SC rules against former Rep. Pichay on constitutionality of EO 13
The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed a petition filed by former lawmaker and former Local Water Utilities Administration Board of Trustees chairperson Prospero Pichay questioning the constitutionality of Executive Order (EO) 13.
In a decision penned by Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the high court said Pichay failed to prove that EO 13 was illegal.
There was nothing wrong when President Benigno Aquino III transferred the functions of the PAGC, a move sanctioned by Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 (EO 292), according to the decision.
“[EO 292] vests in the President the authority to reorganize the offices under him in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency," the high court said.
Surigao del Sur former Congressman Pichay was earlier investigated for grave misconduct under EO 13, which abolished the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission and transferred its main functions to the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs.
EO 13 did not violate Pichay’s right to due process and equal protection, the SC noted.
“In administrative proceedings, the filing of charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process,” the court said.
"The equal protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies alike to all persons within such class," it added.
Against Pichay's claim, the high court said EO 13 does not encroach on the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman since the authority of the Ombudsman to investigate elected and appointed government officials is not exclusive.
EO 13 also does not usurp on the legislature's power to appropriate funds, because the President was merely re-allocating existing funds previously appropriated by Congress to his office. — VS, GMA News
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