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BELGICA VS OCHOA standard or design within ninety (90) days from effectivity of

FACTS: this Act.


HISTORY
In the Philippines, the pork barrel (a term of American- All programs/projects, except for assistance to indigent
English origin) has been commonly referred to as lump-sum, patients and scholarships, identified by a member of the
discretionary funds of Members of the Legislature House of Representatives outside of his/her legislative district
(Congressional Pork Barrel). However, it has also come to shall have the written concurrence of the member of the
refer to certain funds to the Executive. The Congressional House of Representatives of the recipient or beneficiary
Pork Barrel can be traced from Act 3044 (Public Works Act of legislative district, endorsed by the Speaker of the House of
1922), the Support for Local Development Projects during the Representatives.
Marcos period, the Mindanao Development Fund and Visayas
Development Fund and later the Countrywide Development 3. Legislators Allocation. The Total amount of projects to be
Fund (CDF) under the Corazon Aquino presidency, and the identified by legislators shall be as follows:
Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) under the
Joseph Estrada administration, as continued by the Gloria- a. For Congressional District or Party-List Representative:
Macapagal Arroyo and the present Benigno Aquino III Thirty Million Pesos (P30,000,000) for soft programs and
administrations. projects listed under Item A and Forty Million Pesos
(P40,000,000) for infrastructure projects listed under Item B,
SPECIAL PROVISIONS OF THE 2013 PDAF ARTICLE the purposes of which are in the project menu of Special
2. Project Identification. Identification of projects and/or Provision No. 1; and
designation of beneficiaries shall conform to the priority list,
standard or design prepared by each implementing agency: b. For Senators: One Hundred Million Pesos (P100,000,000)
PROVIDED, That preference shall be given to projects located for soft programs and projects listed under Item A and One
in the 4th to 6th class municipalities or indigents identified Hundred Million Pesos (P100,000,000) for infrastructure
under the MHTS-PR by the DSWD. For this purpose, the projects listed under Item B, the purposes of which are in the
implementing agency shall submit to Congress said priority list, project menu of Special Provision No. 1.

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Subject to the approved fiscal program for the year and the cash has not yet been disbursed and the funds have been
applicable Special Provisions on the use and release of fund, deposited back to the BTr.
only fifty percent (50%) of the foregoing amounts may be
released in the first semester and the remaining fifty percent Any realignment, modification and revision of the project
(50%) may be released in the second semester. identification shall be submitted to the House Committee on
Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance, for
4. Realignment of Funds. Realignment under this Fund may favorable endorsement to the DBM or the implementing
only be allowed once. The Secretaries of Agriculture, agency, as the case may be.
Education, Energy, Interior and Local Government, Labor and
Employment, Public Works and Highways, Social Welfare and 5. Release of Funds. All request for release of funds shall be
Development and Trade and Industry are also authorized to supported by the documents prescribed under Special
approve realignment from one project/scope to another within Provision No. 1 and favorably endorsed by the House
the allotment received from this Fund, subject to the following: Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on
(i) for infrastructure projects, realignment is within the same Finance, as the case may be. Funds shall be released to the
implementing unit and same project category as the original implementing agencies subject to the conditions under Special
project; (ii) allotment released has not yet been obligated for Provision No. 1 and the limits prescribed under Special
the original project/scope of work; and (iii) request is with the Provision No. 3.
concurrence of the legislator concerned. The DBM must be
informed in writing of any realignment within five (5) calendar PRESIDENTIAL PORK BARREL
days from approval thereof: PROVIDED, That any realignment The Presidential Pork Barrel questioned by the petitioners
under this Fund shall be limited within the same classification include the Malampaya Fund and the Presidential Social Fund.
of soft or hard programs/projects listed under Special The Malampaya Fund was created as a special fund under
Provision 1 hereof: PROVIDED, FURTHER, That in case of Section 8, Presidential Decree (PD) 910 by then-
realignments, modifications and revisions of projects to be President Ferdinand Marcos to help intensify, strengthen, and
implemented by LGUs, the LGU concerned shall certify that consolidate government efforts relating to the exploration,
exploitation, and development of indigenous energy resources

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vital to economic growth. The Presidential Social Fund was Enriquez (Philconsa) and the 2012 Decision of the Court
created under Section 12, Title IV, PD 1869 (1983) or the on Lawyers Against Monopoly and Poverty v. Secretary of
Charter of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation Budget and Management (LAMP) bar the re-litigation of the
(PAGCOR), as amended by PD 1993 issued in 1985. The issue of constitutionality of the pork barrel system under the
Presidential Social Fund has been described as a special principles of res judicata and stare decisis
funding facility managed and administered by the Presidential B. Substantive Issues on the Congressional Pork Barrel
Management Staff through which the President provides direct WON the 2013 PDAF Article and all other Congressional Pork
assistance to priority programs and projects not funded under Barrel Laws similar to it are unconstitutional considering that
the regular budget. It is sourced from the share of the they violate the principles of/constitutional provisions on
government in the aggregate gross earnings of PAGCOR.
1.) separation of powers

2.) non-delegability of legislative power


* ISSUES:
A. Procedural Issues 3.) checks and balances
1.) Whether or not (WON) the issues raised in the
consolidated petitions involve an actual and justiciable 4.) accountability
controversy
5.) political dynasties
2.) WON the issues raised in the consolidated petitions are
matters of policy subject to judicial review 6.) local autonomy

3.) WON petitioners have legal standing to sue C. Substantive Issues on the Presidential Pork Barrel
WON the phrases:
4.) WON the 1994 Decision of the Supreme Court (the
Court) on Philippine Constitution Association v.

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(a) and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed rights is clearly satisfied by the antagonistic positions of the
by the President under Section 8 of PD 910 relating to the parties on the constitutionality of the Pork Barrel
Malampaya Funds, and System. Also, the questions in these consolidated cases
(b) to finance the priority infrastructure development are ripe for adjudication since the challenged funds and
projects and to finance the restoration of damaged or the provisions allowing for their utilization such as
destroyed facilities due to calamities, as may be directed the 2013 GAA for the PDAF, PD 910 for the Malampaya
and authorized by the Office of the President of the Funds and PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, for
Philippines under Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by the Presidential Social Fund are currently existing and
PD 1993, relating to the Presidential Social Fund,are operational; hence, there exists an immediate or threatened
unconstitutional insofar as they constitute undue injury to petitioners as a result of the unconstitutional use of
delegations of legislative power these public funds.
As for the PDAF, the Court dispelled the notion that the
* HELD AND RATIO: issues related thereto had been rendered moot and academic
A. Procedural Issues by the reforms undertaken by respondents. A case becomes
No question involving the constitutionality or validity of a law or moot when there is no more actual controversy between
governmental act may be heard and decided by the Court the parties or no useful purpose can be served in passing
unless there is compliance with the legal requisites for upon the merits. The respondents proposed line-item
judicial inquiry, namely: (a) there must be an actual case budgeting scheme would not terminate the controversy nor
or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (b) diminish the useful purpose for its resolution since said reform
the person challenging the act must have the standing to is geared towards the 2014 budget, and not the 2013
question the validity of the subject act or issuance; (c) the PDAF Article which, being a distinct subject
question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest matter, remains legally effective and existing. Neither will
opportunity; and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be the Presidents declaration that he had already abolished the
the very lis mota of the case. PDAF render the issues on PDAF moot precisely because the
1.) YES. There exists an actual and justiciable controversy Executive branch of government has no constitutional
in these cases. The requirement of contrariety of legal authority to nullify or annul its legal existence.

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Even on the assumption of mootness, of abuse which only underscores the importance of the
nevertheless, jurisprudence dictates that the moot and matter.
academic principle is not a magical formula that can It is also by this finding that the Court finds petitioners claims
automatically dissuade the Court in resolving a case. The as not merely theorized, speculative or hypothetical. Of note is
Court will decide cases, otherwise moot, if: the weight accorded by the Court to the findings made by the
i.) There is a grave violation of the Constitution: This CoA which is the constitutionally-mandated audit arm of the
is clear from the fundamental posture of petitioners they government. if only for the purpose of validating the existence
essentially allege grave violations of the Constitution with of an actual and justiciable controversy in these cases, the
respect to the principles of separation of powers, non- Court deems the findings under the CoA Report to be
delegability of legislative power, checks and sufficient.
balances, accountability and local autonomy. iii.) When the constitutional issue raised requires
ii.) The exceptional character of the situation and formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench,
the paramount public interest is involved: This is also the bar, and the public: This is applicable largely due to
apparent from the nature of the interests involved the practical need for a definitive ruling on the systems
the constitutionality of the very system within which constitutionality. There is a compelling need to formulate
significant amounts of public funds have been and controlling principles relative to the issues raised herein in
continue to be utilized and expended undoubtedly presents order to guide the bench, the bar, and the public, not just for
a situation of exceptional character as well as a matter of the expeditious resolution of the anticipated disallowance
paramount public interest. The present petitions, in fact, have cases, but more importantly, so that the government may be
been lodged at a time when the systems flaws have never guided on how public funds should be utilized in accordance
before been magnified. To the Courts mind, the with constitutional principles.
coalescence of the CoA Report, the accounts of numerous iv.) The case is capable of repetition yet evading
whistle-blowers, and the governments own recognition review. This is called for by the recognition that the
that reforms are needed to address the reported preparation and passage of the national budget is,
abuses of the PDAF demonstrates a prima facie pattern by constitutional imprimatur, an affair of annual
occurrence. The myriad of issues underlying the manner in

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which certain public funds are spent, if not resolved at this or that public money is being deflected to any improper
most opportune time, are capable of repetition and hence, purpose, or that public funds are wasted through the
must not evade judicial review. enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law, as in these
2.) YES. The intrinsic constitutionality of the Pork Barrel cases.
System is not an issue dependent upon the wisdom of Moreover, as citizens, petitioners have equally fulfilled the
the political branches of government but rather a legal standing requirement given that the issues they have raised
one which the Constitution itself has commanded the may be classified as matters of transcendental
Court to act upon. Scrutinizing the contours of the system importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of
along constitutional lines is a task that the political branches of paramount public interest. The CoA Chairpersons
government are incapable of rendering precisely because it is statement during the Oral Arguments that the present
an exercise of judicial power. More importantly, the present controversy involves not [merely] a systems failure but a
Constitution has not only vested the Judiciary the right to complete breakdown of controls amplifies the seriousness of
exercise judicial power but essentially makes it a duty to the issues involved. Indeed, of greater import than the damage
proceed therewith (Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 caused by the illegal expenditure of public funds is the mortal
Constitution). wound inflicted upon the fundamental law by the enforcement
3. YES. Petitioners have sufficient locus standi to file the of an invalid statute.
instant cases. Petitioners have come before the Court in their 4.) NO. On the one hand, res judicata states that a
respective capacities as citizen-taxpayers and accordingly, judgment on the merits in a previous case rendered by a court
assert that they dutifully contribute to the coffers of the of competent jurisdiction would bind a subsequent case if,
National Treasury. As taxpayers, they possess the between the first and second actions, there exists
requisite standing to question the validity of the existing an identity of parties, of subject matter, and of causes of
Pork Barrel System under which the taxes they pay action. This required identity is not attendant hereto
have been and continue to be utilized. They are bound to since Philconsa and LAMP involved constitutional challenges
suffer from the unconstitutional usage of public funds, if the against the 1994 CDF Article and 2004 PDAF Article
Court so rules. Invariably, taxpayers have been allowed to sue respectively. However, the cases at bar call for a broader
where there is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed constitutional scrutiny of the entire Pork Barrel System. Also,

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the ruling in LAMP is essentially a dismissal based on a inconsistencies which similarly countervail against a full
procedural technicality and, thus, hardly a judgment on the resort to stare decisis. Since the Court now benefits from
merits. Thus, res judicata cannot apply. hindsight and current findings (such as the CoA Report), it
On the other hand, the doctrine of stare decisis is a bar to must partially abandon its previous ruling
any attempt to re-litigate where the same questions relating in Philconsa insofar as it validated the post-enactment
to the same event have been put forward by the identification authority of Members of Congress on the
parties similarly situated as in a previous case litigated and guise that the same was merely recommendatory.
decided by a competent court. Absent any powerful Again, since LAMP was dismissed on a procedural technicality
countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be and, hence, has not set any controlling doctrine susceptible of
decided alike. Philconsa was a limited response to current application to the substantive issues in these
a separation of powers problem, specifically on the propriety of cases, stare decisis would not apply.
conferring post-enactment identification authority to Members B. Substantive Issues on the Congressional Pork Barrel
of Congress. On the contrary, the present cases call for a
more holistic examination of (a) the inter-relation between 1.) YES. At its core, legislators have been consistently
the CDF and PDAF Articles with each other, formative as they accorded post-enactment authority to identify the
are of the entire Pork Barrel System as well as (b) the intra- projects they desire to be funded through various
relation of post-enactment measures contained within a Congressional Pork Barrel allocations. Under the 2013 PDAF
particular CDF or PDAF Article, including not only those Article, the statutory authority of legislators to identify projects
related to the area of project identification but also to the areas post-GAA may be construed from Special Provisions 1 to 3
of fund release and realignment. The complexity of the issues and the second paragraph of Special Provision 4. Legislators
and the broader legal analyses herein warranted may be, have also been accorded post-enactment authority in the
therefore, considered as a powerful countervailing reason areas of fund release (Special Provision 5 under the 2013
against a wholesale application of the stare decisis PDAF Article) and realignment (Special Provision 4,
principle. paragraphs 1 and 2 under the 2013 PDAF Article).
In addition, the Court observes that the Philconsa ruling was Thus, legislators have been, in one form or another,
actually riddled with inherent constitutional authorized to participate in the various operational aspects

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of budgeting, including the evaluation of work and financial through legislation, pursuant to Section 29(1), Article VI of the
plans for individual activities and the regulation and release 1987 Constitution which states: No money shall be paid out of
of funds, in violation of the separation of powers principle. the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by
That the said authority is treated as merely recommendatory in law. The power of appropriation, as held by the Court
nature does not alter its unconstitutional tenor since the in Bengzon v. Secretary of Justice and Insular Auditor,
prohibition covers any role in the implementation or involves (a) setting apart by law a certain sum from the
enforcement of the law. Towards this end, the Court must public revenue for (b) a specified purpose. Under the 2013
therefore abandon its ruling in Philconsa. The Court PDAF Article, individual legislators are given a personal
also points out that respondents have failed to substantiate lump-sum fund from which they are able to dictate (a) how
their position that the identification authority of legislators is much from such fund would go to (b) a specific project
only of recommendatory import. or beneficiary that they themselves also determine.
In addition to declaring the 2013 PDAF Article as well as all Since these two acts comprise the exercise of the power
other provisions of law which similarly allow legislators to wield of appropriation as described in Bengzon, and given that
any form of post-enactment authority in the implementation or the 2013 PDAF Article authorizes individual legislators
enforcement of the budget, the Court also declared to perform the same, undoubtedly, said legislators have
that informal practices, through which legislators have been conferred the power to legislate which the
effectively intruded into the proper phases of Constitution does not, however, allow.
budget execution, must be deemed as acts of grave abuse 3.) YES. Under the 2013 PDAF Article, the amount of P24.79
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and, Billion only appears as a collective allocation limit since
hence, accorded the same unconstitutional treatment. the said amount would be further divided among individual
legislators who would then receive personal lump-sum
2.) YES. The 2013 PDAF Article violates the principle of allocations and could, after the GAA is passed, effectively
non-delegability since legislators are effectively allowed appropriate PDAF funds based on their own discretion. As
to individually exercise the power these intermediate appropriations are made by legislators
of appropriation, which, as settled in Philconsa, is lodged in only after the GAA is passed and hence, outside of the
Congress. The power to appropriate must be exercised only law, it means that the actual items of PDAF appropriation

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would not have been written into the The same lump-sum budgeting scheme has, as the CoA
General Appropriations Bill and thus effectuated without Chairperson relays, limit[ed] state auditors from obtaining
veto consideration. This kind of lump-sum/post-enactment relevant data and information that would aid in more
legislative identification budgeting system fosters the creation stringently auditing the utilization of said Funds. Accordingly,
of a budget within a budget which subverts the prescribed she recommends the adoption of a line by line budget or
procedure of presentment and consequently impairs amount per proposed program, activity or project, and per
the Presidents power of item veto. As petitioners aptly point implementing agency.
out, the President is forced to decide between (a) accepting
the entire P24. 79 Billion PDAF allocation without knowing the 4.) YES. To a certain extent, the conduct of oversight would
specific projects of the legislators, which may or may not be be tainted as said legislators, who are vested with post-
consistent with his national agenda and (b) rejecting the whole enactment authority, would, in effect, be checking on
PDAF to the detriment of all other legislators with legitimate activities in which they themselves participate. Also, this
projects. very same concept of post-enactment authorization runs afoul
Even without its post-enactment legislative identification of Section 14, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution which
feature, the 2013 PDAF Article would remain provides that: [A Senator or Member of the House of
constitutionally flawed since the lump-sum amount of Representatives] shall not intervene in any matter before any
P24.79 Billion would be treated as a mere funding source office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he
allotted for multiple purposes of spending (i.e. may be called upon to act on account of his office. Allowing
scholarships, medical missions, assistance to indigents, legislators to intervene in the various phases of project
preservation of historical materials, construction of roads, flood implementation renders them susceptible to taking undue
control, etc). This setup connotes that the appropriation law advantage of their own office.
leaves the actual amounts and purposes of the However, the Court cannot completely agree that the same
appropriation for further determination and, therefore, does post-enactment authority and/or the individual legislators
not readily indicate a discernible item which may be control of his PDAF per se would allow him to perpetrate
subject to the Presidents power of item veto. himself in office. This is a matter which must be analyzed
based on particular facts and on a case-to-case basis.

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Also, while the Court accounts for the possibility that the close of office, without taking into account the specific interests
operational proximity between legislators and the Executive and peculiarities of the district the legislator
department, through the formers post-enactment participation, represents. As a result, a district representative of a highly-
may affect the process of impeachment, this matter largely urbanized metropolis gets the same amount of funding as a
borders on the domain of politics and does not strictly concern district representative of a far-flung rural province which would
the Pork Barrel Systems intrinsic constitutionality. As such, it be relatively underdeveloped compared to the former. To
is an improper subject of judicial assessment. add, what rouses graver scrutiny is that even Senators and
Party-List Representatives and in some years, even the
5.) NO. Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution Vice-President who do not represent any locality, receive
is considered as not self-executing due to the qualifying funding from the Congressional Pork Barrel as well.
phrase as may be defined by law. In this respect, said The Court also observes that this concept of legislator control
provision does not, by and of itself, provide a judicially underlying the CDF and PDAF conflicts with the functions of
enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline the various Local Development Councils (LDCs) which are
for legislative or executive action. Therefore, since already legally mandated to assist the corresponding
there appears to be no standing law which crystallizes the sanggunian in setting the direction of economic and social
policy on political dynasties for enforcement, the Court must development, and coordinating development efforts within its
defer from ruling on this issue. territorial jurisdiction. Considering that LDCs are
In any event, the Court finds the above-stated argument on instrumentalities whose functions are essentially geared
this score to be largely speculative since it has not been towards managing local affairs, their programs, policies and
properly demonstrated how the Pork Barrel System would be resolutions should not be overridden nor duplicated by
able to propagate political dynasties. individual legislators, who are national officers that have no
law-making authority except only when acting as a body.
6.) YES. The Court, however, finds an inherent defect in the
system which actually belies the avowed intention of making C. Substantive Issues on the Presidential Pork Barrel
equal the unequal (Philconsa, 1994). The gauge of PDAF YES. Regarding the Malampaya Fund: The phrase and for
and CDF allocation/division is based solely on the fact such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by

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the President under Section 8 of PD 910 constitutes an undue own position that it is limited only to energy resource
delegation of legislative power insofar as it does not lay down development and exploitation programs and projects of
a sufficient standard to adequately determine the limits of the government.
the Presidents authority with respect to the purpose for However, the rest of Section 8, insofar as it allows for the use
which the Malampaya Funds may be used. As it reads, of the Malampaya Funds to finance energy
the said phrase gives the President wide latitude to use the resource development and exploitation programs and projects
Malampaya Funds for any other purpose he may direct and, in of the government, remains legally effective and subsisting.
effect, allows him to unilaterally appropriate public funds
beyond the purview of the law. Regarding the Presidential Social Fund: Section 12 of PD
That the subject phrase may be confined only to energy 1869, as amended by PD 1993, indicates that the Presidential
resource development and exploitation programs and Social Fund may be used to [first,] finance the
projects of the government under the principle priority infrastructure development projects and [second,] to
of ejusdem generis, meaning that the general word or phrase finance the restoration of damaged or destroyed facilities due
is to be construed to include or be restricted to things akin to calamities, as may be directed and authorized by the Office
to, resembling, or of the same kind or class as those of the President of the Philippines.
specifically mentioned, is belied by three (3) reasons: first, The second indicated purpose adequately curtails the authority
the phrase energy resource development and exploitation of the President to spend the Presidential Social Fund only for
programs and projects of the government states a singular restoration purposes which arise from calamities. The first
and general class and hence, cannot be treated as indicated purpose, however, gives him carte
a statutory reference of specific things from which the general blanche authority to use the same fund for any
phrase for such other purposes may be limited; second, infrastructure project he may so determine as a priority.
the said phrase also exhausts the class it represents, Verily, the law does not supply a definition of priority
namely energy development programs of the government; infrastructure development projects and hence, leaves the
and, third, the Executive department has used President without any guideline to construe the same. To note,
the Malampaya Funds for non-energy related purposes the delimitation of a project as one of infrastructure is
under the subject phrase, thereby contradicting respondents too broad of a classification since the said term could

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pertain to any kind of facility. Thus, the phrase to finance ARAULLO VS AQUINO
the priority infrastructure development projects must be Political Law Constitutional Law Separation of Powers
stricken down as unconstitutional since similar to Section Fund Realignment Constitutionality of the Disbursement
8 of PD 910 it lies independently unfettered by any Acceleration Program
sufficient standard of the delegating law. As they Power of the Purse Executive Impoundment
are severable, all other provisions of Section 12 of PD 1869,
When President Benigno Aquino III took office, his
as amended by PD 1993, remains legally effective and
administration noticed the sluggish growth of the economy.
subsisting.
The World Bank advised that the economy needed a stimulus
plan. Budget Secretary Florencio Butch Abad then came up
with a program called the Disbursement Acceleration Program
(DAP).

The DAP was seen as a remedy to speed up the funding of


government projects. DAP enables the Executive to realign
funds from slow moving projects to priority projects instead of
waiting for next years appropriation. So what happens under
the DAP was that if a certain government project is being
undertaken slowly by a certain executive agency, the funds
allotted therefor will be withdrawn by the Executive. Once
withdrawn, these funds are declared as savings by the
Executive and said funds will then be reallotted to other
priority projects. The DAP program did work to stimulate the
economy as economic growth was in fact reported and portion
of such growth was attributed to the DAP (as noted by the
Supreme Court).

Other sources of the DAP include the unprogrammed funds


from the General Appropriations Act (GAA). Unprogrammed

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funds are standby appropriations made by Congress in the Secretary Abad argued that the DAP is based on certain laws
GAA. particularly the GAA (savings and augmentation provisions
thereof), Sec. 25(5), Art. VI of the Constitution (power of the
Meanwhile, in September 2013, Senator Jinggoy Estrada
President to augment), Secs. 38 and 49 of Executive Order
made an expos claiming that he, and other Senators,
292 (power of the President to suspend expenditures and
received Php50M from the President as an incentive for voting
authority to use savings, respectively).
in favor of the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato
Corona. Secretary Abad claimed that the money was taken Issues:
from the DAP but was disbursed upon the request of the
I. Whether or not the DAP violates the principle no money
Senators.
shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an
This apparently opened a can of worms as it turns out that the appropriation made by law (Sec. 29(1), Art. VI, Constitution).
DAP does not only realign funds within the Executive. It turns
II. Whether or not the DAP realignments can be considered as
out that some non-Executive projects were also funded; to
impoundments by the executive.
name a few: Php1.5B for the CPLA (Cordillera Peoples
Liberation Army), Php1.8B for the MNLF (Moro National III. Whether or not the DAP realignments/transfers are
Liberation Front), P700M for the Quezon Province, P50- constitutional.
P100M for certain Senators each, P10B for Relocation IV. Whether or not the sourcing of unprogrammed funds to the
Projects, etc. DAP is constitutional.
This prompted Maria Carolina Araullo, Chairperson of V. Whether or not the Doctrine of Operative Fact is applicable.
the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, and several other
HELD:
concerned citizens to file various petitions with the Supreme
Court questioning the validity of the DAP. Among their I. No, the DAP did not violate Section 29(1), Art. VI of the
contentions was: Constitution. DAP was merely a program by the Executive and
is not a fund nor is it an appropriation. It is a program for
DAP is unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional
prioritizing government spending. As such, it did not violate the
rule which provides that no money shall be paid out of the
Constitutional provision cited in Section 29(1), Art. VI of the
Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by
Constitution. In DAP no additional funds were withdrawn from
law.
the Treasury otherwise, an appropriation made by law would

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have been required. Funds, which were already appropriated they were not provided for by the GAA. As such, transfer to
for by the GAA, were merely being realigned via the DAP. such projects is unconstitutional and is without legal basis.

II. No, there is no executive impoundment in the DAP. On the issue of what are savings
Impoundment of funds refers to the Presidents power to
These DAP transfers are not savings contrary to what was
refuse to spend appropriations or to retain or deduct
being declared by the Executive. Under the definition of
appropriations for whatever reason. Impoundment is actually
savings in the GAA, savings only occur, among other
prohibited by the GAA unless there will be an unmanageable
instances, when there is an excess in the funding of a certain
national government budget deficit (which did not happen).
project once it is completed, finally discontinued, or finally
Nevertheless, theres no impoundment in the case at bar
abandoned. The GAA does not refer to savings as funds
because whats involved in the DAP was the transfer of funds.
withdrawn from a slow moving project. Thus, since the
III. No, the transfers made through the DAP were statutory definition of savings was not complied with under the
unconstitutional. It is true that the President (and even the DAP, there is no basis at all for the transfers. Further, savings
heads of the other branches of the government) are allowed should only be declared at the end of the fiscal year. But under
by the Constitution to make realignment of funds, however, the DAP, funds are already being withdrawn from certain
such transfer or realignment should only be made within their projects in the middle of the year and then being declared as
respective offices. Thus, no cross-border savings by the Executive particularly by the DBM.
transfers/augmentations may be allowed. But under the DAP,
IV. No. Unprogrammed funds from the GAA cannot be used as
this was violated because funds appropriated by the GAA for
money source for the DAP because under the law, such funds
the Executive were being transferred to the Legislative and
may only be used if there is a certification from the National
other non-Executive agencies.
Treasurer to the effect that the revenue collections have
Further, transfers within their respective offices also exceeded the revenue targets. In this case, no such
contemplate realignment of funds to an existing project in the certification was secured before unprogrammed funds were
GAA. Under the DAP, even though some projects were within used.
the Executive, these projects are non-existent insofar as the
V. Yes. The Doctrine of Operative Fact, which recognizes the
GAA is concerned because no funds were appropriated to
legal effects of an act prior to it being declared as
them in the GAA. Although some of these projects may be
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, is applicable. The DAP
legitimate, they are still non-existent under the GAA because

14
has definitely helped stimulate the economy. It has funded ATONG PAGLAUM VS COMELEC
numerous projects. If the Executive is ordered to reverse all
694 SCRA 477 Political Law Constitutional Law
actions under the DAP, then it may cause more harm than
Legislative Department Party-List System
good. The DAP effects can no longer be undone. The
beneficiaries of the DAP cannot be asked to return what they This case partially abandoned the rulings in Ang Bagong
received especially so that they relied on the validity of the Bayani vs COMELEC andBANAT vs COMELEC.
DAP. However, the Doctrine of Operative Fact may not be Atong Paglaum, Inc. and 51 other parties were disqualified by
applicable to the authors, implementers, and proponents of the the Commission on Elections in the May 2013 party-list
DAP if it is so found in the appropriate tribunals (civil, criminal, elections for various reasons but primarily for not being
or administrative) that they have not acted in good faith. qualified as representatives for marginalized or
underrepresented sectors.

Atong Paglaum et al then filed a petition for certiorari against


COMELEC alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of
COMELEC in disqualifying them.

ISSUE: Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse


of discretion in disqualifying the said party-lists.

HELD: No. The COMELEC merely followed the guidelines set


in the cases of Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT. However, the
Supreme Court remanded the cases back to the COMELEC
as the Supreme Court now provides for new guidelines which
abandoned some principles established in the two aforestated
cases. The new guidelines are as follows:

I. Parameters. In qualifying party-lists, the COMELEC must


use the following parameters:

1. Three different groups may participate in the party-list


system: (1) national parties or organizations, (2) regional

15
parties or organizations, and (3) sectoral parties or 5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or
organizations. organizations that represent the marginalized and
underrepresented must belong to the marginalized and
2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or
underrepresented sector they represent. Similarly, a majority
organizations do not need to organize along sectoral lines and
of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that lack
do not need to represent any marginalized and
well-defined political constituencies must belong to the sector
underrepresented sector.
they represent. The nominees of sectoral parties or
3. Political parties can participate in party-list elections organizations that represent the marginalized and
provided they register under the party-list system and do not underrepresented, or that represent those who lack well-
field candidates in legislative district elections. A political party, defined political constituencies, either must belong to their
whether major or not, that fields candidates in legislative respective sectors, or must have a track record of advocacy for
district elections can participate in party-list elections only their respective sectors. The nominees of national and
through its sectoral wing that can separately register under the regional parties or organizations must be bona-fide members
party-list system. The sectoral wing is by itself an independent of such parties or organizations.
sectoral party, and is linked to a political party through a
6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations
coalition.
shall not be disqualified if some of their nominees are
4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be disqualified, provided that they have at least one nominee who
marginalized and underrepresented or lacking in well- remains qualified.
defined political constituencies. It is enough that their principal
II. In the BANAT case, major political parties are disallowed,
advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their
as has always been the practice, from participating in the
sector. The sectors that are marginalized and
party-list elections. But, since theres really no constitutional
underrepresented include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban
prohibition nor a statutory prohibition, major political parties
poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans,
can now participate in the party-list system provided that they
and overseas workers. The sectors that lack well-defined
do so through their bona fide sectoral wing (see parameter
political constituencies include professionals, the elderly,
3 above).
women, and the youth.
Allowing major political parties to participate, albeit
indirectly, in the party-list elections will encourage them to

16
work assiduously in extending their constituencies to the excludes other cause-oriented groups from running for a seat
marginalized and underrepresented and to those who lack in the lower house.
well-defined political constituencies.
As explained by the Supreme Court, party-list
Ultimately, the Supreme Court gave weight to the deliberations representation should not be understood to include only labor,
of the Constitutional Commission when they were drafting the peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural
party-list system provision of the Constitution. The communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and
Commissioners deliberated that it was their intention to include other sectors that by their nature are economically at the
all parties into the party-list elections in order to develop a margins of society. It should be noted that Section 5 of
political system which is pluralistic and multiparty. (In Republic Act 7941 includes, among others, in its provision for
the BANAT case, Justice Puno emphasized that the will of the sectoral representation groups of professionals, which are not
people should defeat the intent of the framers; and that the per se economically marginalized but are still qualified as
intent of the people, in ratifying the 1987 Constitution, is that marginalized, underrepresented, and do not have well-defined
the party-list system should be reserved for the marginalized political constituencies as they are ideologically
sectors.) marginalized.

III. The Supreme Court also emphasized that the party-list


system is NOT RESERVED for the marginalized and
underrepresented or for parties who lack well-defined
political constituencies. It is also for national or regional
parties. It is also for small ideology-based and cause-oriented
parties who lack well-defined political constituencies. The
common denominator however is that all of them cannot, they
do not have the machinery unlike major political parties, to
field or sponsor candidates in the legislative districts but they
can acquire the needed votes in a national election system like
the party-list system of elections.

If the party-list system is only reserved for


marginalized representation, then the system itself unduly

17
TOLENTINO VS SEC. OF FINANCE the initiative must come from the HoR. Note also that there
were several instances before where Senate passed its own
235 SCRA 630 (1994) 249 SCRA 635 (1995) Political Law
version rather than having the HoR version as far as revenue
Origination of Revenue Bills EVAT Amendment by
and other such bills are concerned. This practice of
Substitution
amendment by substitution has always been accepted. The
Arturo Tolentino et al are questioning the constitutionality of proposition of Tolentino concerns a mere matter of form. There
RA 7716 otherwise known as the Expanded Value Added Tax is no showing that it would make a significant difference if
(EVAT) Law. Tolentino averred that this revenue bill did not Senate were to adopt his over what has been done.
exclusively originate from the House of Representatives as
required by Section 24, Article 6 of the Constitution. Even
though RA 7716 originated as HB 11197 and that it passed the
3 readings in the HoR, the same did not complete the 3
readings in Senate for after the 1st reading it was referred to
the Senate Ways & Means Committee thereafter Senate
passed its own version known as Senate Bill 1630. Tolentino
averred that what Senate could have done is amend HB
11197 by striking out its text and substituting it with the text of
SB 1630 in that way the bill remains a House Bill and the
Senate version just becomes the text (only the text) of the HB.
(Its ironic however to note that Tolentino and co-petitioner
Raul Roco even signed the said Senate Bill.)

ISSUE: Whether or not the EVAT law is procedurally infirm.

HELD: No. By a 9-6 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the


challenge, holding that such consolidation was consistent with
the power of the Senate to propose or concur with
amendments to the version originated in the HoR. What the
Constitution simply means, according to the 9 justices, is that

18
SENATE VS ERMITA privilege; Senior national security officials who in the judgment
of the National Security Adviser are covered by the executive
495 SCRA 170 Political Law Constitutional Law
privilege; and Such other officers as may be determined by the
Legislative Branch Question Hour Constitutionality of E.O.
President, from appearing in such hearings conducted by
464
Congress without first securing the presidents approval.
In 2005, scandals involving anomalous transactions about the
The department heads and the military officers who were
North Rail Project as well as the Garci tapes surfaced. This
invited by the Senate committee then invoked EO 464 to
prompted the Senate to conduct a public hearing to investigate
except themselves. Despite EO 464, the scheduled hearing
the said anomalies particularly the alleged overpricing in the
proceeded with only 2 military personnel attending. For defying
NRP. The investigating Senate committee issued invitations to
President Arroyos order barring military personnel from
certain department heads and military officials to speak before
testifying before legislative inquiries without her approval, Brig.
the committee as resource persons. Ermita submitted that he
Gen. Gudani and Col. Balutan were relieved from their military
and some of the department heads cannot attend the said
posts and were made to face court martial proceedings. EO
hearing due to pressing matters that need immediate attention.
464s constitutionality was assailed for it is alleged that it
AFP Chief of Staff Senga likewise sent a similar letter. Drilon,
infringes on the rights and duties of Congress to conduct
the senate president, excepted the said requests for they were
investigation in aid of legislation and conduct oversight
sent belatedly and arrangements were already made and
functions in the implementation of laws.
scheduled. Subsequently, GMA issued EO 464 which took
effect immediately. ISSUE: Whether or not EO 464 is constitutional.

EO 464 basically prohibited Department heads, Senior officials HELD: The SC ruled that EO 464 is constitutional in part. To
of executive departments who in the judgment of the determine the validity of the provisions of EO 464, the SC
department heads are covered by the executive privilege; sought to distinguish Section 21 from Section 22 of Art 6 of the
Generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the 1987 Constitution. The Congress power of inquiry is expressly
Philippines and such other officers who in the judgment of the recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution.
Chief of Staff are covered by the executive privilege; Philippine Although there is no provision in the Constitution expressly
National Police (PNP) officers with rank of chief investing either House of Congress with power to make
superintendent or higher and such other officers who in the investigations and exact testimony to the end that it may
judgment of the Chief of the PNP are covered by the executive exercise its legislative functions advisedly and effectively, such

19
power is so far incidental to the legislative function as to be elicit information that may be used for legislation, while the
implied. In other words, the power of inquiry with process to other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour, the
enforce it is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the objective of which is to obtain information in pursuit of
legislative function. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely Congress oversight function. Ultimately, the power of
or effectively in the absence of information respecting the Congress to compel the appearance of executive officials
conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change; under Section 21 and the lack of it under Section 22 find their
and where the legislative body does not itself possess the basis in the principle of separation of powers.
requisite information which is not infrequently true recourse
While the executive branch is a co-equal branch of the
must be had to others who do possess it.
legislature, it cannot frustrate the power of Congress to
Section 22 on the other hand provides for the Question Hour. legislate by refusing to comply with its demands for
The Question Hour is closely related with the legislative power, information. When Congress exercises its power of inquiry,
and it is precisely as a complement to or a supplement of the the only way for department heads to exempt themselves
Legislative Inquiry. The appearance of the members of therefrom is by a valid claim of privilege. They are not exempt
Cabinet would be very, very essential not only in the by the mere fact that they are department heads. Only one
application of check and balance but also, in effect, in aid of executive official may be exempted from this power the
legislation. Section 22 refers only to Question Hour, whereas, President on whom executive power is vested, hence, beyond
Section 21 would refer specifically to inquiries in aid of the reach of Congress except through the power of
legislation, under which anybody for that matter, may be impeachment. It is based on her being the highest official of
summoned and if he refuses, he can be held in contempt of the executive branch, and the due respect accorded to a co-
the House. A distinction was thus made between inquiries in equal branch of government which is sanctioned by a long-
aid of legislation and the question hour. While attendance was standing custom. The requirement then to secure presidential
meant to be discretionary in the question hour, it was consent under Section 1, limited as it is only to appearances in
compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation. Sections 21 and the question hour, is valid on its face. For under Section 22,
22, therefore, while closely related and complementary to each Article VI of the Constitution, the appearance of department
other, should not be considered as pertaining to the same heads in the question hour is discretionary on their part.
power of Congress. One specifically relates to the power to Section 1 cannot, however, be applied to appearances of
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation, the aim of which is to department heads in inquiries in aid of legislation. Congress is

20
not bound in such instances to respect the refusal of the
department head to appear in such inquiry, unless a valid
claim of privilege is subsequently made, either by the
President herself or by the Executive Secretary.

When Congress merely seeks to be informed on how


department heads are implementing the statutes which it has
issued, its right to such information is not as imperative as that
of the President to whom, as Chief Executive, such
department heads must give a report of their performance as a
matter of duty. In such instances, Section 22, in keeping with
the separation of powers, states that Congress may
only request their appearance. Nonetheless, when the inquiry
in which Congress requires their appearance is in aid of
legislation under Section 21, the appearance is mandatory for
the same reasons stated in Arnault.

21