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Sanidad vs COMELEC Case Digest

Sanidad vs COMELEC Case Digest

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Published by: unbeatable38 on Aug 26, 2009
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07/08/2014

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Sanidad vs. Commission on Elections
 
Facts
On 2 September 1976, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued PD 991 calling for a nationalreferendum on 16 October 1976 for the Citizens Assemblies ("barangays") to resolve the issues of martiallaw, the interim assembly, its replacement, the powers of such replacement, the period of its existence,the length of the period for the exercise by the President of his present powers.On 22 September 1976, the President issued another PD 1031, amending the previous PresidentialDecree 991, by declaring the provisions of Presidential Decree 229 providing for the manner of voting andcanvass of votes in "barangays" (Citizens Assemblies) applicable to the national referendum-plebiscite of 16 October 1976. The President also issued PD 1033, stating the questions to be submitted to the peoplein the referendum-plebiscite on 16 October 1976. The Decree recites in its "whereas" clauses that thepeople's continued opposition to the convening of the interim National Assembly evinces their desire tohave such body abolished and replaced thru a constitutional amendment, providing for a new interimlegislative body, which will be submitted directly to the people in the referendum-plebiscite of October 16. The Commission on Elections was vested with the exclusive supervision and control of the October 1976National Referendum-Plebiscite.Pablo C. Sanidad and Pablito V. Sanidad, father and son, commenced for Prohibition withPreliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the COMELEC from holding and conducting the ReferendumPlebiscite on October 16; to declare without force and effect PD 991, 1033 and 1031. They contend thatunder the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President to exercise theconstituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution.On 30 September 1976, another action for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction, was institutedby Vicente M. Guzman, a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, asserting that the power topropose amendments to, or revision of the Constitution during the transition period is expressly conferred
MylaRuth N. Sara
 
on the interim National Assembly under action 16, Article XVII of theConstitution. Another petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction was filed by Raul M. Gonzales, hisson, and Alfredo Salapantan, to restrain the implementation of Presidential Decrees.
Issue:
W/N the President may call upon a referendum for the amendment of the Constitution.
Held:
Section 1 of Article XVI of the 1973 Constitution on Amendments ordains that "(1) Any amendmentto, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by the National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourthsof all its Members, or by a constitutional convention. (2) The National Assembly may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, call a constitutional convention or, by a majority vote of all its Members, submitthe question of calling such a convention to the electorate in an election." Section 2 thereof provides that"Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votescast in a plebiscite which shall be held not later than three months a after the approval of suchamendment or revision."In the present period of transition, the interim National Assembly instituted in the TransitoryProvisions is conferred with that amending power. Section 15 of the Transitory Provisions reads "Theinterim National Assembly, upon special call by the interim Prime Minister, may, by a majority vote of allits Members, propose amendments to this Constitution. Such amendments shall take effect when ratifiedin accordance with Article 16 hereof." There are, therefore, two periods contemplated in the constitutional life of the nation: period of normalcy and period of transition. In times of normalcy, the amending process may be initiated by theproposals of the (1) regular National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members; or (2) by aConstitutional Convention called by a vote of two-thirds of all the Members of the National Assembly.However the calling of a Constitutional Convention may be submitted to the electorate in an electionvoted upon by a majority vote of all the members of the National Assembly. In times of transition,
MylaRuth N. Sara
 
amendments may be proposed by a majority vote of all the Members of theinterim National Assembly upon special call by the interim Prime Minister. The Court in Aquino v. COMELEC, had already settled that the incumbent President is vested withthat prerogative of discretion as to when he shall initially convene the interim National Assembly. TheConstitutional Convention intended to leave to the President the determination of the time when he shallinitially convene the interim National Assembly, consistent with the prevailing conditions of peace andorder in the country.When the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention voted on the Transitory Provisions, they wereaware of the fact that under the same, the incumbent President was given the discretion as to when hecould convene the interim National Assembly. The President's decision to defer the convening of theinterim National Assembly soon found support from the people themselves.In the plebiscite of January 10-15, 1973, at which the ratification of the 1973 Constitution wassubmitted, the people voted against the convening of the interim National Assembly. In the referendum of 24 July 1973, the Citizens Assemblies ("bagangays") reiterated their sovereign will to withhold theconvening of the interim National Assembly. Again, in the referendum of 27 February 1975, the proposedquestion of whether the interim National Assembly shall be initially convened was eliminated, becausesome of the members of Congress and delegates of the Constitutional Convention, who were deemedautomatically members of the interim National Assembly, were against its inclusion since in thatreferendum of January, 1973 the people had already resolved against it.In sensu striciore, when the legislative arm of the state undertakes the proposals of amendment toa Constitution, that body is not in the usual function of lawmaking. It is not legislating when engaged inthe amending process. Rather, it is exercising a peculiar power bestowed upon it by the fundamental
MylaRuth N. Sara

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