President as "guardian of the Philippine archipelago"

The President was called the "guardian of the Philippine archipelago" in Saguisag v. Ochoa, Jr. (G.R. No. 212426, January 12, 2016)

The duty to protect the State and its people. must be carried out earnestly and effectively throughout the whole territory of the Philippines in accordance with the constitutional provision on national territory. Hence, the President of the Philippines, as the sole repository of executive power, is the guardian of the Philippine archipelago, including all the islands and waters embraced therein and all other territories over which it has sovereignty or jurisdiction. These territories consist of its terrestrial, fluvial, and aerial domains; including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas; and the waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions.

To carry out this important duty, the President is equipped with authority over the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which is the protector of the people and the state. The AFP's role is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory. In addition, the Executive is constitutionally empowered to maintain peace and order; protect life, liberty, and property; and promote the general welfare. In recognition of these powers, Congress has specified that the President must oversee, ensure, and reinforce our defensive capabilities against external and internal threats and, in the same vein, ensure that the country is adequately prepared for all national and local emergencies arising from natural and man-made disasters. (G.R. No. 212426, January 12, 2016)

In recognition of these powers, Congress has specified that the President must oversee, ensure, and reinforce our defensive capabilities against external and internal threats and, in the same vein, ensure that the country is adequately prepared for all national and local emergencies arising from natural and man-made disasters. (See CONSTITUTION, Art. VII, Sec. 18 in relation to Art. II, Secs. 3, 4 & 7; Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987), Book IV (Executive Branch), Title VIII (National Defense), Secs. l, 15, 26 & 33 [hereinafter Administrative Code of 1987]; see Administrative Code of 1987, Book IV (Executive Branch), Title XII (Local Government), Sec. 3(5).)

To be sure, this power is limited by the Constitution itself. To illustrate, the President may call out the AFP to prevent or suppress instances of lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, but not suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period exceeding 60 days, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law exceeding that same span. In the exercise of these powers, the President is also duty-bound to submit a report to Congress, in person or in writing, within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; and Congress may in turn revoke the proclamation or suspension. The same provision provides for the Supreme Court's review of the factual basis for the proclamation or suspension, as well as the promulgation of the decision within 30 days from filing. (CONSTITUTION, Art. VII, Sec. 18)

Popular Posts