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Molina UP Law Batch This revised edition is intended to further improve a previous edition of this work. Important points taken from Justice Isagani Cruz's book in Political Law have been summarized in this work. May this work help us in passing Political Law this coming bar exams in September Let us all pray for a one hundred per cent passing rate.

Political Law defined That branch of public law which deals with the organization and operation of the government organs of the state and defines the relations of the state with the inhabitants of its territory. Sinco, Philippine Political Law 1, 11th ed. These four subdivisions may be briefly described for the time being, as follows: The first deals with the organization and management of the different branches of the government; the second, with the guaranties of the constitution to individual rights and the limitations on governmental action; the third, with the exercise of executive power in the making of rules and the decision of questions affecting private rights; and the last, with governmental agencies for local government or for other special purposes.

Specifically, Art. There appears to be no enabling or affirmative act. Consequently, Art. Constitutional Law Defined A constitution is both a legal document and a political plan. It, therefore, embodies legal rules as well as political principles. And so when we speak of constitutional law in the strict sense of the tern, we refer to the legal rules of the constitution.

Sinco Types of Constitutional Law. Thus, the courts cannot invalidate the acts of the parliament as being unconstitutional because of "parliamentary supremacy.

A written constitution but no power of judicial review by the courts. The so-called Con- stitutional Courts of France do not exercise real judicial review but only render advisory opinions on constitutional questions upon the request of the government, not of parties in actual litigation.

Mirasol notes. A written constitution and the exercise of judicial review by the courts, which is the power of the courts to determine the constitutional validity of the acts of legislature and other branches of government. Constitution Defined It is "a law for the government, safeguarding individual rights, set down in writing. Such a view found acceptance in the work of Tanada and Fernando: "It may be more specifically defined as a written instrument organizing the government, distributing its powers and safeguarding the rights of the People.

Such stress upon both grant and limitation of authority is fundamental in American theory. Written and Unwritten Classification as to when it is adopted.

The US Constitution is a classical example of a written constitution. Written constitutions have been also called conventional or enacted, bec. Written constitutions are either democratic or monarchical. Democratic constitutions essentially spring from the authority of the people. Monarchical constitutions are those granted by a monarch as an act of grace to his subjects. This class of constitutions are also called octroyed constitutions.

They belong to the past age. The English Constitution is the modern example of this class. Unwritten constitutions have been known also as cumulative or evolved, bec. Flexible and Rigid Constitutions. Classification according to amendment process. The classification of constitutions into written and unwritten has been considered unscientific and inaccurate bec. It is supposed that by such a special procedure, the constitution is rendered difficult to change and thereby acquires a greater degree of stability.

The British Constitution is flexible. A constitution's stability depends upon other factors than the mere rigidity or flexibility of the amending process, such as 1 the general temperament of the people and their leaders and 2 the degree of a nation's political maturity and social homogenity. The Philippine Constitution is both written and rigid See Art. XVII on the Amendment process. Spain relinquished its sovereignty over the Philippine Islands, and with this, all laws of a politi- cal nature were automatically abrogated.

The Treaty provided that the civil and political status of all inhabitants of the islands was to be determined by the US Congress. The Philippines in turn, was not given the status of an "incorporated territory" as to make it a candidate for statehood and so ex proprio vigore, the US Constitution did not apply to the Philippines unless the US Congress expressly enacted its provisions.

It set up a "divided civil and military government" with the existing Military governor as the Executive, and a Philippine Commission, created on 1 September , as the Legislative, both representing the US President as Commander-in-Chief.

It also extended to the Philippines all the rights in the Bill of Rights of the US Federal Constitution, except the right to bear arms because the country was in rebellion and the right to a trial by jury because the Americans distrusted the Filipinos capacity to be a just judge of his peers. The right to jury trial of an American charged with a crime in the Philippines was denied by the courts in US v Dorr, 2 Phil by virtue of the Letter of Instruction. This was the first Organic Act a law which establishes the structure and limitations of the government of the Philippines.

What it lacked, as a constitution, were the ratification by the people, and the right of amendment which was reserved solely to the US President. All acts of the Philippine Commission would now begin: "Be it enacted by the authority of the US government," and no longer by authority of the US President.

Philippine Bill of The US Congress now in control of the Philippines, ratified all the organic acts of the President, in order to prevent disruption of government, and on 1 July , passed the Philippine Bill of , which was to be organic act of the Philippines from to The organic act introduced significant provisions to constitutional history.

The Philippine Commission was the upper house. It was under the Governor-General who retained all the executive power, including the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus upon recommendation of the Philippine Commission. It established an elective lower house called the Philippine Assembly, composed entirely of Filipinos.

It called for the first election in the Philippines to fill up, the membership in the lower house, as soon as the Philippine insurrection stopped and there was a condition of general peace, except in the Moro and Non-Christian provinces.

A census was taken and completed on 28 March and with a certification of peace and of Filipino acceptance of the US government made by the Philippine Commission on 29 March , the election for the Philippine Assembly was conducted on 10 July , with Osmena as speaker.

The Bill also defined for the first time who the citizens of the Philippines were. They were all the inhabitants of the Philippine islands who were subjects of Spain as of 11 April , who continued to reside therein, and all the children born subsequent thereto. This definition is still good law today. It established a tripartite government with real separation of powers; this was the prototype of our present set-up.

The executive power was in the hands of an American Governor-General, who was independent of the Legislature, and who was given the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and impose martial law without the recommendation of the Legislature. The Legislature was composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives, all composed of Filipinos. Under this set-up, while the Filipinos has all the legislative power, the Americans had all the executive power and thus, also the control of the government.

Only the Governor-General could vote the government shares, said the court. The definition of who were citizens of the Philippines first enunciated in the Philippine Bill of , was carried over by the Jones Law. Tydings-McDuffie Law Although this was not an organic act, it is important in the constitutional history of the Philippines because it was to be the enabling statute, providing the mechanism whereby the constitution of an independent Philippines could be adopted.

The law, upon its acceptance by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines, provided for i the calling of a Constitutional Convention to draft a Constitution for the Philippines, ii the adoption of a Constitution that established a republican government, with a Bill of Rights, and a separation of church and state, iii the submission of the draft to the US President for certification that the Constitution was in conformity with the conditions set by the Tydings-McDuffie Law, and iv its ratification by the people in a plebiscite.

Complete independence was to take place ten 10 years after its effectivity. Claro M. Recto was elected President of the Convention. On 8 February , the Concon approved the draft. On 14 May , it was ratified by the people in a plebiscite, with the provisions on the qualifications of the President, Vice-President and members of Congress taking effect upon ratification.

On 15 November , upon the inauguration of the Commonwealth, the Constitution took effect. This Constitution was to serve as the charter of the Commonwealth, and upon withdrawal of US sovereignty, of the Republic.

The Constitution provides for a tripartite government, with the executive lodged in the President who had a six-year term, the legislative in a unicameral National Assembly, and the judiciary in a Supreme Court, CFIs and Justice of Peace Courts as before.

In , it was amended to provide for a a bicameral Congress with a Senate and a House of Representatives; b a term of four years for the President, but with re-election and c the establishment of an independent constitutional body known as the Commission on Elections. War ensued, and the Philippines was so devastated that the declaration of its independence, due 15 November had to be postponed.

Theoretically, to an extent that sovereignty is never granted to a people but is earned by them as they assert their political will, then it is a misnomer to say that 4 July was the day US granted independence to the Philippines.

More appropriately, it was the day when the US withdrew its sovereignty over the Philippines, thus giving the Filipino people an occasion to assert their own independence. But not "economically". On 30 April , one week after the election, the US Congress passed the Bell Trade Act which would grant Philippine prime exports entry to the US free of customs duties from to , and a gradual increase in duties from to Laurel- Langley agreement , provided that the Philippines would grant US citizens and corporations the same privileges, and in addition, the right to explore natural resources of the Philippines in parity with the Filipinos, and to operate public utilities.

This must be accepted by Congress, embodied in an Executive Agreement, and reflected as an amendment in the Constitution. The Senate approval of this bill gave rise to the case of Vera v Avelino, 77 Phil The Senate then had 11 Nacionalistas and 13 Liberals. Three Nacionalista Senators- elect Vera, Diokno and Romero , known to be against the Bell Trade Act, were prevented by the rest of the Senate, in what is known as "exclusion proceedings," on grounds that their elections were marred with fraud.

The political motivation was clear but the SC was conned into lifting the injunction it issued for the withholding of the suspension, because of the unfulfilled promise that the Senate would not carry out the suspension. With the balance of power offset, the Bell Trade Act was passed. Subsequently, the SC had to dismiss the petition on the ground that the principle of separation of powers, it could not order a co-equal branch to reinstate a member. The Senate authorized President Roxas to enter into an Executive Agreement, which he did on 3 July , the eve of the declaration of Philippine Independence.

Then came the amendment of the Constitution in order to include the Parity Rights Agreement, which gave rise to the case of Mabanag v Lopez Vito, 78 Phil 1 When this was raised in court, it begged off from ruling on the ground that it was a political question.

It also used the Enrolled Bill Theory.


Philippine Political Law

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Isagani Cruz

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