“The President serves as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces with calling out powers, to declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus”
The executive branch is headed by the President who is the single most powerful public official of the country, either elected or appointed.
He is vested with so broad a power that his or her competence, character and integrity may have far reaching implications on the fate of the nation and consequences on so many people.
It is a myth that we followed the model of the American Presidency, where the US President is constrained by Congress and the Supreme Court.
Instead, our presidency is patterned after the office of the Spanish and American governors general, who had total authority to suppress the local people to allow the plunder of resources for the colonial masters.
Independence did not change that and the imperial presidency was established and institutionalized.
Given the importance of the position, the Constitution requires of him bare minimum formal requirements to qualify.
Hence, he must be a natural born citizen, able to read and write at least 40 years of age and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election.
The President of the Philippines is elected by direct vote by the people for a term of six years.
Under Article VII, Section 4: The President shall not be eligible for any re-election.
The President serves as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces with calling out powers, to declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
Again, because of abuses associated with the Marcos dictatorship experience (September 21, 1972-January 17, 1981 in the time of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. [December 30, 1965-February 25, 1986]), declaration of martial law requires the President to report to Congress, such declaration is likewise subject to judicial review.
When the President calls the Armed Forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, he necessarily exercises a discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom.
Because of the martial law experience during Marcos’ presidency, this does not give the President the untrammeled power to abuse his discretion for the courts may rule on whether or not this is exercised in a manner constituting grave abuse of discretion.
The President’s official duties include appointing executive, diplomatic, regulatory and judicial officers and forming international treaties.
The President can grant pardons and reprieves and veto congressional bills. Under certain circumstances, the President can convene and adjourn the Congress.
Aside from this, he likewise has the authority to grant pardon, reprieve, or commute a convict’s sentence.
He can issue presidential issuances from ordinances and proclamations, executive orders, memorandum circulars.
Aside from what are explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the influence of the President reaches far beyond what is provided by law.
Thus, he wields influence on Congress, has the authority to build alliances to ensure that his pet bills get to his desk for signing into law.
His legislative agenda greatly influences and determines the direction of Congress.
Because of the country’s weak political system, a popular President gives him such influence, over Congress.
Whoever is the President dictates the flow.
Everyone wants to be under the good grace of the President, even those from the opposing side of the political fence.
In the exercise of his duties, the president is assisted by the cabinet in accordance with the doctrine of qualified political agency whereby department secretaries are alter egos or assistants of the President and their acts are presumed to be those of the latter unless disapproved or reprobated by him.
One functionary which is not so visible is the executive secretary.
In political circles he is often referred to as the “Little President.”
Among the Cabinet, the executive secretary is the first among equals.
He sets the agenda for the president and keeps his paperwork in order.
He signs many documents for and on behalf of the President.
The incoming is Atty Vic Rodriguez, who, if anything, has proven his competence and loyalty during the successful election campaign of Bongbong Marcos.
The executive branch extends beyond the national government.
He is mandated to supervise local governments all over the country.
However, with Republic Act 7160, also known as the Local Government Code of 1991, local governments enjoy relative autonomy from the national government.
The LGUs also are given a share of the revenue known as Internal Revenue Allotment.
While the president has much to do with the IRA, the Supreme Court in the Mandanas 2018 ruling defined the basis for its computation, i.e. what is to be included or excluded.
In this sense, our mayors and governors can also be accurately described as themselves little presidents.
This Thursday, on June 30, as mandated by the 1987 Constitution, Ferdinand Marcos Jr takes his oath as our 17th President, a line that begins with General Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 and following Rodrigo Duterte, the first president from Mindanao and the father of the incoming Vice-President.
Marcos will be the third child of a President who has succeeded to his parent’s position, following Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (Diosdado Macapagal, 1961-1965) and Noynoy Aquino (Corazon Aquino, 1986-1992).
It looks like Marcos will not be the last of his kind.
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