ARANETA vs. GATMAITAN G.R. Nos. L-8895 and L-9191, April 30, 1957 (101 Phil 328)

Facts: Sometime in 1950, trawl operators from Malabon, Navotas and other places migrated to this region most of them settling at Sabang, Calabanga, Camarines Sur, for the purpose of using this particular method of fishing in said bay. On account of the belief of sustenance fishermen that the operation of this kind of gear caused the depletion of the marine resources of that area, there arose a general clamor among the majority of the inhabitants of coastal towns to prohibit the operation of trawls in San Miguel Bay. In response to these pleas, the President issued Executive Order prohibiting the use of trawls in San Miguel Bay.

A group of Otter trawl operators took the matter to the court by filing a complaint for injunction and/or declaratory relief with preliminary injunction with the Court of First Instance praying that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to restrain the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Director of Fisheries from enforcing said executive order; to declare the same null and void, and for such other relief as may be just and equitable in the premises. The CFI declared the Executive Order invalid; the injunction prayed for is ordered to issue;

Issue: Whether the EO Executive Orders are valid and does not encroach the authority of the Legislature in the said Prohibition.

Held: Yes, EO Executive Orders are valid for having been issued by authority of the Constitution, the Revised Administrative Code and the Fisheries Act. The opinion of the SC that with or without said Executive Orders, the restriction and banning of trawl fishing from all Philippine waters come, under the law, within the powers of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who in compliance with his duties may even cause the criminal prosecution of those who in violation of his instructions, regulations or orders are caught fishing with trawls in the Philippine waters.

Under the law the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources has authority to regulate or ban the fishing by trawl which, it is claimed. The President of the Philippines exercise that same power and authority according to Section 10(1), Article VII of the Constitution of the Philippines which states that The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus or offices, exercises general supervision over all local governments as may be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and according to Section 63 of the Revised Administrative Code which states that Administrative acts and commands of the President of the Philippines touching the organization or mode of operation of the Government or rearranging or readjusting any of the district, divisions, parts or ports of the Philippines, and all acts and commands governing the general performance of duties by public employees or disposing of issues of general concern shall be made in executive orders, and Section 74 of the Revised Administrative Code also provides that all executive functions of the government of the Republic of the Philippines shall be directly under the Executive Departments subject to the supervision and control of the President of the Philippines in matters of general policy. The Departments are established for the proper distribution of the work of the Executive, for the performance of the functions expressly assigned to them by law, and in order that each branch of the administration may have a chief responsible for its direction and policy. Each Department Secretary shall assume the burden of, and responsibility for, all activities of the Government under his control and supervision.

For administrative purposes the President of the Philippines shall be considered the Department Head of the Executive Office.

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