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C. Powers and functions

1. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION (CSC)

a. Civil Service

The Civil Service shall be administered by the Civil Service Commission. (Section 1[1], Part B, Article IX, 1987 Constitution)

1) All parts of the Government, including GOCCs with original charters

The civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters. (Section 2[1], Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

2) Merit and fitness

Appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined, as far as practicable, and, except to positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical, by competitive examination. (Section 2[2], Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

3) Due process

No officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law. (Section 2[3], Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

a) Temporary employees

Temporary employees of the Government shall be given such protection as may be provided by law. (Section 2[6], Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

4) No electioneering or partisan political campaign

No officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign. (Section 2[4], Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

5) Right to self-organization

The right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees. (Section 2[5], Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

While the right to self-organization is absolute, the right of government employees to collective bargaining and negotiation is subject to limitations. (GSIS Family Bank Employees Union v. Villanueva, G.R. No. 210773, 23 January 2019)

a) No bargaining on employment terms and conditions fixed by law

In contrast with the private sector, the terms and conditions of employment of government workers are fixed by the legislature; thus, the negotiable matters in the public sector are limited to terms and conditions of employment that are not fixed by law. (Ibid.)

Instead of a collective bargaining agreement or negotiation, government employees must course their petitions for a change in the terms and conditions of their employment through the Congress for the issuance of new laws, rules, or regulations. (Ibid.)

a) No right to strike

At present, in the absence of any legislation allowing government employees to strike, recognizing their right to do so, or regulating the exercise of the right, they are prohibited from striking, by express provision of Memorandum Circular No. 6 and as implied in E.O. No. 180. (SSS v. CA, G.R. No. 85279, 28 July 1989)

6) Career Service

The Civil Service Commission, as the central personnel agency of the Government, shall establish a career service and adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy in the civil service. (Section 3, Part B, Article IX, 1987 Constitution)

a) Merit and Rewards System

It shall strengthen the merit and rewards system, integrate all human resources development programs for all levels and ranks, and institutionalize a management climate conducive to public accountability. (Section 3, Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

b) Annual Reports to the President and Congress

It shall submit to the President and the Congress an annual report on its personnel programs. (Section 3, Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

7) Oath or affirmation to defend the Constitution

All public officers and employees shall take an oath or affirmation to uphold and defend this Constitution. (Section 4, Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

8) Standardization of Compensation

The Congress shall provide for the standardization of compensation of government officials and employees, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, taking into account the nature of the responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions. (Section 5, Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

a) No double compensation

No elective or appointive public officer or employee shall receive additional, double, or indirect compensation, unless specifically authorized by law, nor accept without the consent of the Congress, any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind from any foreign government. (Section 8, Part B, Article IX, 1987 Constitution)

Pensions or gratuities shall not be considered as additional, double, or indirect compensation. (Paragraph 2, Section 8, Part B, Article IX, Ibid.)

b) Separation pay and retirement benefits, not allowed

Absent clear and unequivocal statutory authority, the grant of both separation pay and retirement benefits violates the constitutional proscription on additional compensation. (Herrera v. NPC, G.R. No. 166570, 18 December 2009)

2. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC)

a. Powers and functions

The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:

1) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.

2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable.

3) Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.

4) Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

5) Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and accredit citizens’ arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall not be registered. Those which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means, or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreign government shall likewise be refused registration.

Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties, organizations, coalitions, or candidates related to elections constitute interference in national affairs, and, when accepted, shall be an additional ground for the cancellation of their registration with the Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law.

6) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.

7) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies.

8) Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its directive, order, or decision.

9) Submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall. (Section 2, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

b. En Banc or 2 Divisions

The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions. (Section 3, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

1) Division

All such election cases shall be heard and decided in division. (Section 3, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

2) En banc

Motions for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc. (Section 3, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

c. INTERNAL RULES

It and shall promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies. (Ibid.)

d. SPECIAL POWER TO SUPERVISE OR REGULATE DURING ELECTION

The Commission may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information, all grants, special privileges, or concessions granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. (Section 4, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal opportunity, time, and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections. (Section 4, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

1) Does not extend to ownership per se

Section 4, Article IX-C of the Constitution only grants COMELEC supervisory and regulatory powers over the enjoyment or utilization “of all franchises or permits for the operation,” inter alia, of transportation and other public utilities. The COMELEC’s constitutionally delegated powers of supervision and regulation do not extend to the ownership per se of PUVs and transport terminals, but only to the franchise or permit to operate the same. (1-United Transport Koalisyon [1-UTAK] v. COMELEC, En Banc, G.R. No. 206020, 14 April 2015)

e. RECOMMENDATION FOR ELECTION-RELATED OFFENSES

No pardon, amnesty, parole, or suspension of sentence for violation of election laws, rules, and regulations shall be granted by the President without the favorable recommendation of the Commission. (Section 5, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

f. FREE AND OPEN PARTY SYSTEM

A free and open party system shall be allowed to evolve according to the free choice of the people, subject to the provisions of Article IX of the Constitution – Constitutional Commissions. (Section 6, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

1) Votes cast only for party-list

a) Political parties, organizations, coalitions, party-list

GENERAL RULE: No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid. (Section 7, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

EXCEPTION: … except for those registered under the party-list system as provided in this Constitution. (Section 7, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

b) Party-list system

Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters’ registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other similar bodies. (Section 8, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

However, they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law. (Section 8, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

g. ELECTION PERIOD

Unless otherwise fixed by the Commission in special cases, the election period shall commence ninety (90) days before the day of the election and shall end thirty days (30) after. (Section 9, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

1) Non-harassment, non-discrimination

Bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination. (Section 10, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

2) Election funds

Funds certified by the Commission as necessary to defray the expenses for holding regular and special elections, plebiscites, initiatives, referenda, and recalls, shall be provided in the regular or special appropriations and, once approved, shall be released automatically upon certification by the Chairman of the Commission. (Section 11, Part C, Article IX, Ibid.)

3. COMMISSION ON AUDIT (COA)

a. Powers and functions

The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and duty to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, and on a post-audit basis:

1) Constitutional bodies, commissions and offices that have been granted fiscal autonomy under this Constitution;

2) Autonomous state colleges and universities;

3) Other government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; and

4) Such non-governmental entities receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the Government, which are required by law or the granting institution to submit to such audit as a condition of subsidy or equity. (Section 2[1], Part D, Article IX, Ibid.)

1) Internal control system of audited agencies

However, where the internal control system of the audited agencies is inadequate, the Commission may adopt such measures, including temporary or special pre-audit, as are necessary and appropriate to correct the deficiencies. (Ibid.)

2) General accounts, vouchers, supporting documents

It shall keep the general accounts of the Government and, for such period as may be provided by law, preserve the vouchers and other supporting papers pertaining thereto. (Section 2[1], Part D, Article IX, Ibid.)

b. Exclusive Authority

The Commission shall have exclusive authority, subject to the limitations in this Article, to define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques and methods required therefor, and promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties. (Section 2[2], Part D, Article IX, Ibid.)

c. No law exempting Government entity from audit

No law shall be passed exempting any entity of the Government or its subsidiary in any guise whatever, or any investment of public funds, from the jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit. (Section 3, Part D, Article IX, Ibid.)

d. Annual Report to the President and Congress

The Commission shall submit to the President and the Congress, within the time fixed by law, an annual report covering the financial condition and operation of the Government, its subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and non-governmental entities subject to its audit, and recommend measures necessary to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. (Section 4, Part D, Article IX, Ibid.)

It shall submit such other reports as may be required by law. (Section 4, Part D, Article IX, Ibid.)

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