Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

pine Commission, vol. 1, p. 564), authorizing the free transmission of official mail matter in that archipelago under regulations which, in your opinion, are in a manner in conflict with the existing laws of the United States respecting the use of penalty envelopes. This, you say, brings before you the question of the right of the Commission to enact laws of that character, and you ask to be advised as to the relation which the Philippine postal service sustains to your administration-whether it be separate and distinct therefrom and not governed by the same laws, and also as to the indorsement that official mail matter coming from those islands should bear.

The question as to the relation which the Philippine postal service sustains to your Department must, of course, be determined in the light of the orders of the President and the legislation of Congress in regard to the administration of affairs in that archipelago.

By the act of July 1, 1902 (32 Stat., 691), entitled "An act temporarily to provide for the administration of the affairs of civil government in the Philippine Islands, and for other purposes," Congress, in section 1, approved, ratified, and confirmed the action of the President "in creating the Philippine Commission and authorizing said Commission to exercise the powers of government to the extent and in the manner and form and subject to the regulation and control set forth in the instructions of the President to the Philippine Commission, dated April seventh, nineteen hundred, and in creating the offices of civil governor and vicegovernor of the Philippine Islands, and authorizing said civil governor and vice-governor to exercise the powers of government to the extent and in the manner and form set forth in the Executive order dated June twenty-first, nineteen hundred and one, and in establishing four executive departments of government in said islands, as set forth in the act of the Philippine Commission entitled 'An act providing an organization for the departments of the interior, of commerce and police, of finance and justice, and of public instruction,'" and directed that "until otherwise provided by law the said islands shall continue to be governed as thereby and herein provided."

The instructions to the Commission of April 7, 1900, above referred to, were embodied in a letter to the Secretary of War, in which the President expressed his desire to bring about the establishment of civil government in the Philippines and notified the Secretary of the appointment of a Commission to continue and perfect the work already begun by the military authorities. "It is probable," he said, “that the transfer of authority from military commanders to civil officers will be gradual and will occupy a considerable period. Its successful accomplishment and the maintenance of peace and order in the meantime will require the most perfect cooperation between the civil and military authorities in the islands, and both should be directed during the transition period by the same executive department. The Commission will therefore report to the Secretary of War, and all their actions will be subject to your approval and control."

The Secretary was directed to instruct the Commission to proceed to Manila and familiarize themselves with the conditions and needs of the country, and to devote their efforts first to the establishment of municipal governments, and next to the organization of government in its larger administrative divisions, corresponding to counties, departments or provinces, and embracing those municipalities whose interests might be best subserved by a common administration. Whenever the Commission was of opinion that the condition of affairs in the islands was such that the central administration might safely be transferred from military to civil control, they were to report that conclusion to the Secretary, with their recommendation as to the form of central government to be established for that purpose.

The instructions in question further provided that, beginning with the 1st day of September, 1900, the authority to exercise, subject to the approval of the President, through the Secretary of War, that part of the power of government in the islands which was of a legislative nature, should be transferred from the military governor to the Commission, and be so exercised by them until the establishment of the contemplated civil central government, or until Congress should otherwise provide. This legislative authority was to

include "the making of rules and orders, having the effect of law, for the raising of revenue by taxes, customs, duties, and imposts; the appropriation and expenditure of public funds of the islands; the establishment of an educational system throughout the islands; the organization and establishment of courts; the organization and establishment of municipal and departmental governments, and all other matters of a civil nature for which the military governor is now competent to provide by rules or orders of a legislative character."

By the Executive order of June 21, 1901, also referred to in the first section of the act of July 1, 1902, the President of the Commission was appointed civil governor of the Philippine Islands, and directed to exercise the executive authority in all civil affairs of government theretofore exercised by the military governor, under and in conformity with the instructions to the Commission of April 7, 1900, and "subject to the approval and control of the Secretary of War." The military governor, however, was to continue the exercise of his authority in those districts in which the insurrection against the authority of the United States continued to exist, or in which public order was not sufficiently restored to enable provincial governments to be established.

* *

This order of the President was authorized by a resolution of Congress, commonly known as the "Spooner resolution," which was attached to and made a part of the army appropriation act of March 2, 1901 (31 Stat., 895, 910). That resolution provided that "all military, civil, and judicial powers necessary to govern the Philippine Islands shall, until otherwise provided by Congress, be vested in such person and persons and shall be exercised in such manner as the President of the United States shall direct, for the establishment of civil government and for maintaining and protecting the inhabitants of said islands in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and religion." The resolution further provided that "until a permanent government shall have been established in said archipelago full reports shall be made to Congress on or

before the first day of each regular session of all legislative acts and proceedings of the temporary government instituted under the provisions hereof; and full reports of the acts and doings of said government, and as to the condition of the archipelago and of its people, shall be made to the President, including all information which may be useful to the Congress in providing for a more permanent government.'

By the act of July 1, 1902 (sec. 1), future appointments of civil governor, vice-governor, members of the Philippine Commission, and heads of the executive departments of the Philippine government are to be made by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. But the appointment of all other civil officers is left, as prescribed in the Executive order of June 21, 1901, with the civil governor, acting with the advice and consent of the Commission.

The act of July 1, 1902, also provides that all laws passed by the government of the Philippine Islands shall be reported to Congress, which reserves the power and authority to annul the same.

It thus appears that by the Spooner resolution Congress authorized, and by the act of July 1, 1992, it ratified and confirmed, subject to the limitations prescribed therein, the establishment of a form of government for the Philippine Islands distinct from our own, and not governed by the same laws. Its intention to do so is placed beyond question by the proviso to section 1 of the Philippine act, that section 1891 of the Revised Statutes, providing that "the Constitution and all laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable shall have the same force and effect within all the organized Territories, and in every Territory hereafter organized, as elsewhere within the United States," should not apply to the Philippine Islands.

That the postal service in the Philippines was included in this separation is not to be doubted. As has been shown, Congress, in section 1 of the Philippine act, also ratified and approved the act of the Philippine Commission of September 6, 1901, providing for the organization of four

executive departments of government in those islands, by section 2 of which it was provided that "the department of commerce and police shall have under its executive control the bureau of post-offices."

Thus at the time of the passage of the act of July 1, 1902, the Philippine postal service was under the management and control of the Philippine Government.

A proper construction of the Executive order of July 21, 1898 (promulgated in General Orders of the War Department, No. 105, July 23, 1898), under the authority of which the postal service was extended to the insular territory acquired from Spain, will be found to confirm this view. That order provided:

"In view of the occupation of Santiago de Cuba by the forces of the United States, it is ordered that postal communication between the United States and that port, which has been suspended since the opening of hostilities with Spain, may be resumed subject to such military regulations as may be deemed necessary.

"As other portions of the enemy's territory come into the possession of the land and naval forces of the United States, postal communication may be opened under the same conditions.

"The domestic postal service within the territory thus occupied may be continued on the same principles already indicated for the continuance of the local municipal and judicial administration, and it may be extended as the local requirements may justify under the supervision of the military commander.

"The revenues derived from such service are to be applied to the expenses of conducting it, and the United States postage stamps are therefore to be used.

"The Postmaster-General is charged with the execution. of this order in co-operation with the military commander, to whom the Secretary of War will issue the necessary directions."

The primary object of this order, it will be observed, was the opening of postal communication between the United States and such portions of the enemy's territory as came

« AnteriorContinuar »