Tuesday, August 17, 2010

a primer on long weekends

thanks to republic act no. 9492, sometimes referred to as "holiday economics", filipinos began enjoying three-day weekends several times a year. save for religious holidays (i.e. christmas) and labor day (may 1, which happens to be international workers' day), all holidays are moved to the nearest monday, thereby making weekends at least one day longer for the lowly laborer.

even better, republic act no. 9492 specifically provides that "the president shall issue a proclamation, at least six months prior to the holiday concerned, the specific date that shall be declared as a nonworking day. translation: as early as six months before the following year, filipinos are made aware of the upcoming holidays AND can begin making holiday plans already (oh, hello, piso fare and seat sales!)

happiness, right?

and then this happened.

my initial reaction? why, noynoy, why? my subsequent reaction: does noynoy have the right to amend the law?

first things first: under the constitution, the three branches of government enjoy separation of powers. this means that the legislative (senate and congress) make laws, the executive enforces laws, and the judiciary interprets laws. and, by virtue of the separation of powers, none of these branches of government can encroach on the power of the other.

therefore, to my mind, since holiday economics is based on a law (ra 9492), then the president, by virtue of a mere proclamation, does not have the authority to effectively amend ra 9492 by declaring that ninoy aquino day (august 21) shall no longer be a movable holiday and shall be celebrated, instead of august 23, 2010, on august 21, 2010 which falls on a saturday.

apparently i was wrong. because in amended the administrative code, ra 9492 also provided that the regular and special holidays declared therein may be "modified by law and or proclamation." in layman's terms, the holidays enumerated therein may be subject to change not only by congress (law) but also by the president (proclamation). and that, my friends, was exactly what noynoy did.

which brings us to another legal topic -- undue delegation of authority. but that's a more complicated matter for another day.

in the meantime, just know this: while we may still enjoy a three-day weekend this august (yay, august 30!), know that the three-day long weekends may soon be a thing of the past.

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