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ISSUE: Whether or not a governor can exercise the calling-out powers of President?
FACTS: Three members from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were kidnapped in the vicinity of the Provincial Capitol in Patikul, Sulu. Andres Notter, Eugenio Vagni, and Marie Jean Lacaba, were purportedly inspecting a water and sanitation project for the Sulu Provincial Jail when inspecting a water and sanitation project for the Sulu Provincial Jail when they were seized by three armed men who were later confirmed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). A Local Crisis Committee, later renamed Sulu Crisis Management Committee (Committee) was then formed to investigate the kidnapping incident. The Committee convened under the leadership of respondent Abdusakur Mahail Tan, the Provincial Governor of Sulu. Governor Tan issued Proclamation No. 1, Series of 2009, declaring a state of emergency in the province of Sulu. The Proclamation cited the kidnapping incident as a ground for the said declaration, describing it as a terrorist act pursuant to the Human Security Act (R.A. 9372). It also invoked Section 465 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. 7160), which bestows on the Provincial Governor the power to carry out emergency measures during man-made and natural disasters and calamities, and to call upon the appropriate national law enforcement agencies to suppress disorder and lawless violence. In the Proclamation, Tan called upon the PNP and the CEF to set up checkpoints and chokepoints, conduct general search and seizures including arrests, and other actions necessary to ensure public safety. Petitioners, Jamar Kulayan, et al. contend that Proclamation No. 1 and its Implementing Guidelines were issued ultra vires, and thus null and void, for violating Sections 1 and 18, Article VII of the Constitution, which grants the President sole authority to exercise emergency powers and calling-out powers as the chief executive of the Republic and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
RATIO DECIDENDI: It has already been established that there is one repository of executive powers, and that is the President of the Republic. This means that when Section 1, Article VII of the Constitution speaks of executive power, it is granted to the President and no one else. Corollarily, it is only the President, as Executive, who is authorized to exercise emergency powers as provided under Section 23, Article VI, of the Constitution, as well as what became known as the calling-out powers under Section 7, Article VII thereof. While the President is still a civilian, Article II, Section 339 of the Constitution mandates that civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military, making the civilian president the nation’s supreme military leader. The net effect of Article II, Section 3, when read with Article VII, Section 18, is that a civilian President is the ceremonial, legal and administrative head of the armed forces. The Constitution does not require that the President must be possessed of military training and talents, but as Commander-in-Chief, he has the power to direct military operations and to determine military strategy. Normally, he would be expected to delegate the actual command of the armed forces to military experts; but the ultimate power is his. Given the foregoing, Governor Tan is not endowed with the power to call upon the armed forces at his own bidding. In issuing the assailed proclamation, Governor Tan exceeded his authority when he declared a state of emergency and called upon Armed Forces, the police, and his own Civilian Emergency Force. The calling-out powers contemplated under the Constitution is exclusive to the President. An exercise by another official, even if he is the local chief executive, is ultra vires, and may not be justified by the invocation of Section 465 of the Local Government Code.