Antonio Araneta vs Judge Rafael Dinglasan

G.R. No. L-2044 – 84 Phil. 368 – Political Law – Basic Concepts – Elements of a State – Government – Branches of the Government – Separation of Powers – First Emergency Powers Cases – Lawmaking power is lodged in the legislature

Antonio Araneta is being charged for allegedly violating of Executive Order 62 which regulates rentals for houses and lots for residential buildings. Judge Rafael Dinglasan was the judge hearing the case. Araneta appealed seeking to prohibit Dinglasan and the Fiscal from proceeding with the case. He averred that EO 62 was issued by virtue of Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 671 which he claimed ceased to exist, hence, the EO has no legal basis.

Three other cases were consolidated with this one. L-3055 which is an appeal by Leon Ma. Guerrero, a shoe exporter, against EO 192 which controls exports in the Philippines; he is seeking to have permit issued to him.

L-3054 is filed by Eulogio Rodriguez to prohibit the treasury from disbursing funds [from 49-50] pursuant to EO 225.

L-3056 filed by Antonio Barredo is attacking EO 226 which was appropriating funds to hold the national elections.

They all aver that CA 671, otherwise known as AN ACT DECLARING A STATE OF TOTAL EMERGENCY AS A RESULT OF WAR INVOLVING THE PHILIPPINES AND AUTHORIZING THE PRESIDENT TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO MEET SUCH EMERGENCY or simply the Emergency Powers Act, is already inoperative and that all EOs issued pursuant to said CA had likewise ceased.

ISSUE: Whether or not CA 671 has ceased.

HELD: Yes. CA 671, which granted emergency powers to the president, became inoperative ex proprio vigore when Congress met in regular session on May 25, 1946, and that Executive Orders Nos. 62, 192, 225 and 226 were issued without authority of law. In setting the first regular session of Congress instead of the first special session which preceded it as the point of expiration of the Act, the SC is giving effect to the purpose and intention of the National Assembly. In a special session, the Congress may “consider general legislation or only such subjects as he (President) may designate.” Such acts were to be good only up to the corresponding dates of adjournment of the following sessions of the Legislature, “unless sooner amended or repealed by the National Assembly.” Even if war continues to rage on, new legislation must be made and approved in order to continue the EPAs, otherwise it is lifted upon reconvening or upon early repeal.

The point is, under this framework of government, legislation is preserved for Congress all the time, not excepting periods of crisis no matter how serious. Never in the history of the United States, the basic features of whose Constitution have been copied in ours, have the specific functions of the legislative branch of enacting laws been surrendered to another department — unless we regard as legislating the carrying out of a legislative policy according to prescribed standards; no, not even when that Republic was fighting a total war, or when it was engaged in a life-and-death struggle to preserve the Union. The truth is that under our concept of constitutional government, in times of extreme perils more than in normal circumstances “the various branches, executive, legislative, and judicial,” given the ability to act, are called upon “to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities committed to them respectively.”

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