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Article IX

CONSTITUTIONAL
COMMISSIONS
Common Provisions
A. Independent Constitutional Commissions
B. Prohibition on Members
C. Salary
D. Power to Appoint
E. Fiscal Autonomy
F. Decisions of the Commissions
The Constitutional Commissions,
which shall be independent, are the Civil
Service Commission, the Commission on
Elections, and the Commission on Audit.
Independent Constitutional Commissions
The Civil Service Commission, Commission
On Audit and Commission on Election
perform key functions in the government. In
order to protect their integrity, they have
been made constitutional bodies.
Safeguards Insuring the Independence of the
Commissions
1. They are constitutionally created; they may not be
abolished by statute.

2. Each is expressly described as “independent.”

3. Each is conferred certain powers and functions which


cannot be reduced by statute.

4. The Chairmen and members cannot be removed except


by impeachment.

5. The Chairmen and members are given fairly long term of


office of 7 years.
Safeguards Insuring the Independence of the
Commissions
6. The terms of office of the chairmen and members of all
the commissioners are staggered in such a way as to
lessen the opportunity for appointment of the majority of
the body by the same President.

7. The chairmen and members may not be reappointed or


appointed in an acting capacity.

8. The salaries of the chairman and members are relatively


high and may not be decreased during continuance in
office.

9. The Commissions enjoy fiscal autonomy.


Safeguards Insuring the Independence of the
Commissions
10. Each Commission may promulgate its own procedural
rules, provided they do not diminish, increase or modify
substantive rights.

11. The chairmen and members are subject to certain


disqualifications calculated to strengthen their integrity.

12. The Commissions may appoint their own officials and


employees in accordance with Civil Service Law.
There are independent offices specifically authorized
by the Constitution to appoint their officials. Does
this imply that their appointment will not be subject
to Civil Service Law and Rules?

◈ No. If this were the case, these independent bodies would


arrogate upon themselves a power that properly belongs to the
Civil Service Commission. Had the intention of the framers of the
Constitution been to isolate and grant full independence to
Constitutional Commission in the matter of appointments, it
would have been so provided. But that is not the case. And since
all matters pertaining to appointments are within the realm of
expertise of the CSC, all laws, rules and regulations it issues on
appointments must be complied with. (Ombudsman v. CSC,
February 16, 2005)

“By vesting itself with the powers to
approve, review, amend, and revise
the Implementing Rules &
Regulations for (RA 9189 ) The
Overseas Absentee Voting Act of
2003, Congress went beyond the
scope of its constitutional authority.
Congress trampled upon the
constitutional mandate of
independence of the COMELEC.”
(Macalintal v. COMELEC, July 10, 2003)
Inhibitions/Disqualifications
Members of constitutional commissions:
1. Shall not, during tenure, hold any other office or
employment;
2. Shall not engage in the practice of any profession;
3. Shall not engage in the active management or control
of any business which in any way may be affected by
the functions of his office.
4. Shall not be financially interested, directly or indirectly,
in any contract with, or in any franchise or privilege
granted by the Government, any of its subdivisions,
agencies or instrumentalities, including government-
owned or controlled corporation or their subsidiaries.
◈ Purpose of Disqualifications.
◈ To compel the chairmen and members of the
Constitutional Commissions to devote their
full attention to the discharge of their duties
and, as well, to remove from them any
temptation to take advantage of their official
positions for selfish purposes.
◈ “Practice of profession” for the purpose of
Section 3, does not include teaching. Thus, a
lawyer who teaches law does not thereby, for
the purpose of Section 2, violate the
prohibition of practice of a profession.
◈ Prohibition of “active management” does
not prohibit a Commissioner from owning
business but it prohibits him from being the
managing officer or a member of the
governing board of a business, “which in any
way may be affected by the functions of his
office,” a qualifying phrase which does not
apply to the prohibition of a practice of a
profession.

SALARY
The salary of the Chairman and Commissioners shall be fixed
by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure.
As stated in Section 17, Article 18 of the Constitution,
the Chairperson of each commissions shall receive an
annual salary of two hundred four thousand pesos
each, and the Members of the Constitutional
Commissions, one hundred eighty thousand pesos
each

As per the Department of Budget and Management, the
current salary of a Chairman of each Constitutional
Commissions is Salary Grade 31 and for the Members
of the Constitutional Commissions, Salary Grade 30.

SOURCE: https://governmentph.com/salary-grade-2019-
table/
Rotational Scheme of Appointments

The first appointees shall


serve 7, 5 and 3 years
respectively.
Reason for Staggering of Terms:
1. To lessen the opportunity of the
President to appoint a majority of the
body during his term;
2. To ensure continuance of the body,
which always retains 2/3 of its
membership.
3. The system is expected to stabilize the
policies of the body as maintained by
the remaining members.
In order to preserve the periodic
succession mandated by the
Constitution, the rotational plan
requires two conditions:
◈ 1. The terms of the first commissioners should start
on a common date and
◈ 2. Any vacancy due to death, resignation or disability
before the expiration of the term should only be filled
for the unexpired balance of the term.
G. Fiscal Autonomy

Article IX-A, Section 5 gives the


constitutional commissions fiscal
autonomy, that is, their approved annual
appropriations shall be automatically and
regularly released and shall not be subject
to pre-audit.

In Civil Service Commission v. DBM,
July 22, 2005, the SC said that the “no
report, no release” policy may not be validly
enforced against offices vested with fiscal
autonomy, without violating Section 5 of
Article IX-A of the Constitution. The
“automatic release” of approved annual
appropriations to petitioner, a constitutional
commission vested with fiscal autonomy
should thus be construed to mean that no
condition to fund releases to it may be
imposed.
Power to Promulgate Rules of Procedure

Article IX-A, Section 6 gives the


constitutional commissions authority,
sitting en banc, to promulgate rules of
procedure.
Power to Promulgate Rules of Procedure
◈ In case of conflict between a rule of
procedure promulgated by a
Commission and a Rule of Court, the
rule of the Commission should prevail if
the proceeding is before the
Commission; but if the proceeding is
before a court, the Rules of Court
prevail.
Power to Promulgate Rules of Procedure
◈ The Supreme Court has no power to
disapprove Commission rules except
through the exercise of the power of
“judicial review” when such
Commission rules violate the
Constitution.
May Congress assume power to review
rules promulgated by the Commission?
◈ No. (By vesting itself with the powers to approve,
review, amend, and revise the Implementing Rules for
the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, Congress
acted beyond the scope of its constitutional authority.
Congress trampled upon the constitutional mandate of
independence of the COMELEC.) (Macalintal v.
COMELEC, July 10, 2003)
Power to Promulgate Rules of Procedure
◈ If the rules promulgated by a
Commission are inconsistent with a
statute, the statute prevails.
Proceedings
1. Decision
There is no decision until the draft is
signed and promulgated. Hence, if a
commissioner signs a decision but retires
before the decision is promulgated, his
vote does not count even if it was he who
penned the decision. (Ambil v.
COMELEC, October 25, 2005)
Proceedings
2. Who makes the decision
The decisions are made by the body and
not by individual members. No individual
member may make a decision for the
Commission. Much less may cases be
decided by subordinates of the
Commission. Not even the Commission’s
legal counsel may make a decision for the
Commission.
Proceedings
3. Each Commission shall decide by a
majority vote of all its Members any case
or matter brought before it within sixty
days from the date of its submission for
decision.
29

The provision is clear that what is


required is the majority vote of all the
members, not only of those who
participated in the deliberations and
voted thereon. (Estrella v. COMELEC,
May 27, 2004)
30

(Article IX-B, Section 2 allows the


COMELEC to make decisions in
divisions) In the COMELEC, there is
full Commission to form a banc if
there are four Commissioners left.
Is the 3-1 vote of the remaining
commissioners a valid decision en
banc?
◈ The vote of 3 is a majority vote of all. (Dumayas v.
COMELEC, April 20, 2001)
Proceedings
4. Unless otherwise provided by this
Constitution or by law, any decision,
order, or ruling of each Commission may
be brought to the Supreme Court on
certiorari by the aggrieved party within 30
days from the receipt thereof.
How are decisions of the commissions
reviewed by the SC?
Commission on Audit: Judgments or final orders of
the Commission on Audit may be brought by an
aggrieved party to the Supreme Court on certiorari
under Rule 65. Only when COA acts without or
excess in jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,
may the SC entertain a petition for certiorari under
How are decisions of the commissions
reviewed by the SC?
Civil Service Commission: In the case of decisions of the CSC,
Administrative Circular 1-95538 which took effect on June 1,
1995, provides that final resolutions of the CSC shall be
appealable by certiorari to the CA within 15 days from receipt of
a copy thereof. From the decision of the CA, the party adversely
affected thereby shall file a petition for review on certiorari under
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
When certiorari to the Supreme Court is
chosen, what is required?
◈ Rule 65, Section 1 says that certiorari may be
resorted to when there is no other plain or speedy and
adequate remedy. But reconsideration is a speedy
and adequate remedy. Hence, a case may be brought
to the
◈ Supreme Court only after reconsideration.
As a consequence, in the case of decisions of the
COMELEC, only decision en banc may be brought to the
Court by certiorari since Article IX-C, 3 says that motions
for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the
Commission en banc. (Reyes v. RTC, 1995)
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