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OPLE vs TORRES

G.R. No. 127685 July 23, 1998


Topic: Legal Standing
Facts: Petitioner Ople, a member of the Senate, prays to invalidate Administrative
Order No. 308 titled "Adoption of a National Computerized Identification Reference
System" adopted by former President Ramos on December 12, 1996 based on two
important constitutional grounds: one, it is a usurpation of the power of Congress to
legislate, and two, it impermissibly intrudes on our citizenry's protected zone of
privacy.
Issue: WON Petitioner has legal standing.
Held: Yes. Petitioner Ople is a distinguished member of the Senate. As a Senator,
petitioner is possessed of the requisite standing to bring suit raising the issue that
the issuance of A.O. No. 308 is a usurpation of legislative power. As taxpayer and
member of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), petitioner can also
impugn the legality of the misalignment of public funds and the misuse of GSIS
funds to implement A.O. No. 308.
Petitioner's concern for the Executive not to trespass on the lawmaking domain of
Congress is tenable. The line that delineates Legislative and Executive power is not
indistinct. Legislative power is "the authority, under the Constitution, to make laws,
and to alter and repeal them In fine, except as limited by the Constitution, either
expressly or impliedly, legislative power embraces all subjects and extends to
matters of general concern or common interest.
While Congress is vested with the power to enact laws, the President executes the
laws. The executive power is vested in the Presidents. It is generally defined as the
power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws into
practical operation and enforcing their due observance.
It cannot be simplistically argued that A.O. No. 308 merely implements the
Administrative Code of 1987. It establishes for the first time a National
Computerized Identification Reference System. The A.O. No. 308 involves the allimportant freedom of thought. As said administrative order redefines the
parameters of some basic rights of our citizenry vis-a-vis the State as well as the
line that separates the administrative power of the President to make rules and the
legislative power of Congress, it ought to be evident that it deals with a subject that
should be covered by law.
Nor is it correct to argue as the dissenters do that A.D. No. 308 is not a law because
it confers no right, imposes no duty, affords no proctection, and creates no office.
Under A.O. No. 308, a citizen cannot transact business with government agencies
delivering basic services to the people without the contemplated identification card.

No citizen will refuse to get this identification card for no one can avoid dealing with
government. It is thus clear as daylight that without the ID, a citizen will have
difficulty exercising his rights and enjoying his privileges. Given this reality, the
contention that A.O. No. 308 gives no right and imposes no duty cannot stand.