This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
192935, December 7, 2010) Honorable Representatives Edcel Lagman, Orlando Fua, Rodolfo Albano, and Simeon Datumanong v. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and DBM Secretary Florencio Abad (G.R. No. 193036, December 7, 2010) FACTS: At the dawn of his administration, President Noynoy Aquino signed Executive Order No. 1 establishing the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010. The Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is created to investigate reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories during the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ONLY, and thereafter to submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. The commission is expected to finish their investigation on or before December 31, 2012. There are 5 commissioners, including the chairman. The Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 is spearheaded by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., while the members are former Supreme Court Justices Romeo Callejo Jr., Ruth Romero, and Ateneo Law Professors Menardo Guevarra and Carlos Medina Jr. Barely a month after the issuance of EO No. 1, two cases were filed before the SC assailing the validity and constitutionality of the said EO. The first case is a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis Biraogo in his capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails Executive Order No. 1 for being violative of the legislative power of Congress under Section 1, Article VI of the Constitution as it usurps the constitutional authority of the legislature to create a public office and to appropriate funds therefor. Biraogo argues that EO No. 1 is unconstitutional because there is no provision in the Constitution or any specific law that authorizes the President to create a truth commission. The second case is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioners Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua, Sr. (petitioners-legislators) as incumbent members of the House of Representatives. Petitioners-Legislators argue that the said Order is unconstitutional because the creation of a public office lies
Page 1 of 7
Accordingly. consolidation of offices. or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. consolidating or merging units thereof or transferring functions from one unit to another. just like the other two branches of government. Pointing to numerous offices created by past presidents. The OSG also cites the recent case of Banda v. Page 2 of 7 . The OSG counters that there is nothing exclusively legislative about the creation by the President of a fact-finding body such as a truth commission. Ermita. According to the OSG. These point to situations where a body or an office is already existent but a modification or alteration thereof has to be effected. the answer to the question is in the negative. possesses the inherent authority to create fact-finding committees to assist it in the performance of its constitutionally mandated functions and in the exercise of its administrative functions. the provision refers to reduction of personnel. 1. or (3) transferring any agency under the Office of the President to any other Department/Agency or vice versa. it argues that the authority of the President to create public offices within the Office of the President Proper has long been recognized. Does the creation of the PTC fall within the ambit of the power to reorganize as expressed in Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code? No. Clearly. The creation of an office is nowhere mentioned.within the province of Congress and not with the executive branch of government. where it was held that the President has the power to reorganize the offices and agencies in the executive department in line with his constitutionally granted power of control and by virtue of a valid delegation of the legislative power to reorganize executive offices under existing statutes. The power to reorganize as expressed in Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code contemplates “reorganization” as limited by the following functional and structural lines: (1) restructuring the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper by abolishing. the Executive. much less envisioned in said provision. (2) transferring any function under the Office of the President to any other Department/Agency or vice versa. The OSG concludes that the power of control necessarily includes the power to create offices.
in the words of the Solicitor General. the powers of the President are not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution. One of the recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to create ad hoc committees. May the President legally create the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC)? Is there a valid delegation of power from Congress empowering the President to create a public office? Yes. According to petitioners. those of the Office of the Ombudsman created Page 3 of 7 . 3. Article VII of the Constitution. suffice it to say that there will be no appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already appropriated. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts and determine if laws have been faithfully executed. and offices. As stated above. since the amount that would be allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules and regulations. bureaus. the Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. The President shall have control of all the executive departments. Section 17 reads: Section 17. imposing upon the President the duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. No. there is no impropriety in the funding. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.O. there is no usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to appropriate funds. “whatever funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will be the very source of the funds for the commission. E.2. Accordingly. On the charge that Executive Order No. if not superseding. 1 transgresses the power of Congress to appropriate funds for the operation of a public office. Indeed. Further. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and pertinent statutes when it vested the “Truth Commission” with quasi-judicial powers duplicating. Moreover. there is no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of the commission because. The creation of the PTC finds justification under Section 17.
If at all.under the 1987 Constitution and the Department of Justice created under the Administrative Code of 1987. “Contrary to petitioners’ apprehension. 1 in view of its apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1. Is this correct? No. No.O. which reads: Page 4 of 7 . past and present. Are the petitioners correct? Yes! Although the purpose of the Truth Commission falls within the investigative power of the President. is certainly not a function given to the commission. the recommendation to prosecute is but a consequence of the overall task of the commission to conduct a fact-finding investigation. Petitioners argue that E. the PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. the investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two offices. or even a quasi-judicial agency or office. who may be indictable. The actual prosecution of suspected offenders. As pointed out by the Solicitor General. 4. the function of determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to be with the DOJ and the Ombudsman. Furthermore. Fact-finding is not adjudication and it cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice. the Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. much less adjudication on the merits of the charges against them. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration ONLY as it excludes those of the other administrations. Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution.
Such classification. Page 5 of 7 . Carpio. (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only. liberty or property without due process of law. Though the OSG enumerates several differences between the Arroyo administration and other past administrations. an Arroyo appointee. The clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth “concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration” only. and (4) It applies equally to all members of the same class. Not to include past administrations similarly situated constitutes arbitrariness which the equal protection clause cannot sanction. nor shall anyone be denied the equal protection of the laws. however. Executive Order No. said that the creation of the truth Commission does not. violate the equal protection clause. The intent to single out the previous administration is a plain and patent manifestation that the equal protection clause is indeed violated. to be valid must pass the test of reasonableness. Applying these precepts to this case. Such discriminating differentiation clearly reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for vindictiveness and selective retribution. In this regard. Justice Carpio insists that EO 1’s focus on controversies under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency is constitutional and reasonable.Section 1. (2) It is germane to the purpose of the law. The test has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions. a class of past administrations. these distinctions are not substantial enough to merit the restriction of the investigation to the “previous administration” only. in any way. it must be borne in mind that the Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection clause. No person shall be deprived of life. JUSTICE ANTONIO CARPIO’S DISSENTING OPINION: In his dissenting opinion. It is not a class of its own. that is.
For unlike the Truth Commission. created pursuant to EO 1 issued by then President Corazon Aquino when she was exercising extraordinary powers that were both executive and legislative in nature. Moreover. nor will it have the power to cite individuals in contempt. The difference lies. The PCGG could hence issue summons. In truth and in fact. This alone is proof that the Arroyo administration is not being singled out for investigation or prosecution. and cause the filing of cases in court. cannot exercise powers not delegated to it by Congress. the Commission should meanwhile perform the fact-finding function that the Page 6 of 7 . being a mere creation of the Executive. is a toothless tiger which cannot go beyond gathering facts. he added that EO 1 only “prioritizes” based on reasonable grunds and does not confine the investigation of acts of graft and corruption that may have been committed during the past administration. He likewise said that the SC’s decision to trash the Truth Commission crushed the hopes of the long suffering Filipino people for an end to graft and corruption in government. the latter in the exercise of its policy making mandate. he stated that EO 1 does not limit the Truth Commission’s investigation only to anomalies under the Arroyo presidency because he can expand the body’s mandate to that of other previous administrations. Furthermore. The only living President whose administration has not been investigated by its successor administration is President Arroyo’s. Therefore. The comparison at least is that both bodies seek to ascertain the sins of the previous dispensation. Justice Carpio said that it is very unfortunate and ironic that the SC en banc chose to struck down the Truth Commission since the Supreme Court itself creates various fact-finding committees to investigate anomalies within the scope of the judiciary. Ramos (1992-1998) and Estrada (1998-2001) presidencies “were already investigated by their successor administrations.Also. The associate justice also argued that it is “reasonable” to give priority to supposed anomalies under the Arroyo administration. the Philippine Truth Commission. the PCGG was a legislative creation. INTERESTING FACT: The Truth Commission is also being compared to the Presidential Commission on Good Government which was created by Cory Aquino. since the Marcos (1965-1986).” while all the other past Philippine presidents are already dead. in reality. with the fact that the law gave the PCGG extraordinary powers whereas the Truth Commission. in other words. It cannot have the powers to issue summons. But that is the beginning and end of the comparison. order the production of evidence issue writs of sequestrations.
but to engage in fact finding while there is paralysis in the Office of the Ombudsman. the intention should be not to accord the latter impunity. Page 7 of 7 .Ombudsman has opted not to perform. With Merceditas Gutierrez appointed precisely to protect the Arroyos.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.