5 scopes of political law


Political law (or political activity law) is an established legal practice area encompassing the intersection of politics and law. Wikipedia, citing Capdale.com and Econcordia.com, describes political law as comprising the following:

[1] Election law;
[2] Voting rights law;
[3] Campaign finance law;
[4] Laws governing lobbying and lobbyists;
[5] Open government laws;
[6] Legislative and executive branch ethics codes;
[7] Legislative procedure;
[8] Administrative procedure;
[9] Constitutional law; and
[10] Legislative and regulatory drafting. Political laws are applied primarily to government officials, candidates, advocacy groups, lobbyists, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and trade unions.

In the Philippines, election rules and voting rights are under our elections laws which also include campaign finance regulations. Legislative procedure and ethics are government by political law, mostly guided by Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. Executive ethics and procedure are treated under administrative law and accountability laws (laws on public officers), respectively.

An example of accountability laws is Republic Act (RA) No. 6713, a legislative act establishing a code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees.

According to Nachura (2014), a leading writer in the field of Philippine political law, there are five scopes in this branch of law:

[1] Constitutional law;
[2] Administrative law;
[3] Law on municipal corporations (law on public corporations);
[4] Law on public officers (accountability laws); and
[5] Election laws.
Constitutional law is the study of the maintenance of the proper balance between authority as represented by the three inherent powers of the State and liberty as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. (Cruz, Constitutional Law, 1993 ed., p. 1, cited by Nachura [2014]) On the other hand, political law proper (in law school, also called Political Law 1) deals with the structure of government, focusing on the three Great Branches of Government and the constitutional commissions.

Administrative la is that branch of public law which fixes the organization of government, determines the competence of the administrative authorities who execute the law, and indicates to the individual remedies for the violation of his rights. It is "that branch of modern law under which the executive department of government acting in a quasi-legislative or quasi-judicial capacity, interferes with the conduct of the individual for the purpose of promoting the well-being of the community, as under laws regulating public corporations, business affected with a public interest, professions, trades and callings, rates and prices, laws for the protection of the public health and safety and the promotion of the public convenience and advantage." (Popularized by Carlo Cruz, in his book on administrative law)

The law on public corporations (municipal corporations) focuses on the Local Government Code (RA 7160) and amendments there, especially those relating to local governments such as provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays (villages). The law on public officers revolves around the constitutional principle that public office is public trust. Election laws are, as the name suggests, those relating to the people's power of suffrage, the exercise thereof, remedies relating thereto and other matters such as the powers of the Commission on Election (Comelec).

The discussion above is based on an outline by Nachura (2014). His reviewer on political law is available in fine bookstores nationwide.

SOURCES: Nachura (2014). Outline Reviewer in Political Law. Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura. VJ Graphic Arts, Inc. www.facebook.com/vjgraphics/photos/a.662013483918998/858385384281806; Political law. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_law

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