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Echegaray vs. Sec. of Justice, G.R. No. 132601, Oct.

12, 1998 There is no undue delegation of legislative power in RA 8177 to the Sec. of Justice and the Dir. Of Bureau of Corrections, but Sec. 19 of the Rules and Regulations to implement RA 8177 is invalid. Empowering the Sec. of Justice in conjunction with the Sec. of Health and the Dir. Of the Bureau of Corrections, to promulgate rules and regulations on the subject of lethal injection is a form of delegation of legislative authority to administrative bodies. xxx Although Congress may delegate to another branch of the Government the power to fill in the details in the execution, enforcement or administration of a law, it is essential, to forestall a violation of the principle of separation of powers, that said law: (a) be complete in itself it must be set forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate and (b) fix a standard the limits of which are sufficiently determinate or determinable to which the delegate must conform in the performance of his functions. Considering the scope and the definiteness of RA 8177, which changed the mode of carrying out the death penalty, the Court finds that the law sufficiently describes what job must be done, who is to do it, and what is the scope of his authority. RA 8177 likewise provides the standards which define the legislative policy, mark its limits, map out its boundaries, and specify the public agencies which will apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative purpose may be carried out. RA 8177 specifically requires that [t]he death sentence shall be executed under the authority of the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, endeavoring so far as possible to mitigate the sufferings of the person under the sentence during the lethal injection as well as during the proceedings prior to the execution. Further, [t]he Director of the Bureau of Corrections shall take steps to ensure that the lethal injection to be administered is sufficient to cause the instantaneous death of the convict. The legislature also mandated that all personnel involved in the administration of lethal injection shall be trained prior to the performance of such task. The Court cannot see that any useful purpose would be served by requiring greater detail. The question raised is not the definition of what constitutes a criminal offense, but the mode of carrying out the penalty already imposed by the Courts. In this sense, RA 8177 is sufficiently definite and the exercise of discretion by the administrative officials concerned iscanalized within banks that keep it from overflowing. Thus, the Court finds that the existence of an area for exercise of discretion by the Sec. of Justice and the Dir. Of the Bureau of Corrections under delegated legislative power is proper where

standards are formulated for the guidance and the exercise of limited discretion, which though general, are capable of reasonable application. xxx A careful reading of RA 8177 would show that there is no undue delegation of legislative power from the Sec. of Justice to the Dir. Of the Bureau of Corrections for the simple reason that under the Administrative Code of 1987, the Bureau of Corrections is a mere constituent unit of the Dept. of Justice. Further, the Dept. of Justice is tasked, among others, to take charge of the administration of the correctional system. Hence, the import of the phraseology of the law is that the Sec. of Justice should supervise the Dir. Of the Bureau of Corrections in promulgating the Lethal Injection Manual, in consultation with the Dept. of Health. However, the Rules and Regulations to Implement RA 8177 suffer serious flaws that could not be overlooked. To begin with, something basic appears missing in Sec. 19 of the implementing rules... xxx Thus, the Court finds in the first paragraph of Sec. 19 of the implementing rules a veritable vacuum. The Sec. of Justice has practically abdicated the power to promulgate the manual on the execution procedure to the Dir. Of the Bureau of Corrections, by not providing for a mode of review and approval thereof. Being a mere constituent unit of the Dept. of Justice, the Bureau of Corrections could not promulgate a manual that would not bear the imprimatur of the administrative superior, the Sec. of Justice as the rule-making authority under RA 8177. Such apparent abdication of departmental responsibility renders the said paragraph invalid.