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Application of the Doctrine

by marrieldetorres





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Application of the Doctrine Abueva vs. Wood It is stated that a writ of mandamus cannot be imposed upon the chief executive to compel him to produce certain vouchers relative to the expenses of an official mission. Severino vs. Governor-General He (chief executive) also cannot be compelled through a writ of mandamus to call a special election though this duty was imposed to him by the law in mandatory language. In the above stated case, the Court held that the powers involved were executive in nature thus not subject to judicial compulsion. In re Dick The Supreme Court also interpreted as discretionary the power of the Governor-General to ascertain the necessity for the expulsion of an alien for the protection of the national interest. The expulsion of an alien (deportation) is a political question. In re Patterson The court announced that the Governor-General could act without interference on the part of the judicial power. The expulsion of foreigners is a political measure and that the executive power may expel without appeal any person whose presence tend to disturb the public peace. But the privilege of foreigners to enter the territory of a State for the purpose of travelling through or remaining therein being recognized on principle, we must also recognize the right of the State under exceptional circumstances to limit the aforementioned privilege upon the ground of public policy, and in all case to preserve the obligations of the foreigner to subject himself to the provisions of the local law concerning his entry into and his presence in the territory of each State. Forbes vs. Chuoco Tiaco The Court dismissed an action for damages against the Governor-General for deporting certain undesirable aliens. The Court stated that no one can be held legally responsible in damages for doing in a legal matter what he had authority, under the law, to do. If the Governor-General had the authority to deport the defendants and the circumstances justifying the deportation and method carrying it out are left to him then he cannot be held liable in damages for the exercise of his power. Moreover, if the Courts are without authority to interfere in any manner, for the purpose of controlling or interfering with the exercise of the political powers vested in the chief executive authority of the government, then it must follow that the courts cannot intervene for the purpose of declaring that the Governor General is liable in damages for the exercise of this authority. Aytona vs. Castillo (Midnight Appointees) The conflict between the outgoing and the incoming Presidents of the Philippines involved the exercise of the appointing power, the SC refused to assume jurisdiction due to separation of powers. Javellana vs. Executive Secretary (Ratification Cases) Several justices of the SC expressed the view that they were concluded by the ascertainment made by the President of the Philippines, in the exercise of his political prerogatives, that the people had acquiesced in or accepted the1973 Constitution. De la Llana vs. COMELEC The SC refused to restrain the holding of a referendum, ruling that the calling thereof lay in the exclusive discretion of President Marcos. NOTE: The declaration of Martial Law is a political question. Custodio vs. Senate President A taxpayer challenged the validity of a provision in the general appropriations law that compensated the members of the Congress for services supposedly rendered by them during the Japanese Occupation. It was held that the question submitted was political, affecting as it did the wisdom or propriety of the law. Hence, the only remedy that may be sought by the petitioner was to resort not to the courts but to the bar of public opinion. Alejandrino vs. Quezon (Senate) & Osmena vs. Pendatun (House of Representatives) When the House of Representatives and the Senate both suspended a member for disorderly behaviour (improper conduct) the SC refused to interfere even if in the former case it declared that the suspension was illegal “because the seat remains filled but the occupant is silenced.” Vera vs. Avelino Three (3) Senators-elect who had been prevented from taking their oaths of office by resolution of the Senate went to the SC and alleged that only the Electoral Tribunal had jurisdiction over contests relating to their election, returns, and qualifications. The SC refused to intervene, holding that the case was not a “contest”, and affirmed the inherent right of the legislature to determine who shall be admitted to its membership. Arnault vs. Balagtas The petitioner raised the question regarding the legality of his detention by the order of the Senate for his refusal to answer the questions put to him by one of its investigating committees. The SC refused to order his release and deferred to the discretionary authority of the legislative body to punish contumacious (stubbornly disobedient) witnesses for contempt. Hacienda Luisita Inc. vs. Luisita Industrial Park Corp. It has further been ruled that the “wisdom of Congress in allowing an SDP (Stock Distribution Plan) through a corporation as an alternative mode of implementing agrarian reform is not for judicial determination.” Philippine Coconut Producers Federation vs. Republic The Supreme Court explained that “the decision on whether to proceed with the conversion or defer action thereon until final adjudication of the issue of ownership over the sequestered shares properly pertains to the executive branch, represented by the PCGG.” The Court added that “corollary to the principle of separation of powers is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction that the courts will defer to the decisions of the administrative offices and agencies by reason of their expertise and experience in the matters assigned to them.” Philippine Bar Association vs. COMELEC The calling of the “snap” presidential elections on February 7, 1986, by the Batasang Pambansa was held by the SC to be a political question resoluble only by the sovereign electorate. De Castro vs. Committee on Justice The SC was asked to reverse a decision of the respondent dismissing impeachment charges against President Marcos after deliberating thereon for only six hours and to compel the said committee to give due course to such charges. The petition for certiorari and mandamus was dismissed, on the ground inter alia that the issues raised were political in nature and could be resolved only by the legislators themselves in the exercise of their discretion. The Court ruled that the dismissal of the charges was “within the ambit of the powers vested exclusively in the Batasan by express provisions of Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution and it is not within the competence of this Court to inquire whether in the exercise of said powers the Batasan acted wisely.” Romulo vs. Yniquez The petitioners asked for the recall of the impeachment resolution so it could be considered directly by the Batasang Pambansa, the Court, citing its ruling in the antecedent case, dismissed the petition on the ground of powers. NOTE: The Constitution now requires the proper committee of the House of Representatives to submit its report on an impeachment complaint, together with its corresponding resolution, to the House within sixty (60) days from its referral to the same, and said resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten (10) session days from its receipt thereof. A vote of at least one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment, or override its contrary resolution. Avelino vs. Cuenco (Presidency of the Senate) The incumbent Senate President was deposed and replaced. He questioned his successor’s title, arguing that the latter had been elected without a quorum. The petition was at first dismissed on the ground that the selection of the presiding officer of the Senate was an internal matter that could not be reviewed by the judiciary. ON the motion for reconsideration, however, the SC decided that it could assume jurisdiction “in the light of subsequent events which justified its intervention” and, among the other reasons, because there was a quorum. Barcelon vs. Baker & Montenegro vs. Castaneda It was held that the power to determine the existence of the grounds specified in the Constitution for the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus was discretionary and therefore not justiciable, on the justification of the superior competence of the commander-in-chief to assess the peace and order condition of the country. But, this doctrine was reversed in Lansang vs. Garcia where the SC asserted the right to inquire into the factual basis of the suspension and to annul the same if it appeared from its own investigations that the grounds invoked by the President were not actually existing. In a complete about-face, however, this decision was itself later abandoned in Garcia-Padilla vs. Enrile where the original rule announced in the Barcelon and Montenegro Cases was reinstated to make the questioned power once again discretionary in the President. It is no longer so, however, under Article VII, Section 18, of the present Constitution, to be discussed in Chapter 11. Noblejas vs. Teehankee The administrative investigation of an executive official should be undertaken by the President of the Philippines and not the SC even if it is provided by law that such official had the rank and privileges of a judge of the CFI. Neither may the SC be compelled by law to act as a mere board of arbitrators, an essentially executive body, particularly because whatever decisions it might make in the discharge of its administrative functions would ultimately have to be reviewed by the same members in the exercise of their judicial powers. Section 12 of Article VIII of the Constitution provides that the “Members of the Supreme Court and of other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions.” Endencia vs. David The powers that belong to the judiciary may not be assumed by other departments. The legislative provided into law that the imposition of income taxes upon the salaries of judges should not be interpreted as an unconstitutional diminution of their salary. The Supreme Court ruled that the interpretation of the provision in question was the exclusive function of the judiciary. Political Question under the New Constitution It is noteworthy that under the new Constitution the scope of the political question appears to have been constricted because of the new definition of judicial power, which now includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. The language suggests clearly that the above mentioned duty (power) is available even against the executive and the legislative departments, including the President and the Congress, in the exercise of their discretionary powers. Estrada vs. Desierto The 1987 Constitution narrowed the reach of political question doctrine when it expanded the power of judicial review of this court. The judiciary has focused on the “thou shall not’s” of the Constitution directed against the exercise of its jurisdiction. Courts are given a greater prerogative to determine what it can to do to prevent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. There are also other provisions in the 1987 Constitution trimming the so called political thicket. Note: Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the courts have no right to directly decide matters over which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the Executive Branch of the government, or to substitute their own judgments for that of the Executive Department. Galicto vs. Aquino The court declared that the issuance of an Executive Order is not a judicial, quasi-judicial or mandatory act. Accordingly, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court may not be availed of by any party to question its constitutionality. The proper recourse, according to the Court, would be a petition for declaratory relief under Rule 63 of the Rules of Court, which should be filed in the Regional Trial Court. Atong Paglaum, Inc. vs. COMELEC The Court is sworn to uphold the 1987 Constitution, apply it and desist from engaging in socio-economic or political experimentations contrary to what the Constitution has ordained. The present petition should be remanded to the COMELEC not because the COMELEC has committed a grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the petitioners but because the petitioners may qualify to participate i n the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the new parameters prescribed by this Court. In Re: COA Opinion on the Computation of the Appraised Value of the Properties Purchased by the Retired Chief/Associate Justices of the Supreme Court The Court defended or “confirmed” its authority to determine or fix the appraised value of the properties purchased by the retired members of said Court, as against the findings of the Commission on Audit on the same, on the strength of the principle of separation of powers, stressing its judicial independence and fiscal autonomy, and citing its unique circumstances, declaring that the judicial branch as a whole should work in the discharge of its constitutional functions free of restraints and influence from the other branches, save only for those imposed by the Constitution itself. ADDITIONAL CASES: Kilusang Mayo Uno vs. Director General This case is consolidated with Consolidated with Bayan Muna vs Ermita In 2005, Executive Order No. 420 was passed. This law sought to harmonize and streamline the country’s id system. Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bayan Muna, and other concerned groups sought to enjoin the Director-General from implementing the EO because they allege that the said EO is unconstitutional for it infringes upon the right to privacy of the people and that the same is a usurpation of legislative power by the president. ISSUE: Whether or not the said EO is unconstitutional. HELD: No. Section 1 of EO 420 directs these government entities to “adopt a unified multi-purpose ID system.”  Thus, all government entities that issue IDs as part of their functions under existing laws are required to adopt a uniform data collection and format for their IDs. Section 1 of EO 420 enumerates the purposes of the uniform data collection and format. The President may by executive or administrative order direct the government entities under the Executive department to adopt a uniform ID data collection and format.  Sec 17, Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the “President shall have control of all executive departments, bureaus and offices.”  The same Section also mandates the President to “ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.”    Certainly, under this constitutional power of control the President can direct all government entities, in the exercise of their functions under existing laws, to adopt a uniform ID data collection and ID format to achieve savings, efficiency, reliability, compatibility, and convenience to the public. The President’s constitutional power of control is self-executing and does not need any implementing legislation.   Of course, the President’s power of control is limited to the Executive branch of government and does not extend to the Judiciary or to the independent constitutional commissions.   Thus, EO 420 does not apply to the Judiciary, or to the COMELEC which under existing laws is also authorized to issue voter’s ID cards. This only shows that EO 420 does not establish a national ID system because legislation is needed to establish a single ID system that is compulsory for all branches of government. Senate of the Philippines vs. Ermita In 2005, scandals involving anomalous transactions about the North Rail Project as well as the Garci tapes surfaced. This prompted the Senate to conduct a public hearing to investigate the said anomalies particularly the alleged overpricing in the NRP. The investigating Senate committee issued invitations to certain department heads and military officials to speak before the committee as resource persons. Ermita submitted that he and some of the department heads cannot attend the said hearing due to pressing matters that need immediate attention. AFP Chief of Staff Senga likewise sent a similar letter. Drilon, the senate president, excepted the said requests for they were sent belatedly and arrangements were already made and scheduled. Subsequently, GMA issued EO 464 which took effect immediately. EO 464 basically prohibited Department heads, Senior officials of executive departments who in the judgment of the department heads are covered by the executive privilege; Generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and such other officers who in the judgment of the Chief of Staff are covered by the executive privilege; Philippine National Police (PNP) officers with rank of chief superintendent or higher and such other officers who in the judgment of the Chief of the PNP are covered by the executive privilege; Senior national security officials who in the judgment of the National Security Adviser are covered by the executive privilege; and Such other officers as may be determined by the President, from appearing in such hearings conducted by Congress without first securing the president’s approval. The department heads and the military officers who were invited by the Senate committee then invoked EO 464 to except themselves. Despite EO 464, the scheduled hearing proceeded with only 2 military personnel attending. For defying President Arroyo’s order barring military personnel from testifying before legislative inquiries without her approval, Brig. Gen. Gudani and Col. Balutan were relieved from their military posts and were made to face court martial proceedings. EO 464’s constitutionality was assailed for it is alleged that it infringes on the rights and duties of Congress to conduct investigation in aid of legislation and conduct oversight functions in the implementation of laws. ISSUE: Whether or not EO 464 is constitutional. HELD: The SC ruled that EO 464 is constitutional in part. To determine the validity of the provisions of EO 464, the SC sought to distinguish Section 21 from Section 22 of Art 6 of the 1987 Constitution. The Congress’ power of inquiry is expressly recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution. Although there is no provision in the Constitution expressly investing either House of Congress with power to make investigations and exact testimony to the end that it may exercise its legislative functions advisedly and effectively, such power is so far incidental to the legislative function as to be implied.  In other words, the power of inquiry – with process to enforce it – is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function.  A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change; and where the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information – which is not infrequently true – recourse must be had to others who do possess it. Section 22 on the other hand provides for the Question Hour. The Question Hour is closely related with the legislative power, and it is precisely as a complement to or a supplement of the Legislative Inquiry.  The appearance of the members of Cabinet would be very, very essential not only in the application of check and balance but also, in effect, in aid of legislation. Section 22 refers only to Question Hour, whereas, Section 21 would refer specifically to inquiries in aid of legislation, under which anybody for that matter, may be summoned and if he refuses, he can be held in contempt of the House. A distinction was thus made between inquiries in aid of legislation and the question hour.  While attendance was meant to be discretionary in the question hour, it was compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation. Sections 21 and 22, therefore, while closely related and complementary to each other, should not be considered as pertaining to the same power of Congress.  One specifically relates to the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation, the aim of which is to elicit information that may be used for legislation, while the other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour, the objective of which is to obtain information in pursuit of Congress’ oversight function.  Ultimately, the power of Congress to compel the appearance of executive officials under Section 21 and the lack of it under Section 22 find their basis in the principle of separation of powers. While the executive branch is a co-equal branch of the legislature, it cannot frustrate the power of Congress to legislate by refusing to comply with its demands for information.  When Congress exercises its power of inquiry, the only way for department heads to exempt themselves therefrom is by a valid claim of privilege.  They are not exempt by the mere fact that they are department heads.  Only one executive official may be exempted from this power — the President on whom executive power is vested, hence, beyond the reach of Congress except through the power of impeachment.   It is based on her being the highest official of the executive branch, and the due respect accorded to a co-equal branch of government which is sanctioned by a long-standing custom.   The requirement then to secure presidential consent under Section 1, limited as it is only to appearances in the question hour, is valid on its face.  For under Section 22, Article VI of the Constitution, the appearance of department heads in the question hour is discretionary on their part. Section 1 cannot, however, be applied to appearances of department heads in inquiries in aid of legislation.  Congress is not bound in such instances to respect the refusal of the department head to appear in such inquiry, unless a valid claim of privilege is subsequently made, either by the President herself or by the Executive Secretary. When Congress merely seeks to be informed on how department heads are implementing the statutes which it has issued, its right to such information is not as imperative as that of the President to whom, as Chief Executive, such department heads must give a report of their performance as a matter of duty. In such instances, Section 22, in keeping with the separation of powers, states that Congress may only request their appearance. Nonetheless, when the inquiry in which Congress requires their appearance is ‘in aid of legislation’ under Section 21, the appearance is mandatory for the same reasons stated in Arnault. NOTES: The SC ruled that Section 1 and Section 2a are valid. The rest are invalid. Silverio vs. Republic Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio is a male transsexual. He’s a biological male who feels trapped in a male body. Being that, he sought gender re-assignment in Bangkok, Thailand. The procedure was successful – he (she) now has a female body. Thereafter, in 2002, he filed a petition for the change of his first name (from Rommel to Mely) and his sex (male to female) in his birth certificate. He filed the petition before the Manila RTC. He wanted to make these changes, among others, so that he can marry his American fiancé. The RTC granted Silverio’s petition. The RTC ruled that it should be granted based on equity; that Silverio’s misfortune to be trapped in a man’s body is not his own doing and should not be in any way taken against him; that there was no opposition to his petition (even the OSG did not make any basis for opposition at this point); that no harm, injury or prejudice will be caused to anybody or the community in granting the petition. On the contrary, granting the petition would bring the much-awaited happiness on the part of Silverio and [her] fiancé and the realization of their dreams. Later, a petition for certiorari was filed by the OSG before the CA. The CA reversed the decision of the RTC. ISSUE: Whether or not the entries pertaining to sex and first name in the birth certificate may be changed on the ground of gender re-assignment. HELD: No. The Supreme Court ruled that the change of such entries finds no support in existing legislation. Issue on the change of first name In 2001, Republic Act 9048 (AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CITY OR MUNICIPAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OR THE CONSUL GENERAL TO CORRECT A CLERICAL OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR IN AN ENTRY AND/OR CHANGE OF FIRST NAME OR NICKNAME IN THE CIVIL REGISTER WITHOUT NEED OF A JUDICIAL ORDER) was passed. This law provides that it should be the local civil registrar that has jurisdiction in petitions for the change of first names and not the regular courts. Hence, the petition of Silverio insofar as his first name is concerned is procedurally infirm. Even assuming that the petition filed properly, it cannot be granted still because the ground upon which it is based(gender re-assignment) is not one of those provided for by the law. Under the law, a change of name may only be grounded on the following: (1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the community; or (3) The change will avoid confusion. Unfortunately, Silverio did not allege any of the above, he merely alleged gender re-assignment as the basis. Issue on the change of sex This entry cannot be changed either via a petition before the regular courts or a petition for the local civil registry. Not with the courts because there is no law to support it. And not with the civil registry because there is no clerical error involved. Silverio was born a male hence it was just but right that the entry written in his birth certificate is that he is a male. The sex of a person is determined at birth, visually done by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment, the determination of a person’s sex made at the time of his or her birth, if not attended by error, is immutable. But what about equity, as ruled by the RTC? No. According to the SC, this amounts to judicial legislation. To grant the changes sought by Silverio will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. It will allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative transsexual). Second, there are various laws which apply particularly to women such as the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women,  certain felonies under the Revised Penal Code  and the presumption of survivorship in case of calamities under Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, among others. These laws underscore the public policy in relation to women which could be substantially affected if Silverio’s petition were to be granted. But the SC emphasized: “If the legislature intends to confer on a person who has undergone sex reassignment the privilege to change his name and sex to conform with his reassigned sex, it has to enact legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the conferment of that privilege.” Maria Araullo vs. Benigno Aquino III When President Benigno Aquino III took office, his administration noticed the sluggish growth of the economy. The World Bank advised that the economy needed a stimulus plan. Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad then came up with a program called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The DAP was seen as a remedy to speed up the funding of government projects. DAP enables the Executive to realign funds from slow moving projects to priority projects instead of waiting for next year’s appropriation. So what happens under the DAP was that if a certain government project is being undertaken slowly by a certain executive agency, the funds allotted therefor will be withdrawn by the Executive. Once withdrawn, these funds are declared as “savings” by the Executive and said funds will then be reallotted to  other priority projects. The DAP program did work to stimulate the economy as economic growth was in fact reported and portion of such growth was attributed to the DAP (as noted by the Supreme Court). Other sources of the DAP include the unprogrammed funds from the General Appropriations Act (GAA). Unprogrammed funds are standby appropriations made by Congress in the GAA. Meanwhile, in September 2013, Senator Jinggoy Estrada made an exposé claiming that he, and other Senators, received Php 50M from the President as an incentive for voting in favor of the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona. Secretary Abad claimed that the money was taken from the DAP but was disbursed upon the request of the Senators. This apparently opened a can of worms as it turns out that the DAP does not only realign funds within the Executive. It turns out that some non-Executive projects were also funded; to name a few: Php1.5B for the CPLA (Cordillera People’s Liberation Army), Php1.8B for the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front), P700M for the Quezon Province, P50-P100M for certain Senators each, P10B for Relocation Projects, etc. This prompted Maria Carolina Araullo, Chairperson of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, and several other concerned citizens to file various petitions with the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the DAP. Among their contentions was: DAP is unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional rule which provides that “no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.” Secretary Abad argued that the DAP is based on certain laws particularly the GAA (savings and augmentation provisions thereof), Sec. 25(5), Art. VI of the Constitution (power of the President to augment), Secs. 38 and 49 of Executive Order 292 (power of the President to suspend expenditures and authority to use savings, respectively). Issues: I. Whether or not the DAP violates the principle “no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law” (Sec. 29(1), Art. VI, Constitution). II. Whether or not the DAP realignments can be considered as impoundments by the executive. III. Whether or not the DAP realignments/transfers are constitutional. IV. Whether or not the sourcing of unprogrammed funds to the DAP is constitutional. V. Whether or not the Doctrine of Operative Fact is applicable. HELD: I. No, the DAP did not violate Section 29(1), Art. VI of the Constitution. DAP was merely a program by the Executive and is not a fund nor is it an appropriation. It is a program for prioritizing government spending. As such, it did not violate the Constitutional provision cited in Section 29(1), Art. VI of the Constitution. In DAP no additional funds were withdrawn from the Treasury otherwise, an appropriation made by law would have been required. Funds, which were already appropriated for by the GAA, were merely being realigned via the DAP. II. No, there is no executive impoundment in the DAP. Impoundment of funds refers to the President’s power to refuse to spend appropriations or to retain or deduct appropriations for whatever reason. Impoundment is actually prohibited by the GAA unless there will be an unmanageable national government budget deficit (which did not happen).  Nevertheless, there’s no impoundment in the case at bar because what’s involved in the DAP was the transfer of funds. III. No, the transfers made through the DAP were unconstitutional. It is true that the President (and even the heads of the other branches of the government) are allowed by the Constitution to make realignment of funds, however, such transfer or realignment should only be made “within their respective offices”. Thus, no cross-border transfers/augmentations may be allowed. But under the DAP, this was violated because funds appropriated by the GAA for the Executive were being transferred to the Legislative and other non-Executive agencies. Further, transfers “within their respective offices” also contemplate realignment of funds to an existing project in the GAA. Under the DAP, even though some projects were within the Executive, these projects are non-existent insofar as the GAA is concerned because no funds were appropriated to them in the GAA. Although some of these projects may be legitimate, they are still non-existent under the GAA because they were not provided for by the GAA. As such, transfer to such projects is unconstitutional and is without legal basis. On the issue of what are “savings” These DAP transfers are not “savings” contrary to what was being declared by the Executive. Under the definition of “savings” in the GAA, savings only occur, among other instances, when there is an excess in the funding of a certain project once it is completed, finally discontinued, or finally abandoned. The GAA does not refer to “savings” as funds withdrawn from a slow moving project. Thus, since the statutory definition of savings was not complied with under the DAP, there is no basis at all for the transfers.  Further, savings should only be declared at the end of the fiscal year. But under the DAP, funds are already being withdrawn from certain projects in the middle of the year and then being declared as “savings” by the Executive particularly by the DBM. IV. No. Unprogrammed funds from the GAA cannot be used as money source for the DAP because under the law, such funds may only be used if there is a certification from the National Treasurer to the effect that the revenue collections have exceeded the revenue targets. In this case, no such certification was secured before unprogrammed funds were used. V. Yes. The Doctrine of Operative Fact, which recognizes the legal effects of an act prior to it being declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, is applicable. The DAP has definitely helped stimulate the economy. It has funded numerous projects. If the Executive is ordered to reverse all actions under the DAP, then it may cause more harm than good. The DAP effects can no longer be undone. The beneficiaries of the DAP cannot be asked to return what they received especially so that they relied on the validity of the DAP. However, the Doctrine of Operative Fact may not be applicable to the authors, implementers, and proponents of the DAP if it is so found in the appropriate tribunals (civil, criminal, or administrative) that they have not acted in good faith.
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