8 principles in the exercise of government power


Governmental power shall be exercised in accordance with the following basic principles and policies.

[1] The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them

Clearly and solemnly, therefore, our citizenry have thus been given the supreme guaranty of a democratic way of life, with all its freedom and limitations, all its rights and duties. (BENGZON, J.P., J., concurring: G.R. No. L-24761. September 7, 1965)

[2] The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.

The Philippines, therefore, has the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that those detained or arrested can participate in the proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without delay on the legality of the detention and order their release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are under obligation to make available to every person under detention such remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. (G.R. No. 153675. April 19, 2007)

[3] Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military.

The Constitution mandates that civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military, making the civilian President the nation’s supreme military leader. The net effect of this is that a civilian President is the ceremonial, legal and administrative head of the armed forces. The Constitution does not require that the President must be possessed of military training and talents, but, as Commander-in-Chief, he has the power to direct military operations and to determine military strategy. Normally, he would be expected to delegate the actual command of the armed forces to military experts; but the ultimate power is his. As Commander-in-Chief, he is authorized to direct the movements of the naval and military forces placed by law at his command, and to employ them in the manner he may deem most effectual. (G.R. No. 187298. July 03, 2012)

[4] The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

The autonomy of the local government units (LGUs) as ensured by the 1987 Constitution does not contemplate the fragmentation of the Philippines into a collection of mini-states, or the creation of imperium in imperio. The grant of autonomy simply means that Congress will allow the LGUs to perform certain functions and exercise certain powers in order not for them to be overly dependent on the National Government subject to the limitations that the 1987 Constitution or Congress may impose. Local autonomy recognizes the wholeness of the Philippine society in its ethnolinguistic, cultural, and even religious diversities. (G.R. No. 199802. July 3, 2018)

The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units. (Article X of the 1987 Constitution)

[5] The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions, in accordance with the Constitution, in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as may be provided by law.[6] The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.

Justice Isagani Cruz expounded on this doctrine, viz.: The rationale of the rule is summed up in the familiar saying, "Strong fences make good neighbors." The idea is to delineate the boundaries between the two institutions and, thus, avoid encroachments by one against the other because of a misunderstanding of the limits of their respective exclusive jurisdictions. The demarcation line calls on the entities to "render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's."

This, notwithstanding, the State still recognizes the inherent right of the people to have some form of belief system, whether such may be belief in a Supreme Being, a certain way of life, or even an outright rejection of religion. (A.M. No. 10-4-19-SC. March 7, 2017)

[7] The right of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making shall not be abridged. The State shall, by law, facilitate the establishment of adequate consultation mechanisms.

[8] The powers expressly vested in any branch of the Government shall not be exercised by, nor delegated to, any other branch of the Government, except to the extent authorized by the Constitution.

Potestas delegata non delegare potest. A power once delegated cannot be redelegated.

This doctrine is based on the ethical principle that such a delegated power constitutes not only a right but a duty to be performed by the delegate through the instrumentality of his own judgment and not through the intervening mind of another.10 A further delegation of such power would indeed constitute a negation of the duty in violation of the trust reposed in the delegate mandated to discharge it directly. (G.R. No. 115381. December 23, 1994)

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