Political Law

Trade Unions of the Philippines and Allied Services vs Blas Ople

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G.R. No. L-67573 – 137 SCRA 117 – Political Law – Basic Principles – Delegation of Legislative Power

The Trade Unions of the Philippines and Allied Services (TUPAS) and the National Federation of Labor Unions (NFLU) are unions representing the agricultural and industrial sectors. They alleged they represent over a million workers all over the country. On the other hand, Batas Pambansa Blg. 697 was the implementing law of the constitutional provision (1973 Constitution) which states that 3 sectors are to be represented in the Batasan (youth, agricultural labor, industrial labor).

Each sector must have four representatives, two from Luzon, one each from Visayas and Mindanao. These sectors can submit their nominees to the President for approval/appointment through the Minister of Labor. TUPAS however questions the constitutionality of the said BP because it allegedly lacks duly published rules on accreditation, nomination and appointment of industrial labor representatives. Being so, TUPAS questioned the acts of Blas Ople, then Minister of Labor, in accrediting certain nominations provided by other industrial labor groups. TUPAS claims that since there are no rules clearly stated in the BP on how the nominations must be handled, the said law has provided undue delegation to the Minister of Labor and has left him with absolute discretion in carrying out the duty of accrediting such nominations.  TUPAS did not submit their nomination within the given 20 day period of nominating their representation; they instead proceeded to question the constitutionality of the said BP and the legality of the acts of Ople. Because of their failure to submit their nominees, Ople did not accredit them.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is undue delegation of power to the Minister of Labor by BP 697.

HELD: No. The lack of merit of the contention that there is an unlawful delegation of legislative power is quite obvious. Appointment to office is intrinsically an executive act involving the exercise of discretion. What is involved then is not a legislative power but the exercise of competence intrinsically executive. What is more, the official who could make the recommendation is the Minister of Labor, an alter ego of the President. The argument, therefore, that there is an unlawful delegation of legislative power is bereft of any persuasive force.

To further test the validity of the said BP, and to avoid the taint of unlawful delegation, there must be a standard, which implies at the very least that the legislature itself determines matters of principle and lays down fundamental policy. Otherwise, the charge of complete abdication may be hard to repel. A standard thus defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it. The standard does not even have to be spelled out. It could be implied from the policy and purpose of the act considered as a whole. Such standard is set forth with clarity in Article III, Section 6 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 697 which provides in full the limits and scope of the functions of the Minister of Labor in carrying out the said provisions.

What cannot be delegated is the authority under the Constitution to make laws and to alter and repeal them; the test is the completeness of the statute in all its term and provisions when it leaves the hands of the legislature. To determine whether or not there is an undue delegation of legislative power, the inquiry must be directed to the scope and definiteness of the measure enacted. The legislature does not abdicate its functions when it describes what job must be done, who is to do it, and what is the scope of his authority.

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