Political Law

Imelda Marcos vs Court of Appeals

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G.R. No. 126594 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Bill of Rights – Equal Protection

The Legislative Department – Undue Delegation

Imelda Marcos was charged for violating Central Bank Circular No. 960 which banned residents, firms, associations and corporations from maintaining foreign exchange accounts abroad without permission from the Central Bank. Several informations were filed against her. During the pendency of the cases, Central Bank Circular Nos. 1318 and 1353 (Further Liberalizing Foreign Exchange Regulations) were issued which basically allowed residents, firms, associations and corporations to maintain foreign exchange accounts abroad but the circulars have a saving clause excepting from the circular pending criminal actions involving violations of C.B. Circ. 960. Marcos filed a Motion to Quash the informations filed against her based on the new circulars. The RTC denied the Motion so did the CA hence the appeal. Marcos averred that her right to equal protection has been violated, among others, as the new circular was purposedly designed to preserve the criminal cases lodged against her.

She also averred that C.B. Circ. 960, as well as the Central Bank Act (which allowed the Central Bank to issue circulars) is an undue delegation of legislative power because the said law allowed the Central Bank to legislate (define crimes) penal laws and determine penalties therefor.

ISSUE: Whether or not the contentions of Marcos are correct.

HELD: No. There is no undue delegation. The Central Bank Act is the penal law which defined the crimes which allegedly were committed by Imelda Marcos. The C.B. Circulars concerned merely spelled out the details of the offense. These circulars are mere administrative regulations and not the penal laws itself alleged to have been violated by Marcos.

Anent the issue of equal protection, the Supreme Court said “[Marcos’s] lamentations that the aforementioned provisions are discriminatory because they are aimed at her and her co-accused do not assume the dignity of a legal argument since they are unwarranted conjectures belied by even the text of the circulars alone. Hence, as respondent appellate court correctly concludes, the foregoing facts clearly disprove petitioner’s claim that her constitutional right to equal protection of the law was violated. Should she nonetheless desire to pursue such objection, she may always adduce additional evidence at the trial of these cases since that is the proper stage therefor, and not at their present posture.”

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