(Question VII, Political Law, 2017 Bar Exam)
Give the limitations on the power of the Congress to enact the General Appropriations Act? Explain your answer. (5%)
1) The General Appropriations Act should exclusively originate in the House of Representative. Under the 1987 Constitution, all general appropriations bill shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.
2) The Congress may not increase of proposed National Budget by the President. Under the 1987 Constitution, the Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government as specified in the budget. The form, content, and manner of preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by law.
3) A provision should relate to some particular appropriation. Under the 1987 Constitution, no provision or enactment shall be embraced in the general appropriations bill unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation therein. Any such provision or enactment shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates.
4) The procedure for approving appropriations by Congress should follow procedure for other departments and agencies. Under the 1987 Constitution, the procedure in approving appropriations for the Congress shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other departments and agencies.
5) Special appropriation bills should specify intended purpose. Under the 1987 Constitution, a special appropriations bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposed therein.
6) There should be no transferring of appropriations Under the 1987 Constitution, no law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations. However, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.
7) Discretionary funds should be disbursed only for public purposes. Under the 1987 Constitution, discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by law.
8) The previous General Appropriations Act shall be re-enacted if no new bill is passed. Under the 1987 Constitution, if, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed reenacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Congress.
9) Payment by the Treasury shall only be pursuant to appropriation made by law. Under the 1987 Constitution, no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.
10) No public funds should be used for establishment of religion. Under the 1987 Constitution, no public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher, or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium.
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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