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235 SCRA 506 Political Law Veto Power Part of the Legislative Process
Constitutionality of the Pork Barrel Countrywide Development Fund
This is a consolidation of cases which sought to question the veto authority of the president involving the General Appropriations Bill of
1994 as well as the constitutionality of the pork barrel. The Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA) questions the countrywide
development fund. PHILCONSA said that Congress can only allocate funds but they cannot specify the items as to which those funds
would be applied for since that is already the function of the executive.
In G.R. No. 113766, after the vetoing by the president of some provisions of the GAB of 1994, neither house of congress took steps to
override the veto. Instead, Senators Wigberto Taada and Alberto Romulo sought the issuance of the writs of prohibition and mandamus
against Executive Secretary Teofisto Guingona et al. Taada et al contest the constitutionality of: (1) the veto on four special provisions
added to items in the GAB of 1994 for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Public Works and Highways
(DPWH); and (2) the conditions imposed by the President in the implementation of certain appropriations for the CAFGUs, the DPWH,
and the National Housing Authority (NHA).
ISSUE: Whether or not the Presidents veto is valid.
HELD: In the PHILCONSA petition, the SC ruled that Congress acted within its power and that the CDF is constitutional. In the Taada
petitions the SC dismissed the other petitions and granted the others.
Veto on special provisions
The president did his veto with certain conditions and compliant to the ruling in Gonzales vs Macaraig. The president particularly vetoed
the debt reduction scheme in the GAA of 1994 commenting that the scheme is already taken cared of by other legislation and may be
more properly addressed by revising the debt policy. He, however did not delete the P86,323,438,000.00 appropriation therefor. Taada
et al averred that the president cannot validly veto that provision w/o vetoing the amount allotted therefor. The veto of the president herein
is sustained for the vetoed provision is considered inappropriate; in fact the Sc found that such provision if not vetoed would in effect
repeal the Foreign Borrowing Act making the legislation as a log-rolling legislation.
Veto of provisions for revolving funds of SUCs
The appropriation for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), the President vetoed special provisions which authorize the use of income
and the creation, operation and maintenance of revolving funds was likewise vetoed. The reason for the veto is that there were already
funds allotted for the same in the National Expenditure Program. Taada et al claimed this as unconstitutional. The SC ruled that the veto
is valid for it is in compliant to the One Fund Policy it avoided double funding and redundancy.
Veto of provision on 70% (administrative)/30% (contract) ratio for road maintenance
The President vetoed this provision on the basis that it may result to a breach of contractual obligations. The funds if allotted may result
to abandonment of some existing contracts. The SC ruled that this Special Provision in question is not an inappropriate provision which
can be the subject of a veto. It is not alien to the appropriation for road maintenance, and on the other hand, it specifies how the said item
shall be expended 70% by administrative and 30% by contract. The 1987 Constitution allows the addition by Congress of special
provisions, conditions to items in an expenditure bill, which cannot be vetoed separately from the items to which they relate so long as
they are appropriate in the budgetary sense. The veto herein is then not valid.
Veto of provision on prior approval of Congress for purchase of military equipment
As reason for the veto, the President stated that the said condition and prohibition violate the Constitutional mandate of non-impairment
of contractual obligations, and if allowed, shall effectively alter the original intent of the AFP Modernization Fund to cover all military
equipment deemed necessary to modernize the AFP. The SC affirmed the veto. Any provision blocking an administrative action in
implementing a law or requiring legislative approval of executive acts must be incorporated in a separate and substantive bill. Therefore,
being inappropriate provisions.
Veto of provision on use of savings to augment AFP pension funds
According to the President, the grant of retirement and separation benefits should be covered by direct appropriations specifically
approved for the purpose pursuant to Section 29(1) of Article VI of the Constitution. Moreover, he stated that the authority to use savings
is lodged in the officials enumerated in Section 25(5) of Article VI of the Constitution. The SC retained the veto per reasons provided by
the president.
Condition on the deactivation of the CAFGUs
Congress appropriated compensation for the CAFGUs including the payment of separation benefits. The President declared in his Veto
Message that the implementation of this Special Provision to the item on the CAFGUs shall be subject to prior Presidential approval
pursuant to P.D. No. 1597 and R.A. No. 6758. The SC ruled to retain the veto per reasons provided by the president. Further, if this
provision is allowed the it would only lead to the repeal of said existing laws.
Conditions on the appropriation for the Supreme Court, etc
In his veto message: The said condition is consistent with the Constitutional injunction prescribed under Section 8, Article IX-B of the
Constitutional which states that no elective or appointive public officer or employee shall receive additional, double, or indirect
compensation unless specifically authorized by law. I am, therefore, confident that the heads of the said offices shall maintain fidelity to
the law and faithfully adhere to the well-established principle on compensation standardization. Taada et al claim that the conditions
imposed by the President violated the independence and fiscal autonomy of the Supreme court, the Ombudsman, the COA and the CHR.
The SC sustained the veto: In the first place, the conditions questioned by petitioners were placed in the GAB by Congress itself, not by
the President. The Veto Message merely highlighted the Constitutional mandate that additional or indirect compensation can only be
given pursuant to law. In the second place, such statements are mere reminders that the disbursements of appropriations must be made
in accordance with law. Such statements may, at worse, be treated as superfluities.
Pork Barrel Constitutional
The pork barrel makes the unequal equal. The Congressmen, being representatives of their local districts know more about the problems
in their constituents areas than the national government or the president for that matter. Hence, with that knowledge, the Congressmen
are in a better position to recommend as to where funds should be allocated.