers have the right to participate on matters affecting their rights and benefits, “as may be provided by law”.  This participation can be through

1)               collective bargaining agreements,

2)               grievance machineries,

3)               voluntary modes of settling disputes, and

4)               conciliation proceedings mediated by government.

Agrarian Reform


Agrarian reform must aim at

1)  efficient production,

2)  a more equitable distribution of land which recognizes the right of farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless to own the land they till, and

3)  a just share of other or seasonal farmworkers in the fruits of the land.

CARL as an exercise of police power and power of eminent domain
  • To the extent that the law prescribes retention limits for landowners, there is an exercise of police power. But where it becomes necessary to deprive owners of their land in excess of the maximum allowed there is compensable taking and therefore the exercise of eminent domain.
Reach of agrarian reform
  • It extends not only to private agricultural lands, but also to “other natural resources,” even including the use and enjoyment of “communal marine and fishing resources” and “offshore fishing grounds”.

The Commission on Human Rights


1)   Chairman; and

2)   4 members


1)   Natural-born citizens of the Philippines;

2)   Majority of the Commission must be members of the Philippine Bar;

3)  Term of office, other qualifications and disabilities shall be provided by law;

4)  The appointment of the CHR members is NOT subject to CA confirmation; and

5)  The CHR is not of the same level as the COMELEC, CSC, or COA.


1)  Investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil or political rights

A. Violations may be committed by public officers or by civilians or rebels.

B. CHR cannot investigate violations of social rights.

C. CHR has NO adjudicatory powers over cases involving human rights violations.

D. They cannot investigate cases where no rights are violated.

E. Example: There is no right to occupy government land, i.e. squat thereon. Therefore, eviction therefrom is NOT a human rights violation.

2)  Adopt operational guidelines and rules of procedure.

3)  Cite for contempt for violations of its rules, in accordance with the Rules of Court.

4) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of the human rights of all persons, within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection.

A. CHR can initiate court proceedings on behalf of victims of human rights violations.

B. They can recommend the prosecution of human rights violators, but it cannot itself prosecute these cases.

C. BUT: The CHR cannot issue restraining orders or injunctions against alleged human rights violators. These must be obtained from the regular courts.

5)  Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons and other detention facilities.

6) Establish continuing programs for research, education and information in order to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights.

7)  Recommend to Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide compensation to victims of human rights violations or their families.

8)  Monitor compliance by the government with international treaty obligations on human rights.

9) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the truth in any CHR investigation.

10) Request assistance from any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its functions.

11)  Appoint its officers and employers in accordance with law.

12)  Perform such other functions and duties as may be provided for by law



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald

Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article XII




Three-fold goal:

1.  More equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth;

2.  Sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and

3.  Expanding productivity, as the key to raising the quality of life for all.

The State shall promote industrialization and full employment

1.  It should be based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform

2.  It should be through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources.  Industries should also be competitive in both domestic and foreign markets.

Protection of Filipino enterprises

The State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.

Role of Private Enterprises

Private enterprises, including corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall be encouraged to broaden the base of their ownership


Distinction between Imperium and Dominium.

1.  Imperium

Government authority possessed by the State which is appropriately embraced in sovereignty.

2.  Dominium

  1. The capacity of the State to own and acquire property.
  2. It refers to lands held by the government in a proprietary character: can provide for the exploitation and use of lands and other natural resources.


The following are owned by the State:

1.  Lands of the public domain:


Minerals, coals, petroleum, and other mineral oils;

All sources of potential energy;


Forests or timber;


Flora and fauna; and

Other natural resources.

Alienation of Natural Resources

1.  General Rule:  All natural resources CANNOT be alienated

2.  Exception:  Agricultural lands

Exploration, Development and Utilization of Natural Resources

1.  Shall be under the full control and supervision of the State

2.  Means

A.  The state may DIRECTLY UNDERTAKE such activities

B. The state may enter into CO-PRODUCTION, JOINT VENTURE OR PRODUCTION-SHARING arrangements with

  1. Filipino citizen or
  2. Corporation or association at least 60% of whose capital is owned by such citizens

3.  Limitations:

A.  Period:  It should not exceed 25 years, renewable for not more than 25 years

B.  Under terms and conditions as may be provided by law.

4. In case of water rights/water supply/fisheries/industrial uses other than the development of water power

The beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.

Small-scale Utilization of Natural Resources

1. Congress may, by law, authorize small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens

2. Congress may also authorize cooperative fish farming with priority given to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in the rivers, lakes, bays and lagoons.

Large-Scale Exploration, Development and Utilization of Minerals/Petroleum/Other Mineral Oils

1.  The President may enter into agreements with foreign owned corporations involving technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration etc. of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils.  These agreements should be in accordance with the general terms and conditions provided by law.

2.  They should be based on the real contributions to economic growth and general welfare of the country.

3.  In the agreements, the State should promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources.

4.  The President should notify Congress of every contract under this provision within 30 days from its execution.

5.  Management and service contracts are not allowed under this rule.

Protection of Marine Wealth

1.  The State shall protect its marine wealth in its

Archipelagic waters

Territorial sea &


2.  The State shall reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.


1.  Agricultural

2.  Forest/timber

3.  Mineral lands &

4.  National Parks


1.  Classification of public lands is an exclusive prerogative of the Executive Department through the Office of the President, upon recommendation by the DENR.

2.  Classification is descriptive of the legal nature of the land and NOT what it looks like.  Thus, the fact that forest land is denuded does not mean it is no longer forest land.

Alienable lands of public domain

1.  Only agricultural lands are alienable.

2.  Agricultural lands may be further classified by law according to the uses to which they may be devoted.

Limitations regarding Alienable Lands of the Public Domain

1.  For private corporations or associations

A.  They can only hold alienable lands of the public domain BY LEASE

            B.  Period:  Cannot exceed 25 years, renewable for not more than 25 years

C.  Area:  Lease cannot exceed 1,000 hectares

Note:  A  corporation sole is treated like other private corporations for the purpose of acquiring public lands.

2.  For Filipino citizens

A.  Can lease up to 500 hectares

B.   Can ACQUIRE not more than 12 hectares by purchase, homestead or grant.

Taking into account the requirements of conservation, ecology and development, and subject to the requirements of agrarian reform, Congress shall determine by law the size of the lands of the public domain which may be acquired, developed, held or lease and the conditions therefore.

Means by Which Lands of the Public Domain Become Private Land

1.  Acquired from government by purchase or grant;

2.  Uninterrupted possession by the occupant and his predecessors-in-interest since time immemorial; and

3.  Open, exclusive, and undisputed possession of ALIENABLE (agricultural) public land for a period of 30 years.

A.  Upon completion of the requisite period, the land becomes private property ipso jure without need of any judicial or other sanction.

B.  Here, in possession since time immemorial, presumption is that the land was never part of public domain.

C.  In computing 30 years, start from when land was converted to alienable land, not when it was still forest land

D.  Presumption is that land belongs to the State.

Section 4.  Congress shall, as soon as possible, determine by law, the specific limits of forest lands and national parks, marking clearly their boundaries on the ground.  Thereafter, such forest lands and national parks shall be conserved and may not be increased or diminished, EXCEPT by law.  Congress shall provide measures to prohibit logging in

  1. a.      Endangered forest and
  2. b.      Watershed areas for such period as it may determine.


Protection of Indigenous Cultural Communities

1.  The State protects the rights of indigenous cultural communities to their ancestral lands

A.  Subject to Constitutional provisions

B.  Subject to national development policies and programs

2.  In determining ownership and extent of ancestral domain, Congress may use customary laws on property rights and relations.


A.  It refers to lands which are considered as pertaining to a cultural region

B.  This includes lands not yet occupied, such as deep forests.


General rule

1.  Private lands CAN only be transferred or conveyed to:

A.  Filipino citizens

B. Corporations or associations incorporated in the Philippines, at least 60% of whose capital is owned by Filipino citizens

2.  Exceptions

A.  In intestate succession, where an alien heir of a Filipino is the transferee of private land.

B.  A natural born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of PRIVATE ALND, subject to limitation provided by law.  Hence, land can be used only for residential purposes.  In this case, he only acquires derivative title.

C.  Foreign states may acquire land but only for embassy and staff residence purposes.

3.  Filipino citizenship is only required at the time the land is acquired.  Thus, loss of citizenship after acquiring the land does not deprive ownership.

4.  Restriction against aliens only applies to acquisition of ownership.  Therefore:

A.  Aliens may be lessees or usufructuaries of private lands

B.  Aliens may be mortgages of land, as long as they do not obtain possession thereof and do not bid in the foreclosure sale.

5.  Land tenure is not indispensable to the free exercise of religious profession and worship.  A religious corporation controlled by non-Filipinos cannot acquire and own land, even for religious purposes.

Remedies to recover private lands from disqualified aliens:

1.  Escheat proceedings

2.  Action for reversion under the Public Land Act

3.  An action by the former Filipino owner to recover the land

A.  The former pari delicto principle has been abandoned

B.  Alien still has the title (didn’t pass it on to one who is qualified)


Power of Congress

1.  Congress, upon the recommendation of NEDA, can reserve to Filipino citizens or to corporations or associations at least 60% of whose capital is owned by such citizens, or such higher percentage as Congress may prescribe, certain areas of investment.  This may be done when the national interest dictates.

2.  Congress shall also enact measures to encourage the formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos.

National Economy and Patrimony

In the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give preference to QUALIFIED Filipinos.


Power to grant:

1.  Congress may directly grant a legislative franchise; or

2. Power to grant franchises may be delegated to appropriate regulatory agencies and/or LGU’s

Public utility

1.  In order to be considered as a public utility, and thus subject to this provision, the undertaking must involve dealing directly with the public.

2.  Thus, a Build-Operate-Transfer grantee is NOT a public utility.  The BOT grantee merely constructs the utility, and it leases the same to the government.  It is the government which operates the public utility (operation separate from ownership).

To whom granted:

1.  Filipino citizens or

2.  Corporations or associations incorporated in the Philippines and at least 60% of the capital is owned by Filipino citizens.

Terms and conditions:

1.  Duration:  Not more than 50 years

2.  Franchise is NOT exclusive in character

3.  Franchise is granted under the condition that it is subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by Congress when the common good so requires.

Participation of Foreign Investors

1. The participation of foreign investors in the governing body of any public utility enterprise shall be limited to their proportionate share in its capital.

2.  Foreigners cannot be appointed as the executive and managing officers because these positions are reserved for Filipino citizens.


1.  Private corporations

Congress can only provide for the formation, etc of private corporations through a general law.

2.  GOCC’s

They may be created by:

a. Special charters in the interest of the common good and subject to the test of  economic viability.

b. By incorporation under the general corporation law.


1.  Temporary takeover or direction of operations:

A.  Conditions

i.  National emergency and

ii.  When the public interest requires

B.  May be used against privately owned public utilities or businesses affected with public interest.

C.  Duration of the takeover:  period of emergency

D.  Takeover is subject to reasonable terms and conditions

E.  No need for just compensation because it is only temporary.

2.  Nationalization of vital industries:

A.  Exercised in the interest of national welfare or defense

B.  Involves either:

i.  Establishment and operation of vital industries; or

ii. Transfer to public ownership, upon payment of just compensation, public utilities and other private enterprises to be operated by the government.

Section 19.  MONOPOLIES

1.  The Constitution does NOT prohibit the existence of monopolies.

2. The State may either regulate or prohibit monopolies, when public interest so requires.

3.  Combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition are prohibited.

Filipino citizenship or equity requirements:


ACTIVITY REQUIREMENTS                                             CITIZENSHIP AND/OR EQUITY

Exploitation of natural resources                     1.  Filipino citizens; or

2. Corporations incorporated in RP, with 60% Filipino ownership


Operation of Public Utilities                              1.  Filipino citizens; or

2. Corporations incorporated in RP, with 60% Filipino ownership


Acquisition of alienable lands of the public domain

1.  Filipino citizens;

2. Corporations incorporated in RP, with 60% Filipino ownership;

3.  Former natural-born citizens of RP, as transferees, with certain legal restrictions; and

4.  Alien heirs as transferees in case of intestate succession.


Practice of ALL Professions                            Filipino citizens only (natural persons)

*Congress may, by law, otherwise prescribe


Mass Media                                                             1.  Filipino citizens; or

2. Corporations incorporated in RP, and 100% Filipino owned


Advertising                                                            1.  Filipino citizens; or

2. Corporations incorporated in RP, and 70% Filipino owned.


Educational institution                                     1.  Filipino citizens; or

2. Corporations incorporated in RP, with 60% Filipino ownership

EXCEPTSchools established by religious groups and mission boards.

*Congress may, by law, increase Filipino equity requirements for ALL educational institutions.


Other economic activities                                Congress may, by law, reserve to Filipino citizens or to corporations 60% Filipino owned (or even higher) certain investment areas.



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald

Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article XI




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.



Impeachment: (as means of removal from office)

1.  Who may be impeached:

– President

– VP

– SC Justices

– Constitutional Commission members

– Ombudsman

2.  Grounds

– Culpable violation of the Constitution

– treason

– bribery

– graft and corruption

– other high crimes or

– betrayal of public trust

Note: It is an exclusive list.  Congress cannot, by law, add to the list of impeachable offenses.

  1. These officers cannot be charged in court with offenses that have removal from office as penalty.
  2. The President cannot be charged with murder.
  3. A SC Justice cannot be disbarred because this would disqualify him from his position.
  4. BUT AFTER an official has been impeached, he can be charged with the appropriate offense.
  5. Resignation by an impeachable official does not place him beyond the reach of impeachment proceedings; he can still be impeached

All Other Public Officers and Employees

1.  They may be removed from office as provided by law

2.  BUT: NOT by impeachment


Exclusive Power of House of Representatives

The House of Representatives has exclusive power to INITIATE all cases of impeachment.


1.  Filling of verified complaint

  1. Can be filed by:
  1. Any member of the House of Representatives or
  2. Any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member of the House or
  3. By at least 1/3 of all the Members of the House of Representatives

2.)  Inclusion of complaint in the order of business with 10 session days

3.)  Referral to proper Committee within 3 session days thereafter

4.)   Submission of Committee report to the House together with corresponding resolution

  1. There should be a hearing
  2. There should be a majority vote of the members
  3. The report should be submitted within 60 days from referral, after hearing, and by a majority vote of ALL its members.

5.)  Calendaring of resolution for consideration by the House

Should be done within 10 session days from receipt thereof

6.)   Vote of at least 1/3 of all Members of the House necessary to:

  1. Affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee or
  2. To override its contrary resolution

Note: If the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment was filed by at least 1/3 of all the Members of the House, it shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment.  Trial in the Senate shall proceed.

7.)        Trial in the Senate

  1. Senate has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment
  2. For this purpose, the Senators shall be under oath or affirmation
  3. When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the CJ of the Supreme Court presides.  However, he/she will not vote.

8.)          Judgment of Conviction

This requires the concurrence of 2/3 of all the Members of the Senate

9.)          Effect of the Impeachment

  1. Removal from office of the official concerned
  2. Disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines
  3. Officer still liable to prosecution, trial, and punishment if the impeachable offense committed also constitutes a felony or crime.


Sandiganbayan = the anti-graft court

Sections 5-6, 8-14:  OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN


1.)                Ombudsman/Tanodbayan

2.)                Overall deputy

3.)                At least one Deputy each for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao

4.)                Deputy for military establishment may be appointed

Qualifications: (Ombudsman and his deputies)

1.)    Natural born citizen of the Philippines

2.)    At least 40 years old at time of appointment

3.)    Of recognized probity and independence

4.)    Member of the Philippine bar

5.)    Must not have been candidate for any elective office in the immediately preceding election

6.)    For Ombudsman: He must have been for ten years or more

  1. A judge or
  2. Engage in the practice of law in the Philippines

Disqualifications/Prohibitions (under Article IX, Section 2)

1.)    Cannot hold any other office or employment during his tenure

2.)    Cannot engage in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which may be affected by the functions of his office

3.)    Cannot 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 GOCCs or their subsidiaries.


1.  Of Ombudsman and deputies

  1. By the president from a list of at least 6 nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council. Vacancies will be filled from a list of 3 nominees
  2. Appointments do NOT require confirmation
  3. All vacancies shall be filled within 3 months after they occur.

2.  Of other officials and employees of the Office of the Ombudsman

  1. By the Ombudsman
  2. In accordance with Civil Service Law

Term: (Ombudsman and deputies)

1.  7 years with reappointment

2.  They are NOT qualified to run for any office in the election immediately succeeding their cessation from office


1.  The Ombudsman has the rank of Chairman of a Constitutional Commission

2.  The Members have the rank of members of a Constitutional Commission

3.  Their salaries cannot be decreased during their term of office.

Powers, Functions and Duties of the Office of the Ombudsman

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.

  1. The SC held that the power to investigate and prosecute cases involving public officers and employees has been transferred to the Ombudsman.
  2. The Ombudsman may always delegate his power to investigate.
  3. The power to investigate includes the power to impose preventive suspension.
  4. This preventive suspension is not a penalty.
  5. “INVESTIGATE” does not mean preliminary investigation.
  6. The complaint need not be drawn up in the usual form.
  7. The “ILLEGAL” act or omission need not be in connection with the duties of the public officer or employee concerned.
  8. ANY illegal act may be investigated by the Ombudsman.  In this regard, the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction is CONCURRENT with that of the regular prosecutors.

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 of duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties.

  1. The Ombudsman has PERSUASIVE POWER, and may require that proper legal steps are taken by the officers concerned.
  2. The public official or employee must be employed in:

(I).       The Government

(II).      Any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof; or

(III).     GOCC’s with original charters

  1. The SC has held that the SP may prosecute before the Sandiganbayan judges accused of graft and corruption, even if they are under the Supreme Court.

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

  1. The Ombudsman does NOT himself prosecute cases against public officers or employees.
  2. Final say to prosecute still rests in the executive department.
  3. The Ombudsman or Tanodbayan may use mandamus to compel the fiscal to prosecute.

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 of properties, and report any irregularity to COA 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.) Public matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and with due process.

7.) Determine the cause 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.

Note: The Office of the Ombudsman also has the duty to act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality including GOCCs and their subsidiaries.  In appropriate cases, it should notify the complainants of the action taken and the result thereof.

Fiscal Autonomy

The Office of the Ombudsman enjoys fiscal autonomy.  Its approved annual appropriations should be automatically and regularly released.


1. Under the 1987 Constitution, the existing Tanodbayan became the Office of the Special Prosecutor

2. Powers

  1. It will continue to function and exercise its powers as now or hereafter may be provided by law
  2. Exception: Powers conferred on the Office of the Ombudsman

3. The Office of the Special Prosecutor is subordinate to and acts under the orders of the Ombudsman

Note: According to Jack, the SC was wrong because the ConCom intended that the SP was to prosecute anti-graft cases.



Prescription, Laches, Estoppel

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

2.) Their right to prosecute criminally these officials and employees may prescribe.



This prohibition applies to:

1.)    President

2.)    Vice-President

3.)    Members of the Cabinet

4.)    Members of Congress

5.)    Members of Supreme Court

6.)    Members of Constitutional Commissions

7.)    Ombudsman

8.)    Any firm or entity in which they have controlling interest

When prohibition applies:

Prohibition applies during their TENURE.

Scope of prohibition:

1.)    The above mentioned officials cannot obtain, directly or indirectly for BUSINESS PURPOSES:

  1. Loans
  2. Guarantees
  3. Other forms of financial accommodation


  1. Government owned or controlled banks; or
  2. Government owned or controlled financial institutions.

2.)    If the loan, etc, is NOT for business purpose, e.g. a housing loan, the prohibition does not apply.

Section 17: Statements of assets, liabilities and net worth

When submitted:

Public officer and employee shall submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth upon assumption of office and as often as required under the law.

When declaration shall be disclosed to the public:

These declarations shall be disclosed to the public in a manner provided by law in the case of:

1.)    President

2.)    Vice-President

3.)    Members of the Cabinet

4.)    Members of Congress

5.)    Justices of the Supreme Court

6.)    Members of Constitutional Commissions

7.)    Other constitutional offices

8.)    Officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank

Section 18: Allegiance of public officers and employees

Allegiance to the State and to the Constitution

Change in Citizenship/Immigrant Status

1.)    Incumbent public officers and employees who seek either:

  1. Change his citizenship; or
  2. Acquire immigrant status in another country

Shall be dealt with by law.

2.)    If Philippine citizenship is one of the qualifications to the office, the loss of such citizenship means the loss of the office by the incumbent.

3.)    The Election Code provides the rules with respect to non-incumbents, i.e. persons running for elective offices.

  1. The Code provides that permanent residents of or immigrant to a foreign country cannot file certificates of candidacy unless they expressly waive their status as such

This renunciation must be some other than, and prior to, the filling of the certificate of candidacy.



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald

Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article X





1)      Provinces

2)      Cities;

3)      Municipalities; and

4)      Barangays

There shall be Autonomous regions in:

1)      Muslim Mindanao, and

2)      Cordileras [At present, it is only the Cordilera ADMINISTRATIVE region]

Note:    1) A third autonomous regions would require a constiutional amendment.

2) These political subdivisions, created by the Constitution cannot be replaced by AMENDMENT, and not by law.

3) While Congress can abolish or eradicate individual units, it cannot abolish an entire class of LGU’s

Section 2.  Local Autonomy

1)      All political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy

2)      This does not mean that the LGU’s are completely free from the central government.

  1. Judiciary may still pass on LGU actions
  2. President may exercise disciplinary power over LGU officials.

Sec. 3. 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.



Supervision of President

1)      The President exercises general supervision over all LGUs

2)      The President exercises DIRECT supervision over

  1. Provinces
  2. Autonomous regions and
  3. Independent cities.

3)      This power is limited to ensuring that lower officers exercise their functions in accordance with law.

4)      The president cannot substitute his judgment for that of an LGU official unless the latter is acting contrary to law.

5)      The President may, however, impose administrative sanctions against LGU officials, such as suspension for 120 days, and may even remove them from their posts, in accordance with law.

6)      Provinces exercise direct supervision over component cities and municipalities.

7)      Cities and municipalities exercise direct supervision over component barangays.


Limitations on Power

1)      It is subject to such guidelines and limitations as Congress may provide.  See Local Government Code for examples.

2)      The guidelines set by Congress should be consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy.

Accrual of taxes, fees, charges

The taxes, fees and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local governments.


Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA)

1)      Share of LGUs in national taxes is limited to the internal revenue taxes.

2)      The share of each LGU should be released, without need of any further action, directly to the provincial, city, municipal or barangay treasurer.  Release is made on a quarterly basis within 5 days after the end of each quarter.

3)      The share of each LGU should not be subject to any lien or holdback that may be imposed by the national government for whatever purpose.

4)      Each LGU should appropriate in its annual budget at least 20% of its annual IRA for development projects.

5)      Adjustments in IRA

  1. Ground:  Unmanageable public section deficit
  2. President can make the necessary adjustments in the IRA upon the recommendation of the following:
  1. Department of Finance Secretary
  2. DILG Secretary
  3. DBM Secretary

6)      IRA considered for purposes of conversion from one political subdivision to the next.  (Alvarez v. Guingona)


Share of LGUs in national wealth

1)      LGUs are 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.

2)      This includes share the same with the inhabitants by way of direct benefits.

Under the LGC

1)      LGUs have a share of 40% of the gross collection derived by the national government from the preceding fiscal year from

  1. Mining taxes
  2. Royalties
  3. Forestry and fishery charges
  4. Other taxes, fees and charges
  5. Share in any co-production, joint venture or production sharing agreement in the utilization and development of the national wealth w/in their territorial jurisdiction


Term of Office

Elective local officials, now including barangay officials have a term of 3 years.


1)      No elective official shall serve for more than 3 consecutive terms

2)      Voluntary renunciation of 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.


Legislative bodies of the local governments shall have Sectoral Representation (under the LGC) as may be provided by law

There should be representatives from:

1)      The women’s sector

2)      The workers

3)      Third sector (can choose from any of the following)

A)    Urban poor

B)     Indigenous cultural communities

C)     Disabled persons

D)    Any other sector as may be determined by the sanggunian

Election of Sector Representatives

Sec. 10. Creation, abolition and division of LGU’s

1)      Requisites

  1. Compliance with the requirements of the Local Government Code; and
  2. Approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite held in the political units DIRECTLY affected.

2)      Thus, a province is supposed to be divided into 2 separate provinces, plebiscite will include voters of the ENTIRE province, and not just the area to comprise the new province.

3)      LGC requirements relate to matters such as population, revenue, and area requirements.

Sec. 11.  Metropolitan political subdivisions


1)      Congress may create special metropolitan political subdivisions by law.

2)      It is subject to a plebiscite

Jurisdiction of Metropolitan authority

It is limited to basic services requiring coordination.

Basic Autonomy of Component Cities and Municipalities

1)      The component cities and municipalities retain their basic autonomy

2)      They shall be entitled to their own local executive and legislative assemblies.

Sec. 12.  CITIES

Classification of Cities:

1)      Highly urbanized (as determined by law)

2)      Component cities (cities still under provincial control); and

3)      Independent component cities (non-highly urbanized cities whose voters are prohibited by thecity charter from voting in provincial elections)

Independence from the Province

1)      Highly urbanized cities and independent component cities are independent of the province.

2)      Component cities whose charter contain no such prohibition are still under the control of the province and its voters may still vote for elective provincial officials.

Section 13.  Coordination among LGUS

Consolidation and Coordination of Efforts, Services and Resources

1)      It is optional on the part of LGUs as shown by the use of the word “may”

2)      It can be done for purposes commonly beneficial to them in accordance with the law.

Under LGC (Section 33)

1)      Consolidation and coordination may be done through appropriate ordinances.

2)      A public hearing should be conducted and the approval of the sanggunian obtained.

3)      An LGU can:

  1. Contribute funds, real estate, equipment and other kinds of property
  2. Appoint/assign personnel under such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the participating LGUs through Memoranda of Agreement.


Who can provide for RDC

The President shall provide for RDC or other similar bodies composed of:


1)      Local government officials

2)      Regional heads of departments and other government offices

3)      Representatives of NGOS within the regions

For Purpose of

1)      Administrative decentralization

2)      To strengthen local autonomy

3)      To accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units in the region



1)      Muslim Mindanao

2)      Cordillera region


1)      Historical heritage

2)      Cultural heritage

3)      Economic and social structures,

4)      Other relevant characteristics within:

  1. The framework of the consititution
  2. National sovereignty
  3. Territorial integrity.


1)      Provided by law.

2)      EFFECTIVITY of such creation occurs only when it is approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite held among the constituent units.

3)      Only those Provinces, Cities, and Geographical Areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall form part of the autonomous region.

4)      If only 1 province approved the law, NO AUTONOMOUS REGION created, since the constitution requires more than one province to constitute one (like what happened in the Cordillera plebiscite)

5)      The question of which LGU’s shall constitute an autonomous region is one which is exclusively for Congress to decide.


By Whom:

The President


To ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.

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

Examples:        1) Foreign relations,

2) National defense and Security

3) Monetary Affairs


The Organic Act of Autonomous Region 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.


1)      Subject to the provisions of the Constitution and national laws

2)      To be exercised within its territorial jurisdiction


Peace and Order

It shall be the responsibility of the local police agencies.

Defense and Security

It shall be the responsibility of the national government.



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald


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

Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article VIII





1. Judicial power is the authority to settle justiciable controversies or disputes involving rights that are enforceable and demandable before the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violations of such rights.

2.  Vested in the Supreme Court and such lower courts as may be established by law.

3. Since the courts are given ‘judicial power’ and nothing more, courts may neither attempt to assume or be compelled to perform non-judicial functions.  They may not be charged with administrative functions except when reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of their duties.

4.  In order that courts may exercise this power, there must exist the following:

  1. An actual controversy with legally demandable and enforceable rights;
  2. Involving real parties in interest;
  3. The exercise of such power will bind the parties by virtue of the court’s application of existing laws.

5.  Judicial power cannot be exercised in vacuum.  Without any laws from which rights arise and which are violated, there can be no recourse to the courts.

6.  The courts cannot be asked for advisory opinions.

7.  Judicial power includes:

  1. The duty of the courts to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable; and
  1. 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.

Political Questions:

1.  A ‘political question’ is one the resolution of which has been vested by the Constitution exclusively in either the people, in the exercise of their sovereign capacity, or in which full discretionary authority has been delegated to a co-equal branch of the Government.

2.  Thus, while courts can determine questions of legality with respect to governmental action, they cannot review government policy and the wisdom thereof, for these questions have been vested by the Constitution in the Executive and Legislative Departments.


1.  Defining enforceable and demandable rights and prescribing remedies for violations of such rights; and

2.  Determining the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide controversies or disputes arising from legal rights.

3.  Thus, Congress has the power to define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts.

  1. BUT, Congress cannot deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases provided for in the Constitution.
  2. Creation and abolition of courts:
    1. The power to create courts implies the power to abolish and even re-organize courts.
    2. BUT this power cannot be exercised in a manner which would undermine the security of tenure of the judiciary.
    3. If the abolition/re-organization is done in good faith and not for political or personal reasons, then it is VALID.  (same rule applies for civil servants)


  1. The entire judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy.
  2. Annual appropriations for the judiciary cannot be reduced below the amount appropriated for the previous year.
  3. Once approved, appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released.

Secs. 4-7; 12 JUDICIARY

Composition of the Supreme Court:

  1. Chief Justice and
  2. 14 Associate Justices

Note:  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.

Qualifications of members of the SC:

1.  Natural born citizen of the Philippines

2.  At least 40 years old

3.  At least 15 years of experience as a judge or in the practice of law in the Philippines

4.  Person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.

Qualifications of members of lower collegiate courts (CA, CTA, Sandiganbayan)

1.  Natural born citizen of the Philippines

2.  Member of the Philippine bar

3.  Possesses other qualifications prescribed by Congress

4.  Person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.

Qualifications of judges of lower non-collegiate courts:

1.  Citizen of the Philippines (may be a naturalized citizen)

2.  Member of the Philippine Bar

3.  Possesses other qualifications prescribed by Congress

4.  Person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.


1.  The Judicial and Bar Council is under the supervision of the SC.

A.  Is under the supervision of the Supreme Court and is composed of:

  1. Chief Justice, as ex-officio chairman
  2. Secretary of Justice, as an ex-officio member
  3. Representative of Congress, as an ex-officio member
  4. Representative of the Integrated Bar
  5. A professor of law
  6. A retired member of the SC; and
  7. Private sector representative

Note:  The last four re the regular members of the JBC.  Regular members are appointed by the President with CA approval.  Regular members serve for 4 years, with staggered terms.

B.  Functions of JBC

  1. Principal function:  recommend appointees to the Judiciary
  2. Exercise such other functions as the SC may assign to it.

C.  Appointments to the Judiciary  

  1. President shall appoint from a list of at least 3 nominees for each vacancy, as prepared by the JBC.
  2. No CA confirmation is needed for appointments to the Judiciary.
  3. Vacancies in SC should be filled within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy.
  4. Vacancies in lower courts should be filled within 90 days from submission to the President of the JBC list.

Sec. 10.  SALARIES

1.  Salaries of SC Justices and judges of lower courts shall be fixed by law.

2.  Cannot be decreased during their continuance in office, but can be increased.

3.  Members of the Judiciary are NOT exempt from payment of income tax.


1.  Members of the SC and judges of the lower courts hold office during good behavior until

a.  The age of 70 years old; or

b.  They become incapacitated to discharge their duties.

2.  Disciplinary action against judges of lower courts:

a.  Only the SC en banc has jurisdiction to discipline or dismiss judges of lower courts.

b.  Disciplinary action/dismissal:  Majority vote of SC Justices who took part in the deliberations and voted therein.

3.  Removal of SC Justices:

a.  Only by IMPEACHMENT.

b.  Cannot be disbarred while they hold office.

Secs. 4-6, 13.  THE SUPREME COURT

Hearing of cases:

  1. En banc; or
  2. Divisions of 3, 5, or 7.

Cases required to be heard en banc:

1.  All cases involving constitutionality of a/an:

a.  Treaty

b.  International or executive agreement or

c.  Law.

2.  All cases required to be heard en banc under the Rules of Court:

a.  Appeals from Sandiganbayan; and

b.  From the Constitutional Commissions

3.  All cases involving the constitutionality, application or operation of

a.  Presidential decrees

b.  Proclamations

c.  Orders

d.  Instructions

e.  Ordinances; and

f.   Other regulations.

4.  Cases heard by a division where required majority of 3 was not obtained.

5.  Cases where SC modifies or reverses a doctrine or principle of law laid down by the SC en banc or by a division.

6.  Administrative cases to discipline or dismiss judges of lower courts; and

7.  Election contests for President and Vice-President.

Cases heard by division

1.  Must be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the members who took part in the deliberations and voted thereon.

2.  Majority vote in a division should be at least 3 members.

Powers of the SC

1.  SC has ORIGINAL jurisdiction over

a.  Cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls.

Note:  This refers to foreign ambassadors, etc., stationed in the Philippines.

b.  Petitions for certiorari, prohibiton, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.

2.  SC has APPELLATE jurisdiction over final judgments and orders in the following:

a.  All cases involving the constitutionality or validity of any

  1. treaty
  2. international or executive agreement
  3. law
  4. presidential decree
  5. proclamation
  6. order
  7. instruction
  8. ordinance, or
  9. regulation;

b.  All cases involving the legality of any

  1. tax
  2. impost
  3. assessment or
  4. toll or
  5. any penalty imposed in relation thereto;

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

d. Criminal cases where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher; and

e.  All cases where ONLY errors or questions of law are involved.

3.  Temporarily assign lower court judges to other stations in the public interest.

Note:  Temporary assignment shall not exceed 6 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:

a.  The protection and enforcement of constitutional rights;

b.  Pleading, practice and procedure in all courts;

c.  Admission to the practice of law;

d.  The Integrated Bar; and

e.  Legal assistance to the underprivileged.

Limitations on Rule Making Power

a. It should provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases.

b.  It should be uniform for all courts of the same grade.

c.  It should not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.

6.  Appoint ALL officials and employees of the Judiciary, in accordance with Civil Service Law.

7. Exercise administrative supervision over ALL courts and the personnel thereof.

Decisions of the Supreme Court:

1. Reached in consultation before being assigned to a member for the writing of the opinion.

2. A certification to this effect must be signed by the Chief Justice and attached to the record of the case and served upon the parties.

3. Members of the SC who took no part, or who dissented or abstained must state the reasons therefore.

Note:  This procedure shall also be observed by all lower collegiate courts (CA, CTA, and the Sandiganbayan).



1.  Judicial Review is the power of the SC to declare a law, treaty, ordinance etc. unconstitutional.

2.    Lower courts may also exercise the power of judicial review, subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the SC.

3.   Only SC decisions are precedent, and thus, only SC decisions are binding on all.

Requisites                                            Code:   [A R S Co R]

1.  An ACTUAL CASE calling for the exercise of judicial power

2.  The question involved must be RIPE FOR ADJUDICATION, i.e. the government act must have had an adverse effect on the person challenging it.

3.  The person challenging the governmental act must have ‘STANDING’, i.e. a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement.

4.  The question of Constitutionality must be raised in the first instance, or at the earliest opportunity.

5.  Resolution of the issue of constitutionality is unavoidable or is the very lis mota.

Effect of a declaration of unconstitutionality:

1.  Prior to the declaration that a particular law is unconstitutional, it is considered as an ‘operative fact’ which at that time had to be complied with.

2.  Thus, vested rights may have been acquired under such law before it was declared unconstitutional.

3. These rights are not prejudiced by the subsequent declaration that the law is unconstitutional.


1.  Decisions MUST state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.

2.  Refusal to give due course to petitions for review and motions for reconsideration must state the legal basis for such refusal.

3.  Memorandum decisions, where the appellate court adopts the findings of fact and law of the lower court, are allowed as long as the decision adopted by reference is attached to the Memorandum for easy reference.

4.  These rules only apply to courts.  They do not apply to quasi-judicial or administrative bodies nor to military tribunals.



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald

Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article VII




1)    Executive power is vested in the President of the Philippines.

2)    The scope of this power is set forth in Art. VII of the Constitution.  But this power is not limited to those set forth therein.  The SC, in Marcos v. Manglapus, referred to the RESIDUAL powers of the President as the Chief Executive of the country, which powers include others not set forth in the Constitution.  EXAMPLE:  The President is immune from suit and criminal prosecution while he is in office.

3)    Privilege of immunity from suit is personal to the President and may be invoked by him alone.  It may also be waived by the President, as when he himself files suit.

4)    BUT The President CANNOT dispose of state property unless authorized by law.


1)    Natural-born citizen of the Philippines

2)    Registered voter;

3)    Able to read and write;

4)    At least 40 years old on the day of election

5)    Philippine resident for at least 10 years immediately preceding such election.

Note:  The Vice-President has the same qualifications & term of office as the President.  He is elected with & in the same manner as the President.  He may be removed from office in the same manner as the President.


Manner of Election

1)    The President and Vice-President shall be elected by direct vote of the people.

2)    Election returns for President and Vice-President, as duly certified by the proper Board of Canvassers shall be forwarded to Congress, directed to the Senate President.

3)    Not later than 30 days after the day of the election, the certificates shall be opened in the presence of both houses of Congress, assembled in joint public session.

4)    The Congress, after determining the authenticity and due execution of the certificates, shall canvass the votes.

5)    The person receiving the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected.

6)    In case of a tie between 2 or more candidates, one shall be chosen by a majority of ALL the members of both Houses, voting separately.  In case this results in a deadlock, the Senate President shall be the acting President until the deadlock is broken.

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

Term of Office

1)    President

a)    6 years beginning at noon on 30 June immediately following the election and ending at noon on the same day 6 years later.

b)    Term limitation: Single term only; not eligible for any reelection.

c)    Any person who has succeeded as President, and served as such for more than 4 years shall NOT be qualified for election to the same office at any time.

2)    Vice-President:

a)    6 years, starting and ending the same time as the President.

b)    Term limitation: 2 successive terms.

c)    Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time is NOT an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the Vice-President was elected.


1)    Official salaries are determined by law.

2)    Salaries cannot be decreased during the TENURE of the President and the Vice-President.

3)    Increases take effect only after the expiration of the TERM of the incumbent during which the increase was approved.

4)    Prohibited from receiving any other emolument from the government or any other source during their TENURE


  1. Vacancies at the beginning of the term



President-elect fails to qualify or to be chosen VP-elect will be Acting President until someone is qualified/chosen as President.
President-elect dies or is permanently disabled. VP becomes President.
Both President and VP-elect are not chosen or do not qualify or both die, or both become permanently disabled.
  1. Senate President or
  2. In case of his inability, the Speaker of the House shall act as President until a President or a VP shall have been chosen and qualified.

In case of death or disability of (1) and (2), Congress shall determine, by law, who will be the acting President.

2.  Vacancies after the office is initially filled:



President dies, is permanently disabled, is impeached, or resigns. Vice-President becomes President for the unexpired term.
Both President and Vice-President die, become permanently disabled, are impeached, or resign.
  1. Senate President or
  2. In case of his inability, the Speaker of the House shall act as President until the President or VP shall have been elected and qualif

3)    Vacancy in office of Vice-President during the term for which he was elected:

a)    President will nominate new VP from any member of either House of Congress.

b)    Nominee shall assume office upon confirmation by majority vote of ALL members of both Houses, voting separately.  (Nominee forfeits seat in Congress)

4)    Election of President and Vice-President after vacancy during tem

a)     Congress shall convene 3 days after the vacancy in the office of both the President and the VP, without need of a call.  The convening of Congress cannot be suspended.

b)     Within 7 days after convening, Congress shall enact a law calling for a special election to elect a President and a VP.  The special election cannot be postponed.

c)     The special election shall be held not earlier than 45 days not later than 60 days from the time of the enactment of the law.

d)     The 3 readings for the special law need not be held on separate days.

e)     The law shall be deemed enacted upon its approval on third reading.

BUT:  No special election shall be called if the vacancy occurs within 18 months before the date of the next presidential election.

5)    Temporary disability of the President:

The temporary inability of the President to discharge his duties may be raised in either of two ways:

a)    By the President himself, when he sends a written declaration to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House.  In this case, the Vice-President will be Acting President until the President transmits a written declaration to the contrary.

b)    When a majority of the Cabinet members transmit to the Senate President and the Speaker their written declaration.

(i)            The VP will immediately be Acting President.

(ii)           BUT:  If the President transmits a written declaration that he is not disabled, he reassumes his position.

(iii)          If within 5 days after the President re-assumes his position, the majority of the Cabinet retransmits their written declaration, Congress shall decide the issue.  In this event, Congress shall reconvene within 48 hours if it is not in session, without need of a call.

(iv)         Within 10 days after Congress is required to assemble, or 12 days if Congress is not in session, a 2/3 majority of both Houses, voting separately, is needed to find the President temporarily disabled, in which case, the VP will be Acting President.

6)    Presidential Illness:

a)    If the President is seriously ill, the public must be informed thereof.

b)    Even during such illness, the National Security Adviser, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the Chief of Staff of the AFP are entitled to access to the President




President, Vice-President, Cabinet Members, Deputies or Assistants of Cabinet Members Prohibited from:

  1. Holding any office or employment during their tenure, UNLESS:


  1. otherwise provided in the Constitution (e.g.  VP can be appointed a Cabinet Member, Sec. of Justice sits on Judicial and Bar Council); or
  2. the positions are ex-officio and they do not receive any salary or other emoluments therefor (e.g. Sec. of Finance is head of Monetary Board).


  1. Practicing, directly or indirectly, any other profession during their tenure;


  1. Participating in any business;


  1. Being 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 GOCC’s or their subsidiaries.


N.B.  The rule on disqualifications for the President and his Cabinet are stricter than the normal rules applicable to appointive and elective officers under Art. IX-B, Sec. 7.

Spouses and 4th degree relatives of the President (consanguinity or affinity) Cannot be appointed during President’s tenure as:


  1. Members of the Constitutional Commissions;
  2. Office of the Ombudsman;
  3. Department Secretaries;
  4. Department under-secretaries;
  5. Chairman or heads of bureaus or offices including GOCC’s and their subsidiaries.



  1. If the spouse, etc., was already in any of the above offices at the time before his/her spouse became President, he/she may continue in office.  What is prohibited is appointment and reappointment, NOT continuation in office.
  2. Spouses, etc., can be appointed to the judiciary and as ambassadors and consuls.


Sections 14-16.  POWER TO APPOINT


1)     Since the power to appoint is executive in nature, Congress cannot usurp this function.

2)     While Congress (and the Constitution in certain cases) may prescribe the qualifications for particular offices, the determination of who among those who are qualified will be appointed is the President’s prerogative.


The President shall appoint the following:

1)    Heads of executive departments (CA confirmation needed):

2)    Ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls (CA confirmation needed).

3)    Officers of AFP from rank of colonel or naval captain (CA confirmation needed).

4)    Other officers whose appointment is vested in him by the Constitution (CA confirmation needed), such as:

a)    Chairmen and members of the COMELEC, COA and CSC.

b)    Regular members of the Judicial and Bar Council.

c)    The Ombudsman and his deputies;

d)    Sectoral representatives in Congress.

  • N.B. President also appoints members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts, but these appointments do not need CA confirmation.

5)    All other officers whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law; and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint.

a)     This includes the Chairman and members of the Commission on Human Rights, whose appointments are provided for by law NOT by the Constitution.

b)     Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone or in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies, boards or commissions.

c)     BUT:  Congress cannot, by law, require CA confirmation of the appointment of other officers for offices created subsequent to the 1987 Constitution (e.g. NLRC Commissioners, Bangko Sentral Governor).

d)      ALSO: Voluntary submission by the President to the CA for confirmation of an appointment which is not required to be confirmed does not vest the CA with jurisdiction.  The President cannot extend the scope of the CA’s power as provided for in the Constitution.


1)    CA confirmation needed:

a)    Nomination by President

b)    Confirmation by CA

c)    Appointment by President; and

d)    Acceptance by appointee.

Note:  At any time before all four steps have been complied with, the President can withdraw the nomination/appointment.

2)    No CA confirmation:

a)    Appointment; and

b)    Acceptance.

Note:  Once appointee accepts, President can no longer withdraw the appointment.

Ad-interim appointments:

1)    When Congress is in recess, the President may still appoint officers to positions subject to CA confirmation.

2)    These appointments are effective immediately, but are only effective until they are disapproved by the CA or until the next adjournment of Congress.

3)    Appointments to fill an office in an ‘acting’ capacity are NOT ad-interim in nature and need no CA approval.

Appointments by an Acting President:

These shall remain effective UNLESS revoked by the elected President within 90 days from his assumption or re-assumption of office.


1)    2 months immediately before the next Presidential elections, and up to the end of his term, the President or Acting President SHALL NOT make appointments.  This is to prevent the practice of ‘midnight appointments.”




c)    If continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

Section 17.  Power of Control and Supervision

Power of Control:

The power of an officer to alter, modify, or set aside what a subordinate officer has done in the performance of his duties, and to substitute the judgment of the officer for that of his subordinate.  Thus, the President exercises control over all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices.

The President’s power over government-owned corporations comes not from the Constitution but from statute.  Hence, it may be taken away by statute.

Qualified Political Agency:

1)    Since all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the heads of such departments, etc. are assistants and agents of the President.

2)    Thus, generally the acts of these department heads, etc, which are performed and promulgated in the regular course of business, are presumptively the acts of the President.

3)    Exception:  If the acts are disapproved or reprobated by the President.

4)    Under Administrative Law, decisions of Department Secretaries need not be appealed to the President in order to comply with the requirement of exhaustion of administrative remedies.

5)    Qualified political agency does NOT apply if the President is required to act in person by law or by the Constitution.  Example:  The power to grant pardons must be exercised personally by the President.

Disciplinary Powers:

1)    The power of the President to discipline officers flows from the power to appoint the, and NOT from the power control.

2)    BUT While the President may remove from office those who are not entitled to security of tenure, or those officers with no set terms, such as Department Heads, the officers, and employees entitled to security of tenure cannot be summarily removed from office.

Power of Supervision:

1)    This is the power of a superior officer to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed by subordinates.

2)    The power of the president over local government units is only of general supervision.  Thus, he can only interfere with the actions of their executive heads if these are contrary to law.

3)    The execution of laws is an OBLIGATION of the President.  He cannot suspend the operation of laws.

4)    The power of supervision does not include the power of control; but the power of control necessarily includes the power of supervision.



1)    The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

2)    Whenever necessary, the President may call out the AFP to PREVENT or SUPPRESS:

a)    Lawless violence;

b)    Invasion; or

c)    Rebellion.

3)    The President may also:

a)    Suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; and

b)    Proclaim a state of martial law.

Suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and declaring martial law;

  1. Grounds
  1. Invasion or
  2. Rebellion; and
  3. Public safety requires it.
  1. The invasion or rebellion must be ACTUAL and not merely imminent.
  1. Limitations:
  1. Suspension or proclamation is effective for only 60 days.
  1. Within 48 hours from the declaration or suspension, the President must submit a report to Congress.
  1. Congress, by majority vote and voting jointly, may revoke the same, and the President cannot set aside the revocation.
  1. In the same manner, at the President’s initiative, Congress can extend the same for a period determined by Congress if:

i.  Invasion or rebellion persist and

ii.  Public safety requires it.

NOTE:  Congress CANNOT extend the period motu propio.

  1. Supreme Court review:

i.  The appropriate proceeding can be filed by any citizen.

ii.  The SC can review the FACTUAL BASIS of the proclamation or suspension.

iii.  Decision is promulgated within 30 days from filing.

  1. f.      Martial Law does NOT:

i.  Suspend the operation of the Constitution.

ii.  Supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies.

iii.  Authorize conferment of jurisdiction on military courts over civilians where civil courts are able to function and

iv.  Automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

  1. Suspension of privilege of the writ:

i.  Applies ONLY to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.

ii.  Anyone arrested or detained during suspension must be charged within 3 days.  Otherwise he should be released.

Note:  While the suspension of the privilege of writ and the proclamation of martial law is subject to judicial review, the actual use by the President of the armed forces is not.  Thus, troop deployments in times of war is subject to the President’s judgment and discretion.



1.)    The President may grant the following: [ Pa R C Re]

  1. Pardons (conditional or plenary)
  2. Reprieves
  3. Commutations
  4. Remittance of fines and forfeitures

2.)    These may only be granted AFTER conviction by final judgment.

3.)    ALSO: The power to grant clemency includes cases involving administrative penalties.

4.)    Where a conditional pardon is granted, the determination of whether it has been violated rests with the President.


1.)    As to scope:

Cannot be granted:

a.)    Before conviction

b.)    In cases of impeachment

c.)    For violations of election laws, rules, and regulation without the favorable recommendation of the COMELEC

d.)    In cases of civil or legislative contempt

2.)    As to effect:

a.)    Does not absolve civil liabilities for an offense.

b.)    Does not restore public offices already forfeited, although eligibility for the same may be restored.


1.)    An act of grace concurred in by Congress, usually extended to groups of persons who commit political offenses, which puts into oblivion the offense itself.

2.)    President alone CANNOT grant amnesty.  Amnesty needs concurrence by a majority of all the members of Congress.

3.)    When a person applies for amnesty, he must admit his guilt of the offense which is subject to such amnesty.  If his application is denied, he can be convicted based on this admission of guilt.

4.)    Amnesty V. Pardon



Addressed to POLITICAL offenses Addressed to ORDINARY offenses
Granted to a CLASS of persons Granted to INDIVIDUALS
Need not be accepted Must be accepted
Requires concurrence of majority of all members of Congress No need for Congressional concurrence
A public act. Subject to judicial notice Private act of President. It must be proved.
Extinguishes the offense itself Only penalties are extinguished.

May or may not restore political rights. Absolute pardon restores. Conditional does not.

Civil indemnity is not extinguished.

May be granted before or after conviction Only granted after conviction by final judgement

Section 20. Power to Contract or Guarantee Foreign Loans


(1) 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

(2) Subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

Section 21. Foreign Relations Powers include:

(1)  Power to negotiate treaties and other international agreements

(a)  BUT: Such treaty of international agreement must be concurred in by at least 2/3 of all Senators in order to be valid and effective in our country.

(b)  Options of Senate when a treaty is submitted for its approval:

(i)                 Approve with 2/3 majority;

(ii)               Disapprove outright; or

(iii)             Approve conditionally, with suggested amendments.

(c)  If treaty is not re-negotiated, no treaty

(d)  If treaty is re-negotiated and the Senate’s suggestions are incorporated, the treaty will go into effect without need of further Senate approval.

Note:  While our municipal law makes a distinction between international agreements and executive agreements, with the former requiring Senate approval and the latter not needing the same, under international law, there is no such distinction.

Note: The President cannot, by executive agreement, undertake an obligation which indirectly circumvents a legal prohibition.

(e)  Conflict between treaty and municipal law.

(i)  Philippine court:

The later enactment will prevail, be it treaty or law, as it is the latest expression of the State’s will.

(ii)  International tribunal

Treaty will always prevail.  A State cannot plead its municipal law to justify noncompliance with an international obligation.

(2)  Power to appoint ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls.

(3) Power to receive ambassadors and other public ministers accredited to the Philippines.

(4)  Power to contract and guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic

(5)  Power to deport aliens

(a)    This power is vested in the President by virtue of his office, subject only to restrictions as may be provided by legislation as regards the grounds for deportation.

(b)   In the absence of any legislative restriction to authority, the President may still exercise this power.

(c)    The power to deport aliens is limited by the requirements of due process, which entitles the alien to a full and fair hearing.

BUT:    The alien is not entitled to bail as a matter of right.



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald

Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article VI


Sec. 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.


Definition of Legislative Power:

The authority to make laws and to alter or repeal them.

Classification of legislative power: (O De CO)

  1. Original – Possessed by the people in their sovereign capacity
  2. Delegated – Possessed by Congress and other legislative bodies by virtue of the Constitution
  3. Constituent – The power to amend or revise the Constitution
  4. Ordinary – The power to pass ordinary laws


The original legislative power of the people is exercised via initiative and referendum.  In this manner, people can directly propose and enact laws, or approve or reject any act or law passed by Congress or a local government unit.


Limits on the legislative power of Congress:

  1. Substantive – limitations on the content of laws. E.g. no law shall be passed establishing a state religion.
  1. Procedural – limitations on the manner of passing laws. E.g. generally a bill must go through three readings on three separate days.


Provided that these two limitations are not exceeded, Congress’ legislative power is plenary.


Corollaries of legislative power:

  1. Congress cannot pass irrepealable laws.  Since Congress’ powers are plenary, and limited only by the Constitution, any attempt to limit the powers of future Congresses via an irrepealable law is not allowed.
  1. Congress, as a general rule, cannot delegate its legislative power.  Since the people have already delegated legislative power to Congress, the latter cannot delegate it any further.


  1. Delegation of legislative power to local government units;
  2. Instances when the Constitution itself allows for such delegation [see Art. VI Sec. 23(2)]

What may Congress delegate:

Congress can only delegate, usually to administrative agencies, RULE-MAKING POWER or LAW EXECUTION.  This involves either of two tasks for the administrative agencies:

  1. “Filling up the details” on an otherwise complete statute; or
  2. Ascertaining the facts necessary to bring a “contingent” law or provision into actual operation.
Sections 2-4.  SENATE


24 senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.


  1. Natural-born citizen;
  2. At least 35 years old on the day of election;
  3. Able to read and write;
  4. A registered voter; and
  5. Philippine resident for at least 2 years immediately preceding the day of the election.

Note:  The qualifications of both Senators and Members of the House are limited to those provided by the Constitution.  Congress cannot, by law, add or subtract from these qualifications.

Term of Office:

6 years, commencing (unless otherwise provided by law) at noon, 30 June next following their election.

Term Limitations:

  1. No Senator shall serve for more than 2 consecutive terms.
  2. Voluntary renunciation of 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.


  1. Not more than 25 members, unless otherwise fixed by law; and
  2. Party-list Representative

Election of 250 members

  1. They shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities and the Metropolitan Manila area.
  2. Legislative districts are apportioned in accordance with the number of inhabitants of each area and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio.
  1. Each district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory;
  2. Each city with at least 250,000 inhabitants will be entitled to at least one representative.
  3. Each province will have at least one representative.
  4. Legislative districts shall be re-apportioned by Congress within 3 years after the return of each census.  According to Jack, however, while the apportionment of districts is NOT a political question, the judiciary CANNOT compel Congress to do this.
  5. The standards used to determine the apportionment of legislative districts is meant to prevent ‘gerrymandering’, which is the formation of a legislative district out of separate territories so as to favor a particular candidate or party.


  1. Natural born citizen of the Philippines;
  2. At least 25 years old on the day of the election;
  3. Able to read and write;
  4. Registered voter in the district he seeks to represent; and
  5. A resident of such district for at least one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

Term of Office

  1. Each member of the House shall be elected for a term of three (3) years which shall commence (unless otherwise provided for by law) at noon on 30 June next following their election.
  2. Voluntary renunciation of 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.

Term Limitations

No member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms.

Distinctions between Term and Tenure

  1. Definition
  1. Terms means the period during which the elected officer is legally authorized to assume his office and exercise the powers thereof.
  2. Tenure is the actual period during which such officer actually holds his position.
  1. Limitation/Possible Reduction
    1. Term CANNOT be reduced.
    2. Tenure MAY, by law, be limited.  Thus, a provision which considers an elective office automatically vacated when the holder thereof files a certificate of candidacy for another elective office (except President and Vice-President) is valid, as it only affects the officers tenure and NOT his constitutional term.

Party-List Representatives

  1. Constitute 20% of the total number of representatives, including those under the party-list system (thus a maximum of 50 party-list members of the House)
  1. However, for 3 consecutive terms from 2 February 1987 (i.e., the 1987-92, 92-95 and 95-98 terms), 25 seats shall be allotted to sectoral representatives.  Under Art. XVIII, Sec. 7, the sectoral representatives are to be appointed by the President until legislation otherwise provides.
  1. Mechanics of the party-list system:
    1. Registered organizations submit a list of candidates in order of priority.
    2. During the elections, these organizations are voted for at large.
    3. The number of seats that each organization gets out of the 20% allotted to the system depends on the number of votes they get.
  1. Qualifications
  1. Natural born citizen of the Philippines
  2. At least 25 years of age on the day of the election
  3. Able to read and write

Sec. 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.  

Sec. 10.  Salaries of Senators and Members of the House

Determination of Salaries:

Salaries of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall be determined by law.

Rule on increase in salaries:


Note: Since the Constitution ‘provides for rules on “salaries” and not on ‘emoluments,’ our distinguished legislators can appropriate for themselves other sums of money such as travel allowances, as well as other side ‘benefits.’


1.)    Immunity from arrest:

  1. Legislators are privileged from arrest while Congress is “in session” with respect to offenses punishable by up to 6 years of imprisonment.  Thus, whether Congress is in regular or special session, the immunity from arrest applies.
  2. If Congress is in recess, members thereof may be arrested.
  3. The immunity is only with respect to arrests and NOT to prosecution for criminal offenses.

2.)    Legislative privilege:

  1. No member shall be questioned or held liable in any forum other than his/her respective Congressional body for any debate or speech in the Congress or in any Committee thereof.
  1. Limitation on the privilege:

(i)                 Protection is only against forum other than Congress itself.  Thus for inflammatory remarks which are otherwise privileged, a member may be sanctioned by either the Senate or the House as the case may be.

(ii)               The ‘speech or debate’ must be made in performance of their duties as members of Congress.  This includes speeches delivered, statements made, votes cast, as well as bills introduced, and other activities done in performance of their official duties.

(iii)             Congress need NOT be in session when the utterance is made, as long as it forms part of ‘legislative action,’ i.e. part of the deliberative and communicative process used to participate in legislative proceedings in consideration of proposed legislation or with respect to other matters with Congress’ jurisdiction.

Sec. 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.




DISQUALIFICATION                                WHEN APPLICABLE
1. Senator/Member of the House cannot hold any other office or employment in the     Government or any subdivision, agency or Instrumentality thereof, including GOCCS or their subsidiaries. During his term.  If he does so, he forfeits his seat.
2. Legislators cannot be appointed to any office. IF the office was created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.
3. Legislators cannot personally appear as counsel before any court of justice, electoral tribunal, quasi-judicial and    administrative bodies. During his term of office.
4. Legislators cannot be financially interested directly or indirectly in any contract with or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including any GOCC or its subsidiary.  During his term of office.
5. Legislators cannot intervene in any matter  before any office of the government. When it is for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office.



Regular Sessions:

1.)    Congress convenes once every year on the 4th Monday of July (unless otherwise provided for by law)

2.)    Continues in session for as long as it sees fit, until 30 days before the opening of the next regular session, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

Special Sessions:

Called by the President at any time when Congress is not in session.

Sec. 16.  Officers:

1.)    Senate President;

2.)    Speaker of the House; and

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

Election of Officers

By a majority vote of all respective members.

Quorum to do business:

  1. Majority of each House shall constitute a quorum.
  2. A smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent members.
  3. In computing a quorum, members who are outside the country and thus outside of each House’s coercive jurisdiction are not included.

Internal Rules:

  1. Each House shall determine its own procedural rules.
  2. Since this is a power vested in Congress as part of its inherent powers, under the principle of separation of powers, the courts cannot intervene in the implementation of these rules insofar as they affect the members of Congress.
  3. Also, since Congress has the power to make these rules, it also has the power to ignore them when circumstances so require.


1.)    Suspension

  1. Concurrence of 2/3 of ALL its members and
  2. Shall not exceed 60 days.

2.)    Expulsion

  1. Concurrence of 2/3 of ALL its members.

Congressional Journals and Records:

1.)    The Journal is conclusive upon the courts.

2.)    BUT an enrolled bill prevails over the contents of the Journal.

3.)    An enrolled bill is the official copy of approved legislation and bears the certifications of the presiding officers of each House.  Thus where the certifications are valid and are not withdrawn, the contents of the enrolled bill are conclusive upon the courts as regards the provision of that particular bill.


1.)    Neither House can adjourn for more than 3 days during the time Congress is in session without the consent of the other House.

2.)    Neither can they adjourn to any other place than that where the two houses are sitting, without the consent of the other.


The Senate and the House shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be composed of:

  1. 3 Supreme Court Justices to be designated by the Chief Justice; &
  2. 6 Members of the Senate or House, as the case may be.

The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.

Note: The congressional members of the ET’s shall be chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and party-list organizations.


1.)    Each ET shall be the sole judge of all CONTESTS relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective members.  This includes determining the validity or invalidity of a proclamation declaring a particular candidate as the winner.

2.)    An ‘election contest’ is one where a defeated candidate challenges the qualification and claims for himself the seat of a proclaimed winner.

3.)    In the absence of an election contest, the ET is without jurisdiction.  However, the power of each House to expel its own members or even to defer their oath-taking until their qualifications are determined may still be exercised even without an election contest.

Issues regarding the Electoral Tribunals:

1.)    Since the ET’s are independent constitutional bodies, independent even of the House from which the members are respectively taken, neither Congress nor the Courts may interfere with procedural matters relating to the functions of the ET’s, such as the setting of deadlines or filing their election contests with the respective ETs.

2.)    The ETs being independent bodies, its members may not be arbitrarily removed from their positions in the tribunal by the parties which they represent.  Neither may they be removed for not voting according to party lines, since they are acting independently of Congress.

3.)    The mere fact that the members of either the Senate or the House sitting on the ET are those which are sought to be disqualified due to the filing of an election contest against them does not warrant all of them from being disqualified from sitting in the ET.  The Constitution is quite clear that the ET must act with both members from the SC and from the Senate or the House.  If all the legislator-members of the ET were to be disqualified, the ET would not be able to fulfill its constitutional functions.

4.)    Judicial review of decisions of the ETs may be had with the SC only insofar as the decision or resolution was rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion constituting denial of due process.



1.)    Senate President as ex-officio chairman;

2.)    12 Senators; and

3.)    12 Members of the House.

Note: The 12 Senators and 12 Representatives are elected on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and party-list organizations.


1.)    The chairman shall only vote in case of a tie.

2.)    The CA shall act on all appointments within 30 session days from their submission to Congress.

3.)    The Commission shall rule by a majority vote of all the Members.


1.)    CA shall confirm the appointments by the President with respect to the following positions:

  1. Heads of the Executive Departments (except if it is the Vice-President who is appointed to the post).
  2. Ambassadors, other public ministers or consuls.
  3. Officers of the AFP from the rank of Colonel or Naval Captain: and
  4. Other officers whose appointments are vested in him by the Constitution (e.g. COMELEC members).

2.)    Congress CANNOT by law prescribe that the appointment of a person to an office created by such law shall be subject to confirmation by the CA.

3.)    Appointments extended by the President to the above-mentioned positions while Congress is not in session shall only be effective until disapproval by the CA or until the next adjournment of Congress.

Meetings of the CA

1.)    CA meets only while Congress is in session.

2.)    Meetings are held either at the call of the Chairman or a majority of all its members.

3.)    Since the CA is also an independent constitutional body, its rules of procedure are also outside the scope of congressional powers as well as that of the judiciary.

Note:  The ET and the CA shall be constituted within 30 days after the Senate and the House of Representative shall have been organized with the election of the President and the Speaker.



  1. Either House or any of their committees may conduct inquires ‘in aid of legislation’.
  2. “In aid of legislation” does not mean that there is pending legislation regarding the subject of the inquiry.  In fact, investigation may be needed for purposes of proposing future legislation.
  3. If the stated purpose of the investigation is to determine the existence of violations of the law, the investigation is no longer ‘in aid of legislation’ but ‘in aid of prosecution’.  This violates the principle of separation of powers and is beyond the scope of congressional powers.


  1. Since experience has shown that mere requests for information does not usually work, Congress has the inherent power to punish recalcitrant witnesses for contempt, and may have them incarcerated until such time that they agree to testify.
  1. The continuance of such incarceration only subsists for the lifetime, or term, of such body.  Once the body ceases to exist after its final adjournment, the power to incarcerate ceases to exist as well.  Thus, each ‘Congress’ of the House lasts for only 3 years.  But if one is incarcerated by the Senate, it is indefinite because the Senate, with its staggered terms, is a continuing body.
  1. BUT, in order for a witness to be subject to this incarceration, the primary requirement is that the inquiry is within the scope of Congress’ powers. i.e. it is in aid of legislation.
  1. The materiality of a question is determined not by its connection to any actually pending legislation, but by its connection to the general scope of the inquiry.
  1. The power to punish for contempt is inherent in Congress and this power is sui generis.  It cannot be exercised by local government units unless they are expressly authorized to do so.


  1. The inquiry must be conducted in accordance with the ‘duly published rules of procedure’ of the House conducting the inquiry; and
  1. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.  Ex. The right against self-incrimination.

Appearance by department heads before Congress:

  1. Since members of the executive department are co-equals with those of the legislative department, under the principle of separations of powers, department heads cannot be compelled to appear before Congress.  Neither may the department heads impose their appearance upon Congress.
  1. Department heads may appear before Congress in the following instances.
  1. Upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President (and that of the House concerned); or
  1. Upon the request of either House (which cannot compel them to attend)
  1. The appearance will be conducted in EXECUTIVE SESSION when:
  1. Required by the security of state or required by public interest; and
  2. When the President so states in writing


Vote requirement:  (to declare the existence of a state of war)

  1. 2/3 of both Houses, in joint session
  2. Voting separately

Emergency powers:

  1. During times of war or other national emergency, Congress may, BY LAW, authorize the President to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy.
  1. Limitations:
    1. Powers will be exercised for a limited period only; and
    2. Powers will be subject to restrictions prescribed by Congress
  1. Expiration of emergency powers
    1. By resolution of Congress or
    2. Upon the next adjournment of Congress

Sections 24-27, 30-31 LEGISLATION

Bills that must originate from the House of Representatives (Section 24)   


  1. Appropriation bills
  2. Revenue bills
  3. Tariff bills
  4. Bills authorizing the increase of public debt
  5. Bills of local application
  6. Private bills

Note:  The Senate may, however, propose or concur with amendments.

Appropriation bills

  1. The primary and specific aim of an appropriation bill is to appropriate a sum of money from the public treasury.
  1. Thus, a bill enacting the budget is an appropriations bill.
  1. BUT:  A bill creating a new office, and appropriating funds therefor is NOT an appropriation bill.

Revenue Bill

  1. A revenue bill is one specifically designed to raise money or revenue through imposition or levy.
  1. Thus, a bill introducing a new tax is a revenue bill, but a provision in, for instance, the Videogram Regulatory Board law imposing a tax on video rentals does not make the law a revenue bill.

Bills of local application

A bill of local application, such as one asking for the conversion of a municipality into a city, is deemed to have originated from the House provided that the bill of the House was filed prior to the filing of the bill in the Senate even if, in the end, the Senate approved its own version.


  1. For appropriation bills:
  1. Congress cannot increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government as specified in the budget.
  1. Each provision or enactment in the General Appropriations Bill must relate specifically to some particular appropriation therein and any such provision or enactment must be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates.
  1. The procedure in approving appropriations for Congress shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other departments and agencies.
  1. A special appropriations bill must specify the purpose for which it is intended and must be supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal therein.
  1. Transfer of appropriations:
  1. Rule:  No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations
  2. BUT the following 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

–          President

–          President of the Senate

–          Speaker of the House of Representatives

–          Chief of Justice of the Supreme Court

–          Heads of the Constitutional Commissions

  1. Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be:
    1. Disbursed only for public purposes;
    2. Should be supported by appropriate vouchers; and
    3. Subject to guidelines as may be prescribed by law.
  1. If Congress fails to pass General Appropriations Bill (GAB) by the end of any fiscal year:

i.  The GAB for the previous year is deemed reenacted

ii.  It will remain in full force and effect until the GAB is passed by Congress.

  1. For law granting tax exemption

It should be passed with the concurrence of a MAJORITY of ALL the members of Congress.

  1. For bills in general
  1. Every bill shall embrace only one (1) subject, as expressed in the title thereof

i.          As a mandatory requirement

ii.         The title does not have to be a complete catalogue of everything stated in the bill.  It is sufficient if the title expresses the general subject of the bill and all the provisions of the statute are germane to that general subject.

iii.        A bill which repeals legislation regarding the subject matter need not state in the title that it is repealing the latter.  Thus, a repealing clause in the bill is considered germane to the subject matter of the bill.

  1. Readings
  1. In order to become a law, each bill must pass three (3) readings in both Houses.
  2. General rule: Each reading shall be held on separate days & printed copies thereof in its final form shall be distributed to its Members three (3) days before its passage.
  3. Exception:  If a bill is certified as urgent by the President as to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency, the 3 readings can be held on the same day.
  4. First reading – only the title is read; the bill is passed to the proper committee

Second reading – Entire text is read and debates are held, and amendments introduced.

Third reading – only the title is read, no amendments are allowed.  Vote shall be taken immediately thereafter and the yeas and nays entered in the journal.

Veto power of President:

  1. Every bill, in order to become a law, must be presented to and signed by the President.
  1. If the President does not approve of the bill, he shall veto the same and return it with his objections to the House from which it originated.  The House shall enter the objections in the Journal and proceed to reconsider it.
  1. The President must communicate his decision to veto within 30 days from the date of receipt thereof.  If he fails to do so, the bill shall become a law as if he signed it.
  1. This rule eliminates the ‘pocket veto’ whereby the President would simply refuse to act on the bill.


  1. To OVERRIDE the veto, at least 2/3 of ALL the members of each House must agree to pass the bill.   In such case, the veto is overriden and becomes a law without need of presidential approval.
  1. Item veto
  1. The President may veto particular items in an appropriation, revenue or tariff bill.
  1. This veto will not affect items to which he does not object.
  1. Definition of item

TYPE OF BILL                                                        ITEM

1.  Revenue/tax bill                 Subject of the tax and the tax rate imposed thereon

2.  Appropriations bill             Indivisible sum dedicated to a stated purpose

  1. Veto of RIDER
  1. A rider is a provision which does not relate to a particular appropriation stated in the bill.
  2. Since it is an invalid provision under Section 25(2), the President may veto it as an item.

Specific limitations on legislation

  1. No law shall be enacted increasing the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction without the SC’s advice and concurrence.
  1. No law shall be enacted granting titles of royalty or nobility.

Section 28.  POWER TO TAX


1)      The rule of taxation should be UNIFORM

2)      It should be EQUITABLE

3)      Congress should evolve a PROGRESSIVE system of taxation.

4)      The power to tax must be exercised for a public purpose because the power exists for the general welfare

5)      The due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution should be observed.

Delegation of power to fix rates

1)      Congress may, BY LAW, authorize the President to fix the following:

a)      Tariff rates

b)      Import and Export Quotas

c)      Tonnage and wharfage dues

d)     Other duties and imposts

Within the framework of the national development program of the Government

2)      The exercise of such power by the President shall be within the specified limits fixed by Congress and subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose.

Constitutional tax exemptions:

1)      The following properties are exempt from REAL PROPERTY taxes

(CODE: Cha Chu M- CA)

a)      Charitable institutions

b)      Churches, and parsonages or convents appurtenant thereto

c)      Mosques

d)     Non-profit cemeteries; and

e)      All lands, buildings and improvements actually, directly and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes.

2)      All revenues and assets of NON-STOCK NON-PROFIT EDUCATIONAL institutions are exempt from taxes and duties PROVIDED that such revenues and assets are actually, directly and exclusively used for educational purposes.  (Art. XIV Sec 4 (3))

3)      Grants, endowments, donations or contributions used actually, directly and exclusively for educational purposes shall be exempt from tax.  This is subject to conditions prescribed by law.  (Art. XIV. Sec 4 (4))

Section 29.  Power of the Purse

1)      No money shall be paid out of the National Treasury EXCEPT in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.

a)      This places the control of public funds in the hands of Congress.

b)      BUT:  This rule does not prohibit continuing appropriations. e.g. for debt servicing.  This is because the rule does not require yearly, or annual appropriation.

2)      Limitations.

a)      Appropriations must be for a PUBLIC PURPOSE

b)      Cannot appropriate public funds or property, directly or indirectly, in favor of

(i)                 Any sect, church, denomination, or sectarian institution or system of religion or

(ii)               Any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such.

EXCEPT if the priest, etc is assigned to:

–          the Armed Forces; or

–          any penal institution; or

–          government orphanage; or

–          leprosarium

c)      BUT the government is not prohibited from appropriating money for a valid secular purpose, even if it incidentally benefits a religion, e.g. appropriations for a national police force is valid even if the police also protects the safety of clergymen.

d)     ALSO, the temporary use of public property for religious purposes is valid, as long as the property is available for all religions

3)      Special Funds

a)      Money collected on a tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purpose only.

b)      Once the special purpose is fulfilled or abandoned, any balance shall be transferred to the general funds of the Government


1)      Through the system of initiative and referendum, 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.

2)      Required Petition

a)      Should be signed by at least 10% of the total number of registered voters

b)      Every legislative district should be represented by at least 3% of the registered voters

c)      Petition should be registered



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald

Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article V



Qualifications:                                                CODE:  CD18RR

1)      Citizen of the Philippines

2)      Not Disqualified by law

3)      At least 18 years old

4)      Resident of the Philippines for at least 1 year

5)      Resident of the place wherein he/she proposes to vote for at least 6 months immediately preceding the election.

Note:  NO literacy, property or other substantive requirement can be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.


Residency requirement

Residency, under Article V has 2 senses:

1.  DOMICILE – This is in reference to the 1 year residency requirement in the Philippines.

2.  TEMPORARY RESIDENCE – This is in reference to the 6 month residency requirement in the place where one wants to vote.  In this case, residence can either mean domicile or temporary residence.



1)      Any person sentenced by final judgment to imprisonment of not less than 1 year, which disability has not been removed by plenary pardon.

2)      Any person adjudged by final judgment of having violated his allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.

3)      Insane or feeble-minded persons.


Note:  Under the 2nd disqualification, the right to vote is automatically re-acquired upon the expiration of 5 years after the service of sentence.



Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald