Case Brief: Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. vs. POEA

G.R. No. 76633 October 18, 1988


A Chief Officer of a ship was killed in an accident in Japan. The widow filed a complaint for charges against the Eastern Shipping Lines with POEA, based on a Memorandum Circular No. 2, issued by the POEA which stipulated death benefits and burial for the family of overseas workers. ESL questioned the validity of the memorandum circular as violative of the principle of non-delegation of legislative power. It contends that no authority had been given the POEA to promulgate the said regulation; and even with such authorization, the regulation represents an exercise of legislative discretion which, under the principle, is not subject to delegation. Nevertheless, POEA assumed jurisdiction and decided the case.


Whether or not the Issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 2 is a violation of non-delegation of powers.


No. SC held that there was a valid delegation of powers.

The authority to issue the said regulation is clearly provided in Section 4(a) of Executive Order No. 797. … “The governing Board of the Administration (POEA), as hereunder provided shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to govern the exercise of the adjudicatory functions of the Administration (POEA).”

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.

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 a statute by “filling in’ the details which the Congress may not have the opportunity or competence to provide. This is effected by their promulgation of what are known as supplementary regulations, such as the implementing rules issued by the Department of Labor on the new Labor Code. These regulations have the force and effect of law.

There are two accepted tests to determine whether or not there is a valid delegation of legislative power:

1. Completeness 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 enforce it.

2. 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.


Case Brief: Gerochi vs. Department of Energy

G.R. No. 159796 July 17, 2007


On June 8, 2001 Congress enacted RA 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Act of 2001. Petitioners Romeo P. Gerochi and company assail the validity of Section 34 of the EPIRA Law for being an undue delegation of the power of taxation. Section 34 provides for the imposition of a “Universal Charge” to all electricity end users after a period of (1) one year after the effectively of the EPIRA Law. The universal charge to be collected would serve as payment for government debts, missionary electrification, equalization of taxes and royalties applied to renewable energy and imported energy, environmental charge and for a charge to account for all forms of cross subsidies for a period not exceeding three years. The universal charge shall be collected by the ERC on a monthly basis from all end users and will then be managed by the PSALM Corp. through the creation of a special trust fund.


Whether or not there is an undue delegation of the power to tax on the part of the ERC


No, the universal charge as provided for in section 34 is not a tax but an exaction of the regulatory power (police power) of the state. The universal charge under section 34 is incidental to the regulatory duties of the ERC, hence the provision assailed is not for generation of revenue and therefore it cannot be considered as tax, but an execution of the states police power thru regulation.

Moreover, the amount collected is not made certain by the ERC, but by the legislative parameters provided for in the law (RA 9136) itself, it therefore cannot be understood as a rule solely coming from the ERC. The ERC in this case is only a specialized administrative agency which is tasked of executing a subordinate legislation issued by congress; which before execution must pass both the completeness test and the sufficiency of standard test. The court in appreciating Section 34 of RA 9136 in its entirety finds the said law and the assailed portions free from any constitutional defect and thus deemed complete and sufficient in form.

Case Brief: Miller vs. Mardo and Gonzales

G.R. No. L-15138 July 31, 1961
BILL MILLER, petitioner-appellee,
ATANACIO A. MARDO, and MANUEL GONZALES, respondents-appellants.


This is a consolidation of cases, which originated from different CFIs posing question about the validity of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A by Government Survey and Reorganization Commission under RA997 as amended by RA 1241 in so far as it confers jurisdiction to RO of DOLE created in said Plan to decide claims of laborers for wages, overtime and separation pay, et al.

Manuel Gonzales filed before Regional Office (RO) of DOLE against his employer Bill Miller of Miller Motors, claiming that he was his dirver from 1956 to 1956, on which he was arbitrarily dismissed without separation pay. The Chief Hearing Office required Miller to file for an answer. Miller filed before CFI of Baguio a petition to prohibit CHO from proceeding with the case for he does not have jurisdiction to hear and decide the subject matter. CFI issued writ of preliminary injunction.


Whether the new conferment to DOLE of jurisdiction to take cognizance of cases affecting money claims not before exercised by it is valid under Constitution and applicable statutes as accorded under RO Plan 20-A.


No. RO Plan 20-A in so far it confers quasi-judicial function to RO of DOLE is invalid and without effect.

RA 997, which was later amended by RA 1241 created Government Survey and Reorganization Commission (GSRC). GSRC was empowered to: 1) abolish department offices which may not be necessary and 2. Create those which may be necessary for efficient conduct of the government service, activities and functions.

GSRC, an administrative body, was merely granted power to create functions in connection with reorganization and should not validly confer quasi-judicial power. GSRC argued that this defect was cured when Congress did not disapprove of the same under the provisions of Section 691 of RA997.

The Supreme Court held that procedure of enactment of law by legislative inaction is not countenanced in this jurisdiction. Under our Constitution, to pass a bill or law, there must be a requisite for and separate action by each House of Congress to pass a law. Mere non-disapproval will not suffice as source for conferment of quasi-judicial function.

Legislature may confer on administrative bodies quasi-judicial powers involving exercise of discretion and judgement as incident to performance of administrative functions. But in so doing must be stated in express terms that leave no doubt.

Case Brief: Balbuna vs. Secretary of Education

G.R. No. L-14283 November 29, 1960
GIL BALBUNA, ET AL., petitioners-appellants,
THE HON. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, ET AL., respondents-appellees.


Sec. 1 of R.A. No. 1265 requires all educational constitution to observe daily flag ceremony, which shall be simple and dignified and shall include the playing or singin of the national anthem. sec 2 authorizes the sec of education to issie rules and regulations on the proper comduct of flag ceremony.

Petitioner, members of Jehovah’s witness challenged the constitutionality of the Act, by virtue of which, the Secretary of Education issued Department Order No. 8, prescribing compulsory flag ceremony, as an undue delegation of legislative power.


WON the requirements of simplicity and dignity of the flag ceremony and the singing of the national anthem constitute an adequate standard.



The requirements set in Sec. 1 and Sec. 2 of the Act constitute an adequate standard, to wit, simplicity and dignity of the flag ceremony and the singing of the national anthem. That the Legislature did not specify the details of the flag ceremony is no objection to the validity of the statute, for all that is required of it is the laying down of the standards and policy that will limit the discretion of the regulatory agency.

Case Brief: Board of Medical Education vs. Alfonso

THE BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION and the HON. LOURDES R. QUISUMBING, in her capacity as Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports and Chairman, Board of Medical Education, petitioners,
HON. DANIEL P. ALFONSO, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 74, Fourth Judicial Region, Antipolo, Rizal, and the PHILIPPINE MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE FOUNDATION, INC., respondents.
G.R. No. 88259  August 10, 1989


The, College, a private educational institution, was founded in 1981 for the avowed purpose of producing physicians who will “emancipate Muslim citizens from age-old attitudes on health.” The, unstable peace and order situation in Mindanao led to the establishment of the College in Antipolo, Rizal, which granted it a temporary permit to operate in the municipality, instead of in Zamboanga City where the school was first proposed to be located. It has since adopted Antipolo as its permanent site and changed its name to the Rizal College of Medicine.

In 1985, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) and the Board of Medical Education (BME) authorized the Commission on Medical Education to conduct a study of all medical schools in the Philippines. The report of the Commission showed that the College fell very much short of the minimum standards set for medical schools.  The team of inspectors recommended the closure of the school upon the following findings, to wit:
(a) the College was not fulfilling the purpose for which it had been created because of its inappropriate location and the absence in its curriculum of subjects relating to Muslim culture and welfare;
(b) its lack of university affiliation hindered its students from obtaining a “balanced humanistic and scientific” education;
(c) it did not have its philosophy base hospital for the training of its students in the major clinical disciplines, as required by the DECS;
(d) more than 60% of the college faculty did not teach in the College full-time, resulting in shortened and irregular class hours, subject overloading, and in general, poor quality teaching.

The school disputed these findings as biased and discriminatory. Four (4) other surveys were thereafter made by as many different committees or teams, at the school’s instance or otherwise, all of which basically confirmed the results of that first survey.

In her letter of June 23, 1988, Secretary Quisumbing informed the Chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees, Mr. Victor Sumulong, of the decision of the Board of Medical Education to close the College. Mr. Sumulong instead proposed a gradual phase-out starting the school year 1989-1990 in order not to dislocate the students and staff and to minimize financial loss. The Board subsequently allowed the College to continue its operations but only until May 1989, after which it was to be closed, this decision being “final and unappealable.”

The College appealed the decision to the Office of the President, imputing grave abuse of discretion to the Secretary. On February 16, 1989, Executive Secretary Catalino Macaraig, Jr., finding “no reason to disturb” the contested decision, affirmed it.

On March 2, 1989, the College went to court. It filed Civil Case No. 1385 in the court of respondent Judge Daniel P. Alfonso against Secretary Quisumbing in her capacity as Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, questioning the decision as illegal, oppressive, arbitrary and discriminatory and applied for a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain its implementation. The writ was issued as prayed for, by order of the respondent Judge dated May 10, 1989, ruled that the inspection of June 18, 1988 was the principal basis of the closure order, and on such basis sustained the claim of the College that the inspection was done in an “arbitrary and haphazard manner” by a team of inspectors who had already prejudged the school.


Whether or not the order of injunction dated May 10, 1989 was issued with grave abuse of discretion and a restraining order against its enforcement as well as for the dismissal of the action may be instituted in the court a quo.


The petition is hereby granted and the temporary restraining order issued by the Court is made permanent. The questioned writ of preliminary injunction dated May 10, 1989 is set aside and respondent Judge is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 1385.

Respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in substituting his judgment for theirs. It is well-settled doctrine that courts of justice should not generally interfere with purely administrative and discretionary functions; that courts have no supervisory power over the proceedings and actions of the administrative departments of the government; involving the exercise of judgment and findings of facts, because by reason of their special knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their jurisdiction, the latter are in a better position to pass judgment on such matters and in their findings of facts in that regard are generally accorded respect, if not finality, by the courts. There are, to be sure, exceptions to this general rule but none of them obtains in this case.

Case Brief: Rubi et. al. vs. The Provincial Board of Mindoro

G.R. No. L-14078 March 7, 1919
RUBI, ET AL. (manguianes), plaintiffs,


This is an application for habeas corpus in favor of Rubi and other Manguianes of the Province of Mindoro. It is alleged that the Maguianes are being illegally deprived of their liberty by the provincial officials of that province. Rubi and his companions are said to be held on the reservation established at Tigbao, Mindoro, against their will, and one Dabalos is said to be held under the custody of the provincial sheriff in the prison at Calapan for having run away form the reservation. It thus appears that the provincial governor of Mindoro and the provincial board thereof directed the Manguianes in question to take up their habitation in Tigbao, selected by the provincial governor and approved by the provincial board.

The action was taken in accordance with section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917, and was duly approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

Petitioners, however, challenge the validity of this section of the Administrative Code. This, therefore, becomes the paramount question which the court is called upon the decide.


Whether or not Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 is an unlawful delegation of legislative power by the Philippine Legislature to the provincial official and a department head.



That the maxim of Constitutional Law forbidding the delegation of legislative power should be zealously protected, the Court agrees.

However, an exception to the general rule, sanctioned by immemorial practice, permits the central legislative body to delegate legislative powers to local authorities. The Philippine Legislature has here conferred authority upon the Province of Mindoro, to be exercised by the provincial governor and the provincial board.

Who but the provincial governor and the provincial board, as the official representatives of the province, are better qualified to judge “when such as course is deemed necessary in the interest of law and order?” As officials charged with the administration of the province and the protection of its inhabitants, who but they are better fitted to select sites which have the conditions most favorable for improving the people who have the misfortune of being in a backward state?

Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 is not an unlawful delegation of legislative power by the Philippine Legislature to provincial official and a department head.

Case Brief: Echegaray vs. Secretary of Justice

G.R. No. 132601. October 12, 1998


On June 25, 1996, petitioner was convicted for the rape of his common law spouse’s ten year old daughter and was sentenced to death penalty. He filed a Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration raising for the first time the constitutionality of RA 7659 “ The Death Penalty Law”, and the imposition of death penalty for the crime of rape. The motions were denied with the court finding no reason to declare it unconstitutional and pronouncing Congress compliant with the requirements for its imposition.

RA 8177 was passed amending Art. 8 of the RPC as amended by Sec. 24 of RA 7659. The mode of execution was changed from electrocution to lethal injection. The Secretary of Justice promulgated the rules and regulations to implement R.A 8177 and directed the Director of Bureau of Corrections to prepare the Lethal Injection Manual.

Petitioner filed a petition for prohibition, injunction and TRO to enjoin the Secretary of Justice and Director of Bureau of Prisons from carrying out the execution, contending that RA 8177 and its implementing rules are unconstitutional and void. The Executive Judge of the RTC of Quezon City and Presiding Judge of RTC Branch 104 were later impleaded to enjoin them from setting a date of execution.

On March 3, 1998 , the court required respondents to comment and mandated the parties to mantain status quo . Petitioner filed a very urgent motion to clarify status quo and to request for TRO until resolution of the petition.

The Solicitor General filed a comment on the petition dismissing the claim that the RA in question is unconstitutional and providing arguments in support of his contention. CHR filed a motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and appear as Amicus Curiae alleging that the death penalty is cruel and degrading citing applicable provisions and statistics showing how other countries have abolished the death penalty and how some have become abolitionists in practice . Petitioner filed a reply stating that lethal injection is cruel, degrading , inhuman and violative of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


WON R.A. 8117 and its implementing rules do not pass constitutional muster for being an undue delegation of legislative power



The separation of power is a fundamental principle in our system of government and each department has exclusive cognizance of matters placed within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. A consequence of the doctrine of separation of powers is the principle of non-delegation of powers. In Latin maxim, the rule is : potestas delegata non delegari potest.” (what has been delegated, cannot be delegated). There are however exceptions to this rule and one of the recognized exceptions is “ Delegation to Administrative Bodies “

The Secretary of Justice in conjunction with the Secretary of Health and the Director of the Bureau of Corrections are empowered to promulgate rules and regulations on the subject of lethal injection.

The reason for delegation of authority to administrative agencies is the increasing complexity of the task of government requiring expertise as well as the growing inability of the legislature to cope directly with the myriad problems demanding its attention.

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 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.