The passage of a coco levy law is supported by the administration; it is the second item in the Department of Agriculture’s priority legislative agenda. The bill being deliberated in the Senate — a product of years of consultation with farmers and government — is the most durable and legally feasible solution. The next schedule of interpellation on the bill is on January 18, Wednesday. We invite coco farmers and other interested stakeholders to join us at the Senate for this.
On the planned withdrawal of the TRO petitioner, the issue of lifting the TRO or not is still with the Supreme Court. The TRO issued by the Supreme Court specifically states that the TRO is continuing until further orders from the Supreme Court. In the absence of a Supreme Court order, Confed’s unilateral withdrawal of its petition will not automatically lift the TRO.
More importantly, the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the disposition of the coco levy funds itself requires legislation.
This insistence on a law is contained all throughout the high court’s January 2012 decision, which itself is a result of decades of litigation. In that decision, the Supreme Court said that the Presidential Decrees that gave the Philippine Coconut Authority the power to distribute the funds is unconstitutional, as they were ”clearly an undue delegation of legislative powers.”
This same decision on the disposition of the coco levy fund in a case between the Philippine government and Cocofed etal, the Supreme Court concluded that the 1. “the sequestered assets are ill-gotten wealth”; 2. “the transfer of the shares to the more than one million of supposed coconut farmers was tainted with illegality”; and 3. Philippine Coconut Authority’s disposing of the bank shares “totally disregard(ed) the national policy for which the funds were created. This is clearly an undue delegation of legislative powers.”
This was also the premise for the TRO petition, which contended that Executive Orders 179 and 180 violate the Constitution thus, “President acted in excess of his constitutionally mandated powers. The creation and treatment of special funds is conferred by the Constitution not upon the President, but exclusively upon CONGRESS, as provided under Sec. 29, par (1) and (3), Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution which states: ‘No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.’”