A. Declaration of principles and State policies

Frequency: ★★☆☆☆

1. PRINCIPLES

a. Democratic and republican state

The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. (Section 1, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

1) To freely think

The viability of a truly representative government depends upon the effective protection and exercise of the rights of the people to freely think, to freely discuss and to freely assemble for redress of their grievances; for these underlie the mechanisms of peaceful change in a democratic polity. There is ample authority in history for the belief that those who value freedom, but are frustrated in its exercise, will tend to resort to force and violent opposition to obtain release from their repression. So essential are these freedoms to the preservation and vitality of democratic institutions that courts have on numerous occasions categorized them as occupying a “preferred position” in the hierarchy of civil liberties. “That priority… gives these liberties a sanctity and a sanction not per permitting dubious instrusions.” (Gonzales v. COMELEC, G.R. No. L-27833, 18 April 1969)

The democratic system provides for the accommodation of diverse ideas, including the unconventional and even the bizarre or eccentric. The will of the majority prevails, but it cannot regiment thought by prescribing the recitation by rote of its opinions or proscribing the assertion of unorthodox or unpopular views. (The Diocese of Bacolod v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 205728, 21 January 2015)

2) Self-determination thru voting in an election

Fundamental to the idea of a democratic and republican state is the right of the people to determine their own destiny through the choice of leaders they may have in government. Thus, the primordial importance of suffrage and the concomitant right of the people to be adequately informed for the intelligent exercise of such birthright. (GMA Network, Inc. v. COMELEC, En Banc, G.R. No. 205357, 205374, 205592, 205852, 206360, 02 September 2014)

3) Representation

Republicanism, in so far as it implies the adoption of a representative type of government, necessarily points to the enfranchised citizen as a particle of popular sovereignty and as the ultimate source of the established authority. He has a voice in his Government and whenever possible it is the solemn duty of the judiciary, when called upon to act in justifiable cases, to give it efficacy and not to stifle or frustrate it. This, fundamentally, is the reason for the rule that ballots should be read and appreciated, if not with utmost, with reasonable, liberality. (GMA Network, Inc. v. COMELEC, supra.)

b. Sovereignty with the people

Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. (Section 1, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

1) Political speech

Sovereignty resides in the people. Political speech is a direct exercise of the sovereignty. The principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies yields in order to protect this fundamental right. (The Diocese of Bacolod v. COMELEC, supra.)

Political speech enjoys preferred protection within our constitutional order. (Ibid.)

2) No suspension of sovereignty during an enemy occupation in times of war

If sovereignty is an essential attribute of our people, according to the basic philosophy of Philippine democracy, it could not have been suspended during the enemy occupation. Sovereignty is the very life of our people, and there is no such thing as “suspended life.” There is no possible middle situation between life and death. Sovereignty is the very essence of the personality and existence of our people. Can anyone imagine the possibility of “suspended personality” or “suspended existence” of a people? In no time during enemy occupation have the Filipino people ceased to be what they are. (Laurel v. Misa, G.R. No. L-409, 30 January 1947)

3) Property qualification to vote, unconstitutional

That said property qualifications are inconsistent with the nature and essence of the Republican system ordained in our Constitution and the principle of social justice underlying the same, for said political system is premised upon the tenet that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them, and this, in turn, implies necessarily that the right to vote and to be voted for shall not be dependent upon the wealth of the individual concerned, whereas social justice presupposes equal opportunity for all, rich and poor alike, and that, accordingly, no person shall, by reason of poverty, be denied the chance to be elected to public office. (Maquera v. Borra, G.R. Nos. L-24761, L-24828, 07 September 1965)

c. Renouncement of war; Adoption of international law

The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations. (Section 2, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

1) Renouncement of war

As early as the 1935 Constitution, the Philippines has “renounced war as an instrument of national policy (Constitution, Article II, section 2), thus in consequence adopting the doctrine of the Briand-Kellogg Pact.” (J. Hilado, Concurring Opinion in Laurel v. Misa, G.R. No. L-409, 30 January 1947)

When in World War I civilized humanity saw that war could be, as it actually was, employed for entirely different reasons and from entirely different motives, compared to previous wars, and the instruments and methods of warfare had been so materially changed as not only to involve the contending armed forces on well-defined battlefields or areas, on land, in the sea, and in the air, but to spread death and destruction to the innocent civilian populations and to their properties, not only in the countries engaged in the conflict but also in neutral ones, no less than 61 civilized nations and governments, among them Japan, had to formulate and solemnly subscribe to the now famous Briand-Kellogg Pact in the year 1928.  (Ibid.)

2) Adoption of international law; Generally accepted principles of international law

Generally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution, form part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations. The classical formulation in international law sees those customary rules accepted as binding result from the combination [of] two elements: the established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as the opinion juris sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it. (Mijares v. Ranada, G.R. No. 139325, 12 April 2005)

“Generally accepted principles of international law” refers to norms of general or customary international law which are binding on all states, i.e., renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, the principle of sovereign immunity, a person’s right to life, liberty and due process, and pacta sunt servanda, among others. (Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines v. Duque, En Banc, G.R. No. 173034, 09 October 2007)

d. Civilian authority supreme over military, whose duty is to serve and protect the people

Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory. (Section 3, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal military or civil service. (Section 4, Article II, Ibid.)

The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.(Section 5, Article II, Ibid.)

1) The President as Commander-in-Chief: ceremonial, legal, administrative head of the AFP

While the President is still a civilian, Article II, Section 339 of the Constitution mandates that civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military, making the civilian president the nation’s supreme military leader. The net effect of Article II, Section 3, when read with Article VII, Section 18, is that a civilian President is the ceremonial, legal and administrative head of the armed forces. The Constitution does not require that the President must be possessed of military training and talents, but as Commander-in-Chief, he has the power to direct military operations and to determine military strategy. Normally, he would be expected to delegate the actual command of the armed forces to military experts; but the ultimate power is his. As Commander-in-Chief, he is authorized to direct the movements of the naval and military forces placed by law at his command, and to employ them in the manner he may deem most effectual. (Kulayan v. Tan, G.R. No. 187298, 03 July 2012)

2) Call-out powers

That the power to call upon the armed forces is discretionary on the president. (Ibid.)

When the President calls the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, he necessarily exercises a discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom. This is clear from the intent of the framers and from the text of the Constitution itself. The Court, thus, cannot be called upon to overrule the President’s wisdom or substitute its own. However, this does not prevent an examination of whether such power was exercised within permissible constitutional limits or whether it was exercised in a manner constituting grave abuse of discretion. In view of the constitutional intent to give the President full discretionary power to determine the necessity of calling out the armed forces, it is incumbent upon the petitioner to show that the President’s decision is totally bereft of factual basis. (Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora, G.R. No. 141284, 15 August 2000)

There is a clear textual commitment under the Constitution to bestow on the President full discretionary power to call out the armed forces and to determine the necessity for the exercise of such power. (Ibid.)

The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. (Ibid.)

3) Authority over sentencing of erring military personnel

The President also has the power to mitigate or remit a sentence under Article 49 of the Articles of War… Thus, the power of the President to confirm, mitigate and remit a sentence of erring military personnel is a clear recognition of the superiority of civilian authority over the military. (Garcia v. The Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 198554, 30 July 2012)

e. Separation of the Church and State

The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. (Section 6, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

1) Inviolable

The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. (Re: Letter of Tony Q. Valenciano, Holding of Religious Rituals at the Halls of Justice Building in Quezon City, A.M. No. 10-4-19-SC, 07 March 2017)

2) Avoids weaponization by one of the other, and vice-versa

The prohibition herein expressed is a direct corollary of the principle of separation of church and state. Without the necessity of adverting to the historical background of this principle in our country, it is sufficient to say that our history, not to speak of the history of mankind, has taught us that the union of church and state is prejudicial to both, for occasions might arise when the estate will use the church, and the church the state, as a weapon in the furtherance of their recognized this principle of separation of church and state in the early stages of our constitutional development; it was inserted in the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain of December 10, 1898, reiterated in President McKinley’s Instructions of the Philippine Commission, reaffirmed in the Philippine Bill of 1902 and in the autonomy Act of August 29, 1916, and finally embodied in the constitution of the Philippines as the supreme expression of the Filipino people. It is almost trite to say now that in this country we enjoy both religious and civil freedom. All the officers of the Government, from the highest to the lowest, in taking their oath to support and defend the constitution, bind themselves to recognize and respect the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, with its inherent limitations and recognized implications. It should be stated that what is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious liberty, not mere religious toleration. (Aglipay v. Ruiz, G.R. No. L-45459, 13 March 1937)

3) Freedom of religion

The Filipino people in “imploring the aid of Almighty God” manifested their spirituality innate in our nature and consciousness as a people, shaped by tradition and historical experience. As this is embodied in the preamble, it means that the State recognizes with respect the influence of religion in so far as it instills into the mind the purest principles of morality. Moreover, in recognition of the contributions of religion to society, the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions contain benevolent and accommodating provisions towards religions such as tax exemption of church property, salary of religious officers in government institutions, and optional religious instructions in public schools. (Imbong v. Ochoa, G.R. No. 204819, 08 April 2014)

When a case was filed to stop the holding of Catholic masses at the basement of the Hall of Justice of Quezon City, it was dismissed as the same was not considered to have violated the principle of separation of church and state – as this was aligned with the right to freedom of religion by the people. (Re: Letter of Tony Q. Valenciano, Holding of Religious Rituals at the Halls of Justice Building in Quezon City, supra.)

Notwithstanding the principle of separation of church and state, the State still recognizes the inherent right of the people to have some form of belief system, whether such may be belief in a Supreme Being, a certain way of life, or even an outright rejection of religion. Our very own Constitution recognizes the heterogeneity and religiosity of our people. (Ibid.)

Allowing religion to flourish is not contrary to the principle of separation of Church and State. In fact, these two principles are in perfect harmony with each other. (Ibid.)

The State is aware of the existence of religious movements whose members believe in the divinity of Jose Rizal. Yet, it does not implement measures to suppress the said religious sects. Such inaction or indifference on the part of the State gives meaning to the separation of Church and State, and at the same time, recognizes the religious freedom of the members of these sects to worship their own Supreme Being. (Ibid.)

As pointed out by Judge Lutero, “the Roman Catholics express their worship through the holy mass and to stop these would be tantamount to repressing the right to the free exercise of their religion. Our Muslim brethren, who are government employees, are allowed to worship their Allah even during office hours inside their own offices. The Seventh Day Adventists are exempted from rendering Saturday duty because their religion prohibits them from working on a Saturday. Even Christians have been allowed to conduct their own bible studies in their own offices. All these have been allowed in respect of the workers’ right to the free exercise of their religion.” … Clearly, allowing the citizens to practice their religion is not equivalent to a fusion of Church and State. (Ibid.)

4) Compelling state interest

Religious freedom, however, is not absolute. It cannot have its way if there is a compelling state interest. To successfully invoke compelling state interest, it must be demonstrated that the masses in the QC Hall of Justice unduly disrupt the delivery of public services or affect the judges and employees in the performance of their official functions. (Ibid.)

2. STATE POLICIES

a. Independent foreign policy

The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination. (Section 7, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

NB: Connect with discussions under treaties, executive agreements, foreign military bases.

b. No nuclear weapons

The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.(Section 8, Article II, Ibid.)

The charge that Enhanced Defense Cooperation Act (EDCA) allows nuclear weapons within Philippine territory is entirely speculative. It is noteworthy that the agreement in fact specifies that the prepositioned material shall not include nuclear weapons. Petitioners argue that only prepositioned nuclear weapons are prohibited by EDCA; and that, therefore, the U.S. would insidiously bring nuclear weapons to Philippine territory. The general prohibition on nuclear weapons, whether prepositioned or not, is already expressed in the 1987 Constitution. It would be unnecessary or superfluous to include all prohibitions already in the Constitution or in the law through a document like EDCA. (Saguisag v. Executive Secretary, En Banc, G.R. Nos. 212426, 212444, 12 January 2016)

c. Social Justice

The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.(Section 9, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development.(Section 10, Article II, Ibid.)

1) Concept

Social justice is “neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy,” but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the component elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex. (J. Laurel in Calalang v. Williams, G.R. No. 47800, 02 December 1940)

Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about “the greatest good to the greatest number.” (Ibid.)

2) In relation to the underprivileged

The policy of social justice is not intended to countenance wrongdoing simply because it is committed by the underprivileged. At best, it may mitigate the penalty but it certainly will not condone the offense. Compassion for the poor is an imperative of every humane society but only when the recipient is not a rascal claiming an undeserved privilege. Social justice cannot be permitted to be refuge of scoundrels any more than can equity be an impediment to the punishment of the guilty. Those who invoke social justice may do so only if their hands are clean and their motives blameless and not simply because they happen to be poor. This great policy of our Constitution is not meant for the protection of those who have proved they are not worthy of it, like the workers who have tainted the cause of labor with the blemishes of their own character. (Manila Water Company v. Del Rosario, G.R. No. 188747, 29 January 2014)

d. Dignity of human person and full respect for human rights

The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.(Section 11, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

e. Sanctity of family

The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. (Section 12, Article II, Ibid.)

The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.(Ibid.)

f. Youth, Women in national building

The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.(Section 13, Article II, Ibid.)

The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. (Section 14, Article II, Ibid.)

The rearing of children (i.e., referred to as the “youth”) for civic efficiency and the development of their moral character are characterized not only as parental rights, but also as parental duties. This means that parents are not only given the privilege of exercising their authority over their children; they are equally obliged to exercise this authority conscientiously. (SPARK v. Quezon City, En Banc, G.R. No. 225442, 08 August 2017)

While parents have the primary role in child-rearing, it should be stressed that “when actions concerning the child have a relation to the public welfare or the well-being of the child, the [Sltate may act to promote these legitimate interests.” Thus, “[i]n cases in which harm to the physical or mental health of the child or to public safety, peace, order, or welfare is demonstrated, these legitimate state interests may override the parents’ qualified right to control the upbringing of their children.” (Ibid. citing Bykofsky v. Borough of Middletown, 401 F. Supp. 1242 (1975) U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16477)

1) Curfew ordinances

The Curfew Ordinances are but examples of legal restrictions designed to aid parents in their role of promoting their children’s well-being. These ordinances further compelling State interests (particularly, the promotion of juvenile safety and the prevention of juvenile crime), which necessarily entail limitations on the primary right of parents to rear their children. Minors, because of their peculiar vulnerability and lack of experience, are not only more exposed to potential physical harm by criminal elements that operate during the night; their moral well-being is likewise imperiled as minor children are prone to making detrimental decisions during this time. (Ibid.)

a) Aligned with primary right of parents to rear their children

Curfew Ordinances apply only when the minors are not – whether actually or constructively – accompanied by their parents. This serves as an explicit recognition of the State’s deference to the primary nature of parental authority and the importance of parents’ role in child-rearing. Parents are effectively given unfettered authority over their children’s conduct during curfew hours when they are able to supervise them. Thus, in all actuality, the only aspect of parenting that the Curfew Ordinances affects is the parents’ prerogative to allow minors to remain in public places without parental accompaniment during the curfew hours. In this respect, the ordinances neither dictate an over-all plan of discipline for the parents to apply to their minors nor force parents to abdicate their authority to influence or control their minors’ activities. As such, the Curfew Ordinances only amount to a minimal – albeit reasonable – infringement upon a parent’s right to bring up his or her child.

b) Reasonable limitation on rights of minors

The stated purposes of the Curfew Ordinances, specifically the promotion of juvenile safety and prevention of juvenile crime, inarguably serve the interest of public safety. The restriction on the minor’s movement and activities within the confines of their residences and their immediate vicinity during the curfew period is perceived to reduce the probability of the minor becoming victims of or getting involved in crimes and criminal activities. (Ibid.)

BAR EXAM QUESTION
(Question A.9, Political Law, 2019 Bar Exam)
The unabated rise of criminality and the reported identification of delinquent children loitering in the wee hours of the night prompted City Z to implement a curfew ordinance. Minors unaccompanied or unsupervised on the streets by their parents or guardians between 10:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. may be apprehended by law enforcers subject to certain exclusive exceptions. These exceptions are: 1. minors running lawful errands, such as buying of medicines, using of telecommunications facilities for emergency purposes and the like; 2. night school students; and 3. minors working at night.
Minors apprehended for violation of the curfew ordinance shall be required to undergo counseling, accompanied by their parents/guardians.
(a) Does the curfew ordinance violative the primary right and duty of parents to rear their children? Explain. (2.5%)
(b) Does the curfew ordinance infringe any of the minors’ fundamental rights? Explain. (2.5%)
Suggested Answer:
(a) No. Answer
Under jurisprudence, the Curfew Ordinances are but examples of legal restrictions designed to aid parents in their role of promoting their children’s well-being. They apply only when the minors are not – whether actually or constructively – accompanied by their parents. This serves as an explicit recognition of the State’s deference to the primary nature of parental authority and the importance of parents’ role in child-rearing.. Rule
In the case at bar, the curfew ordinance of City Z is consistent with jurisprudence as it applies only if the minors are unaccompanied or unsupervised on the streets by their parents or guardians between 10:00 om and 5:00 am. It also provides for exceptions.    Apply
Thus, the curfew ordinance does not violate the primary right and duty of parents to rear their children. Conclusion
(b) No. Answer
Under the jurisprudence, curfew ordinances further compelling State interest. Their purpose is the promotion of juvenile safety and prevention of juvenile crime, both of which serve the interest of public safety. Rule
In the case at bar, the issuance of the curfew ordinance is aimed at reducing the criminality and protection of minors during the curfew period. There is compelling State interest given the unabated rise of criminality and the reported identification of delinquent children loitering in the wee hours of the night. Apply
Thus, the curfew ordinance does not infringe on any of the minor’s fundamental rights. Conclusion

g. Right to health and healthful ecology

The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.(Section 15, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. (Section 16, Article II, Ibid.)

h. Priority to education, science, technology, arts, culture, sports

The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.(Section 17, Article II, Ibid.)

i. Labor and private sector

The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare. (Section 18, Article II, Ibid.)

The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments. (Section 20, Article II, Ibid.)

1) State’s duty to protect rights of workers

In the 1987 Constitution, provisions on social justice and the protection of labor underscore the importance and economic significance of labor. Article II, Section 18 characterizes labor as a “primary social economic force,” and as such, the State is bound to “protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.” Moreover, workers are “entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage.” (Philippine National Bank v. Padao, G.R. Nos. 180849 and 187143, 16 November 2011)

The Labor Code declares as policy that the State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed, and regulate the relations between workers and employers. The State shall assure the rights of workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of work. (Ibid.)

2) Recognition and protection of employer’s rights

It is true the Constitution regards labor as “a primary social economic force.” But so does it declare that it “recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investment.” The Constitution bids the State to “afford full protection to labor.” But it is equally true that “the law, in protecting the right’s of the laborer, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer.” And it is oppression to compel the employer to continue in employment one who is guilty or to force the employer to remain in operation when it is not economically in his interest to do so. (Ibid.)

j. Self-reliant and independent national economy

The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.(Section 19, Article II, 1987 Constitution)

k. Rural and agrarian reforms

The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform. (Section 21, Article II, Ibid.)

l. Indigenous cultural communities

The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development. (Section 22, Article II, Ibid.)

m. Non-governmental, community-based, sectoral organizations

The State shall encourage non-governmental, community-based, or sectoral organizations that promote the welfare of the nation. (Section 23, Article II, Ibid.)

n. Communication and information in nation-building

The State recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building. (Section 24, Article II, Ibid.)

o. Autonomy of local governments

The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments. (Section 25, Article II, Ibid.)

1) Concept

Local autonomy signified “a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization.” The grant of autonomy is intended to “break up the monopoly of the national government over the affairs of local governments not to end the relation of partnership and interdependence between the central administration and local government units…” Paradoxically, local governments are still subject to regulation, however limited, for the purpose of enhancing self-government. (Pimentel v. Aguirre, En Banc, G.R. No. 132988, 19 July 2000)

2) Right to self-determination in autonomous regions

The grant of autonomy to the autonomous regions includes the right of self-determination-which in turn ensures the right of the peoples residing therein to the necessary level of autonomy that will guarantee the support of their own cultural identities, the establishment of priorities by their respective communities’ internal decision-making processes and the management of collective matters by themselves. (Mandanas v. Executive Secretary, G.R. Nos. 199802 and 208488, 03 July 2018)

3) Fiscal autonomy

Under existing law, local government units, in addition to having administrative autonomy in the exercise of their functions, enjoy fiscal autonomy as well. Fiscal autonomy means that local governments have the power to create their own sources of revenue in addition to their equitable share in the national taxes released by the national government, as well as the power to allocate their resources in accordance with their own priorities. It extends to the preparation of their budgets, and local officials in turn have to work within the constraints thereof. They are not formulated at the national level and imposed on local governments, whether they are relevant to local needs and resources or not. Hence, the necessity of a balancing of viewpoints and the harmonization of proposals from both local and national officials, who in any case are partners in the attainment of national goals. (Pimentel v. Aguirre, supra.)

a) Includes power to tax

Fiscal autonomy entails “the power to create… own sources of revenue. In turn, this power necessarily entails enabling local government units with the capacity to create revenue sources in accordance with the realities and contingencies present in their specific contexts. The power to create must mean the local government units’ power to create what is most appropriate and optimal for them; otherwise, they would be mere automatons that are turned on and off to perform prearranged operations. (Demaala v. COA, En Banc, G.R. No. 199752, 17 February 2015)

Although the power to tax is inherent in the State, the same is not true for LGUs because although the mandate to impose taxes granted to LGUs is categorical and long established in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the same is not all encompassing as it is subject to limitations as explicitly stated in Section 5, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, viz.: “SECTION 5. Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees, and charges subject to such guidelines and limitations as the Congress may provide, consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy. Such taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local governments.” (Batangas City v. Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, G.R. No. 187631, 08 July 2015)

Per Section 5, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, “the power to tax is no longer vested exclusively on Congress; local legislative bodies are now given direct authority to levy taxes, fees and other charges.” Nevertheless, such authority is “subject to such guidelines and limitations as the Congress may provide”. (Pelizloy Realty Corporation v. The Province of Benguet, G.R. No. 183137, 10 April 2013)

4) Decentralization of administration only, not power

Decentralization simply means the devolution of national administration, not power, to local governments. Local officials remain accountable to the central government as the law may provide. (Pimentel v. Aguirre, supra.)

Autonomy is either decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. There is decentralization of administration when the central government delegates administrative powers to political subdivisions in order to broaden the base of government power and in the process to make local governments “more responsive and accountable,’” and “ensure their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and social progress.” At the same time, it relieves the central government of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate on national concerns. The President exercises “general supervision” over them, but only to “ensure that local affairs are administered according to law.” He has no control over their acts in the sense that he can substitute their judgments with his own. (Limbona v. Mangelin, En Banc, G.R. No. 80391, 28 February 1989)

Decentralization of power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in the favor of local government units declared to be autonomous. In that case, the autonomous government is free to chart its own destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from central authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of power amounts to “self-immolation,” since in that event, the autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central authorities but to its constituency. (Limbona v. Mangelin, supra.)

Under the Philippine concept of local autonomy, the national government has not completely relinquished all its powers over local governments, including autonomous regions. Only administrative powers over local affairs are delegated to political subdivisions. The purpose of the delegation is to make governance more directly responsive and effective at the local levels. In turn, economic, political and social development at the smaller political units are expected to propel social and economic growth and development. But to enable the country to develop as a whole, the programs and policies effected locally must be integrated and coordinated towards a common national goal. Thus, policy-setting for the entire country still lies in the President and Congress. (Pimentel Jr. v. Aguirre, supra.)

p. Public service

The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law. (Section 26, Article II, Ibid.)

The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.(Section 27, Article II, Ibid.)

Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.(Section 28, Article II, Ibid.)

Related

System-based bar exam review mentoring program to improve your bar exam preparation

© 2022 BARMENTOR.PH. All Rights Reserved.

error: Content is protected.