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Free Telephone Workers Union vs Ople
Political Law – Control Power over the “Ministries” [Cabinet] – Alter Ego – Forms of Government
On September 14, 1981, there was a notice of strike with the Ministry of Labor (Ople) for unfair labor practices and arbitrary implementation of a Code of Conduct. Several conciliation meetings called by the Ministry followed, with petitioner manifesting its willingness to have a revised Code of Conduct that would be fair to all concerned but with a plea that in the meanwhile the Code of Conduct being imposed be suspended – a position that failed to meet the approval of private respondent. Subsequently, respondent, on September 25, 1981, certified the labor dispute to the NLRC for compulsory arbitration and enjoined any strike at the private respondent’s establishment. Private respondent, following the lead of petitioner labor union, explained its side on the controversy regarding the Code of Conduct, the provisions of which as alleged in the petition were quite harsh, resulting in what it deemed indefinite preventive suspension – apparently the principal cause of the labor dispute. Ople issued the certification for compulsory arbitration pursuant to the provisions on strikes of the Labor Code – this is to avoid adverse effects to the national interest.
ISSUE: Whether or not such provision is an undue delegation of power.
HELD: FTWU failed to make out a case of undue delegation. The President “shall have control of the ministries.” It may happen, therefore, that a single person may occupy a dual position of Minister and Assemblyman. To the extent, however, that what is involved is the execution or enforcement of legislation, the Minister is an official of the executive branch of the government. The adoption of certain aspects of a parliamentary system in the amended Constitution does not alter its essentially presidential character. Article VII on the presidency starts with this provision: “The President shall be the head of state and chief executive of the Republic of the Philippines.” Its last section is an even more emphatic affirmation that it is a presidential system that obtains in our government. Thus: “All powers vested in the President of the Philippines under the 1935 Constitution and the laws of the land which are not herein provided for or conferred upon any official shall be deemed and are hereby vested in the President unless the Batasang Pambansa provides otherwise.”
However, it must be stressed that the exercise of such competence cannot ignore the basic fundamental principle and state policy that the state should afford protection to labor. Whenever, therefore, it is resorted to in labor disputes causing or likely to cause strikes or lockouts affecting national interest, the State still is required to “assure the rights of workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of work.” At this stage of the litigation, however, in the absence of factual determination by the Ministry of Labor and the National Labor Relations Commission, this Court is not in a position to rule on whether or not there is an unconstitutional application.
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