Press Release
October 6, 2017

Drilon: EO 43 has no power over constitutional bodies

The Executive Order No. 43 cannot be used to discipline any member, official and employee outside the executive branch, including the Judiciary and Ombudsman, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.

"We laud the intention of Executive Order No. 43 if it is really to assist the President in investigating and/or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and or corruption against all presidential appointees in the executive branch," Drilon said.

"However, the executive order cannot be extended outside the executive branch without violating the core principles of independence and checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution," Drilon said.

"By virtue of constitutional independence, the EO cannot be used to discipline or recommend actions against any member, official and employee of other branches of government, including Congress, the Judiciary, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, Commission on Human Rights, and the Office of the Ombudsman," Drilon stressed.

Drilon said that the Supreme Court, in many cases, upheld the constitutional independence of offices such as the Ombudsman and disallowed the President to remove or discipline officials belonging to the constitutional bodies.

Hence, Drilon said that a provision in the EO "may be legally challenged" as an infringment on the independence of other branches of government and constitutional bodies.

Drilon particularly referred to Section 5 (c) of the EO that states that "upon instructions of the President, or motu proprio, the Commission may also conduct lifestyle checks and fact-finding inquiries on acts or ommissions of all presidential appointtees, including those outside of the Executive Branch of government, which may be violative of the Constitution, or contrary to law, rules and regulations, and/or constitutte serious misconduct tantamount to betrayal of public trust."

Citing Gonzales v. Office of the President (GR 196231), Drilon said that constitutional bodies such as the Ombudsman, by virtue of its constitutional independence, may not be removed or disciplined by the President.

Drilon said that "the limitation of the power of the President to discipline the members of these constitutional bodies is to preserve its independence and isolate them from the President's influence and political pressure."

"What we want to prevent here is a situation wherein constitutional offices would be, in effect, under the mercy of the executive that they are mandated to investigate," Drilon said.

Drilon then concluded that only the heads of these constitutional bodies can discipline their personnel, while it is the duty of Congress to investigate and prosecute impeachable officials.

News Latest News Feed