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EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT

The President

The Vice President

The Cabinet

Local Government

Article VII, Section 1, of the 1987 Constitution vests executive power on the President of the Philippines.
The President is the Head of State and Head of Government, and functions as the commander-in-chief of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As chief executive, the President exercises control over all the
executive departments, bureaus, and offices.

POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT

Besides the constitution, the powers of the President of the Philippines are specifically outlined in
Executive Order No. 292, s. 1987, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987. The following
powers are:

1. Power of control over the executive branch

The President of the Philippines has the mandate of control over all the executive departments, bureaus,
and offices. This includes restructuring, reconfiguring, and appointments of their respective officials. The
Administrative Code also provides for the President to be responsible for the abovementioned offices’
strict implementation of laws.

2. Power ordinance power

The President of the Philippines has the power to give executive issuances, which are means to
streamline the policy and programs of an administration. There are six issuances that the President may
issue. They are the following as defined in the Administrative Code of 1987:
Executive orders — Acts of the President providing for rules of a general or permanent character in
implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers shall be promulgated in executive
orders.

Administrative orders — Acts of the President which relate to particular aspects of governmental
operations in pursuance of his duties as the administrative head shall be promulgated in administrative
orders.

Proclamations — Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a status or condition of public moment
or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to depend,
shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order.

Memorandum orders — Acts of the President on matters of administrative detail, or of subordinate or


temporary interest which only concern a particular officer or government office shall be embodied in
memorandum orders.

Memorandum circulars — Acts of the President on matters relating to internal administration, which the
President desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments, agencies, bureaus, or
offices of the government, for information or compliance, shall be embodied in memorandum circulars.

General or special orders — Acts and commands of the President in his capacity as commander-in-chief
of the Armed Forces of the Philippines shall be issued as general or special orders.

It is important to note that during the term of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, he used executive
issuances known as presidential decrees as a form of legislation. These decrees have the full force and
effect of laws because at the time the legislature did not exist and, when the 1973 Constitution was put
into full force and effect, it gave the power to the President to do as such. This continued until the first
year of President Corazon C. Aquino’s term. However, President Aquino opted to used executive orders
instead of presidential decrees. President Aquino’s executive orders, however, still had the full force and
effect of laws until the ratification of the 1987 Constitution.

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
The executive branch extends beyond the national government. According to Article X, Section 4 of the
constitution, the President of the Philippines is mandated to supervise local governments all over the
country. However, because of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of
1991, local governments enjoy relative autonomy from the national government.

Among the social services and facilities that local government should provide, as stipulated in Section 17
of the Local Government Code, are the following:

facilities and research services for agriculture and fishery activities, which include seedling nurseries,
demonstration farms, and irrigation systems;

health services, which include access to primary health care, maternal and child care, and medicines,
medical supplies and equipment;

social welfare services, which include programs and projects for women, children, elderly, and persons
with disabilities, as well as vagrants, beggars, street children, juvenile delinquents, and victims of drug
abuse;

information services, which include job placement information systems and a public library;

a solid waste disposal system or environmental management system;

municipal/city/provincial buildings, cultural centers, public parks, playgrounds, and sports facilities and
equipment;

infrastructure facilities such as roads, bridges, school buildings, health clinics, fish ports, water supply
systems, seawalls, dikes, drainage and sewerage, and traffic signals and road signs;

public markets, slaughterhouses, and other local enterprises;

public cemetery;

tourism facilities and other tourist attractions; and

sites for police and fire stations and substations and municipal jail.

Local government units also have the power to create its own sources of revenue and to levy taxes, fees,
and charges that shall accrue exclusively to them.

Each local government has its own chief executive. The following is the list of local chief executives:
barangay — punong barangay (barangay chairman)

municipality — municipal mayor

city — city mayor

province — provincial governor

The local chief executives have the power to approve or veto local ordinances recommended by the local
legislators.

Punong barangay

The punong barangay, as the chief executive of the barangay government, shall exercise and perform the
following powers and functions:

enforce all laws and ordinances which are applicable within the barangay;

negotiate, enter into, and sign contracts for and in behalf of the barangay, upon authorization of the
Sangguniang Barangay;

maintain public order in the barangay;

call and preside over the sessions of the Sangguniang Barangay and the Barangay Assembly;

appoint or replace the barangay treasurer, the barangay secretary, and other appointive barangay
officials;

organize and lead an emergency group for the maintenance of peace and order or on occasions of
emergency or calamity within the barangay;

prepare the annual executive and supplemental budgets of the barangay, in coordination with the
Barangay Development Council;

approve vouchers relating to the disbursement of barangay funds;

enforce laws and regulations relating to pollution control and protection of the environment;

administer the operation of the Katarungang Pambarangay;

exercise general supervision over the activities of the Sangguniang Kabataan;

ensure the delivery of basic social services and access to facilities;


conduct an annual palarong barangay which shall feature traditional sports and disciplines included in
national and international games; and

promote the general welfare of the barangay.

Municipal and city mayors

The municipal mayor and city mayor, as the chief executive of the municipal government and city
government, respectively, shall exercise and perform the following powers and functions:

Exercise general supervision and control over all programs, projects, services, and activities of the
municipal or city government:

determine the guidelines of municipal policies and be responsible to the Sangguniang Bayan or
Panlungsod for the program of government;

direct the formulation of the municipal or city development plan;

at the opening of the regular session of the Sangguniang Bayan or Panlungsod, present the program of
government and propose policies and projects for consideration;

initiate and propose legislative measures to the Sangguniang Bayan or Panlungsod;

represent the municipality or city in all its business transactions and sign on its behalf all bonds,
contracts, and obligations, upon authorization by the Sangguniang Bayan;

carry out emergency measures as may be necessary during and in the aftermath of man-made and
natural disasters;

examine the books, records and other documents of all offices, officials, agents or employees of the
municipality or city;

visit component barangays of the municipality or city at least once every six months;

solemnize marriages, any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding;

conduct a palarong bayan or panlungsod; and

submit to the provincial governor an annual report on the administration of the municipality or city, and
supplemental reports when unexpected events and situations such as calamities arise.

Enforce all laws and ordinances, and implement all approved policies, programs, projects, services and
activities of the municipality or city:
issue executive orders as are necessary for the proper enforcement and execution of laws and
ordinances;

call conventions, seminars or meetings of any elective and appointive officials of the municipality or city;

formulate and implement the peace and order plan of the municipality or city; and

call upon the appropriate law enforcement agencies to suppress disorder, riot, lawless violence, rebellion
or sedition or to apprehend violators of the law.

Initiate and maximize the generation of resources and revenues, to be used for the implementation of
development plans, program objectives and priorities:

prepare and submit to the Sangguniang Bayan or Panlungsod for approval the annual executive and
supplemental budgets of the municipality or city;

ensure that all taxes and other revenues of the municipality or city are collected;

issue, suspend or revoke licenses and permits;

adopt measures to safeguard and conserve land, mineral, marine, forest, and other resources of the
municipality or city;

provide efficient and effective property and supply management in the municipality or city; and protect
the funds, credits, rights and other properties of the municipality or city; and

institute or cause to be instituted administrative or judicial proceedings for violation of ordinances in the
collection of taxes, fees or charges, and for the recovery of funds and property.

Ensure the delivery of basic services and the provision of adequate facilities as provided for under
Section 17 of the Local Government Code.

Provincial governors

The provincial governor, as the chief executive of the provincial government, shall exercise and perform
the following powers and duties:

Exercise general supervision and control over all programs, projects, services, and activities of the
provincial government:

determine the guidelines of municipal policies and be responsible to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for
the program of government;

direct the formulation of the provincial development plan;


at the opening of the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, present the program of
government and propose policies and projects for consideration;

initiate and propose legislative measures to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan;

represent the province in all its business transactions and sign on its behalf all bonds, contracts, and
obligations, upon authorization by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan;

carry out emergency measures as may be necessary during and in the aftermath of man-made and
natural disasters;

examine the books, records and other documents of all offices, officials, agents or employees of the
province;

furnish copies of executive orders issued by him to the Office of the President within 72 hours after their
issuance;

visit component cities and municipalities at least once every six months;

represent the province in inter-provincial or regional sports councils or committees, and coordinate the
efforts of component cities or municipalities in the regional or national palaro or sports development
activities;

conduct an annual palarong panlalawigan; and

submit to the Office of the President an annual report on the administration and development of the
province, and supplemental reports when unexpected events and situations such as calamities arise.

Enforce all laws and ordinances, and implement all approved policies, programs, projects, services and
activities of the province:

issue executive orders as are necessary for the proper enforcement and execution of laws and
ordinances;

call conventions, seminars or meetings of any elective and appointive officials of the province;

in coordination with the component cities and municipalities, and the National Police Commission,
formulate and implement the peace and order plan of the province; and

call upon the appropriate law enforcement agencies to suppress disorder, riot, lawless violence, rebellion
or sedition or to apprehend violators of the law.

Initiate and maximize the generation of resources and revenues, to be used for the implementation of
development plans, program objectives and priorities:

prepare and submit to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for approval the annual executive and
supplemental budgets of the province;
ensure that all taxes and other revenues of the province are collected;

issue, suspend or revoke licenses and permits;

adopt measures to safeguard and conserve land, mineral, marine, forest, and other resources of the
province;

provide efficient and effective property and supply management in the province; and protect the funds,
credits, rights and other properties of the province; and

institute or cause to be instituted administrative or judicial proceedings for violation of ordinances in the
collection of taxes, fees or charges, and for the recovery of funds and property.

Ensure the delivery of basic services and the provision of adequate facilities as provided for under
Section 17 of the Local Government Code.

CHAPTER 2 EO 292

Ordinance Power

SECTION 2. Executive Orders.—Acts of the President providing for rules of a general or permanent
character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers shall be promulgated in
executive orders.

SECTION 3. Administrative Orders.—Acts of the President which relate to particular aspects of


governmental operations in pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be promulgated in
administrative orders.

SECTION 4. Proclamations.—Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a status or condition of


public moment or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is
made to depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order.

SECTION 5. Memorandum Orders.—Acts of the President on matters of administrative detail or of


subordinate or temporary interest which only concern a particular officer or office of the Government
shall be embodied in memorandum orders.
SECTION 6. Memorandum Circulars.—Acts of the President on matters relating to internal
administration, which the President desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments,
agencies, bureaus or offices of the Government, for information or compliance, shall be embodied in
memorandum circulars.

SECTION 7. General or Special Orders.—Acts and commands of the President in his capacity as
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines shall be issued as general or special orders.

TREATY-MAKING IN THE PHILIPPINES

What is a treaty?

Under Philippine Laws, Treaties are international agreements entered into by the Philippines which
require legislative concurrence after executive ratification. This term may include compacts like
conventions, declarations, covenants and acts.[1]

Under International Law, Treaty means an international agreement concluded between States in written
form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more
related instruments and whatever its particular designation.[2]

Not all international agreements are governed by international law. The convention applies only to those
which are “governed by the domestic law of one of the parties or some other national law chosen by the
parties.[3]

What is an executive Agreement?

Executive Agreements — similar to treaties except that they do not require legislative concurrence.[4]

What is the distinction between a treaty and an executive agreement?

The difference between the two is sometimes difficult of ready ascertainment.[5] Under international
law, there is no difference between treaties and executive agreements in their binding effect upon states
concerned, as long as the negotiating functionaries have remained within their powers.[6] International
law continues to make no distinction between treaties and executive agreements: they are equally
binding obligations upon nations.[7]

In our jurisdiction, we have recognized the binding effect of executive agreements even without the
concurrence of the Senate or Congress. Generally, treaties of any kind, whether bilateral or multilateral,
require Senate concurrence[8] while executive agreements may be validly entered into without such
concurrence.[9]

The members of the Constitutional Commission acknowledged the distinction between a treaty and an
executive agreement during their deliberations of Section 21 Article VII. One of the issues in the
discussions was trying to identify the kind of international agreements that require Senate concurrence.

Commissioner Joaquin Bernas made a clarification by quoting from the decision of the Supreme Court in
the case of Commissioner of Customs vs. Eastern Sea Trading:

“The right of the executive to enter into binding agreements without the necessity of subsequent
Congressional approval has been confirmed by long usage. From the earliest days of our history, we have
entered into executive agreements covering such subjects as commercial and consular relations, most
favored nation rights, patent rights, trademark and copyright protection, postal and navigation
arrangements and the settlement of claims. The validity of this has never been seriously questioned by
our Courts.

“Agreements with respect to the registration of trademarks have been concluded by the executive and
various countries under the Act of Congress of March 3, 1881 (21 Stat. 502) . . . International agreements
involving political issues or changes of national policy and those involving international agreements of a
permanent character usually take the form of treaties. But international agreements embodying
adjustments of detail, carrying out well established national policies and traditions and those involving
arrangements of a more or less temporary nature usually take the form of executive agreements.”[10]

Commissioner Bernas further explained that international agreements, which require Senate
concurrence, are those, which are permanent in nature. Also, if it is with prior authorization from
Congress, it does not need subsequent concurrence by Congress.[11]

The Department of Foreign Affairs in its press release[12] said that in executive agreement, there is no
fundamental change in policy, nor will there be need for legislation to fund the agreement. It does not
impinge on any existing international legal obligation.

What is the rationale for distinguishing a treaty form an executive agreement?

The distinction between a treaty or international agreement and an executive agreement is of great
significance in the Philippines because the procedure followed in the process of ratification is different.

If what is involved is a treaty, the concurrence by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate is
required.[13] On the other hand, if what is involved is an executive, there is no such requirement.
What is the procedure for determining whether an agreement is a treaty or an executive agreement?

a. Internal procedure within the Office of the President and the DFA

In 1988, the Office of the President issued Memorandum Circular 89 to set the guidelines in case of
conflict as to whether an agreement is a treaty or an executive agreement. The Legal Adviser of the
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Assistant Secretary on Legislative Affairs and the Senate will
be given opportunity to comment on the nature of the agreement. Consultation shall be made with the
leadership of the Senate. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs shall make the proper recommendation to the
President.[14]

In 1997, Executive Order 459 was issued and under Sec. 9 thereof, the DFA determines the nature of an
agreement. Said Executive Order is silent if the determination by the DFA of the nature of agreement can
be overturned by the President or not.

If asked which of the two issuances is prevailing, as a rule, being a later act, E.O. 459 is controlling.
However, newly appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonio Eduardo Nachura, and
prominent authors in international law Jorge Coquia and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (Chairman of
the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations before adjournment of the 13th Congress) are of the opinion
that Memorandun Circular 89 is still binding.[15]

What is the current framework for trade negotiations?

a. Who has the power to negotiate or make treaties?

The President has the power to make treaties implicitly in the general grant of authority in Section 1,
Article VII that “The executive power is vested in the President of the Philippines,” in particular as this is
applied in foreign relations.[16]

By constitutional fiat and by the intrinsic nature of his office, the President, as head of State, is the sole
organ and authority in the external affairs of the country.[17] In many ways, the President is the chief
architect of the nation’s foreign policy; his “dominance in the field of foreign relations is (then)
conceded.”[18] Wielding vast powers an influence, his conduct in the external affairs of the nation, as
Jefferson describes, is “executive altogether."[19]

Since the President is the head of state in the system of government of the Philippines, he is the
authority in the country’s external or foreign relations.[20] Being vested with diplomatic powers, the
President formulates foreign policy, deals with international affairs, represents the state with foreign
nations, maintains diplomatic relations, and enters into treaties or international agreements. Likewise,
the power granted to the Senate to concur in treaties[21] is to be interpreted as referring to treaties
which the President makes and submits to the Senate for concurrence.

Normally, it is the Head of State or the Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who binds States in
treaties. These persons do not need to produce evidence of full powers to conclude a treaty. Treaty
ratification is one of the incidents of their position. For purposes of adopting a text to a treaty, the head
of the diplomatic mission or accredited representatives of States to an international conference or one of
its organs are empowered to authenticate or accredit the text of a treaty. If an act was performed
without authorization or without the full powers, a treaty can still be given force and effect provided it is
subsequently confirmed by the State.[22]

b. Working procedure

Justice Isagani Cruz, in his book on International Law, describes the treaty-making process in this
wise[23]:

The usual steps in the treaty-making process are: negotiation, signature, ratification, and exchange of the
instruments of ratification. The treaty may then be submitted for registration and publication under the
U.N. Charter, although this step is not essential to the validity of the agreement as between the parties.

1. Negotiation may be undertaken directly by the head of state but he now usually assigns this task to his
authorized representatives. These representatives are provided with credentials known as full powers,
which they exhibit to the other negotiators at the start of the formal discussions. It is standard practice
for one of the parties to submit a draft of the proposed treaty which, together with the counter-
proposals, becomes the basis of the subsequent negotiations. The negotiations may be brief or
protracted, depending on the issues involved, and may even “collapse” in case the parties are unable to
come to an agreement on the points under consideration.

In the Philippines, the negotiation phase of the treaty making process is essentially performed and
controlled by the Executive branch of the government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and the
respective government agencies involved. Once a treaty proposal is received by the Government the
Department of Foreign is tasked to determine whether or not said agreement is a treaty or an executive
agreement. It is the Chief Executive, through the recommendation of the DFA Secretary, who designates
the persons who will comprise the Philippine delegation and the departments, which will be involved
and consulted in the negotiation.

Pursuant to Executive Order 459, the lead agency in the negotiation of a treaty or an executive
agreement or any amendment thereto shall convene a meeting of the panel members prior to the
commencement of any negotiations for the purpose of establishing the parameters of the negotiating
position of the panel. No deviation from the agreed parameters shall be made without prior consultation
with the members of the negotiating panel.

The panel of negotiators is normally composed of several individuals from the different agencies of
government who are technical experts and resource persons in certain areas of specialization. This group
of persons is normally referred to as technical working groups. A treaty, which has far-reaching effects on
the different industries, may involve several technical working groups. The technical working groups
would meet and outline the Philippine position and embody this position in writing. Ideally, the
Philippine position must be in conformity with the outlined policies, development goals and targets of
the government and in general pursue Philippine interest.

During the negotiation process, negotiators of each State party would meet and discuss to arrive at a
mutually beneficial arrangement. Battles over semantics and phrasing are normal in treaty negotiations.
This stage is very tedious and negotiators must be very vigilant in looking at each particular provision.
Before concurring to a particular provision, said negotiator must agree to it only after consultation with
other negotiators and evaluate if it is in conformity with the outlined Philippine position. In issues of
primordial importance or high significance, public consultation must be performed to be able to
determine its overall impact on the industries that are affected or parties who will be prejudiced.
Negotiators aside from being experts must be strong, assertive and emphatic in pursuing the Philippine
position. Disagreements among the negotiators over certain provisions is also normal, but some
experienced negotiators have perfected the art of inserting provisions in unexpected sections or
rephrasing rejected provisions to make it appear acceptable. The quote “timing is everything” finds
application in the art negotiations, some negotiators will invoke provisions of doubtful validity, during
such times when negotiators of the other party are already quite tired or weary from long hours spent
on text analysis, interpretation and revision. Once a final draft of the agreement is reached, it will be sent
to the office of the Chief Executive who will signify his approval. If he approves the agreement, he will
forward it to the Office of the Executive Secretary, who in turn, will attest, to the authenticity and
veracity of the text signed or ratified. The Office of the Executive Secretary receives texts in their final
form but can override these agreements on broad grounds of it being against the Constitution, the law
or public policy, in general. [24]

2. If and when the negotiators finally decide on the terms of the treaty, the same is opened for signature.
This step is primarily intended as a means of authenticating the instrument and for the purpose of
symbolizing the good faith of the parties; but, significantly, it does not indicate the final consent of the
state in cases where ratification of the treaty is required. The document is ordinarily signed in
accordance with the alternat, that is, each of the several negotiators is allowed to sign first on the copy
which he will bring home to his own state.

3. Ratification, which is the next step, is the formal act by which a state confirms and accepts the
provisions of a treaty concluded by its representatives. The purpose of ratification is to enable the
contracting states to examine the treaty more closely and to give them an opportunity to refuse to be
bound by it should they find it inimical to their interests. It is for this reason that most treaties are made
subject to the scrutiny and consent of a department of the government other than that which
negotiated them. Ratification is generally held to be an executive act, undertaken by the head of the
state or of the government, as the case may be, through which the formal acceptance of the treaty is
proclaimed.[25] A State may provide in its domestic legislation the process of ratification of a treaty. The
consent of the State to be bound by a treaty is expressed by ratification when: (a) the treaty provides for
such ratification, (b) it is otherwise established that the negotiating States agreed that ratification should
be required, (c) the representative of the State has signed the treaty subject to ratification, or (d) the
intention of the State to sign the treaty subject to ratification appears from the full powers of its
representative, or was expressed during the negotiation.[26]

In our jurisdiction, the power to ratify is vested in the President and not, as commonly believed, in the
legislature. The role of the Senate is limited only to giving or withholding its consent, or concurrence, to
the ratification.[27]

4. The next step is the exchange of the instruments of ratification, which usually also signifies the
effectivity of the treaty unless a different date has been agreed upon by the parties. Where ratification is
dispensed with and no effectivity clause is embodied in the treaty, the instrument is deemed effective
upon its signature.[28] [emphasis supplied]

5. In our jurisdiction, for the treaty to be valid and effective, it must be concurred in by the Senate. The
process of treaty concurrence by the Senate follows the procedure under the 1987 Constitution on the
passage of bills. Such rules are supplemental by the Rules of the Senate. The step-by-step process of
treaty concurrence is discussed below.

Initially, the President, through a letter to the Senate, transmits to the Senate the Instrument of
Ratification and the text of the ratified treaty for concurrence pursuant to Sec. 21, Art. VII of the
Constitution. The President transmits the same by acting through the Executive Secretary, who himself
makes a letter of endorsement to the Senate. [29]

The Senate receives the agreement through its Legislative Bills and Index Services (Bills and Index). The
Bills and Index reproduces the text of the agreement and includes it in the Order of Business. It also
indexes and publishes an abstract of the agreement.

At the beginning of each Senate Session, the Secretary of the Senate reports all bills, proposed Senate
resolutions, and correspondences from the other branches of the government, and such other matters
included in the Order of Business. Like an ordinary bill, the international agreement undergoes three
readings.

In the first reading, only the title and number is read. The title usually goes “Concurrence in the
Ratification of (the treaty or international agreement)” with the corresponding Proposed Senate
Resolution Number. [30]

Afterwards, the treaty is referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. If the treaty concerns other
Committees, it is also referred to such other Committees for their joint consideration and
recommendation. As an illustration, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) was also referred to the
Committee on National Defense. If the treaty concerns almost all or all the Senate Committees, it is
referred to what is called the Committee of the Whole. For instance, the World Trade Organization
(WTO) was referred to the Committee of the Whole. The role of the Committee is to study and analyze
the agreement. It makes consultations to studies and position papers. It conducts public hearings and
considers public testimonies. The final output and recommendations are documented in the committee
report. The committee report is filed with the Bills and Index, which then includes it in the Calendar of
Business for second reading. [31]

At the start of the second reading, the Senator-Sponsor/s of the treaty endorses the committee report to
the Chamber through a sponsorship speech. During the second reading, the treaty would be opened to
general debate and to amendments. At the close of the debate, the members of the Senate would vote.

If approved by the Senate, the bill would pass to third reading. The Committee on Foreign Relations will
document any action taken in the form of a Proposed Resolution. The Proposed Resolution shall be
engrossed and printed by the Bills and Index, and distributed to each Senator three (3) days before third
reading. [32]

After three days from the distribution of the resolution with the treaty attached thereto, the Proposed
Resolution shall be submitted for nominal voting. The treaty shall be deemed approved if 2/3 of the
Senators voted for its approval. A Senate Resolution concurring in the ratification of the treaty is then
adopted. The adopted Senate Resolution is brought to the Secretary of the Senate, who thereafter
transmits a copy thereof to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

c. Opportunities/venues for private sector participation

Although the Chief Executive is the sole authority in treaty-making, it is nonetheless the policy of the
State that the people and their organizations have the right to participate in decision-making processes.
[33] Organizations refer to trade unions, peasant organizations, urban poor, cooperatives, human rights
groups, religious groups, and also associations of landowners and businessmen. The role of the State, by
enacting a law, would be “mere facilitation” of the consultation mechanisms, and not their creation, for
consultation mechanisms were already operating without the State’s action by law. Also, “people” refers
to all the people, including minors.[34]

Also, the people shall have the right to access to all transactions of the State that concern public interest,
subject to standards prescribed by law.[35] During the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission,
Commissioner Blas Ople, the sponsor of Sec. 28 Art. II, said that “transactions” include not just the
perfected contract but also the steps and negotiations taken that led to a contract. Commissioners Ople
and Napoleon Rama further explained that the difference between the provision under State Policies
and that under the Bill of Rights is that the latter affords the right of the people to demand information
while the former speaks of the duty of the government to disclose information even when nobody
demands.[36] It necessarily follows that in all negotiations made by the President as to entering into
international agreements, it is the duty of the government to disclose to the people, even without the
latter making a demand, all its acts, but always limited by conditions prescribed by law.

The Supreme Court laid down in Chavez vs. Presidential Commission on Good Government[37] some of
the restrictions to the State policy of public disclosure and to the exercise of the right to information: 1)
National security matters which include State secrets regarding military and intelligence information,
diplomatic matters, and information on inter-government exchanges prior to the conclusion of treaties
and executive agreements; 2) trade secrets pursuant to the Intellectual Property Code; 3) banking
transactions as provided by the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act; 4) criminal matters or classified law
enforcement matters; and 5) other confidential matters including diplomatic correspondence, closed
door Cabinet meetings, executive sessions of Congress, and internal deliberations of the Supreme Court.

The right guaranteed by Section 7 of the Bill of Rights is the right to information on matters of public
concern.[38] A consequence of this right is the right to access official records and documents. These
rights are “subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.” It follows that the limitations include
regulations on determining what information are matters of public concern, and the manner of access to
such matters of public concern.

In the case of Legaspi vs. Civil Service Commission,[39] the Supreme Court said that “public concern” has
no exact definition. It encompasses an extensive scope of subjects which the public may want to know,
either because it directly affects their lives or simply because it arouses his interest. Each case must be
examined carefully.

It was also held in the above case that the duty to disclose information of public concern and to allow
access to public records is not discretionary on the part of the concerned government agency. If denied
of the enjoyment of the Constitutional right, the remedy of the citizen is to file a petition for mandamus
to compel the performance of the constitutional obligation.

Indeed, under Sec. 1 of Art. II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) of the 1987 Constitution, “The
Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government
authority emanates from them.” Republicanism means all government authority emanates from the
people and is exercised by representatives chosen by the people. Hence, the people are declared
supreme.[40]

What is the significant role of the Legislative branch in the treat-making process?

Notwithstanding the sole authority of the President to negotiate and enter into treaties, the 1987
Constitution limits his power by requiring the concurrence of 2/3 of all the members of the Senate for
the validity and effectivity of the treaty entered into by him.[41] The role of the Senate is confined to
simply giving or withholding its consent to the ratification.[42]
The involvement of the Senate in the treaty-making process manifests the adherence of the Philippine
system of government to the principle of checks and balances. This indispensable participation of the
legislative branch by way of concurrence provides the “check” to the ratification of the treaty by the
executive branch.

What is the effect of Senate Concurrence to a treaty?

A treaty becomes valid and effective if concurred in by two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.[43]
This means it forms part of Philippine law by virtue of transformation. By an act of the legislature, treaty
rules may be transformed into Philippine law, to be applied or enforced as part of Philippine law. [44]

The treaty becomes part of the law of the land and it becomes obligatory and incumbent on our part,
under the principles of international law, to be bound by the terms of the agreement. In Bayan vs.
Zamora[45], the Supreme Court said that with the ratification of the VFA, which is equivalent to final
acceptance, and with the exchange of notes between the Philippines and the United States of America, it
now becomes obligatory and incumbent on our part, under the principles of international law, to be
bound by the terms of the agreement. Thus, no less than Section 2, Article II of the Constitution,[46]
declares that the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the
law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity
with all nations.

As a member of the family of nations, the Philippines agrees to be bound by generally accepted rules for
the conduct of its international relations. While the international obligation devolves upon the state and
not upon any particular branch, institution, or individual member of its government, the Philippines is
nonetheless responsible for violations committed by any branch or subdivision of its government or any
official thereof. As an integral part of the community of nations, we are responsible to assure that our
government, Constitution and laws will carry out our international obligation.[47] Hence, we cannot
readily plead the Constitution as a convenient excuse for non-compliance with our obligations, duties
and responsibilities under international law.

Beyond this, Article 13 of the Declaration of Rights and Duties of States adopted by the International Law
Commission in 1949 provides: “Every State has the duty to carry out in good faith its obligations arising
from treaties and other sources of international law, and it may not invoke provisions in its constitution
or its laws as an excuse for failure to perform this duty.”[48]

Equally important is Article 26 of the convention which provides that “Every treaty in force is binding
upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.” This is known as the principle of
pacta sunt servanda which preserves the sanctity of treaties and have been one of the most
fundamental principles of positive international law, supported by the jurisprudence of international
tribunals.[49]
What is the effect if the Senate does not concur to a treaty?

As provided for by the constitution, a treaty not concurred in by the Senate will not be valid and
effective.[50]

Under the Philippine Legal System, how does a treaty stand in relation to the Philippine Constitution?

The Constitution is the basis for ascertaining the legality or validity of the treaty. By virtue of Article VIII,
Section 5(2)(a) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court may determine the constitutionality of a treaty or
declare it as violative of a statute.[51]

How does a treaty stand in relation to a statute?

Being part of the law of the land and therefore an internal law, a treaty is not superior to an enactment
of the Congress of the Philippines, rather it would be in the same class as the latter.

Administrative Rule Law and Legal Definition. Administrative rules are officially promulgated agency
regulations that have the force and effect of law. Generally these rules elaborate the requirements of a
law or policy.

SECTION 48. Local Legislative Power. – Local legislative power shall be exercised by the sangguniang
panlalawigan for the province; the sangguniang panlungsod for the city; the sangguniang bayan for the
municipality; and the sangguniang barangay for the barangay.

SECTION 49. Presiding Officer. – (a) The vice-governor shall be the presiding officer of the sangguniang
panlalawigan; the city vice-mayor, of the sangguniang panlungsod; the municipal vice-mayor of the
sangguniang bayan; and the punong barangay, of the sangguniang barangay. The presiding officer shall
vote only to break a tie.

(b) In the event of the inability of the regular presiding officer to preside at a sanggunian session, the
members present and constituting a quorum shall elect from among themselves a temporary presiding
officer. He shall certify within ten (10) days from the passage of ordinances enacted and resolutions
adopted by the sanggunian in the session over which he temporarily presided

SECTION 54. Approval of Ordinances. – (a) Every ordinance enacted by the sangguniang panlalawigan,
sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan shall be presented to the provincial governor or city or
municipal mayor, as the case may be. If the local chief executive concerned approves the same, he shall
affix his signature on each and every page thereof; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with
his objections to the sanggunian, which may proceed to reconsider the same. The sanggunian concerned
may override the veto of the local chief executive by two-thirds (2/3) vote of all its members, thereby
making the ordinance or resolution effective for all legal intents and purposes.

(b) The veto shall be communicated by the local chief executive concerned to the sanggunian within
fifteen (15) days in the case of a province, and ten (10) days in the case of a city or a municipality;
otherwise, the ordinance shall be deemed approved as if he had signed it.

(c) Ordinances enacted by the sangguniang barangay shall, upon approval by the majority of all its
members, be signed by the punong barangay.

SECTION 55. Veto Power of the Local Chief Executive. – (a) The local chief executive may veto any
ordinance of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan on the
ground that it is ultra vires or prejudicial to the public welfare, stating his reasons therefor in writing.

(b) The local chief executive, except the punong barangay, shall have the power to veto any particular
item or items of an appropriations ordinance, an ordinance or resolution adopting a local development
plan and public investment program, or an ordinance directing the payment of money or creating
liability. In such a case, the veto shall not affect the item or items which are not objected to. The vetoed
item or items shall not take effect unless the sanggunian overrides the veto in the manner herein
provided; otherwise, the item or items in the appropriations ordinance of the previous year
corresponding to those vetoed, if any, shall be deemed reenacted.

(c) The local chief executive may veto an ordinance or resolution only once. The sanggunian may
override the veto of the local chief executive by two-thirds (2/3) vote of all its members, thereby making
the ordinance effective even without the approval of the local chief executive concerned.

SECTION 56. Review of Component City and Municipal Ordinances or Resolutions by the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan. – (a) Within three (3) days after approval, the secretary to the sangguniang panlungsod or
sangguniang bayan shall forward to the sangguniang panlalawigan for review, copies of approved
ordinances and the resolutions approving the local development plans and public investment programs
formulated by the local development councils.
(b) Within thirty (30) days after the receipt of copies of such ordinances and resolutions, the
sangguniang panlalawigan shall examine the documents or transmit them to the provincial attorney, or if
there be none, to the provincial prosecutor for prompt examination. The provincial attorney or provincial
prosecutor shall, within a period of ten (10) days from receipt of the documents, inform the sangguniang
panlalawigan in writing of his comments or recommendations, which may be considered by the
sangguniang panlalawigan in making its decision.

(c) If the sangguniang panlalawigan finds that such an ordinance or resolution is beyond the power
conferred upon the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan concerned, it shall declare such
ordinance or resolution invalid in whole or in part. The sangguniang panlalawigan shall enter its action in
the minutes and shall advise the corresponding city or municipal authorities of the action it has taken.

(d) If no action has been taken by the sangguniang panlalawigan within thirty (30) days after submission
of such an ordinance or resolution, the same shall be presumed consistent with law and therefore valid.

SECTION 57. Review of Barangay Ordinances by the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan. – (a)
Within ten (10) days after its enactment, the sangguniang barangay shall furnish copies of all barangay
ordinances to the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan concerned for review as to whether
the ordinance is consistent with law and city or municipal ordinances.

(b) If the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan, as the case may be, fails to take action on
barangay ordinances within thirty (30) days from receipt thereof, the same shall be deemed approved.

(c) If the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan, as the case may be, finds the barangay
ordinances inconsistent with law or city or municipal ordinances, the sanggunian concerned shall, within
thirty (30) days from receipt thereof, return the same with its comments and recommendations to the
sangguniang barangay concerned for adjustment, amendment, or modification; in which case, the
effectivity of the barangay ordinance is suspended until such time as the revision called for is effected.

SECTION 58. Enforcement of Disapproved Ordinances or Resolutions. – Any attempt to enforce any
ordinance or any resolution approving the local development plan and public investment program, after
the disapproval thereof, shall be sufficient ground for the suspension or dismissal of the official or
employee concerned.

SECTION 59. Effectivity of Ordinances or Resolutions. – (a) Unless otherwise stated in the ordinance or
the resolution approving the local development plan and public investment program, the same shall take
effect after ten (10) days from the date a copy thereof is posted in a bulletin board at the entrance of the
provincial capitol or city, municipal, or barangay hall, as the case may be, and in at least two (2) other
conspicuous places in the local government unit concerned.

(b) The secretary to the sanggunian concerned shall cause the posting of an ordinance or resolution in
the bulletin board at the entrance of the provincial capitol and the city, municipal, or barangay hall in at
least two (2) conspicuous places in the local government unit concerned not later than five (5) days after
approval thereof.

The text of the ordinance or resolution shall be disseminated and posted in Filipino or English and in the
language or dialect understood by the majority of the people in the local government unit concerned,
and the secretary to the sanggunian shall record such fact in a book kept for the purpose, stating the
dates of approval and posting.

(c) The gist of all ordinances with penal sanctions shall be published in a newspaper of general
circulation within the province where the local legislative body concerned belongs. In the absence of any
newspaper of general circulation within the province, posting of such ordinances shall be made in all
municipalities and cities of the province where the sanggunian of origin is situated.

(d) In the case of highly urbanized and independent component cities, the main features of the
ordinance or resolution duly enacted or adopted shall, in addition to being posted, be published once in
a local newspaper of general circulation within the city: Provided, That in the absence thereof the
ordinance or resolution shall be published in any newspaper of general circulation.