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Planas vs Gil on December 6, 2011 Political Law Separation of Powers On 17 Nov 1978, Carmen Planas (then a municipal board

member of Manila) statement criticizing the acts of certain government officials including Pres. Quezon was published in la vanguardia. The following morning, she received a letter from V argas (Secretary to the President) by order of the president containing the foll owing: In the above statement, you appear to make the following charges: (1) That the President of the Philippines has violated the Constitution in that he has t aken part in politics, expressing his preference for the candidates of the Nacio nalista Party; (2) That the whole government machinery has been put in action to prevent the election to the National Assembly of the candidates of the people; (3) That the candidates of the NP and of the administration have won the electio n through frauds and violations of the civil service rules; (4) That the adminis tration does not permit the people to freely elect the candidates of their choic e. Planas was then ordered to appear before the CSC for investigation and to prov e her allegations against the administration. She appeared before the CSC but sh e questioned the jurisdiction of the CSC over the matter. She said that as an el ective official, is accountable for her political acts to her constituency alone , unless such acts constitute offenses punishable under our penal laws, and not to executive officials belonging to a party opposed to that to which petitioner is affiliated. Further, her statement of November 17th made by her as a private citizen and in the exercise of her right to discuss freely political questions c annot properly be the subject of an administrative investigation had with a view to her suspension or removal, and is only cognizable by our courts of justice i n case the contents of said statement infringe any provision of our Penal Code a nd that her removal due to the same would be an arbitrary act by the CSC. The CS C however took cognizance of the case hence the appeal to the SC. The Solicitor General replied for the CSC arguing that under the separation of powers marked b y the Constitution, the court has no jurisdictions to review the orders of the C hief Executive which are of purely administrative character. ISSUE: Whether or not the SC has jurisdiction to review orders issued by the Pre sident. HELD: The acts of the Chief Executive performed within the limits of his jurisdi ction are his official acts and courts will neither direct nor restrain executiv e action in such cases. The rule is non-interference. But from this legal premis e, it does not necessarily follow that the SC is precluded from making an inquir y into the validity or constitutionality of his acts when these are properly cha llenged in an appropriate legal proceeding. The classical separation of governme ntal powers viewed in the light of political philosophy is a relative theory of government. There is more truism and actuality in interdependence than in indepe ndence and separation of powers. In the present case, the President is not a par ty to the proceeding. He is neither compelled nor restrained to act in a particu lar way. The CSC is the party respondent and the theory is advanced by the Sol-G en that because an investigation undertaken by him is directed by authority of t he President of the Philippines, the SC has no jurisdiction over the present pro ceedings instituted by Planas. The argument is farfetched. A mere plea that a su bordinate officer of the government is acting under orders from the Chief Execut ive may be an important averment, but is neither decisive nor conclusive upon th is court. Like the dignity of his high office, the relative immunity of the Chie f Executive from judicial interference is not in the nature of a sovereign passp ort for all the subordinate official and employees of the executive Department t o the extent that at the mere invocation of the authority that it purports the j urisdiction of this court to inquire into the validity or legality of an executi ve order is necessarily abated or suspended. Nevertheless, SC ruled that CSC can take cognizance of the case. Planas was not denied the right to voice out her o

pinion but since she made allegations against the administration it is but right for her to prove those allegations. The CSC has the right to elicit the truth