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G.R. No.

193036
REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN, REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP. SIMEON A.
DATUMANONG, and REP. ORLANDO B. FUA, SR.
vs.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET
AND MANAGEMENT SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD
FACTS:
To transform his campaign slogan, Kung walang corrupt, walang
mahirap, the President, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, at the dawn of his
administration, signed on July 30, 2010 an Executive Order No. 1 establishing
the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth Commission).
The Philippine Truth Commission composed of a Chairman and four (4)
members shall act as independent collegial body, and shall have all the powers
of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the
Administrative Code of 1987. The Commissions primary task is to conduct a
thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption,
involving third level public officers and higher, their co-principals, accomplices
and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous
administration and thereafter submit its findings and recommendations to the
President, Congress, and the Ombudsman. The Commission is not a quasi-judicial
body as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render awards in
disputes between contending parties.
Not long after the issuance of Executive Order No. 1, two petitions were
filed with the Supreme Court. The first case, G.R. No. 192395, is a special civil
action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis Barok C. Biraogo, in his
capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Birago assails Executive Order No. 1 for being
violative of the legislative power of Congress under Article VI, Section 1, of the
Constitution as it usurps the constitutional authority of the legislative to create a
public office and to appropriate funds thereof. The second case, G.R.
No.193036, is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by
petitioners-legislators, Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon
A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua, Sr. as incumbent members of the
House of Representatives, questioning the legality of the creation of
the Truth Commission since the creation of a public office lies within the
province of Congress and not with the executive branch of government.
The Office of the Solicitor General questioned the legal standing of the
petitioners-legislators to assail Executive Order No. 1. The OSG argued that the
petitioners-legislators have not shown that they have sustained or are in danger
of sustaining any personal injury attributable to the creation of the Commission.
Not claiming to be the subject of the commissions investigation, petitioners will
not sustain injury in its creation or as a result of its proceedings.
ISSUE:
1. Whether or not the essential requisites for judicial review are present in
order for the court to validly exercise its power of judicial review.
HELD:
The Philippine Supreme Court, according to Article VIII, Section 1 of the
1987 Constitution, is vested with the Judicial Power that 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 a
grave of abuse of discretion amounting to lack of excess of jurisdiction on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.
However, like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, the power
of Judicial Review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual
case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person
challenging the act must have a personal and substantial interest in the case
such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its
enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest
possible opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis
mota of the case.
Among all these limitations, only the legal standing of the petitioners has
been put at issue. The court confirmed that the petitioner-legislators had the
requisite standing to challenge Executive Order No. 1 as they are allowed to
question the validity of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their
prerogatives as legislators. Evidently, the petition primarily invokes usurpation
of the power of the Congress as a body to which they belong as members. This
certainly justifies their resolve to take the cudgels for Congress as an institution
and present the complaints on the usurpation of their power and rights as
members of the legislature before the Court.