Legal Basis and Institutional Set-up
The Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) was created by Memorandum Order No. 128 dated 11 November 1987, as amended by Memorandum Order No. 142 dated 17 December 1987 during the term of President Corazon C. Aquino.
Under the Administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos, several pronouncements were issued that further strengthened the existence of PLLO and compelled a departure from its traditional mould. In particular, during the first plenary conference of the President with the newly elected Senators and Congressmen held at Malacañang Manila on 22 July 1992, the President formally announced that the PLLO is the agency under the Office of the President that will liaise with Congress regarding all matters impinging on Executive Legislative relations. The said meeting was also attended by Members of the Cabinet. Moreover, in the regular Cabinet Meeting on 28 July 1992, the President gave one of the most significant guiding statements when he announced that the PLLO is the agency under the Office of the President tasked to officially orchestrate the formulation and the shepherding of the President’s Legislative Agenda and all other concerns of the Executive Department having to do with the legislature. This statement, therefore, effectively affirmed the stewardship role of the PLLO over the Legislative Liaison System, which it has been assuming since the creation of the LLS in 1988 pursuant to Cabinet Resolution No. 16.
During the Estrada Administration, one of the first official acts in office was the issuance of Memorandum Order No. 3 dated July 3, 1998, merging the Legislative Affairs Office (LAO) and the PLLO, with both offices under the administration and operational jurisdiction of the PLLO headed by the Presidential Adviser on Legislative Affairs, with the rank of Secretary and assisted by two (2) Deputies, one for each Chamber of Congress, with the rank of Undersecretary. With the change, the PLLO assumed the responsibilities of bill drafting, inter-agency consultations, preparation of presidential certification of the urgency of priority bills, the ceremonial signing thereof, up to the furnishing of new enactments to the concerned agencies and the Malacañang Records office also for publication.
The above functional and structural relationship has been sustained under the Macapagal-Arroyo Administration. And the growing reliance on the PLLO and recognition of its strategic significance within the whole bureaucracy was further affirmed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in two separate meetings of the Cabinet. On 13 March 2001, Her Excellency designated the PLLO as the Cabinet liaison to represent individual executive offices in the Commission on Elections on matters relating to the May 14, 2001 elections. On 02 July 2001, the President designated the PLLO as overall in-charge of the substantive and administrative preparations for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the President.
However, the same Legislative Office was eventually abolished by virtue of Executive Order 344, dated 09 August 2004. Its functions, duties and responsibilities were transferred to the PLLO which has been placed under the coordinative and oversight responsibility of the Office of the Political Adviser (OPA) as well as the Office of the Political Coalition Affairs and Office of the Constituency Affairs. The Presidential Political Adviser along with the Head of PLLO attend and participate in regular Cabinet meetings and is actively involved in Task Forces and Cabinet Clusters such as the National Security Council (NSC), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), among others.
Following the implementation of the rationalization program of the Office of the President, the functions, duties and responsibilities absorbed by the PLLO from the Legislative Affairs Office were reverted to the Legislative Office under the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs (ODESLA).
On March 09, 2010, under Executive Order No. 866, the PLLO was placed under the supervision of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Special Concerns.
Almost one year into the Aquino Administration, a major reorganization of the cabinet cluster system was implemented through Executive Order No. 43, wherein the PLLO is named as a member of the cluster on Good Governance and Anti-Corruption with the mandate of promoting transparency, accountability, participatory governance and strengthening of public institutions. This cluster, together with the other four cabinet clusters created under said executive order, namely: Human Development and Poverty Reduction; Economic Development; Security, Justice and Peace; and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, serve as the primary mechanism of the Executive Branch for directing all efforts towards the realization of the Social Contract with the Filipino People.
In charge of managing a network of legislative liaison officers from various departments and agencies that compose the legislative liaison system, the PLLO orchestrates collaborative activities with Congress aimed at forming a stronger Executive-Legislative tactical alliance. The PLLO also assists the President in the formulation of appropriate policy responses. It also conducts consultations with various sectors of society purposely to encourage the private sector to take part in a meaningful collaboration in government policy-making.
The PLLO continues to serve as technical advisor to the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) particularly in the formulation and shepherding of the shared policy reform priorities of the two branches of government under a Common Legislative Agenda [Republic Act No. 7640]. The PLLO coordinates with the LEDAC secretariat and supervises its regular meetings. It maintains its active participation in the round table discussions on national security and defense issues with the NSC, and on multi-sectoral legislative policy issues on human development with the NAPC.
The PLLO is tasked to officially orchestrate the formulation of the Executive-Legislative Agenda and all other concerns of the Executive Department having to do with Legislation and see these concerns through the various processes. It is mandated to promote the presidential legislative initiatives and other Administration-sponsored priority policy reforms and development programs through a strategic information dissemination campaign and sustained day-to-day collaboration with the two Chambers of Congress (at both personal and institutional levels), as well as with other interest groups and generate maximum support for the President.
In line with the above mandate, the PLLO undertakes the following functions:
- Advises the President on all matters pertaining to legislation and Executive-Legislative relationship by managing the President’s day-to-day relations with individual members of Congress, including Executive-Legislative dialogues / conferences and other Presidential activities requiring the participation of Congressional members;
- Handles all tasks to promote the President’s Legislative Agenda – from bill drafting to inter-agency consultations, legislative research, advocacy and conflict resolutions, preparation of Presidential urgent certification of priority bills up to the ceremonial signing of the same;
- Sees to the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (CA) of presidential appointees to the Cabinet;
- Conducts political analyses through voting patterns and the like that serve as bases for facilitating relationships and the formulation of policies and implementation thereof;
- Provides mechanisms for effective exchange of information/ consultation/coordination among the Executive departments, agencies and instrumentalities on the one hand with Congress and other interest groups on the other;
- Coordinates with all government bodies, whenever necessary, to ensure consistency of the Administration’s legislative proposals with existing programs;
- Consolidates Congress’ and other interest groups’ support for Presidential initiatives;
- Performs oversight, monitoring and other functions for the President’s and the Cabinet’s legislative agenda and implementation of new laws; and
- Monitors and informs the President daily of the progress of all Administration bills and other measures affecting the Presidency, existing government programs and other over-all government machinery.
The PLLO maintains “strategic coordinating posts” in the Senate, in the House of Representatives and in Malacañang to ensure effective and efficient advocacy of official party lines, to monitor the progress of Administration measures and to advise the President and concerned executive departments/offices of relevant developments in Congress. With its three office stations, the PLLO has a total of 38 plantilla positions that includes the Head and two Undersecretaries, each heading the PLLO stations in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.