Political Law

Bolinao Electronics Corporation et al. vs Brigido Valencia

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G.R. No. L-20740 – 11 SCRA 486 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Executive Department – Powers of the President; Veto Power; Line-Item Veto – Limitations of the Veto Power; Veto Power Does Not Include Power to Veto Conditions/Restrictions

Bolinao Electronics Corporation, Chronicle Broadcasting Network, Inc. (CBN), and Montserrat Broadcasting System, Inc. were radio and television network operators which were denied renewal of their respective station licenses by the Department of Public Works and Communications through its secretary Brigido Valencia. The sole reason for the non-renewal was their late filing of their application for renewal. The three networks then filed a certiorari case against Valencia. In the certiorari case, the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS), a government owned and controlled corporation, intervened as it alleged it incurred damages when CBN failed to give up Channel 9 despite its lack of license and despite a previous agreement that it would give up said channel. PBS averred that its claim for damages arose from the fact that under the 1962-63 Budget (Appropriations Act), the PBS was allotted fund to operate and that such failure of CBN to give up channel 9 caused it damages.

It appears however that the full text of the pertinent provision of the appropriation act provides:

For contribution to the operation of the Philippine Broadcasting Service, including promotion, programming, operations and general administration; Provided, That no portion of this appropriation shall be used for the operation of television stations in Luzon or any part of the Philippines where there are television stations.

It also appears that the President vetoed the second sentence (italicized) of the afore-mentioned provision.

ISSUE: Whether or not the veto is valid.

HELD: No. Hence, the provision that the PBS may not spend for the operation of a television station where there are already existing TV stations is still in effect. Thus, PBS cannot validly spend for the operation of a TV station in places where there are already existing TV stations. In short, the PBS can only operate TV stations in areas where there are none.

As such, if PBS did spend some public fund in operating a TV station where there are already existing TV stations, it cannot claim for damages because it should not have made the expenditure in the first place.

The SC ruled that the veto made by the President on the condition is not valid. The President has the power to veto any particular item or items of an appropriation bill. However, when a provision of an appropriation bill affects one or more items of the same, the President cannot veto the provision without at the same time vetoing the particular item or items to which it relates. The executive’s veto power does not carry with it the power to strike out conditions or restrictions.

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