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File No. 5


Judicial Review – the power of the courts to test the validity of

executive and legislative acts in light of their conformity with the


• This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of judicial

review. That means that the Court has the right to review acts of
Congress and, by extension, actions of the President. If the Court
finds that the law is unconstitutional, it can overrule the law.
Marshall argued that the Constitution is the “supreme law” of the
land and that the Supreme Court has the final say over the
meaning of the Constitution. He wrote, “it is emphatically the
province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is
(Marbury vs. Madison, 5 US 137, 2 L.Ed. 60).”

• In the regular course, the regional trial courts and the Supreme
Court have concurrent jurisdiction to hear and decide petitions for
quo warranto (as well as certiorari, prohibition and mandamus),
and a basic deference to the hierarchy of courts impels a filing of
such petitions in the lower tribunals. However, for special and
important reasons or for exceptional and compelling
circumstances, as in the present case, the Supreme Court has
allowed exceptions to this doctrine. In fact, original petitions for
certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto assailing acts
of legislative officers like the Senate President and the Speaker of
the House have been recognized as exceptions to this rule. In this
country the judicial supremacy is established, with the Supreme
Court as the final arbiter, to see that no one branch or agency of
the government transcends the Constitution, not only in justiceable
but political questions as well (Defensor-Santiago vs. Guingona, GR
134577, Nov. 18, 1998).
• The Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial
branch of the government in Section 1, Article VIII of our present
1987 Constitution. The "moderating power" to "determine the
proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of
government and "to direct the course of government along
constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts as a necessary
consequence of the judicial power itself, which is "the power of the
court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
legally demandable and enforceable." The separation of powers is a
fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not
through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution.
Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of
matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own
sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers
are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended
them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other.
The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks
and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various
departments of the government. And the judiciary in turn, with the
Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other
departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and
hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of
the Constitution (Francisco vs. House of Representatives, GR 160261, Nov.
10, 2003).


Doctrine of Judicial Supremacy

 Although holding neither purse nor sword and so regarded as

the weakest of the three departments of the government, the
Judiciary is nonetheless vested with the power to annul the acts
of either the Legislative or the Executive department or both
when not conformable to the fundamental law (Asso. Of Small
Landowners of the Philippines vs. Sec. of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343).

 When the judiciary allocates constitutional boundaries,

it neither asserts superiority, non-nullifies an act of the
legislative, it only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation
assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims
of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the
parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument
secures and guarantees to them (Laurel, Angara v. Electoral
Commission, 63 Phil. 139).
Doctrine of Constitutional Supremacy

 If a law or contract violates any norm of the constitution, that law

or contract whether promulgated by the legislative, or by the
executive branch or entered into by private persons for private
purpose is null and void and without any force or effect.


• That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in actual

and appropriate cases and controversies, and is the power and
duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government
transcends the Constitution, which is the source of all authority.

The power of the courts to test the validity of executive and

legislative acts in light of their conformity with the Constitution.
This is not an assertion of superiority by the courts over the other
departments, but merely an expression of the supremacy of the
Constitution (Angara vs. Electroral Commission, 63 Phil.139).


Political Question - has two (2) aspects:

1. Those questions which, under the Constitution are to be decided by

the people in their sovereign capacity, or

2. In regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to

the legislature or executive branches of government (Tanada v.
Cuenco, 100 Phil 1101).

Justiciable Question – a definite and concrete dispute touching on

the legal interest which may be resolved by a court of law through the
application of a law (Cataran v. DENR, GR No. 134958, January 3, 2001).


• Justice William J. Brennan reformulated the political question

doctrine, proposing a six-part test for determining which questions
were "political" in nature. Cases which are political in nature are
marked by:
1. "Textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the
issue to a coordinate political department;" as an example of this,
Brennan cited issues of foreign affairs and executive war powers,
arguing that cases involving such matters would be "political

2. "A lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards

for resolving it;"

3. "The impossibility of deciding without an initial policy

determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion;"

4. "The impossibility of a court's undertaking independent

resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate
branches of government;"

5. "An unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political

decision already made;"

6. "The potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious

pronouncements by various departments on one question (Baker vs.
Carr, 396 US 186).”

• The Court held that the question whether or not the Senate rule
violated the US Constitution was nonjusticiable since the
impeachment clause expressly granted that the “Senate shall have
sole Power to try any impeachment.” The clause laid out specific
regulations that were to be followed and as long as those
guidelines were observed the court would not rule upon the validity
of other senate procedures regarding impeachment. Chief Justice
William Rehnquist observed that while the Supreme Court was the
“ultimate interpreter of the Constitution,” a matter would be
deemed nonjusticiable when there was “a constitutional
commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department (Nixon
vs. US, 506 US 224).”

• Without oral argument, the divided justices found that the case
was not justiciable. Rehnquist lead a group of four (4) others who
believed that the issue involved a political question, namely, how
the President and Congress would conduct the nation's foreign
affairs. Justice Powell did not find the case ripe for judicial review.
Congress had not formally challenged the Carter's authority,
technically there was no conflict for the Court to resolve (Goldwater
vs. Carter, 444 US 996, 62 L.Ed.2d 428).
• It is now an ancient rule that the valid source of a statute —
Presidential Decrees are of such nature — may be contested by
one who will sustain a direct injury as a result of its enforcement. At
the instance of taxpayers, laws providing for the disbursement of
public funds may be enjoined, upon the theory that the expenditure
of public funds by an officer of the State for the purpose of
executing an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of
such funds. The interest of the petitioners as taxpayers in the
lawful expenditure of these amounts of public money sufficiently
clothes them with that personality to litigate the validity of the
Decrees appropriating said funds.

The amending process both as to proposal and ratification, raises a

judicial question. This is especially true in cases where the power
of the Presidency to initiate the amending process by proposals of
amendments, a function normally exercised by the legislature, is
seriously doubted. Under the terms of the 1973 Constitution, the
power to propose amendments to the Constitution resides in the
interim National Assembly during the period of transition (Sec. 15,
Transitory Provisions). After that period, and the regular National
Assembly in its active session, the power to propose amendments
becomes ipso facto the prerogative of the regular National
Assembly (Sec. 1, pars. 1 and 2 of Art. XVI, 1973 Constitution). The
normal course has not been followed. Rather than calling the
interim National Assembly to constitute itself into a constituent
assembly, the incumbent President undertook the proposal of
amendments and submitted the proposed amendments thru
Presidential Decree 1033 to the people in a Referendum-Plebiscite
on October 16. Unavoidably, the regularity of the procedure for
amendments, written in lambent words in the very Constitution
sought to be amended, raises a contestable issue. The
implementing Presidential Decree Nos. 991, 1031, and 1033, which
commonly purport to have the force and effect of legislation are
assailed as invalid, thus the issue of the validity of said Decrees is
plainly a justiciable one, within the competence of this Court to
pass upon. Section 2 (2) Article X of the new Constitution provides:
"All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, executive
agreement, or law shall be heard and decided by the Supreme
Court en banc and no treaty, executive agreement, or law may be
declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of at least ten
Members. . . .." The Supreme Court has the last word in the
construction not only of treaties and statutes, but also of the
Constitution itself. The amending, like all other powers organized
in the Constitution, is in form a delegated and hence a limited
power, so that the Supreme Court is vested with that authority to
determine whether that power has been discharged within its

Political questions are neatly associated with the wisdom, not the
legality of a particular act. Where the vortex of the controversy
refers to the legality or validity of the contested act, that matter is
definitely justiciable or non-political. What is in the heels of the
Court is not the wisdom of the act of the incumbent President in
proposing amendments to the Constitution, but his constitutional
authority to perform such act or to assume the power of a
constituent assembly. Whether the amending process confers on
the President that power to propose amendments is therefore a
downright justiciable question. Should the contrary be found, the
actuation of the President would merely he a brutum fulmen. If the
Constitution provides how it may be amended, the judiciary as the
interpreter of that Constitution, can declare whether the procedure
followed or the authority assumed was valid or not.

Whether, therefore, that constitutional provision has been followed

or not is indisputably a proper subject of inquiry, not by the people
themselves — of course — who exercise no power of judicial
review, but by the Supreme Court in whom the people themselves
vested that power, a power which includes the competence to
determine whether the constitutional norms for amendments have
been observed or not. And, this inquiry must be done a priori not a
posteriori, i.e., before the submission to and ratification by the

As to the question on whether or not the Pres. Marcos may propose

amendments to the Constitution in the absence of a grant of such
constituent power to the President, the Court held that he could. If
the President has been legitimately discharging the legislative
functions of the Interim Assembly, there is no reason why he
cannot validly discharge the function of that Assembly to propose
amendments to the Constitution, which is an adjunct, although
peculiar, to its gross legislative power (Sanidad vs. COMELEC, 73 SCRA

• The Court, through former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, held

that political questions refer "to those questions which, under the
Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign
capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been
delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government.
It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality
of a particular measure." To a great degree, the 1987 Constitution
has narrowed the reach of the political question doctrine when it
expanded the power of judicial review of this court not only to
settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable but also to determine whether or not
there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality
of government. Heretofore, the judiciary has focused on the "thou
shalt not's" of the Constitution directed against the exercise of its
jurisdiction. With the new provision, however, courts are given a
greater prerogative to determine what it can do to prevent grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. Clearly,
the new provision did not just grant the Court power of doing
nothing. In sync and symmetry with this intent are other provisions
of the 1987 Constitution trimming the so called political thicket.
Prominent of these provisions is section 18 of Article VII which
empowers this Court in limpid language to "x x x review, in an
appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the
factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of
the privilege of the writ (of habeas corpus) or the extension thereof
x x x." (Estrada vs. Arroyo, GR 146738, March 2, 2001).

• Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution expands the

concept of judicial review by providing that:

SEC. 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court

and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the

The Court does not agree with the posture of the respondent
COMELEC that the issue involved in the present petition is a
political question beyond the jurisdiction of this Court to review. As
the leading case of Tañada vs. Cuenco put it, political questions are
concerned with “issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality of
a particular measure.” The issue raised in the present petition does
not merely concern the wisdom of the assailed resolution but
focuses on its alleged disregard for applicable statutory and
constitutional provisions. In other words, that the petitioner and the
petitioners-in-intervention are questioning the legality of the
respondent COMELEC’s administrative issuance will not preclude
this Court from exercising its power of judicial review to determine
whether or not there was grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the respondent
COMELEC in issuing Resolution No. 6712. Indeed, administrative
issuances must not override, supplant or modify the law, but must
remain consistent with the law they intend to carry out. When the
grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the
issue of whether the prescribed qualifications or conditions have
been met or the limitations respected, is justiciable – the problem
being one of legality or validity, not its wisdom. In the present
petition, the Court must pass upon the petitioner’s contention that
Resolution No. 6712 does not have adequate statutory or
constitutional basis.

An administrative body or tribunal acts without jurisdiction if it does

not have the legal power to determine the matter before it; there is
excess of jurisdiction where the respondent, being clothed with the
power to determine the matter, oversteps its authority as
determined by law. There is grave abuse of discretion justifying the
issuance of the writ of certiorari when there is a capricious and
whimsical exercise of his judgment as is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction (Brillantes vs. Concepcion, GR 163193, June 15, 2004).


Laws are presumed constitutional. To nullify nullification of law, there

must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. The
theory is that, as the joint act of the legislative and executive
authorities, a law is supposed to have been carefully studied and
determined to be constitutional before it was finally enacted.


• The time-honored doctrine is that all laws (PD No. 771 included) are
presumed valid and constitutional until or unless otherwise ruled by
this Court. Not only this; Article XVIII Section 3 of the Constitution

Sec. 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations,

letters of instructions and other executive issuances not
inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until
amended, repealed or revoked.
There is nothing on record to show or even suggest that PD No. 771
has been repealed, altered or amended by any subsequent law or
presidential issuance (when the executive still exercised legislative
powers (Lim vs Pacquing, GR 115044, Jan. 27, 1995).


1. Actual case or controversy

a. ripeness
b. mootness
2. Proper party
3. Question must be raised at the earliest possible time
4. Constitutional Question Must Be the Very “Lis Mota” of the Case

a. Actual Case or Controversy

Actual case or controversy – a conflict of legal rights, an assertion

of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial determination.


• An actual case or controversy means an existing case or

controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, not
conjectural or anticipatory. It cannot be disputed that there is yet
no actual case or controversy involving all or any of the private
respondents on one hand, and all or any of the petitioners on the
other, with respect to rights or obligations under R.A. No. 8050.
(Board of Optometry vs. Colet, GR 122241, July 30, 1996).

• The requirements before a litigant can challenge the

constitutionality of a law are well-delineated. They are: (1) there
must be an actual case or controversy; (2) the question of
constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (3) the
constitutional question must be raised at the earliest possible
opportunity; and (4) the decision on the constitutional question
must be necessary to the determination of the case itself.

Petitioners have far from complied with these requirements. The

petition is premised on the occurrence of many contingent events,
i.e., that Mayor Binay will run again in this coming mayoralty
elections; that he would be re-elected in said elections; and that he
would seek re-election for the same post in the 1998 elections.
Considering that these contingencies may or may not happen,
petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen
to an actual case or controversy. Petitioners who are residents of
Taguig (except Mariano) are not also the proper parties to raise this
abstract issue. Worse, they hoist this futuristic issue in a petition for
declaratory relief over which this Court has no jurisdiction (Mariano
vs. COMELEC, 242 SCRA 211).

• In actions involving constitutional issues, the firmly settled rule is

that a constitutional question will not be heard and resolved by the
courts unless the following requirements of judicial inquiry are met:

(1) the existence of an actual case or controversy;

(2) the party raising the constitutional issue must have a
personal and substantial interest in the resolution thereof;
(3) the controversy must be raised at the earliest reasonable
opportunity; and
(4) that the resolution of the constitutional issue must, be
indispensable for the final determination of the controversy. 3

Appraising the present proceeding in terms of the foregoing

requirements, the Solicitor General urges that the petition at bar
does not present a justiciable controversy for having been filed

". . . petitioners, who claim to be performing artists, had not

previously applied with the Secretary of Labor for exemption from
the coverage of the Circular in line with the aforequoted provision.
Said provision connotes that the prohibition is not at all permanent
or absolute. It admits of exception . . . But to repeat, there is no
allegation in the petition that petitioners had previously sought
exemption from the Secretary of Labor, from the coverage of the
Circular, before filing the instant petition. Obviously, the petition
must fail for prematurity."

The Court agrees with the Solicitor General (Fernandez vs. Torres, 215
SCRA 489).

• An actual case or controversy means an existing case or

controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, not
conjectural or anticipatory, lest the decision of the court would
amount to an advisory opinion. The power does not extend to
hypothetical questions since any attempt at abstraction could only
lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile
conclusions unrelated to actualities.

“Legal standing” or locus standi has been defined as a personal and

substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or
will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is
being challenged, alleging more than a generalized grievance. The
gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges “such
personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that
concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues
upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult
constitutional questions.” Unless a person is injuriously affected in
any of his constitutional rights by the operation of statute or
ordinance, he has no standing (La Bugal B'laa, Tribal Assn. vs. DENR
Secretary, GR 127882, Jan. 27, 2004).

• In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground

that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a
justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is
seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not
only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the
dispute. "The question thus posed is judicial rather than political.
The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of
the Constitution is upheld." Once a "controversy as to the
application or interpretation of a constitutional provision is raised
before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue
which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide."
The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters raised in the
petition is clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution which
emphasizes the judicial department's duty and power to strike
down grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of government including Congress. As the Court
has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases, it will not
shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and authority to
uphold the Constitution in matters that involve grave abuse of
discretion brought before it in appropriate cases, committed by any
officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the government.
As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no
other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that this petition should
be given due course and the vital questions raised therein ruled
upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus are appropriate remedies to raise
constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when
proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we have
no equivocation. We should stress that, in deciding to take
jurisdiction over this petition, this Court will not review the wisdom
of the decision of the President and the Senate in enlisting the
country into the WTO, or pass upon the merits of trade
liberalization as a policy espoused by said international body.
Neither will it rule on the propriety of the government's economic
policy of reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies, quantitative
restrictions, and other import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only
exercise its constitutional duty "to determine whether or not there
had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in ratifying the WTO
Agreement and its three annexes (Tanada, et. al. vs. Angara, et. al., GR
118295, May 2, 1997).

i) Ripeness


• Issue: Did Lyons's injunction against the use of police chokeholds

meet the threshold requirements imposed by Article III of the
Constitution? The Court held that federal courts were without
jurisdiction to entertain Lyons' claim for injunctive relief. The fact
that Lyons had been choked once did nothing to establish "a real
and immediate threat that he would again be stopped. . .by an
officer who would illegally choke him into unconsciousness." The
Court held that in order to establish an actual controversy, Lyons
would have to show either 1) that all Los Angeles police officers
always choked citizens with whom they had encounters, or 2) that
the City ordered or authorized officers to act in such a manner.
Lyons was thus limited to suing the police and the city for
individual damages.

Lyons’ case is not ripe because of the speculative nature of his

claim. Predictions of future behavior are beyond the court’s
functions. The rule is that, ripeness arises when an actual case
has ripened or matured into a controversy worthy of adjudication.
(City of Los Angeles vs. Lyons, 449 US 934).

ii) Mootness


• A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a

justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a
declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value.
Generally, courts decline jurisdiction over such case or dismiss it on
ground of mootness. The Court holds that President Arroyo’s
issuance of PP 1021 did not render the present petitions moot and
academic. During the eight (8) days that PP 1017 was operative,
the police officers, according to petitioners, committed illegal acts
in implementing it. Are PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 constitutional or
valid? Do they justify these alleged illegal acts? These are the vital
issues that must be resolved in the present petitions. It must be
stressed that “an unconstitutional act is not a law, it confers no
rights, it imposes no duties, it affords no protection; it is in legal
contemplation, inoperative.”

The “moot and academic” principle is not a magical formula that

can automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case. Courts
will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if:

first, there is a grave violation of the Constitution;

second, the exceptional character of the situation and the
paramount public interest is involved;
third, when constitutional issue raised requires formulation of
controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public;
fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet evading review
(David vs. Macapagal-Arroyo, GR 171396, May 03, 2006).

• After being denied admission to a state-operated law school,

petitioner brought this suit on behalf of himself alone for injunctive
relief, claiming that the school's admissions policy racially
discriminated against him in violation of the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court held that because
petitioner will complete law school at the end of the term for which
he has registered regardless of any decision this Court might reach
on the merits, the Court cannot, consistently with the limitations of
Art. III of the Constitution, consider the substantive constitutional
issues, and the case is moot.

(a) Mootness here does not depend upon a "voluntary cessation" of

the school's admissions practices but upon the simple fact that
petitioner is in his final term, and the school's fixed policy to permit
him to complete the term.

(b) The case presents no question that is "capable of repetition, yet

evading review," since petitioner will never again have to go
through the school's admissions process, and since it does not
follow that the issue petitioner raises will in the future evade review
merely because this case did not reach the Court until the eve of
petitioner's graduation (DeFunis vs. Odegaard, 416 US 312, 40 L.Ed. 343).
b. Proper Party

Constitutional question must be raised by the proper party – one who

has sustained or in imminent danger of sustaining an injury as a result
of the act complained of.


Conventional Standing


• The court was tasked to determine if the rules of standing should

be considered part of the 'case or controversy' clause of Article III
of the Constitution or, apart from that, if the court can hear cases
on "generalized grievances" or in the interest of third parties where
none of the complaintants have standing. The court found that as
none of the plaintiffs could demonstrate any injury actually done to
them by the defendants, the plaintiffs were third parties to the
issue and had no standing to sue. The plaintiff's descriptions of
their own meager financial situations and subsequent inability to
live in Penfield were found by the Court to be the consequence of
the economics and housing market of the area rather than any
wrong doing by the defendants (Warth vs. Seldin, 422 US 490, 45 L.Ed.2d,

• Tanada vs. Angara, GR 118295, May 2, 1997, supra.

ii) Representative

iii)Jus Tertii


• The Supreme Court was called upon to determine whether a

statute that denies the sale of beer to individuals of the same age
based on their gender violates the Equal Protection Clause.
Additionally, the Supreme Court examined jus tertii (third party
rights), in this case the vendor of the 3.2% beer. The Court held
that the gender classifications made by the Oklahoma statute were
unconstitutional because the statistics relied on by the state were
insufficient to show a substantial relationship between the statute
and the benefits intended to stem from it. Furthermore, the Court
found that analysis of the Equal Protection Clause in this case had
not been changed. As to third party rights, the court, expanding on
the doctrine of standing, held that the vendors of 3.2% beer will be
economically affected due to the restrictive nature of the sales to
males between 18 and 20. To have standing, one must show a
"nexus" of the injury to themselves and the constitutional violation
of the statute. In this case, the statute only directly affects plaintiff
Craig. Only indirectly does it affect the vendor, Whitener, the third
party. The Supreme Court explains that Whitener and other
vendors have standing "by acting as advocates of the rights of third
parties who seek access to their market or function" (Craig vs Boren,
429 US 190, 50 L.Ed.2d. 343).

iv) Transcendental importance to the



• Respondents claimed that petitioners had no legal standing to

initiate the instant action. Petitioners, however, countered that the
action was filed by them in their capacity as Senators and as
taxpayers. The prevailing doctrines in taxpayer's suits are to allow
taxpayers to question contracts entered into by the national
government or government-owned or controlled corporations
allegedly in contravention of the law and to disallow the same
when only municipal contracts are involved. For as long as the
ruling in Kilosbayan on locus standi is not reversed, we have no
choice but to follow it and uphold the legal standing of petitioners
as taxpayers to institute the present action (Tatad vs. Garcia, 243 SCRA

• On the locus standi of the petitioners, the Court resolved the

issue in their favor. A party's standing before the Court is a
procedural technicality which it may, in the exercise of its
discretion, set aside in view of the importance of the issues raised.
In the landmark Emergency Powers Cases, the Court brushed
aside this technicality because "the transcendental importance to
the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly
and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of
procedure. (Avelino vs. Cuenco, G.R. No. L-2821)." Insofar as
taxpayers' suits are concerned, this Court had declared that it "is
not devoid of discretion as to whether or not it should be
entertained," or that it "enjoys an open discretion to entertain the
same or not (Kilosbayan vs. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110).”

• Issue: Whether or not petitioners possess the legal standing to

file the instant petition. The Supreme Court ruled in the negative.
Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because some
cases are brought not by parties who have been personally injured
by the operation of the law or by official action taken, but by
concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the
public interest. Petitioners do not in fact show what particularized
interest they have for bringing this suit. And they do not have
present substantial interest in the Equipment Lease Agreement
(ELA) as would entitle them to bring this suit (Kilosabayan vs. Morato,
246 SCRA 540).

• It is insisted that this Court has in the past accorded standing to

taxpayers and concerned citizens in cases involving "paramount
public interest." Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens and
legislators have indeed been allowed to sue but then only

(1) in cases involving constitutional issues and

(2) under certain conditions. Petitioners do not meet these
requirements on standing.

Taxpayers are allowed to sue, for example, where there is a claim

of illegal disbursement of public funds, or where a tax measure is
assailed as unconstitutional. Voters are allowed to question the
validity of election laws because of their obvious interest in the
validity of such laws. Concerned citizens can bring suits if the
constitutional question they raise is of "transcendental importance"
which must be settled early. Legislators are allowed to sue to
question the validity of any official action which they claim
infringes their prerogatives qua legislators. Petitioners do not have
the same kind of interest that these various litigants have.
Petitioners assert an interest as taxpayers, but they do not meet
the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's suits as set forth
in Dumlao v. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392, 403 (1980), to wit:

While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure

of public moneys, nowhere in their Petition do said petitioners
allege that their tax money is "being extracted and spent in
violation of specific constitutional protections against abuses of
legislative power", or that there is a misapplication of such funds
by respondent COMELEC , or that public money is being deflected
to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain
respondent from wasting public funds through the enforcement of
an invalid or unconstitutional law. Besides, the institution of a
taxpayer's suit, per se, is no assurance of judicial review. As held
by this Court in Tan vs. Macapagal (43 SCRA 677 [1972]), speaking
through our present Chief Justice, this Court is vested with
discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be
entertained. Petitioners' suit does not fall under any of these
categories of taxpayers' suits (Kilosbayan vs. Morato (Recon), GR 118910,
Nov. 16, 1995).

v) Standing of
members of Congress


• Where the veto is claimed to have been made without or in

excess of the authority vested on the President by the Constitution,
the issue of an impermissible intrusion of the Executive into the
domain of the Legislature arises. It is true that the Constitution
provides a mechanism for overriding a veto (Art. VI, Sec. 27 [1]).
Said remedy, however, is available only when the presidential veto
is based on policy or political considerations but not when the veto
is claimed to be ultra vires. In the latter case, it becomes the duty
of the Court to draw the dividing line where the exercise of
executive power ends and the bounds of legislative jurisdiction
begin (Philconsa vs. Enriquez, 235 SCRA 506).

• PETRON questions the locus standi of petitioners to file the action

(Rollo, pp. 479-484). Petitioners however, countered that they filed
the action in their capacity as members of Congress.
In Philippine Constitution Association v. Hon. Salvador Enriquez,
G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994, we held that the members of
Congress have the legal standing to question the validity of acts of
the Executive which injures them in their person or the institution
of Congress to which they belong. In the latter case, the acts cause
derivative but nonetheless substantial injury which can be
questioned by members of Congress (Kennedy v. James, 412 F.
Supp. 353 [1976]). In the absence of a claim that the contract in
question violated the rights of petitioners or impermissibly intruded
into the domain of the Legislature, petitioners have no legal
standing to institute the instant action in their capacity as
members of Congress.
However, petitioners can bring the action in their capacity as
taxpayers under the doctrine laid down in Kilosbayan, Inc. v.
Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 (1994). Under said ruling, taxpayers may
question contracts entered into by the national government or
government-owned or controlled corporations alleged to be in
contravention of the law. As long as the ruling in Kilosbayan on
locus standi is not reversed, we have no choice but to follow it and
uphold the legal standing of petitioners as taxpayers to institute
the present action (Bagatsing vs. Committee on Privatization, GR 112399,
July 14, 1995).

vi) Standing of Integrated Bar of the



• The IBP has not sufficiently complied with the requisites of

standing in this case.

"Legal standing" or locus standi has been defined as a personal and

substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or
will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is
being challenged. The term "interest" means a material interest, an
interest in issue affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere
interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest. The
gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such
personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that
concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues
upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult
constitutional questions. In the case at bar, the IBP primarily
anchors its standing on its alleged responsibility to uphold the rule
of law and the Constitution. Apart from this declaration, however,
the IBP asserts no other basis in support of its locus standi The
mere invocation by the IBP of its duty to preserve the rule of law
and nothing more, while undoubtedly true, is not sufficient to clothe
it with standing in this case. This is too general an interest which is
shared by other groups and the whole citizenry.

Having stated the foregoing, it must be emphasized that this Court

has the discretion to take cognizance of a suit which does not
satisfy the requirement of legal standing when paramount interest
is involved. In not a few cases, the Court has adopted a liberal
attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is
able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people.
Thus, when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the
public, the Court may brush aside technicalities of procedure. 18 In
this case, a reading of the petition shows that the IBP has advanced
constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in
view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents.
Moreover, because peace and order are under constant threat and
lawless violence occurs in increasing tempo, undoubtedly
aggravated by the Mindanao insurgency problem, the legal
controversy raised in the petition almost certainly will not go away.
It will stare us in the face again. It, therefore, behooves the Court to
relax the rules on standing and to resolve the issue now, rather
than later (IBP vs Zamora, GR 141284, Aug. 15, 2000).

vii) Standing of the

Government to
question its own laws


• Issue: Whether the People of the Philippines, through the

Solicitor General and Fiscal of the City of Manila, is a proper party in
present case. The Court held that the People of the Philippines,
represented by the Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the City of
Manila, is a proper party in the present proceedings. The
unchallenged rule is that the person who impugns the validity of a
statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the case
such that he has sustained, or will sustained, direct injury as a
result of its enforcement. It goes without saying that if Act 4221
really violates the constitution, the People of the Philippines, in
whose name the present action is brought, has a substantial
interest in having it set aside. Of greater import than the damage
caused by the illegal expenditure of public funds is the mortal
wound inflicted upon the fundamental law by the enforcement of an
invalid statute. Hence, the well-settled rule that the state can
challenge the validity of its own laws (People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56).

viii) Taxpayer’s Suits

Two (2) requisites of Taxpayer’s suits:

1. Public funds are disbursed by a political subdivision or
instrumentality, and

2. A law is violated or some irregularity is committed and that the

petitioner is directly affected by the alleged ultra vires act.


• In the case before us, petitioners failed to show, to the

satisfaction of this Court, that they have sustained, or are in danger
of sustaining any direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the
VFA. As taxpayers, petitioners have not established that the VFA
involves the exercise by Congress of its taxing or spending powers.
On this point, it bears stressing that a taxpayer's suit refers to a
case where the act complained of directly involves the illegal
disbursement of public funds derived from taxation.

Notwithstanding, in view of the paramount importance and the

constitutional significance of the issues raised in the petitions, this
Court, in- the exercise of its sound discretion, brushes aside the
procedural barrier and takes cognizance of the petitions, as we
have done in the early Emergency Powers Cases, 20 where we had
occasion to rule:

". . . ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the

constitutionality of several executive orders issued by President
Quirino although they were involving only an indirect and general
interest shared in common with the public. The Court dismissed the
objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that
'transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands
that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we
must, technicalities of procedure (Bayan vs. Zamora, GR 138570, Oct. 10,

• Petitioner has not shown that he has sustained or is in danger of

sustaining any personal injury attributable to the creation of the
Preparatory Commission on Constitutional Reform (PCCR). In other
words, petitioner must show that he is a real party in interest —
that he will stand to be benefited or injured by the judgment or that
he will be entitled to the avails of the suit. Nowhere in his pleadings
does petitioner presume to make such a representation. If at all, it
is only Congress, not petitioner, which can claim any "injury" in this
case since, according to petitioner, the President has encroached
upon the legislature's powers to create a public office and to
propose amendments to the Charter by forming the PCCR. A
taxpayer is deemed to have the standing to raise a constitutional
issue when it is established that public funds have been disbursed
in alleged contravention of the law or the Constitution. Thus, a
taxpayer's action is properly brought only when there is an
exercise by Congress of its taxing or spending power (Gonzales vs.
Narvasa, GR 140835, Aug. 14, 2000).

c. Question must be raised at the earliest possible


General Rule : must be raised in the pleadings.

Exceptions :
a. criminal cases – at any time at the discretion of
the court;
b. civil cases – at any stage of the proceedings if
necessary for the determination of the case itself;
c. every case (except where there is estoppel) –
at any stage if it involves the jurisdiction of the court.

d. Constitutional question must the very

"lis mota" of
the case

lis mota – a controversy begun.

Determination of constitutionality of the statute must be necessary to

a final determination of the case (People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56).

Therefore, the following must be avoided:

Political questions;
Advisory opinions;
Moot and academic issues;
No standing.



• In the exercise of this jurisdiction, lower courts are advised to act

with the utmost circumspection, bearing in mind the consequences
of a declaration of unconstitutionality upon the stability of laws, no
less than on the doctrine of separation of powers. As the
questioned act is usually the handiwork of the legislative or the
executive departments, or both, it will be prudent for such courts, if
only out of a becoming modesty, to defer to the higher judgment of
this Court in the consideration of its validity, which is better
determined after a thorough deliberation by a collegiate body and
with the concurrence of the majority of those who participated in its

It is also emphasized that every court, including this Court, is

charged with the duty of a purposeful hesitation before declaring a
law unconstitutional, on the theory that the measure was first
carefully studied by the executive and the legislative departments
and determined by them to be in accordance with the fundamental
law before it was finally approved. To doubt is to sustain. The
presumption of constitutionality can be overcome only by the
clearest showing that there was indeed an infraction of the
Constitution, and only when such a conclusion is reached by the
required majority may the Court pronounce, in the discharge of the
duty it cannot escape, that the challenged act must be struck down
(Drilon vs. Lim, GR 112497, Aug. 04, 1994).


The law is either:

1. void – if on its face it does not enjoy any presumption of validity

because it is patently offensive to the Constitution. It produces no
effect creates no office and imposes no duty. (Igot v. Comelec, 95
SCRA 392).

2. voidable – if on its face it enjoys the presumption of

constitutionality. The law becomes inoperative only upon the
judicial declaration of its invalidity; the declaration produces no
retroactive effect (Serrano de Agbayani v PNB, 38 SCRA 429).

Doctrine of Operative Fact

Realizes that in declaring a law or rule null and void, undue harshness
and resulting unfairness must be avoided.

• The strict view considers a legislative enactment which is
declared unconstitutional as being, for all legal intents and
purposes, a total nullity, and it is deemed as if had never existed.
Here, of course, we refer to the law itself being per se repugnant to
the Constitution. It is not always the case, however, that a law is
constitutionally faulty per se. Thus, it may well be valid in its
general import, but invalid in its application to certain factual
situations. To exemplify, an otherwise valid law may be held
unconstitutional only insofar as it is allowed to operate
retrospectively such as, in pertinent cases, when it vitiates
contractually vested rights. A judicial declaration of invalidity, it is
also true, may not necessarily obliterate all the effects and
consequences of a void act occurring prior to such a declaration.
Thus, in our decisions on the moratorium laws, 6 we have been
constrained to recognize the interim effects of said laws prior to
their declaration of unconstitutionality, but there we have likewise
been unable to simply ignore strong considerations of equity and
fair play. So also, even as a practical matter, a situation that may
aptly be described as fait accompli may no longer be open for
further inquiry, let alone to be unsettled by a subsequent
declaration of nullity of a governing statute (Republic vs. CA, GR 79732,
Nov. 8, 1993).



• The constitutionality of a statute cannot, in every instance, be

determined by a mere comparison of its provisions with applicable
provisions of the Constitution, since the statute may be
constitutionally valid as applied to one set of facts and invalid in its
application to another.

A statute valid at one time may become void at another time

because of altered circumstances. Thus, if a statute in its practical
operation becomes arbitrary or confiscatory, its validity, even
though affirmed by a former adjudication, is open to inquiry and
investigation in the light of changed conditions (Central Bank Employee
Assn, Inc. vs. BSP, GR 148208, Dec. 15, 2004).