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Jun 1, 2008

G.R. No. 171396, May 3, 2006

  • "Take Care" Power of the President
  • Powers of the Chief Executive
  • The power to promulgate decrees belongs to the Legislature


These 7 consolidated petitions question the validity of PP 1017 (declaring a state of national emergency) and General Order No. 5 issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. While the cases are pending, President Arroyo issued PP 1021, declaring that the state of national emergency has ceased to exist, thereby, in effect, lifting PP 1017.


  • Whether or not PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 arrogated upon the President the power to enact laws and decrees
  • If so, whether or not PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are unconstitutional


“Take-Care” Power

This refers to the power of the President to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed, based on Sec. 17, Art. VII: “The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.”

As the Executive in whom the executive power is vested, the primary function of the President is to enforce the laws as well as to formulate policies to be embodied in existing laws. He sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department. Before assuming office, he is required to take an oath or affirmation to the effect that as President of the Philippines, he will, among others, “execute its laws.” In the exercise of such function, the President, if needed, may employ the powers attached to his office as the Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces of the country, including the Philippine National Police under the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The specific portion of PP 1017 questioned is the enabling clause: “to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.”

Is it within the domain of President Arroyo to promulgate “decrees”?

The President is granted an Ordinance Power under Chap. 2, Book III of E.O. 292. President Arroyo’s ordinance power is limited to those issuances mentioned in the foregoing provision. She cannot issue decrees similar to those issued by Former President Marcos under PP 1081. Presidential Decrees are laws which are of the same category and binding force as statutes because they were issued by the President in the exercise of his legislative power during the period of Martial Law under the 1973 Constitution.

This Court rules that the assailed PP 1017 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants President Arroyo the authority to promulgate “decrees.” Legislative power is peculiarly within the province of the Legislature. Sec. 1, Art. VI categorically states that “the legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.” To be sure, neither Martial Law nor a state of rebellion nor a state of emergency can justify President Arroyo’s exercise of legislative power by issuing decrees.

But can President Arroyo enforce obedience to all decrees and laws through the military?

As this Court stated earlier, President Arroyo has no authority to enact decrees. It follows that these decrees are void and, therefore, cannot be enforced. With respect to “laws,” she cannot call the military to enforce or implement certain laws, such as customs laws, laws governing family and property relations, laws on obligations and contracts and the like. She can only order the military, under PP 1017, to enforce laws pertinent to its duty to suppress lawless violence.


SongDiary said...

Nice blog. Interesting, especially for law students like me. I bet you're a wide reader, esp the cases. Kudos!

mikeli said...

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