Public Officers Notes

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Public Officers Law notes
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  LIABILITY OF MINISTERIAL OFFICERS (1) Nonfeasance - Neglect or refusal to perform an act which is the officer’s legal obligation to perform (2) Misfeasance – Failure to use that degree of care, skill, and diligence required in the performance of official duty (3) Malfeasance – the doing, through ignorance, inattention or malice, of an act which he had no legal right to perform CLASSIFICATION OF POWERS AND DUTIES [De Leon, 2008] AS TO NATURE Ministerial Official duty is ministerial when it is absolute, certain and imperative involving merely execution of a specific duty arising from fixed and designated facts. Where the officer or official body has no judicial power or discretion as to the interpretation of the law, and the course to be pursued is fixed by law, their acts are ministerial only. Performance of duties of this nature may, unless expressly prohibited, be properly delegated to another. Thus, a ministerial act which may be lawfully done by another officer may be performed by him through any deputy or agent willfully created or appointed. Where the law expressly requires the act to be performed by the officer in person, it cannot, though ministerial, be delegated to another. Discretionary They are such as necessarily require the exercise of reason in the adaptation of means to an end, and discretion in determining how or whether the act shall be done or the course pursued. When the law commits to any officer the duty of looking into facts and acting upon them, not in a way which it specifically directs, but after a discretion in its nature, the function is quasi-judicial. The presumption is that the public officer was chosen because he was deemed fit and competent to exercise that  judgment and discretion. Unless the power to substitute another in his place has been given to him, a public officer  cannot delegate his duties to another. CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS With respect to constitutional officers removable only by means of impeachment, and judges of lower courts, they are not subject to the removal of the President. IMPEACHMENT Impeachment – method of national inquest into the conduct of public men. Purpose:  To protect the people from official delinquencies or malfeasances. It is primarily intended for the protection of the State, not for the punishment of the offender. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.  All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment. (Sec. 2, Art. XI, Constitution) The House of Representatives has the sole power to initiate all cases of impeachment while the Senate sits as a court for the trial of impeachment cases. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment, according to law. (Sec. 3, Art. XI, Constitution) IMPEACHMENT Impeachment has been defined as “a criminal proceeding against a public officer, before a quasi-judicial political court, instituted by written accusation called ‘articles of impeachment.’” [Agpalo, 2005] Its purpose is to protect the people from official delinquencies or malfeasances. It is primarily intended for  the protection of the State, not for the punishment of the offender. The penalties attached to impeachment are merely incidental to the primary intention of protecting the people as a body politic. [De Leon, 2008] GROUNDS [Sec. 2, Art. XI, Constitution] (1) culpable violation of the Constitution (2) treason (3) bribery (4) graft and corruption (5) other high crimes (6) betrayal of public trust The acts which are impeachable grounds must be committed in the performance of the official’s public office. [Agpalo, 2005] No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year. [Sec. 3, Art. XI, Constitution] “Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing manner, another may not be filed against the same official within a one year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution.” [Francisco, Jr. v. House of Representatives, (2003)]
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