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G1 City of Davao vs.

RTC, Branch XII, Davao City Facts:

On April 8, 1994, GSIS Davao City branch office received a Notice of Public auction scheduling the public bidding of GSIS properties located in Matina and Ulas, Davao City for non-payment of realty taxes for the years 1992 to 1994 totaling P295,721.61 . The auction was subsequently reset by virtue of a deadline extension allowed by Davao City for the payment of delinquent real property taxes.

On July 28, 1994 GSIS, received warrants of Levy and Notices of Levy on three parcels of land owned by the GSIS. Another Notice of Public Auction was received by the GSIS on Aug. 29, setting date of auction sale for 20 September 1994

Issue: WON sections 234 and 534 of LGC, which exempts government owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) from paying real property taxes, give GSIS a right to be exempt from paying real property taxes.

Ruling: The tax-exempt status of GSIS under the LGC was withdrawn in 1992 but was restored by Government Service Insurance System Act of 1997. Thus, the real property taxes assessed for the years 1992-1994 against GSIS can be collected by the City of Davao

G2 GSIS vs City Treasurer of Manila Facts:

Petitioner GSIS owns or used to own two (2) parcels of land, one located at Katigbak 25th St., Bonifacio Drive, Manila (Katigbak property), and the other, at Concepcion cor. Arroceros Sts., also in Manila (Concepcion-Arroceros property). Title to the Concepcion-Arroceros property was transferred to this Court in 2005 pursuant to Proclamation No. 835[3] dated April 27, 2005. Both the GSIS and the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila occupy the Concepcion-Arroceros property, while the Katigbak property was under lease.

The controversy started when the City Treasurer of Manila addressed a letter dated September 13, 2002 to GSIS President and General Manager Winston F. Garcia informing him of the unpaid real property taxes due on the aforementioned properties for years 1992 to 2002.

On September 16, 2002, the City Treasurer of Manila issued separate Notices of Realty Tax Delinquency for the subject properties, with the usual warning of seizure and/or sale. On October 8, 2002, GSIS, answered emphasizing the GSIS exemption from all kinds of taxes, including realty taxes, under Republic Act No. (RA) 8291.[6]

Two days after, GSIS filed a petition for the nullification of the assessments thus made and that respondents, City of Manila officials be permanently enjoined from proceedings against GSIS property. GSIS would later amend its petition to include the fact that: (a) the Katigbak property, covered by TCT Nos. 117685 and 119465 in the name of GSIS, has, since November 1991, been leased to and occupied by the Manila Hotel Corporation (MHC), which has contractually bound itself to pay any realty taxes that may be imposed on the subject property; and (b) the Concepcion-Arroceros property is partly occupied by GSIS and partly occupied by the MeTC of Manila. The RTC dismissed the petition and declared the assessment done by the respondents valid.

Issues: W/N GSIS is exempted from property taxation

Held: GSIS, as a non-stock government corporation is exempted from any form of taxation under P.D.1146. Even with the enactment of Local Government Code in 1991, known as RA 7160, providing the exercise of local government units (LGUs) of their power to tax, the scope and limitations thereof, and the exemptions from taxations, the tax exempted status of GSIS was restored through the enactment of RA 8291 that gives the full tax-exempted status of GSIS. However, due to the beneficial use of the Katigbak property as it is being leased to MHC. The taxes due on the said property are valid due for it being leased to a taxable entity, MHC. MHC has the responsibility of paying the accrued taxes and in case of non-payment, through means the sale at public auction of the leased property.

G3 Social Justice Society vs Dangerous Drugs Board Facts:

In its petition for prohibition under Rule 65, petitioner Social Justice Society, a political party, seeks to prohibit the Dangerous Drugs Board and The Phil. Drug Enforcement Agency from enforcing paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Section 36 of RA 9165 on the ground that they are unconstitutional. For one, the provisions constitute undue delegation of legislative power when they give unbridled discretion to schools and employers to determine the manner of drug testing. The provisions also trench in the equal protection clause in as much as they can be used to harass a student or an employee deemed undesirable. And a persons constitutional right against unreasonable searches is also breached by the said provisions.

Issue: W/N paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. 36 of RA 9165 unconstitutional

Held: It is basic that if a law or administrative rule violates any norm of the constitution, that issuance is null and void and has no effect. The constitution is the basic law to which all laws should conform; no act shall be valid if it conflicts with the constitution. In the discharge of their defined functions, the three departments of government have no choice but to yield obedience to the commands of the constitution. Whatever

limits it imposes must be observed. It ought to be made abundantly clear, however, that the unconstitutionality of Sec. 36 (g) of RA 9165 is rooted on is having infringed the constitutional provision defining the qualification or eligibility requirements for one aspiring to run for and serve as a senator. Section 36 (f) of RA 9165, the SC finds no valid justification for mandatory drug testing for persons accused of crimes. As for section 36 (c) and (d), the constitutional viability of the mandatory, random and suspicionless drug testing for students emanates primarily from the waiver by the students of their privacy when they seek entry to the school, and from their voluntarily submitting their persons to the parental authority of the school. In the case of private and public employees, the constitutional soundness of the mandatory, random and suspicionless drug testing proceeds from the reasonableness of the drug test policy and requirement. Therefore, Section 36 (g) and (f) are declared unconstitutional and partially grant Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165 constitutional

G4 Garcia vs House of Representatives Facts:

On May 29, 1998, within the prescribed 10-day period from respondent Harry Angpins proclamation as duly elected representative for the 3rd district of Manila, petitioners, all duly registered voters in the district, filed a petition for quo warranto before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal against Cong. Harry Angping. Petitioner questioned the eligibility of Cong. Angping to hold office claiming that he is not a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a constitutional requirement. The prayed that congressman Angping be declared ineligible to assume or hold office as member of the House of Representatives and for the candidate to be proclaimed the winner upon filing of their petition, petitioners duly paid the required P5,000.00 filing fee. On June 10, 1998, HRET issued a resolution dismissing the petition for quo warranto for failure to pay the P5,000.00 cash deposit required by its rules. After receiving copy of the aforesaid resolution, petitioners paid the P5,000.00 cash deposit on June 26, 1998 and attached the corresponding receipt to the motion of reconsideration the filed with the HRET on the same day. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was however, denied in view of Rule 32 of the 1998 HRET rules which required aP5,000.00 cash deposit in addition to the filing fees for quo warranto cases. Issue: W/N HRET committed grave abuse of discretion in summarily dismissing the petition

Held: Under the constitution, the HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of its members, therefore HRET did not commit grave abuse of discretion in applying its rules strictly and in dismissing the petition for quo warranto. Accordingly, the instant petiotn for certiorari cannot prosper.

G5 Limkaichong vs COMELEC Facts:

On March 26, 2007, Limkaichong filed with the COMELEC her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the position of Representative of the First District of Negros Oriental. On April 2, 2007 and on April 11, 2007, Napoleon Camero and Renald F. Villando respectively filed separate petitions for her disqualification on the ground that she lacked the citizenship requirement of a Member of the House of Representatives. Villando claimed that when Limkaichong was born, her parents were still Chinese citizens as the proceedings for the naturalization of Julio Ong Sy, her father, never attained finality due to procedural and substantial defects. Both petitions prayed for the cancellation of Limkaichongs COC and for the COMELEC to strike out her name from the list of qualified candidates for the Representative of the First District of Negros Oriental.

During the pendency of the case, the election still continued showing that Limkaichong won over her rival, Olivia Paras. Paras filed with the COMELEC a Very Urgent Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Suspend the Proclamation of Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong as Winning Candidate of the First District of Negros Oriental. The COMELEC on May 17, 2007 granted the petitions for disqualification of Limkaichong and to suspend her proclamation on the grounds for the reason that she is not a natural-born Filipino. The PBOC in compliance with COMELEC Resolution No. 8062, which orders not suspending the proclamation of winning candidates with pending disqualification cases, proclaimed Limkaichong as the duly elected representative of the First District of Negros Occidental. Paras then petitioned before the COMELEC, regarding its proclamation. Limkaichong, argued that the Commission had already proclaimed her as winner, and with that, COMELEC could no longer exercise jurisdiction over the matter. It should be the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) which should exercise jurisdiction from then on, not the COMELEC. And the COMELEC agreed.

Issue: W/N the HRET has jurisdiction over the disqualification case

Ruling: Limkaichongs proclamation is valid in pursuant to COMELEC Resolution No. 8062. It follows then that the proclamation of a winning candidate divests the COMELEC of its jurisdiction over matters pending before it at the time of the proclamation to HRET. The party questioning her qualification should now present the case in a proper proceeding before theHRET, the constitutionally mandated tribunal to hear and decide a case involving a Member of the House of Representatives with respect to the election, returns and qualifications. The use of the word sole in Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution and in Section 250 of the OEC underscores the exclusivity of the Electoral Tribunals jurisdiction over election contests relating to its members.

G6 Aquino III vs COMELEC GR 189793


Petitioners Senator Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and Mayor Jesse Robredo, seek the nullification as unconstitutional of Republic Act No. 9716, entitled An Act Reapportioning the Composition of the First (1st) and Second (2nd) Legislative Districts in the Province of Camarines Sur and Thereby Creating a New Legislative District From Such Reapportionment. Petitioners consequently pray that the respondent Commission on Elections be restrained from making any issuances and from taking any steps relative to the implementation of Republic Act No. 9716.

The province of Camarines Sur originally has 4 legislative districts, and upon the enactment of RA 9716, the 1st and 2nddistricts were reconfigured in order to create an additional legislative district for the province. The new 1st district will have a population of 176,383. Petitioners contend that the reapportionment introduced by Republic Act No. 9716, does not meet the requirement set by the constitution as it requires a minimum population of two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) for the creation of a legislative district.[5] The petitioners claim that the reconfiguration by Republic Act No. 9716 of the first and second districts of Camarines Sur is unconstitutional, because the proposed first district will end up with a population of less than 250,000 or only 176,383. Respondents contend that the population condition is only a requirement for the creation of a legislative district in a city and not in provinces.

Issue: W/N RA 9716 is unconstitutional

Held: There is no specific provision in the Constitution that fixes a 250,000 minimum population that must compose a legislative district. The second sentence of Section 5(3), Article VI of the Constitution, succinctly provides: Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative. The provision draws a plain and clear distinction between the entitlement of a city to a district on one hand, and the entitlement of a province to a district on the other. For while a province is entitled to at least a representative, with nothing mentioned about population, a city must first meet a population minimum of 250,000 in order to be similarly entitled. Plainly read, Section 5(3) of the Constitution requires a 250,000 minimum population only for a city to be entitled to a representative, but not so for a province. Section 461 of the Local Government Code states the requisites for creation. (a) A province may be created if it has an average annual income, as certified by the Department of Finance, of not less than Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant prices and either of the following requisites:


a contiguous territory of at least two thousand (2,000) square kilometers, as certified by the Lands Management Bureau; or


(ii) a population of not less than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office.

Upon the deliberation mentioned on the creation of RA 9716 are (a)the dialects spoken in the grouped municipalities;(b) the size of the original groupings compared to that of the regrouped municipalities;(c) the natural division separating the municipality subject of the discussion from the reconfigured District One; and(d) the balancing of the areas of the three districts resulting from the redistricting of Districts One and Two. The SC ruled that that population is not the only factor but is just one of several other factors in the composition of the additional district.

G7. ALDABA VS COMELEC This case is about a law that establishes a new legislative district based on a projected population of the National Statistics Office (NSO) to meet the population requirement of the Constitution in the reapportionment of legislative districts.

FACTS: The City of Malolos and the Municipalities of Hagonoy, Calumpit, Pulilan, Bulacan, and Paombong comprise the current first district of the province of Bulacan. In 2007 the population of Malolos City was 223,069. The NSO projected that, using the established population growth rate of 3.78 percent between 1995 and 2000, its population in 2010 will be 254,030.On May 1, 2009 Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) 9591, to amend Section 57 of R.A. 8754,the charter of the City of Malolos, making the city a separate district from the existing first legislative district of Bulacan.The Challenge On June 16, 2009 petitioners Victorino Aldaba, Carlo Jolette S. Fajardo, Julio G. Morada, and Minerva Aldaba Morada, all claiming to be taxpayers from Malolos City, filed the present action, assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9591.

ISSUES: 1) that the law failed to comply with the requirement of Section 5(4), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution that a city must have a population of at least 250,000; (2) that the creation of a separate district amounts to a conversion and requires the conduct of a plebiscite; and (3) that the law violates Section 5(3), Article VI which provides that each district shall comprise as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory.

HELD: We grant the petition and declare RA 9591 unconstitutional for being violative of Section5(3), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution. The Certification of Regional Director Miranda, which is based on demographic projections, is without legal effect because Regional Director Miranda has no basis and no authority to issue the Certification. The Certification is also void on its face because based on its own growth rate assumption, the population of Malolos will be less than 250,000 in the year 2010. Moreover, the Certification states that the total population of Malolos, Bulacan as of May1, 2000 is 175,291. The Certification also states that

the population growth rate of Malolos is 3.78% per year between 1995 and 2000. Based on a growth rate of 3.78% per year, the population of Malolos of 175,291 in 2000 will grow to only 241,550 in 2010.Clearly, there is no official record that the population of the City of Malolos will be at least250,000, actual or projected, prior to the 10 May 2010 elections, the immediately following election after the supposed attainment of such population. Thus, the City of Malolos is not qualified to have a legislative district of its own under Section 5(3), Article VI of the 1987Constitution and Section 3 of the Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution. On the OSGs contention that Congress choice of means to comply with the population requirement in the creation of a legislative district is non-justiciable, suffice it to say that questions calling for judicial determination of compliance with constitutional standards by other branches of the government are fundamentally justiciable. The resolution of such questions falls within the checking function of this Court under the 1987 Constitution to determine whether 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.


This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9355, otherwise known as An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands, for being unconstitutional.

-Petitioners Rodolfo G. Navarro, Victor F. Bernal, and Rene O.Medina, taxpayers and residents of the Province of Surigao del Norte. They have served the Province of Surigao del Norte once as Vice- Governor and members of the Provincial Board, respectively. -Previously filed a similar petition, which was dismissed on technical grounds.

They allege that the creation of the Dinagat Islands as a new province, if uncorrected, perpetuates an illegal act of Congress.

FACTS: The mother province of Surigao del Norte was created and established under R.A. No. 2786 on June 19, 1960.The province is composed of three main groups of islands: (1) the Mainland and Surigao City; (2) Siargao Island and Bucas Grande; and (3) Dinagat Island, which is composed of seven municipalities, namely, Basilisa, Cagdianao, Dinagat, Libjo, Loreto, San Jose, and Tubajon.

-On the official 2000 Census of Population and Housingconducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the population of the Province of Surigao del Norte as of May 1, 2000 was481,416, broken down as follows: Mainland: 281,111, Surigao City, 118,534. Siargao Island & Bucas Grande: 93,354, andDinagat Island: 106,951. LOCAL GOVT CODE (Sec 461 RA No 7610) A province may be created if

Dinagat Islands

Annual income of less than 20million The Bureau of Local Government Finance certified that the average annual income of the proposed Province of Dinagat Islands for calendar year 2002 to 2003 based on the 1991 constant prices wasP82,696,433.23. Population not less than 250,000 July 30, 2003: Surigao del Norte Provincial Governor Robert Lyndon S. Barbers issued Proclamation No. 01, which declared as official, for all purposes, the 2003 Special Census in Dinagat Islands showing a population of 371,576 inhabitants in the proposed province Contiguous territory of atleast 2,000 The land area of the proposed province is 802.12 square sq kms kilometers.

-August 14, 2006 and August 28, 2006: the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, passed the bill creating the Province of Dinagat Islands. -It was approved and enacted into law as R.A. No. 9355 on October 2, 2006 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

-December 2, 2006: a plebiscite was held in the mother Province of Surigao del Norte to determine whether the local government units directly affected approved of the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands into a distinct and independent province comprising the municipalities of Basilisa, Cagdianao, Dinagat, Libjo (Albor), Loreto, San Jose, and Tubajon. The result of the plebiscite yielded 69,943 affirmative votes and 63,502 negative votes. -December 3, 2006: the Plebiscite Provincial Board of Canvassers proclaimed that the creation of Dinagat Islands into a separate and distinct province was ratified and approved by the majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite. -January 26, 2007: a new set of provincial officials took their oath of office following their appointment by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

ISSUE: -Petitioners contended that the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands under R.A. No. 9355 is not valid because it failed to comply with either the population or land area requirement prescribed by the Local Government Code. -Petitioners prayed that R.A. No. 9355 be declared unconstitutional, and that all subsequent appointments and elections to the new vacant positions in the newly created Province of Dinagat Islands be declared null and void.

-They also prayed for the return of the municipalities of the Province of Dinagat Islands and the return of the former districts to the mother Province of Surigao del Norte.


-In her Memorandum, respondent Governor Geraldine B. Ecleo-Villaroman of the Province of Dinagat Islands raises procedural issues. She contends that petitioners do not have the legal standing to question the constitutionality of the creation of the Province of Dinagat, since they have not been directly injured by its creation and are without substantial interest over the matter in controversy. -The contention is without merit.

-The main issue is whether or not R.A. No. 9355 violates Section 10, Article X of the Constitution. -Petitioners contend that the proposed Province of Dinagat Islands is not qualified to become a province because it failed to comply with the land area or the population requirement, despite its compliance with the income requirement. It has a total land area of only 802.12 square kilometers, which falls short of the statutory requirement of at least 2,000 square kilometers. Moreover, based on the NSO 2000 Census of Population, the total population of the proposed Province of Dinagat Islands is only 106,951, while the statutory requirement is a population of at least 250,000 inhabitants.

-Petitioners allege that in enacting R.A. No. 9355 into law, the House of Representatives and the Senate erroneously relied on paragraph 2 of Article 9 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991, which states that [t]he land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands. -In his Memorandum, respondent Governor Ace S. Barbers contends that although the result of the special census conducted by the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte on December 2, 2003 was never certified by the NSO, it is credible since it was conducted with the aid of a representative of the NSO. He alleged that the lack of certification by the NSO was cured by the presence of NSO officials, who testified during

the deliberations on House Bill No. 884 creating the Province of Dinagat Islands, and who questioned neither the conduct of the special census nor the validity of the result.

RULING: The petition is granted. The constitutional provision on the creation of a province in Section 10, Article X of the Constitution states: SEC. 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected. -Pursuant to the Constitution, the Local Government Code of 1991 prescribed the criteria for the creation of a province, thus:SEC. 461. Requisites for Creation. (See p.142 of your case) -As a clarification of the territorial requirement, the Local Government Code requires a contiguous territory of at least 2,000 square kilometers, as certified by the Lands Management Bureau. However, the territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two (2) or more islands or is separated by a chartered city or cities that do not contribute to the income of the province. *Contiguous- sharing a common border.

If a proposed province is composed of two or more islands, does territory, under Sec. 461 of the Local Government Code, include not only the land mass above the water, but also that which is beneath it?

In Tan v. COMELEC, petitioners therein contended that Batas Pambansa Blg. 885, creating the new Province of Negros del Norte, was unconstitutional for it was not in accord with Art. XI, Sec. 3 of the Constitution, and Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, the former Local Government Code. Although what was applicable then was the 1973 Constitution and the former Local Government Code, the provisions pertinent to the case are substantially similar to the provisions in this case.

Art. XI, Sec. 3 of the 1973 Constitution provides: No province, city, municipality or barrio (barangay in the 1987 Constitution) may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code, and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes in a plebiscite in the unit or units affected.

The requisites for the creation of a province in Sec. 197 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 337 are similar to the requisites in Sec. 461 of the Local Government Code of 1991, but the requirements for population and territory/land area are lower now, while the income requirement is higher. SEC. 197.Requisites for Creation.A province may be created if it has a territory of at least three thousand five hundred square kilometers, a population of at least five hundred thousand persons, an average estimated annual income, as certified by the Ministry of Finance, of not less than ten million pesos for the last three consecutive years, and its creation shall not reduce the population and income of the mother province or provinces at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements under this section. The territory need not be contiguous if it comprises two or more islands. See: Tan vs COMELEC case (p. 144 of your case)

-Contiguous means (a) in physical contact; (b) touching along all or most of one side; (c) near, next, or adjacent

-Contiguous, when employed as an adjective, as in the above sentence, is only used when it describes physical contact, or a touching of sides of two solid masses of matter. -Therefore, in the context of the sentence above, what need not be contiguous is the territory -the physical mass of land area. There would arise no need for the legislators to use the word contiguous if they had intended that the term territory embrace not only land area but also territorial waters. It can be safely concluded that the word territory in the first paragraph of Section 197 is meant to be synonymous with land area only.

Courts Ruling: 1.) Whether R.A. No. 9355 complied with the requirements of Section 461 of the Local Government Code in creating the Province of Dinagat Islands

-It is undisputed that R.A. No. 9355 complied with the income requirement specified by the Local Government Code.What is disputed is its compliance with the land area or population requirement.

-R.A. No. 9355 expressly states that the Province of Dinagat Islands contains an approximate land area of eighty thousand two hundred twelve hectares (80,212 has.) or 802.12 sq. km.,more or less, including Hibuson Island and approximately forty-seven (47) islets. R.A. No. 9355, therefore, failed to comply with the land area requirement of 2,000 square kilometers.

-The Province of Dinagat Islands also failed to comply with the population requirement of not less than 250,000 inhabitants as certified by the NSO. Based on the 2000 Census of Population conducted by the NSO, the population of the Province of Dinagat Islands as of May 1, 2000 was only 106,951.

-Respondents failed to prove that with the population count of 371,000, the population of the original unit (mother Province of Surigao del Norte) would not be reduced to less than the minimum requirement prescribed by law at the time of the creation of the new province.

2.) Whether the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands is an act of gerrymandering

*Gerrymandering- To divide (a geographic area) into voting districts so as to give unfair advantage to one party in elections.

-Petitioners contend that the creation of the Province of Dinagat Islands is an act of gerrymandering on the ground that House Bill No. 884 excluded Siargao Island, with a population of 118,534 inhabitants, from the new province for complete political dominance by Congresswoman Glenda Ecleo-Villaroman. Petitioners aver that, in the past, Congresswoman Glenda Ecleo-Villaroman lost her congressional seat twice to a member of an influential family based in Siargao. Therefore, the only way to complete political dominance is by gerrymandering, to carve a new province in Dinagat Islands where the Philippine Benevolent Members Association (PMBA), represented by the Ecleos, has the numbers.

-It is an unsubstantiated allegation that the province was created to favor Congresswoman Glenda Ecleo-Villaroman.

3.) Whether the result of the plebiscite is credible and truly reflects the mandate of the people.

-Lastly, petitioners alleged that R.A. No. 9355 was ratified by a doubtful mandate in a plebiscite held on December 2, 2005, where the yes votes were 69,9343, while the no votes were 63,502. -They contend that the 100% turnout of voters in the precincts of San Jose, Basilisa, Dinagat, Cagdianao and Libjo was contrary to human experience, and that the results were statistically improbable.

-Petitioners admit that they did not file any electoral protest questioning the results of the plebiscite, because they lacked the means to finance an expensive and protracted election case. -Allegations of fraud and irregularities in the conduct of a plebiscite are factual in nature. Petitioners should have filed the proper action with the Commission on Elections. However,petitioners admittedly chose not to avail themselves of the correct remedy.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Republic Act No. 9355, otherwise known as [An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands], is hereby declared unconstitutional. The proclamation of the Province of Dinagat Islands and the election of the officials thereof are declared NULL and VOID. The provision in Article 9 (2) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 stating, The land area requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more islands, is declaredNULL and VOID. G9. BAGABUYO vs COMELEC

Municipal Corporation Plebiscite Political Law Reapportionment of a single legislative district Facts: Cagayan de Oro only had one legislative district before. In 2006, CdO congressman Jaraula sponsored a bill to have two legislative districts in CdO instead. The law was passed (RA 9371) An Act Providing for the Apportionment of the Lone Legislative District of the City of Cagayan De Oro hence two legislative districts were created. In the next election, Cagayan de Oros voters would be classified as belonging to either the first or the second district, depending on their place of residence. The constituents of each district would elect their own representative to Congress as well as eight members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod. Bagabuyo assailed the validity of the said law and he went immediately to the Supreme Court. He was contending that the 2nd district was created without a plebiscite which was required by the Constitution.

The respondents Comment on the petition argued that: 1) the petitioner did not respect the hierarchy o f courts, as the Regional Trial Court (RTC) is vested with concurrent jurisdiction over cases assailing the constitutionality of a statute; 2) R.A. No. 9371 merely increased the representation of Cagayan de Oro City in the House of Representatives and Sangguniang Panglungsod pursuant to Section 5, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution; 3) the criteria established under Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution only apply when there is a creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of a province, city, municipality, or barangay; in this case, no such creation, division, merger, abolition or alteration of boundaries of a local government unit took place; and 4) R.A. No. 9371 did not bring about any change in Cagayan de Oros territory, population and income classification; hence, no plebiscite is required. ISSUES: 1) Did the petitioner violate the hierarchy of courts rule; if so, should the instant petition be dismissed on this ground2) Whether or not a plebiscite was required in the case at bar 3)Whether or not R.A. No. 9371 merely provide for the legislative reapportionment of Cagayan de Oro City, or does it involve the division and conversion of a local government unit 4)Whether or not it violates the equality of representation doctrine. HELD: 1) Except for the issue of the hierarchy of courts rule, we find the petition totally without merit. The hierarchy of courts principle. The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus. It was pursuant to this original jurisdiction that the petitioner filed the present petition. While this jurisdiction is shared with the Court of Appeals and the RTCs, a direct invocation of the Supreme Courts jurisdiction is allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefore, clearly and especially set out in the petition. Reasons of practicality, dictated by an increasingly overcrowded docket and the need to prioritize in favor of matters within our exclusive jurisdiction, justify the existence of this rule otherwise known as the principle of hierarchy of courts. More generally stated, the principle requires that recourse must first be made to the lower-ranked court exercising concurrent jurisdiction with a higher court. Among the cases we have considered sufficiently special and important to be exceptions to the rule, are petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto against our nations lawmakers when the validity of their enactments is assailed.15 The present petition is of this nature; its subject matter and the nature of the issues raised among them, whether legislative reapportionment involves a division of Cagayan de Oro City as a local government unit are reasons enough for considering it an exception to the principle of hierarchy of courts. Additionally, the petition assails as well a resolution of the COMELEC en banc issued to implement the legislative apportionment that R.A. No. 9371 decrees. As an action against a COMELEC en banc resolution, the case falls under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court that in turn requires a review by this Court via a Rule 65 petition for certiorari.16 For these reasons, we do not see the principle of hierarchy of courts to be a stumbling block in our consideration of the present case.

2) No, a plebiscite is not required in the case at bar. RA 9371 merely increased the representation of Cagayan de Oro City in the House of Representatives and Sangguniang Panglungsod pursuant to Section 5, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution; the criteria established under Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution only apply when there is a creation, division, merger, abolition or substantial alteration of boundaries of a province, city, municipality, or barangay; in this case, no such creation, division, merger, abolition or alteration of boundaries of a local government unit took place; and R.A. No. 9371 did not bring about any change in Cagayan de Oros territory, population and income classification; hence, no plebiscite is required 3) Legislative apportionment is defined by Blacks Law Dictionary as the determination of the number of representatives which a State, county or other subdivision may send to a legislative body. It is the allocation of seats in a legislative body in proportion to the population; the drawing of voting district lines so as to equalize population and voting power among the districts. Reapportionment, on the other hand, is the realignment or change in legislative districts brought about by changes in population and mandated by the constitutional requirement of equality of representation. RA 9371 does not have the effect of dividing the City of Cagayan de Oro into two political and corporate units and territories. Rather than divide the city either territorially or as a corporate entity, the effect is merely to enhance voter representation by giving each city voter more and greater say, both in Congress and in the Sangguniang Panglunsod. Before, Cagayan de Oro had only one congressman and 12 city council members citywide for its population of approximately 500,000. By having two legislative districts, each of them with one congressman, Cagayan de Oro now effectively has two congressmen. The City now has twice the number of congressmen speaking for it and voting in the halls of Congress. The presence of two congressman (instead of one) from the same city cannot but be a quantitative and proportional improvement in the representation of Cagayan de Oro City in Congress.

4) Bagabuyo further contends that RA 9371 violates the equality in representation doctrine as it appears that one district has a higher number of voters as compared to the other and that one is urbanized the other is rural.This is the clarification; the law clearly provides that the basis for districting shall be the number of the inhabitants of a city or a province, not the number of registered voterstherein *Plebiscite- A vote in which a population exercises the right of national self-determination G10. ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY vs. COMELEC Party-list system:

(1) Social justice tool designated not only to give more law to the great masses of our people who have less in life.

(2) Enable them to become veritable lawmakers themselves.

(3) Empower to participate directly in the enactment of laws designated to benefit them

(4) Make the marginalized and underrepresented not merely passive recipients of the States benevolence, but active participants in the mainstream of representative democracy.

(5) Allowing all individual and groups including those which are now dominate district election, to have the same opportunity to participate in party-list elections.


Two petition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court challengingOmnibus Resolution No. 3785 issued by the Comelec. This resolution approved the participation of 154 organizations and parties, including those herein impleaded in the 2001 party-list election.

Petitioner seek the disqualification of private respondents for the party-list system was intended to benefit the marginalized and underrepresented not mainstream, non-marginalized or overrepresented parties

Marginalized and underrepresented as exemplified in Sec. 5 of the law namely; labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.

The Factual Antecedent

Comelec receive several Petitions for registration filed by sectoral parties, organizations and political parties verification were made and hearings were scheduled until all parties were heard.

Decision and result the two division promulgated a separate Omnibus Resolution on political parties Numerous petition and processes observed hinder the early release of the Omnibus Resolutions of the Division Feb 12, 2001 deadline prescribed under Comelec Resolution No. 3426 Registered parties and organization filed their respected Manifestations Denied sectoral and political parties filed Motion for Reconsideration and manifestations of their intent Other registered parties filed their Manifestation beyond the deadline Comelec gave due course or approved the Manifestation of 154 parties and denied others

Omnibus resolution No. 3785:

System of proportional representation scheme will encourage multipartisan and enhance the inability of small, new or sectoral parties or organization.

Defined party-list system is a mechanism of proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives form national, regional, and sectorial

Keep to a manageable level, only those who substantially comply with the rules and regulations and sufficiency of Manifestations or evidence

Akbayan Citizens Action Party filed a petition praying to delete some names of the respondent that would participate in May 14, 2001 Election.

Bayan Muna and Bayan Muna-Youth petition for cancellation of registration and nomination against some of herein respondents. Comelec requires the respondent to file comments within 3 days form notice.

Hearing (April 16, 2001) reset it (May 3, 2001) During the hearing, commissioner Ralph C. Lantion merely directed the parties to submit their repective memoranda. Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW labor party petition assailed the Comelec Omnibus Resolution no. 3785, court directed respondent to comment within 5 days from notice.

Bayan Muna petition challenging Comelec Omnibus Resolution No. 3785, Court ordered the consolidation of the two petitions before it, respondent to file their comments, and called parties to Oral Argument. After it, parties were directed to submit their respective Memoranda, non-extendible period of 5 days.

Comelec may proceed with the counting and canvassing of votes, but barred the proclamation of winner until, further orders of the court

ISSUE: 1.) WON recourse under Rule 65 is proper under the premises. Is there any plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law Ruling:

Respondents Rule 65 is improper, there are other plain, speedy and adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law Solicitor General argues that petitioner should have filed a petition either for disqualification or for cancellation of registration, pursuant to Sec. 19, 20, 21 and 22 of Comelec Resolution no. 3307-A

Petitioner Omnibus Resolution 3785 issued with grave abuse of discretion, under both the constitution and the rules of court, challenge may be brought under Rule 65

Omnibus Resolution was en banc no motion for reconsideration was possible Comelec has not yet resolved the petition before it (cancellation of registration). But a resolution may just be a formality because the comelec, through the OSG, has made it position on the matter quite clear.

This case presented an exception to the rule that certiorari shall lie only in the absence of any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy.

Instant case is indubitably imbued with public interest and with extreme urgency, for it potentially involves the composition of 20% of the House of Representatives.

Court must urgently resolve consistent with its duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional principle, precepts, doctrines, or rules.

PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS prevent a miscarriage of justice, when the issues involves the principle of social justice, decision sought to be set aside is a nullity, need to relief is extremely urgent and certiorari is the only adequate and speedy remedy available.

2.) WON political parties may participate in the party list election Ruling:

RA No 7941 allows political parties to participate in the party list election Sec 6 Art VI provides that members of the House of representatives may be elcted to Party list system is open to all registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organization

Sec 7 and 8 political parties may be registered under the party-list system Comm. Christian S. Monsod participants in the party list system may be a regional party, sectoral party, national party, UNIDO (dominant political party in post Marcos era), Magsasaka , or regional party in Mindanao. Same as Comms. Jaime Tadeo and Blas Ople.

Comm. Monsod purpose open up the system, in order to give a chance to parties that consistently place third or fourth in congressional district election to win a seat in the Congress.

Sec. 11 of RA 7941 For the purposes of May 1998 elections, the first five major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of representatives at the start of the 10th congress of the Phil. Shall not be entitled to participate in the party list system

Political parties, even the major ones, may participate in the party list election

3.) WON party-list system is exclusive to marginal and underrepresented sectors and organizations


Any political party may participate NO Constitution and RA 7941 Sec 5, Art VIof the constitution :

House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than 250 members, unless otherwise fixed by law Party list representatives shall constitute 20% of the total number of representatives for 3 consecutive terms, one half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled.

Members of the Constitutional Commission purpose of party list giving genuine power to our people in the legislature RA 7041 was enacted, it laid out statutory policy Filipino style party list system which will enable the election to the House of Representatives of Filipino citizens

(%1)Who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties

(%1)Who lack well-defined constituencies; but

(%1)Who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole.

Key words in this policy: (1)Proportional representation does not refer to the number of people in a particular district. Party list is national in scope. It refers to the representation of the marginalized and underrepresented (2)Marginalized and underrepresented Must be Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties. (3)Lack of well-defined constituencies refers to the absence of a traditionally identifiable electoral group (voters of a congressional district or territorial unit of gov.)

Comelecs role is to see to it that only those Filipinos who are marginalized and underrepresented become members of Congress under the party list system

OSG submits that RA no 7941 does not limit the participation in the party-list system. Party list system seeks to enable certain Filipino citizen, even the super-rich and overrepresented can participate desecrates the spirit of the party list system.

4.) WON the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in promulgating Omnibus Resolution no. 3785 Ruling:

(1)Comelec failed to accept fully the clear policy of the law and the constitution.

(2)OSG as its counsel admitted that any group could be a candidate for the party list system

(3)The function of all judicial and quasi-judicial instrumentalities is to apply the law as they find it, not to reinvent or second guess it

(4)Petitioner Bayan Muna passionately pleads for the outright disqualification of the major political parties basic rudiments of due process require that respondents should first be given an opportunity to show that they qualify under the guidelines promulgated in this Decision, before they can be deprived of their right to participate in and be elected under the party-list system.

(5)Respondents: Lakas-NUCD, LDP, NPC, LP and PMP on the ground that under Comelec Resolution No. 4073, they have been accredited as the five (six, including PDP-Laban) major political parties in the May 14, 2001 elections. Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (MAD) it is a government entity using government resources and privileges.

Guidelines in Screening Party list Participants: (1) Political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941

(2) Even major political parties allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution. They must be Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

(3) Religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system.

(4) Party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941:

(a) Organization or association organized for religious purposes

(b) Use violence or unlawful means to seek its goal

(c) Foreign party or organization

(d) Receiving support from other foreign countries

(e) violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections

(f) declares untruthful statements

(g) ceased to exist for at least one year

(h) fails to participate in the last two, fail to obtain 2% of votes

(5) Must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government.

(6) Section 9 of RA 7941 party must not only comply with the requirements of the law its nominees must likewise do so (1)resident of the Philippines, not less than 1 year, (2)able to read and write, (3)bona fide member of the party or organization which he would (4) present 90 days preceding the day of the election (5) 25 in age

(7) Not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors also the nominees

(8) Nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole

v Ruling: Case is REMANDED to the Comelec DIRECTED (1) to immediately conduct summary evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the party-list participants in the light of the guidelines enunciated in this Decision. Considering the extreme urgency of determining the winners in the last party-list elections

(2) Comelec is directed to begin its hearings for the parties and organizations that appear to have garnered such number of votes as to qualify for seats in the House of Representatives.

(3) to submit within 30 days from notice.

-The Resolution of this Court dated May 9, 2001, directing the Comelec to refrain from proclaiming any winner during the last party-list election, shall remain in force until after the Comelec itself will have complied and reported its compliance with the foregoing disposition. This Decision is immediately executory upon the Commission on Elections receipt thereof. No pronouncement as to costs.


This is a Petition for Certiorari with an application for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction, filed by Ang Ladlad LGBT Party (Ang Ladlad) against the Resolutions of COMELEC.

Petition for Certiorari- A document which a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court. It includes a list of the parties, a statement of the facts of the case, the legal questions presented for review, and arguments as to why the Court should grant the writ. Writ of Preliminary Injunction- is issued to preserve the status quo ante, upon an applicants showing of two important requisite conditions; namely, (1) the right to be protected exists prima facie, and (2) the acts sought to be enjoined are violative of that right. It must be proven that the violation sought to be prevented would cause an irreparable injustice.

-1st Assailed Resolution: Nov 11, 2009; 2nd Assailed Resolution: December 16, 2009 -The case has its roots in the COMELECs refusal to accredit Ang Ladlad as a party-list organization under Party-List System Act (RA 7941).

Ang Ladlad- is an organiation composed of men and women who identify themselves as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or trans-gendered individuals. FACTS: Ang Ladlad first applied for registration with the COMELEC in 2006. The application for accreditation was deniedon the ground that the organization definition of the LGBT sector makes it crystal clear that petitioner tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs. (Romans 1:26, 27 of the Bible and in Koran- See p.48 of your case) ANG LADLAD apparently advocates sexual immorality. - Petitioner argued that LGBT community is marginalized and under-represented particularly disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; they are victims of exclusion, discrimination, and violence. - COMELEC (2nd Division) dismissed the petition on moral grounds. (See p. 47 of your case) -Ang Ladlad argued that the denial of accreditation, insofar as it justified the exclusion by using religious dogma, violated the constitutional guarantees against the establishment of religion.

-Ang LADLAD collides with Article 695 of the Civil Code andArticle 1306 (see p. 48-49 of your case)

-Finally, to safeguard the morality of the Filipino community, the Revised Penal Code, as amended, penalizes Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows (see p. 49 of your case) PETITIONER SHOULD LIKEWISE BE DENIED ACCREDITATION NOT ONLY FOR ADVOCATING IMMORAL DOCTRINES BUT LIKEWISE FOR NOT BEING TRUTHFULWHEN IT SAID THAT IT OR ANY OF ITS PARTY LIST REPRESENTATIVES HAVE NOT VIOLATED OF FAILED TO COMPLY WITH LAWS, RULES, OR REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE ELECTION -Should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith. I. Ang Ladlad sought for reconsideration: 3 commissioners voted to overturn first assailed resolution; 3 commissioners voted to deny. COMELEC Chairman to break the tie: (The Spirit of RA No. 7941) COMELEC clams that it cannot be said that Ladlads expressed sexual orientations per se would benefit the nation as a whole. -The party-list system is not a tool to advocate tolerance and acceptance of misunderstood persons or groups of persons. -Rather, the party-list system is a tool for the realization of aspirations of marginalized individuals whose interests are also the nations. ISSUE: WON such denial of the COMELEC to recognize Ang ladlad as a party-list is violative of the constitution. -Until the time comes when Ladlad is able to justify that having mixed sexual orientation and transgender identities is beneficial to the nation, its application for accreditation under the party list will remain just that. II.Courts do not recognize LGBT as a special class of individuals. -Homosexuality is not a constitutionally protected right, nothing in the US Constitution discloses a comparable intent to protect or promote the social or legal equality of homosexual relations.

-Even if societys acceptance of LGBT is elevated, Ladlad constituencies are still males and females, protected by the same bill of rights that applies to all citizens alike. IV. PUBLIC MORALS. Ladlad is possibly religious-based but as a society, Philippines cannot ignore its more than 500 yrs of Muslim and Christian upbringing. V. LEGAL PROVISIONS. Article 201 of the Revised Penal Codeimposes the penalty of Prision Mayor upon Those who shall publicly expound or proclaim doctrines openly contrary to public morals. Ang Ladlad falls under these legal provisions.This is clear from its Petitions paragraph 6F: Consensual partnerships or relationships by gays and lesbians who are already of age It is further indicated in par. 24 of the Petition which waves for the record: In 2007, Men Having Sex with Menor MSMs in the Philippines were estimated as 670,000. Moreoever, Article 694 of the

Civil Code defines nuisance as any act, omission or anything else which shocks, defies or disregards decency or morality. These are all unlawful. ***January 4, 2010: Ang Ladlad filed this Petition, praying that the Court annul the Assailed Resolutions and direct the COMELEC to grant Ang Ladlads application for accreditation. ***January 6, 2010: Ordered the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file its Comment on behalf of COMELEC not later than 12:00 noon of January 11, 2010. OSG filed a Motion for Extension, requesting that it be given until January 16, 2010 to Comment. The COMELEC, through its Law Department, filed its Comment on February 2, 2010. ***January 12, 2012: Issued a Temporary Restraining Order, directing the COMELEC to cease and desist from implementing the Assailed Resolutions. ***January 13, 2010: Commission on Human Rights (CHR)filed a Motion to Intervene. -The CHR opined that the denial of Ang Ladlads petition on moral grounds violated the standards and principles of the Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). ***January 19, 2010: Granted the CHRs motion to intervene. ***January 26, 2010: Epifanio D. Salonga, Jr. filed his Motion to Intervene which motion was granted on February 2, 2010.

Respondent mistakenly opines that our ruling in Ang Bagong Bayani stands for the proposition that only those sectors specifically enumerated in the law or related to said sectors (labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals) may be registered under the party-list system. As we explicitly ruled in Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections, the enumeration of marginalized and under-represented sectors is not exclusive. The crucial element is not whether a sector is specifically enumerated, but whether a particular organization complies with the requirements of the Constitution and RA 7941.

ISSUES: 1. WON the denial of accreditation by COMELEC, violated the constitutional guarantees against the establishment of religion insofar as it justified the exclusion by using religious dogma.

2. WON the Assailed Resolutions contravened the constitutional rights to privacy, freedom of speech and assembly, and equal protection of laws, of Ang Ladlad, as well as constituted violations of the Philippines international obligations against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

HELD: -A cursory perusal of Ang Ladlads initial petition shows that it never claimed to exist in each province of the Philippines. Rather, petitioner alleged that the LGBT community in the Philippines was estimated to constitute at least 670,000 persons; that it had 16,100 affiliates and members around the country, and 4,044 members in its electronic discussion group. Ang Ladlad also represented itself to be a national LGBT umbrella organization with affiliates around the Philippines

Non-Discrimination and International Law

-Our Decision today is fully in accord with our international obligations to protect and promote human rights. In particular, we explicitly recognize the principle of non-discrimination as it relates to the right to electoral participation, enunciated in the UDHR and the ICCPR.

The principle of non-discrimination is laid out in Article 26 of the ICCPR, as follows:

Article 26: All persons are equal before the law and areentitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

- In this context, the principle of non-discrimination requires that laws of general application relating to elections be applied equally to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation. Although sexual orientation is not specifically enumerated as a status or ratio for discrimination in Article 26 of the ICCPR, the ICCPR Human Rights Committee has opined that the reference to sex in Article 26 should be construed to include sexual orientation. Additionally, a variety of United Nations bodies have declared discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to be prohibited under various international agreements.

1. Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. At bottom, what our non-establishment clause calls for is government neutrality in religious matters. Clearly, governmental reliance on religious justification is inconsistent with this policy of neutrality. The Supreme Court ruled that it was grave violation of the nonestablishment clause for the COMELEC to utilize the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang Ladlad. Rather than relying on religious belief, the legitimacy of the Assailed Resolutions should depend, instead, on whether the COMELEC is able to advance some justification for its rulings beyond mere conformity to religious doctrine. The government must act for secular purposes and in ways that have primarily secular effects.

2. The Assailed Resolutions have not identified any specific overt immoral act performed by Ang Ladlad. Even the Office of the Solicitor General agrees that there should have been a finding by the COMELEC that the groups members have committed or are committing immoral acts. Respondent have failed to explain what societal ills are sought to be prevented, or why special protection is required for the youth. Under our system of laws, every group has the right to promote its agenda and attempt to persuade society of the validity of its position through normal democratic means.Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and this freedom applies not only to those that are favorably received but also to those that offend, shock, or disturb. Absent of any compelling state interest, it is not for the COMELEC or the Supreme Court, to impose its views on the populace. Otherwise stated, the COMELEC is certainly not free to interfere with speech for no better reason than promoting an approved message or discouraging a disfavored one. Laws of general application should apply with equal force to LGBTs, and they deserve to participate in the party-list system on the same basis as other marginalized and under-represented sectors. This is in accord with the countrys international obligations to protect and promote human rights. The principle of non-discrimination as it relates to the right to electoral participation, enunciated in the UDHR and the ICCPR should be recognized. The Constitution and laws should be applied uninfluenced by public opinion. True democracy should be resilient enough to withstand vigorous debate due to conflicting opinions.

The Petition was GRANTED. The Resolutions of the Commission on Elections dated November 11, 2009 and December 16, 2009 in SPP No. 09228 (PL) was SET ASIDE and the COMELEC was directed to GRANT petitioners application for party-list accreditation.

G12. BANAT vs. COMELEC Two cases involved:

G.R. No. 172179

BANAT petition for certiorari and mandamus, assailing the Resolution by the COMELEC in NBC No. 07-041 (a resolution which denied BANATs petition to proclaim the full number of Party-list Representatives provided by the Constitution before the COMELEC).

G.R. No. 179295

Bayan Muna, Abono and A Teacher petition for certiorari with mandamus and prohibition assails NBC Resolution No.07-60 which made a partial proclamation of parties, organizations and coalitions that obtained at least 2 % of the total votes cast under the Party-List system.

FACTS: May 14, 2007 elections, COMELEC have counted 15,950,900 votes cast for 93 parties under the Party-list system. Under this,13 parties were proclaimed as winners pursuant to Sec. 11 of R.A. No. 7941. These 13 parties have garnered at least 2% of the total votes cast for the party-list (presumptive 2% threshold votes is 334,462) and therefore entitled for 1 guaranteed party-list seat each. Among the 13 parties, additional seats were given to the 5 parties based on the formula prescribed by the SC in Veterans. All in all, 19 part-list seats were occupied. Petitioners however together with the interveners found the problem lying with the formula in Veterans applied by the COMELEC which is contrary to the express language of R.A. 7941. From these results, petitioners presented the following issues.

ISSUES: Consolidated from the two cases. %1. Is the 20% allocation for party-list representation provided in Sec 5(2), Article VI mandatory or its merely a ceiling?


Is the three-seat limit in Sec. 11(b) of RA 7941 CONSTITUTIONAL?

%1. Is the 2% threshold prescribed in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 to qualify one seat CONSTITUTIONAL? %1. How shall the party-list representative seats be allocated?

%1. Does the constitution prohibit the major political parties from participating in the party-list elections? If not, can the major political parties be barred from participating in the part-list elections? RULING: 1. 1. 20% allocation for party representation provided in Sec5(2), Article VI is Mandatory.

Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.


Yes. This is entitled to implement accurate proportional representation. It serves as a limitation to the number of seats that a qualified party-list organization may occupy,remains a valid statutory device that prevents any party from dominating the party-list elections.



The continued operation of the 2% threshold for the distribution of additional seats makes it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of available party list seats when the number of available party list seats exceeds 50. The continued operation of the 2% threshold inthe distribution of the additional seats frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of Representatives shall consist of party-list representatives.The Court strikes down the 2% threshold only in relation to the distribution of the additional seats as found in thesecond clause of Section 11(b) of RA 7941.


Party-list representative seats be allocated under Sec. 11 of RA 7941:

(1)The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the

lowest based on thenumber of votes they garnered during the elections.

(2)The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least 2% of the total votes cast for the party-listsystem shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each.

(3)Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the ranking in paragraph 1, shall be entitled toadditional seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all the additional seats are allocated.

(4)Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than 3 seats.In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be included because they have already beenallocated, at one seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, the remaining available seats for allocation as additionalseats are the maximum seats reserved under the Party List System less the guaranteed seats. Fractional seats aredisregarded in the absence of a provision in RA 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats.

5. Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, the following procedure shall beobserved:(a)The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to thelowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections.(b)The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least 2% of the total votes castfor the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each: Provided, that thosegarnering more than 2% of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats inproportion to their total number of votes: Provided, finally, that each party,organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three seats.

NO. Political parties, particularly minority political parties, are not prohibited to participate in the party list electionif they can prove that they are also organized along sectoral lines. Neither the Constitution nor RA 7941 prohibitsmajor political parties from participating in party-list elections through their sectoral wings. In fact, the members of the Constitutional Commission voted down any permanent sectoral seats, and in

the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups. In defining a party that participates in party-list elections as either a political party or a sectoral party, RA 7941 also clearly intended that major political parties will participate in the party-list elections. Excluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly against the Constitution,the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and RA 7941. Furthermore, under Section 9 of RA 7941, it is notnecessary that the party-list organizations nominee wallow in poverty, destitution, and infirmity as there is nofinancial status required in law. It is enough that the nominee of the sectoral party/organization/coalition belongs tothe marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

However, by a vote of 8-7, the Court decided to continue the ruling in Veterans disallowing major political parties from participating in the party-list elections, directly or indirectly. According to Chief Justice Punos dissent, the party-list representatives are no match to our traditional political parties in the political arena; and that if major political parties are allowed to participate in the party-list system electoral process, the voices of the marginalized would be surely suffocated, and that the democratic spirit of the Constitution would be betrayed. He cited the 2001 party-list elections where the major political parties figured in the disproportionate distribution of votes. 8 Justices concurred.

Additional Note: Justice Nachura concurs with Justice Carpio and further adds that the 2% threshold vote required for entitlement by a political party-list group to a seat in the HR in RA 7941 is unconstitutional because, according to him, therewill never be a situation where the number of party-list representatives will exceed 50, regardless of the number of district representatives. He then submits the standard of proportional representation and the adoption of a gradually regressive threshold vote requirement, inversely proportional to the increase in the number of party-list seats. He proposes this new formula for the threshold:

100% (total number of votes cast for party-list) =1.818%55 party-list seats And that the minimum vote requirement should gradually lessen as the number of party-list seats increases.

Doctrines: A Philippine-style party-list election has at least four inviolable parameters:


20% allocation

The combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed 20% of the totalmembership of the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list;


2% threshold

Only those parties garnering a minimum of 2% of the total valid votes cast for the party-listsystem are qualified to have a seat in the House of Representatives;


Three- seat limit

. Each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to amaximum of three seats; that is, one qualifying and two additional seats


Proportional representation

. The additional seats which a qualified party is entitled to shall be computed in proportion to their total number of votes.In declaring the 2% threshold unconstitutional, the Court does not limit the allocation of additional seats to the two- percenters. The percentage of votes garnered by each party-list candidate is arrived at by dividing the number of votes garnered by each party by the total number of votes cast for party-list candidates. There are two steps in thesecond round of seat allocation. First, the percentage is multiplied by the remaining available seats (the difference between the maximum seats reserved under the Party-List System and the guaranteed seats of the two-percenters).The whole integer of the product of the percentage and of the remaining available seats corresponds to a partysshare in the remaining available seats. Second, one party-list seat is assigned to each of the parties next in rank untilall available seats are completely distributed. Finally, the threeseat cap is applied to determine the number of seatseach qualified party-list candidate is entitled.

The 20% allocation of party-list representatives is merely a ceiling; party-list representatives cannot be more than20% of the members of the House of Representatives.

G13. Seeres vs. Commission on Elections


January 26, 2007, BUHAY again filed a Manifestation of its desire to Participate in the Party-List System of Representation bearing the signature of Melquiades Robles (respondent).

March 29, 2007, he signed and filed a Certificate of nomination of BUHAYs nominees for the 2007 elections: (1) Velarde, (2) Coscolluela, (3) Tieng, (4) Monsod, and (5) Villarama.

However, on March 27, 2009, petitioner Hans Christian Seeres, holding himself up as acting president and secretary-general of BUHAY, also filed a Certificate of Nomination with the COMELEC, nominating: (1) himself, (2) Hermenegildo C. Dumlao, (3) Antonio R. Bautista, (4) Victor Pablo C. Trinidad, and (5) Eduardo C. Solangon, Jr.

Seeres alleged that he was the acting president and secretary-general of BUHAY, having assumed that position since August 17, 2004 when Robles vacated the position.

May 10, 2007, the National Council of BUHAY adopted a resolution expelling Seeres as party member for his act of submitting a Certificate of Nomination for the party.

July 18, 2007, the COMELEC proclaimed BUHAY as a winning part-list organization. July 19, 2007, Seeres petitioned for certiorariunder the Rule 65 with a prayer for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction to nullify and enjoin the implementation of the resolution, which declared Robles as the President of BUHAY, since no party election was held to replace Robles as party president, then he was holding the position in a hold-over capacity.


WON the COMELEC acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing its challenged Resolution dated June 19, 2007, which declared respondent Robles as the duly authorized representative of BUHAY, and there is no appel or any other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law except the instant petition.


a.) Petition for Certiorari is an Improper Remedy

The house of the Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRETs) sole and exclusive jurisdiction over contests relative to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives begins only after a candidate has become a member of the House of Representatives. Thus, once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the House of Representatives, COMELECs jurisdiction over elections relating to the election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRETs own jurisdiction begins.

July 20, 2007, the first three nominees in the Certificate of Nomination submitted by Robles took their oaths of the office before the Chief Justice and since then exercised their duties and functions as BUHAY Party-List Representatives.

The proper recourse would have been to file a petition forquo warranto before the HRET within ten days from receipt of the July 19, 2007 Resolution and not a petition forcertiorari before the Court.

Since Seeres failed to fail a petition for quo warranto before HRET within 10 days from receipt declaring the validity of Robles Certificate of Nomination, said Resolution of the COMELEC has already become final and executor.

b.) Act of Nominating is not Partisan Political Activity

Petitioner Seeres contends that Robles, acting as BUHAY President and nominating officer, as well as being the Administrator of the LRTA, was engaging in electioneering or partisan political campaign. He bases his argument on the Constitution, which prohibits any officer or employee in the civil service from engaging, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign.

This contention lacks basis. The foregoing enumerated acts if performed for the purpose of enhancing the chances of aspirants for nominations for candidacy to a public office by a political party, agreement, or coalition of parties shall not be considered as election campaign or partisan election activity.

The nomination of a candidate by a party or organization are treated as internal matters and cannot be considered as electioneering or partisan political activity.

Robles role in the nominating process was limited to signing, on behalf of BUHAY, and submitting the partys Certificate of Nomination to the COMELEC.

c.) Hold-over Principle Applies

As a general rule, officers and directors of a corporation hold over after the expiration of their terms until such time as their successors are elected or appointed (regarded as de facto officer considered valid and effective).

G14. AMORES vs HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL Facts: Petition for certiorari, Milagros E. Amores challenges the Decision of May 14, 2009 and Resolution No. 09-130 of August 6, 2009 of the HRETribunal (public respondent), which respectively dismissed petitioners Petition for Quo Warrantoquestioning the legality of the assumption of office of Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva (private respondent) as representative of the party-list organization Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) in the House of Representatives, and denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. Seeking the ouster of private respondent, petitioner alleged that, among other things, private respondent assumed office without a formal proclamation issued by COMELEC; he was disqualified to be a nominee of the youth sector of CIBAC since, at the time of the filing of his certificates of nomination and acceptance, he was already 31 years old or beyond the age limit of 30 pursuant to Section 9 of Republic Act (RA) No. 7941, otherwise known as the Party-List System Act; and his change of affiliation from CIBACs youth sector to its overseas Filipino workers and their families sector was not effected at least six months prior to the May 14, 2007 elections so as to be qualified to represent the new sector under Section 15 of RA No. 7941.

ISSUES: (1) whether petitioners Petition for Quo Warranto was dismissible for having been filed unseasonably; and (2) whether Sections 9 and 15 of RA No. 7941 apply to private respondent.

Ruling: 1) Court finds that public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in considering petitioners Petition for Quo Warranto filed out of time. Its counting of the 10-day reglementary period provided in its Rules from the issuance of NBC Resolution No. 07-60 on July 9, 2007

is erroneous. NBC Resolution No. 07-60 partially proclaimed CIBAC as a winner in the May, 2007 elections, along with other party-list organizations, it was by no measure a proclamation of private respondent himself as required by Section 13 of RA No. 7941. 2) Court finds no textual support for public respondents interpretation that Section 9 applied only to those nominated during the first three congressional terms after the ratification of the Constitution or until 1998, unless a sectoral party is thereafter registered exclusively as representing the youth sector. As the law states in unequivocal terms that a nominee of the youth sector must at least be twenty-five (25) butnot more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election, so it must be that a candidate who is more than 30 on election day is not qualified to be a youth sector nominee. Since this mandate is contained in RA No. 7941, the Party-List System Act, it covers ALL youth sector nominees vying for party-list representative seats. As petitioner points out, RA No. 7941 was enacted only in March, 1995. There is thus no reason to apply Section 9 thereof only to youth sector nominees nominated during the first three congressional terms after the ratification of the Constitution in 1987. Under this interpretation, the last elections where Section 9 applied were held in May, 1995 or two months after the law was enacted. This is certainly not sound legislative intent, and could not have been the objective of RA No. 7941.

There is likewise no rhyme or reason in public respondents ratiocination that after the third congressional term from the ratification of the Constitution, which expired in 1998, Section 9 of RA No. 7941 would apply only to sectoral parties registered exclusively as representing the youth sector. This distinction is nowhere found in the law.

Court finds that private respondent was not qualified to be a nominee of either the youth sector or the overseas Filipino workers and their families sector in the May, 2007 elections.

The records disclose that private respondent was already more than 30 years of age in May, 2007, it being stipulated that he was born in August, 1975. Moreover, he did not change his sectoral affiliation at least six months before May, 2007, public respondent itself having found that he shifted to CIBACs overseas Filipino workers and their families sector only on March 17, 2007

Petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated May 14, 2009 and Resolution No. 09-130 dated August 6, 2009 of the HRET areSET ASIDE. Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva is declared ineligible to hold office as a member of the House of Representatives representing the party-list organization CIBAC.



March 29, 2007, Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, president Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list, submitted a list of five nominees namely: (1) Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva; (2) Luis K. Lokin, Jr. (the petitioner); (3) Cinchina C. Cruz-Gonzales; (4) Sherwin Tugma; and (5) Emil L. Galang, in representation of their party-list for May 14, 2007 synchronized national and local elections.

May 7, 2007, Villanueva filed a certificate of nomination, substitution and amendment of the list of nominees, whereby withdrew the nominations of Lokin, Tugma and Galang and substitutes Armi Jane R. Borje.

May 14, 2007, CIBAC won. July 6, 2007, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8219, whereby it resolved to set the matter pertaining to the validity of the withdrawal of the nominations if Lokin, Tugna and Galang and the substitution of Borje for proper disposition and hearing.

July 18, 2007, COMELEC proclaimed CIBAC entitled with an additional seat in the House of the Representatives, September 14, 2007, proclaimed the new order of CIBAC nominees: (1) Villanueva; (2) Cruz-Gonzales; (3) Borje. September 17, 2007, Cruz-Gonzales took her oath. Lokin seeks through mandamus to compel respondent COMELEC to proclaim him as the official second nominee of CIBAC. He assails Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 and the resolution issued in E.M. No. 07-054. He alleges that Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 expanded Section 8 of RA 7941.

CIBAS posits that Lokin is guilty of forum shopping for filling a petition for mandamus and a petition for certiorari, considering that both petitions ultimately seek to have him proclaimed as the second nominee of CIBAC.

ISSUES: a) WON the Court has jurisdiction over the controversy;

b) WON Lokin is guilty of forum shopping;


WON Section 13 of Resolution 7804 is unconstitutional and violates the Party-list System Act; and

d) WON the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in approving the withdrawal of the nominees of CIBAC and allowing the amendment of the list of nominees of CIBAC without any basis in fact or law and after the close of the polls, and in ruling on matters that were intra-corporate in nature.

RULINGS: a) The Court has Jurisdiction over the case

An election proposes to oust the winning candidate from office. It is strictly a contest between the defeated and the winning candidates.

The controversy involving Lokin is neither an election protest nor an action for quo warranto. Lokin has correctly brought this special civil action for certiorari against the COMELEC to seek the review of the resolution of the COMELEC in accordance with Section 7 of Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution, notwithstanding the oath and assumption of office by Cruz-Gonzales.

b) Petitioner is not guilty of forum shopping


The mere filling of several cases based on the same incident does not necessarily constitute forum shopping.

Invalidity of Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804

Administrative IRRs must comply with the ff requisites to be valid:

i. Its promulgation must be authorized by the Legislature (This was met) ii. It must be within the scope of the authority given by the Legislature (Administrative IRRs are solely intended to carry out, not to supplant or to modify, the law) iii. It must be promulgated in accordance with the prescribed procedure (This was met) iv. It must be reasonable.

Section 8 of RA 7941:

No change of names or alteration of the order of nominees shall be allowed after the same shall have been submitted to the COMELEC except in cases where the nominees dies, or withdraws in writing his nomination, becomes incapacitated in which case the name of the substitute nominee shall be placed last in the list.

The COMELEC will not concern itself with whether or not the list contains the real intended nominees of the party-list organization, but will only determine whether the nominees pass all requirements and whether or not the nominees posses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications.

d) Exceptions in Section 8 of RA 7941 are exclusive

When the statutes itself enumerates the exceptions to the application of the general rule, the exceptions are strictly but reasonably construed. The exceptions extend only as far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provision rather than the exceptions.

e) Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 expanded the exceptions under Section 8 of RA 7941

The COMELEC has neither the authority nor the license to expand, extend, or add anything to the law it seeks to implement thereby. An administrative agence cannot amend an act of Congress. The COMELEC did not merely reword or rephrase the text in Section 8 of RA 7941, because it established an entirely new ground not found in the text of the provision.


Effect of partial nullity of Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804

In case of conflict between the law and the IRR, the law prevails. The COMELECs approval of CIBACs petition of widrawal of the nominations and recognition of CIBACs substitution should be struck down for lack of legal basis.

Petitions for certiorari and mandamus granted. COMELEC was ordered to proclaim Lokin, Jr. as a Pary-list representative representating CIBAC.


FACTS: Includes two cases about the authority of HRET to pass upon eligibilities of the nominees of the party-list groups: 1.) GR 189466- Petitioner Abayon is the first nominee ofAangat Tayo Partylist that won a seat during the 2007 elections. Respondents Lucaban, Dela Cruz, and Doroga(registered voters) filed a petition for quo warranto with respondent HRET against Aangat Tayo and Abayon. -Quo Warranto- a writ or legal action requiring a person to show by what warrant an office or franchise is held, claimed, or exercised. -Respondents claimed that Aangat Tayo was not eligible for a party-list seat since it did not represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors. -Abayon herself was not qualified since she is a wife of an incumbent congressional district representative and does not belong for marginalized and underrepresented sectors. *AANGAT TAYO- represents workers, women, youth, urban poor, and elderlyand that she belonged to a woman sector.

2.) GR 189506- Petitioner Palparan is the first nominee ofBantay Partylist that won a seat during 2007 the elections. Respondents Lesaca, Palabay, Reyes, Cadapan, Flores,Ustarez (members of some other partylist groups) filed a petition for quo warranto with respondent HRET against Bantay and Palparan. -Respondents alleged that Palparan was not ineligible since he did not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. *BANTAY- represents victims of communist rebels, CAFGUs, former rebels and Security gaurds.


-The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) issued an order, dismissing the petition as against Aangat Tayo and Bantay but upholding its jurisdiction over the qualifications of petitioners Abayon and Palparan

Issue: (1)W/N respondent HRET has jurisdiction over the question of qualifications of petitioners-

YES (2)W/N it is the party-list nominee and not the group who stands as elected member- YES

Courts Ruling: -Both Petitioners have a common theory: RA 7941 (Partylist System Act), vests the COMELEC the authority to determine which parties or organizations have the qualifications to seek party list seats. -The HRET dismissed the petitions for quo warranto filed with it insofar as they sought the disqualifications of Aangat Tayo and Bantay. Since petitioners Abayon and Palparan were not elected into office but were chosen by their respective organizations under their internal rules, the HRET has no jurisdiction to inquire into and adjudicate their qualifications as nominees. -Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, identifies who themembers of that House are representatives of districts and party list. (See p. 381 of your case) -Once elected, both the district representatives and the party-list representatives are treated in like manner. The Party-List System Act itself recognizes party-list nominees as members of the House of Representatives, a party-list representative is in every sense an elected member of the House of Representatives. -Although the vote cast in a party-list election is a vote for a party, such vote, in the end,

would be a vote for its nominees, who, in appropriate cases, would eventually sit in the House of Representatives.

-Both the Constitution and the Party-List System Act set the qualifications and grounds for

disqualification of party-list nominees. Section 9 of R.A. 7941, echoing the Constitution. (See p. 383 of your case) -It is for the HRET to interpret the meaning of this particular qualification of a nominee the need for him or her to be a bona fide member or a representative of his party-list organization

By analogy with the cases of district representatives, once the party or organization of the party-list nominee has been proclaimed and the nominee has taken his oath and assumed office as member of the House of Representatives, theCOMELECs jurisdiction over election contests relating to his qualifications ends and the HRETs own jurisdiction begins.

-The Court holds that respondent HRET did not gravely abuse its discretion when it dismissed the petitions for quo warranto against Aangat Tayo party-list and Bantay party-list butupheld its jurisdiction over the question of the qualifications of petitioners Abayon and Palparan.

-Court DISMISSES the consolidated petitions and AFFIRMSOrder (July 16, 2009) and Resolution (Sept 17, 2006), Order (July 23, 2009) and Resolution (Sept 10, 2009)

Order (July 16, 2009)- HRET issued an order dismissing the petition against Aangat Tayo. Resolution (Sept 17, 2006)- Abayon moved for reconsideration but HRET denied the same. Order (July 23, 2009)- HRET issued an order dismissing the petition against Bantay. Resolution (Sept 10, 2009)- Palparan moved for reconsideration but HRET denied it by a resolution.

Doctrine: Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution provides that the HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to, among other things, the qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives. Since party-list nominees are elected members of the House of Representatives (not the party-list group itself) no less than the district representatives are, the HRET has jurisdiction to hear and pass upon their qualifications.

G17. ABC Party List vs. COMELEC

FACTS: May 25, 2010 private respondent Melanio Mauricio, Jr. filed a petition with the COMELEC for the cancellation of registration and accreditation of petitioner ABC Party-List Reason

Petitioner is a front for a religious organization called theChildren of God International (Ang Dating Daan); hence, it is disqualified to become a party-list group under the Party-List System (RA#7941) based on the following circumstances:


James Marty Lim (National Chairman) was being publicly bruited as its first nominee

Arnulfo Molero real number one nominee; top official of Ang Dating Daan (ADD)

1. 2. 3.

ABC was organized, established and is being run by ADD as a religious sect for religious purposes. The resources of ADD are being used to finance the campaign of ABC The membership of ABC is composed of the members of ADD Respondent alleged that ABC is receiving support from third parties abroad. ABC denied private respondent allegation.

Allowed by law to be registered and COMELEC has approved petitioners registration and accreditation in 2007 election. It was founded and headed by Lim, who held the position of National President of the Association of Barangay Chairmen for 11 years. Its stature as a party-list with national constituency that could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society and not for religious purpose.

June 16, 2010 COMELEC dismissed the petition based on procedural and substantial grounds. procedural grounds: the lack of proper verification of the petition, not duly notarized

substantial grounds: ABC is not a religious sect.

ABC urged the COMELEC to dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction, since the Secretary General of the House of Representatives had already recognized ABC as a proclaimed party-list group by asking its first nominee to attend the Orientation Program for the new members of the House of Representative.

Aug. 3 2010 COMELEC en banc issued a Resolution partially granting private respondents Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Annul Proclamation and Suspend Its Effects dated June 22, 2010 and the Commission Secretary is hereby DIRECTED TO SCHEDULE a hearing on the petition with notice to the parties.

COMELEC en banc found that the petitions verification page complied with the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice and Resolution of the Second Division was issued without any hearing, which deprived Mauricio of the opportunity to submit evidence in support of his petition.

ISSUES: 1. WON the Commission en banc has no more jurisdictions to entertain the petition for cancellation of registration and accreditation since ABC already proclaimed as winner (or should be resolved by the House of the Representative Electoral Tribunal HRET?) 2. WON the COMELEC EN BANC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of excess jurisdiction on the ff.:

When it set the petition of Mauricio for hearing when he was already given all the time and opportunity to present and substantiate his case

When it did not recognize that on its face the petition of Mauricio is unmeritorious and procedurally defective When all the other cases of the same nature were all summarily and motu proprio dismissed by COMELEC

RULING: Dismissed for lack of merit DOCTRINE/RATIONALE 1. COMELEC en banc has jurisdiction over the instant petition for cancellation of the registration of the ABC Party-List for alleged violation of Section 6 (1) of RA no. 7941.

The jurisdiction of the HRET over contests relating to the qualifications of a party-list nominee or representative is derived from Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution, while the jurisdiction of the COMELEC over petitions for cancellation of registration of any national, regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition is derived from Section 2 (5), Article IX-C of the Constitution.

HRET Party-list nominees/representatives COMELEC - national, regional or sect party ***Although it is the party-list organization that is voted for in the elections, it is not the organization that sits as and becomes a member of the House of Representatives,but it is the party-list nominee/representative who sits as a member of the House of Representatives.


COMELEC en banc did not act without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

The COMELEC has the constitutional mandate to register political parties, organizations and coalitions, and to cancel their registration on legal grounds. COMELEC en banc has the prerogative to direct a hearing be conducted on the petition for cancellation of the registration of the ABC Party-List.

The grave abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion or refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. It is absent in this case.

G18. Bantay Republic Act vs. Commission on Elections FACTS: **Two consolidated petitions for certiorari and mandamus to nullify and set aside certain issuances of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) respecting party-list groups which have manifested their intention to participate in the party-list elections on May 14, 2007.

January 12, 2007, the Comelec issued Resolution No. 7804prescribing rules and regulations to govern the filing of manifestation of intent to participate and submission of names of nominees under the party-list system of representation in connection with the May 14, 2007 elections. Pursuant thereto, a number of organized groups filed the necessary manifestations. Among these and ostensibly subsequently accredited by the Comelec to participate in the 2007 elections are 14 party-list groups, namely: BABAE KA , ANG KASANGGA, AKBAY PINOY ,AKSA, KAKUSA, AHON PINOY , OFW PARTY , BIYAHENG PINOY, ANAD, AANGAT ANG KABUHAYAN, AGBIAG, BANAT , BANTAY LIPAD and AGING PINOY

Bantay Republic Act (BA-RA 7941) and the Urban Poor for Legal Reforms (UP-LR) filed with the Comelec an Urgent Petition to Disqualify, seeking to disqualify the nominees of certain party-list organizations. Docketed in the Comelec as SPA Case No 07026, this urgent petition has yet to be resolved.

Meanwhile petitioner Rosales, in G.R. No. 177314, addressed two letters to the Director of the Comelecs Law Department requesting a list of that groups nominees. Evidently unbeknownst then to Ms. Rosales, et al., was the issuance of Comelec en banc Resolution 07-0724 under date April 3, 2007 virtually declaring the nominees names confidential and in net effect denying petitioner Rosales basic disclosure request.

Comelec reason for keeping the names of the party list nominees away from the public is deducible from the excerpts of the news report appearing in the April 13, 2007 issue of the Manila Bulletin, carried the front-page banner headline COMELEC WONT BARE PARTY-LIST NOMINEES, is that there is nothing in R.A. 7941 that requires the Comelec to disclose the names of nominees, and that party list elections must not be personality oriented according to Chairman Abalos.

In the first petition (G.R. No. 177271), BA-RA 7941 and UP-LR assail the Comelec resolutions accrediting private respondents Biyaheng Pinoy et al., to participate in the forthcoming party-list elections without simultaneously determining whether or not their respective nominees possess the requisite qualifications defined in R.A. No. 7941, or the Party-List System Act and belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector each seeks to.

In the second petition (G.R. No. 177314), petitioners Rosales, Kilos bayan Foundation and Bantay Katarungan Foundation impugn Comelec Resolution dated April 3, 2007.

While both petitions commonly seek to compel the Comelec to disclose or publish the names of the nominees of the various party-list groups named in the petitions, BA-RA 7941 and UP-LR have the additional prayers that the 33 private respondents

named therein be declared as unqualified to participate in the party-list elections and that the Comelec be enjoined from allowing respondent groups from participating in the elections.


1.WON the respondent Comelec, by refusing to reveal the names of the nominees of the various party-list groups, has violated the right to information and free access to documents as guaranteed by the Constitution; 2. WON the respondent Comelec is mandated by the Constitutiontodisclose to the public the names of said nominees. RULING: The 1st petition is partly DENIED insofar as it seeks to nullify the accreditation of the respondents named therein. However, insofar as it seeks to compel the Comelec to disclose or publish the names of the nominees of party-list groups, sectors or organizations accredited to participate in the May 14, 2007 elections, the 2nd petitions are GRANTED. Accordingly, the Comelec is hereby ORDERED to immediately disclose and release the names of the nominees of the party-list groups. RATIONALE:

The Court is unable to grant the desired plea of petitioners BA-RA 7941 and UP-LR for cancellation of accreditation on the grounds thus advanced in their petition. The exercise would require the Court to make a factual determination, a matter which is outside the office of judicial review by way of special civil action for certiorari. In certiorari proceedings, the Court is not called upon to decide factual issues and the case must be decided on the undisputed facts on record. The sole function of a writ of certiorari is to address issues of want of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion and does not include a review of the tribunals evaluation of the evidence.

Note: that nowhere in R.A. No. 7941 is there a requirement that the qualification of a party-list nominee be determined simultaneously with the accreditation of an organization

Section 7, Article III of the Constitution, viz:

Sec.7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. Section 28, Article II of the Constitution reading:

Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

COMELECs basis of its refusal to disclose the names of the nominees of subject party-list groups, Section 7 of R.A. 7941,which last sentence reads:The names of the party-list nominees shall not be shown on the certified list is certainly not a justifying card for the Comelec to deny the requested disclosure. There is absolutely nothing in R.A. No. 7941 that prohibits the Comelec from disclosing or even publishing through mediums other than the Certified List of the names.

It has been repeatedly said in various contexts that the people have the right to elect their representatives on the basis of an informed judgment. While the vote cast in a party-list elections is a vote for a party, such vote, in the end, would be a vote for its nominees, who, in appropriate cases, would eventually sit in the House of Representatives. The Court frowns upon any interpretation of the law or rules that would hinder in any way the free and intelligent casting of the votes in an election.

COMELEC has a constitutional duty to disclose and release the names of the nominees of the party-list groups named in the herein petitions. The right to information is a public right where the real parties in interest are the public, or the citizens to be precise, but like all constitutional guarantees, however, the right to information and its companion right of access to official records are not absolute. The peoples right to know is limited to matters of public concern and is further subject to such limitation as may be provided by law. But no national security or like concerns is involved in the disclosure of the names of the nominees of the party-list groups in question. Doubtless, the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing the legitimate demands of the petitioners for a list of the nominees of the party-list groups subject of their respective petitions. Mandamus, therefore, lies.

G 31. Duenas v House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal


GR No. 185401

July 21, 2009

En banc

Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodies? (But who is to guard the guardians themselves?) Under our constitutional scheme, the Supreme Court is the ultimate guardian of the Constitution, particularly of the allocation of powers, the guarantee of individual liberties and the assurance of the peoples sovereignty. The Court has the distinguished but delicate duty of determining and defining constitutional meaning, divining constitutional intent and deciding constitutional disputes. Nonetheless, its judicial supremacy is never judicial superiority (for it is co-equal with the other branches) or judicial tyranny (for it is supposed to be the least dangerous branch). Instead, judicial supremacy is the conscious and cautious awareness and acceptance of its proper place in the overall scheme of government with the objective of asserting and promoting the supremacy of the Constitution. Thus, whenever the Court exercises its function of checking the excesses of any branch of government, it is also duty-bound to check itself. Otherwise, who will guard the guardian?

FACTS: Petitioner Henry Jun Dueas, Jr. and private respondent Angelito Jett P. Reyes were rival candidates for the position of congressman in the 2nd legislative district of Taguig City in the May 14, 2007 synchronized national and local elections. After the canvass of the votes, petitioner was proclaimed the winner, having garnered 28,564 votes as opposed to private respondents 27,107 votes. Not conceding defeat, private respondent filed an election protest, praying for a revision/recount, alleging that he was cheated in the protested 170 of 732 precincts through insidious and well-orchestrated electoral frauds and anomalies which resulted in the systematic reduction of his votes and the corresponding increase in petitioners votes.

In an order dated September 25, 2008, the HRET directed the continuation of the revision and appreciation of the remaining 75% of the counter-protested precincts pursuant to Rule 88 of the HRET Rules. Instead of complying with the order, petitioner filed an urgent motion to withdraw/abandon the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts on October 27, 2008. This was denied by the HRET, reiterating its order directing the continuation of the revision of ballots in the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts and recalling its order requiring petitioner to augment his cash deposit. The Tribunal instead ordered the use of its own funds for the revision of the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts.

On November 27, 2008, the HRET issued a resolution under Rule 88 of the HRET Rules and settled jurisprudence, ruling that it had the discretion either to dismiss the protest or counter-protest, or to continue with the revision if necessitated by reasonable and sufficient grounds affecting the validity of the election. This was with the end in view of ascertaining the true choice of the electorate. It was the HRETs position that the mere filing of a motion to withdraw/abandon the unrevised precincts did not automatically divest the HRET of its jurisdiction over the

same. Moreover, it ruled that its task of determining the true will of the electorate was not confined to the examination of contested ballots. Under its plenary power, it could motu propio review the validity of every ballot involved in a protest or counter-protest and the same could not be frustrated by the mere expedient of filing a motion to withdraw/abandon the remaining counter-protested precincts. Convinced that it could not determine the true will of the electorate of the 2nd legislative district of Taguig City on the basis alone of the initial revision of the 100% protested precincts and the 25% counter-protested precincts, it had no other recourse but to continue the revision and appreciation of all the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts.

ISSUE: (1) Whether the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, in issuing the Resolution, to continue the revision and appreciation of all the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts.

(2) Whether or not HRETs assumption of the burden of the costs of the continued revision amounted to an illegal and unconstitutional disbursement of public funds nder Section 29 (1), Article VI of the Constitution.

HELD: The petition has no merit.

So long as the Constitution grants the HRET the power to be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the House of Representatives, any final action taken by the HRET on a matter within its jurisdiction shall, as a rule, not be reviewed by this Court . the power granted to the Electoral Tribunal x x x excludes the exercise of any authority on the part of this Court that would in any wise restrict it or curtail it or even affect the same. Guided by this basic principle, the Court will neither assume a power that belongs exclusively to the HRET nor substitute its own judgment for that of the Tribunal.

(1) HRETs Power to Deny the Motion to Withdraw / Abandon Counter-protest

First, there are 732 precincts in the 2nd Legislative District of Taguig City, where respondent protested the election results in 170 precincts and petitioner counter-protested 560 precincts. All in all, therefore, 730 precincts were the subject of the revision proceedings. While 100% of the protested precincts were already revised, only 25% or 140 of the counter-protested precincts (or a total of 310 precincts) were actually done.

Yet, with 420 more precincts to go had the HRET only been allowed to continue its proceedings, petitioner claims that respondents were only speculating that a sufficient number of fake/spurious ballots would be discovered in the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts and that these fake/spurious ballots would overturn the result of the election. Indeed, due regard and respect for the authority of the HRET as an independent constitutional body require that any finding of grave abuse of discretion against that body should be based on firm and convincing proof, not on shaky assumptions. Any accusation of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the HRET must be established by a clear showing of arbitrariness and improvidence. But the Court finds no evidence of such grave abuse of discretion by the HRET.

Second, the Constitution mandates that the HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of its members. By employing the word sole, the Constitution is emphatic that the jurisdiction of the HRET in the adjudication of election contests involving its members is exclusive and exhaustive. Its exercise of power is intended to be its own full, complete and unimpaired. Protective of its jurisdiction and assertive of its constitutional mandate, the Tribunal adopted Rule 7 of the HRET Rules: The Tribunal shall have exclusive control,direction and supervision of all matters pertaining to its own functions and operation.

In this connection and in the matter of the revision of ballots, the HRET reserved for itself the discretion to continue or discontinue the process. The meaning of Rule 88 is plain. The HRET could continue or discontinue the revision proceedings ex propio motu, that is, of its own accord. Thus, even if we were to adopt petitioners view that he ought to have been allowed by HRET to withdraw his counter-protest, there was nothing to prevent the HRET from continuing the revision of its own accord by authority of Rule 88. The only prerequisite to the exercise by the HRET of its prerogative under Rule 88 was its own determination that the evidence thus far presented could affect the officially proclaimed results. Much like the appreciation of contested ballots and election documents, the determination of whether the evidence could influence the officially proclaimed results was a highly technical undertaking, a function best left to the specialized expertise of the HRET.

At the risk of unduly encroaching on the exclusive prerogative of the HRET as the sole judge of election contests involving its members, the Court cannot substitute its own sense or judgment for that of the HRET on the issues of whether the evidence presented during the initial revision could affect the officially proclaimed results and whether the continuation of the revision proceedings could lead to a determination of the true will of the electorate.TheCourt should merely test whether or not the governmental branch or agency has gone beyond the constitutional limits of its jurisdiction, not that it erred or had a different view. If the Court will dictate to the HRET on how to proceed with these election protest proceedings, the Tribunal will no longer have exclusive control, direction and supervision of all matters pertaining to its

own functions and operation. It will constitute an intrusion into the HRETs domain and a curtailment of the HRETs power to act of its own accord on its own evaluation of the evidentiary weight and effect of the result of the initial revision.

Finally, it is hornbook doctrine that jurisdiction, once acquired, is not lost at the instance of the parties but continues until the case is terminated. Thus, in Robles v. HRET, the Court ruled: The mere filing of the motion to withdraw protest on the remaining uncontested precincts, without any action on the part of respondent tribunal, does not by itself divest the tribunal of its jurisdiction over the case. Jurisdiction, once acquired, is not lost upon the instance of the parties but continues until the case is terminated. Certainly, the Tribunal retains the authority to grant or deny the Motion, and the withdrawal becomes effective only when the Motion is granted. To hold otherwise would permit a party to deprive the Tribunal of jurisdiction already acquired. Where the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter, its orders upon all questions pertaining to the cause are orders within its jurisdiction, and however erroneous they may be, they cannot be corrected by certiorari. This rule more appropriately applies to respondent HRET whose independence as a constitutional body has time and again been upheld by Us in many cases. As explained in the case of Lazatin v. The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Timbol, G.R. No. 84297, December 8, 1988, thus:

The use of the word sole emphasizes the exclusive character of the jurisdiction conferred *Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra, at 162]. The exercise of the Power by the Electoral Commission under the 1935 Constitution has been described as `intended to be complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature *Id. at 175+. Earlier, this grant of power to the legislature was characterized by Justice Malcolm as full, clear and complete *Veloso v. Board of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, 39 Phil. 886 (1919)+. Under the amended 1935 Constitution, the power was unqualifiedly reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal [Suanes v. Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818 (1948)] and it remained as full, clear and complete as that previously granted the legislature and the Electoral Commission [Lachica v. Yap, G.R. No. L25379, September 25, 1968, 25 SCRA 140]. The same may be said with regard to the jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunals under the 1987 Constitution. Thus, judicial review of decisions or final resolutions of the House Electoral Tribunal is (thus) possible only in the exercise of this Courts so-called extraordinary jurisdiction, . . . upon a determination that the tribunals decision or resolution was rendered without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion or, paraphrasing Morrera, upon a clear showing of such arbitrary and improvident use by the Tribunal of its power as constitutes a denial of due process of law, or upon a demonstration of a very clear unmitigated ERROR, manifestly constituting such a GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION that there has to be a remedy for such abuse. (emphasis supplied)

(2) HRETs Discretion to Use Its Own Funds in Revision Proceedings

When jurisdiction is conferred by law on a court or tribunal, that court or tribunal, unless otherwise provided by law, is deemed to have the authority to employ all writs, processes and other means to make its power effective. Where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every particular power necessary for the exercise of one or the performance of the other is also conferred. Since the HRET possessed the authority to motu propio continue a revision of ballots, it also had the wherewithal to carry it out. It thus ordered the disbursement of its own funds for the revision of the ballots in the remaining counter-protested precincts. We hark back to Rule 7 of the HRET Rules which provides that the HRET has exclusive control, direction and supervision of its functions. The HRETs order was but one aspect of its power. Moreover, Rule 8 of the HRET Rules provides that the Tribunal shall have and exercise all such powers as are vested in it by the Constitution or by law, and such other powers as are necessary or incidental to the accomplishment of its purposes and functions as set forth in the Constitution or as may be provided by law. (emphasis supplied)

Certainly, the HRETs order that its own funds be used for the revision of the ballots from the 75% counter-protested precincts was an exercise of a power necessary or incidental to the accomplishment of its primary function as sole judge of election protest cases involving its members.

First, if petitioner hypothetically admits that the HRET has the power to order the continuation of the revision of the 75% remaining counterprotested precincts, then he should also necessarily concede that there is nothing to prevent the HRET from using its own funds to carry out such objective. Otherwise, the existence of such power on the part of the HRET becomes useless and meaningless. Second, Section 1, Chapter 1 of RA 9498 provides that the HRET has an allotted budget for the Adjudication of Electoral Contests Involving Members of the House of Representatives. The provision is general and encompassing enough to authorize the use of the HRETs funds for the revision of ballots, whether in a protest or counter-protest. Being allowed by law, the use of HRET funds for the revision of the remaining 75% counter-protested precincts was not illegal, much less violative of Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code. To reiterate, the law (particularly RA 9498) itself has appropriated funds for adjudicating election contests in the HRET. As an independent constitutional body, and having received the proper appropriation for that purpose, the HRET had wide discretion in the disbursement and allocation of such funds. Third, HRET ha[s] the inherent power to suspend its own rules and disburse its funds for any lawful purpose it deemed best. This is specially significant in election contests such as this where what is at stake is the vital public interest in determining the true will of the electorate. In any event, nothing prevented the HRET from ordering any of the parties to make the additional required deposit(s) to cover costs, as respondent in fact manifested in the HRET. Such disbursement could not be deemed a giving of unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to a party since the benefit would actually redound to the electorate whose true will must be determined. Suffrage is a matter of public, not private, interest. The Court declared in Aruelo, Jr. v. Court of Appeals that *o+ver and above the desire of the candidates to win, is the deep public interest to determine the true choice of the people. Thus, in an election protest, any benefit to a party would simply be incidental.

All told, it should be borne in mind that the present petition is a petition for certiorariunder Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. It alleges that the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it promulgated Resolution No. 08-353 dated November 27, 2008. But what is grave abuse of discretion? It is such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment which is tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. Ordinary abuse of discretion is insufficient. The abuse of discretion must be grave, that is, the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. It must be so patent and gross as to amount to evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by or to act at all in contemplation of the law. In other words, for a petition for certiorari to prosper, there must be a clear showing of caprice and arbitrariness in the exercise of discretion. There is also grave abuse of discretion when there is a contravention of the Constitution, the law or existing jurisprudence. Using the foregoing as yardstick, the Court finds that petitioner miserably failed to discharge the onus probandi imposed on him.

G32. Pimentel, Jr. v House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal GR 141489, November 29, 2002

Pimentel, et al. v. Commission on Appointments GR 141490

FACTS: On 3 March 1995, the Party-List System Act took effect. On 11 May 1998, in accordance with the Party-List System Act, national elections were held which included, for the first time, the election through popular vote of party-list groups and organizations whose nominees would become members of the House. Proclaimed winners were 14 party-list representatives from 13 organizations, including Melvyn D. Eballe, Leonardo Q. Montemayor, Cresente C. Paez, Loretta Ann P. Rosales and Patricia M. Sarenas from party-list groups Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives[5] (APEC), Alyansang Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang Bukid at Mangingisda (ABA), NATCO Network Party (COOPNATCCO), Akbayan! Citizens Action Party (AKBAYAN), and Abanse! Pinay (ABANSE). Due to the votes it garnered, APEC was able to send 2 representatives to the House, while the 12 other party-list groups had one representative each. Also elected were district representatives

belonging to various political parties. Subsequently, the House constituted its HRET and CA contingent by electing its representatives to these two constitutional bodies. In practice, the procedure involves the nomination by the political parties of House members who are to occupy seats in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and the Commission on Appointments (CA). From available records, it does not appear that after the 11 May 1998 elections the party-list groups in the House nominated any of their representatives to the HRET or the CA. As of the date of filing of the present petitions for prohibition and mandamus with prayer for writ of preliminary injunction, the House contingents to the HRET and the CA were composed solely of district representatives belonging to the different political parties. On 18 January 2000, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. wrote two letters addressed to then Senate President Blas F. Ople, as Chairman of the CA, and to Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Jose A. R. Melo (now retired), as Chairman of the HRET. The letters requested Senate President Ople and Justice Melo to cause the restructuring of the CA and the HRET, respectively, to include party-list representatives to conform to Sections 17 and 18, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. In its meeting of 20 January 2000, the HRET resolved to direct the Secretary of the Tribunal to refer Senator Pimentels letter to the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives. On the same day, HRET Secretary Daisy B. Panga-Vega, in an Indorsement of even date, referred the letter to House of Representatives Secretary General Roberto P. Nazareno. On 2 February 2000, Eballe, et al. filed with this Court their Petitions for Prohibition, Mandamus and Preliminary Injunction (with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order) against the HRET, its Chairman and Members, and against the CA, its Chairman and Members. They contend that, under the Constitution and the Party-List System Act, party-list representatives should have 1.2 or at least 1 seat in the HRET, and 2.4 seats in the CA. They charge that the HRET, CA, et al. committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to act positively on the letter of Senator Pimentel. In its Resolution of 8 February 2000, the Court en banc directed the consolidation of GR 141490 with GR 141489. On 11 February 2000, Eballe et al. filed in both cases a motion to amend their petitions to implead then Speaker Manuel B. Villar, Jr. as an additional respondent, in his capacity as Speaker of the House and as one of the members of the CA. The Court granted both motions and admitted the amended petitions. Senator Pimentel filed the present petitions on the strength of his oath to protect, defend and uphold the Constitution and in his capacity as taxpa yer and as a member of the CA. He was joined by 5 party-list representatives from APEC, ABA, ABANSE, AKBAYAN and COOP-NATCCO as co-petitioners.

ISSUE: [1] Whether the present composition of the House Electoral Tribunal violates the constitutional requirement of proportional representation because there are no party-list representatives in the HRET. [2]: Whether the refusal of the HRET and the CA to reconstitute themselves to include party-list representatives constitutes grave abuse of discretion.

HELD: [1] NO. The Constitution expressly grants to the House of Representatives the prerogative, within constitutionally defined limits, to choose from among its district and party-list representatives those who may occupy the seats allotted to the House in the HRET and the CA. Section 18, Article VI of the Constitution explicitly confers on the Senate and on the House the authority to elect among their members those who would fill the 12 seats for Senators and 12 seats for House members in the Commission on Appointments. Under Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution, each chamber of Congress exercises the power to choose, within constitutionally defined limits, who among their members would occupy the allotted 6 seats of each chambers respective electoral tribunal. These constitutional provisions are reiterated in Rules 3 and 4 (a) of the 1998 Rules of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. The discretion of the House to choose its members to the HRET and the CA is not absolute, being subject to the mandatory constitutional rule on proportional representation.[26] However, under the doctrine of separation of powers, the Court may not interfere with the exercise by the House of this constitutionally mandated duty, absent a clear violation of the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.[27] Otherwise, the doctrine of separation of powers calls for each branch of government to be left alone to discharge its duties as it sees fit.[28] Neither can the Court speculate on what action the House may take if party-list representatives are duly nominated for membership in the HRET and the CA. The petitions are bereft of any allegation that respondents prevented the party-list groups in the House from participating in the election of members of the HRET and the CA. Neither does it appear that after the 11 May 1998 elections, the House barred the party-list representatives from seeking membership in the HRET or the CA. Rather, it appears from the available facts that the party-list groups in the House at that time simply refrained from participating in the election process. The party-list representatives did not designate their nominees even up to the time they filed the petitions, with the predictable result that the House did not consider any party-list representative for election to the HRET or the CA. As the primary recourse of the party-list representatives lies with the House of Representatives, the Court cannot resolve the issues presented by petitioners at this time. [2]: There is no grave abuse in the action or lack of action by the HRET and the CA in response to the letters of Senator Pimentel. Under Sections 17 and 18 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and their internal rules, the HRET and the CA are bereft of any power to reconstitute themselves.

G33. Daza v Singson

Tribunal and its Composition The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) was reorganized resulting to a political realignment in the lower house. LDP also changed its representation in the Commission on Appointments. They withdrew the seat occupied by Daza (LDP member) and gave it to the new LDP member. Thereafter the chamber elected a new set of representatives in the CoA which consisted of the original members except Daza who was replaced by Singson. Daza questioned such replacement.


Whether or not a change resulting from a political realignment validly changes the composition of the Commission on Appointments.


As provided in the constitution, there should be a Commission on Appointments consisting of twelve Senators and twelve members of the House of Representatives elected by each House respectively on the basis of proportional representation of the political par ties therein, this necessarily connotes the authority of each house of Congress to see to it that the requirement is duly complied with. Therefore, it may take appropriate measures, not only upon the initial organization of the Commission but also subsequently thereto NOT the court. Petition dismissed.

RATIO/DOCTRINE: The LDP has been registered as a political party. The contention of petitioner that a political party must prove its permanence it not acceptable. Lastly the Supreme Court resolved that the House of Representatives has the authority to change its representation to the CA to reflect any of the changes that may transpire in the political alignments of its membership. It is understood that such changes must be permanent and do not include the temporary alliances or fractional divisions not involving severance of political loyalties or formal disaffiliation and permanent shifts of allegiance from one political party to another.

G34. Guingona, Jr. v Gonzales 1992

HRETs Composition Rounding Off After the May 11, 1992 elections, the senate was composed of 15 LDP senators, 5 NPC senators, 3 LAKAS-NUCD senators, and 1 LP-PDP-LABAN senator. To suffice the requirement that each house must have 12 representatives in the CoA, theparties agreed to use the traditional formula: (No. of Senators of a political party) x 12 seats) Total No. of Senators elected. The results of such a formula would produce 7.5 members for LDP, 2.5 members for NPC, 1.5 members for LAKAS-NUCD, and 0.5 member for LP-PDP-LABAN. Romulo, as the majority floor leader, nominated 8 senators from their party because he rounded off 7.5 to 8 and that Taada from LP-PDP-LABAN should represent the same party to the CoA. This is also pursuant to the proposition compromise by Sen Tolentino who proposed that the elected members of the CoA should consist of eight LDP, one LP-PDP-LABAN, two NPC and one LAKAS-NUCD. Guingona, a member of LAKAS-NUCD, opposed the said compromise. He alleged that the compromise is against proportional representation.

ISSUE: Whether or not rounding off is allowed in determining a partys representation in the CoA.

HELD: It is a fact accepted by all such parties that each of them is entitled to a fractional membership on the basis of the rule on proportional representation of each of the political parties. A literal interpretation of Section 18 of Article VI of the Constitution leads to no other manner of application. The problem is what to do with the fraction of .5 or 1/2 to which each of the parties is entitled. The LDP majority in the Senate converted a fractional half membership into a wholemembership of one senator by adding one half or .5 to 7.5 to be able to elect Romulo. In so doing one other partys fractional membership was correspondingly reduced leaving the latters representation in the Commission onAppointments to less than their proportional representation in the Senate. This is clearly a violation of Section 18 because it is no longer in compliance with its mandate that membership in the Commission be based on the proportional representation of the political parties. The election of Senator Romulo gave more representation to the LDP and reduced the representation of one political

party either the LAKAS NUCD or the NPC. A party should have at least 1 seat for every 2 duly elected senators-members in the CoA. Where there are more than 2 parties in Senate, a party which has only one member senator cannot constitutionally claim a seat. In order to resolve such, the parties may coalesce with each other in order to come up with proportional representation especially since one party may have affiliations with the other party.

Guingona, Jr. v Gonzales 1993

FACTS: In a motion for reconsideration, the respondents in Guingona, Jr v Gonazales stated that it is mandatory for the senate to fill up twelve seats in the CA; otherwise it would not function as a body.

HELD: Motion for reconsideration denied with finality.

RATIO/DOCTRINE: To disturb the resulting fractional membership of the political parties in the CA by adding together the two halves to make a whole is a breach of the rule of proportional representation because it will give LDP an added member in the Commission by utilizing the fractional membership of the minority political party, who is deprived of half representation. The proportional representatives of each political party in the CA is based on the actual number of each political party at the time of election of the members therein in recognition of changing political alignments at the time of its organization. The constitution does not require that the full complement of 12 senators be elected in the CA before it can discharge its functions and that it is not mandatory to elect 12 senators in the Commission. The overriding directive of Art. VI, Section 18 of the Constitution is that there must be a proportional representation of the political parties in the membership of the CA and that the specification of 12 members to constitute its membership is merely an indication of the maximum complement allowable under the Constitution. The Commission can function even if not fully constituted provided that it has the required quorum.

G35. Watkins v United States (1957)

CASE SUMMARY John Watkins was convicted for refusing to answer questions of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) about people he believed were no longer members of the Communist Party. He asked the Supreme Court to review his conviction after it was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

THE COURTS DECISION: In a 6-1 decision, with two justices not participating, the Supreme Court held that the congressional subcommittee had not given Watkins a fair opportunity to determine whether he could lawfully refuse to answer questions, and that his conviction for contempt of Congress was therefore invalid under the Fifth Amendments Due Process Clause.

Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote for the majority: The power of the Congress to conduct investigations is inherent in the legislative process. But, broad as is this power of inquiry, it is not unlimited. There is no general authority to expose the private affairs of individuals without justification in terms of the functions of the Congress. Investigations conducted solely for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to punish those investigated are indefensible.

Justice Thomas Clark dissented. He argued that the majority opinion did not appreciate the actual way in which congressional committees operated. He concluded that Watkins was properly questioned about matters that were legitimately within the scope of the subcommittees topics. So long as the object of a legislative inquiry is legitimate and the questions propounded are pertinent thereto, it is not for the courts to interfere with the committee system of inquiry. To hold otherwise would be an infringement on the power given the Congress to inform itself, and thus a trespass upon the fundamental American principle of separation of powers.

More on the Case

The rise of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) also gave rise to more cases involving contempt of Congress citations. As Chief Justice Warren described in Watkins: In the decade following World War II, there appeared a new kind of congressional inquiry unknown in prior periods of American history. Principally this was the result of the various investigations into the threat of subversion of the United States Government. This new phase of legislative inquiry involved a broad-scale intrusion into the lives and affairs of private citizens.It was during this period that the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination was frequently invoked and recognized as a legal limit upon the authority of a committee to require that a witness answer its questions. Although Watkins appeared to check the power of HUAC, Justice William O. Douglas later wrote in his autobiography that the promise contained in the Watkins opinion was not kept. [Other cases] gave the House Un-American Activities Committee broad powers to probe a persons ideas and beliefs. In effect, they allowed the committee to subpoena anyone who had criticized the committee, and to examine all facets of his life, holding him up as a subversive or a traitor and, if he was man enough to defy the committee, to see that he went off to jail for his contempt.

G36. Arnault v Nazareno

Inquiry in Aid of Legislation This case arose from the legislative inquiry into the acquisition by the Philippine Government of the Buenavista and Tambobong estates sometime in 1949. Among the witnesses called to examined by the special committee created by a Senate resolution was Jean L. Arnault, a lawyer who delivered a partial of the purchase price to a representative of the vendor. During the Senate investigation, Arnault refused to reveal the identity of said representative, at the same time invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination. The Senate adopted a resolution committing Arnault to the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms and imprisoned until he shall have purged the contempt by revealing to the Senate . . . the name of the person to whom he gave the P440,000, as well as answer other pertinent questions in connection therewith. Arnault petitioned for a writ of Habeas Corpus

ISSUE: Can the senate impose penalty against those who refuse to answer its questions in a congressional hearing in aid of legislation.

HELD: It is the inherent right of the Senate to impose penalty in carrying out their duty to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation. But it must be herein established that a witness who refuses to answer a query by the Committee may be detained during the term of the members imposing said penalty but the detention should not be too long as to violate the witness right to due process of law.

G37. Bengzon, Jr, v Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

Political Law Inquiry in Aid of Legislation When not Allowed It was alleged that Benjamin Kokoy Romualdez and his wife together with the Marcoses unlawfully and unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of the Filipino people. That they obtained with the help of the Bengzon law office and Ricardo Lopa Corys brother in law, among others, control over some of the biggest business enterprises in the country including MERALCO, PCI Bank, Shell Philippines and Benguet Consolidated Mining Corporation. Sen. Enrile subsequently delivered a privilege speech alleging that Lopa took over various government owned corporations which is in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Contained in the speech is a motion to investigate on the matter. The motion was referred to the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers or the Blue Ribbon Committee. After committee hearing, Lopa refused to testify before the committee for it may unduly prejudice a pending civil case against him. Bengzon likewise refused invoking his right to due process. Lopa however sent a letter to Enrile categorically denying his allegations and that his allegations are baseless and malicious. Enrile subsequently took advantage of the Senates privilege hour upon which he insisted to have an inquiry regarding the matter. The SBRC rejected Lopas and Bengzons plea. Claiming that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is poised to subpoena them and require their attendance and testimony in proceedings before the Committee, in excess of its jurisdiction and legislative purpose, in clear and blatant disregard of their constitutional rights, and to their grave and irreparable damage, prejudice and injury, and that there is no appeal nor any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the Bengzon et al filed the present petition for prohibition with a prayer for temporary restraining order and/or injunctive relief.


Whether or not the inquiry sought by the SBRC be granted.

HELD: No, the inquiry cannot be given due course. The speech of Enrile contained no suggestion of contemplated legislation; he merely called upon the Senate to look into a possible violation of Sec. 5 of RA No. 3019, otherwise known as The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. In other words, the purpose of the inquiry to be conducted by the Blue Ribbon Committee was to find out whether or not the relatives of Cory, particularly Lopa, had violated the law in connection with the alleged sale of the 36 or 39 corporations belonging to Kokoy to the Lopa Group. There appears to be, therefore, no intended legislation involved. Hence, the contemplated inquiry by the SBRC is not really in aid of legislation because it is not related to a purpose within the jurisdiction of Congress, since the aim of the investigation is to find out whether or not the relatives of the President or Mr. Ricardo Lopa had violated Section 5 of RA No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt PracticesAct, a matter that appears more within the province of the courts rather than of the legislature. Besides, the Court may take judicial notice that Mr. Ricardo Lopa died during the pendency of this case.

G38. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee v Majaducon G.R. No. 136760, July 29, 2003

FACTS: The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee conducted an inquiry on the

alleged fund irregularities of the Armed Forces Retirement and

Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS). It subpoenaed Atty. Flaviano

to appear before it. Atty. Flaviano secured a TRO against the Senate

issued by Judge Majaducon of RTC-23 of General Santos City.

ISSUE: Is the TRO issued by the Judge ordering the Senate to cease and

desist from proceeding with its hearing valid?

RULING: No. The principle of separation of powers essentially means

that legislation belongs to Congress, execution to the Executive and

settlement of legal controversies to the Judiciary. Each is prevented

from invading the domain of the others. The RTC of General Santos

or any court for that matter, had no authority to prohibit the Senate

committee from requiring the respondent (Atty. Flaviano) to appear

and testify before it.

G39. Standard Chartered Bank v Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institution and Currencies G.R. No. 167173 December 27 2007

FACTS: Before us is a Petition for Prohibition (With Prayer for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and/or Injunction) dated and filed on March 11, 2005 by petitioners against respondent Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, as represented by Edgardo Angara.

Petitioner SCB is a bank instituted in England. Petitioners are Executive officers of said. Respondent is is one of the permanent committees of the Senate of the Philippines. The petition seeks the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to enjoin respondent from (1) proceeding with its inquiry pursuant to Philippine Senate (P.S.) Resolution No. 166; (2) compelling petitioners who are officers of petitioner SCB-Philippines to attend and testify before any further hearing to be conducted by respondent, particularly that set on March 15, 2005; and (3) enforcing any hold-departure order (HDO) and/or putting the petitioners on the Watch List. It also prays that judgment be rendered (1) annulling the subpoenae ad testificandum and duces tecum issued to petitioners, and (2) prohibiting the respondent from compelling petitioners to appear and testify in the inquiry being conducted pursuant to P.S. Resolution No. 166. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Vice Chairperson of respondent, delivered a privilege speech entitled Arrogance of Wealth before the Senate based on a letter from Atty. Mark R. Bocobo denouncing SCB-Philippines for selling unregistered foreign securities in violation of the Securities Regulation Code (R.A. No. 8799) and urging the Senate to immediately conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to prevent the occurrence of a similar fraudulent activity in the future. Upon motion of Senator Francis Pangilinan, the speech was referred to respondent. Prior to the privilege speech, Senator Enrile had introduced P.S. Resolution No. 166, DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON BANKS, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND CURRENCIES, TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, INTO THE ILLEGAL SALE OF UNREGISTERED AND HIGH-RISK SECURITIES BY STANDARD CHARTERED BANK, WHICH RESULTED IN BILLIONS OF PESOS OF LOSSES TO THE INVESTING PUBLIC. Acting on the referral, respondent, through its Chairperson, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, set the initial hearing on February 28, 2005 to investigate, in aid of legislation, the subject matter of the speech and resolution filed by Senator Enrile.

Respondent invited petitioners to attend the hearing, requesting them to submit their written position paper. Petitioners, through counsel, submitted to respondent a letter dated February 24, 2005 presenting their position, particularly stressing that there were cases pending in court allegedly involving the same issues subject of the legislative inquiry, thereby posing a challenge to the jurisdiction of respondent to continue with the inquiry.

On February 28, 2005, respondent commenced the investigation. Senator Enrile inquired who among those invited as resource persons were present and who were absent. Thereafter, Senator Enrile moved that subpoenae be issued to those who did not attend the hearing and that

the Senate request the Department of Justice, through the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, to issue an HDO against them and/or include them in the Bureaus Watch List. Senator Juan Flavier seconded the motion and the motion was approved.

Respondent then proceeded with the investigation proper. Towards the end of the hearing, petitioners, through counsel, made an Opening Statement that brought to the attention of respondent the lack of proper authorization from affected clients for the bank to make disclosures of their accounts and the lack of copies of the accusing documents mentioned in Senator Enriles privilege speech, and reiterated that there were pending court cases regarding the alleged sale in the Philippines by SCB-Philippines of unregistered foreign securities.

ISSUE: Petitioners claim that since the issue of whether or not SCB-Philippines illegally sold unregistered foreign securities is already preempted by the courts that took cognizance of the foregoing cases, the respondent, by this investigation, would encroach upon the judicial powers vested solely in these courts.

RULING: Contention is UNTENABLE.

P.S. Resolution No. 166 is explicit on the subject and nature of the inquiry to be (and already being) conducted by the respondent Committee, as found in the last three Whereasclauses thereof. The unmistakable objective of the investigation, as set forth in the said resolution, exposes the error in petitioners alleg ation that the inquiry, as initiated in a privilege speech by the very same Senator Enrile, was simply to denounce the illegal practice committed by a foreign bank in selling unregistered foreign securities x x x. This fallacy is made more glaring when we consider that, at the conclusion of his privilege speech, Senator Enrile urged the Senate to immediately conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, so as to prevent the occurrence of a similar fraudulent activity in the future.

Indeed, the mere filing of a criminal or an administrative complaint before a court or a quasi-judicial body should not automatically bar the conduct of legislative investigation. Otherwise, it would be extremely easy to subvert any intended inquiry by Congress through the convenient

ploy of instituting a criminal or an administrative complaint. Surely, the exercise of sovereign legislative authority, of which the power of legislative inquiry is an essential component, cannot be made subordinate to a criminal or an administrative investigation.

In Arnault vs. Nazareno, the power of inquiry with process to enforce it is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change; and where the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information which is not infrequently true recourse must be had to others who possess it. The Court has already expounded on the essence of the contempt power of Congress and its committees in this wise

The principle that Congress or any of its bodies has the power to punish recalcitrant witnesses is founded upon reason and policy. Said power must be considered implied or incidental to the exercise of legislative power. How could a legislative body obtain the knowledge and information on which to base intended legislation if it cannot require and compel the disclosure of such knowledge and information, if it is impotent to punish a defiance of its power and authority? When the framers of the Constitution adopted the principle of separation of powers, making each branch supreme within the realm of its respective authority, it must have intended each departments authority to be full and complete, independently of each others authority or power. And how could the authority and power become complete if for every act of refusal, every act of defiance, every act of contumacy against it, the legislative body must resort to the judicial department for the appropriate remedy, because it is impotent by itself to punish or deal therewith, with affronts committed against its authority or dignity.

The exercise by Congress or by any of its committees of the power to punish contempt is based on the principle of self-preservation. As the branch of the government vested with the legislative power, independently of the judicial branch, it can assert its authority and punish contumacious acts against it. Such power is sui generis, as it attaches not to the discharge of legislative functions per se, but to the sovereign character of the legislature as one of the three independent and coordinate branches of government. In this case, petitioners imputation that the investigation was in aid of collection is a direct challenge against the authority of the Senate Committee, as it ascribes ill motive to the latter. In this light, we find the contempt citation against the petitioners reasonable and justified.

the power of legislative investigation includes the power to compel the attendance of witnesses. Corollary to the power to compel the attendance of witnesses is the power to ensure that said witnesses would be available to testify in the legislative investigation. In the case at bench, considering that most of the officers of SCB-Philippines are not Filipino nationals who may easily evade the compulsive character of

respondents summons by leaving the country, it was reasonable for the respondent to request the assistance of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation to prevent said witnesses from evading the inquiry and defeating its purpose. In any event, no HDO was issued by a court. The BID instead included them only in the Watch List, which had the effect of merely delaying petitioners intended travel abroad for five (5) days, provided no HDO is issued against them.

G40. Romero II v Estrada

At issue once again is Section 21, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution which provides:

The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.

THE CASE This is a petition for prohibition with application for temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction under Rule 65, assailing the constitutionality of the invitations and other compulsory processes issued by the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development (Committee) in connection with its investigation on the investment of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds in the Smokey Mountain project.

The Facts

On August 15, 2006, petitioner Reghis Romero II, as owner of R-II Builders, Inc., received from the Committee an invitation,signed by the Legislative Committee Secretary, which pertinently reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Romero:


COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT, IN ITS ONGOING INQUIRY IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE ALLEGED OWWA LOSS OF P480 MILLION TO FOCUS ON THE CULPABILITY OF THEN PRESIDENT FIDEL RAMOS, THEN OWWA ADMINISTRATOR WILHELM SORIANO, AND R-II BUILDERS OWNER REGHIS ROMERO II, x x x the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development chaired by Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada will conduct a public hearing at 1:00 p.m. on the 23rd day of August 2006 at the Sen. G.T. Pecson Room, 2nd floor, Senate of the Philippines, Pasay City. The inquiry/investigation is specifically intended to aid the Senate in the review and possible amendments to the pertinent provisions of R.A. 8042, the Migrant Workers Act and to craft a much needed legislation relative to the stated subject matter and purpose of the aforementioned Resolutions.

By virtue of the power vested in Congress by Section 21, Article VI of 1987 Constitution regarding inquiries in aid of legislation, may we have the privilege of inviting you to the said hearing to shed light on any matter, within your knowledge and competence, covered by the subject matter and purpose of the inquiry. Rest assured that your rights, when properly invoked and not unfounded, will be duly respected. (Emphasis in the original.) In his letter-reply2 dated August 18, 2006, petitioner Romero II requested to be excused from appearing and testifying before the Committee at its scheduled hearings of the subject matter and purpose of Philippine Senate (PS) Resolution Nos. 537 and 543. He predicated his request on grounds he would later substantially reiterate in this petition for prohibition. On August 28, 2006, the Committee sent petitioner Romero II a letter informing him that his request, being unmeritorious, was denied. On the same date, invitations were sent to each of the other six petitioners, then members of the Board of Directors of R-II Builders, Inc., requesting them to attend the September 4, 2006 Committee hearing. The following day, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, as Chairperson of the Committee, caused the service of a subpoena ad testificandum4 on petitioner Romero II directing him to appear and testify before the Committee at its hearing on September 4, 2006 relative to the aforesaid Senate resolutions. The Committer later issued separate subpoenas to other petitioners, albeit for a different hearing date. On August 30, 2006, petitioners filed the instant petition, docketed as G.R. No. 174105, seeking to bar the Committee from continuing with its inquiry and to enjoin it from compelling petitioners to appear before it pursuant to the invitations thus issued.

Failing to secure the desired TRO sought in the petition, petitioner Romero II appeared at the September 4, 2006 Committee investigation.

Two days after, petitioner Romero II filed a Manifestation with Urgent Plea for a TRO6 alleging, among others, that: (1) he answered questions concerning the investments of OWWA funds in the Smokey Mountain project and how much of OWWAs original investment had already been

paid; (2) when Senator Estrada called on Atty. Francisco I. Chavez, as resource person, the latter spoke of the facts and issues he raised with the Court in Chavez v. National Housing Authority,7 none of which were related to the subject of the inquiry; and (3) when Senator Estrada adjourned the investigation, he asked petitioners Romero II and Canlas to return at the resumption of the investigation. The manifestation was followed by the filing on September 19, 2006 of another urgent motion for a TRO in which petitioners imputed to the Committee the intention to harass them as, except for petitioner Romero II, none of them had even been mentioned in relation to the subject of the investigation.

Meanwhile, respondents, in compliance with our September 5, 2006 Resolution that ordered them to submit a comment on the original plea for a TRO, interposed an opposition observing that the Senates motives in calling for an investigation in aid of legislation were a political question. They also averred that the pendency of Chavez is not sufficient ground to divest the respondents of their jurisdiction to conduct an inquiry into the matters alleged in the petition.

In this petition, petitioners in gist claim that: (1) the subject matter of the investigation is sub judice owing to the pendency of the Chavez petition; (2) since the investigation has been intended to ascertain petitioners criminal liability for plunder, it is not in aid of legislation; (3) the inquiry compelled them to appear and testify in violation of their rights against self-incrimination; and (4) unless the Court immediately issues a TRO, some or all of petitioners would be in danger of being arrested, detained, and forced to give testimony against their will, before the Court could resolve the issues raised in G.R. No. 164527.

In their Comment dated October 17, 2006, respondents made a distinction between the issues raised in Chavez and the subject matter of the Senate resolutions, nixing the notion of sub judice that petitioners raised at every possible turn. Respondents averred that the subject matter of the investigation focused on the alleged dissipation of OWWA funds and the purpose of the probe was to aid the Senate determine the propriety of amending Republic Act No. 8042 or The Migrant Workers Act of 1995 and enacting laws to protect OWWA funds in the future. They likewise raised the following main arguments: (1) the proposed resolutions were a proper subject of legislative inquiry; and (2) petitioners right against self-incrimination was well-protected and could be invoked when incriminating questions were propounded. On December 28, 2006, petitioners filed their Reply reiterating the arguments stated in their petition, first and foremost of which is: Whether or not the subject matter of the Committees inquiry is sub judice.


The Court resolves to dismiss the instant petition.

The Subject Matter of the Senate Inquiry Is no Longer Sub Judice

Petitioners contend that the subject matter of the legislative inquiry is sub judice in view of the Chavez petition.

The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice. A violation of the sub judice rule may render one liable for indirect contempt under Sec. 3(d), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court.The rationale for the rule adverted to is set out in Nestle Philippines v. Sanchez:

[I]t is a traditional conviction of civilized society everywhere that courts and juries, in the decision of issues of fact and law should be immune from every extraneous influence; that facts should be decided upon evidence produced in court; and that the determination of such facts should be uninfluenced by bias, prejudice or sympathies.

Chavez, assuming for argument that it involves issues subject of the respondent Committees assailed investigation, is no longer sub judice or before a court or judge for consideration. For by an en banc Resolution dated July 1, 2008, the Court, in G.R. No. 164527, denied with finality the motion of Chavez, as the petitioner in Chavez, for reconsideration of the Decision of the Court dated August 15, 2007. In fine, it will not avail petitioners any to invoke the sub judice effect of Chavez and resist, on that ground, the assailed congressional invitations and subpoenas. The sub judice issue has been rendered moot and academic by the supervening issuance of the en banc Resolution of July 1, 2008 in G.R. No. 164527. An issue or a case becomes moot and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable controversy, so that a determination.

G41. Senate of the Philippines v Ermita

Question Hour EO 464 In 2005, scandals involving anomalous transactions about the North Rail Project as well as the Garci tapes surfaced. This prompted the Senate to conduct a public hearing to investigate the said anomalies particularly the alleged overpricing in the NRP. The investigating Senate committee issued invitations to certain department heads and military officials to speak before the committee as resource persons. Ermita submitted that he and some of the department heads cannot attend the said hearing due to pressing matters that need immediate attention.

AFP Chief of Staff Senga likewise sent a similar letter. Drilon, the senate president, excepted the said requests for they were sent belatedly and arrangements were already made and scheduled. Subsequently, GMA issued EO 464 which took effect immediately. EO 464 basically prohibited Department heads, Senior officials of executive departments who in the judgment of the department heads are covered by the executive privilege; Generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and such other officers who in the judgment of the Chief of Staff are covered by the executive privilege; Philippine National Police (PNP) officers with rank of chief superintendent or higher and such other officers who in the judgment of the Chief of the PNP are covered by the executive privilege; Senior national security officials who in the judgment of the National Security Adviser are covered by the executive privilege; and Such other officers as may be determined by the President, from appearing in such hearings conducted by Congress without first securing the presidents approval. The department heads and the military officers who were invited by the Senate committee then invoked EO 464 to except themselves. Despite EO 464, the scheduled hearing proceeded with only 2 military personnel attending. For defying President Arroyos order barring military personnel from testifying before legislative inquiries without her approval, Brig. Gen. Gudani and Col. Balutan were relieved from their military posts and were made to face court martial proceedings. EO 464s constitutionality was assailed for it is alleged that it infringes on the rights and duties of Congress to conduct investigation in aid of legislation and conduct oversight functions in the implementation of laws.

ISSUE: Whether or not EO 464 is constitutional.

HELD: The SC ruled that EO 464 is constitutional in part. To determine the validity of the provisions of EO 464, the SC sought to distinguish Section 21 from Section 22 of Art 6 of the 1987 Constitution. The Congress power of inquiry is expressly recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution. Although there is no provision in the Constitution expressly investing either House of Congress with power to make investigations and exact testimony to the end that it may exercise its legislative functions advisedly and effectively, such power is so far incidental to the legislative function as to be implied. In other words, the power of inquiry with process to enforce it is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change; and where the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information which is not infrequently true recourse must be had to others who do possess it. Section 22 on the other hand provides for the Question Hour. The Question Hour is closely related with the legislative power, and it is precisely as a complement to or a supplement of the Legislative Inquiry. The appearance of the members of Cabinet would be very, very essential not only in the application of check and balance but also, in

effect, in aid of legislation. Section 22 refers only to Question Hour, whereas, Section 21 would refer specifically to inquiries in aid of legislation, under which anybody for that matter, may be summoned and if he refuses, he can be held in contempt of the House. A distinction was thus made between inquiries in aid of legislation and the question hour. While attendance was meant to be discretionary in the question hour, it was compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation. Sections 21 and 22, therefore, while closely related and complementary to each other, should not be considered as pertaining to the same power of Congress. One specifically relates to the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation, the aim of which is to elicit information that may be used for legislation, while the other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour, the objective of which is to obtain information in pursuit of Congress oversight function. Ultimately, the power of Congress to compel the appearance of executive officials under Section 21 and the lack of it under Section 22 find their basis in the principle of separation of powers. While the executive branch is a co-equal branch of the legislature, it cannot frustrate the power of Congress to legislate by refusing to comply with its demands for information. When Congress exercises its power of inquiry, the only way for department heads to exempt themselves therefrom is by a valid claim of privilege. They are not exempt by the mere fact that they are department heads. Only one executive official may be exempted from this power the President on whom executive power is vested, hence, beyond the reach of Congress except through the power of impeachment. It is based on her being the highest official of the executive branch, and the due respect accorded to a co-equal branch of government which is sanctioned by a long-standing custom. The requirement then to secure presidential consent under Section 1, limited as it is only to appearances in the question hour, is valid on its face. For under Section 22, Article VI of the Constitution, the appearance of department heads in the question hour is discretionary on their part. Section 1 cannot, however, be applied to appearances of department heads in inquiries in aid of legislation. Congress is not bound in such instances to respect the refusal of the department head to appear in such inquiry, unless a valid claim of privilege is subsequently made, either by the President herself or by the Executive Secretary.

When Congress merely seeks to be informed on how department heads are implementing the statutes which it has issued, its right to such information is not as imperative as that of the President to whom, as Chief Executive, such department heads must give a report of their performance as a matter of duty. In such instances, Section 22, in keeping with the separation of powers, states that Congress may only request their appearance. Nonetheless, when the inquiry in which Congress requires their appearance is in aid of legislation under Section 21, the appearance is mandatory for the same reasons stated in Arnault.

G42. Neri v Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations

Inquiry in aid of legislation Executive Privilege

Legislative (Sec 21) & Oversight (Sec 22) Powers

On 21 April 2007, DOTC entered into a contract with Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) for the supply of equipment and services for the National Broadband Network (NBN) Project in the amount of $329,481,290.00 (approximately P16 Billion Pesos). The Project was to be financed by the PRC. The Senate passed various resolutions relative to the NBN deal. On the other hand, De Venecia issued a statement that several high executive officials and power brokers were using their influence to push the approval of the NBN Project by the NEDA. Neri, the head of NEDA, was then invited to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon. He appeared in one hearing wherein he was interrogated for 11 hrs and during which he admitted that Abalos of COMELEC tried to bribe him with P200M in exchange for his approval of the NBN project. He further narrated that he informed President Arroyo about the bribery attempt and that she instructed him not to accept the bribe. However, when probed further on what they discussed about the NBN Project, petitioner refused to answer, invoking executive privilege. In particular, he refused to answer the questions on (a) whether or not President Arroyo followed up the NBN Project, (b) whether or not she directed him to prioritize it, and (c) whether or not she directed him to approve. He later refused to attend the other hearings and Ermita sent a letter to the SRBC averring that the communications between GMA and Neri is privileged and that the jurisprudence laid down in Senate vs Ermita be applied. The SRBC cited Neri for contempt.

ISSUE: Whether or not the three questions sought by the SRBC to be answered falls under executive privilege.

HELD: The oversight function of Congress may be facilitated by compulsory process only to the extent that it is performed in pursuit of legislation.

The communications elicited by the three (3) questions are covered by the presidential communications privilege. 1st, the communications relate to a quintessential and non-delegable power of the President, i.e. the power to enter into an executive agreement with other countries. This authority of the President to enter into executive agreements without the concurrence of the Legislature has traditionally been recognized in Philippine jurisprudence.

2nd, the communications are received by a close advisor of the President. Under the operational proximity test, petitioner can be considered a close advisor, being a member of President Arroyos cabinet. And 3rd, there is no adequate showing of a compelling need that would justify the limitation of the privilege and of theunavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating authority.