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IV. cases

IV. cases

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Published by: caramelsundae on Sep 03, 2010
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10/13/2011

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IV. Powers and Structure of Philippine Government in General
Separate opinion of Justice Puno in Macalintal vs. COMELEC 
Is section 18.5 of Rep. Act No. 9189 in relation to section 4 of the same Actin contravention of section 4, Article VII of the Constitution?
Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 9189 allows all qualified Filipinos overseas to votefor President, Vice-President, Senators and party-list representatives whilesection 18.5 thereof empowers the COMELEC to order the proclamation of winning candidates.On its face, section 18.5 of Rep. Act No. 9189 appears to be repugnant tosection 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. It gives the impression thatCongress abdicated to COMELEC its constitutional duty to canvass and proclaim the winning candidates for President and Vice-President. I agree withthe majority that the impugned provision should be given a reasonableinterpretation that would save it from a constitutional infirmity. To be sure,Congress could have not allowed the COMELEC to exercise a power exclusively bestowed upon it by the Constitution. Thus, section 18.5 of Rep. Act No. 9189 empowering the COMELEC to proclaim the winning candidatesshould be construed as limited to the positions of Senators and party-listrepresentatives. In like manner, I agree with the majority that section 18.4 of Rep. Act No. 9189 which provides:
18.4…. Immediately upon the completion of the canvass, the chairman of theSpecial Board of Canvassers shall transmit via facsimile, electronic mail, or any other means of transmission equally safe and reliable the Certificates of Canvass and the Statements of Votes to the
Commission
 ,….(emphasis supplied)
should be construed in harmony with section 4, Article VII of the 1987Constitution. Hence, with respect to the position of the President and the Vice-President, the Certificates of Canvass and the Statements of Votes must besubmitted to Congress and directed to the Senate President.
Does Congress, through the Joint Congressional Oversight Committeecreated in section 25 of Rep. Act No. 9189, have the power to review, revise,amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations that theCommission on Elections shall promulgate without violating the
 
independence of the COMELEC under section 1, Article IX-A of theConstitution?
Both the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) agree with the petitioner that sections 19 and 25 of Rep. Act No.9189 are unconstitutional on the ground that they violate the independence of the COMELEC.[73]The impugned provisions require the public respondentCOMELEC to submit its Implementing Rules and Regulations to the JointCongressional Oversight Committee for review, revision, amendment, or approval.The majority sustains the petitioner as it holds that “[b]y vesting itself with the powers to approve, review, amend and revise the IRR for The Overseas VotingAct of 2003, Congress went beyond the scope of its constitutional authority.Congress trampled upon the constitutional mandate of independence of theCOMELEC.”I agree with the majority but wish to add my humble thoughts on this allimportant constitutional issue--- the extent of the exercise by Congress of itsoversight powers in the implementation of Rep. Act No. 9189. The resolution of the issue entails a two-tiered discussion of the following: (1) whether Congresshas oversight functions over constitutional bodies like the COMELEC; and (2)assuming that it has, whether Congress exceeded the permissible exercise of itsoversight functions.In his Second Treatise of Civil Government, John Locke advocated the proper division of the legislative, executive and federative powers of thecommonwealth. He defined legislative power as “that which has a right to directhow the force of the commonwealth shall be employed for preserving thecommunity and the members of it.” He viewed executive power as involving“the execution of the municipal laws of the society within its self, [and] upon allthat are parts of it” and federative power as concerned with “the management of the security and interest of the public without” including “the power of war and peace, leagues and alliances, and all the transactions, with all persons andcommunities without the commonwealth.”It is now beyond debate that the principle of separation of powers (1) allows the“blending” of some of the executive, legislative, or judicial powers in one body;(2) does not prevent one branch of government from inquiring into the affairs of the other branches to maintain the balance of power; (3) but ensures that there is
 
no encroachment on matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the other  branches.For its part, this Court checks the exercise of power of the other branches of government through judicial review. It is the final arbiter of disputes involvingthe proper allocation and exercise of the different powers under the Constitution.Congress checks the other branches of government primarily through its lawmaking powers. Congress can create administrative agencies, define their  powers and duties, fix the terms of officers and their compensation.[124]It canalso create courts, define their jurisdiction and reorganize the judiciary so longas it does not undermine the security of tenure of its members.[125]The power of Congress does not end with the finished task of legislation. Concomitant withits principal power to legislate is the auxiliary power to ensure that the laws itenacts are faithfully executed. As well stressed by one scholar, the legislature“fixes the main lines of substantive policy and is entitled to see thatadministrative policy is in harmony with it; it establishes the volume and purpose of public expenditures and ensures their legality and propriety; it must be satisfied that internal administrative controls are operating to secure economyand efficiency; and it informs itself of the conditions of administration of remedial measure.”Concept and bases of congressional oversight:Broadly defined,
 
the power of oversight
 
embraces all activities undertaken byCongress to enhance its understanding of and influence over the implementation of legislation it has enacted. Clearly, oversightconcerns post-enactment measures undertaken by Congress: (a) to monitor  bureaucratic compliance with program objectives, (b) to determine whether agencies are properly administered, (c) to eliminate executive waste anddishonesty, (d) to prevent executive usurpation of legislative authority, and (d)to assess executive conformity with the congressional perception of publicinterest.Over the years, Congress has invoked its oversight power with increasedfrequency to check the perceived “exponential accumulation of power” by theexecutive branch. By the beginning of the 20th century, Congress has delegatedan enormous amount of legislative authority to the executive branch and the

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