Philippine Bar Exams Reviewer for Political Law Part 2
The Constitution – General Considerations
#1. National Territory
The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines.
#2. Archipelagic Doctrine
A body of water studded with islands, or the islands surrounded with water, is viewed as a unity of islands and waters together forming one integrated unit. [N.B. Embodied in Art. II.]
#3. Straight Baseline Method
Consists of drawing straight lines connecting appropriate points on the coast without departing to any appreciable extent from the general direction of the coast, in order to delineate the internal waters from the territorial waters of an archipelago
A community of persons, permanently occupying a definite portion of territory, independent of external control, and possessing a government to which a great body of the inhabitants render habitual obedience. [Collector of Internal Revenue v. Campos Rueda (1971)]
- #5. Basis of State Immunity from Suit
- Constitutional Basis: “The State may not be sued without its consent.” [Const., Art. XVI, Sec. 13].
- InternationalLawBasis:“Parinparemimperiumnonhabet”i.e.“Anequalhasnopower over an equal”
- Positivist Theory: There can be no legal right as against the authority that makes the laws. Also called the doctrine of Royal Prerogative of Dishonesty. [Kawananakoa v. Polyblank (1907)]
- Sociological Theory: If the State were suable, all its time would be spent defending itself and this would prevent it from its other functions. [Republic vs. Villasor (1973)]
- #6. Suit Against the State
A suit is against the State regardless of who is named the defendant if:
- It produces adverse consequences to the public treasury in terms of disbursement of public funds and loss of government property.
#7. Suit Not Against the State
A suit is not against the State when
- When the action is not in personam with the government as the named defendant, but an action in rem that does not name the government in particular.
#8. Express Consent of the State
The express consent of the state is effected only by the will of the legislature through the medium of a duly enacted statute; may be embodied either in a general law or a special law.
#9. Express consent through General Law
The express consent through general law authorizes any person who meets the conditions stated in the law to sue the government in accordance with the procedure in the law (e.g. Act No. 3083; Civil Code, art. 2180(6), 2189)
As to the vicarious liability under CC, Art. 2180(6): The Government is only liable for the acts of its agents, officers, and employees when they act as special agents, i.e. receive a definite and fixed order or commission, foreign to the exercise of the duties of his office. [Merritt v. Gov’t of the Philippine Islands, (1916)]
#10. Express consent Special Law
Express consent in special law may come in the form of a private bill authorizing a named individual to bring suit on a special claim.
#11. Implied Consent of the State
There is implied consent of the state when:
(1) When the State enters into a private contract that is not incidental to a government function
(2) The State acts in a proprietary function
(3) When the government files a complaint, e.g. defendant may file a counterclaim against it.
(4) When it would be inequitable for the State to invoke its immunity.
(5) In instances of Eminent Domain when the State takes private property for public use or purpose.
#10. Separation Powers
Separation of Powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It is obtained not through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. [Angara v. Electoral Commission (1936)].
Separation of powers is founded on the belief that, by establishing equilibrium among the three power holders, harmony will result, power will not be concentrated and thus tyranny will be avoided [Bernas].
#11. Checks and Balances
The Constitution did not intend the three powers to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. It has provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. [Angara, supra]
#12. Delegation of Powers
As a general rule, “Delegata potestas non potest delegari” – what has been delegated can no longer be delegated.
#13. Non-Delegation of Legislative Powers
As a general rule, only Congress (as a body) may exercise, with the following exemptions: (1) Delegated legislative power to local governments [See Art. IX, Sec. 9]
(2) Constitutionally-grafted exceptions through (1) Emergency power delegated to the Executive during State of War or National Emergency [Art. VI, Sec.23(2)]; and (2) Certain taxing powers of President [Art. VI, sec.28(2)].
#14. The Two tests of Valid Delegations
A. Completeness test – the law sets forth the policy to be executed, carried out, or implemented by the delegate (Abakada, infra), such that there is nothing left for the delegate to do but to enforce the law [Pelaez v.Auditor General (1965)]
B. Sufficient standard test – the standard test is sufficient if it defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it. [Edu v. Ericta (1970)]
A corporate governmental entity through which the functions of government are exercised throughout the Philippines [Rev. Admin. Code]
#16. De jure government
(1) Has rightful title; but
(2) No power or control [In re Letter of Justice Puno (1992)]
#17. De facto government
Government of fact, that is, it actually exercises power or control without legal title. [Co Kim Cham v. Valdes, (1945)]