Articles 8-13 of The 1935 Constitution Simplified

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January 31, 2022

Article 8: Judicial Department

Section 1. The judicial power is in the Supreme Court and in such inferior courts.

Section 2. Congress

  • can define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts
  • cannot deprive the Supreme Court of
    • its original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls
    • its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify
  • cannot affirm on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error, as the law or the rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in:
  1. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question.
  2. All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.
  3. All cases in which the jurisdiction of any trial court is in issue.
  4. All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is death or life imprisonment.
  5. All cases in which an error or question of law is involved.

Section 3. Until the Congress shall provide otherwise the Supreme Court shall have such original and appellate jurisdiction as may be possessed and exercised by the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.

The Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction shall include all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls.

Section 4. The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and ten Associate Justices and may sit either en banc or in two divisions unless otherwise provided by law.

Section 5. The Members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior courts shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.

Section 6. No person may be appointed Member of the Supreme Court unless he has been five years a citizen of the Philippines, is at least forty years of age, and has for ten years or more been a judge of a court of record or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.

Section 7. No judge appointed for a particular district shall be designated or transferred to another district without the approval of the Supreme Court. The Congress shall by law determine the residence of judges of inferior courts.

Section 8. The Congress shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of inferior courts, but no person may be appointed judge of any such courts unless he is a citizen of the Philippines and has been admitted to the practice of law in thePhilippines.

Section 9. The Supreme Court Members and all judges of inferior courts shall keep good behavior in office until they:

  • reach 70 years old, or
  • become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office.

They shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

Until the Congress shall provide otherwise, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall receive an annual compensation of sixteen thousand pesos, and each Associate Justice, fifteen thousand pesos.

Section 10. All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty or law shall be heard and decided by the Supreme Court en banc, and no treaty or law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members of the Court.

Section 11. The conclusions of the Supreme Court in any case submitted to it for decision shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned to a Justice for a writing of the opinion of the Court.

Any Justice dissenting from a decision shall state the reasons for his dissent.

Section 12. No decision shall be rendered by any court of record without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.

Section 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.

The existing laws on pleading, practice, and procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Courts, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same.

The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter or supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines.

Article 9: Impeachment

Section 1. The following can be impeached for any high crime:

  • The President
  • the Vice-President
  • the Justices of the Supreme Court
  • the Auditor General

Section 2. The House of Representatives by a vote of 2/3 shall have the sole power of impeachment.

Section 3. The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachment. When sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation.

When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate.

Section 4.

Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the Government of the Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment, according to law.

Article 10: Commission on Elections

Section 1

An independent Commission on Elections is composed of a Chairman and two other Members to be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, who shall hold office for a term of nine years and may not be reappointed.

Of the Members of the Commission first appointed, one shall hold office for nine years, another for six years, and the third for three years. The Chairman and the other Members of the Commission on Elections may be removed from office only by impeachment in the manner provided in this Constitution.

Until the Congress shall provide otherwise the Chairman of the Commission shall receive an annual salary of 12,000 pesos, and the other Members, ten thousand pesos each. Their salaries shall be neither increased nor diminished during their term of office.

Section 2.

The Commission on Elections shall have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections and shall exercise all other functions which may be conferred upon it by law.

It shall decide, save those involving the right to vote, all administrative questions affecting elections, including the determination of the number and location of polling places, and the appointment of election inspectors and of other election officials.

All law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, when so required by the Commission, shall act as its deputies for the purpose of insuring free, orderly, and honest election.

The decisions, orders, and rulings of the Commission shall be subject to review by the Supreme Court.

No pardon, parole, or suspension of sentence for the violation of any election law may be granted without the favorable recommendation of the Commission.

Section 3.

The Chairman and Members of the Commission on Elections shall not, during their continuance in office, engage in the practice of any profession, or intervene, directly or indirectly, in the management or control of any private enterprise which in any way may be affected by the functions of their office; nor shall they, directly or indirectly, be financially interested in any contract with the Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof.

Section 4.

The Commission on Elections shall submit to the President and the Congress, following each election, a report on the manner in which such election was conducted.

Article 11: General Auditing Office

Section 1. There shall be a General Auditing Office under the direction and control of an Auditor General, who shall hold office for a term of ten years and may not be reappointed. The Auditor General shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, and shall receive an annual compensation to be fixed by law which shall not be diminished during his continuance in office. Until the Congress shall provide otherwise, the Auditor General shall receive an annual compensation of twelve thousand pesos.

Section 2. The Auditor General shall examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenues and receipts from whatever source, including trust funds derived from bond issues; and audit, in accordance with law and administrative regulations, all expenditures of funds or property pertaining or held in trust by the Government or the provinces or municipalities thereof. He shall keep the general accounts of the Government and preserve the vouchers pertaining thereto. It shall be the duty of the Auditor General to bring the attention of the proper administrative officer expenditures of funds or property which, in his opinion, are irregular, unnecessary, excessive, or extravagant. He shall also perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law.

Section 3. The decisions of the Auditor General shall be rendered within the time fixed by law, and the same may be appealed to the President whose action shall be final. When the aggrieved party is a private person or entity, an appeal from the decision of the Auditor General may be taken directly to a court of record in the manner provided by law.

Section 4. The Auditor General shall submit to the President and the Congress an annual report covering the financial condition and operations of the Government, and such other reports as may be required.

Article 12: Civil Service

Section 1. A Civil Service embracing all branches and subdivision of the Government shall be provided by law. Appointments in the Civil Service, except as to those which are policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical in nature, shall be made only according to merit and fitness, to be determined as far as practicable by competitive examination.

Section 2. Officers and employees in the Civil Service, including members of the armed forces, shall not engage directly or indirectly in partisan political activities or take part in any election except to vote.

Section 3. No officer or employee of the government shall receive additional or double compensation unless specifically authorized by law.

Section 4. No officer or employee in the Civil Service shall be removed or suspended except for cause as provided by law.

Article 13: Conservation and Utilization of Natural Resources

Section 1. All agricultural timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State.

Their disposition, exploitation, development, or utilization shall be limited to Filipino citizens or to corporations or associations at least 60% of the capital of which is owned by Filipino citizens, subject to any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the inauguration of the Government established under this Constitution.

Natural resources, with the exception of public agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the exploitation, development, or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for another twenty-five years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.

Section 2. No private corporation or association may acquire, lease, or hold public agricultural lands in excess of 1,024 hectares, nor may any individual acquire such lands by purchase in excess of 144 hectares, or by lease in excess of 1,024 hectares, or by homestead in excess of 24 hectares.

Lands adapted to grazing, not exceeding two thousand hectares, may be leased to an individual, private corporation, or association.

Section 3. The Congress may determine by law the size of private agricultural land which individuals, corporations, or associations may acquire and hold, subject to rights existing prior to the enactment of such law.

Section 4. Congress can, upon payment of just compensation, expropriate lands to be subdivided into small lots and conveyed at cost to individuals may authorize.

Section 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines.

Section 6. The State may, in the interest of national welfare and defense, establish and operate industries and means of transportation and communication. Upon payment of just compensation, it may transfer to public ownership utilities and other private enterprise to be operated by the Government.