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A.M. No. 03-8-22-SC. September 16, 2003 RE: EM NO.

03-010 - ORDER OF THE FIRST DIVISION OF THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS DATED AUGUST 15, 2003. EN BANC Gentlemen: Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of the Court En Banc dated 16 SEP 2003 A.M. No. 03-8-22 SC. (Re: EM No. 03-010 Order of the First Division of the Commission on Elections dated August 15, 2003.) On 10 September 2003, the First Division bf the Commission Elections (COMELEC) promulgated a Resolution in EM Nos. 03-010 & 03-011,[1] which disposed thus:
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"WHEREFORE, for the reasons given, this Commission may be persuaded to pronounce the existence of sufficient grounds to declare respondents in contempt of this Commission and accordingly impose the proper penalty. Nevertheless, we are constitutionally enjoined from doing so without respondents first going through the process of impeachment. "As prayed for by Petitioner Rodolfo T. AIbano III and Intervenor Rodrigo B. Gutang, let [a] copy of this resolution be forwarded [to] the House of Representatives. "However, in the light of the foregoing discussion, we find the filing of the present petitions premature because of the authoritative doctrine that impeachable officers must first be removed from office by impeachment before any punitive measure may be imposed against them. Consequently, the actions being untimely filed, as explained by the Supreme Court, the Petitions for Indirect Contempt deserve nothing less than outright dismissal. Let the above-captioned cases be, as they are hereby ordered, DISMISSED. "SO ORDERED."
On 26 August 2003, prior to the promulgation of the above Resolution of the COMELEC's First Division, this Court en banc issued its own Resolution, quoted in full as follows:

"Acting on the Order of the Commission on Elections dated August 15, 2003 signed by Presiding Commissioner Rufino SB. Javier

of the Comelec First Division addressed to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and Associate Justices Josue N. Bellosillo, Reynato S. Puno and Artemio V. Panganiban, sending them copies of Petition's for Indirect Contempt filed against them in the Commission by the Malay Democrats of the Philippines (signed by Ma. Linda Olaguer Montayre), Rodolfo T. Albano III and Rodrigo B. Gutang, and advising them that they may, if they so desire, send to (the) Commission within a reasonable time their observation or comment on the afore-enumerated pleadings to help the Commission in intelligently disposing of them, the Court RESOLVED (1) to treat it as an administrative matter cognizable by the Courts en banc as it affects the entire Court, and (2.) to inform the Commission that the subject matter of the Petitions involves a, review of the final decision and/or official actions of this Court in G.R. Nos. 147589 and 147613, June 26, 2001 (Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party vs. commission on Elections, et al.), a review that is, unquestionably beyond the jurisdiction of the Commission. Under the Constitution and pursuant to the principle of separation of powers, decisions, orders and official actions of the Supreme Court and its Members cannot be reviewed, passed upon, modified, much less reversed by any department, agency or branch of government, whether directly or indirectly under any guise whatsoever. Accordingly, the Petitions for Indirect Contempt deserve nothing less than outright dismissal. "SO ORDERED"
While this Court does not fault the COMELEC's First Division for outrightly DISMISSING the Petitions for Contempt, it cannot let the "reasons given" therefor pass unchallenged and uncorrected. These reasons were proffered without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, in clear contravention of the Constitution and the above-quoted Resolution. In its 38-page Resolution, the COMELEC First Division basically insinuates two points as follows:

(1)

that it possesses the power to hold in contempt the Chief Justice and some Associate Justices for their participation and vote in decisions and orders of this Court, which allegedly interfered with or impeded the proceedings of the Commission; and that it had in fact determined the "existence of sufficient grounds to declare respondents in contempt of [the] Commission and to 'impose the proper penalty," were it not for the fact that the Justices were impeachable officers who "must first be removed from office by impeachment before any punitive measure may be imposed against them."

(2)

These ratiocinations constitute plain and simple legal balderdash.

FIRST, as already stated in our foregoing 26 August 2003 Resolution, the Commission has no. jurisdiction to hold the Court or any of its Members in contempt for any, decision, order or official action they issue. Initially, the COMELEC's First Division and its three signatory Commissioners openly conceded that, indeed, they did not have any power to review, alter or reverse such act. Yet, it did pass upon them in its Resolution and concluded thereafter that the "June 6, 2001 Decision, Order of October 8, 2002, and Resolution dated February 18, 2003 restrained the COMELEC from performing its constitutional duties and prerogatives." That restraint allegedly constituted contempt of the Commission. There is no need to explain in detail or to defend the aforesaid three issuances of this Court in G.R. Nos. 147589 and 147613, (Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections), because they speak for themselves. Suffice it to say that they were its official actions promulgated in appropriate certiorari proceedings, in, which the Commission's previous Decision on the matter was, REVERSED. That the Supreme Court has the authority to pass upon, modify or reverse the quasi-judicial actions of the COMELEC is UNQUESTIONED. Verily, under Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution "[j]udicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice x x x 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 the Government." More specifically, Article. IX, Section 7 of the Constitution grants the Supreme Court the authority to pass upon on certiorari "any decision, order or ruling" of the COMELEC and other constitutional commissions. Giving flesh to these constitutional provisions is Rule 64 of the Rules of Court which provides that" "[a] judgment or final order or resolution of the Commission on Elections x x x may be brought x x x to .the Supreme Court on certiorari under Rule 65." On the other hand, Rule 65 states: "When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted Without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, x x x" the Supreme Court may annul or modify the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and grant such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. Finally, Rules 135 and 136 list the inherent powers of courts and judicial officers to ensure that their decisions or orders are: carried out, including the power of meting out contempt. True, the COMELEC -- along with the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Civil Service and the, Ombudsman -- is a constitutionally created body with constitutionally mandated functions. However, as already stated, the actions of all such constitutional, bodies are subject to" certiorari review by the Supreme Court as was done in G.R. Nos. 147589 and 147613. Thus, the Court may intervene, strike down or modify COMELEC's actions without itself incurring any liability for contempt; whether its Justices happen to be impeachable officers or not if the Supreme Court (or its Members) can be held liable for contempt for official actions, then it would cease to be "supreme" in its task of interpreting the law and would become subordinate to whichever agency claims the power to cite the Court or its Members for contempt. In short, the fact that Supreme Court Justices are impeachable officers should not be the ground for the COMELEC's dismissal of the contempt charges. Rather, they cannot be held liable for contempt, because their herein questioned Decision, Resolution, and Order that have allegedly interfered with, proceedings of the COMELEC were made pursuant to their constitutional function. To stop or impede COMELEC's proceedings when these have been conducted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion is not merely a judicial prerogative; the Constitution mandates such move as a judicial duty." The performance of this duty cannot subject the Court or its Members to contempt of the COMELEC; otherwise, they would not be able to reverse or modify its abusive actions.

"The sound, salutary and self-evident principle, prevailing in this as in most jurisdictions, is that judgments of the highest tribunal of the land may not be reviewed by any other agency branch, department, or official of Government. Once the Supreme Court has spoken, there the matter must rest. Its decision should not and cannot be appealed to or

reviewed by any other entity, much less reversed or modified on the ground that it is, tainted by error in its findings of fact or conclusions of law, flawed in its logic or language, or otherwise erroneous in some other respect. This, on the indisputable and unshakeable foundation of public policy, and constitutional and traditional principle." (In Re Joaquin T. Borromeo, 311 Phil. 441, 509, February 21, 1995)
SECOND. The COMELEC's notion that impeachable officers cannot be held in contempt is palpably incorrect or at least misleading. Maliciously implied in this notion is that the Supreme Court erred in holding the Chairman and Members of the COMELEC in contempt via its Resolution dated 18 February 2003 in the same G.R. Nos. 147589 and 147613. As mentioned earlier, this Court has undisputed certiorari powers over the actions of the Commission on Elections. As an incident of such prerogative, the Court has the inherent authority to enforce its orders and to hold the COMELEC's Chairman and Commissioners in contempt when they impede, obstruct, or degrade its proceedings or orders, or disobey, ignore or otherwise offend its dignity. Clearly, the COMELEC has no reciprocal constitutional power to pass upon the actions of this Court or its Members Hence, the Commission has absolutely no authority to hold them in contempt as an incident of its inexistent power of review. Even more clearly, it has no right to recriminate or sulk when its imprudent actions are reversed, or its Members held in contempt for their rash actions. By voluntarily paying the fine imposed in our contempt Resolution of 18 February 2003, the Chairman and all the Commissioners of the COMELEC displayed a becoming regard for the rule of law in thereby recognizing this Court's authority to hold in contempt impeachable officials like them. It is a source of wonder why the First Division composed of only three -- a minority -- of the seven COMELEC members are now in a tantrum over a final and executed contempt Order of this Court.

"x x x [T]he punishment for contempt of court is a remedial, preservative or coercive act, rather than a vindictive or punitive one, and is imposed for the benefit of complainant or the other party to the suit who has been injured, and its object is to compel obedience to, or the performance of, the court's orders or decrees, which the contemnor refuses to obey although able to do so, and thus, to secure, preserve, vindicate, enforce, or advance the rights of such private parties, as well as to vindicate the court's authority." (Facinal vs. Cruz, 213 SCRA 23.8, 244-245, September 2, 1992)
As to the First division's reckless innuendo that. COMELEC Commissioners are exempt' from criminal prosecution and thus from the criminal aspects of contempt, they should read De. Venecia vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 130240, February 5, 2002), People vs. Jalosjos (381 Phil. 6901, February .3, 2000), Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan; (363 Phil. 605, March 8, 1999), Paredes, vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 118354, August 8, 1995), and Martinez vs. Morfe (44 SCRA 22, March 24, 1972). In those Decisions, lawmakers are not totally exempt from criminal proceedings; how then can the First Division Commissioners pretend to be more special than they? THIRD, under the doctrine of separation of powers, the three major branches of government -- the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial -- are coequal and coordinate with each other. But none may interfere with, review or pass upon the exclusive powers vested in each of them by the Constitution. Specifically, not even the other two great branches of government may reverse or modify decisions and orders of the Supreme Court in given case -- not the President, not Congress

much less the COMELEC. But, as part of the system of checks and balances, if. Congress does not agree with the Court's interpretation of a law, it may repeal, modify or amend the statute; but it cannot directly overturn the decision or hold the magistrates writing or voting thereon liable for contempt or for any administrative, criminal, civil or any other liability. On the other hand, the President may appoint justices who may change the interpretation in the future. But no act of Congress or the President may alter a final and executory decision of this Court.

"Indeed, resolutions of the Supreme Court as a collegiate court, whether en banc or division, speak for themselves and are entitled to full faith and credence and are beyond investigation or inquiry under the same principle of conclusiveness of enrolled bills of the legislature. (U.S. vs. Pons, 34 Phil. 729; Gardiner, et al. vs. Paredes, et al., 61 Phil. 118; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1) The Supreme Court's pronouncement of the doctrine that (l)t is well settled that the enrolled bill . . . is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by Congress and approved by the President. If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive [as claimed by petitionerimporter who unsuccessfully sought refund of margin fees] - on which' we cannot speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system - the remedy is by amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree is fully and reciprocally applicable to Supreme Court orders, resolutions and decisions, mutatis mutandis. (Casco Phil. Chemical Co., Inc. vs. Gimenez, 7 SCRA 347, 350. (Citing Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 'Phil. 118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comelec, 3 SCRA 1) "The Court has consistently stressed that the doctrine of separation, of powers calls for the executive, legislative and judicial departments being left alone to discharge their duties as they see fit (Tan vs. Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677). It has thus maintained in the same way that the judiciary has a right to expect that neither the President nor Congress would cast doubt on the mainspring of its orders or decisions, it should refrain from speculating as to alleged hidden forces at work that could have impelled either coordinate branch into acting the way it did. The concept of separation of powers presupposes mutual' respect by and between the three departments of the government (Tecson vs. Salas, 34 SCRA 275, 286-287) "To allow litigants to go beyond the Courts resolution and claim that the members acted 'with deliberate bad faith' and rendered (an) 'unjust resolution' in disregard or violation of the duty of their high office to act upon their own independent consideration and judgment of the matter at hand would be to destroy the authenticity, integrity and conclusiveness of such collegiate acts and resolutions and to disregard utterly' the presumption of regular performance' of official duty. To

allow such collateral attack would destroy the separation of powers and undermine the role of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of all justiciable disputes." (In Re Wenceslao Laureta, 148 SCRA 382, 419420, March 12, 1987; italics in original)
While the COMELEC is given specific powers and functions by the Constitution, the Commission does not have the same level and standing as the three great branches of government. Hence, erroneous and whimsical are all pretentions of equality, with those three, as unabashedly propositioned directly or indirectly -- in the COMELEC Order of 10 September 2003. FOURTH, citing the Separate Opinions of Justices Jose C. Vitug and, Vicente V. Mendoza in the same cases (G.R. Nos. 147589 and 147613), the COMELEC's First division peremptorily and erroneously charges the Chief Justice and the concerned Associate Justices with "judicial legislation" allegedly constituting contempt. To begin with, the, dissenting Justices, particularly Justice Vitug who is still a sitting Member, merely said that the ponencia "x x x may unwittingly be crossing the limits of judicial legislation." The Dissent advisedly used the words "may" and "unwittingly," but the First Division deviously misinterpreted these terms to mean a positive charge of judicial lawmaking. The main objection of the COMELEC's First Division which was earlier espoused by Justices Vitug and Mendoza during 'the Court's deliberation namely, that the majority ignored the alleged intent of the framers of the Constitution to open the party-list system to all groups, and not exclusively to the "marginalized and underrepresented," has already been adequately: addressed by the Court's 26 June 2001 Decision, from which we quote in part as follows:

"The Separate Opinions of our distinguished colleagues, Justices Jose C. Vitug and Vicente V. Mendoza, are anchored mainly on the supposed intent of the framers of the Constitution as culled, from their deliberations. "The fundamental principle in constitutional construction, however, is that the primary source from. Which to ascertain constitutional intent or purpose is the language of the provision itself. The presumption is that the words in which the constitutional provisions are couched express the' objective sought to be attained. In other words, verba legis still prevails. Only when the meaning of the words used .is unclear and equivocal should resort be made to extraneous aids of construction and interpretation, such as the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission or Convention, in order to shed light on and ascertain the true intent or purpose of the provision being construed. "Indeed, as cited in the Separate Opinion of Justice Mendoza, this Court stated in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary that 'the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention [may be consulted in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution x x x only when other guides fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention 'are of value as showing the views of the individual members, and as indicating the reason for their votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk, much less of the mass of our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls that instrument the force of fundamental law. We think

it safer to construe the Constitution from what appears upon its face.' The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers' understanding thereof.' "Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, relatives to the partylist system, is couched in clear terms: the mechanics of the system shall be provided by law. Pursuant thereto, Congress enacted RA 7941. In understanding and implementing party-list representation, we should therefore look at the law first. Only when we find its provisions ambiguous should the use of extraneous aids of construction be resorted to. "But, as discussed earlier, the intent of the law is obvious and clear from its plain words. Section 2 thereof unequivocally states that the party-list system of electing congressional representatives was designed to 'enable underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political' constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole x x x.' The criteria for participation is well defined. .Thus, there is no need for recourse to constitutional deliberations, not even to the proceedings of Congress. In any event, the framers deliberations merely express their individual opinions and are, at best, only persuasive in construing the meaning and purpose of the constitution or statute. "Be it remembered that the constitutionality or validity of Sections 2 and 5 of RA 7941 is hot an issue here. Hence, they remain parts of the law, which must be applied plainly and simply." (Citations omitted.)
Also, the Opinions of' the two esteemed Justices were merely those of individual Members But the Court's Decision, Resolution and Order impugned by the COMELEC's First Division constituted the collective rulings of the Court, not individual opinions of those writing or voting for them. Unlike the members of the First Division, the dissenting Justices have graciously accepted without any complaint, rancor or tantrum these collective actions of the Court which, to quote the First Division itself, "form part of the legal system of the land." The fact that the dissenters touched on the subject of judicial legislation means that the issue had been thoroughly discussed by the Justices; but that after meticulous deliberation and judicious study, the Court by majority vote held that its carefully crafted Decision did not amount to usurpation of legislative' functions. Despite the foregoing explanation, the C0MELEC First Division still condemned the Court for .championing "the cause of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors [and] judicially [giving] them a better chance to win the elections by prescribing that "nominees x x x must [also] belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors." It likewise contended that by disqualifying parties that received funding, from the government (and not just from foreign governments), the Court had unconstitutionally expanded the grounds for disqualification of party-list candidates. Again, our 26 June 2001 Decision has adequately taken up these concerns quite extensively. We need not repeat here the lengthy discussions therein, except to say that:

(1) The Court's conclusion that the party-list system was intended for the marginalized and underrepresented was, painstakingly and carefully culled from the Constitution and the law. It was made only after, debate, discussion and a long study, as can be gleaned from even a cursory reading of our Decision. That there were dissents even among the justices themselves is proof enough of these spirited Deliberations. Finally, in consonance with the social justice principle espoused by the partly-list law, the Court said:

"In the end, the role of the Comelec is to see to it that only those Filipinos who are marginalized and underrepresented' become members of Congress under the party list system, Filipino-style. "The intent of the Constitution is clear to give genuine power to the people, not only by giving more law to those who have less in life, but more so by enabling them to become veritable Lawmakers themselves Consistent with this intent, the policy of the implementing law, we repeat, is likewise clear 'to enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, x x x, to become members of the House of Representatives.' Where the language of the law is clear, it must be applied according to its express terms. (Citation omitted)
Additionally, to stress the social Justice rationale of the law, the Court observed, as follows:

"It is ironic, therefore, that the marginalized and underrepresented in our midst are the majority who wallow in poverty, destitution and infirmity It was for them that the party-list system was enacted - to give them not only genuine hope, but genuine power; to give them the opportunity to be elected and to represent the specific concerns of their constituencies, and simply to give them a direct voice in Congress and in the larger affairs of the State In its noblest sense, the patty-list system truly empowers the masses and ushers a new hope for genuine change. Verily, it invites those marginalized and under represented in the past - the farm hands, the fisher folk, the urban poor, even those in the underground movement to come out and participate, as indeed many of them came out and participated during the last elections. The State cannot now disappoint and frustrate them by disabling and desecrating this social justice vehicle."
(2) Citing Section 2(4) of Article IX (B) of the Constitution and Article 261(o) of B.P. Big. 881, the Court held that "the participation of the government or its officials in the affairs of a party-list candidate is not only illegal and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to the objective of the law to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of Representatives." Thus, in formulating one of the guidelines for determining the qualifications of a party-list candidate, the Court ruled that the "party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government" FIFTH, the COMELEC'S First Division ruled that in the same cases (G.R. Nos. 147589 and 1 4761 3), the Court had allegedly degraded the Commission by making the latter a mere recommendatory body" and thus deprived it of its constitutional powers to enforce election laws. Again, this is pure legal heresy.

In our 26 June 2001 Decision in those cases, a fact-finding task was delegated to the COMELEC: to determine which of the party-list candidates had complied with the eight-point guideline we had issued. This task had to be delegated because the Court is not a trier of facts, and' the Corn mission is' precisely the constitutional agency that is supposedly knowledgeable of election matters and the principal trier thereof. Clearly delineated in our Decision was the specific work remanded to the COMELEC fact-findings It did not involve, much less impair, the normal powers and duties of the poll body. To stress, its task of fact-finding was specific and limited, one that accrued only as a direct result of the disposition" in the said cases. In other words, its authority in this specific instance was coextensive only with that which, was delegated to it to implement the Decision. To its credit, it performed its delegated task without much ado and later submitted its three Compliance Reports, which were subsequently affirmed by this Court. Thus, the Court is now bewildered at these new sanctimonious perorations of the First Division, complaining about the COMELEC being allegedly "scale(d) down to a mere recommendatory body x x x virtually making it a mere rubber stamp" of the Court. These complaints had never been aired by the Commission en banc which, as earlier stated, had performed its fact-finding mission with commendable alacrity. Only when it overstepped as very limited and delegated fact-finding authority and usurped the Court's work in relation to the aforementioned cases (G.R. Nos. 147589 and 147613) did its attention have to be called by way of our contempt Resolution dated 28 February 2003. Incidentally, in this connection, the First Division is "astonished" at the fact that after penalizing the COMELEC Commissioners for their improvident issuance of their Resolution proclaiming certain party-list candidates, this Court did not void the proclamation. Plainly, the answer is contained in our 25 June 2003 Resolution: The affected parties deserve due process, and a decision or order affecting them may be issued only after they have completed their arguments on the legal effects of the wrongful proclamation Indeed, there is a distinction between holding in contempt the authors of an arbitrary proclamation resolution, on the one hand, and, on the other, unseating those who have been proclaimed, have taken their seats in Congress, and have begun performing their lawmaking duties. Has the First Division, wallowing in its own tantrums, overlooked this significant difference? SIXTH. The First Division also raised a big fuss about the alleged deprivation of due process and equal protection. Again, the Honorable Division may have overlooked the fact that the basic requirement of due process is the opportunity to be heard. The COMELEC has had more than as just share of that opportunity. Prior to the Court's imposition of a penalty on them, the COMELEC's Chairman and Members were asked to show cause why they should not be cited for contempt via our rather lengthy Resolution dated December 17, 2002. And they responded and tried vainly, it turned out in the end to justify their contumacious actions. Too, they were heard via their Motion for Reconsideration which, after due deliberation, was denied by this Court. As already stated, all seven Members (including the Chairman) of the Comelec paid the fine. Why are the three Members of, the First Division a minority in the banc of seven now whining about their liability for contempt? SEVENTH. That the official actions of this Court may be commented on or even criticized is a right granted by the Constitution. But criticism that takes the form of malicious insinuation, brazen ridicule or capricious innuendo has no place in a formal resolution of an agency that seeks wrongly to hold in contempt this Court's Members for issuing decisions and orders that have allegedly interfered with its proceedings. This truism remains clear and untrammeled in our system of government, no matter how extravagantly the Members of the Commission First Division may regard their own intellectual capacities and how poorly those of others. They must bear in mind that there is only one Supreme Court to which all judicial and quasi-judicial agencies must take their bearings. By their oath of office, they are bound to respect and obey its decisions and orders, even if they may not agree with them. They need only to be reminded of the following dictum

which, though issued by the Court many years ago, still holds sway up to now: "We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual, endowment. That is his privilege. And, he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. That is his misfortune. x x x (S)uch frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden into a belief that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the time-honored aphorism that courts are the temples of right." (Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer, 20 SCRA 441, 444, June 26, 1967) WHEREFORE, the Resolution promulgated by the First Division of the Commission on Elections in EM-03-010 and EM-03-01 1, is NOTED insofar as it DISMISSED the Petitions for Contempt; but its "reasons given" therefor are DECLARED UTTERLY BASELESS for having been 'palpably issued without jurisdiction, being in clear contravention of the Constitution and, of our Resolution dated 26 August 2003. Inasmuch as "the COMELEC's First Division forwarded September 2003 Resolution to the House of Representatives, let a copy of this unanimous en banc' Resolution of the Court be sent also to the House of Representatives as well as to- the Chairman of the Commission on Elections. Very truly yours, LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO Clerk of Cour