The Principle of Non-Delegation of Powers

Any attempt to abdicate the power is unconstitutional and void, on the principle that potestas delegata non delegare potest. This principle is said to have originated with the glossators, was introduced into English law through a misreading of Bracton, there developed as a principle of agency, was established by Lord Coke in the English public law in decisions forbidding the delegation of judicial power, and found its way into America as an enlightened principle of free government. It has since become an accepted corollary of the principle of separation of powers. (5 Encyc. of the Social Sciences, p. 66.)

The classic statement of the rule is that of Locke, namely: "The legislative neither must nor can transfer the power of making laws to anybody else, or place it anywhere but where the people have." (Locke on Civil Government, sec 142.) Judge Cooley enunciates the doctrine in the following oft-quoted language: "One of the settled maxims in constitutional law is, that the power conferred upon the legislature to make laws cannot be delegated by that department to any other body or authority. Where the sovereign power of the state has located the authority, there it must remain; and by the constitutional agency alone the laws must be made until the Constitution itself is changed.
The power to whose judgment, wisdom, and patriotism this high prerogative has been intrusted cannot relieve itself of the responsibility by choosing other agencies upon which the power shall be devolved, nor can it substitute the judgment, wisdom, and patriotism of any other body for those to which alone the people have seen fit to confide this sovereign trust." (Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, 8th ed., Vol. I, p. 224. Quoted with approval in U. S.vs. Barrias [1908], 11 Phil., 327.) This court posits the doctrine "on the ethical principle that such a delegated power constitutes not only a right but a duty to be performed by the delegate by the instrumentality of his own judgment acting immediately upon the matter of legislation and not through the intervening mind of another. (U. S. vs. Barrias, supra, at p. 330; People vs. Vera; G.R. No. 45685, November 16, 1937)