“The logical consequence therefore is that President Marcos is a de jure President of the Republic of the Philippines”
In an original petition for prohibition, petitioners Benigno Aquino Jr. et al. sought to nullify Presidential Decrees 1366, 1366-A, calling for a referendum on February 27, 1975, Presidential Decrees 629 and 630 appropriating funds therefor, and Presidential Decrees 637 and 637-A specifying the referendum question, as well as other related presidential decrees, orders and instructions.
Petitioners contended that President Ferdinand E. Marcos did not hold any legal office nor possess any lawful authority under either the 1935 or the 1973 Constitution and therefore had no authority to issue the questioned proclamations, decrees and orders.
In addition, petitioners argued that due to the climate of fear generated by Martial Law there could be no true expression of the people’s will and that the period for free debate was too short.
In this case, the Supreme Court addressed three issues: (1) Whether or not President Ferdinand Marcos held any legal office or possessed any lawful authority under either the 1935 or the 1973 as to validly issue aforementioned presidential decrees, orders and instructions.
(2)Whether or not President Marcos had the right to continue exercising powers under both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions.
(3)Whether or not the president can exercise law-making power during martial rule.
On the first issue — The Supreme Court affirmed the validity of Martial Law Proclamation 1081 issued on September 22, 1972 by President Marcos because there was no arbitrariness in the issuance of said proclamation pursuant to the 1935 Constitution; that the… factual bases had not disappeared but had even been exacerbated.
As to whether, under the 1935 Constitution, President Ferdinand E. Marcos was duly reelected.
The High Court likewise ruled in the affirmative.
According to the SC, Marcos was reelected by the vote of the sovereign people in the Presidential elections of 1969 by an over whelming votes of over 5,000,000 electors as against 3,000,000 votes for his rival, garnering a majority of from… about 896,498 to 1,436,118 (Osmeña vs. Marcos, Presidential Election Contest 3, Jan. 8, 1973).
While his term of office under the 1935 Constitution should have terminated on December 30, 1973, by the general referendum of July 27-28, 1973, the sovereign people… expressly authorized him to continue in office even beyond 1973 under the 1973 Constitution (which was validly ratified on January 17, 1973 by the sovereign people) in order to finish the reforms he initiated under Martial Law; and as aforestated, as this was the decision the… people, in whom “sovereignty resides . . . and all government authority emanates . . .,” it is therefore beyond the scope of judicial inquiry.
The logical consequence therefore is that President Marcos is a de jure President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Since President Marcos was the only incumbent President at the time, because his term under the 1935 Constitution had yet to expire on December 30, 1973, the Constitutional Convention, in approving the new Constitution, had in mind only him… when in Section 3(2) of Article XVII of the new Constitution it provided “that all the proclamations, orders, decrees, instructions and acts promulgated, issued or done by the incumbent President shall be part of the law of the land, and shall remain valid, legal, binding… and effective even after lifting of Martial Law or the ratification of this Constitution, unless modified, revoked or superseded by subsequent proclamations, orders, decrees, instructions or other acts of the incumbent President, or unless expressly and explicitly… modified or repealed by the regular National Assembly.”
On the second issue — As to whether Marcos had the right to continue exercising powers under both Constitution, the Supreme Court likewise ruled in the affirmative, saying that “Because President Ferdinand E. Marcos is the incumbent President referred to in Article XVII of the transitory provisions of the 1973 Constitution, he can continue to exercise the powers and prerogatives under the 1935 Constitution and the powers vested in the President and Prime Minister under the new Constitution until he convenes the interim National Assembly (Sec. 3(1), Article XVII, 1973 Constitution).”
On the third issue – The SC also affirmed the validity of his law-making power during martial rule, saying that as Commander-in-Chief and enforcer or administrator of martial law, the incumbent President of the Philippines can promulgate proclamations, orders and decrees during the period of Martial Law essential to the security and preservation of the Republic, to the defense of the political and social liberties of the people and to the institution of reforms to prevent the resurgence of rebellion or insurrection or secession or the threat thereof as well as to meet the impact of a worldwide recession, inflation or economic crisis.
The legality of the law-making authority of the President during the period of Martial Law was expressly affirmed under Section 3(2) of Article XVII of the new Constitution.
This particular provision is not a grant of authority to legislate, but a recognition of such power as already existing in favor of the incumbent President during Martial Law.
This consolidated the legal framework of the Marcos dictatorship.
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