Valentino Legaspi vs Minister of Finance

G.R. No. L-58289 – 115 SCRA 418 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Powers of the President – Amnesty Does not Need Concurrence from Congress if the President Acts Pursuant to His Power to Legislate

In 1982, after the lifting of Martial Law, Legaspi, then incumbent member of the interim Batasang Pambansa, petitioned to declare Presidential Decree 1840 “granting tax amnesty and filing of statement of assets and liabilities and some other purposes” unconstitutional. He argued that said decree was promulgated despite the fact that under the Constitution “(T)he Legislative power shall be vested in a Batasang Pambansa” (Sec. 1, Article VIII) and the President may grant amnesty only “with concurrence of the Batasang Pambansa.” In this case, there was no concurrence given by the interim BP. Legaspi averred that since Martial Law is already lifted, the president can no longer arbitrarily enact laws. At the same time,  Legaspi averred that Amendment No. 6, which provides legislative powers to Marcos, is invalid because that is no longer allowed after the lifting of the Martial Law.

ISSUE: Whether or not Marcos can validly grant tax amnesties w/o the concurrence of the Batasan Pambansa.

HELD: SC ruled PD 1840 to be valid. Legaspi argued that PD 1840 is invalid for it did not enjoy the concurrence of the Batasan. He relies on Article 7, Sec 11 of the Constitution which provides that –

“The President may, except in cases of impeachment, grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, remit fines and forfeitures and with the concurrence of the Batasang Pambansa, grant amnesty.”

The SC noted that Article 7, sec. 11, applies only when the President is exercising his power of executive clemency. In the case at bar, PD 1840 was issued pursuant to his power to legislate under Amendment No. 6. It ought to be indubitable that when the President acts as legislator as in the case at bar, he does not need the concurrence of the Batasan. Rather, he exercises concurrent authority vested by the Constitution.

Read other versions of this digest here (Martial Law) and here (Forms of Government).

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