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May 19, 2008


  • Separation of Powers
- ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE: to limit the powers of the State

**Q: Is there a specific provision in the Constitution that mandates separation of powers?
A: The Doctrine of Separation of Powers is not expressly stated in the Constitution but it can be implied from the distribution of powers among the executive, legislative and judiciary. The Constitution does not mandate that there shall be separation of powers of government because the powers are actually already separated.

  • Non-Delegation of Powers
- Potestas delegata non delegari potest
- Corollary to the Doctrine of Separation of Powers
- as a rule, delegation of powers of government is not allowed for it will constitute an abdication of duty of the branch concerned

**Q: When may delegation of powers be allowed?
A: The general rule of non-delegation of powers is susceptible of exceptions, such as: (1) through immemorial practice, powers are delegated to the LGUs; (2) as provided by the Constitution under Art. VI, sec. 23 (2); (3) permissible delegation to administrative agencies; and (4) to the people in Initiative and Referendum, provided that the two tests of a valid delegation are observed. (NOTA BENE: It is not categorically stated that these two tests must be complied with or whether one test is sufficient. See below for more.)

Characteristics of Administrative Law

  1. two powers: quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial
  2. recent development
  3. object and scope: regulation of private rights for public welfare
  4. provides remedies in case of violation of rights
  5. pertain to the executive branch
  6. recent development (modern law)

- It is that field of public law that deals with the Constitution, jurisprudence, and rules and regulations relative to or depicting the establishment, function, and actual operations of Philippine administrative agencies.

Reasons for Growth of Administrative Agencies
  1. increasing complexity of task of government
  2. growing inability of legislature to cope with the myriad problems demanding its attention
  3. growth of society which created peculiar and sophisticated problems that the legislature cannot be expected to reasonably comprehend
  4. competence of legislature to provide the required direct and efficacious and specific solutions

- the obvious solution is to delegate power to administrative agencies

PANTRANCO vs. PSC, 70 Phil 229 (1940)


PANTRANCO, a holder of an existing Certificate of Public Convenience is applying to operate additional buses with the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC granted the application but added several conditions for PANTRANCO’s compliance.


PANTRANCO is questioning whether PSC can impose said conditions. If so, wouldn’t this power of the PSC, as provided for under sec. 15, CA 146, constitute undue delegation of powers?


SC held that there was valid delegation of powers.

The theory of the separation of powers is designed by its originators to secure action at the same time forestall overaction which necessarily results from undue concentration of powers and thereby obtain efficiency and prevent deposition. But due to the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of subjects of governmental regulation and the increased difficulty of administering laws, there is a constantly growing tendency toward the delegation of greater powers by the legislature, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits, of the principle of “subordinate legislation.”

All that has been delegated to the Commission is the administrative function, involving the use of discretion to carry out the will of the National Assembly having in view, in addition, the promotion of public interests in a proper and suitable manner.

Eastern Shipping Lines v. POEA, 166 SCRA 533 (1988)


Vitaliano Saco, the Chief Officer of a ship, was killed in an accident in Tokyo, Japan. The widow filed a complaint for damages against the Eastern Shipping Lines with the POEA, based on Memorandum Circular No. 2 issued by the latter which stipulated death benefits and burial expenses for the family of an overseas worker. Eastern Shipping Lines questioned the validity of the memorandum circular. Nevertheless, the POEA assumed jurisdiction and decided the case.


W/N the issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 2 is a violation of non-delegation of powers


SC held that there was valid delegation of powers.

In questioning the validity of the memorandum circular, Eastern Shipping Lines contended that POEA was given no authority to promulgate the regulation, and even with such authorization, the regulation represents an exercise of legislative discretion which, under the principle, is not subject to delegation.

It is true that legislative discretion as to the substantive contents of the law cannot be delegated. What can be delegated is the discretion to determine how the law may be enforced, not what the law shall be. The ascertainment of the latter subject is a prerogative of the legislature. This prerogative cannot be abdicated or surrendered by the legislature to the delegate.

There are two accepted tests to determine whether or not there is a valid delegation of legislative power, viz, the completeness test and the sufficient standard test. Under the first test, the law must be complete in all its terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such that when it reaches the delegate the only thing he will have to do is to enforce it. Under the sufficient standard test, there must be adequate guidelines or stations in the law to map out the boundaries of the delegate’s authority and prevent the delegation from running riot.

Both tests are intended to prevent a total transference of legislative authority to the delegate, who is not allowed to step into the shoes of the legislature and exercise a power essentially legislative.

Xxx The delegation of legislative power has become the rule and its non-delegation the exception.

The reason is the increasing complexity of the task of government and the growing inability of the legislature to cope directly with the myriad problems demanding its attention. The growth of society has ramified its activities and created peculiar and sophisticated problems that the legislature cannot be expected to reasonably comprehend. Specialization even in legislation has become necessary. Too many of the problems attendant upon present-day undertakings, the legislature may not have the competence to provide the required direct and efficacious, not to say, specific solutions. These solutions may, however, be expected from its delegates, who are supposed to be experts in the particular fields.

The reasons given above for the delegation of legislative powers in general are particularly applicable to administrative bodies. With the proliferation of specialized activities and their attendant peculiar problems, the national legislature has found it more and more necessary to entrust to administrative agencies the authority to issue rules to carry out the general provisions of the statute. This is called the “power of subordinate legislation.”

With this power, administrative bodies may implement the broad policies laid down in statute by “filling in” the details which the Congress may not have the opportunity or competence to provide. Memorandum Circular No. 2 is one such administrative regulation.

Solid Homes, Inc. vs. Payawal, 177 SCRA 72, 79 (1989)


Payawal is a buyer of a certain subdivision lot who is suing Solid Homes for failure to deliver the certificate of title. The complaint was filed with the RTC. Solid Homes contended that jurisdiction is with the National Housing Authority (NHA) pursuant to PD 957, as amended by PD 1344 granting exclusive jurisdiction to NHA.


W/N NHA has jurisdiction to try the case and the competence to award damages


SC held that NHA (now HLURB) has jurisdiction.

In case of conflict between a general law and a special law, the latter must prevail regardless of the dates of their enactment. It is obvious that the general law in this case is BP 129 and PD 1344 the special law.

On the competence of the Board to award damages, we find that this is part of the exclusive power conferred upon it by PD 1344 to hear and decide “claims involving refund and any other claims filed by subdivision lot or condominium unit buyers against the project owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman.”

As a result of the growing complexity of the modern society, it has become necessary to create more and more administrative bodies to help in the regulation of its ramified activities. Specialized in the particular fields assigned to them, they can deal with the problems thereof with more expertise and dispatch than can be expected from the legislature or the courts of justice. This is the reason for the increasing vesture of quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers in what is now not unreasonably called the fourth department of the government.

Statues conferring powers on their administrative agencies must be liberally construed to enable them to discharge their assigned duties in accordance with the legislative purpose.

Sources of Administrative Law
  1. Constitution
  2. Statute
  3. Jurisprudence
  4. Rules and regulations by the administrative agencies (quasi-legislative)
  5. Orders and decisions by the administrative agencies (quasi-judicial)

Mecano vs. COA, 216 SCRA 500 (1992)


Mecano, an NBI Director, was hospitalized for cholecystitis, for which he incurred medical and hospitalization expenses, the total amount of which he is claiming from the COA, based on sec. 699 of the RAC. COA contended that the RAC has been repealed by the Administrative Code of 1987, specifically sec. 699 was not restated nor re-enacted in the Code.


W/N the Administrative Code of 1987 repealed or abrogated sec. 699 of the RAC


The question of whether or not a particular law has been repealed or not by a subsequent law is a matter of legislative intent. The lawmakers may expressly repeal a law by incorporating therein a repealing provision which expressly and specifically cites the particular law or laws, and portions thereof, that are intended to be repealed. A declaration in a statute, usually in its repealing clause, that a particular and specific law, identified by its number or title, is repealed is an express repeal; all others are implied repeals.

Under sec. 27, Bk. VII (Final Provisions) of the Administrative Code of 1987, the repealing clause states that “all laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, or portions thereof, inconsistent with this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.”

The question that should be asked is: What is the nature of this repealing clause? It is certainly not an express repealing clause because it fails to identify or designate the act or acts that are intended to be repealed. Rather, it is an example of a general repealing provision. It is a clause which predicates the intended repeal under the condition that a substantial conflict must be found in existing and prior acts. The failure to add a specific repealing clause indicates the intent was not to repeal any existing law, unless an irreconcilable inconsistency and repugnancy exist in the terms of the new and old laws. The latter situation falls under the category of an implied repeal.

(NOTA BENE: This means that the RAC, despite the passage of the Administrative Code of 1987, may still be a source of administrative law)

Leveriza vs. IAC, 157 SCRA 282 (1988)


This case involves three contracts of lease:

1) Contract A: executed between Civil Aeronautics Administration (lessor) and Rosario Leveriza (lessee)
2) Contract B: executed between Leveriza (lessor) and Mobil Oil (lessee)
3) Contract C: executed between CAA (lessor) and Mobil Oil (lessee)

When Leveriza subleased the property to Mobil Oil (Contract B) without permission from the lessor, CAA cancelled Contract A and executed Contract C with Mobil Oil. Leveriza contended that Contract C was invalid not only because it was entered into by CAA without approval by the Department Secretary but also because it was not executed by the President of the Philippines or officer duly designated. According to Leveriza, the officer duly designated to cancel the contract is not the Airport General Manager but the Secretary of Public Works and Communication or the Director of the CAA.


W/N Contract C was validly entered into


SC held that the Airport General Manager had authority to enter into contracts of lease. In executing Contract C, the Airport General Manager signed for the Director of the CAA, who subsequently ratified the same.

Under sec. 567 of the RAC, a contract of lease may be executed by: (1) President; (2) officer duly designated by him; and (3) officer expressly vested by law. Under sec. 32 (24) of RA 776, the Director of the CAA is one such officer vested by law.

Meaning of “Administration”

AS AN INSTITUTION: aggregate of individuals running the government for the period of their term of office

AS A FUNCTION: actual running of the government

**Q: Is administration and government the same?
A: No. While the two concepts are intricately related, there are fundamental differences between them. Government is that institution or aggregate of institutions by which an independent society makes or carries out those rules of actions which are necessary to enable men to live in a social state or which are imposed upon the people forming that society by those who possess the power or authority of prescribing them. Administration, on the other hand, refers to that aggregate of individuals holding the reins of government for the time being. Thus, compared to administration, government has a more permanent character.


  • Internal Administration – rules within the particular agency
  • External Administration – rules governing the relationship between the agency and the public

NOTA BENE: Administrative Law deals with both although its central focus is External Administration.


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