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Executive Department The President Prohibitions and Exceptions to Prohibitions

National Amnesty Commission vs. Commission on Audit


GR No. 156982
Corona, J.
Summarized by Kim
The National Amnesty Commission (hereinafter referred to as NAC) files with the
Supreme Court petition for review under Rule 64 of the Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to
annul two (2) decisions of respondent Commission on Audit (COA) as regards their
disallowance for the honoraria payment to NACs ex-officio representatives in their board. The
ponencia quotes heavily from Civil Liberties Union vs. The Executive Secretary to explain the
decision.
IMPORTANT PEOPLE
Auditor Ernesto C. Eulalia (resident COA auditor for the NAC)
FACTS
1. The NAC files with the SC a petition for review seeking the annulment of two decisions 1
of COA affirming the ruling of Auditor Eulalia regarding the disallowance of the payment
of honoraria to the representatives of NACs ex officio members, per COA Memorandum
No. 97-038.
2. NAC is a government agency created on March 25, 1994 by then President Fidel Ramos
through Proclamation No. 347. They are tasked to receive, process, and review amnesty
applications. Composed of the following members (7 total):
a. Chairperson
b. Regular Member
c. Regular Member
d. Regular Member
e. Department of Justice Secretary (ex-officio member)
f. Department of National Defense Secretary (ex-officio member)
g. Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary (ex-officio member)
3. After personally attending the initial NAC meetings, the three ex-officio members turned
over their responsibility to their representatives who were paid honoraria from December
12, 1994 to October 15, 1997.

1 Dated July 26, 2001 and January 30, 2003 affirming the September 21, 1998 ruling of the
National Government Audit Office upholding Auditor Eulalias order of disallowance

4. NAC resident auditor disallowed the payment of honoraria amounting to PHP


255,750.00 for December 12, 1994 to June 27, 1997 pursuant to COA Memorandum No.
97-038.
5. April 28, 1999 NAC passed Administrative Order No. 2 (the new Implementing Rules
and Regulations of Proclamation No. 347. Section 1 of this states: The ex-officio
members may designate their representatives to the Commission. Said representatives
shall be entitled to per diems, allowance, bonuses and other benefits as may be
authorized by law.
6. NAC tried to use this Memorandum to appeal to COA to no avail. Hence the instant
petition.
ISSUE with HOLDING
1. WON COA committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing COA Memorandum No. 97038.
NO. The issuance of COA Memorandum No. 97-038 is in accordance with the
constitutional mandate of COA which is set out in Article 9-D, specifically sections 2 and
3 thereof.
2. WON COA committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing COA Memorandum No. 97038 without the notice or publication required under Article 2 of the Civil Code.
NO. Contrary to the petitioners claim, the Memorandum does not need the publication
as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code for its validity and effectivity. It is merely an
internal and interpretative regulation or letter of instruction which does not need
publication to be effective and valid. It is not an implementing rule or regulation of a
statute but a directive issued by the COA to its auditors to enforce the self-executing
prohibition imposed by Section 13, Article 7 of the Constitution. It does not affect any
right of individual, except those provided for under the Constitution.
3. WON COA committed grave abuse of discretion in invoking Section 7 paragraph 2
Article 9-B to sustain their decision regarding the disallowance.
NO. The ponencia heavily quotes Civil Liberties Union vs. Executive Secretary to explain
this so it would be best if you read it in conjunction with this case. The court holds that
Section 13 Article 7 specifically prohibits the President, the Vice-President, the Cabinet
Members and their deputies and assistants from holding other office. On the other hand,
Section 7, Article 9-B is meant to lay down a general rule applicable to all elective and
appointive public officials and employees with Section 13, Article 7 as the exception
applicable only to the aforementioned persons.

4. WON COA committed grave abuse of discretion in interpreting and applying the
Memorandum to the ex-officio representatives who have ranks lower than Assistant
Secretaries (and therefore are entitled to honoraria and other compensation as allowed
by law) and disallowing the said honoraria.
NO. Ex-officio capacities/ posts do not comprise any other office within the
contemplation of the constitutional prohibition but are properly an imposition of additional
duties and functions on said officials. Therefore, the official concerned has no right to
receive additional compensation for his services in the said position as these services
are already paid for and covered by the compensation attached to his principal office.
The NAC ex-officio members representatives who were all appointive officials with ranks
below Assistant Secretary are actually covered by the two constitutional prohibitions.
First the representatives are not exempt from the general prohibition because there is
no law or AO creating a NEW office or position and authorizing additional compensation
therefor. In addition, they are merely designated and designation without appointment
does not entitle the officer to receive the salary of the position. The right to claim is
attached to an appointment not a designation.
Second the representatives are also covered by the strict constitutional prohibition
imposed on the Cabinet Members together with the President. In the attendance of the
NAC meetings, the ex-officio members were not entitled to (and in fact prohibited from)
collecting extra compensation as is it is expressly prohibited by the Constitution. Since
the ex-officio member is prohibited from receiving additional compensation for a position
held in an ex-officio capacity, his representative is likewise restricted.
DISPOSITIVE PORTION
Petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
DOCTRINE
Ex-officio capacities/ posts do not comprise any other office within the contemplation of the
constitutional prohibition but are properly an imposition of additional duties and functions on said
officials.
Executive prohibitions and exceptions to prohibitions.
PROVISION
Section 7, Article 9-B

TEXT
No elective official shall be eligible for appointment or
designation in any capacity to any public office or position
during his tenure.

Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of


his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or
employment in the Government or any subdivision, agency or
instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or
controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.
Section 13 Article 7

The President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet,


and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless
otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any
other office or employment during their tenure. They
shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly, practice
any other profession, participate in any business, or be
financially interested in any contract with, or in any
franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or
any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof,
including government-owned or controlled corporations or
their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of
interest in the conduct of their office.
The spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within
the fourth civil degree of the President shall not during his
tenure be appointed as members of the Constitutional
Commissions, or the Office of the Ombudsman, or as
Secretaries, Undersecretaries, chairmen or heads of bureaus
or offices, including government-owned or controlled
corporations and their subsidiaries

Section 6, Article 7

The President shall have an official residence. The salaries


of the President and Vice-President shall be determined by
law and shall not be decreased during their tenure. No
increase in said compensation shall take effect until after
the expiration of the term of the incumbent during which
such increase was approved. They shall not receive
during their tenure any other emolument from the
Government or any other source.

RELEVANCE TO THE LESSON


There is an exception to the general rule of Section 7, Article 9-B and that is Section 13
Article 7 which provides more stringent prohibitions on the following:
President
Vice-President
Members of the Cabinet and their deputies or assistants

They cannot hold any other office or employment during their tenure or receive any other
compensation other than their salaries as determined by law (Section 6 Article 7).
In addition, the spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity to the fourth civil
degree of the President shall not be appointed as Members of the Constitutional Commissions
or the Office of the Ombudsman or as Secretaries, Undersecretaries, chairmen or heads of
bureaus or offices, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their
subsidiaries.