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CH.

3: POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES


A.

IN GENERAL

Function that which one is bound to do or which it is ones business to do.


Power the means by which a function is fulfilled.
Sources:

Constitution
Statute creating it

NOTE: Failure to exercise powers granted to administrative agencies does not forfeit or extinguish such
powers.

Express and implied powers

Jurisdiction and powers of AAs are measured and limited, by the Constitution or law creating them, to
those conferred expressly or by necessary or fair implication.
HOWEVER, statues conferring powers on AAs must be liberally construed to enable them to
discharge their assigned duties in accordance with the legislative purpose.
An AA has ONLY such powers as are expressly granted to it by law, but it has ALSO such powers as
are necessarily implied in the exercise of its express powers.

Where a general power is conferred or duly enjoined by law, every particular power necessary
for the exercise of one or the performance of another is also conferred.

2.

Inherent powers

An AA has no inherent power.


NOTE: Sometimes, implied powers are referred to as inherent.
3.

A govt. agency must respect the presumption of constitutionality and legality of a statute/regulation, until
such is repealed or amended by the legislature, or otherwise set aside in an appropriate case by a
competent court.
Meaning of administrative power or function:
The term AP or AF is a convenient rather than a technical term.
An AP is said to be any power not explicitly allocated in the Constitution, although in its nature,
legislative, executive, or judicial.
Includes:

Scope:
1.

NOTES: Persons dealing with AOs or AAs must take notice of their authority to act, and are charged
with the knowledge of any and all limitations on their power.

Quasi-judicial powers

powers which may be invested in agencies other than the legislature without delegating
legislative powers;
powers which may be vested in agencies other that courts without infringing upon the judicial
power; and
functions which may not be imposed upon a member of the judiciary.

Most important AF is the exercise of judgment and discretion which statues have vested in the
administrative agency. In the exercise of quasi-judicial functions, ABs must not be too dogmatic as to
restrict themselves to literal interpretation of words and phrases. A complete and wholistic view is
needed to render a just and equitable judgment.
Classification of powers:
As to nature:
1.
2.
3.

investigatory
quasi-legislative or rule-making
quasi-judicial or adjudicatory

As to degree of subjective choice:


1.

Discretional

Unless expressly empowered, AAs are bereft of quasi-judicial powers. The extent to which an AA may
exercise given judicial powers depends largely, if not wholly, on the statute empowering such agency.
HOWEVER, they have in their favor the presumption of regularity in the performance of official function.

Discretion the power of right conferred upon them by law of acting officially under certain
circumstances, according to the dictates of their own judgment and conscience, and not controlled
by the judgment or conscience of others.

Nature of powers:

Essence is that the person exercising it may choose which of several courses will be followed.

In general, the jurisdiction of AOs and AAs is special and limited. HOWEVER, the powers conferred
must be commensurate with the duties to be performed and the purposes to be lawfully effected.
Powers of ABs have been held broad and plenary within their fields, and only in cases of manifest
abuse may a court interfere.

2.

Ministerial

A ministerial duty is one in respect to which nothing is left to discretion. It is a simple, definite duty
arising under the conditions admitted or proved to exist, and imposed by law.

A ministerial act is one performed in response to a duty which has been positively imposed by law
and its performance required at a time and in a manner or upon conditions specifically designated,
the duty to perform under the conditions specified not being dependent upon the officers judgment
or discretion.

B.

INVESTIGATORY POWERS

Investigatory powers in general:


Investigatory or inquisitorial powers include the power of an AB to inspect the records and premises,
and investigate the activities of persons or entities coming under its jurisdiction, or to secure, or to
require the disclosure of information by means of accounts, records, reports, statements, testimony of
witnesses, production of documents, or otherwise.
Test to determine whether an AB is exercising judicial functions or merely investigatory
functions:
-

If the only purpose for investigation is to evaluate evidence submitted before it based on the
facts and circumstances presented to it, and if the agency is not authorized to make a final
pronouncement affecting the parties, then there is an absence of judicial discretion and
judgment.

Not inherent to AAs; usually conferred by statute even for purposes not quasi-judicial.
Compulsion exerted through judicial process.
6.
7.

Hearing (NOT necessary part of investigation)


Contempt Proceedings

May punish for contempt, but such power may be exercised only through a statutory grant of power
8.

Application of technical rules of procedure and evidence (NOT strictly applied)

Right to counsel in administrative investigations:


1.

Hearing NOT part of criminal prosecution.

A party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by counsel, irrespective of the nature of
the charges and of the respondents capacity to represent himself, and no duty rests on such body to
furnish the person being investigated with counsel.
Right to counsel not always imperative because such inquiries are conducted merely to determine
whether there are facts that merit disciplinary measure against erring public officers and employees.
2.

Exclusionary rule in custodial investigation NOT applicable.

NOTES: This is conferred on practically all AAs. It is the distinctive function which sets them apart from
the court.
As SOLE power - Some AAs exist solely to secure and provide info, and sometimes, to make
recommendations.
As AID to other powers It is used to inform AAs of particular situations to determine whether they
should take further action; useful in rule-making or adjudicatory functions.
Investigation is indispensable to prosecution.

C.

RULE-MAKING POWERS

In general:
1.

Nature

What may be granted to an AA is rule-making power to implement the law it is entrusted to enforce.
2.

Necessity

The power of investigation consists in gathering, organizing, and analyzing evidence.

Impractical for lawmakers to provide general regulation for various AAs

Scope and extent of investigative powers:

Subordinate legislation is permitted to adapt to the increasing complexity of modern life and variety of
public functions.

Investigative powers must be exercised within the limits prescribed and bear a reasonable and
legitimate relationship to the general powers granted.

3.

Conditions

Valid exception to non-delegation of legislative power provided two conditions concur:


1.
2.

Initiation of Investigation (on a complaint or on its motion)


Conduct of Investigation

Usually private; so conducted that harmful publicity will not be used in lieu of sanctions provided by
law
3.
4.
5.

Inspection and Examination


Requirements as to accounts, records, reports, or statements
Requiring attendance of witnesses, giving of testimony, and production of evidence

Statute is COMPLETE in itself, setting forth the policy to be executed by the agency; and
Statute fixes a STANDARD, mapping out the boundaries of the agencys authority to which it
must conform.

4.

Binding force and effect

A valid rule/regulation duly promulgated by an AA has the force and effect of law and is binding on the
agency and on all those dealing with the agency.

5.

Prospective application

Unless intent to the contrary is made manifest either by express terms of the statute or by necessary
implication.
Legislation on the admin level:
The rule-making power of an AA (the power to make implementing or interpretative R or R) is legislative
in character and results in delegated legislation.
-

Rule-making is legislation in the admin level (legislation within the confines of the granting
statute, as required by the Consti); also called admin legislation, delegated legislation,
ordinance-making, and quasi-legislation.

The power conferred upon an AA to issue or promulgate R or R necessary to carry out its functions has
been held to be an adequate source of authority to delegate a particular function.
Limitations on the rule-making power:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

It may not make R&R which are inconsistent with the provis of the Consti or a statute.
It may not amend, alter, modify, supplant, enlarge or expand, restrict or limit the provis or
coverage of the statute.
It cannot engraft additional requirements not covered by the statute.
In case of discrepancy between the basic law and R or R, the basic law prevails because the
latter cannot go beyond the terms and provis of the basic law.
An R or R should be uniform in operation, reasonable, and not unfair or discriminatory.

Rules, regulations, and orders or rulings:

Kinds of rules and regulations


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Discretionary or legislative
Interpretative
Contingent
Procedural
Internal or penal

Legislative rules and regulations


1.

A form of subordinate legislation

Can be used only in virtue of statutory delegation; when valid, they are accorded the force and effect of
law immediately upon going into effect.
AA acts in a legislative capacity, supplementing the statute, filling in the details, or making the law.
2.

Characteristics
a. The statute has delegated power to the agency to adopt the rule; and
b. It provides that the rule shall, if within the delegated power, have authoritative force.

Interpretative rules and regulations


1.

Resemble judicial adjudication

They are those which purport to do no more than interpret the statute being administered. They have
validity in judicial proceedings only to the extent that they correctly construe the statute.
2.

Entitled to great weight and respect

The R&R on an admin body or officer usually comprise those actions of such body or officer in which
the legislative element predominates in that they establish a pattern of conduct thereafter to be
followed.

Nevertheless, while interpretations of an AB ordinarily control the construction of the courts, they are not
conclusive. They are at best advisory.

Regulations may be used in the sense of rules or only in the sense of interpretative regulation.

Legislative and interpretative rules distinguished

The term ruling is used to signify an interpretation or an application of a rule or statute to a particular
situation. They are actions in which there is more of the judicial function.
Kinds of rule-making powers
1.

Supplementary or detailed legislation

Rule-making by reason of particular delegation of authority


2.

Interpretative legislation

Rule-making by the construction and interpretation of a statute being administered


3.

Contingent legislation or determination

Under delegated power, whether a statute shall go into effect

1.

Power to create new law

LR are in the nature of subordinate legislation; products of the power to create new and additional legal
provisions that have the effect of law, while IR are the product of interpretation of previously existing
law.
2.

Need for express delegation

LR may be issued only under express delegation of the law, while IR may be issued as a necessary
incident of the administration of a regulatory statute.
3.

Presence of statutory sanction

LR may or may not have statutory sanction; IR none.


4.

Binding force and effect

Valid legislative rules have the same force and effect as valid statutes. IR are always subject to judicial
determination that they are erroneous, even when their issuance is authorized by statute.
5.

Consequence of wrong construction

7.
8.

No vested right can be acquired on a wrong construction of the law by AOs and such wrong
interpretation does not place the government in estoppels to correct or overrule the same.
Contingent rules and regulations
Congress may provide that a law shall take effect upon the happening of future specified contingencies
leaving to some other person or body the power to determine when the specified contingency has
arisen.

9.

If discretion in particular matters is untrammeled, it is more liable to abuse than if statutory


generalities are made more specific and concrete before they are applied to individual
situations.
Interpretative regulations are a means to increasing the certainty of the law, especially if the
statute provides that no crim/civ liability shall apply to any act done or omitted in GF in
conformity with such interpretation, notwithstanding that, after such act/omission, such
interpretations are held invalid by the courts.
Contingent legislation furnished a means by which a policy can be blocked out by the
legislature.

Requisites for validity of admin rules and regulations

Procedural rules

1.
2.
3.

Refers to those describing the methods by which the agency will carry out its appointed functions.

NOTE:

Practical Necessity of Rule-Making Power


1.

Regulation of highly complex and changing conditions

2.

Gradual change in regulatory role of Congress

Complexity of conditions resulted in regulatory role of Congress, i.e. provide only general principles of
regulation, and to devolve upon admin authorities the task of applying those general principles.
Considered as not violative of due process as long as cardinal rights of the parties affected are
observed.
3.

In certain cases, previous notice and hearing or publication is necessary to satisfy due process.
They must be published in full if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant to a valid
delegation.
Grant of Rule-making powers
1.
2.

1.
2.
3.

Which is why statutes are couched in general terms.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Freed from concern with details, the legislature can concentrate its attention upon the
enactment of the fundamentals of policy, and is thus strengthened as the representative
organ of govt.
Additional time to investigate how AAs have concretized and enforced its policies.
If a difficulty concerns details rather than basic policy, easier to correct mistakes and meet
changing conditions.
Administrator need not have to choose bet. defeating the central purpose of the statute by
trying to work the unworkable, and evading the letter of the law.
The administrator is the one who, by constantly rubbing elbows with his particular problems,
can, by trial and error, work out the specific regulations best calculated to attain the
statutory objective.
In working out the specifics of policy, a bureaucracy is, ideally, subject to political
responsibility with respect to discretionary matters, and to professional responsibility with
respect to technical matters.

By legislative act
By implication from powers expressly granted

TESTS TO DETERMINE VALIDITY OF R&R (according to Atty. Gallant Soriano)

Inability of legislative bodies to anticipate future situations

Special advantages of the rule-making power

The rules and regulations must have been issued on the authority of law;
Not contrary to law and the Constitution;
Promulgated in accordance with the established procedure.

W it falls under a PERMISSIVE DELEGATION (supra. See Ch.4)


W it passes the completeness test AND the sufficient standard test
W it doesnt violate any of the limitations (infra.)

Determination of validity of rules (questions to be asked)


1.

Legislative rule

W the rule relates to the subject matter on which power to legislate has been delegated;
W the rule conforms to the standards prescribed in the delegatory statute; and
W the rule is invalid on constitutional grounds.
2.

Interpretative rule

W the rule correctly interprets the statute/ W the rule amounts to an attempt to exercise legislative
powers not delegated.
TESTS applied in determining validity of rules
1.

A rule is invalid if it exceeds the authority conferred to it.

2.
3.
4.
5.

A rule is invalid if it conflicts with the governing statute.


A rule is void if it extends or modifies the statute.
A rule is void if it has no reasonable relationship to the statutory purpose.
Courts will set aside rules deemed unconstitutional, arbitrary, or unreasonable.

Legal force and effect of AR&R


1.

Requirements of reasonableness
1.
2.
3.

Bear reasonable relation to the purpose sought to be accomplished


Supported by good reasons
Free from constitutional infirmities or charge of arbitrariness

2.

NOTE:
A liberal implementation is justified if their rigid enforcement will result in deprivation of legal rights.
Internal rules and regulations
They refer to admin R&R issued by a superior admin or executive officer to his subordinates for the
proper and efficient administration of the law.
1.

Object

Creates no relation except between the official who issues them and the official who receives them
For the efficient and economical administration of the affairs of the dept or agency in which they issued
in accordance with the law governing the subj matter
2.

Nature

Admin in nature; do not pass beyond the limits of the dept. Creates no rights in 3rd persons.
They are based on, and are the product of, a relationship in which power is the source, and obedience,
the object.
Penal rules and regulations
Those carrying penal or criminal sanctions for violations of the same.
ABs have the authority to issue admin regulations which are penal in nature where the delegating
statute itself makes the violation of the admin regulation punishable and provides for its penalty.
1.

2.

Requisites for validity


a. The law which authorizes the promulgation of R&R must itself provide for the imposition of
a penalty for their violation;
b. It must fix or define such penalty;
c. The violation for which the R&R impose a penalty must be punishable or made a crime
under the law itself; and
d. The R&R must be published in the Official Gazette.
Nature of power to prescribe penalties

The lawmaking body cannot delegate to an AA or AO, the power to declare what acts shall constitute a
criminal offense and how it shall be punished.

3.

Legislative R&R of an admin body which are valid have the force and effect of law, and are
just as binding upon all the parties, as if they had been written in the original law itself.
a. Valid if duly promulgated or adopted in pursuance of properly delegated statutory or
constitutional authority of the agency.
b. Receive statutory force upon going into effect.
Interpretative R&R including admin constructions do not have the force of law.
a. Validity subject to challenges in court
b. Contemporaneous construction, placed upon the statute by the executive officers whose
duty is to enforce it, is entitled to great weight and considerations by the courts. This is
especially true if the admin interpretation has been observed for a long time without
objection.
c. In general, interpretative rules are considered impt only where the statute itself is
ambiguous.
Rules prescribing the methods of procedure within an agency have the effects of law, and
are binding on both the agency and on the respondent.

Requirements of notice and hearing, or publication


1.

Where rules do not apply to named or specified parties

Where a function, legislative in nature is delegated, the legislature need not require previous notice or
hearing as a prerequisite to the act of the AA, since the legis could have performed that act without
notice or hearing.
2.

Where rules apply to named or specified parties

Where rules/rates apply exclusively to a particular party and are predicated upon a finding of fact, which
fact is denied by said party, the agency in making such finding of fact, performs a quasi-judicial function
necessitating previous notice and hearing.
3.

Where requirements prescribed by law

4.

Where rules have the force and effect of law

When the issuances are of general applicability, pub in OG or in a newspaper of general circ in the Phil
is necessary.
CA 638 mandates that EOs and Procs of general applicability must also be published.
NOTE:
Publication is required as a condition precedent to the effectivity of a law to inform the public of the
contents of the law or the R&R before their rights and interests are affected by the same. Subsequent
pub will not cure the defect.
Pub must be in full or it is no pub at all.
5.

Where the regulations merely or interpretative

Need not be published.

D.

Adjudicatory Powers

Quasi-judicial a term which applies to the actions, discretion, etc of a public admin officers/bodies
that are required to investigate facts, or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, draw
conclusions from them, as a basis for their official action and to exercise discretion of a judicial nature.
TEST: It is the nature of the act to be performed, rather than the office, board or body which performs it,
that determines whether or not it is exercising a judicial or quasi-judicial function.
Generally
1.

Involve specific parties

Describe powers and functions which involve the decision or determination by AAs of the rights, duties,
and obligations of specific individuals and persons
2.

Involve judicial function exercised by a person other than a judge

Doctrine of separation of powers

Presumed knowledgeability and expertise in the laws they are entrusted to enforce

Will not compel or prohibit, unless in cases of grave abuse or excess of jurisdiction

Distinguished from investigative power


To INVESTIGATE means to examine, explore, inquire or delve into. Does not involve resolving a
controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the laws to the facts established by the
inquiry.
To ADJUDICATE means to adjudge, arbitrate, determine, rule on, to settle in the exercise of judicial
authority.
Distinguished from rule-making
A rule is the product of rule-making, and rule-making is a part of the admin process that resembles a
legislatures enactment of statutes.

Where a power rests in judgment or discretion, so that it is of judicial nature or character, but does not
involve the exercise of functions of a judge, or is conferred upon an officer other than a judicial officer, it
is deemed quasi-judicial. [Sandoval v. COMELEC, (2000)]

Adjudication is that part which resembles a courts decision of a case.

Distinguished from Judicial Power

Adjudicatory action investigates, declares and enforces liabilities as they stand on present or past facts
and under laws supposed to exist.

1.

Futurity and retrospection

Judicial power is the power to hear, try, and determine all sorts of cases at law and equity which are
brought before the courts. It is the power and authority to make a final, rather than an initial,
determination of what the law is and adjudicate the respective legal rights or liabilities of the contending
parties with respect to the matter in controversy

Rule-making looks to the future and changes existing conditions by making a new rule to be applied
thereafter to all or some part of those subject thereto.

Where the function is primarily administrative and the power to hear and determine is merely incidental
to such administrative duty, such power is adjudicatory.

Adjudicatory function applies to named persons or to specific situations.

Extent of powers

Rule-making lays down general regulations that apply to or affect classes of persons or situations.

1.

Jurisdiction is LIMITED.

Limited delegation of quasi-judicial authority because of the need for special competence and
experience in the resolution of questions

Extent of powers depends largely on the enabling law. The grant of original jurisdiction on a
quasi-judicial agency is NOT IMPLIED.

2.

Split jurisdiction NOT FAVORED.

When an AB or AA is conferred quasi-judicial functions, all controversies relating to the subject


matter pertaining its specialization are deemed to be included within its jurisdiction.

3.

Grant of particular power must be found in the law itself.

4.

General policy of courts to sustain decisions of AAs

2.

Generality and particularity

HOWEVER, even though action is evidences by a rule, it may still constitute adjudication. (Case in
point, a licensing board may law down general substantive regulations, failure to meet such would deny
a grant of license.)
3.

Due process of notice and hearing

In exercising adjudicatory function, due process requirements must be observed.


Whereas, prior notice and hearing are not essential to the validity of rules and regulations promulgated
to govern future conduct since there is no determination of past events or facts that have to be
established or ascertained.
Nature of particular acts
1.

Licensing, enabling, or approving

The action of an AA in granting or denying, or in suspending or revoking, a license/permit/franchise/CPC


is quasi-judicial or administrative NOT JUDICIAL.
Where a statute empowers an agency to revoke a license for non-compliance with or violation of
agency regulations, the admin act is of a judicial nature since it depends upon the ascertainment of the
existence of certain past or present facts upon which a decision is to be made and rights and liabilities
determined.
2.

Fixing rates and charges

Where the rules are meant to apply to all enterprises of a given kind throughout the country, they may
partake of legislative character.
Where the rules and rates imposed apply exclusively to a particular party, based upon a finding of fact,
the function is quasi-judicial. Prior notice and hearing required. But, an AA may be empowered by law to
approve provisionally, when demanded by urgent public need, rates of public utilities without a
hearing.
-

In any case, the rates must both be non-confiscatory and must have been established in the
manner prescribed by the legislature.

The basic requirement of reasonableness comprehends such rates which must not be so low
as to be confiscatory, or too high as to be oppressive. It assumes that the rates are fair to both
the public utility and the consumer.

AA generally may not themselves enforce their determinations, at least not by direct and positive action.
5.

Equitable powers
CH.4: SEPARTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE AND OTHER POWERS

Doctrine of Separation of Powers


Fundamental principle in a republic government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual
division in the Constitution.
1.

Allocation of governmental powers

Governmental powers are divided among the 3 depts and confined such powers, precluding one branch
from exercising or invading the powers of another.
It is the duty of the Legislature to make the law; the Executive to execute it; and the Judiciary to
construe it.
2.

Blending of allocated powers

Exact delimitation is impossible.


3.

Exclusive exercise of assigned powers

Admin on the one hand, or as judicial in nature or quasi-judicial, on the other hand

The TRUE MEANING of the theory of separation of powers is that the powers assigned to one
department should not be exercised by either of the other depts., and that no dept ought to possess,
directly or indirectly, an overruling influence or control over the others.

Classification of adjudicatory powers

Doctrine of Non-Delegation of Powers

3.

1.

Miscellaneous acts

Enabling powers

Usually characterized by the grant or denial of permit or authorization


2.

Directing powers

Illustrated by the corrective powers of public utility commissions, powers of assessment under the
revenue laws, reparations under public utility laws, and awards under workmens compensation laws,
and powers of abstract determination such as definition-valuation, classification, and fact-finding
3.

Dispensing powers

Exemplified by the authority to exempt from or relax a general prohibition, or authority to relieve from an
affirmative duty. Sanctions a deviation from a standard (whereas licensing power sets or assumes a
standard).
4.

Summary powers

Used to designate admin power to apply compulsion or force against a person or property to effectuate
a legal purpose without a judicial warrant

Based on the maxim potestas delegata non potest delegari (what has been delegated cannot in turn be
delegated).
Principle: A delegated power constitutes not only a right but a duty to be performed by the delegate by
the instrumentality of his own judgment acting immediately upon the matter and not through the
intervening mind of another. A further delegation of such power would constitute a negation of the duty
in violation of the trust reposed in the delegate mandated to discharge it directly.
Permissible Delegation
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Tariff powers to the Pres


Emergency powers to the Pres
To people at large (by way of referendum or plebiscite)
To LGU
To admin bodies (subordinate legislation)

Delegation to AAs
What can be delegated is the discretion to determine how the law may be enforced, not what the law
shall be.

When the legislature laid down the fundamentals of a law, it may delegate to AAs the authority to
exercise such legislative power as is necessary to carry into effect the general legislative purpose.
1.
-

Need for delegation


Details beyond the capacity of legislature to determine

Matter requires more specialized knowledge and expertise

2.
a.
-

Requisites for delegation


Completeness of the statute making the delegation; and
a statute must be complete in itself so that by appropriate judicial review and control, any
action taken pursuant to delegated authority may be kept within the defined limits of the
authority conferred.

a statute may be compete when the subject, manner and the extent of its operation are stated
in it such that when it reaches the delegate, the only thing he will have to do is enforce it.

TEST: W the provision is sufficiently definite and certain to enable one to know his rights and
obligations thereunder.

b.
-

Presence of a sufficient standard.


there must be adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to map out the boundaries of the
delegated authority and prevent the delegation from running riot.

Standard may be express (prescribed by the law itself), or implied (from the policy and purpose
of the statute considered as a whole, other laws).

In the delegation of rate-fixing, the only standard is that the rate be reasonable and just.

Restriction on grant of judicial power


Doctrine of separation of powers also operates to restrict the exercise of judicial functions to AA.
However, it is recognized that some judicial powers may be conferred upon and exercised by AAs
without violating the Consti, provided that it be a restricted one, limited only to the efficient
administration of the statutes.