The Executive Department has accumulated substantial savings from its appropriations. Needing ₱3,000,000.00 for the conduct of a plebiscite for the creation of a new city but has no funds appropriated soon by the Congress for the purpose, the COMELEC requests the President to transfer funds from the savings of the Executive Department in order to avoid a delay in the holding of the plebiscite.
May the President validly exercise his power under the 1987 Constitution to transfer funds from the savings of the Executive Department, and make a cross-border transfer of ₱3,000,000.00 to the COMELEC by way of augmentation? Is your answer the same if the transfer is treated as aid to the COMELEC? Explain your answer. (4%)
(a) No. Answer
Under the 1987 Constitution, transferring of appropriations is prohibited. However, by way of exception, the President, and other certain officials, by law, is authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations. Rule
In the case at bar, the President intends to transfer appropriations outside of the Executive Department and into a Constitutional Commission – the COMELEC. This is not permitted under the 1987 Constitution. Apply
Thus, the president may not validly exercise his power under the 1987 Constitution to transfer funds from savings of the Executive Department to the COMELEC by way of augmentation. Conclusion
(b) My answer is the same even if it is treated as aid to the COMELEC. This is because such cross-border transfer of funds is expressly prohibited by the 1987 Constitution.