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MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ALEXANDER PADILLA and MARIA ISABEL ONGPIN, petitioners, vs.

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, JESUS DELFIN, ALBERTO PEDROSA & CARMEN PEDROSA, in their capacities as founding members of the Peoples Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and Action (PIRMA), respondents, SENATOR RAUL S. ROCO, DEMOKRASYA-IPAGTANGGOL ANG KONSTITUSYON (DIK), MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. (MABINI), INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP) and LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO (LABAN), petitioners-intervenors. DECISION DAVIDE, JR., J.: The heart of this controversy brought to us by way of a petition for prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative under Section 2 of Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution. Undoubtedly, this demands special attention, as this system of initiative was unknown to the people of this country, except perhaps to a few scholars, before the drafting of the 1987 Constitution. The 1986 Constitutional Commission itself, through the original proponent[1] and the main sponsor[2] of the proposed Article on Amendments or Revision of the Constitution, characterized this system as innovative.[3] Indeed it is, for both under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, only two methods of proposing amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution were recognized, viz., (1) by Congress upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members and (2) by a constitutional convention.[4] For this and the other reasons hereafter discussed, we resolved to give due course to this petition. On 6 December 1996, private respondent Atty. Jesus S. Delfin filed with public respondent Commission on Elections (hereafter, COMELEC) a Petition to Amend the Constitution, to Lift Term Limits of Elective Officials, by Peoples Initiative (hereafter, Delfin Petition)[5] wherein Delfin asked the COMELEC for an order 1. Fixing the time and dates for signature gathering all over the country; 2. Causing the necessary publications of said Order and the attached Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution, in newspapers of general and local circulation; 3. Instructing Municipal Election Registrars in all Regions of the Philippines, to assist Petitioners and volunteers, in establishing signing stations at the time and on the dates designated for the purpose. Delfin alleged in his petition that he is a founding member of the Movement for Peoples Initiative, [6] a group of citizens desirous to avail of the system intended to institutionalize people power; that he and the members of the Movement and other volunteers intend to exercise the power to directly propose amendments to the Constitution granted under Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution; that the exercise of that power shall be conducted in proceedings under the control and supervision of the COMELEC; that, as required in COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, signature stations shall be established all over the country, with the assistance of municipal election registrars, who shall verify the signatures affixed by individual signatories; that before the Movement and other volunteers can gather signatures, it is necessary that the time and dates to be designated for the purpose be first fixed in an order to be issued by the COMELEC; and that to adequately inform the people of the electoral process involved, it is likewise necessary that the said order, as well as the Petition on which the signatures shall be affixed, be published in newspapers of general and local circulation, under the control and supervision of the COMELEC. The Delfin Petition further alleged that the provisions sought to be amended are Sections 4 and 7 of Article VI,[7] Section 4 of Article VII,[8] and Section 8 of Article X[9] of the Constitution. Attached to the petition is a copy of a Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution [10] embodying the proposed amendments which consist in the deletion from the aforecited sections of the provisions concerning term limits, and with the following proposition: DO YOU APPROVE OF LIFTING THE TERM LIMITS OF ALL ELECTIVE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTIONS 4 AND 7 OF ARTICLE VI, SECTION 4 OF ARTICLE VII, AND SECTION 8 OF ARTICLE X OF THE 1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?

According to Delfin, the said Petition for Initiative will first be submitted to the people, and after it is signed by at least twelve per cent of the total number of registered voters in the country it will be formally filed with the COMELEC. Upon the filing of the Delfin Petition, which was forthwith given the number UND 96-037 (INITIATIVE), the COMELEC, through its Chairman, issued an Order [11] (a) directing Delfin to cause the publication of the petition, together with the attached Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution (including the proposal, proposed constitutional amendment, and the signature form), and the notice of hearing in three (3) daily newspapers of general circulation at his own expense not later than 9 December 1996; and (b) setting the case for hearing on 12 December 1996 at 10:00 a.m. At the hearing of the Delfin Petition on 12 December 1996, the following appeared: Delfin and Atty. Pete Q. Quadra; representatives of the Peoples Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and Action (PIRMA); intervenor oppositor Senator Raul S. Roco, together with his two other lawyers; and representatives of, or counsel for, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Demokrasya-Ipagtanggol ang Konstitusyon (DIK), Public Interest Law Center, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LABAN).[12] Senator Roco, on that same day, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Delfin Petition on the ground that it is not the initiatory petition properly cognizable by the COMELEC. After hearing their arguments, the COMELEC directed Delfin and the oppositors to file their memorand a and/or oppositions/memoranda within five days.[13] On 18 December 1996, the petitioners herein -- Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Alexander Padilla, and Maria Isabel Ongpin -- filed this special civil action for prohibition raising the following arguments: (1) The constitutional provision on peoples initiative to amend the Constitution can only be implemented by law to be passed by Congress. No such law has been passed; in fact, Senate Bill No. 1290 entitled An Act Prescribing and Regulating Constitutional Amendments by Peoples Initiative, which petitioner Senator Santiago filed on 24 November 1995, is still pending before the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments. (2) It is true that R.A. No. 6735 provides for three systems of initiative, namely, initiative on the Constitution, on statutes, and on local legislation. However, it failed to provide any subtitle on initiative on the Constitution, unlike in the other modes of initiative, which are specifically provided for in Subtitle II and Subtitle III. This deliberate omission indicates that the matter of peoples initiative to amend the Constitution was left to some future law. Former Senator Arturo Tolentino stressed this deficiency in the law in his privilege speech delivered before the Senate in 1994: There is not a single word in that law which can be considered as implementing [the provision on constitutional initiative]. Such implementing provisions have been obviously left to a separate law. (3) Republic Act No. 6735 provides for the effectivity of the law after publication in print media. This indicates that the Act covers only laws and not constitutional amendments because the latter take effect only upon ratification and not after publication. (4) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, adopted on 16 January 1991 to govern the conduct of initiative on the Constitution and initiative and referendum on national and local laws, is ultra vires insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned, since the COMELEC has no power to provide rules and regulations for the exercise of the right of initiative to amend the Constitution. Only Congress is authorized by the Constitution to pass the implementing law. (5)The peoples initiative is limited to amendments to the Constitution, not to revision thereof. Extending or lifting of term limits constitutes a revision and is, therefore, outside the power of the peoples initiative. (6) Finally, Congress has not yet appropriated funds for peoples initiative; neither the COMELEC nor any other government department, agency, or office has realigned funds for the purpose. To justify their recourse to us via the special civil action for prohibition, the petitioners allege that in the event the COMELEC grants the Delfin Petition, the peoples initiative spearheaded by PIRMA would entail expenses to the national treasury for general re-registration of voters amounting to at least P180 million, not to mention the millions of additional pesos in expenses which would be incurred in the conduct of the initiative

itself. Hence, the transcendental importance to the public and the nation of the issues raised demands that this petition for prohibition be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside technicalities of procedure and calling for the admission of a taxpayers and legislators suit.[14] Besides, there is no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. On 19 December 1996, this Court (a) required the respondents to comment on the petition within a nonextendible period of ten days from notice; and (b) issued a temporary restraining order, effective immediately and continuing until further orders, enjoining public respondent COMELEC from proceeding with the Delfin Petition, and private respondents Alberto and Carmen Ped rosa from conducting a signature drive for peoples initiative to amend the Constitution. On 2 January 1997, private respondents, through Atty Quadra, filed their Comment [15] on the petition. They argue therein that: 1. IT IS NOT TRUE THAT IT WOULD ENTAIL EXPENSES TO THE NATIONAL TREASURY FOR GENERAL REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AMOUNTING TO AT LEAST PESOS: ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY MILLION (P180,000,000.00) IF THE COMELEC GRANTS THE PETITION FILED BY RESPONDENT DELFIN BEFORE THE COMELEC. 2. NOT A SINGLE CENTAVO WOULD BE SPENT BY THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT IF THE COMELEC GRANTS THE PETITION OF RESPONDENT DELFIN. ALL EXPENSES IN THE SIGNATURE GATHERING ARE ALL FOR THE ACCOUNT OF RESPONDENT DELFIN AND HIS VOLUNTEERS PER THEIR PROGRAM OF ACTIVITIES AND EXPENDITURES SUBMITTED TO THE COMELEC. THE ESTIMATED COST OF THE DAILY PER DIEM OF THE SUPERVISING SCHOOL TEACHERS IN THE SIGNATURE GATHERING TO BE DEPOSITED and TO BE PAID BY DELFIN AND HIS VOLUNTEERS IS P2,571, 200.00; 3. THE PENDING PETITION BEFORE THE COMELEC IS ONLY ON THE SIGNATURE GATHERING WHICH BY LAW COMELEC IS DUTY BOUND TO SUPERVISE CLOSELY PURSUANT TO ITS INITIATORY JURISDICTION UPHELD BY THE HONORABLE COURT IN ITS RECENT SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 DECISION IN THE CASE OF SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY VS. COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. NO. 125416; 4. REP. ACT NO. 6735 APPROVED ON AUGUST 4, 1989 IS THE ENABLING LAW IMPLEMENTING THE POWER OF PEOPLE INITIATIVE TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION. SENATOR DEFENSOR-SANTIAGOS SENATE BILL NO. 1290 IS A DUPLICATION OF WHAT ARE ALREADY PROVIDED FOR IN REP. ACT NO. 6735; 5. COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 2300 PROMULGATED ON JANUARY 16, 1991 PURSUANT TO REP. ACT 6735 WAS UPHELD BY THE HONORABLE COURT IN THE RECENT SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 DECISION IN THE CASE OF SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY VS. COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. NO. 125416 WHERE THE HONORABLE COURT SAID: THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS CAN DO NO LESS BY SEASONABLY AND JUDICIOUSLY PROMULGATING GUIDELINES AND RULES FOR BOTH NATIONAL AND LOCAL USE, IN IMPLEMENTING OF THESE LAWS. 6. EVEN SENATOR DEFENSOR-SANTIAGOS SENATE BILL NO. 1290 CONTAINS A PROVISION DELEGATING TO THE COMELEC THE POWER TO PROMULGATE SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT. (SEC. 12, S.B. NO. 1290, ENCLOSED AS ANNEX E, PETITION); 7. THE LIFTING OF THE LIMITATION ON THE TERM OF OFFICE OF ELECTIVE OFFICIALS PROVIDED UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION IS NOT A REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION. IT IS ONLY AN AMENDMENT. AMENDMENT ENVISAGES AN ALTERATION OF ONE OR A FEW SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION. REVISION CONTEMPLATES A RE-EXAMINATION OF THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT TO DETERMINE HOW AND TO WHAT EXTENT IT SHOULD BE ALTERED. (PP. 412-413, 2ND. ED. 1992, 1097 PHIL. CONSTITUTION, BY JOAQUIN G. BERNAS, S.J.). Also on 2 January 1997, private respondent Delfin filed in his own behalf a Comment [16] which starts off with an assertion that the instant petition is a knee -jerk reaction to a draft Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution ... which is not formally filed yet. What he filed on 6 December 1996 was an Initiatory Pleading or Initiatory Petition, which was legally necessary to start the signature campaign to amend the Constitution or to put the movement to gather signatures under COMELEC power and function. On the substantive allegations of the petitioners, Delfin maintains as follows:

(1) Contrary to the claim of the petitioners, there is a law, R.A. No. 6735, which governs the conduct of initiative to amend the Constitution. The absence therein of a subtitle for such initiative is not fatal, since subtitles are not requirements for the validity or sufficiency of laws. (2) Section 9(b) of R.A. No. 6735 specifically provides that the proposition in an initiative to amend the Constitution approved by the majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite shall become effective as of the day of the plebiscite. (3) The claim that COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is ultra vires is contradicted by (a) Section 2, Article IX-C of the Constitution, which grants the COMELEC the power to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall; and (b) Section 20 of R.A. 6735, which empowers the COMELEC to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the Act. (4) The proposed initiative does not involve a revision of, but mere amendment to, the Constitution because it seeks to alter only a few specific provisions of the Constitution, or more specifically, only those which lay term limits. It does not seek to reexamine or overhaul the entire document. As to the public expenditures for registration of voters, Delfin considers petitioners estimate of P180 million as unreliable, for only the COMELEC can give the exact figure. Besides, if there will be a plebiscite it will be simultaneous with the 1997 Barangay Elections. In any event, fund requirements for initiative will be a priority government expense because it will be for the exercise of the sovereign power of the people. In the Comment[17] for the public respondent COMELEC, filed also on 2 January 1997, the Office of the Solicitor General contends that: (1) R.A. No. 6735 deals with, inter alia, peoples initiative to amend the Constitution. Its Section 2 on Statement of Policy explicitly affirms, recognizes, and guarantees that power; and its Section 3, which enumerates the three systems of initiative, includes initiative on the Constitution and defines the same as the power to propose amendments to the Constitution. Likewise, its Section 5 repeatedly mentions initiative on the Constitution. (2) A separate subtitle on initiative on the Constitution is not necessary in R.A. No. 6735 because, being national in scope, that system of initiative is deemed included in the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum; and Senator Tolentino simply overlooked pertinent provisions of the law when he claimed that nothing therein was provided for initiative on the Constitution. (3) Senate Bill No. 1290 is neither a competent nor a material proof that R.A. No. 6735 does not deal with initiative on the Constitution. (4) Extension of term limits of elected officials constitutes a mere amendment to the Constitution, not a revision thereof. (5) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 was validly issued under Section 20 of R.A. No. 6735 and under the Omnibus Election Code. The rule-making power of the COMELEC to implement the provisions of R.A. No. 6735 was in fact upheld by this Court in Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority vs. COMELEC . On 14 January 1997, this Court (a) confirmed nunc pro tunc the temporary restraining order; (b) noted the aforementioned Comments and the Motion to Lift Temporary Restraining Order filed by private respondents through Atty. Quadra, as well as the latters Manifestation stating that he is the counsel for private respondents Alberto and Carmen Pedrosa only and the Comment he filed was for the Pedrosas; and (c) granted the Motion for Intervention filed on 6 January 1997 by Senator Raul Roco and allowed him to file his Petition in Intervention not later than 20 January 1997; and (d) set the case for hearing on 23 January 1997 at 9:30 a.m. On 17 January 1997, the Demokrasya-Ipagtanggol ang Konstitusyon (DIK) and the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood Integrity and Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI), filed a Motion for Intervention. Attached to the motion was their Petition in Intervention, which was later replaced by an Amended Petition in Intervention wherein they contend that:

(1) The Delfin proposal does not involve a mere amendment to, but a revision of, the Constitution because, in the words of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J.,[18] it would involve a change from a political philosophy that rejects unlimited tenure to one that accepts unlimited tenure; and although the change might appear to be an isolated one, it can affect other provisions, such as, on synchronization of elections and on the State policy of guaranteeing equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibiting political dynasties.[19] A revision cannot be done by initiative which, by express provision of Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution, is limited toamendments. (2) The prohibition against reelection of the President and the limits provided for all other national and local elective officials are based on the philosophy of governance, to open up the political arena to as many as there are Filipinos qualified to handle the demands of leadership, to break the concentration of political and economic powers in the hands of a few, and to promote effective proper empowerment for participation in policy and decision-making for the common good; hence, to remove the term limits is to negate and nullify the noble vision of the 1987 Constitution. (3) The Delfin proposal runs counter to the purpose of initiative, particularly in a conflict-of-interest situation. Initiative is intended as a fallback position that may be availed of by the people only if they are dissatisfied with the performance of their elective officials, but not as a premium for good performance. [20] (4) R.A. No. 6735 is deficient and inadequate in itself to be called the enabling law that implements the peoples initiative on amendments to the Constitution. It fails to state (a) the proper parties who may file the petition, (b) the appropriate agency before whom the petition is to be filed, (c) the contents of the petition, (d) the publication of the same, (e) the ways and means of gathering the signatures of the voters nationwide and 3% per legislative district, (f) the proper parties who may oppose or question the veracity of the signatures, (g) the role of the COMELEC in the verification of the signatures and the sufficiency of the petition, (h) the appeal from any decision of the COMELEC, (I) the holding of a plebiscite, and (g) the appropriation of funds for such peoples initiative. Accordingly, there being no enabling law, the COMELEC has no jurisdiction to hear Delfins petition. (5) The deficiency of R.A. No. 6735 cannot be rectified or remedied by COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, since the COMELEC is without authority to legislate the procedure for a peoples initiative under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution. That function exclusively pertains to Congress. Section 20 of R.A. No. 6735 does not constitute a legal basis for the Resolution, as the former does not set a sufficient standard for a valid delegation of power. On 20 January 1997, Senator Raul Roco filed his Petition in Intervention.[21] He avers that R.A. No. 6735 is the enabling law that implements the peoples right to initiate constitutional amendments. This law is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill No. 21505; he co-authored the House Bill and even delivered a sponsorship speech thereon. He likewise submits that the COMELEC was empowered under Section 20 of that law to promulgate COMELEC Resolution No. 2300. Nevertheless, he contends that the respondent Commission is without jurisdiction to take cognizance of the Delfin Petition and to order its publication because the said petition is not the initiatory pleading contemplated under the Constitution, Republic Act No. 6735, and COMELEC Resolution No. 2300. What vests jurisdiction upon the COMELEC in an initiative on the Constitution is the filing of a petition for initiative which is signed by the required number of registered voters. He also submits that the proponents of a constitutional amendment cannot avail of the authority and resources of the COMELEC to assist them is securing the required number of signatures, as the COMELECs role in an initiative on the Constitution is limited to the determination of the sufficiency of the initiative petition and the call and supervision of a plebiscite, if warranted. On 20 January 1997, LABAN filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene. The following day, the IBP filed a Motion for Intervention to which it attached a Petition in Intervention raising the following arguments: (1) Congress has failed to enact an enabling law mandated under Section 2, Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution.

(2) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 cannot substitute for the required implementing law on the initiative to amend the Constitution. (3) The Petition for Initiative suffers from a fatal defect in that it does not have the required number of signatures. (4) The petition seeks, in effect a revision of the Constitution, which can be proposed only by Congress or a constitutional convention.[22] On 21 January 1997, we promulgated a Resolution (a) granting the Motions for Intervention filed by the DIK and MABINI and by the IBP, as well as the Motion for Leave to Intervene filed by LABAN; (b) admitting the Amended Petition in Intervention of DIK and MABINI, and the Petitions in Intervention of Senator Roco and of the IBP; (c) requiring the respondents to file within a nonextendible period of five days their Consolidated Comments on the aforesaid Petitions in Intervention; and (d) requiring LABAN to file its Petition in Intervention within a nonextendible period of three days from notice, and the respondents to comment thereon within a nonextendible period of five days from receipt of the said Petition in Intervention. At the hearing of the case on 23 January 1997, the parties argued on the following pivotal issues, which the Court formulated in light of the allegations and arguments raised in the pleadings so far filed: 1. Whether R.A. No. 6735, entitled An Act Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum and Appropriating Funds Therefor, was intended to include or cover initiative on amendments to the Constitution; and if so, whether the Act, as worded, adequately covers such initiative. 2. Whether that portion of COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 (In re: Rules and Regulations Governing the Conduct of Initiative on the Constitution, and Initiative and Referendum on National and Local Laws) regarding the conduct of initiative on amendments to the Constitution is valid, considering the absence in the law of specific provisions on the conduct of such initiative. 3. Whether the lifting of term limits of elective national and local officials, as proposed in the draft Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution, would constitute a revision of, or an amendment to, the Constitution. 4. Whether the COMELEC can take cognizance of, or has jurisdiction over, a petition solely intended to obtain an order (a) fixing the time and dates for signature gathering; (b) instructing municipal election officers to assist Delfin's movement and volunteers in establishing signature stations; and (c) directing or causing the publication of, inter alia, the unsigned proposed Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution. 5. Whether it is proper for the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the petition when there is a pending case before the COMELEC. After hearing them on the issues, we required the parties to submit simultaneously their respective memoranda within twenty days and requested intervenor Senator Roco to submit copies of the deliberations on House Bill No. 21505. On 27 January 1997, LABAN filed its Petition in Intervention wherein it adopts the allegations and arguments in the main Petition. It further submits that the COMELEC should have dismissed the Delfin Petition for failure to state a sufficient cause of action and that the Commissions failure or refusal to do so constituted grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. On 28 January 1997, Senator Roco submitted copies of portions of both the Journal and the Record of the House of Representatives relating to the deliberations of House Bill No. 21505, as well as the transcripts of stenographic notes on the proceedings of the Bicameral Conference Committee, Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, of 6 June 1989 on House Bill No. 21505 and Senate Bill No. 17. Private respondents Alberto and Carmen Pedrosa filed their Consolidated Comments on the Petitions in Intervention of Senator Roco, DIK and MABINI, and IBP.[23] The parties thereafter filed, in due time, their separate memoranda.[24] As we stated in the beginning, we resolved to give due course to this special civil action.

For a more logical discussion of the formulated issues, we shall first take up the fifth issue which appears to pose a prejudicial procedural question. I

THE INSTANT PETITION IS VIABLE DESPITE THE PENDENCY IN THE COMELEC OF THE DELFIN PETITION. Except for the petitioners and intervenor Roco, the parties paid no serious attention to the fifth issue, i.e., whether it is proper for this Court to take cognizance of this special civil action when there is a pending case before the COMELEC. The petitioners provide an affirmative answer. Thus: 28. The Comelec has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the petition filed by private respondent Delfin. This being so, it becomes imperative to stop the Comelec from proceeding any further, and under the Rules of Court, Rule 65, Section 2, a petition for prohibition is the proper remedy. 29. The writ of prohibition is an extraordinary judicial writ issuing out of a court of superior jurisdiction and directed to an inferior court, for the purpose of preventing the inferior tribunal from usurping a jurisdiction with which it is not legally vested. (People v. Vera, supra., p. 84). In this case the writ is an urgent necessity, in view of the highly divisive and adverse environmental consequences on the body politic of the questioned Comelec order. The consequent climate of legal confusion and political instability begs for judicial statesmanship. 30. In the final analysis, when the system of constitutional law is threatened by the political ambitions of man, only the Supreme Court can save a nation in peril and uphold the paramount majesty of the Constitution. [25] It must be recalled that intervenor Roco filed with the COMELEC a motion to dismiss the Delfin Petition on the ground that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction or authority to entertain the petition. [26] The COMELEC made no ruling thereon evidently because after having heard the arguments of Delfin and the oppositors at the hearing on 12 December 1996, it required them to submit within five days their memoranda or oppositions/memoranda.[27] Earlier, or specifically on 6 December 1996, it practically gave due course to the Delfin Petition by ordering Delfin to cause the publication of the petition, together with the attached Petition for Initiative, the signature form, and the notice of hearing; and by setting the case for hearing. The COMELECs failure to act on Rocos motion to dismiss and its insistence to hold on to the petition rendered ripe and viable the instant petition under Section 2 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which provides: SEC. 2. Petition for prohibition. -- Where the proceedings of any tribunal, corporation, board, or person, whether exercising functions judicial or ministerial, are without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, and there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant to desist from further proceedings in the action or matter specified therein. It must also be noted that intervenor Roco claims that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction over the Delfin Petition because the said petition is not supported by the required minimum number of signatures of registered voters. LABAN also asserts that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in refusing to dismiss the Delfin Petition, which does not contain the required number of signatures. In light of these claims, the instant case may likewise be treated as a special civil action for certiorari under Section I of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. In any event, as correctly pointed out by intervenor Roco in his Memorandum, this Court may brush aside technicalities of procedure in cases of transcendental importance. As we stated inKilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, Jr.:[28] A partys standing before this Court is a procedural technicality which it may, in the exercise of its discretion, set aside in view of the importance of issues raised. In the landmark Emergency Powers Cases, this Court brushed

aside this technicality because the transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure. II

R.A. NO. 6735 INTENDED TO INCLUDE THE SYSTEM OF INITIATIVE ON AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, BUT IS, UNFORTUNATELY, INADEQUATE TO COVER THAT SYSTEM. Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution provides: SEC. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter. The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. This provision is not self-executory. In his book,[29] Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, stated: Without implementing legislation Section 2 cannot operate. Thus, although this mode of amending the Constitution is a mode of amendment which bypasses congressional action, in the last analysis it still is dependent on congressional action. Bluntly stated, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative would remain entombed in the cold niche of the Constitution until Congress provides for its implementation. Stated otherwise, while the Constitution has recognized or granted that right, the people cannot exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason, does not provide for its implementation. This system of initiative was originally included in Section 1 of the draft Article on Amendment or Revision proposed by the Committee on Amendments and Transitory Provisions of the 1986 Constitutional Commission in its Committee Report No. 7 (Proposed Resolution No. 332).[30] That section reads as follows: SECTION 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed: (a) by the National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members; or (b) by a constitutional convention; or (c) directly by the people themselves thru initiative as provided for in Article ____ Section ____ of the Constitution.[31] After several interpellations, but before the period of amendments, the Committee submitted a new formulation of the concept of initiative which it denominated as Section 2; thus: MR. SUAREZ. Thank you, Madam President. May we respectfully call attention of the Members of the Commission that pursuant to the mandate given to us last night, we submitted this afternoon a complete Committee Report No. 7 which embodies the proposed provision governing the matter of initiative. This is now covered by Section 2 of the complete committee report. With the permission of the Members, may I quote Section 2:

The people may, after five years from the date of the last plebiscite held, directly propose amendments to this Constitution thru initiative upon petition of at least ten percent of the registered voters. This completes the blanks appearing in the original Committee Report No. 7.[32] The interpellations on Section 2 showed that the details for carrying out Section 2 are left to the legislature. Thus: FR. BERNAS. Madam President, just two simple, clarificatory questions. First, on Section 1 on the matter of initiative upon petition of at least 10 percent, there are no details in the provision on how to carry this out. Do we understand, therefore, that we are leaving this matter to the legislature? MR. SUAREZ. That is right, Madam President. FR. BERNAS. And do we also understand, therefore, that for as long as the legislature does not pass the necessary implementing law on this, this will not operate? MR. SUAREZ. That matter was also taken up during the committee hearing, especially with respect to the budget appropriations which would have to be legislated so that the plebiscite could be called. We deemed it best that this matter be left to the legislature. The Gentleman is right. In any event, as envisioned, no amendment through the power of initiative can be called until after five years from the date of the ratification of this Constitution. Therefore, the first amendment that could be proposed through the exercise of this initiative power would be after five years. It is reasonably expected that within that five-year period, the National Assembly can come up with the appropriate rules governing the exercise of this power. FR. BERNAS. Since the matter is left to the legislature - the details on how this is to be carried out - is it possible that, in effect, what will be presented to the people for ratification is the work of the legislature rather than of the people? Does this provision exclude that possibility? MR. SUAREZ. No, it does not exclude that possibility because even the legislature itself as a body could propose that amendment, maybe individually or collectively, if it fails to muster the three-fourths vote in order to constitute itself as a constituent assembly and submit that proposal to the people for ratification through the process of an initiative. xxx MS. AQUINO. Do I understand from the sponsor that the intention in the proposal is to vest constituent power in the people to amend the Constitution? MR. SUAREZ. That is absolutely correct, Madam President. MS. AQUINO. I fully concur with the underlying precept of the proposal in terms of institutionalizing popular participation in the drafting of the Constitution or in the amendment thereof, but I would have a lot of difficulties in terms of accepting the draft of Section 2, as written. Would the sponsor agree with me that in the hierarchy of legal mandate, constituent power has primacy over all other legal mandates? MR. SUAREZ. The Commissioner is right, Madam President. MS. AQUINO. And would the sponsor agree with me that in the hierarchy of legal values, the Constitution is source of all legal mandates and that therefore we require a great deal of circumspection in the drafting and in the amendments of the Constitution? MR. SUAREZ. That proposition is nondebatable.

MS. AQUINO. Such that in order to underscore the primacy of constituent power we have a separate article in the constitution that would specifically cover the process and the modes of amending the Constitution? MR. SUAREZ. That is right, Madam President. MS. AQUINO. Therefore, is the sponsor inclined, as the provisions are drafted now, to again concede to the legislature the process or the requirement of determining the mechanics of amending the Constitution by people's initiative? MR. SUAREZ. The matter of implementing this could very well be placed in the hands of the National Assembly, not unless we can incorporate into this provision the mechanics that would adequately cover all the conceivable situations.[33] It was made clear during the interpellations that the aforementioned Section 2 is limited to proposals to AMEND -- not to REVISE -- the Constitution; thus: MR. SUAREZ. ... This proposal was suggested on the theory that this matter of initiative, which came about because of the extraordinary developments this year, has to be separated from the traditional modes of amending the Constitution as embodied in Section 1. The committee members felt that this system of initiative should not extend to the revision of the entire Constitution, so we removed it from the operation of Section 1 of the proposed Article on Amendment or Revision.[34] xxx MS. AQUINO. In which case, I am seriously bothered by providing this process of initiative as a separate section in the Article on Amendment. Would the sponsor be amenable to accepting an amendment in terms of realigning Section 2 as another subparagraph (c) of Section 1, instead of setting it up as another separate section as if it were a self-executing provision? MR. SUAREZ. We would be amenable except that, as we clarified a while ago, this process of initiative is limited to the matter of amendment and should not expand into a revision which contemplates a total overhaul of the Constitution. That was the sense that was conveyed by the Committee. MS. AQUINO. In other words, the Committee was attempting to distinguish the coverage of modes (a) and (b) in Section 1 to include the process of revision; whereas the process of initiation to amend, which is given to the public, would only apply to amendments? MR. SUAREZ.That is right. Those were the terms envisioned in the Committee.[35] Amendments to the proposed Section 2 were thereafter introduced by then Commissioner Hilario G. Davide, Jr., which the Committee accepted. Thus: MR. DAVIDE. Thank you Madam President. I propose to substitute the entire Section 2 with the following: xxx MR. DAVIDE. Madam President, I have modified the proposed amendment after taking into account the modifications submitted by the sponsor himself and the honorable Commissioners Guingona, Monsod, Rama, Ople, de los Reyes and Romulo. The modified amendment in substitution of the proposed Section 2 will now read as follows: "SECTION 2. -- AMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSTITUTION MAY LIKEWISE BE DIRECTLY PROPOSED BY THE PEOPLE THROUGH INITIATIVE UPON A PETITION OF AT LEAST TWELVE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS, OF WHICH EVERY LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MUST BE REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST THREE PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS THEREOF. NO AMENDMENT UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE AUTHORIZED WITHIN FIVE YEARS FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONSTITUTION NOR OFTENER THAN ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS THEREAFTER.

THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHALL BY LAW PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXERCISE OF THIS RIGHT. MR. SUAREZ. Madam President, considering that the proposed amendment is reflective of the sense contained in Section 2 of our completed Committee Report No. 7, we accept the proposed amendment.[36] The interpellations which ensued on the proposed modified amendment to Section 2 clearly showed that it was a legislative act which must implement the exercise of the right. Thus: MR. ROMULO. Under Commissioner Davide's amendment, is it possible for the legislature to set forth certain procedures to carry out the initiative...? MR. DAVIDE. It can. xxx MR. ROMULO. But the Commissioners amendment does not prevent the legislature from asking another body to set the proposition in proper form. MR. DAVIDE. The Commissioner is correct. In other words, the implementation of this particular right would be subject to legislation, provided the legislature cannot determine anymore the percentage of the requirement. MR. ROMULO. But the procedures, including the determination of the proper form for submission to the people, may be subject to legislation. MR. DAVIDE. As long as it will not destroy the substantive right to initiate. In other words, none of the procedures to be proposed by the legislative body must diminish or impair the right conceded here. MR. ROMULO. In that provision of the Constitution can the procedures which I have discussed be legislated? MR. DAVIDE. Yes.[37] Commissioner Davide also reaffirmed that his modified amendment strictly confines initiative to AMENDMENTS to -- NOT REVISION of -- the Constitution. Thus: MR. DAVIDE. With pleasure, Madam President. MR. MAAMBONG. My first question: Commissioner Davide's proposed amendment on line 1 refers to "amendment." Does it not cover the word "revision" as defined by Commissioner Padilla when he made the distinction between the words "amendments" and "revision"? MR. DAVIDE. No, it does not, because "amendments" and "revision" should be covered by Section 1. So insofar as initiative is concerned, it can only relate to "amendments" not "revision." [38] Commissioner Davide further emphasized that the process of proposing through initiative must be more rigorous and difficult than the initiative on legislation. Thus: amendments

MR. DAVIDE. A distinction has to be made that under this proposal, what is involved is an amendment to the Constitution. To amend a Constitution would ordinarily require a proposal by the National Assembly by a vote of three-fourths; and to call a constitutional convention would require a higher number. Moreover, just to submit the issue of calling a constitutional convention, a majority of the National Assembly is required, the import being that the process of amendment must be made more rigorous and difficult than probably initiating an ordinary legislation or putting an end to a law proposed by the National Assembly by way of a referendum. I cannot agree to reducing the requirement approved by the Committee on the Legislative because it would require another voting by the Committee, and the voting as precisely based on a requirement of 10 percent. Perhaps, I might present such a proposal, by way of an amendment, when the Commission shall take up the Article on the Legislative or on the National Assembly on plenary sessions. [39]

The Davide modified amendments to Section 2 were subjected to amendments, and the final version, which the Commission approved by a vote of 31 in favor and 3 against, reads as follows: MR. DAVIDE. Thank you Madam President. Section 2, as amended, reads as follows: "AMENDMENT TO THIS CONSTITUTION MAY LIKEWISE BE DIRECTLY PROPOSED BY THE PEOPLE THROUGH INITIATIVE UPON A PETITION OF AT LEAST TWELVE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS, OF WHICH EVERY LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MUST BE REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST THREE PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS THEREOF. NO AMENDMENT UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE AUTHORIZED WITHIN FIVE YEARS FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONSTITUTION NOR OFTENER THAN ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS THEREAFTER. THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHALL BY LAW PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXERCISE OF THIS RIGHT.[40] The entire proposed Article on Amendments or Revisions was approved on second reading on 9 July 1986.[41] Thereafter, upon his motion for reconsideration, Commissioner Gascon was allowed to introduce an amendment to Section 2 which, nevertheless, was withdrawn. In view thereof, the Article was again approved on Second and Third Readings on 1 August 1986.[42] However, the Committee on Style recommended that the approved Section 2 be amended by changing percent to per centum and thereof to therein and deleting the phrase by law in the second paragraph so that said paragraph reads: The Congress[43] shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.[44] This amendment was approved and is the text of the present second paragraph of Section 2. The conclusion then is inevitable that, indeed, the system of initiative on the Constitution under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution is not self-executory. Has Congress provided for the implementation of the exercise of this right? Those who answer the question in the affirmative, like the private respondents and intervenor Senator Roco, point to us R.A. No. 6735. There is, of course, no other better way for Congress to implement the exercise of the right than through the passage of a statute or legislative act. This is the essence or rationale of the last minute amendment by the Constitutional Commission to substitute the last paragraph of Section 2 of Article XVII then reading: The Congress[45] shall by law provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. with The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. This substitute amendment was an investiture on Congress of a power to provide for the rules implementing the exercise of the right. The rules means the details on how [the right] is to be carried out.[46] We agree that R.A. No. 6735 was, as its history reveals, intended to cover initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution. The Act is a consolidation of House Bill No. 21505 and Senate Bill No. 17. The former was prepared by the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms of the House of Representatives on the basis of two House Bills referred to it, viz., (a) House Bill No. 497,[47] which dealt with the initiative and referendum mentioned in Sections 1 and 32 of Article VI of the Constitution; and (b) House Bill No. 988,[48] which dealt with the subject matter of House Bill No. 497, as well as with initiative and referendum under Section 3 of Article X (Local Government) and initiative provided for in Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution. Senate Bill No. 17[49] solely dealt with initiative and referendum concerning ordinances or resolutions of local government units. The Bicameral Conference Committee consolidated Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill No. 21505 into a draft bill, which was subsequently approved on 8 June 1989 by the Senate [50] and by the House of Representatives.[51] This approved bill is now R.A. No. 6735. But is R.A. No. 6735 a full compliance with the power and duty of Congress to provide for the implementation of the exercise of the right? A careful scrutiny of the Act yields a negative answer. First. Contrary to the assertion of public respondent COMELEC, Section 2 of the Act does not suggest an initiative on amendments to the Constitution. The said section reads:

SECTION 2. Statement and Policy. -- The power of the people under a system of initiative and referendum to directly propose, enact, approve or reject, in whole or in part, the Constitution, laws, ordinances, or resolutions passed by any legislative body upon compliance with the requirements of this Act is hereby affirmed, recognized and guaranteed. (Underscoring supplied). The inclusion of the word Constitution therein was a delayed afterthought. That word is neither germane nor relevant to said section, which exclusively relates to initiative and referendum on national laws and local laws, ordinances, and resolutions. That section is silent as to amendments on the Constitution. As pointed out earlier, initiative on the Constitution is confined only to proposals to AMEND. The people are not accorded the power to directly propose, enact, approve, or reject, in whole or in part, the Constitution through the system of initiative. They can only do so with respect to laws, ordinances, or resolutions. The foregoing conclusion is further buttressed by the fact that this section was lifted from Section 1 of Senate Bill No. 17, which solely referred to a statement of policy on local initiative and referendum and appropriately used the phrases propose and enact, approve or reject and in whole or in part. [52] Second. It is true that Section 3 (Definition of Terms) of the Act defines initiative on amendments to the Constitution and mentions it as one of the three systems of initiative, and that Section 5 (Requirements) restates the constitutional requirements as to the percentage of the registered voters who must submit the proposal. But unlike in the case of the other systems of initiative, the Act does not provide for the contents of a petition for initiative on the Constitution. Section 5, paragraph (c) requires, among other things, statement of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may be. It does not include, as among the contents of the petition, the provisions of the Constitution sought to be amended, in the case of initiative on the Constitution. Said paragraph (c) reads in full as follows: (c) The petition shall state the following: c.1 contents or text of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may be; c.2 the proposition; c.3 the reason or reasons therefor; c.4 that it is not one of the exceptions provided therein; c.5 signatures of the petitioners or registered voters; and c.6 an abstract or summary proposition is not more than one hundred (100) words which shall be legibly written or printed at the top of every page of the petition. (Underscoring supplied). The use of the clause proposed laws sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed only strengthens the conclusion that Section 2, quoted earlier, excludes initiative on amendments to the Constitution. Third. While the Act provides subtitles for National Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle II) and for Local Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle III), no subtitle is provided for initiative on the Constitution. This conspicuous silence as to the latter simply means that the main thrust of the Act is initiative and referendum on national and local laws. If Congress intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully provide for the implementation of the initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle therefor, considering that in the order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution is far more important than the initiative on national and local laws. We cannot accept the argument that the initiative on amendments to the Constitution is subsumed under the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum because it is national in scope. Our reading of Subtitle II (National Initiative and Referendum) and Subtitle III (Local Initiative and Referendum) leaves no room for doubt that the classification is not based on the scope of the initiative involved, but on its nature and character. It is national initiative, if what is proposed to be adopted or enacted is a national law, or a law which only Congress can pass. It is local initiative if what is propose d to be adopted or enacted is a law, ordinance, or

resolution which only the legislative bodies of the governments of the autonomous regions, provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays can pass. This classification of initiative into national and local is actually based on Section 3 of the Act, which we quote for emphasis and clearer understanding: SEC. 3. Definition of terms -xxx There are three (3) systems of initiative, namely: a.1 Initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the Constitution; a.2 Initiative on Statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national legislation; and a.3 Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance. (Underscoring supplied). Hence, to complete the classification under subtitles there should have been a subtitle on initiative on amendments to the Constitution.[53] A further examination of the Act even reveals that the subtitling is not accurate. Provisions not germane to the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum are placed therein, like (1) paragraphs (b) and (c) of Section 9, which reads: (b) The proposition in an initiative on the Constitution approved by the majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite shall become effective as to the day of the plebiscite. (c) A national or local initiative proposition approved by majority of the votes cast in an election called for the purpose shall become effective fifteen (15) days after certification and proclamation of the Commission. (Underscoring supplied). (2) that portion of Section 11 (Indirect Initiative) referring to indirect initiative with the legislative bodies of local governments; thus: SEC. 11. Indirect Initiative. -- Any duly accredited peoples organization, as defined by law, may file a petition for indirect initiative with the House of Representatives, and other legislative bodies.... and (3) Section 12 on Appeal, since it applies to decisions of the COMELEC on the findings of sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition for initiative or referendum, which could be petitions for both national and local initiative and referendum. Upon the other hand, Section 18 on Authority of Courts under subtitle III on Local Initiative and Referendum is misplaced,[54] since the provision therein applies to both national and local initiative and referendum. It reads: SEC. 18. Authority of Courts. -- Nothing in this Act shall prevent or preclude the proper courts from declaring null and void any proposition approved pursuant to this Act for violation of the Constitution or want of capacity of the local legislative body to enact the said measure. Curiously, too, while R.A. No. 6735 exerted utmost diligence and care in providing for the details in the implementation of initiative and referendum on national and local legislation thereby giving them special attention, it failed, rather intentionally, to do so on the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution. Anent the initiative on national legislation, the Act provides for the following: (a) The required percentage of registered voters to sign the petition and the contents of the petition; (b) The conduct and date of the initiative;

(c) The submission to the electorate of the proposition and the required number of votes for its approval; (d) The certification by the COMELEC of the approval of the proposition; (e) The publication of the approved proposition in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines; and (f) The effects of the approval or rejection of the proposition.[55] As regards local initiative, the Act provides for the following: (a) The preliminary requirement as to the number of signatures of registered voters for the petition; (b) The submission of the petition to the local legislative body concerned; (c) The effect of the legislative bodys failure to favorably act thereon, and the invocation of t he power of initiative as a consequence thereof; (d) The formulation of the proposition; (e) The period within which to gather the signatures; (f) The persons before whom the petition shall be signed; (g) The issuance of a certification by the COMELEC through its official in the local government unit concerned as to whether the required number of signatures have been obtained; (h) The setting of a date by the COMELEC for the submission of the proposition to the registered voters for their approval, which must be within the period specified therein; (i) The issuance of a certification of the result; (j) The date of effectivity of the approved proposition; (k) The limitations on local initiative; and (l) The limitations upon local legislative bodies.[56] Upon the other hand, as to initiative on amendments to the Constitution, R.A. No. 6735, in all of its twentythree sections, merely (a) mentions, the word Constitution in Section 2; (b) defines initiative on the Constitution and includes it in the enumeration of the three systems of initiative in Section 3; (c) speaks of plebiscite as the process by which the proposition in an initiative on the Constitution m ay be approved or rejected by the people; (d) reiterates the constitutional requirements as to the number of voters who should sign the petition; and (e) provides for the date of effectivity of the approved proposition. There was, therefore, an obvious downgrading of the more important or the paramount system of initiative. R.A. No. 6735 thus delivered a humiliating blow to the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution by merely paying it a reluctant lip service.[57] The foregoing brings us to the conclusion that R.A. No. 6735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned. Its lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and cannot be cured by empowering the COMELEC to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of [the] Act. [58] The rule is that what has been delegated, cannot be delegated or as expressed in a Latin maxim: potestas delegata non delegari potest.[59] The recognized exceptions to the rule are as follows:

(1) Delegation of tariff powers to the President under Section 28(2) of Article VI of the Constitution; (2) Delegation of emergency powers to the President under Section 23(2) of Article VI of the Constitution; (3) Delegation to the people at large; (4) Delegation to local governments; and (5) Delegation to administrative bodies.[60] Empowering the COMELEC, an administrative body exercising quasi-judicial functions, to promulgate rules and regulations is a form of delegation of legislative authority under no. 5 above. However, in every case of permissible delegation, there must be a showing that the delegation itself is valid. It is valid only if the law (a) is complete in itself, setting forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out, or implemented by the delegate; and (b) fixes a standard -- the limits of which are sufficiently determinate and determinable -- to which the delegate must conform in the performance of his functions.[61] A sufficient standard is one which defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative command is to be effected.[62] Insofar as initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution is concerned, R.A. No. 6735 miserably failed to satisfy both requirements in subordinate legislation. The delegation of the power to the COMELEC is then invalid. III COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 2300, INSOFAR AS IT PRESCRIBES RULES AND REGULATIONS ON THE CONDUCT OF INITIATIVE ON AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, IS VOID. It logically follows that the COMELEC cannot validly promulgate rules and regulations to implement the exercise of the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative. It does not have that power under R.A. No. 6735. Reliance on the COMELECs power under Section 2(1) of Article IX-C of the Constitution is misplaced, for the laws and regulations referred to therein are those promulgated by the COMELEC under (a) Section 3 of Article IX-C of the Constitution, or (b) a law where subordinate legislation is authorized and which satisfies the completeness and the sufficient standard tests. IV COMELEC ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ENTERTAINING THE DELFIN PETITION. Even if it be conceded ex gratia that R.A. No. 6735 is a full compliance with the power of Congress to implement the right to initiate constitutional amendments, or that it has validly vested upon the COMELEC the power of subordinate legislation and that COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is valid, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in entertaining the Delfin Petition. Under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution and Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 6735, a petition for initiative on the Constitution must be signed by at least 12% of the total number of registered voters of which every legislative district is represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein. The Delfin Petition does not contain signatures of the required number of voters. Delfin himself admits that he has not yet gathered signatures and that the purpose of his petition is primarily to obtain assistance in his drive to gather signatures. Without the required signatures, the petition cannot be deemed validly initiated. The COMELEC acquires jurisdiction over a petition for initiative only after its filing. The petition then is the initiatory pleading. Nothing before its filing is cognizable by the COMELEC, sitting en banc. The only participation of the COMELEC or its personnel before the filing of such petition are (1) to prescribe the form of the petition;[63] (2) to issue through its Election Records and Statistics Office a certificate on the total number of registered voters in each legislative district;[64] (3) to assist, through its election registrars, in the establishment of signature stations;[65] and (4) to verify, through its election registrars, the signatures on the basis of the registry list of voters, voters affidavits, and voters identification cards used in the immediately preceding election. [66] Since the Delfin Petition is not the initiatory petition under R.A. No. 6735 and COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, it cannot be entertained or given cognizance of by the COMELEC. The latter knew that the petition does not

fall under any of the actions or proceedings under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure or under Resolution No. 2300, for which reason it did not assign to the petition a docket number. Hence, the said petition was merely entered as UND, meaning, undocketed. That petition was nothing more than a mere scrap of paper, which should not have been dignified by the Order of 6 December 1996, the hearing on 12 December 1996, and the order directing Delfin and the oppositors to file their memoranda or oppositions. In so dignifying it, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion and merely wasted its time, energy, and resources. The foregoing considered, further discussion on the issue of whether the proposal to lift the term limits of the elective national and local officials is an amendment to, and not a revision of, the Constitution is rendered unnecessary, if not academic.

CONCLUSION This petition must then be granted, and the COMELEC should be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments on the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system. We feel, however, that the system of initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution should no longer be kept in the cold; it should be given flesh and blood, energy and strength. Congress should not tarry any longer in complying with the constitutional mandate to provide for the implementation of the right of the people under that system. WHEREFORE, judgment is hreby rendered a) GRANTING the instant petition; b) DECLARING R.A. No. 6735 inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution, and to have failed to provide sufficient standard for subordinate legislation; c) DECLARING void those parts of Resolutions No. 2300 of the Commission on Elections prescribing rules and regulations on the conduct of initiative or amendments to the Constitution; and d) ORDERING the Commission on Elections to forthwith DISMISS the DELFIN petition (UND-96-037). The Temporary Restraining Order issued on 18 December 1996 is made permanent as against the Commission on Elections, but is LIFTED against private respondents. Resolution on the matter of contempt is hereby reserved. MABANAG VERSUS LOPEZ VITO Petitioners include 3 senators and 8 representatives. The three senators were suspended by senate due to election irregularities. The 8 representatives were not allowed to take their seat in the lower House except in the election of the House Speaker. They argued that some senators and House Reps were not considered in determining the required vote (of each house) in order to pass the Resolution (proposing amendments to the Constitution) which has been considered as an enrolled bill by then. At the same time, the votes were already entered into the Journals of the respective House. As a result, the Resolution was passed but it could have been otherwise were they allowed to vote. If these members of Congress had been counted, the affirmative votes in favor of the proposed amendment would have been short of the necessary three-fourths vote in either branch of Congress. Petitioners filed or the prohibition of the furtherance of the said resolution amending the constitution. Respondents argued that the SC cannot take cognizance of the case because the Court is bound by the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill or resolution. ISSUE: Whether or not the Court can take cognizance of the issue at bar. Whether or not the said resolution was duly enacted by Congress. HELD: As far as looking into the Journals is concerned, even if both the journals from each House and an authenticated copy of the Act had been presented, the disposal of the issue by the Court on the basis of the journals does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory, for, as already stated, the due enactment of a law may be proved in either of the two ways specified in section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended. The SC found in

the journals no signs of irregularity in the passage of the law and did not bother itself with considering the effects of an authenticated copy if one had been introduced. It did not do what the opponents of the rule of conclusiveness advocate, namely, look into the journals behind the enrolled copy in order to determine the correctness of the latter, and rule such copy out if the two, the journals and the copy, be found in conflict with each other. No discrepancy appears to have been noted between the two documents and the court did not say or so much as give to understand that if discrepancy existed it would give greater weight to the journals, disregarding the explicit provision that duly certified copies shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof. **Enrolled Bill that which has been duly introduced, finally passed by both houses, signed by the proper officers of each, approved by the president and filed by the secretary of state. Section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure (Act 190), as amended by Act No. 2210, provides: Official documents may be proved as follows: . . . (2) the proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any legislatives body that may be provided for in the Philippine Islands, or of Congress, by the journals of those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk of secretary, or printed by their order; Provided, That in the case of Acts of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, when there is an existence of a copy signed by the presiding officers and secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof. The SC is bound by the contents of a duly authenticated resolution (enrolled bill) by the legislature. In case of conflict, the contents of an enrolled bill shall prevail over those of the journals. IN THE MATTER OF PETITION FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF RE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF REPUBLIC ACT 4880. ARSENIO GONZALES and FELICISIMO R. CABIGAO, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent. F. R. Cabigao in his own behalf as B. F. Advincula for petitioner Arsenio Ramon Barrios for respondent Commission on Elections. Sen. Lorenzo Taada as amicus curiae. FERNANDO, J.: A statute designed to maintain the purity and integrity of the electoral process by Congress calling a halt to the undesirable practice of prolonged political campaign bringing in their wake serious evils not the least of which is the ever increasing cost of seeking public office, is challenged on constitutional grounds. More precisely, the basic liberties of free speech and free press, freedom of assembly and freedom of association are invoked to nullify the act. Thus the question confronting this Court is one of transcendental significance. It is faced with the reconciliation of two values esteemed highly and cherished dearly in a constitutional democracy. One is the freedom of belief and of expression availed of by an individual whether by himself alone or in association with others of similar persuasion, a goal that occupies a place and to none in the legal hierarchy. The other is the safeguarding of the equally vital right of suffrage by a prohibition of the early nomination of candidates and the limitation of the period of election campaign or partisan political activity, with the hope that the time-consuming efforts, entailing huge expenditures of funds and involving the risk of bitter rivalries that may end in violence, to paraphrase the explanatory note of the challenged legislation, could be devoted to more fruitful endeavors. The task is not easy, but it is unavoidable. That is of the very essence of judicial duty. To paraphrase a landmark opinion, 1 when we act in these matters we do so not on the assumption that to us is granted the requisite knowledge to set matters right, but by virtue of the responsibility we cannot escape under the Constitution, one that history authenticates, to pass upon every assertion of an alleged infringement of liberty, when our competence is appropriately invoked. This then is the crucial question: Is there an infringement of liberty? Petitioners so alleged in his action, which they entitled Declaratory Relief with Preliminary Injunction, filed on July 22, 1967, a proceeding that should have been started in the of Court of First Instance but treated by this Court as one of prohibition in view petitioner. Gonzales.

of the seriousness and the urgency of the constitutional issue raised. Petitioners challenged the validity of two new sections now included in the Revised Election Code, under Republic Act No. 4880, which was approved and took effect on June 17, 1967, prohibiting the too early nomination of candidates 2 and limiting the period of election campaign or partisan political activity. 3 The terms "candidate" and "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" are likewise defined. The former according to Act No. 4880 "refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office regarded of whether or not said person has already filed his certificate of candidacy or has been nominated by any political party as its candidate." "Election campaign" or "partisan political activity" refers to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office." Then the acts were specified. There is a proviso that simple expression of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign. There is the further proviso that nothing stated in the Act "shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports." 4 Petitioner Cabigao was, at the time of the filing 6f the petition, an incumbent councilor in the 4th District of Manila and the Nacionalista Party official candidate for Vice-Mayor of Manila to which he was subsequently elected on November 11, 1967; petitioner Gonzales, on the other hand, is a private individual, a registered voter in the City of Manila and a political leader of his co-petitioner. It is their claim that "the enforcement of said Republic Act No. 4880 in question [would] prejudice [their] basic rights..., such as their freedom of speech, their freedom of assembly and their right to form associations or societies for purpose not contrary to law, guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution," and that therefore said act is unconstitutional. After invoking anew the fundamental rights to free speech, free press, freedom of association and freedom of assembly with a citation of two American Supreme Court decisions, 5 they asserted that "there is nothing in the spirit or intention of the law that would legally justify its passage and [enforcement] whether for reasons of public policy, public order or morality, and that therefore the enactment of Republic Act [No.] 4880 under, the guise of regulation is but a clear and simple abridgment of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to form associations and societies for purposes not contrary to law, ..." There was the further allegation that the nomination of a candidate and the fixing of period of election campaign are matters of political expediency and convenience which only political parties can regulate or curtail by and among themselves through self-restraint or mutual understanding or agreement and that the regulation and limitation of these political matters invoking the police power, in the absence of clear and present danger to the state, would render the constitutional rights of petitioners meaningless and without effect. To the plea of petitioners that after hearing, Republic Act No. 4880 be declared unconstitutional, null and void, respondent Commission on Elections, in its answer filed on August 1, 1967, after denying the allegations as to the validity of the act "for being mere conclusions of law, erroneous at that," and setting forth special affirmative defenses, procedural and substantive character, would have this Court dismiss the petition. Thereafter the case was set for hearing on August 3, 1967. On the same date a resolution was passed by us to the following effect: "At the hearing of case L-27833 (Arsenio Gonzales, et al. vs. Commission on Elections), Atty. F. Reyes Cabigao appeared for the petitioners and Atty. Ramon Barrios appeared for the respondent and they were given a period of four days from today within which to submit, simultaneously,, their respective memorandum in lieu of oral argument." On August 9, 1967, another resolution, self-explanatory in character, came from this Court. Thus: "In ease G.R. No. L-27833 (Arsenio Gonzales, et al. vs. Commission on Elections), the Court, with eight (8) Justice present, having deliberated on the issue of the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 4880; and a divergence of views having developed among the Justices as to the constitutionality of section 50-B, pars. (c), (d) and (e) of the Revised Election Code: considering the Constitutional provision that "no treaty or law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of the (Supreme) Court' (sec. 10, Art, VII), the Court [resolved] to defer final voting on the issue until after the return of the Justices now on official leave."

The case was then reset for oral argument. At such hearing, one of the co-petitioners, now Vice-Mayor Felicisimo Cabigao of the City of Manila acting as counsel, assailed the validity of the challenged legislation relying primarily on American Supreme Court opinion that warn against curtailment in whatever guise or form of the cherished freedoms of expression, of assemble and of association, all embraced in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Respondent Commission on Elections was duly represented by Atty. Ramon Barrios. Senator Lorenzo M. Taada was asked to appear as amicus curiae. That he did, arguing most impressively with a persuasive exposition of the existence of undeniable conditions that imperatively called for regulation of the electoral process and with full recognition that Act No. 4880 could indeed be looked upon as a limitation on the preferred rights of speech and press, of assembly and of association. He did justify its enactment however under the clear and present danger doctrine, there being the substantive evil of elections, whether for national or local officials, being debased and degraded by unrestricted campaigning, excess of partisanship and undue concentration in politics with the loss not only of efficiency in government but of lives as well. The matter was then discussed in conference, but no final action was taken. The divergence of views with reference to the paragraphs above mentioned having continued, on Oct. 10, 1968, this Court, by resolution, invited certain entities to submit memoranda as amici curiae on the question of the validity of R.A. Act No. 4880. The Philippine Bar Association, the Civil Liberties Union, the U.P. Law Center and the U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle were included, among them. They did file their respective memoranda with this Court and aided it in the consideration of the constitutional issues involved. 1. In the course of the deliberations, a serious procedural objection was raised by five members of the Court. 6 It is their view that respondent Commission on Elections not being sought to be restrained from performing any specific act, this suit cannot be characterized as other than a mere request for an advisory opinion. Such a view, from the remedial law standpoint, has much to recommend it. Nonetheless, a majority would affirm, the original stand that under the circumstances it could still rightfully be treated as a petition for prohibition. The language of Justice Laurel fits the case "All await the decision of this Court on the constitutional question. Considering, therefore, the importance which the instant case has assumed and to prevent multiplicity of suits, strong reasons of public policy demand that [its] constitutionality ... be now resolved." 7 It may likewise be added that the exceptional character of the situation that confronts us, the paramount public interest, and the undeniable necessity for a ruling, the national elections being, barely six months away, reinforce our stand. It would appear undeniable, therefore, that before us is an appropriate invocation of our jurisdiction to prevent the enforcement of an alleged unconstitutional statute. We are left with no choice then; we must act on the matter. There is another procedural obstacle raised by respondent to be hurdled. It is not insuperable. It is true that ordinarily, a party who impugns the validity of a statute or ordinance must have a substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. 8 Respondent cannot see such interest as being possessed by petitioners. It may indicate the clarity of vision being dimmed, considering that one of the petitioners was a candidate for an elective position. Even if such were the case, however, the objection is not necessarily fatal. In this jurisdiction, the rule has been sufficiently relaxed to allow a taxpayer to bring an action to restrain the expenditure of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional legislative measure. 9 2. In the answer of the respondent as well as its memorandum, stress was laid on Republic Act No. 4880 as an exercise of the police power of the state, designed to insure a free, orderly and honest election by regulating "conduct which Congress has determined harmful if unstrained and carried for a long period before elections it necessarily entails huge expenditures of funds on the part of the candidates, precipitates violence and even deaths, results in the corruption of the electorate, and inflicts direful consequences upon public interest as the vital affairs of the country are sacrificed to purely partisan pursuits." Evidently for respondent that

would suffice to meet the constitutional questions raised as to the alleged infringement of free speech, free press, freedom of assembly and 'freedom' of association. Would it were as simple as that? An eloquent excerpt from a leading American decision 10 admonishes though against such a cavalier approach. "The case confronts us again with the duty our system places on this Court to say where the individual's, freedom ends the State's power begins. Choice on that border, now as always delicate, is perhaps more so where the usual. presumption supporting legislation is balanced by the preferred place given in our scheme to the great, the indispensable democratic freedoms secured by the First Amendment.... That priority gives these liberties a sanctity and a sanction not permitting dubious intrusions. And it is the character of the right, not of the limitation, which determines what standard governs the choice..." Even a leading American State court decision on a regulatory measure dealing with elections, cited in the answer of respondent, militates against a stand minimizing the importance and significance of the alleged violation of individual rights: "As so construed by us, it has not been made to appear that section 8189, Comp. Gen. Laws, section 5925, Rev. Gen. St., is on its face violative of any provision of either the state or Federal Constitution on the subject of free speech or liberty of the press, nor that its operation is in any wise subversive of any one's constitutional liberty." 11 Another leading State decision is much more emphatic: "Broad as the power of the legislature is with respect to regulation of elections, that power is not wholly without limitation. Under the guise of regulating elections, the legislature may not deprive a citizen of the right of trial by jury. A person charged with its violation may not be compelled to give evidence against himself. If it destroys the right of free speech, it is to that extent void." 12 The question then of the alleged violation of Constitutional rights must be squarely met.lawphi1.nt 3. Now as to the merits. A brief resume of the basic rights on which petitioners premise their stand that the act is unconstitutional may prove illuminating. The primacy, the high estate accorded freedom of expression is of course a fundamental postulate of our constitutional system. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press .... 13 What does it embrace? At the very least, free speech and free press may be identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public interest without censorship or punishment. 14 There is to be then no previous restraint on the communication of views or subsequent liability whether in libel suits, 15 prosecution for sedition, 16 or action for damages, 17 or contempt proceedings 18 unless there be a clear and present danger of substantive evil that Congress has a right to prevent. The vital need in a constitutional democracy for freedom of expression is undeniable whether as a means of assuring individual self-fulfillment, of attaining the truth, of assuring participation by the people in social including political decision-making, and of maintaining the balance between stability and change. 19 The trend as reflected in Philippine and American decisions is to recognize the broadcast scope and assure the widest latitude to this constitutional guaranty. It represents a profound commitment to the principle that debate of public issue should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open. 20 It is not going too far, according to another American decision, to view the function of free speech as inviting dispute. "It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger." 21 Freedom of speech and of the press thus means something more than the right to approve existing political beliefs or economic arrangements, to lend support to official measures, to take refuge in the existing climate of opinion on any matter of public consequence. So atrophied, the right becomes meaningless. The right belongs as well, if not more, for those who question, who do not conform, who differ. To paraphrase Justice Holmes, it is freedom for the thought that we hate, no less than for the thought that agrees with us. 22 So with Emerson one may conclude that "the theory of freedom of expression involves more than a technique for arriving at better social judgments through democratic procedures. It comprehends a vision of society, a faith and a whole way of life. The theory grew out of an age that was awakened and invigorated by the idea of new society in which man's mind was free, his fate determined by his own powers of reason, and his prospects of creating a rational and enlightened civilization virtually unlimited. It is put forward as a prescription for attaining a creative, progressive, exciting and intellectually robust community. It contemplates a mode of life that, through encouraging toleration, skepticism, reason and initiative, will allow man to realize his full potentialities. It spurns the alternative of a society that is tyrannical, conformist, irrational and stagnant." 23

From the language of the specified constitutional provision, it would appear that the right is not susceptible of any limitation. No law may be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of the press. The realities of life in a complex society preclude however a literal interpretation. Freedom of expression is not an absolute. It would be too much to insist that at all times and under all circumstances it should remain unfettered and unrestrained. There are other societal values that press for recognition. How is it to be limited then? This Court spoke, in Cabansag v. Fernandez; 24 of two tests that may supply an acceptable criterion for permissible restriction. Thus: "These are the 'clear and present danger' rule and the 'dangerous tendency' rule. The first, as interpreted in a number of cases, means that the evil consequence of the comment or utterance must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high' before the utterance can be punished. The danger to be guarded against is the 'substantive evil' sought to be prevented." It has the advantage of establishing according to the above decision "a definite rule in constitutional law. It provides the criterion as to what words may be public established." The Cabansag case likewise referred to the other test, the "dangerous tendency" rule and explained it thus: "If the words uttered create a dangerous tendency which the state has a right to prevent, then such words are punishable. It is not necessary that some definite or immediate acts of force, violence, or unlawfulness be advocated. It is sufficient that such acts be advocated in general terms. Nor is it necessary that the language used be reasonably calculated to incite persons to acts of force, violence, or unlawfulness. It is sufficient if the natural tendency and probable effect of the utterance be to bring about the substantive evil which the legislative body seeks to prevent. We posed the issue thus: "Has the letter of Cabansag created a sufficient danger to a fair administration of justice? Did its remittance to the PCAC create a danger sufficiently imminent to come under the two rules mentioned above?" The choice of this Court was manifest and indisputable. It adopted the clear and present danger test. As a matter of fact, in an earlier decision, Primicias v. Fugoso, 25 there was likewise an implicit acceptance of the clear and present danger doctrine. Why repression is permissible only when the danger of substantive evil is present is explained by Justice Branders thus: ... the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." 26 For him the apprehended evil must be "relatively serious." For "[prohibition] of free speech and assembly is a measure so stringent that it would be inappropriate as the means for averting a relatively trivial harm to society." Justice Black would go further. He would require that the substantive evil be "extremely serious." 27 Only thus may there be a realization of the ideal envisioned by Cardozo: "There shall be no compromise of the freedom to think one's thoughts and speak them, except at those extreme borders where thought merges into action." 28 It received its original formulation from Holmes. Thus: "The question in every case is whether the words used in such circumstances and of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree." 29 This test then as a limitation on freedom of expression is justified by the danger or evil a substantive character that the state has a right to prevent. Unlike the dangerous tendency doctrine, the danger must not only be clear but also present. The term clear seems to point to a causal connection with the danger of the substantially evil arising from the utterance questioned. Present refers to the time element. It used to be identified with imminent and immediate danger. The danger must not only be probable but very likely inevitable. 4. How about freedom of assembly? The Bill of Rights as thus noted prohibits abridgment by law of freedom of speech or of the press. It likewise extends the same protection to the right of the people peaceably to assemble. As was pointed out by Justice Malcolm in the case of United States v. Bustos, 30 this right is a necessary consequence of our republican institution and complements the right of free speech. Assembly means a right on the part of citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs. From the same Bustos opinion: "Public policy, the welfare of society and orderly administration of government have demanded protection for public opinion." To paraphrase the opinion of Justice Rutledge speaking for the majority in Thomas v. Collins,31 it was not by accident or coincidence that the rights to freedom of speech and of the press were coupled in a single guaranty with the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to

petition the government for redress of grievances. All these rights while not identical are inseparable. They are cognate rights and the assurance afforded by the clause of this section of the Bill of Rights wherein they are contained, applies to all. As emphatically put in the leading case of United States v. Cruikshank, 32 "the very idea of a government, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for redress of grievances." As in the case of freedom of expression, this right is not to be limited, much less denied, except on a showing of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that Congress has a right to prevent. 5. Our Constitution likewise recognizes the freedom to form association for purposes not contrary to law. 33With or without a constitutional provision of this character, it may be assumed that the freedom to organize or to be a member of any group or society exists. With this explicit provision, whatever doubts there may be on the matter are dispelled. Unlike the cases of other guarantee which are mostly American in origin, this particular freedom has an indigenous cast. It can trace its origin to the Malolos Constitution. In the United States, in the absence of an explicit provision of such character, it is the view of Justice Douglas that it is primarily the first amendment of her Constitution, which safeguards freedom of speech and of the press, of assembly and of petition "that provides [associations] with the protection they need if they are to remain viable and continue to contribute to our Free Society." 34 He adopted the view of De Tocqueville on the importance and the significance of the freedom to associate. Thus: "The most natural privilege of man, next to the right of acting for himself, is that of combining his exertions with those of his fellow creatures and of acting in common with them. The right of association therefore appears to me almost inalienable in its nature as the right of personal liberty. No legislator can attack it without impairing the foundation of society." 35 There can be no dispute as to the soundness of the above observation of De Tocqueville. Since man lives in social it would be a barren existence if he could not freely associate with others of kindred persuasion or of congenial frame of mind. As a matter of fact, the more common form of associations may be likely to be fraternal, cultural, social or religious. Thereby, for almost everybody, save for those exceptional few who glory in aloofness and isolation life is enriched and becomes more meaningful. In a sense, however, the stress on this freedom of association should be on its political significance. If such a right were non-existent then the likelihood of a one-party government is more than a possibility. Authoritarianism may become unavoidable. Political opposition will simply cease to exist; minority groups may be outlawed, constitutional democracy as intended by the Constitution may well become a thing of the past. Political parties which, as is originally the case, assume the role alternately of being in the majority or in the minority as the will of the electorate dictates, will lose their constitutional protection. It is undeniable therefore, that the utmost scope should be afforded this freedom of association. It is indispensable not only for its enhancing the respect that should be accorded a human personality but equally so for its assurance that the wishes of any group to oppose whatever for the moment is the party in power and with the help of the electorate to set up its own program of government would not be nullified or frustrated. To quote from Douglas anew: "Justice Frankfurter thought that political and academic affiliations have a preferred position under the due process version of the First Amendment. But the associational rights protected by the First Amendment are in my view much broader and cover the entire spectrum in political ideology as well as in art, in journalism, in teaching, and in religion. In my view, government can neither legislate with respect to nor probe the intimacies of political, spiritual, or intellectual relationships in the myriad of lawful societies and groups, whether popular or unpopular, that exist in this country." 36 Nonetheless, the Constitution limits this particular freedom in the sense that there could be an abridgment of the right to form associations or societies when their purposes are "contrary to law". How should the limitation "for purposes not contrary to law" be interpreted? It is submitted that it is another way of expressing the clear and present danger rule for unless an association or society could be shown to create an imminent danger to public safety, there is no justification for abridging the right to form association societies.37 As was so aptly stated: "There is no other course consistent with the Free Society envisioned by the First Amendment. For the views a citizen entertains, the beliefs he harbors, the utterances he makes, the ideology he embraces, and the people he associates with are no concern to government until and unless he moves into action. That article of faith marks indeed the main difference between the Free Society which we espouse and the dictatorships

both on the Left and on the Right." 38 With the above principles in mind, we now consider the validity of the prohibition in Republic Act No. 4880 of the too early nomination of candidates and the limitation found therein on the period of election campaign or partisan political activity alleged by petitioners to offend against the rights of free speech, free press, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. In effect what are asked to do is to declare the act void on its face evidence having been introduced as to its actual operation. There is respectable authority for the court having the power to so act. Such fundamental liberties are accorded so high a place in our constitutional scheme that any alleged infringement manifest in the wording of statute cannot be allowed to pass unnoticed. 39 In considering whether it is violative of any of the above rights, we cannot ignore of course the legislative declaration that its enactment was in response to a serious substantive evil affecting the electoral process, not merely in danger of happening, but actually in existence, and likely to continue unless curbed or remedied. To assert otherwise would be to close one's eyes to the realities of the situation. Nor can we ignore the express legislative purpose apparent in the proviso "that simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign," and in the other proviso "that nothing herein stated shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports." Such limitations qualify the entire provision restricting the period of an election campaign or partisan political activity. The prohibition of too early nomination of candidates presents a question that is not too formidable in character. According to the act: "It shall be unlawful for any political party political committee, or political group to nominate candidates for any elective public officio voted for at large earlier than one hundred and fifty days immediately preceding an election, and for any other elective public, office earlier than ninety days immediately preceding an election." 40 The right of association is affected. Political parties have less freedom as to the time during which they may nominate candidates; the curtailment is not such, however, as to render meaningless such a basic right. Their scope of legitimate activities, save this one, is not unduly narrowed. Neither is there infringement of their freedom to assemble. They can do so, but not for such a purpose. We sustain in validity. We do so unanimously. The limitation on the period of "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" calls for a more intensive scrutiny. According to Republic Act No. 4880: "It is unlawful for any person whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any group or association of persons whether or not a political party or political committee, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the period of one hundred twenty days immediately preceding an election involving a public office voted for at large and ninety days immediately preceding an election for any other elective public office. The term 'candidate' refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office, regardless of whether or not said person has already filed his certificate of candidacy or has been nominated by any political party as its candidate. The term 'election campaign' or 'partisan political activity' refers to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office ..." If that is all there is to that provision, it suffers from the fatal constitutional infirmity of vagueness and may be stricken down. What other conclusion can there be extending as it does to so wide and all-encompassing a front that what is valid, being a legitimate exercise of press freedom as well as freedom of assembly, becomes prohibited? That cannot be done; such an undesirable eventuality, this Court cannot allow to pass. It is a well-settled principle that stricter standard of permissible statutory vagueness may be applied to a statute having inhibiting effect on speech; a man may the less be required to act at his peril here, because the free dissemination of ideas may be the loser.41 Where the statutory provision then operates to inhibit the exercise of individual freedom affirmatively protected by the Constitution, the imputation of vagueness sufficient to invalidate the statute is inescapable. 42 The language of Justice Douglas, both appropriate and vigorous, comes to mind: "Words which are vague and fluid ... may be as much of a trap for the innocent as the ancient laws of Caligula." 43 Nor is the reason difficult to discern: ."These freedoms are delicate and vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society. The threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions." 44

7. The constitutional objections are thus formidable. It cannot be denied that the limitations thus imposed on the constitutional rights of free speech and press, of assembly, and of association cut deeply, into their substance. This on the one hand. On the other, it cannot be denied either that evils substantial in character taint the purity of the electoral process. There can be under the circumstances then no outright condemnation of the statute. It could not be said to be unwarranted, much less arbitrary. There is need for refraining from the outright assumption that the constitutional infirmity is apparent from a mere reading thereof. For under circumstances that manifest abuses of the gravest character, remedies much more drastic than what ordinarily would suffice would indeed be called for. The justification alleged by the proponents of the measures weighs heavily with the members of the Court, though in varying degrees, in the appraisal of the aforesaid restrictions to which such precious freedoms are subjected. They are not unaware of the clear and present danger that calls for measures that may bear heavily on the exercise of the cherished rights of expression, of assembly, and of association. This is not to say, that once such a situation is found to exist there is no limit to the allowable limitations on such constitutional rights. The clear and present danger doctrine rightly viewed requires that not only should there be an occasion for the imposition of such restrictions but also that they be limited in scope. There are still constitutional questions of a serious character then to be faced. The practices which the act identifies with "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" must be such that they are free from the taint of being violative of free speech, free press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. What removes the sting from constitutional objection of vagueness is the enumeration of the acts deemed included in the terms "election campaign" or "partisan political activity." They are: "(a) Forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate; (b) holding political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate or party;(c) making speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election or any party or candidate for public office; (d) publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials; (e) directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any party; (f) giving, soliciting, or receiving contributions for election campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly." 45 As thus limited the objection that may be raised as to vagueness has been minimized, if not totally set at rest. 46 8. This Court, with the aforementioned five Justices unable to agree, is of the view that no unconstitutional infringement exists insofar as the formation of organization, associations, clubs, committees, or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda or both for or against a candidate or party is restricted 47 and that the prohibition against giving, soliciting, or receiving contribution for election purposes, either directly or indirectly, is equally free from constitutional infirmity. 48 The restriction on freedom of assembly as confined to holding political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda or both for or against a candidate or party, 49 leaving untouched all other legitimate exercise of such poses a more difficult question. Nevertheless, after a thorough consideration, and with the same Justices entertaining the opposite conviction, we reject the contention that it should be annulled. Candor compels the admission that the writer of this opinion suffers from the gravest doubts. For him, such statutory prescription could very well be within the outermost limits of validity, beyond which lies the abyss of unconstitutionality. The other acts, likewise deemed included in "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" tax to the utmost the judicial predisposition to view with sympathy legislative efforts to regulate election practices deemed inimical, because of their collision with the preferred right of freedom of expression. From the outset, such provisions did occasion divergence of views among the members of the Court. Originally only a minority was for their being adjudged as invalid. It is not so. any more. 50 This is merely to emphasize that the scope of

the curtailment to which freedom of expression may be subjected is not foreclosed by the recognition of the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil, the debasement of the electoral process. The majority of the Court is thus of the belief that the solicitation or undertaking of any campaign or propaganda whether directly or indirectly, by an individual, 51 the making of speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interview for or against the election for any party or candidate for public office, 52 or the publication or distribution of campaign literature or materials, 53 suffer from the corrosion of invalidity. It lacks however one more affirmative vote to call for a declaration of unconstitutionality. This is not to deny that Congress was indeed called upon to seek remedial measures for the far-fromsatisfactory condition arising from the too-early nomination of candidates and the necessarily prolonged, political campaigns. The direful consequences and the harmful effects on the public interest with the vital affairs of the country sacrificed many a time to purely partisan pursuits were known to all. Moreover, it is no exaggeration to state that violence and even death did frequently occur because of the heat engendered by such political activities. Then, too, the opportunity for dishonesty and corruption, with the right to suffrage being bartered, was further magnified. Under the police power then, with its concern for the general welfare and with the commendable aim of safe-guarding the right of suffrage, the legislative body must have felt impelled to impose the foregoing restrictions. It is understandable for Congress to believe that without the limitations thus set forth in the challenged legislation, the laudable purpose of Republic Act No. 4880 would be frustrated and nullified. Whatever persuasive force such approach may command failed to elicit the assent of a majority of the Court. This is not to say that the conclusion reached by the minority that the above poisons of the statute now assailed has passed the constitutional test is devoid of merit. It only indicates that for the majority, the prohibition of any speeches, announcements or commentaries, or the holding of interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office and the prohibition of the publication or distribution of campaign literature or materials, against the solicitation of votes whether directly or indirectly, or the undertaking of any campaign literature or propaganda for or against any candidate or party is repugnant to a constitutional command. To that extent, the challenged statute prohibits what under the Constitution cannot by any law be abridged. More specifically, in terms of the permissible scope of legislation that otherwise could be justified under the clear and present danger doctrine, it is the consideration opinion of the majority, though lacking the necessary vote for an adjudication of invalidity, that the challenged statute could have been more narrowly drawn and the practices prohibited more precisely delineated to satisfy the constitutional requirements as to a valid limitation under the clear and present danger doctrine. In a 1968 opinion, the American Supreme Court made clear that the absence of such reasonable and definite standards in a legislation of its character is fatal. 54 Where, as in the case of the above paragraphs, the majority of the Court could discern "an over breadth that makes possible oppressive or capricious application" 55of the statutory provisions, the line dividing the valid from the constitutionally infirm has been crossed. Such provisions offend the constitutional principle that "a governmental purpose constitutionally subject to control or prevent activities state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms. 56 It is undeniable, therefore, that even though the governmental purposes be legitimate and substantial, they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be more narrowly achieved. 57 For precision of regulation is the touchstone in an area so closely related to our most precious freedoms. 58 Under the circumstances then, a majority of the Court feels compelled to view the statutory provisions in question as unconstitutional on their face inasmuch as they appear to range too widely and indiscriminately across the fundamental liberties associated with freedom of the mind. 59 Such a conclusion does not find favor with the other members of the Court. For this minority group, no judgment of nullity insofar as the challenged sections are concerned is called for. It cannot accept the

conclusion that the limitations thus imposed on freedom of expression vitiated by their latitudinarian scope, for Congress was not at all insensible to the problem that an all-encompassing coverage of the practices sought to be restrained would seriously pose. Such an approach finds support in the exposition made by the author of the measure, Senator Lorenzo M. Taada, appearing before us as amicus curiae. He did clearly explain that such provisions were deemed by the legislative body to be part and parcel of the necessary and appropriate response not merely to a clear and present danger but to the actual existence of a grave and substantive evil of excessive partisanship, dishonesty and corruption as well as violence that of late has invariably marred election campaigns and partisan political activities in this country. He did invite our attention likewise to the well-settled doctrine that in the choice of remedies for an admitted malady requiring governmental action, on the legislature primarily rests the responsibility. Nor should the cure prescribed by it, unless clearly repugnant to fundamental rights, be ignored or disregarded. More than that, he would stress the two provisos already mentioned, precisely placed in the state as a manifestation of the undeniable legislative determination not to transgress the preferred freedom of speech, of press, of assembly and of association. It is thus provided: "That simple expressions or opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign [and that nothing in the Act] shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports. 60 If properly implemented then, as it ought to, the barrier to free, expression becomes minimal and far from unwarranted. For the minority of the Court, all of the above arguments possess sufficient persuasive force to blunt whatever cutting edge may be ascribed to the fears entertained that Congress failed to abide by what the Constitution commands as far as freedom of the mind and of association are concerned. It is its opinion that it would be premature to say the least, for a judgment of nullity of any provision found in Republic Act No. 4880. The need for adjudication arises only if in the implementation of the Act, there is in fact an unconstitutional application of its provisions. Nor are we called upon, under this approach, to anticipate each and every problem that may arise. It is time enough to consider it when there is in fact an actual, concrete case that requires an exercise of judicial power. 9. To recapitulate, we give due recognition to the legislative concern to cleanse, and, if possible, render spotless, the electoral process. There is full acceptance by the Court of the power of Congress, under narrowly drawn legislation to impose the necessary restrictions to what otherwise would be liberties traditionally accorded the widest scope and the utmost deference, freedom of speech and of the press, of assembly, and of association. We cannot, however, be recreant to the trust reposed on us; we are called upon to safeguard individual rights. In the language of Justice Laurel: "This Court is perhaps the last bulwark of constitutional government. It shall not obstruct the popular will as manifested through proper organs... But, in the same way that it cannot renounce the life breathed into it by the Constitution, so may it not forego its obligation, in proper cases, to apply the necessary,..." 61 We recognize the wide discretion accorded Congress to protect vital interests. Considering the responsibility incumbent on the judiciary, it is not always possible, even with the utmost sympathy shown for the legislative choice of means to cure an admitted evil, that the legislative judgment arrived at, with its possible curtailment of the preferred freedoms, be accepted uncritically. There may be times, and this is one of them, with the majority, with all due reject to a coordinate branch, unable to extend their approval to the aforesaid specific provisions of one of the sections of the challenged statute. The necessary two-third vote, however, not being obtained, there is no occasion for the power to annul statutes to come into play. Such being the case, it is the judgment of this Court that Republic Act No. 4880 cannot be declared unconstitutional. WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed and the writ of prayed for denied. Without costs. Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal and Teehankee, JJ., concur in the result.

Separate Opinions

SANCHEZ, J., concurring and dissenting: Petitioners in the present case aim at striking down as violative of constitutional guarantees Republic Act 4880, the principal features of which are contained in its Sections 1, inserting Sections 50-A and 50-B between Sections, 50 and 51 of the Revised Election Code, reproduced herein as follows:1 SECTION 1. Republic Act Numbered One hundred and eighty, as amended, is hereby further amended by inserting new sections to be known as Sections 50-A and 50-B, between Sections 50 and 51 thereof, which shall read as follows: SEC. 50-A. Prohibition of too early nomination of Candidates. It shall be unlawful for any political party, Political Committee, or Political group to nominate candidates for any elective public office voted for a large earlier than one hundred and fifty days immediately preceding an election, and for any other elective public office earlier than ninety days immediately preceding an election. SEC 50-B. Limitation upon the period of Election Campaign or Partisan Political Activity . It is unlawful for any person whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any group or association of persons, whether or not a political party or political committee, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the period of one hundred twenty days immediately preceding an election for any public office. The term "Candidate" refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office, regardless of whether or not said person has already filed his certificate of candidacy or has been nominated by any political party as its candidate. The term "Election Campaign" or "Partisan Political Activity" refers to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office which shall include: (a) Forming Organizations, Associations, Clubs, Committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate; (b) Holding political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party; (c) Making speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office; (d) Publishing or distribution campaign literature or materials; (e) Directly or indirectly soliciting vote and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party; (f) Giving, soliciting, or receiving contributions for election campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly: Provided, That simple expressions or 2 opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign: Provided, further, That nothing herein

stated shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports. Appropriately to be stated right at the start is that violation of the above provisions is considered a serious election offense. The penalty is "imprisonment of not less than one (1) year and one (1) day but not more than five (5) years" with accompanying "disqualification to hold a public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage for not less than one (1) year but more than nine (9) years" and payment of costs. 3 1. The issue of constitutionality of R.A. 4880 again brings to the fore the eternally-warring concepts of individual liberty and state authority. Invalidity is pressed on the ground that the statute violates the rights of free speech and press, of peaceable assembly, and of association. 4 This Court is asked to rule that in the context of the ill-effects to be cured, the legislative remedy adopted, vis-a-vis the rights affected, does not meet what petitioners claim to be the rational basis test; that, on the contrary, the relief prescribed would more likely produce the very evils sought to be prevented. This necessitates a circumspect discussion of the issue. In proceeding the working assumption is that individual liberty is not absolute. Neither is state authority, inspite of its sweep, limitable. Fixed formulas and ready-made rules that seek to balance these two concepts could well redeem one from the unnerving task of deciding which ought to prevail. It is at this point that we call to mind the principle that the relation between remedy and evil should be of such proximity that unless prohibited, conduct affecting these rights would create a "clear and present danger that will bring about substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent." 5 Withal doctrines which conceal behind the cloak of authoritative origin a tendency to muffle the demands of society, must pass the glaring light of contemporaneity. For, in the consideration of questions on constitutionality, one should remain receptive to the implication of John Marshall's resonant words that "it is a constitution we are expounding."6 Such authority here manifests itself in legislation intended as an answer to the strong public sentiment that politics is growing into a way of life, that political campaigns are becoming longer and more bitter. It is a result of legislative Appraisal that protracted election campaign is the root of undesirable conditions. Bitter rivalries precipitate violence and deaths. Huge expenditures of funds give deserving but poor candidates slim chances of winning. They constitute an inducement to graft to winning candidates already in office in order to recoup campaign expenses. Handouts doled out by and expected from candidates corrupt the electorate. Official duties and affairs of state are neglected by incumbent officials desiring to run for reelection. The life and health of candidates and their followers are endangered. People's energies are dissipated in political bickerings and long drawn-out campaigns. 7 Indeed, a drawn-out political campaign taxes the reservoir of patience and undermines respect of the electorate for democratic processes. Sustained and bilious political contests eat away even the veneer of civility among candidates and their followers and transplant brute force into the arena. Such legislative appraisal, such ill-effects, then must constitute a principal lever by which one concept could win mastery over the other. R.A. 4880 is a police power legislation. It was enacted by virtue of the inherent power of Congress to legislate on matters affecting public interest and welfare, 8 as well as in pursuance of the constitutional policy of insuring a free, honest and orderly election. 9 Basically, the undefined scope of that power extends as far as the frontiers of public interest would advance. Fittingly, legislative determination of the breadth of public interest should Command respect. For, Congress is the constitutional body vested with the power to enact laws. Its representative composition induces judgment culled from the diverse regions of the country. Normally, this should assure that a piece of police legislation is a reflection of what public interest contemporaneously encompasses.

2. It is, however, postulated that the right of peaceable assembly is violated by the prohibition on holding political assemblies for a period lasting more than one year; that the right to form associations is contravened by forbidding, for the same period, the formation of political groups; that, finally, freedom of speech and of the press is unduly restricted by a legislative fiat against speeches, announcements, commentaries or interviews favorable or unfavorable to the election of any party or candidate, publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials, and directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or under-taking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party, except during a number of days immediately preceding the election. What has repeatedly been urged is the view that the underlying historic importance of the foregoing specified rights in democratic societies requires that the posture of defense against their invasion be firmer and more uncompromising than what may be exhibited under the general due process protection. 10 The absolute terms by which these specific rights are recognized in the Constitution justifies this conclusion. 11 And yet, sight should not be lost of the fact that Congress has made a determination that certain specific evils are traceable directly to protracted election, activities. Congress has found a solution to minimize, if not prevent, those evils by limiting the period of engaging in such activities. The proponents of validity would rely upon experience to deduce the connection between the cited evils and prolonged political campaign. By limiting the period of campaign, so they say, it is expected that the undesirable effects will be wiped out, at least, relieved to a substantial degree. This, of course, is largely an assumption. Congress we must stress, has put up an untried measure to solve the problematic situation. Deduction then is the only avenue open: for Congress, to determine the necessity for the law; for the Court, its validity. The possibility of its inefficaciousness is not remote. But so long as a remedy adopted by Congress, as far as can logically be assumed, measures up to the standard of validity, it stands. We give our imprimatur to Section 50-A. We may not tag as unconstitutional 50-B, and its subsections (a), (b) and (f). We fear no serious evil with their enforcement. They do not offend the constitutionally protected speech and press freedoms, and rights of peaceable assembly and association. The latter must yield. The proscriptions set forth in all of them are clear-cut, not open to reasonable doubt, nor easily susceptible to unreasonable interpretation. Public interest and welfare authorize their incorporation into the statute books. 3. To this writer, however, the center of controversy is to be found in subsections (c), (d) and (e) of Section 50-B. Those who espouse validity assert that no undue restriction results because, by jurisprudence, solicitation and campaign are outside the ambit of protected speech. 12 But this rule, it would seem to us, has relevance only to commercial solicitation and campaign. There is no point here in delving into the desirability of equating, in social importance, political campaign with advertisements of gadgets and other commercial propaganda or solicitation. 13For, the statute under consideration goes well beyond matters commonly regarded as solicitation and campaign. Suffice it to say that jurisprudence tends to incline liberally towards freedom of expression in any form when placed in juxtaposition with the regulatory power of the State. 14 Legislative history of the statute now before us indicates that what Congress intends to regulate are partisan activities and active campaigning. Campaigning, as defined by the sponsor of Senate Bill 209 in the Senate, is a " series of operations." This, evidently, must have been adopted from the dictionary meaning of campaign: a connected series of operations to bring about some desired result. The term "partisan political activity" has somehow acquired a more or less definite signification. It is not a new feature in Philippine political law. It has been regulated to stem dangers to specific state interests. The Constitution itself contains an injunction against civil service officers and employees from engaging directly or indirectly in partisan political activity or taking part in any election except to vote. 15 The civil service law 16 and the Revised Election Code, 17 echo this absolute prohibition which is obviously aimed at the possible neglect of public service and its prostitution with partisan interests. The following are cited in the Civil Service Rules as examples of partisan political activity: candidacy for elective office; being a delegate to any political

convention or member of any political committee or officer of any political club or other similar political organization; making speeches, canvassing or soliciting votes or political support in the interest of any party or candidate; soliciting or receiving contributions for political purposes either directly or indirectly; and becoming prominently identified with the success or failure of any candidate or candidates for election to public office. 18 In the context in which the terms "partisan political activity" and "election campaign" are taken together with the statutory purpose, the following from Justice Holmes would be particularly instructive: "Wherever the law draws a line there will be cases very near each other on opposite sides. The precise course of the line may be uncertain, but no one can come near it without knowing that he does so, if he thinks, and if he does so it is familiar to the criminal law to make him take the risk." 19 4. Perhaps if the phrases "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" were left to be explained by the general terms of the law as solely referring "to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office", it would be difficult to say that such prohibition is offensive to speech or press freedoms. But then the law itself sought to expand its meaning to include an area of prohibited acts relating to candidates and political parties, wider than an ordinary person would otherwise define them. Specifically, discussion oral or printed is included among the prohibited conduct when done in the following manner (Section 50- B) (c) Making speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office: (d) Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials; (e) Directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party. Defined only as lawful discussion is the following: Provided. That simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign: Provided, further, That nothing herein stated shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports. The conduct involved in the discussion as to make it illegal is not clearly defined at all. The implication then is that what is prohibited is discussion which in the view of another may mean political campaign or partisan political activity. The speaker or writer becomes captive under the vigilant but whimsical senses of each listener or reader. His words acquire varying shades of forcefullness, persuasion and meaning to suit the convenience of those interpreting them. A position becomes solicitation. As admonition becomes a campaign or propaganda. As worded in R.A. 4880, prohibited discussion could cover the entire spectrum of expression relating to can candidates and political parties. No discussion is safe. Every political discussion becomes suspect. No one can draw an indisputable dividing line between lawful and unlawful discussion. More so that statutory restraint falls upon any person whether or not a voter or candidate. Candidacy is not enjoined during the proscriptive period. A person may thus make public his intention to run for public office. So may an incumbent official profess his desire to run for reelection. The law therefore leaves open, especially to the electorate, the occasion if the temptation for making statements relating to a candidacy .The natural course is to comment upon or to discuss the merits of a candidate, his disqualifications, his opponents for public office, his accomplishments, his official or private conduct. For, it can hardly be denied that candidacy for public office is a matter of great public concern and interest. Yet, this normal reaction to discuss or comment is muzzled by an unqualified prohibition on announcements or commentaries or interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate, on

publishing campaign literature, and on indirect solicitation and campaign or propaganda for or against any party or candidate. Even incumbent officials are stopped. Every appearance before the public, every solicitous act for the public welfare may easily become tainted. 5. Nor does the proviso offer any corresponding protection against uncertainty. "Simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election" and expression of "views on current political problems or issues" leave the reader to conjecture, to guesswork, upon the extent of protection offered, be it as to the nature of the utterance it simple expressions of opinion and thoughts") or the subject of the utterance ("current political problems or issues"). The line drawn to distinguish unauthorized "political activity" or "election campaign" specifically, a speech designed to promote the candidacy of a person from a simple expression of opinion on current political problems is so tenuous as to be indistinguishable. 20 If we are to paraphrase Mr. Justice Holmes, then the thought should run something like this: The only difference between expression of an opinion and the endorsement of a candidate is "the speaker's enthusiasm for the result." 21 Only one area is certain. A person may only mention the candidate whom he supports. Beyond mentioning the name, it is no longer safe. But is it not unduly constricting the from of rational-minded-persons to back up their statements of support with reasons? The peculiarity of discussion, be it oral or printed, is that it carries with it varying degrees of "enthusiasm and inclination to persuade", 22 depending upon the listener or reader. It falls short of a partisan political activity when it is devoid of partisan interest in the sense that it is not made in the interest of a candidate or party. This is the only criterion for validity. But who is to decide this? And how? The law does not even require that there be an operation or a series of operations in order to measure up to an election campaign as it is commonly understood. In this way, the law may well become an instrument of harassment. Worse, it could lull the potential had defendant into a false sense of security. It then becomes a dragnet that may trap anyone who attempts to express a simple opinion on political issues. 6. More than this, the threat of punishment will continually hound a speaker who expounds his views on political issues. Because of its punitive provisions, the statute surely tends to restrict what one might, say his utterance be misunderstood as "designed to promote the candidacy of a person." A person would be kept guessing at the precise limits of the permissible "simple expression". To play safe, he would be compelled to put reins on his words for fear that they may stray beyond the protected area of "simple expression". The offshoot could only be a continuous and pervasive restraint on all forms of discussion which might time within the purview of the statute. This thought is not new. It is underscibed in NAACP vs. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 9 L. ed, 405, in language expressive, thus. The objectionable quality of vagueness and over breadth does not depend upon absence of fair notice to a criminally accused or upon unchanneled delegation of legislative powers, but upon the danger of tolerating, in the area of first amendment freedoms, the existence of a penal statute susceptible of sweeping and improper application .... These freedoms are delicate and vulnerable as well as supremely precious in our society. The threat of sanctions way deter their exercise almost as the actual application of the sanctions. Because the first amendment freedoms need breathing space to survive, government may regulate in the area only With narrow specificity.23 It is thus in the self-imposed restraint that works in the minds of ordinary, law-abiding citizens that a vague statute becomes unjust. Because of the indefiniteness created in subsections (c), (d) and (e) of Section 50-B, they readily lend themselves to harsh application. Vagueness of the law enforcers. Arbitrary enforcement of the letter of the law by an expansive definition of election campaign or partisan political activity, should not be branded as improbable. For, political rivalries spawn persecution. The law then becomes an unwitting tool. Discussion may be given aprima facie label as against the harassed. This is not altogether remote. To be sure, harassment and persecution are not unknown to the unscrupulous. 7. Those who favor validity find comfort in the theory that it is better for the meantime to leave the statute well enough alone. They say that it is preferable that courts of justice be allowed to hammer out the contours of the statute case by case. This may not, however, be entirely acceptable. To forego the question of

constitutionality for now and take risks may not be the wiser move. As well advocated elsewhere. 24 a series of court prosecutions will a statute, still leaving uncertain other portion thereof. And then, in deciding whether or statute can be salvaged, one must not hedge and assume that when it is enforced in the be resolved in favor of upholding free speech and press. More important, there is the heavy penalty prescribed. A candidate, or any person for that matter, can unreasonably be saddled by court suits. Even if the accused were later to be declared innocent, thoroughly unnecessary is the burden of lawyers' fees, bail bonds and other expenses, not to say of energy to be consumed, effort to be expended, time to be spent, and the anxieties attendant in litigation. It cannot really be said that the courage to speak out, barring all risks, is an ordinary human trait. Timorous men should not grow in number. And yet, it would appear that this is the effect of the enforcement of the law. The constant guide should be the warning of Justice Brandeis "that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies." 25 As we analyze the import of the law, we come to the conclusion that subsections (c), (d) and (e) of Section 50-B inserted into the Revised Election Code by Republic Act 4880, heretofore transcribed, run smack against the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press. Hence, this concurrence and dissent. CASTRO, J., dissenting: Presented for consideration and decision is the constitutionality of Section 50-A and 50-B of the Revised Election Code, which were inserted as amendatory provisions by Republic Act 4880. 1 These sections read in full as follows: SEC. 50-A. Prohibition of too early nomination of Candidates . It shall be unlawful for any political party, Political Committee or Political group to nominate candidates for any elective public office voted for at large earlier than one hundred and fifty days immediately preceding an election, and for any other elective public office earlier than ninety days immediately preceding an election. SEC. 50-B. Limitation upon the period of Election Campaign or Partisan Political Activity . It is unlawful for any person whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any group or association of persons, whether or not a political party or political committee, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the period of one hundred twenty days immediately preceding an election involving a public office voted for at large and ninety days immediately preceding an election for any other elective public office. The term "Candidate" refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public officer, regardless of whether or not said has already filed his certificate of candidacy or has been nominated by any political candidate. The term "Election Campaign" or Partisan Political Activity refers to the acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office which shall include: (a) Forming Organizations, Associations, Clubs, Committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate; (b) Holding political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or against a candidate or party; (c) Making speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office;

(d) Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials; (e) Directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party; (f) Giving, soliciting, or receiving contributions for election campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly. Provided, That simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign; Provided, further. That nothing herein stated shall understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues, or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office who he supports. Violation of these two section are classified as "serious election offenses" under Section 183 of the Revised Election Code, as amended R.A 4880, punishable with "imprisonment of not less than one year and one day but not more than five years" and "disqualification to hold a public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage for not less than one year but not more than nine years." 2 The basic purpose of R.A. 4880 is easily discenible. Congress felt the need of curtailing excessive and extravagant partisan political activities, especially during an election year, and, to this end, sought to impose limitations upon the times during which such activities may be lawfully pursued. The legislative concern over excessive political activities was expressed in the following terms in the explanatory note of Senate Bill 209, which finally came R.A. 4880: There is nothing basically wrong in engaging in an election campaign. Election campaign is indispensable part of election just as election is one of the most important fundamental requirements of popular government. It is also during election campaign that the stands of prospective political parties on vital national and local issues are made known to the public, thereby guiding the enfranchised citizenry in the proper and appropriate expression of its sovereign will. Past experience, however, has brought to light some very disturbing consequences of protracted election campaigns. Because of prolonged exposure of both candidates and the people to political tension, what starts out at first as gentlemanly competition ends up into bitter rivalries precipitating violence and even deaths. Prolonged election campaigns necessarily entail huge expenditures of funds on the part of the candidates. Now, no matter how deserving and worthy he is, a poor man has a very slim chance of winning an election. Prolonged election campaigns indeed carry with it not only the specter of violence and death, not only the objectionable dominion of the rich in the political arena, but also the corruption of our electorate. We must adapt our democratic processes to the needs of the times. I The prohibitions introduced by R.A. 4880 purport to reach two types of activities, namely, (a) early nomination of candidates for elective public offices (Sec. 50-A), and (b) early election campaigns or partisan political activities (Sec. 50-B). The first prohibition is specifically directed against political parties, committees, and groups; the second prohibition is much more comprehensive in its intended reach, for it operates upon "any person whether or not a voter or a candidate" and " any group or association of persons whether or not a political party or political committee." Section 50-B brings within the ambit of its proscription a wide range of activities. The catalogue of activity ties covered by the prohibition against early election campaigning embraces two distinguishable types of acts; (a) giving, soliciting or receiving contributions for election campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly; and (b) directly or indirectly soliciting votes or under-taking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party, whether by means of speech, publication, formation of organizations, or by holding conventions, caucuses, meetings or other similar assemblies. The term "candidate" is itself broadly defined to

include "any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office," whether or not such person has been formally nominated. The sweeping character of the prohibitions in Section 50-B is sought to be mitigated and delimited by the provisos exempting from their operation (a) "simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election," (b) expression of "views on current political problems or issues," and (c) "mentioning the names of the candidates for public office" whom one supports. Before assaying the constitutional quality of Sections 50-A and 50-B, it is relevant to point out that these two section are not wholly consistent with each other, and that considerable practical difficulties may be expected by those who would comply with the requirements of both. Under Section 50-A, political parties are allowed to nominate their official candidates for offices voted for at large within 150 days immediately preceding the election. At the very least, this section would seem to permit a political party to hold a nominating convention within the 150 days period. Section 50-B, however, makes it unlawful to promote or oppose the candidacy of any person seeking such office, whether or not such person "has been nominated by any political party," and to engage in an election campaign "for and against a candidate or party," except within the period of 120 days immediately preceding the election. I find it difficult to see how a political party can stage a nominating convention 150 days before an election if, at such time, neither any person nor group within such party may seek a nomination by campaigning among the delegates to the convention. By its very, nature, a nominating convention is intrinsically a forum for intensely partisan political activity. It is at the nominating convention that contending candidates obtain the formal endorsement and active support of their party the ultimate purpose of victory at the polls. A nominating convention, at which activity promoting or opposing the candidacies of particular persons seeking nominations is forbidden, is a practical impossibility. Thus, the very broadness of prohibitions contained in Section 50-B has the effect of reducing, as a practical matter, the time period specified in Section 50-A for nomination of candidates for national offices from 150 to 120 days before an election. II We turn to the central issue of constitutionality. That the legislature has, in broad principle, competence to enact laws relative to the conduct of elections is conceded. Congress may not only regulate and control the place, time and manner in which elections shall be held, but may also provide for the manner by which candidates shall be chosen. In the exercise of the police power, Congress regulate the conduct of election campaigns and activities by political parties and candidates, and prescribe measures reasonably appropriate to insure the integrity and purity of the electoral process. Thus, it has not been seriously contested that Congress may establish restraints on expenditures of money in political campaigns, 3 prohibit solicitation of votes for a consideration, 4 and penalize unlawful expenditures relative to the nominations of dates. 5 Laws of this kind lie fairly within the area of permissible regulation, and I think, that, in shaping specific regulations, Congressional discretion may be exercised within a wide range without remonstrance from the courts. If no more were at stake in Sections 50-A and 50-B than the political or personal convenience of a candidates faction or political group, we could with the least hesitation resolve the issue of constitutionality in favor of the legislative intendment. But infinitely more is at stake, for in enacting this prohibitions of Sections 50-A and 50-B, Congress has place undeniable burdens upon the exercise of fundamental political and personal freedoms encased in the Bill of Rights from legislative intrusion. There is firstly, a manifest restriction on the free exercise of the rights of speech and of the press in the provisions of Section 50-B imposing a limitation of time on the following activities. (c) Making speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate or party; (d) Publishing or distributing, campaign. literature or materials (e) Directly or indirectly soliciting votes and or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party;

Likewise, the regulation of the time within which nominations of candidates by political parties may take place, under Section 50-A, and fixing a time limit for holding "political conventions, caucuses, conference meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies" for campaign purposes under paragraph (b) of Section 50-B, curtails the freedom of peaceful assembly. And finally, the right to form associations for purposes not contrary to law is impinged upon by the provision of paragraph (a) of Section 50-B regulating the forming of "Organizations, Associations, Clubs, Committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate." It is fairly accurate to say that legislations imposing restrictions upon the right of free expression, and upon the right of assembly and of political association indispensable to the full exercise of free expression, have commonly been subjected to more searching and exacting judicial scrutiny than statutes directed at other personal activities. As aptly said by the United States Supreme Court in Schneider v. Irvington:6 In every case, ... where legislative abridgment of the rights is asserted, the courts should be astute to examine the effect of the challenged legislation. Mere legislative preference or beliefs respecting matters of public convenience may well support regulation directed at other personal activities but be in sufficient to justify such as diminishes are exercise of rights so vital to the maintenance of democratic institutions. Thomas v. Collins7exemplifies the same approach: "The rational connection between the remedy provided and the evil to be curbed, which in other contexts might support legislation against attack on other grounds, will not suffice. These rights [of expression and assembly] rest on firmed foundations." The belief that more exacting constitutional tests are appropriately applied upon statutes having an actual or potential inhibiting effect on the right of speech, and the cognate rights of assembly and association, flows from recognition of the nature and function of these rights in a free democratic society. Historically the guarantees of free expression were intended to provide some assurance that government would remain responsive to the will of the people, in line with the constitutional principle that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. 8 The viability of a truly representative government depends upon the effective protection and exercise of the rights of the people to freely think, to freely discuss and to freely assemble for redress of their grievances; for these underlie the mechanisms of peaceful change in a democratic polity. There is ample authority in history for the belief that those who value freedom, but are frustrated in its exercise, will tend to resort to force and violent opposition to obtain release from their repression. So essential are these freedoms to the preservation and vitality of democratic institutions that courts have on numerous occasions categorized them as occupying a "preferred position" in the hierarchy of civil liberties. 9 "That priority," intoned the court in Thomas v. Collins, supra, "gives these liberties a sanctity and a sanction not per permitting dubious instrusions." This is not to say that the rights of free expression and of peaceful assembly may not be constitutionally restricted by legislative action. No one has seriously doubted that these rights do not accord immunity to every possible use of language or to every form of assembly. Circumstances may arise in which the safety, perhaps the very survival of our society, would demand deterrence and compel punishment of whomsoever would abuse these freedoms as well as whomsoever would exercise them to subvert the very public order upon the stability of which these freedoms depend. ... It is a fundamental principle, long established, that the freedom of speech and of the press which is secured by the Constitution does not confer an absolute right to speak or publish, without responsibility, whatever one may choose, or unrestricted or unbridled license that gives immunity for every possible use of language and prevents the punishment of those who abuse this freedom. 10 The right to freedom of speech, and to peaceful assembly and petition the government for redress of grievances, are fundamental personal rights of the people recognized and guaranteed by the constitutions of democratic countries. But it is a settled principle growing out of the nature of well ordered civil societies that the exercise of those rights is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community or society. The power to regulate the exercise of such and other constitutional rights is

termed the sovereign "police power," which is the power to prescribe regulations, to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of people. 11 But in every case where there arises a clash between an assertion of State authority and the exercise of free speech and assembly, it is ultimate the high function and duty of this court to locate the point of accomodation and equilibrium and draw the line between permissible regulation and forbidden restraint. It is now conventional wisdom that this function of delimitation and adjustment cannot meaningfully be carried out through the iteration of abstract generalizations. The restriction that is assailed as unconstitutional must be judged in the context of which it is part, taking into account the nature and substantiality of the community interest sought to be protected or promoted by the legislation under assay, in relation to the nature and importance of the freedom restricted and the character and extent of the restriction sought to be imposed. III Various standards have been evolved for the testing of the validity of a rule or regulation curtailing the rights of free speech, free press, and peaceful assembly. At the earlier stages in the development of jurisprudence on the matter, it was said that the State has the power to proscribe and punish speech which the State has the right to prevent." 12 The "dangerous tendency" rule, as this formulation has been called, found favor in many decisions of this Court. 13 In the United States, the "dangerous tendency" doctrine was early abandoned, and superseded by the "clear and present danger" rule. By the year 1919, the majority of the members of the United States Supreme Court got around to accepting Justice Holmes' view that "the question in every case is whether the words are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent." 14 To sustain legislation imposing limitations upon freedom of speech or of assembly, a court must find that the evil sought to be avoided by the legislative restriction is both serious and imminent in high degree. As stated in Bridges v. California: 15 ... the likelihood, however great, that a substantive evil will result cannot alone justify a restriction upon freedom of the speech or the press. The evil itself must be "substantial" ...; it must be "serious" .... What clearly emerges from the "clear and present danger" cases is a working principle that the substantive evil must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high before utterances can be punished ... The "clear and present danger" rule has been cited with approval, in at least two decisions of this Court. 16 The "dangerous tendency" and "clear and present danger" doctrines, it should not escape notice, were fashioned in the course of testing legislation of a particular type legislation limiting speech expected to have deleterious consequences on the security and public order of the community. The essential difference between the two doctrines related to the degree of proximity of the apprehended danger which justified the restriction upon speech. The "dangerous tendency" doctrine permitted the application of restrictions once a rational connection between the speech restrained and the danger apprehended the "tendency" of one to create the other was shown. The "clear and present danger" rule, in contrast, required the Government to defer application of restrictions until the apprehended danger was much more visible until its realization was imminent and nigh at hand. The latter rule was thus considerably more permissive of speech than the former, in contexts for the testing of which they were originally designed. In other types of contexts, however, where the "substantive evil" which Congress seeks to avoid or mitigate does not relate to the maintenance of public order in society, the adequacy or perhaps even the relevancy of these doctrines cannot be casually assumed. It would appear to me that one of these contexts would be that where the legislation under constitutional attack interferes with the freedom of speech and assembly in a more generalized way and where the effect of speech and assembly in terms of the probability of realization of a specific danger is not susceptible even of impressionistic calculation. I believe that Sections 50-A and 50-B come within such context. Congress enacted these provisions not because it feared that

speeches and assemblies in the course of election campaigns would, probably or imminently, result in a direct breach of public order or threaten national security. Sections 50-A and 50-B explicitly recognize that such speech and assembly are lawful while seeking to limit them in point of time. However useful the "clear and present danger" formulation was in the appraisal of a specific type of situation, there is fairly extensive recognition that it is not a rule of universal applicability and validity, not an automatic mechanism that relieves a court of the need for careful scrutiny of the features of a given station and evaluation of the competing interests involved. In American Communications Ass'n v. Douds. 17 the United States Supreme Court unequivocally said that "in suggesting that the substantive evil must be serious and substantial, it was never the intention of this Court to lay down an absolutist test measured in terms of danger to the Nation." Rejecting the criterion of "clear and present danger" as applicable to a statute requiring labor union officers to subscribe to a non-communist affidavit before the union may avail of the benefits of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, the Court, speaking through Chief Justice Vinson, said: When particular conduct is regulated in the interest of public order, and the regulation results in an indirect, conditional, partial abridgment of speech, the duty of the courts is to determine which of the two conflicting interests demands the greater protection under the particular circumstances presented.... We must, therefore undertake the delicate and difficult task ... to weigh the circumstances and to appraise the substantiality of the reasons advanced in support of the regulation of the free enjoyment of rights.... 18 In enunciating a standard premised on a judicial balancing of the conflicting social values and individual interests competing for ascendancy in legislation which restricts expression, the court in Douds laid the basis for what has been called the "balancing-of-interests" test which has found application in more recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. 19 Briefly stated, the "balancing" test requires a court to take conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of interests observable in a given situation or type of situation. 20 In the actual application of the "balancing-of-interests" test, the crucial question is: how much deference should be given to the legislative judgment? It does not seem to me enough to say that this Court should not concern itself with the wisdom of a particular legislative measure but with the question of constitutional power. I believe that we cannot avoid addressing ourselves to the question whether the point of viable equilibrium represented by the legislative judgment embodied in R.A. 4880 is an appropriate and reasonable one, in the light of both the historic purpose of the constitutional safeguards of speech and press and assembly and the general conditions obtaining in the community. Although the urgency of the public interest sought to be secured by Congressional power restricting the individual's freedom, and the social importance and value of the freedom so restricted, "are to be judged in the concrete, not on the basis of abstractions," 21 a wide range of factors are necessarily relevant in ascertaining the point or line of equilibrium. Among these are (a) the social values and importance of the specific aspect of the particular freedom restricted by the legislation; (b) the specific thrust of the restriction, i.e., whether the restriction is direct or indirect, whether or not the persons affected are few; (c) the value and importance of the public interest sought to be secured by the legislation the reference here is to the nature and gravity of the evil which Congress seeks to prevent;(d) whether the specific restriction decreed by Congress is reasonably appropriate and necessary for the protection of such public interest; and (e) whether the necessary safeguarding of the public interest involved may be achieved by some other measure less restrictive of the protected freedom. 22 In my view, the "balancing-of-interests" approach is more appropriately used in determining the constitutionality of Sections 50-A and 50-B. Both the "dangerous tendency" and "clear and present danger" criteria have minimum relevancy to our task of appraising these provisions. Under these two tests, the statute is to be assayed by considering the degree of probability and imminence with which "prolonged election campaigns" would increase the incidence of "violence and deaths," "dominion of the rich in the political arena" and "corruption of the electorate." This kind of constitutional testing would involve both speculation and prophecy of a sort for which this Court, I am afraid, has neither the inclination nor any special competence.

IV Applying the "balancing-of-interests" test or approach outlined above, I am persuaded that Congress did not exceed constitutional limits in enacting Section 50-A. This Section, it will be recalled, makes it unlawful for any political party or group to nominate a candidate for an elective public office earlier than the period of 150 or 90 days, as the case may be, immediately preceding the election. No political party or group can claim a constitutional right to nominate a candidate for public office at any time that such party or group pleases. The party nomination process is a convenient method devised by political parties and groups, as a means of securing unity of political action. 23 As a device designed for expediency of candidates and of political parties, the process of nomination or at least the time aspect thereof must yield to the requirements of reasonable regulations imposed by the State. It may be well to note that in many jurisdictions in the United States, the nomination of candidates for public office is regulated and controlled in many aspects by statutes. 24 While the act of nominating a candidate has speech and assembly aspects, the restrictive effect of Section 50-A would appear negligible. The reach of the statute is itself limited: it applies only to political parties, political committees or political groups, leaving everyone else free from restraint. The thrust of Section 50-A is also limited: it does not prohibit political parties from holding nominating conventions or from doing any lawful thing during such conventions; what it controls is the scheduling of the nominating conventions; While control of the scheduling of conventions of course involves delimitation of the time period which the formally revealed candidates have to convince the electorate of their respective merits, those periods 150 days and 90 days do not appear unreasonably short, at least not in this age of instantaneous and mass media. On the other hand, the legitimacy and importance of the public interest sought to be promoted by Section 50-A must be conceded. Congress has determined that inordinately early nominations by political parties or groups have the tendency of dissipating the energies of the people by exposing them prematurely to the absorbing excitement of election campaigns as we know them, and detracting from the attention that ought to be given to the pursuit of the main task of a developing society like ours, which is the achievement of increasing levels of economic development and social welfare. The rational connection between the prohibition of Section 50-A and its object, the indirect and modest scope of its restriction on the rights of speech and assembly, and the embracing public interest which Congress has found in the moderation of partisan political activity, lead us to the conclusion that the statute may stand consistently with and does not offend against the Constitution. The interest of the community in limiting the period of election campaigns, on balance, far outweighs the social value of the kind of speech and assembly that is involved in the formal nomination of candidates for public office. V I reach a different conclusion with respect to Section 50-B. Here, the restraint on the freedoms of expression, assembly and association is direct. Except within the "open seen" of 120 and 90 days preceding the election, the statute prevents and punishes by heavy criminal sanction speeches, writings, assemblies and associations intended to promote or oppose the candidacy of any person aspiring for an elective public office, or which may be deemed a direct or an indirect "campaign" or as "propaganda" for or against a political party. The prohibition reaches not only "a relative handful of persons;" 25 applies to any person "whether or not a voter or candidate," and to any group of persons "whether or not a political party or political committee." The effect of the law, therefore, is to impose a comprehensive and prolonged prohibition of speech of a particular content, except during the 120 or 80 days, respectively, immediately preceding an election. Thus, the moment any person announces his intention of seeking an elective public office, "regardless of whether or not said person has already filed his certificate of candidacy or has been nominated by any political party as its candidate," Section 50-B would become immediately operative. Should the aspirant make known his intention, say, one year before the election, the law forthwith steps in to impose a "blackout," as it were, of all manner of discussion in support of or in opposition to his candidacy. The lips of the candidate himself are by the threat of penal sanction sealed, and he may not make a speech, announcement, commentary, or hold an interview to explain his claim to public office or his credentials for leadership until the commencement of the period allowed for an "election campaign." Neither may any person, before that period, speak out in open support or criticism of his candidacy, for that would constitute a prohibited commentary "for or against the election of [a] candidate [albeit not a formally nominated candidate] for

public office," within the purview of paragraph (c) of Section 50-B. In practical effect, Section 50-B would stifle comment or criticism, no matter how fair-minded, in respect of a given political party (whether in our out of power) and prospective candidates for office (whether avowed or merely intending), and would abide all the citizens to hold their tongues in the meantime. What of the social value and importance of the freedoms impaired by Section 50-B? The legislation strikes at the most basic political right of the citizens in a republican system, which is the right actively to participate in the establishment or administration of government. This right finds expression in multiple forms but it certainly embraces that right to influence the shape of policy and law directly by the use of ballot. It has been said so many times it scarcely needs to be said again, that the realization of the democratic ideal of self-government depends upon an informed and committed electorate. This can be accomplished only by allowing the fullest measure of freedom in the public discussion of candidates and the issues behind which they rally; to this end, all avenues of persuasion speech, press, assembly, organization must be kept always open. It is in the context of the election process that these fundamental rigths secured by the Constitution assume the highest social importance.26 As to the formation of "organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate,"27 this is a right which, like freedom of expression and peaceable assembly, lies at the foundation of a libertarian and democratic society. 28 As Professor Kauper has explained, with characteristic lucidity: When we speak of freedom of association we may, have reference to it in a variety of contexts.Probably the highest form of freedom of association, at least as many would see it, is the freedom to associate for political purposes by means of organization of a political party and participation in its activities. The effective functioning of a democratic society depends on the formation of political parties and the use of parties as vehicles for the formulation and expression of opinions and policies. The minority party or parties become vehicles for registering opposition and dissent. The political party is the indispensable agency both for effective participation in political affairs by the individual citizen and for registering the diversity of views in a pluralistic society. Indeed, under some other constitutional systems political parties are viewed as organs of government and have a high constitutional status.29 We turn to the other end of the scales. As I have herein before observed, the interest of the state in regulating partisan political activity, which is sought to, be secured by Section 50-B no less than by Section 50-A, is a legitimate one and its protection a proper aim for reasonable exercise of the public power. I think, however, that that interest, important as it is, does not offset the restrictions which Section 50-B imposes with indiscriminate sweep upon the even more fundamental community interests embodied in the constitutional guarantees of speech, assembly and association. I have adverted to Mills v. Alabama where the United States Supreme Court struck down the Alabama Corrupt Practices Act to the extent that it prohibited, under penal sanctions, comments and criticism by the press on election day. The statutory provision there in question 11, not unlike Section 50-B here, was sought to be sustained in the interest of preserving the purity and integrity of the electoral process. The restriction which the Alabama statute imposed upon freedom of speech and assembly would seem an inconsequential one a restriction, imposed for one day, only one day, election day; nevertheless, the United States Supreme Court regarded such restriction as sufficient to outweigh the concededly legitimate purpose of the statute. We can do no less in respect of restrictious of such reach, scope and magnitude as to make the limitation of the Alabama statute appear, in comparison, as an altogether trifling inconvenience. Indeed, if a choice is to be made between licentious election campaigns, which Section 50-B seeks to curtail, and the muzzling, as it were, of public discussion of political issues and candidates, which the provision would effectuate, I have no hesitancy in opting for the former. It is the only choice consistent with the democratic process. Fortunately, there is no need to choose between one and the other; the dichotomy need not be a real one. I am not to be understood as holding that Congress may not, in appropriate instances, forbid the abusive exercise of speech in election campaigns. There is no constitutional immunity for a defamatory attack on a public candidate. Neither is there protection for slander of public officials. 30 It has been held to be within the power of the legislature to penalize specifically the making, in bad faith, of false charges of wrongdoing against a candidate for nomination or election to public office, 31 and to prohibit the publication or circulation of charges against such candidate without serving him a copy of such charges

several days before the election. 32 Statutes of this kind have been sustained against broad claims of impairment of freedom of speech and of the press. 33 "But it is an entirely different matter when the State, instead of prosecuting [offenders] for such offenses, seizes upon mere participation in a peaceable assembly and a lawful public discussion as a basis for criminal charge. 34 That remedies less destructive of the basic rights enshrined in the Constitution are not available, has notbeen shown. The applicable principle here has been formulated in the following terms: ... even though the governmental purposes be legitimate and substantial, that purpose cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be more narrowly achieved. The breadth of legislative abridgment must be viewed in the light of less drastic means for achieving the same purpose.35 Section 50-B, as it would casually lump together the activities of citizens exercising their constitutional rightsand those of politicians seeking the privilege of an elective office, is to broadly drawn to satisfy the constitutional test. The more pernicious aspects of our national preoccupation with "politics" do not arise from the exercise, even the abuse, by the electorate of the freedoms of speech and of the press; I find it difficult to suppose that these can be met by curtailing expression, assembly and association. The great majority of our people are too preoccupied with demands upon their time imposed by our generally marginal or submarginal standards of living. "Politics," as I see the contemporary scene, is a dominant pre-occupation of only a handful of persons the politicians, the professional partymen. If the people at large become involved in the heat and clamor of an election campaign, it is ordinarily because they are unduly provoked or frenetically induced to such involvement by the politicians themselves. As it is, the great masses of our people do not speak loud enough and, when they do, only infrequently about our government. The effect of the ban on speech would serve only to further chill constitutionally protected conduct on their part which, instead of being suppressed, should on the contrary be encouraged. It is not amiss to observe here that the making of politically oriented speeches and the dissemination of similar literature, while they may divert the energies of those who make or write them and their audiences, would appear to me to be among the less pernicious aspects of our national preoccupation with "politics." The more dangerous aspects of our national preoccupation probably occur in privacy or secrecy and may be beyond the reach of measures like Section 50-B. It is argued in defense of the statute, nonetheless, that under the two provisos of Section 50-B, "simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election" and expression of "views on current political problems or sues," including mentioning the names of candidates for public offices whom one supports, are not prohibited; hence, freedom of expression is not unconstitutionally abridged by Section 50-B. This argument is gravely flawed by the assumption that "simple expressions of opinion" and "views on current political problems" cover the whole reach of the relevant constitutional guarantees. What about the rights of assembly and lawful association? As to freedom of expression that cannot be confined to the realm of abstract political discussions. It comprehends expression which advocates action, no less than that which merely presents an academic viewpoint. Indeed, the value of speech in a democratic society lies, in large measure, in its role as an instrument of persuasion, of consensual action, and for this reason it must seek to move to action by advocacy, no less than by mere exposition of views. It is not mere coincidence that the farmers of our Constitution, in protecting freedom of speech and of the press against legislative abridgment, coupled that freedom with a guarantee of the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for the redress of grievances. The right of peaceful assembly for the redress of grievances would be meaningless and hollow if it authorized merely the public expression of political views, but not the advocacy of political reforms even changes in the composition of the elective officialdom of the administration. There is another, equally basic, difficulty that vitiates the avowed constitutional utility of the provisos appended to Section 50-B. Under the first proviso, it "simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign." From the precise use of the word "simple" may be rationally drawn an inference that "non-simple" expressions fall within the proscription of election campaigns. But the law conspicuously fails to lay dawn a standard by which permissible electioneering. How simple is "simple"? In the absence of such a standard, every speaker or writer wishing to make publicly

known his views concerning the election and his preferences among the candidates, must speak at his own peril. He could carefully choose his word's with the intention of remaining within the area of speech left permissible by Section 50-B. But, in the nature of things, what and who can provide him assurance that his words, "simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election" as they may be, will not be understood by his audience or at least by some of them, or by the prosecuting officers of the Government, or by the courts even, as a "speech" or "commentary" "for or against the election of ... a candidate for public office," or at least an indirect solicitation of votes? It is pertinent to advert to the Texas statute involved in Thomas v. Collins, supra, as illustrative of the vice of vagueness that we find in Section 50-B. The Texas statute required all labor union organizers to first obtain organizer's cards from the Secretary of State "before soliciting any members for his organization," and authorized the courts to compel compliance by the issuance of court processes. Thomas, the president of a nationwide labor union, came to Houston to address a mass meeting of employees of an oil plant which was undergoing unionization; but six hours before he was scheduled to speak, he was served with a court order restraining him from soliciting members for the local union which was affiliated with his organization, without first obtaining an organizer's card. For disobeying the restraining order, he was found in contempt of court. The U.S. Supreme Court, reversing his conviction, found the registration requirement an invalid restraint upon free speech and free assembly, thus: That there was restriction upon Thomas' right to speak and the rights of the workers to hear what he had to say, there can be no doubt. The threat of the restraining order, backed by the power of contempt, and of arrest for crime, hung over every word. A speaker in such circumstance could avoid the words "solicit," "invite," "join". It would be impossible to avoid the idea. The statute requires no specific formula. It is not contended that only the use of the word "solicit" would violate the prohibition. Without such a limitation, the statute forbids any language which conveys, or reasonably could be found to convey, the meaning of invitation. That Thomas chose to meet, the issue squarely, not to hide in ambiguous phrasing, does not counteract this fact. General words create different and often particular impressions on different minds. No speaker, however careful, can convey exactly his meaning, or the same meaning, to the different members of an audience. How one might "land unionism," as the State and the State Supreme Court concedes Thomas was free to do, yet in these circumstances not imply an invitation, is hard to conceive. This is the nub of the case, which the State fails to meet because it cannot do so, Workingmen to do lack capacity for making rational connections. They would understand, or some would, that the president of U.A.W. and vice president of C.I.O. addressing an organization meeting, was not urging merely, a philosophy attachment to abstract principles of unionism, disconnected from the business immediately at hand. The feat would be incredible for a national leader, addressing such a meeting, lauding unions and their principles, urging adherence to union philosophy, not also and thereby to suggest attachment to the union by becoming a member. Furthermore, whether words intended and designed to fall short of invitation would miss that mark is a question, of intent and of effect. No speaker, in such circumstance safely could assume that anything lie might say upon the general subject would not be understood by as an invitation. In short, the supposedly clear-cut distinction between discussion and laudation, general advocacy, and solicitation puts the speaker in these circumstance wholly at the mercy of the varied understanding of his hearers and consequently of whatever inference may be drawn as to his intent and meaning . Such a distinction offers no security for free discussion. In these conditions it blankets with uncertainty whatever may be said. It compels the speaker to hedge and trim . He must take care in every word to create no impression that he means, in advocating unionism's most central principle, namely, that workingmen should unite for collective bargaining, to urge those present to do so. The vice is not merely that invitation, in the circumstances shown here, is speech. It is also that its prohibition forbids or restrains discussion which is not or may not be invitation. The sharp line cannot be drawn surely or securely. The effort to observe it could not be free speech, free press, or free assembly, in any sense of free advocacy of principle or cause . The restriction's effect, as applied, in a very practical sense was to prohibit Thomas not only to solicit members and memberships but also to speak in advocacy of the cause or trade unionism in Texas, without having first procured the card. Thomas knew this and faced the alternatives it presented.When served with the order he had three choices: (1) to stand on his right and speak freely; (2) to quit, refusing entirety to speak; (3) to trim, and even thus to risk the penalty. He chose the first alternative. We think he was within his lights in doing so .36

The realism of the approach and reasoning employed in Thomas v. Collins commends itself; I think this kind of realism should be applied to the task of appraising Section 50-B. Section 50-B forbids "directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party," including any language "for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office," except within the specified periods preceding the election. If a minority political party were to hold a mass rally at Plaza Miranda within the prohibited period of an election year, for the purpose of publicly expressing their criticism of the party in power, it is unthinkable that the public speeches delivered during the occasion will not understood, by many if not by all, as a direct or an indirect campaign or propaganda against a political party, as well as a direct or an indirect solicitation of votes. The audience will certainly understand the occasion, not as a forum for indulging in criticism for criticism's sake, nor as a "simple" discussion of political, philosophy, but as an invitation to unseat the party in power at the next election. If, upon the other hand, the minority party should control one or both Houses of Congress and, for selfish partisan motives, oppose all or a major portion of the significant measures sponsored by the Administration, regardless of their merits, for the purpose of obtaining political partisan advantage, the Chief executive would, during the restricted period, find himself hampered in vigorously placing blame squarely on such minority party. The Administration (and this includes the Chief Executive himself) would be hard put to appeal to public opinion to exert pressure on the legislature to gain support for what it may honestly believe to be constructive measures sorely needed to promote the country's progress. The right of any party or politician to appeal to public opinion cannot be assailed; yet, when would such an appeal, in which the opposition may have to be several criticized not constitute a violation of Section 50-B? Actual, pre-war and postwar experience has shown that in a number of instances, the Chief Executive and leaders of his administration had to mobilize public opinion (largely expressed through the press) to frustrate what they regarded as a calculated scheme the opposition party of unreasonably interposing obstacles to a major part of essential legislation. It would indeed be most difficult to determine with exactitude what utterances of the Administration leaders, including the Chief Executive himself, would or would not constitute propaganda "for or against a political party." Under these circumstances, I find the contraposition in Section 50-B between "expressions of opinion," on the one hand, and "solicitation" and "campaign or propaganda," on the other, as too uncertain and shifting a line of distinction to be of any practical utility either to the citizen or official who must speak at his own peril or to the prosecutors and the courts who must enforce and apply the distinction. Paragraph (f) of Section 50-B is tautological and question-begging. It defines "election campaign" as "giving, soliciting, or receiving contributions for election campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly." Insofar, therefore, as the phrase "election campaign purposes" in paragraph (f) depends for its meaning on the preceding paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and(e), paragraph (f) likewise suffers from constitutional infirmity. Upon the other hand, if the meaning of paragraph (f) be that the act of soliciting, giving or receiving contributions for the purpose of advancing the candidacy of a person or party is "campaigning," then it is just as must a curtailment of the freedom of thought that the Constitution vouchsafes to every citizen. The foregoing disquisition could be compressed into the compelling perspective of this simple admonition: that "speech concerning public affairs is more than self-expression; it is the essence of selfgovernment." 37 In sum and substance, it is my considered view that Section 50-B of the Revised Election Code constitutes an unconstitutional abridgment of the freedoms of speech, of the press, of peaceful assembly, and of lawful association. I vote for its total excision from the statute books. Dizon, Zaldivar and Capistrano, JJ., concur. BARREDO, J., concurring and dissenting: I concur in the resulting dismissal of this case, but I candidate give my assent to so much of the opinion, brilliantly written for the Court by Mr. Justice Fernando, as would give the imprimatur of constitutionality to any portion of Section 50-B of the statute before Us. Hereunder are my humble but sincere observations.

I am of the firms conviction that this case should be dismissed. In fact, it is not clear to me why the petition herein was ever given due course at all No matter how I scan its allegations, I cannot find anything in them more than a petition for relief which is definitely outside the original jurisdiction of this Court. Petitioners themselves have expressly brought it as a petition for relief; it is the majority that has decided to pull the chestnuts out of the fire by holding that it should be "treated by this Court as one of prohibition in view of the seriousness and the urgency of the constitutional issue raised." Frankly I consider this relaxation rather uncalled for; it could border on over eagerness on the part of the Supreme Court, which is not only taboo in constitutional cases but also certainly not befitting the role of this Tribunal in the tripartite scheme of government We have in this Republic of ours. I am afraid the majority is unnecessarily opening wide the gate for a flood of cases hardly worthy of our attention, because the parties concerned in many cases that will come to Us may not see as clearly as We do the real reasons of public interest which will move Us when We choose in the future to either entertain or refuse to take cognizance, of cases of constitutionality. Withal, We cannot entirely escape the suspicion that We discriminate. Since after all, the majority admits that "When We act in these matters, We do not do so on the assumption that to Us is granted the requisite knowledge to set matters right, but by virtue of the responsibility We cannot escape under the Constitution, one that history authenticates, to pass upon every assertion of an alleged infringement of liberty, when our competence is appropriately invoked", (underscoring mine) and, further, no one can deny that it is now firmly established that among the indispensable requirements before this Court can take up constitutional question is that We can do it only when it, involves a real and genuine situation causing direct substantial injury to specific persons, as contradistinguished from mere speculative fears of possible general hardship or mere inconvenience, I feel it would be much safer for Us, and our position would be more in word with the rule of law, if We adhered strictly to the above requirement and threw out cases of the nature of the present one, if only out of the traditional respect this Tribunal owes the two other coordinate and co-equal departments of our government. In the petition at bar, there are no allegations of specific acts of the respondent Commission on Elections or even only threatened to be committed by it, pursuant to the challenged legislation, which they claim impairs, impedes, or negates any rights of theirs considered to be constitutionally protected against such impairment, impeding or negation. It is very clear to me that in this case, our jurisdiction has not been properly invoked. Considering how multifaceted the law in question is, one is completely at a loss as to how petitioner request for a blanket prohibition and injunction can be considered, in the light of existing principles that strictly limit our power to take cognizance of constitutional cases only to those that can pass the test I have mentioned above. What is more, I regret to have to say that what the majority is doing by taking further cognizance of and deciding this case is to brush aside the stark reality that the interest in this case of petitioners Cabigao and Gonzales, the first, as candidate, and the second, as his leader, related only to the elections of 1967 wherein, in fact, Cabigao was elected Vice-Mayor of Manila. Accordingly, this case has already become entirely academic even as a prohibition, because neither Cabigao nor his leader, Gonzales, can conceivably have any further imaginable interest in these proceedings. How can we proceed then, when petitioners' interest no longer exists and whatever decision We may make will no longer affect any situation involving said petitioners. Clearly to me, what the majority has done is to motu proprio convert the action of petitioners into a taxpayer's suit, which may not be proper because there no specific expenditure of public funds involved here. Besides, if petitioners have not come with a supplemental petition still complaining, why are We going to assume that they are still complaining or, for that matter, that there are other persons who are minded to complain, such that We have to give or deny to them here and now the reason to do so? Again, I say, the Court seems to be trying to bite more than it can chew, since cases of this nature 1 will surely come in great numbers and We will have to accommodate them all, otherwise the exercise of our discretion in rejecting any of them can be questioned and may at times be really questionable. My basic principle is that the rule of law avoids creating areas of discretionary powers, and the fact that it is the Supreme Court that exercises the discretion does not make it tolerable in any degree, for such an eventuality can be worse because no other authority can check Us and the people would be helpless, since We cannot be changed, unlike the President and the Members of Congress who can, in effect, be recalled in the elections. Of course, I have faith in the individual and collective wisdom and integrity of each and every one of my fellow members of this Court, but I still prefer that We exercise discretion only when it is clearly granted to Us, rather than for Us to create by our own fiat the basis for its exercise.

The other question assailing my mind now, is this: Is there any precedent, whether here or in any other jurisdiction where the Supreme Court has the power to declare legislative or executive acts unconstitutional, wherein any supreme court had insisted on deciding grave constitutional questions after the case had become completely moot and academic because the interest of the actors alleged in their pleading had ceased to exist? I don't believe there has been any, which is as it should be, because if this Court and even inferior court dismiss ordinary cases which have become moot and academic, with much more reason should such action be taken, in cases wherein the unconstitutionality of a law or executive order is raised, precisely for the reasons of principle already stated and fully discussed in other constitutional cases so well known that they need not be cited here anymore. It is for these considerations that I join the majority in dismissing this case. And I want to acknowledge that I am heartened in any stand by the fact that in the deliberations, at least, Mr. Justice Makalintal expressed similar views as mine, so much so that, in his particular case, he did not even care to discuss the constitutional questions herein invoIved precisely because they are not appropriately before this Court. 1a On the other hand, if the majority's position is correct that this Court may properly consider this case as one of prohibition and that it should be decided despite its having become clearly academic, I would definitely cast my vote with Mr. Justice Castro to declare unconstitutional Section 50-B of the legislative enactment in question, Republic Act 4880, more popularly known as the Taada-Singson Law. Unlike him, however, I shall not indulge in a complete discussion of my stand on the constitutional questions herein involved, since the opportunity to voice fully my views will come anyway when the proper case is filed with Us. It is only because some members of the Court feel that we should make known what are, more or less, our personal opinions, so that the parties concerned may somehow be guided in what they propose to do or are doing in relation to the coming election, that I shall state somehow my fundamental observations, without prejudice to their needed enlargement if and when the appropriate opportunity comes. Indeed, in my humble view, what the Court is rendering here is in the nature of an advisory opinion and I am sure all the members of the Court will agree with me that in doing this we are departing from the invariable posture this Court has always taken heretofore. In other words, we are just advancing now, individually and collectively, what our votes and judgment will be should an appropriate case come, unless, of course, as some of our colleagues have wisely observed in other cases where I have made similar observations, We change our mind after hearing the real parties in interest. Coming now to the constitutional problems posed by the pleadings, I have these to say, for the time being: 1. The first specific act defined by the statute in question as "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" proscribed by it within the stipulated limited period of one hundred twenty days prior to an election at large and ninety days in the case of any other election is to "form(ing) organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate." No law more effective, if less disguised, could have been conceived to render practically impossible the organization of new political parties in this country. If for this reason alone, I consider this provision to be deserving of the severest condemnation as an unparalleled assault on the most sacred and fundamental political rights of our citizenry. In the light of the recent political experience of the strong of heart and idealists amongst us, this measure appears to me as a perfect or, at least, a near-perfect scheme for the perpetuation of the status quo and the entrenchment of the presently existing political parties, particularly, the two major ones, whether or not we share the cynical reference to them by the discerning as nothing but twin peas in the same pod. This is not to say that such was what motivated its authors, particularly Senator Tanada, for whom I have always had the highest regard for his never-questioned sincerity of purpose, patriotism and libertarian principles, which opinion of mine is undoubtedly shared by all the member of this Court. I must insist, however, that such is what appears to me to be unmistakably the evident effect of the prohibition under discussion it is most probable that in its passion to remedy as early as possible the evils it feels exist, Congress has overlooked unwittingly some of the possible implications of this particular measure. It is one thing to prohibit a political party from actively campaigning outside a certain period of time and it is entirely another thing to prohibit citizens who are not contented with the existing political parties to organize, outside the same period, any new political party which they feel will better serve the public weal. 1b Before it is contended that this provision does allow the organization of new political parties within the abovementioned periods of one hundred twenty and ninety days preceding each respective election referred to, I hasten to add that the said periods are so obviously insufficient that to some it would appear as if the

reference to such brief periods of free organization in the provision was just inserted into it to camouflage its real but unmentionable intentions and/or to blunt any challenge of unconstitutionality. All our people have been witnesses to events of contemporary history which have clearly demonstrated the futility of organizing a new political party or even just a front or alliance within such a short time. To name the gallant national figures who have met frustration in such endeavor even with much more time at their disposal is to prove that the task is simply next to impossible, no matter if it were undertaken by men of the best reputation in integrity and nobility of ideals. It is surely of common knowledge that the work of organization alone of a party, not to speak of the actual participation and influence such party is intended to effectuate in the ensuing election, can hardly be accomplished, within the four months provided by the statute, with sufficient success to be of any consequence, specially, on a national level, which is what is needed most, because while local issues seem to arouse more interest among the electors, national issues have a profound effect on the lives and liberties of all the people. It must be borne in mind, in this connection, that our country is made up of more than 7,000 islands scattered throughout the length and breadth of the archipelago. Those who have taken part in one way or another in an electoral campaign of national dimension know only too well that one can hardly cover a majority of these islands, not to speak of all of them, within such an abbreviated period. Moreover, in the light of contemporary trends of political thinking and action, very much more than the present condition of things about which there is, to be sure, so much hypocritical hue and cry, particularly, among those whom the present-day Robin Hoods, in and out of the government have not attended to, to engender a general feeling of dissatisfaction and need for change in such widespread proportions as to readily galvanize enough elements to rise in peaceful revolution against the existing political parties and bring about the formation within the short span of four months of a new political party of adequate or at least appreciable strength and effectiveness in the national arena. Even the obviously sincere efforts of the undaunted who keep on trying their luck, pitted against the marked complacency and indifference of the present and passing generations, if not their incomprehensible inability to overcome the inertia that seems to be holding them from pushing the scattered protests here and there, more or less valid and urgent, to their logical conclusion, generate but very little hope that the expected reaction can materialize during our time. Needless to say, no matter if one looks at the current scenes thru the most rosy spectacles, a ban against the formation of new political parties is definitely out of the question. A total expressed ban is, of Course, repugnant to any decent sense of freedom. Indeed, a disguised even if only partial, is even more intolerable in this country that does not pretend to have but does truly have democratic bearings deeply rooted in the history of centuries of heroic uprisings which logically culminated in the first successful revolution of a small nation against despotism and colonialism in this part of the world. It is to be conceded that the adequacy or inadequacy of the means adopted by Congress in the pursuit of a legislative recognized objective is generally irrelevant to the courts in the determination of the constitutionality of a congressional action. I must be quick to add, however, that this rule can be salutary only if the adequacy is controversial, but when the inadequacy of the means adopted is palpable and can reasonably be assumed to be known or ought to be known generally by the people, such that it is a foregone conclusion that what is left licit by the law can be nothing more than futile gestures of empty uselessness, I have no doubt that the judicial can rightfully expose the legislative act for what it is an odious infraction of the charter of our liberties. Other the principle of respect for coordinate and co-equal authority can be a tyranny forbidding the courts from striking down what is not constitutionally permissible. I am ready to agree that the judiciary should give allowances for errors of appreciation and evaluation of the circumstances causing the passage of a law, but if it is true, as it is indeed true, that the Supreme Court is the guardian next only to the people themselves of the integrity of the Constitution and the rights and liberties it embodies and sanctifies, I would consider it an unpardonable abdication of our peculiar constitutionally-destined role, if We closed Our eyes and folded Our arms when a more or less complete ban against the organization of new political parties in this countries is being attempted to be passed before Us as a legitimate exercise of police power. At this point, it is best to make it clear that the particular constitutional precept with which the statutory provision in question is inconsistent and to which therefore, it must yield is Paragraph 6, Section 1, Article III of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution which ordains:

The right to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged. Incidentally, the indigenous cast of this provision is seemingly emphasized by Mr. Justice Fernando by his reference to its origin in the Malolos Constitution of 1896. 2 Indeed, there it was provided: Article 19 No Filipino in the full enjoyment of his civil and political rights shall be hindered in the free exercise thereof. Article 20 Neither shall any Filipino, be deprived of: 1. ... 2. The right of joining any associations for all objects of human life which may not be contrary to public moral; ... It is to be observed that in the light of its text and origin, the statutory provision under scrutiny forbids the abridgement of the right of inhabitants of this country to form associations and societies of all kinds, including and most of all, for the citizens, political parties, the sole exception being when the association or society is formed for purposes contrary to law. It is unquestionable that the formation of an ordinary political party cannot be for purposes contrary to law. On the contrary, the organization of political parties not dedicated to the violent overthrow of the government is an indispensable concomitant of any truly democratic government. Partyless governments are travesties of the genuine concept of democracy. The immediate repulsion that fated straws in the wind thrown in favor of such an anachronistic proposal here in the Philippines is still fresh in the memory of many of our countrymen. Our people are firmly set on the inseparability of political parties from a democratic way of life. To ban political parties here is to kill democracy itself. And now comes this legislation banning the formation of political parties except within certain limited periods of time, so short, as I have already demonstrated, that in effect, the ban is a total one. Can them be a more flagrant violation of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of association? Besides, since it is undeniable that the evils Congress seeks to remedy cannot be said to have all been brought about by the formation of new political parties, but rather by the anomalous, irregular, corrupt and illegal practices of the existing political parties, why does the legislature have to direct its wrath against new political parties, which, for all we know, can yet be the ones that will produce the much needed innovation in the political thinking and actions of our electorate which will precisely do away with the defects of the present political system? As I see it, therefore, the remedy embodied in the disputed provision is so clearly misdirected that it cannot, under any concept of constitutional law, be tolerated and considered constitutionally flawless, on the theory that it is just a case of error in the choice of means, on the part of Congress, to attain the objective it has in mind, hence beyond the pale of judicial review. To be sure, the phrase "for purposes not contrary to law" in the constitutional provision above quoted did not pass unnoticed during the debates in the constitutional convention. To some delegates, it appeared that said phrase renders nugatory the freedom it guarantees, for the simple reason that with said phrase the lawmakers are practically given the attribute to determine what specific associations may be allowed or not allowed, by the simple expedient of outlawing their purposes prophetic vision, indeed! No less than Delegate Jose P. Laurel, who later became an honored member of this Court, had to explain that "the phrase was inserted just to show that the right of association guaranteed in the Constitution was subject to the dominating police power of the state." (Aruego,id.) To my mind, this explanation of Delegate Laurel renders the prohibition in the law in question more vulnerable to the charge of unconstitutionality. It is to me simply inconceivable that the state can ever forbid the formation of political parties in the assertion of its "dominating police power". I reiterate that political parties are an absolute necessity in a democracy like ours. As a matter of fact, I dare say police power would be inexistent unless the political parties that give life to the government which exercises police power are allowed

to exist. That is not to say that political parties are above the state. All that I mean is that without political parties, a democratic state cannot exist; what we will have instead is a police state. No more than momentary reflection is needed to realize that much as our Constitution projects, it would appear, the desirability of the two-party system of government. there is nothing in it that even remotely suggests that the present political parties are the ones precisely that should be perpetuated to the prejudice of any other. Less reflection is needed for one to be thoroughly convinced that to prohibit the organization of any new political party is but a short step away from implanting here the totalitarian practice of a one-ticket election which We all abhor. Absolute freedom of choice of the parties and men by whom we shall be governed, even if only among varying evils, is of the very essence in the concept of democracy consecrated in the fundamental law of our land. So much, for the time being, for the prohibition against new political parties. Let us go now to the other freedoms unconstitutionally impinged by the legislation at bar. 2. If I vehemently decry the attempt in this law to curtail our freedom to organize political parties whenever it may please us to do so for being not only violative of the letter of the constitution but contrary also to the democratic traditions of our people and likewise a patent disregard of the very essence of a democratic form of government, I cannot have less repugnance and abhorence for the further attempt in this law to do away with the freedoms of speech and the press and peaceful assembly. Lest I be misunderstood, however, as being an ultra-activist, it should be clear at the outset that in holding that the above prohibitions contained in the statute in question are violative of the Constitution, my stand is limited to my fundamental conviction that the freedoms of speech, of the press and of peaceful assembly and redress of grievances are absolute when they are being exercised in relation to our right to choose the men and women by whom we shall be governed. I hold neither candle nor brief for licentious speech and press, but I recognize no power that can pre-censor much less forbid any speech or writing, and peaceful assembly and petition for the redress of grievances, the purpose of which is no more than to express one's belief regarding the qualification or lack of them, the merits and the demerits of persons who are candidates for public office or of political parties vying for power, as well as the principles and programs of government and public service they advocate, to the end that when voting time comes the right of suffrage may be intelligently and knowingly, even if not always wisely, exercised. If, in the process, there should be in any manner any baseless attacks on the character and private life of any candidate or party or some form of inciting to public disorder or sedition, the offender can be rightfully haled to court for libel or the violation of the penal provisions on public order and national security, as the facts may warrant, but never can anyone, much less the state, have the power to priorly forbid him to say his piece. Paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) of Section 1 of the challenged legislation cover practically a common subject matter. They all define as "election campaign" or is "partisan political activity" forbidden to be exercised within the aforementioned periods the following liberties: The term "Election Campaign" or "Partisan Political Activity" refers to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office which shall include: (a) ... (b) Holding political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purposes of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party; (c) Making speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office; (d) Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials; (e) Directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking propaganda for or against any candidate or party;

Naturally, it is my uncompromising view, that by these provisions the act directly violates the plain injunction provision of the Constitution to the effect that: No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances. (Par. [8], Sec. 1, Art. III of the Constitution) My colleagues are impressed by the objectives of the legislative measure before Us. Mr. Justice Fernando voices the feeling of some of them in the opening paragraph of the Court's opinion thus: "A statute designed to maintain the purity and integrity of the electoral process by Congress calling a halt to the undesirable practice of prolonged political campaigns, bringing in their wake serious evils not the least of which is the everincreasing cost of seeking public office, is challenged on constitutional grounds." Mr. Justice Castro proclaims said objectives as practically self-evident and heartily endorses, by quoting in toto, the purposes avowed in the explanatory note of Senate Bill 209 which finally became the subject statute. Mr. Justice Sanchez is a little more factual as he opines: State authority here manifests itself in legislation intended as an answer to the strong public sentiment that politics is growing into a way of life, that political campaigns are becoming longer and more bitter. It is a result of a legislative appraisal that protracted election campaign is the root of undesirable conditions. Bitter rivalries precipitate violence and deaths. Huge expenditures of funds give deserving but poor candidates slim chances of winning. They constitute an inducement to graft to winning candidates already in office in order to recoup campaign expenses. Handouts doled out by and expected from candidates corrupt the electorate. Official duties and affairs of state are neglected by incumbent officials desiring to run for reelection. The life and health of candidates and their followers are endangered. People's energies are dissipated in political bickerings and long drawn-out campaigns. (2nd par., p. 4, concurring & dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Sanchez) . I hope I will be forgiven for having to view things differently. Indeed, I would like to ask the optimists in and out of Congress to silence the trumpets they have sounded to herald the approval of this law. I agree that generally no court and no member of this Tribunal has the right to quarrel with Congress in its choice of means to combat the evils in a legislatively recognized situation, but are We, as the Supreme Court, to seal our lips even when we can plainly see that a congressional measure purported allegedly to do away with certain evils does, on the contrary, promote those very same evils it is supposed to remedy, on top of impinging on our sacred constitutional freedoms, and at that, with the aggravating element of giving undue advantage to the incumbents in office and to the existing political parties? A closer look at the way the prohibitions contained in the section of the law in dispute will work will reveal how detrimental they are to the basic public interest, nay, to the right of suffrage itself. I like to reiterate over and over, for it seems this is the fundamental point others miss, that genuine democracy thrives only where the power and right of the people to elect the men to whom they would entrust the privilege to run the affairs of the state exist. In the language of the declaration of principles of our Constitution, "The Philippines is a republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them." (Section 1, Article II) Translating this declaration into actuality, the Philippines is a republic because and solely because the people in it can be governed only by officials whom they themselves have placed in office by their votes. And it is on this cornerstone that I hold it to be self-evident that when the freedoms of speech, press and peaceful assembly and redress of grievances are being exercised in relation to suffrage or as a means to enjoy the inalienable right of the qualified citizen to vote, they are absolute and timeless. If our democracy and republicanism are to be worthwhile, the conduct of public affairs by our officials must be allowed to suffer incessant and unabating scrutiny, favorable or unfavorable, everyday and at all times. Every holder of power in our government must be ready to undergo exposure any moment of the day or night, from January to December every year, as it is only in this way that he can rightfully gain the confidence of the people. I have no patience for those who would regard public dissection of the establishment as an attribute to be indulged by the people only at certain periods of time. I consider the freedoms of speech, press and peaceful assembly and redress of grievances, when exercised in the name of suffrage, as the very means by which the right itself to vote can only be properly enjoyed. It stands to reason therefore, that suffrage itself would be next to useless if the liberties cannot be untrammelled whether as to degree or time.

It must be noted that the proscription contained in this law is against the use altogether of the freedom of speech, press and peaceful assembly in relation to the candidacy of a person for public office, not against the use of such freedoms in order to damage the character of any particular person or to endanger the security of the state. No matter how I view, it I cannot see how using said freedoms in the interest of someone's candidacy beyond the prescribed abbreviated period can do any harm to the common weal. I regret I came too late to this Court to be able to hear what I have been made to understand was Senator Taadas very informative arguments. With all due respect to what might have been showing by the distinguished Senator, I personally feel the present measure premature and misdirected. The incidence and reincidence of bloody occurences directly or indirectly caused by electoral rivalries cannot be denied, but unless shown convincing and reliable statistical data, I have a strong feeling that those who entertain these apprehensions are influenced by unwarranted generalizations of isolated cases. Not even the residents of such allegedly troublous areas as Ilocos Sur, the Lanao provinces, Cavite, Cebu and Nueva Vizcaya will admit that the situation in those places is so beyond control as to necessitate, at any time, the complete suppression of expression of views, oral and in writing for or against person handling public affairs or; aspiring to do so. As the above-quoted provisions stand, every imaginable form of political activity, whether done individually or suprisingly by a person, or collectively, by a number of persons, is covered by their prohibitions. Under the said provisions, during twenty months in every two years, there are only three things Filipinos can do in relation to the conduct of public affairs by those they have voted into power and the relative capacity or incapacity of others to take their places, namely: (1) simple expressions of opinion and thought concerning the election; (2) expression of views on current political problems and issues; and (3) mention the candidates whom one supports. If these exceptions in the statute are not absurd, little comfort can be found beneath their umbrage. As to the first exception, Mr. Justice Castro very aptly asks, how simple is simple? I would like to add to the impeccable structures of my esteemed colleague, if I may be permitted, the humble observation that the phrase "concerning the election" is to me too equivocal, if it is not incomprehensible, to be part of a penal statute such as this law is, with the heavy penalty of imprisonment from one year to five years, disqualification to hold public office for not less than one year nor more than nine years and deprivation of the right to vote for a like period that it imposes. To express an opinion as regards elections in general is something that is indubitably outside the area of any possible legislative proscription and to do so in relation to a forthcoming specific election without any discernible hue of an appeal for support for one protagonist or another is to say nothing worthwile, that is, if it is possible to conceive of anyone referring to an actual impending election with complete impartiality. On the other hand, to express one's views regarding an actual election with mention of the qualifications or disqualifications of the candidates and the political parties involved, cannot escape the coverage of the prohibition in question. As to the second exception, what views on current political problems and issues can be expressed without necessarily carrying with them undercurrents of conformity or non-conformity with the present state of things and, directly or indirectly, with the ways of the incumbents in office? And as to the last exception, who can be these candidates whose names would possibly be mentioned by any sympathizer, when candidates are not allowed by this law to be nominated earlier than practically the same period as the prohibitions against campaigns? . I can well understand the predicament of Congress. It has attempted to define the indefinable. Any intent to circumscribe the areas of basic liberties cannot end but in absurdity. To insist on drawing artificial boundaries for their enjoyment must necessarily result in confusion and consequent protracted controversy and debate which can only give occasion for the inordinate exercise of power for power's sake. A definition that comprehends substantially what should not be included is no definition at all. The right of our people to speak and write freely at all times about our government and those who govern us, only because we have elected them, cannot be subjected to any degree of limitation without virtual loss of the right itself. The moment it become impossible for the inhabitants of this country to express approval or disapproval of the acts of the government and its officials without imperilling their personal liberty, their right to hold office and to vote, and such appears to be the natural consequence of the injunctions of this law, we cannot be far away from the day when our Constitution will be hardly worth the paper on which it is written. I find it difficult to dissociate the prohibition in this law from the obvious advantages they give to those presently holding office by election and to the existing political parties.

Under the definition of the terms "candidate" and "election campaign or "partisan political activity" contained in the section we are assaying it is clear that what the statute contemplates are candidates for public offices. Accordingly, candidates for nomination by their respective political parties do not appear to be comprehended within the prohibition; so, as long as a person campaigns, even publicly, only for nomination by his party, he is free to expose himself in any way and to correspondingly criticize and denounce all his rivals. The fact that the law permits in Section 50-A the holding of political conventions and the nominations of official candidates one month before the start of the period of the prohibitions in Section 50-B, lends strength to this conclusion. 3 . Such being the case, the undue advantage of the aspirants for nomination within the existing political parties over independent candidates becomes evident. The legal period fixed by the law will start in July, and yet, we have long been witnesses already to all sorts of campaigns, complete to the last detail - what with the newspaper and radio and television campaign matters being published and broadcast as widely as possible, the campaigners armed or endowed with either experience, money or pulchritude or what may pass for it, welcoming wave after wave of party delegates arriving at the airports and the piers, the billeting of these delegates in luxurious and costly hotels, at the cost of the candidates and with pocket money to boot, the sumptuous banquets and parties, etc., etc. And to top it all, a well publicized marathon "consensus" which has reportedly cost the candidates millions of pesos! In other words, in the actual operation of this law, it is only the independent candidate, the candidate who does not belong to the existing political parties and who is prohibited to organize a new one, who must keep his ambitions and aspirations all to himself and say nary a word, lest he jeopardize his liberty and his rights to hold office and to vote, while those who belong to the said parties merrily go about freely gaining as much exposure as possible before the public. I need not refer to the tremendous advantages that accrue to the party in power and to all incumbents, irrespective of political party color, from the operation of this law. They should be obvious to any observer of current events. Under these circumstances, can it be successfully maintained that such disparity of opportunities for those who legitimately want to offer their services to the people by getting elected to public office, resulting from a congressional act approved by those who would benefit from it, is constitutionally flawless? When it is considered that this law impinges on the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and redress of grievances and that its only justification is that it is intended to remedy existing evil practices and undesirable conditions and occurrences related to the frequency of elections and the extended campaigns in connection therewith, and it is further considered that, as demonstrated above, this law, in its actual operation impairs and defeats its avowed purposes because, in effect, it deprives the independent candidates or those who do not belong to the established political parties of equal opportunity to expose themselves to the public and make their personal qualifications, principles and programs of public service known to the electorate, to the decided advantage of the incumbents or, at least, those who are members of the existing political parties, it can be easily seen that the curtailment of freedom involved in this measure cannot be permitted in the name of police power. I am certain none can agree that resort to police power may be sanctioned when under the guise of regulating allegedly existing evils, a law is passed that will result in graver evil than that purported to be avoided. As far as I can understand the commitment of our people to the principle of democracy and republicanism, we would rather have the bloodshed, corruption and other alleged irregularities that come with protracted electoral campaigns and partisan political activity, than suffer the continued mockery of their right to vote by limiting, as this legislation does, their right of choice only to those whom the existing political parties might care to present as official candidates before them. If this would be all that the right of suffrage would amount to, the death of Hitler and Mussolini might just as well be considered as the most lamentable tragedies in the history of freemen and we should welcome with open arms the importation into this country of the kind of elections held in Russia and Red China. A few considerations more should make those who believe in the efficacy and constitutionality of this law take a second hard look at it. Then, they will realize how mistaken they must be. I have said earlier that this act defeats its own avowed purposes. Well, all that have to be considered for anyone to see my point is that in the matter of reducing the cost of elections by limiting the period of campaigns, current events have clearly proven that instead of lessening their expenditures, candidates have spent more than they would have done without such limitation. Because of the shortness of the period provided for the calling of conventions for the nomination of official candidates by political parties and the more abbreviated period that the candidate who would be ultimately nominated and the parties themselves will have to campaign to win in the election, these parties have resorted to other means of having, at least, even a semi-official candidate, without calling him so. And this, as everybody knows means money, money and money.

The truth known to all who have political experience is that no candidate for a position voted at large nationally can entertain any hopes of winning after a campaign of only four months. It took at least a year for Presidents Magsaysay, Macapagal and Marcos to win the presidency. None of the senators we have and have had can boast of having campaigned only for four months. In view of the abbreviated period of campaign fixed in this law, necessarily the candidates have to redouble their efforts, try to cover more area in less time, see more people every moment, distribute more propaganda, etc., etc., and all these mean money, more money and more money. In this set up, so neatly produced by this law, it is regretably evident that the poor candidates have no chance. How can a poor candidate cover the more than 7,000 islands of our archipelago in four months? If it was impossible to do so when there was no limitation of the period for campaigns, what chance can such a poor candidate have now? Thus, it can be seen that this law has not only made candidates spend more than they used to do before, it has effectively reduced the chances and practically killed the hopes of poor candidates. Under this law, it may truthfully be said that the right to be elected to a public office is denied by reason of poverty. My brethren view the problem before Us as one calling for the reconciliation of two values in our chosen way of life - individual freedom, on the one hand, and public welfare, on the other. I do not see it that way. To my mind, if the freedoms of speech, press, peaceful assembly and redress of grievances in regard to the right to vote can be impinged, if not stifled, by standards and limitations fixed by those who are temporarily in power, I would regard those freedoms as no freedoms at all, but more concessions of the establishment which can be reduced or enlarged as its convenience may dictate. Of what use can such kind of freedom be? . Taking all circumstances into account, it is entirely beyond my comprehension, how anyone could have conceived the idea of limiting the period of electoral campaigns in this country, when what we need precisely is more intelligent voting by the greater portion of our people. I do not believe our mass media have reached the degree of efficiency in the dissemination of information needed to enable the voters to make their choices conscientiously and with adequate knowledge of the bases of their decisions. I am not convinced that at this stage of our national life we are already prepared to enjoy the luxury of abbreviated electoral campaigns, unless we are inclined to forever have with us the areas of political bossism, apparent statistical improbabilities and politico-economic blocs and even politico-religious control which we have; in varying degrees these days and which will naturally continue as long as our people are not better informed about the individual worth of the candidates for or against whom they vote. I dare say that there is enough reason to hold that if mistakes have been committed by our people in the selection of their elective officials, it is because the information needed to serve as basis for intelligent voting have not fully reached all segments of the population. Inadequacy of reliable information among the voters, regarding the qualification of the candidates and the relevant circumstances of the election they are taking part in can be the greatest bane of popular suffrage. Modesty aside, it is quite well known that it has been my lot to have handled, alone or with others, some of the most important political cases in the country since the end of the second world war. To be able to do so, I had to study our election laws assiduously perhaps as any other Filipino has. From what I have thus learned, I can safely say that the present laws are reasonably adequate to prevent lavish and excessive expenditures for electoral purposes. The real cause for regret is the lack of proper implementation of these laws. I dare say that even the courts, not excluding this Supreme Court, and specially the Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House of Representatives have been rather liberal in interpreting them, so much so, that the unscrupulous have succeeded in practically openly violating them with a cynical sense of impunity. The recent case of the ouster of Senators Manglapus, Kalaw and Antonino was a singular one, wherein the spirit of the law triumphed, even as it brought to the fore the necessity of making more realistic the ceilings of allowable expenditures at the time when the cost of everything has multiplied several times compared to that when the existing limitations were established. Indeed, these unrealistic limitations, as to the amounts of expenditures candidates may make, has somehow compelled the corresponding authorities to overlook or even condone violations of these laws, and somehow also, this attitude has given courage to practically everybody to pay little heed to the statutory limitations, thus giving cause to the excessive overspending the authors of the law now in question are seeking to stop or, at least, minimize. I say again, Congress does not have to sacrifice or even just risk the loss or diminution only of any of our sacred liberties to accomplish such a laudable objective. All that has to be done, in my considered opinion, is to have more sincerity, mental honesty and firm determination in the implementation of the limitations fixed in the Election Law, after they have been made more realistic, and real devotion and integrity in the official's charged with said implementation. If few may agree with me, I still entertain the trustful feeling that it is not entirely hoping against hope to expect our national leaders to regain their moral bearings and, in a bold effort to sweep away the darkening clouds of despair that envelope a great

many of our countrymen, with well recognized intellectuals and non-politicians among them, to take active measures to exert their moral leadership, to the end that our nation may regenerate by revising our people's sense of political values and thus, as much as possible, put exactly where they belong the vote-buyers the political terrorist, the opportunists and the unprincipled who have sprung in this era of moral decadence that seem to have come naturally in the wake of the havoc and devastation resulting from the extension of the area of the last world war to our shores. If even this hope cannot linger in our hearts, I dread to imagine how the Filipinos who will come after us will enjoy their lives, when in the exercise of their right of suffrage they would be able to use their freedoms of speech, press, peaceful assembly and redress of grievances only in measured doses to be administered to them by those in power in the legislature. Frankly, I am not aware of any similar legislation in other democracies of the world. The defenders of the law in question have not cited any. If perhaps the cases of some countries I hear may be mentioned, I loathe to follow their example because I hold it is illogical for us to legislate for our people, who have been reared in the principles of democracy, in the light of what is being done by people who from time immemorial have been disciplined under more or less dictatorial and totalitarian governments. Before I close, I like to add, in the interest of truth, that even stripped of the ornaments of foreign wisdom expressed in embellished language that adorn the opinions of our learned colleagues, Justice Sanchez, Castro and Fernando, their own views so exquisitely articulated by them in their respective singular styles which have been the object of admiration and respect by all, are in themselves not only gems of forensic literatures but are also indubitable evidence of judicial sagacity and learning. I am making it a point to separate their own personal views from their quotations of alien authorities, because as a matter of national pride and dignity, I would like it known that when it comes to constitutional matters particularly, civil liberties and the other individual freedoms, the members of this Tribunal are not without their own native geniuses and individual modes of expression that can stand on their own worth without any reinforcement from imported wisdom and language. May I say in closing that, if my above analysis and perspectives, if these views and conclusions of mine regarding the constitutional questions herein involved are not exactly factual and valid, I would still reiterate them, if only to serve as a feeble voice of alarm that somehow our basic liberties may be in jeopardy and it is best that we revolve early to man the outposts and steady our guard, least we awaken one dawn with nothing left to us but repentance, for having failed to act when we could, amidst the ashes of the freedoms we did not know how to defend and protect. That eternal, incessant and unyielding vigilance is the price of liberty is still and will ever be true at all times and in all lands. ARTURO M. TOLENTINO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and THE CHIEF ACCOUNTANT, THE AUDITOR, and THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE 1971 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, respondents, RAUL S. MANGLAPUS, JESUS G. BARRERA, PABLO S. TRILLANA III, VICTOR DE LA SERNA, MARCELO B. FERNAN, JOSE Y. FERIA, LEONARDO SIGUION REYNA, VICTOR F. ORTEGA, and JUAN V. BORRA, Intervenors. Arturo M. Tolentino in his own behalf. Ramon A. Gonzales for respondents Chief Accountant and Auditor of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. Emmanuel Pelaez, Jorge M. Juco and Tomas L. Echivarre for respondent Disbursing Officer of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. Intervenors in their own behalf.

BARREDO, J.: Petition for prohibition principally to restrain the respondent Commission on Elections "from undertaking to hold a plebiscite on November 8, 1971," at which the proposed constitutional amendment "reducing the voting age"

in Section 1 of Article V of the Constitution of the Philippines to eighteen years "shall be, submitted" for ratification by the people pursuant to Organic Resolution No. 1 of the Constitutional Convention of 1971, and the subsequent implementing resolutions, by declaring said resolutions to be without the force and effect of law in so far as they direct the holding of such plebiscite and by also declaring the acts of the respondent Commission (COMELEC) performed and to be done by it in obedience to the aforesaid Convention resolutions to be null and void, for being violative of the Constitution of the Philippines. As a preliminary step, since the petition named as respondent only the COMELEC, the Count required that copies thereof be served on the Solicitor General and the Constitutional Convention, through its President, for such action as they may deem proper to take. In due time, respondent COMELEC filed its answer joining issues with petitioner. To further put things in proper order, and considering that the fiscal officers of the Convention are indispensable parties in a proceeding of this nature, since the acts sought to be enjoined involve the expenditure of funds appropriated by law for the Convention, the Court also ordered that the Disbursing Officer, Chief Accountant and Auditor of the Convention be made respondents. After the petition was so amended, the first appeared thru Senator Emmanuel Pelaez and the last two thru Delegate Ramon Gonzales. All said respondents, thru counsel, resist petitioner's action. For reasons of orderliness and to avoid unnecessary duplication of arguments and even possible confusion, and considering that with the principal parties being duly represented by able counsel, their interests would be adequately protected already, the Court had to limit the number of intervenors from the ranks of the delegates to the Convention who, more or less, have legal interest in the success of the respondents, and so, only Delegates Raul S. Manglapus, Jesus G. Barrera, Pablo S. Trillana III, Victor de la Serna, Marcelo B. Fernan, Jose Y. Feria, Leonardo Siguion Reyna, Victor Ortega and Juan B. Borra, all distinguished lawyers in their own right, have been allowed to intervene jointly. The Court feels that with such an array of brilliant and dedicated counsel, all interests involved should be duly and amply represented and protected. At any rate, notwithstanding that their corresponding motions for leave to intervene or to appear as amicus curiae 1 have been denied, the pleadings filed by the other delegates and some private parties, the latter in representation of their minor children allegedly to be affected by the result of this case with the records and the Court acknowledges that they have not been without value as materials in the extensive study that has been undertaken in this case. The background facts are beyond dispute. The Constitutional Convention of 1971 came into being by virtue of two resolutions of the Congress of the Philippines approved in its capacity as a constituent assembly convened for the purpose of calling a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution namely, Resolutions 2 and 4 of the joint sessions of Congress held on March 16, 1967 and June 17, 1969 respectively. The delegates to the said Convention were all elected under and by virtue of said resolutions and the implementing legislation thereof, Republic Act 6132. The pertinent portions of Resolution No 2 read as follows: SECTION 1. There is hereby called a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution of the Philippines, to be composed of two elective Delegates from each representative district who shall have the same qualifications as those required of Members of the House of Representatives. xxx xxx xxx SECTION 7. The amendments proposed by the Convention shall be valid and considered part of the Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast in an election at which they are submitted to the people for their ratification pursuant to Article XV of the Constitution. Resolution No. 4 merely modified the number of delegates to represent the different cities and provinces fixed originally in Resolution No 2. After the election of the delegates held on November 10, 1970, the Convention held its inaugural session on June 1, 1971. Its preliminary labors of election of officers, organization of committees and other preparatory works over, as its first formal proposal to amend the Constitution, its session which began on September 27, 1971, or more accurately, at about 3:30 in the morning of September 28, 1971, the Convention approved Organic Resolution No. 1 reading thus: .

CC ORGANIC RESOLUTION NO. 1 A RESOLUTION AMENDING SECTION ONE OF ARTICLE V OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES SO AS TO LOWER THE VOTING AGE TO 18 BE IT RESOLVED as it is hereby resolved by the 1971 Constitutional Convention: Section 1. Section One of Article V of the Constitution of the Philippines is amended to as follows: Section 1. Suffrage may be exercised by (male) citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are (twenty-one) EIGHTEEN years or over and are able to read and write, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for one year and in the municipality wherein they propose to vote for at least six months preceding the election. Section 2. This amendment shall be valid as part of the Constitution of the Philippines when approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite to coincide with the local elections in November 1971. Section 3. This partial amendment, which refers only to the age qualification for the exercise of suffrage shall be without prejudice to other amendments that will be proposed in the future by the 1971 Constitutional Convention on other portions of the amended Section or on other portions of the entire Constitution. Section 4. The Convention hereby authorizes the use of the sum of P75,000.00 from its savings or from its unexpended funds for the expense of the advanced plebiscite; provided, however that should there be no savings or unexpended sums, the Delegates waive P250.00 each or the equivalent of 2-1/2 days per diem. By a letter dated September 28, 1971, President Diosdado Macapagal, called upon respondent Comelec "to help the Convention implement (the above) resolution." The said letter reads: September 28, 1971 The Commission on Elections Manila Thru the Chairman Gentlemen: Last night the Constitutional Convention passed Resolution No. 1 quoted as follows: xxx xxx xxx (see above) Pursuant to the provision of Section 14, Republic Act No. 6132 otherwise known as the Constitutional Convention Act of 1971, may we call upon you to help the Convention implement this resolution: Sincerely, (Sgd.) DIOSDADO P. MACAPAGAL DIOSDADO P. MACAPAGAL President

On September 30, 1971, COMELEC "RESOLVED to inform the Constitutional Convention that it will hold the plebiscite on condition that: (a) The Constitutional Convention will undertake the printing of separate official ballots, election returns and tally sheets for the use of said plebiscite at its expense; (b) The Constitutional Convention will adopt its own security measures for the printing and shipment of said ballots and election forms; and (c) Said official ballots and election forms will be delivered to the Commission in time so that they could be distributed at the same time that the Commission will distribute its official and sample ballots to be used in the elections on November 8, 1971. What happened afterwards may best be stated by quoting from intervenors' Governors' statement of the genesis of the above proposal: The President of the Convention also issued an order forming an Ad Hoc Committee to implement the Resolution. This Committee issued implementing guidelines which were approved by the President who then transmitted them to the Commission on Elections. The Committee on Plebiscite and Ratification filed a report on the progress of the implementation of the plebiscite in the afternoon of October 7,1971, enclosing copies of the order, resolution and letters of transmittal above referred to (Copy of the report is hereto attached as Annex 8-Memorandum). RECESS RESOLUTION In its plenary session in the evening of October 7, 1971, the Convention approved a resolution authored by Delegate Antonio Olmedo of Davao Oriental, calling for a recess of the Convention from November 1, 1971 to November 9, 1971 to permit the delegates to campaign for the ratification of Organic Resolution No. 1. (Copies of the resolution and the transcript of debate thereon are hereto attached as Annexes 9 and 9-A Memorandum, respectively). RESOLUTION CONFIRMING IMPLEMENTATION On October 12, 1971, the Convention passed Resolution No. 24 submitted by Delegate Jose Ozamiz confirming the authority of the President of the Convention to implement Organic Resolution No. 1, including the creation of the Ad Hoc Committee ratifying all acts performed in connection with said implementation. Upon these facts, the main thrust of the petition is that Organic Resolution No. 1 and the other implementing resolutions thereof subsequently approved by the Convention have no force and effect as laws in so far as they provide for the holding of a plebiscite co-incident with the elections of eight senators and all city, provincial and municipal officials to be held on November 8, 1971, hence all of Comelec's acts in obedience thereof and tending to carry out the holding of the plebiscite directed by said resolutions are null and void, on the ground that the calling and holding of such a plebiscite is, by the Constitution, a power lodged exclusively in Congress, as a legislative body, and may not be exercised by the Convention, and that, under Section 1, Article XV of the Constitution, the proposed amendment in question cannot be presented to the people for ratification separately from each and all of the other amendments to be drafted and proposed by the Convention. On the other hand, respondents and intervenors posit that the power to provide for, fix the date and lay down the details of the plebiscite for the ratification of any amendment the Convention may deem proper to propose is within the authority of the Convention as a necessary consequence and part of its power to propose amendments and that this power includes that of submitting such amendments either individually or jointly at such time and manner as the Convention may direct in discretion. The Court's delicate task now is to decide which of these two poses is really in accord with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

As a preliminary and prejudicial matter, the intervenors raise the question of jurisdiction. They contend that the issue before Us is a political question and that the Convention being legislative body of the highest order is sovereign, and as such, its acts impugned by petitioner are beyond the control of the Congress and the courts. In this connection, it is to be noted that none of the respondent has joined intervenors in this posture. In fact, respondents Chief Accountant and Auditor of the convention expressly concede the jurisdiction of this Court in their answer acknowledging that the issue herein is a justifiable one. Strangely, intervenors cite in support of this contention portions of the decision of this Court in the case of Gonzales v. Comelec, 21 SCRA 774, wherein the members of the Court, despite their being divided in their opinions as to the other matters therein involved, were precisely unanimous in upholding its jurisdiction. Obviously, distinguished counsel have either failed to grasp the full impact of the portions of Our decision they have quoted or would misapply them by taking them out of context. There should be no more doubt as to the position of this Court regarding its jurisdiction vis-a-vis the constitutionality of the acts of the Congress, acting as a constituent assembly, and, for that matter, those of a constitutional convention called for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution, which concededly is at par with the former. A simple reading of Our ruling in that very case of Gonzales relied upon by intervenors should dispel any lingering misgivings as regards that point. Succinctly but comprehensively, Chief Justice Concepcion held for the Court thus: . As early as Angara vs. Electoral Commission (63 Phil. 139, 157), this Court speaking through one of the leading members of the Constitutional Convention and a respected professor of Constitutional Law, Dr. Jose P. Laurel declared that "the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof." It is true that in Mabanag v. Lopez Vito (supra), this Court characterizing the issue submitted thereto as a political one declined to pass upon the question whether or not a given number of votes cast in Congress in favor of a proposed amendment to the Constitution which was being submitted to the people for ratification satisfied the three-fourths vote requirement of the fundamental law. The force of this precedent has been weakened, however, by Suanes v. Chief Accountant of the Senate (81 Phil. 818), Avelino v. Cuenco, (L-2851, March 4 & 14, 1949), Taada v. Cuenco, (L-10520, Feb. 28, 1957) and Macias v. Commission on Elections, (L18684, Sept. 14, 1961). In the first we held that the officers and employees of the Senate Electoral Tribunal are under its supervision and control, not of that of the Senate President, as claimed by the latter; in the second, this Court proceeded to determine the number of Senators necessary for quorum in the Senate; in the third, we nullified the election, by Senators belonging to the party having the largest number of votes in said chamber, purporting to act, on behalf of the party having the second largest number of votes therein of two (2) Senators belonging to the first party, as members, for the second party, of the Senate Electoral Tribunal; and in the fourth, we declared unconstitutional an act of Congress purporting to apportion the representatives districts for the House of Representatives, upon the ground that the apportionment had not been made as may be possible according to the number of inhabitants of each province. Thus we rejected the theory, advanced in these four (4) cases that the issues therein raised were political questions the determination of which is beyond judicial review. Indeed, the power to amend the Constitution or to propose amendments thereto is not included in the general grant of legislative powers to Congress (Section 1, Art. VI, Constitution of the Philippines). It is part of the inherent powers of the people as the repository sovereignty in a republican state, such as ours (Section 1, Art. 11, Constitution of the Philippines) to make, and, hence, to amend their own Fundamental Law. Congress may propose amendments to the Constitution merely because the same explicitly grants such power. (Section 1, Art. XV, Constitution of the Philippines) Hence, when exercising the same, it is said that Senators and members of the House of Representatives act, not as members of Congress, but as component elements of a constituent assembly. When acting as such, the members of Congress derive their authority from the Constitution, unlike the people, when performing the same function, (Of amending the Constitution) for their authority does not emanate from the Constitution they are the very source of all powers of government including the Constitution itself .

Since, when proposing, as a constituent assembly, amendments to the Constitution, the members of Congress derive their authority from the Fundamental Law, it follows, necessarily, that they do not have the final say on whether or not their acts are within or beyond constitutional limits. Otherwise, they could brush aside and set the same at naught, contrary to the basic tenet that ours is a government of laws, not of men, and to the rigid nature of our Constitution. Such rigidity is stressed by the fact that the Constitution expressly confers upon the Supreme Court, (And, inferentially, to lower courts.) the power to declare a treaty unconstitutional. (Sec. 2(1), Art. VIII of the Constitution), despite the eminently political character of treaty-making power. In short, the issue whether or not a Resolution of Congress acting as a constituent assembly violates the Constitution is essentially justiciable not political, and, hence, subject to judicial review, and, to the extent that this view may be inconsistent with the stand taken in Mabanag v. Lopez Vito, (supra) the latter should be deemed modified accordingly. The Members of the Court are unanimous on this point. No one can rightly claim that within the domain of its legitimate authority, the Convention is not supreme. Nowhere in his petition and in his oral argument and memoranda does petitioner point otherwise. Actually, what respondents and intervenors are seemingly reluctant to admit is that the Constitutional Convention of 1971, as any other convention of the same nature, owes its existence and derives all its authority and power from the existing Constitution of the Philippines. This Convention has not been called by the people directly as in the case of a revolutionary convention which drafts the first Constitution of an entirely new government born of either a war of liberation from a mother country or of a revolution against an existing government or of a bloodless seizure of power a la coup d'etat. As to such kind of conventions, it is absolutely true that the convention is completely without restrain and omnipotent all wise, and it is as to such conventions that the remarks of Delegate Manuel Roxas of the Constitutional Convention of 1934 quoted by Senator Pelaez refer. No amount of rationalization can belie the fact that the current convention came into being only because it was called by a resolution of a joint session of Congress acting as a constituent assembly by authority of Section 1, Article XV of the present Constitution which provides: ARTICLE XV AMENDMENTS SECTION 1. The Congress in joint session assembled, by a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately, may propose amendments to this Constitution or call a convention for the purpose. Such amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification. True it is that once convened, this Convention became endowed with extra ordinary powers generally beyond the control of any department of the existing government, but the compass of such powers can be coextensive only with the purpose for which the convention was called and as it may propose cannot have any effect as part of the Constitution until the same are duly ratified by the people, it necessarily follows that the acts of convention, its officers and members are not immune from attack on constitutional grounds. The present Constitution is in full force and effect in its entirety and in everyone of its parts the existence of the Convention notwithstanding, and operates even within the walls of that assembly. While it is indubitable that in its internal operation and the performance of its task to propose amendments to the Constitution it is not subject to any degree of restraint or control by any other authority than itself, it is equally beyond cavil that neither the Convention nor any of its officers or members can rightfully deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, deny to anyone in this country the equal protection of the laws or the freedom of speech and of the press in disregard of the Bill of Rights of the existing Constitution. Nor, for that matter, can such Convention validly pass any resolution providing for the taking of private property without just compensation or for the imposition or exacting of any tax, impost or assessment, or declare war or call the Congress to a special session, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, pardon a convict or render judgment in a controversy between private individuals or between such individuals and the state, in violation of the distribution of powers in the Constitution.

It being manifest that there are powers which the Convention may not and cannot validly assert, much less exercise, in the light of the existing Constitution, the simple question arises, should an act of the Convention be assailed by a citizen as being among those not granted to or inherent in it, according to the existing Constitution, who can decide whether such a contention is correct or not? It is of the very essence of the rule of law that somehow somewhere the Power and duty to resolve such a grave constitutional question must be lodged on some authority, or we would have to confess that the integrated system of government established by our founding fathers contains a wide vacuum no intelligent man could ignore, which is naturally unworthy of their learning, experience and craftsmanship in constitution-making. We need not go far in search for the answer to the query We have posed. The very decision of Chief Justice Concepcion in Gonzales, so much invoked by intervenors, reiterates and reinforces the irrefutable logic and wealth of principle in the opinion written for a unanimous Court by Justice Laurel in Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil., 134, reading: ... (I)n the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. The overlapping and interlacing of functions and duties between the several departments, however, sometimes makes it hard to say where the one leaves off and the other begins. In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmark of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof. As any human production our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however limited, has established a republican government intended to operate and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of check and balances and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the course of government along constitutional channels, for then the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of sentiment and the principles of good government mere political apothegms. Certainly the limitations and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they should be in any living Constitution. In the United States where no express constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of this moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of Article VIII of our Constitution. The Constitution is a definition of the powers or government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to strike conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its functions is in this manner the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and

controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government. But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less to be remembered that, in the language of James Madison, the system itself is not "the chief palladium of constitutional liberty ... the people who are authors of this blessing must also be its guardians ... their eyes must be ever ready to mark, their voices to pronounce ... aggression on the authority of their Constitution." In the last and ultimate analysis then, must the success of our government in the unfolding years to come be tested in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than in consultation rooms and court chambers. In the case at bar, the National Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of December 3, 1935, confirmed the election of the herein petitioner to the said body. On the other hand, the Electoral Commission has by resolution adopted on December 9, 1935, fixed said date as the last day for the filing of protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly; notwithstanding the previous confirmations made by the National Assembly as aforesaid. If, as contended by the petitioner, the resolution of the National Assembly has the effect of cutting off the power of the Electoral Commission to entertain protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, submitted after December 3, 1935 then the resolution of the Electoral Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere surplusage and had no effect. But, if, as contended by the respondents, the Electoral Commission has the sole power of regulating its proceedings to the exclusion of the National Assembly, then the resolution of December 9, 1935, by which the Electoral Commission fixed said date as the last day for filing protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, should be upheld. Here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a conflict of a grave constitutional nature between the National Assembly on the one hand and the Electoral Commission on the other. From the very nature of the republican government established in our country in the light of American experience and of our own, upon the judicial department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and defining constitutional boundaries. The Electoral Commission as we shall have occasion to refer hereafter, is a constitutional organ, created for a specific purpose, namely, to determine all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly. Although the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with, when and while acting within the limits of its authority, it does not follow that it is beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the people and that it is not subject to constitutional restriction. The Electoral Commission is not a separate department of the government, and even if it were, conflicting claims of authority under the fundamental law between departmental powers and agencies of the government are necessarily determined by the judiciary in justiciable and appropriate cases. Discarding the English type and other European types of constitutional government, the framers of our Constitution adopted the American type where the written constitution is interpreted and given effect by the judicial department. In some countries which have declined to follow the American example, provisions have been inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the courts from exercising the power to interpret the fundamental law. This is taken as a recognition of what otherwise would be the rule that in the absence of direct prohibition, courts are bound to assume what is logically their function. For instance, the Constitution of Poland of 1921 expressly provides that courts shall have no power to examine the validity of statutes (art. 81, Chap. IV). The former Austrian Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries whose constitution are silent in this respect, courts have assumed this power. This is true in Norway, Greece, Australia and South Africa. Whereas, in Czechoslovakia (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law to Constitutional Charter of the Czechoslavak, Republic, February 29, 1920) and Spain (arts. 121-123, Title IX, Constitution of the Republic of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to pass upon the validity of ordinary laws. In our case, the nature of the present controversy shows the necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to determine the conflict of authority between two agencies created by the Constitution. Were we to decline to take cognizance of the controversy, who will determine the conflict? And if the conflict were left undecided and undetermined, would not a void be thus created in our

constitutional system which may in the long run prove destructive of the entire framework? To ask these questions is to answer them. Natura vacuum abhorret , so must we avoid exhaustion in our constitutional system. Upon principle, reason, and authority, we are clearly of the opinion that upon the admitted facts of the present case, this court has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the present controversy for the purpose of determining the character, scope and extent of the constitutional grant to the Electoral Commission as "the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly." . As the Chief Justice has made it clear in Gonzales, like Justice Laurel did in Angara, these postulates just quoted do not apply only to conflicts of authority between the three existing regular departments of the government but to all such conflicts between and among these departments, or, between any of them, on the one hand, and any other constitutionally created independent body, like the electoral tribunals in Congress, the Comelec and the Constituent assemblies constituted by the House of Congress, on the other. We see no reason of logic or principle whatsoever, and none has been convincingly shown to Us by any of the respondents and intervenors, why the same ruling should not apply to the present Convention, even if it is an assembly of delegate elected directly by the people, since at best, as already demonstrated, it has been convened by authority of and under the terms of the present Constitution.. Accordingly, We are left with no alternative but to uphold the jurisdiction of the Court over the present case. It goes without saying that We do this not because the Court is superior to the Convention or that the Convention is subject to the control of the Court, but simply because both the Convention and the Court are subject to the Constitution and the rule of law, and "upon principle, reason and authority," per Justice Laurel, supra, it is within the power as it is the solemn duty of the Court, under the existing Constitution to resolve the issues in which petitioner, respondents and intervenors have joined in this case. II The issue of jurisdiction thus resolved, We come to the crux of the petition. Is it within the powers of the Constitutional Convention of 1971 to order, on its own fiat, the holding of a plebiscite for the ratification of the proposed amendment reducing to eighteen years the age for the exercise of suffrage under Section 1 of Article V of the Constitution proposed in the Convention's Organic Resolution No. 1 in the manner and form provided for in said resolution and the subsequent implementing acts and resolution of the Convention? At the threshold, the environmental circumstances of this case demand the most accurate and unequivocal statement of the real issue which the Court is called upon to resolve. Petitioner has very clearly stated that he is not against the constitutional extension of the right of suffrage to the eighteen-year-olds, as a matter of fact, he has advocated or sponsored in Congress such a proposal, and that, in truth, the herein petition is not intended by him to prevent that the proposed amendment here involved be submitted to the people for ratification, his only purpose in filing the petition being to comply with his sworn duty to prevent, Whenever he can, any violation of the Constitution of the Philippines even if it is committed in the course of or in connection with the most laudable undertaking. Indeed, as the Court sees it, the specific question raised in this case is limited solely and only to the point of whether or not it is within the power of the Convention to call for a plebiscite for the ratification by the people of the constitutional amendment proposed in the abovequoted Organic Resolution No. 1, in the manner and form provided in said resolution as well as in the subject question implementing actions and resolution of the Convention and its officers, at this juncture of its proceedings, when as it is a matter of common knowledge and judicial notice, it is not set to adjourn sine die, and is, in fact, still in the preliminary stages of considering other reforms or amendments affecting other parts of the existing Constitution; and, indeed, Organic Resolution No. 1 itself expressly provides, that the amendment therein proposed "shall be without prejudice to other amendments that will be proposed in the future by the 1971 Constitutional Convention on other portions of the amended section or on other portions of the entire Constitution." In other words, nothing that the Court may say or do, in this case should be understood as reflecting, in any degree or means the individual or collective stand of the members of the Court on the fundamental issue of whether or not the eighteen-year-olds should be allowed to vote, simply because that issue is not before Us now. There should be no doubt in the mind of anyone that, once the Court finds it constitutionally permissible, it will not hesitate to do its part so that the said proposed amendment may be presented to the people for their approval or rejection.

Withal, the Court rests securely in the conviction that the fire and enthusiasm of the youth have not blinded them to the absolute necessity, under the fundamental principles of democracy to which the Filipino people is committed, of adhering always to the rule of law. Surely, their idealism, sincerity and purity of purpose cannot permit any other line of conduct or approach in respect of the problem before Us. The Constitutional Convention of 1971 itself was born, in a great measure, because of the pressure brought to bear upon the Congress of the Philippines by various elements of the people, the youth in particular, in their incessant search for a peaceful and orderly means of bringing about meaningful changes in the structure and bases of the existing social and governmental institutions, including the provisions of the fundamental law related to the well-being and economic security of the underprivileged classes of our people as well as those concerning the preservation and protection of our natural resources and the national patrimony, as an alternative to violent and chaotic ways of achieving such lofty ideals. In brief, leaving aside the excesses of enthusiasm which at times have justifiably or unjustifiably marred the demonstrations in the streets, plazas and campuses, the youth of the Philippines, in general, like the rest of the people, do not want confusion and disorder, anarchy and violence; what they really want are law and order, peace and orderliness, even in the pursuit of what they strongly and urgently feel must be done to change the present order of things in this Republic of ours. It would be tragic and contrary to the plain compulsion of these perspectives, if the Court were to allow itself in deciding this case to be carried astray by considerations other than the imperatives of the rule of law and of the applicable provisions of the Constitution. Needless to say, in a larger measure than when it binds other departments of the government or any other official or entity, the Constitution imposes upon the Court the sacred duty to give meaning and vigor to the Constitution, by interpreting and construing its provisions in appropriate cases with the proper parties, and by striking down any act violative thereof. Here, as in all other cases, We are resolved to discharge that duty. During these twice when most anyone feels very strongly the urgent need for constitutional reforms, to the point of being convinced that meaningful change is the only alternative to a violent revolution, this Court would be the last to put any obstruction or impediment to the work of the Constitutional Convention. If there are respectable sectors opining that it has not been called to supplant the existing Constitution in its entirety, since its enabling provision, Article XV, from which the Convention itself draws life expressly speaks only of amendments which shall form part of it, which opinion is not without persuasive force both in principle and in logic, the seemingly prevailing view is that only the collective judgment of its members as to what is warranted by the present condition of things, as they see it, can limit the extent of the constitutional innovations the Convention may propose, hence the complete substitution of the existing constitution is not beyond the ambit of the Convention's authority. Desirable as it may be to resolve, this grave divergence of views, the Court does not consider this case to be properly the one in which it should discharge its constitutional duty in such premises. The issues raised by petitioner, even those among them in which respondents and intervenors have joined in an apparent wish to have them squarely passed upon by the Court do not necessarily impose upon Us the imperative obligation to express Our views thereon. The Court considers it to be of the utmost importance that the Convention should be untrammelled and unrestrained in the performance of its constitutionally as signed mission in the manner and form it may conceive best, and so the Court may step in to clear up doubts as to the boundaries set down by the Constitution only when and to the specific extent only that it would be necessary to do so to avoid a constitutional crisis or a clearly demonstrable violation of the existing Charter. Withal, it is a very familiar principle of constitutional law that constitutional questions are to be resolved by the Supreme Court only when there is no alternative but to do it, and this rule is founded precisely on the principle of respect that the Court must accord to the acts of the other coordinate departments of the government, and certainly, the Constitutional Convention stands almost in a unique footing in that regard. In our discussion of the issue of jurisdiction, We have already made it clear that the Convention came into being by a call of a joint session of Congress pursuant to Section I of Article XV of the Constitution, already quoted earlier in this opinion. We reiterate also that as to matters not related to its internal operation and the performance of its assigned mission to propose amendments to the Constitution, the Convention and its officers and members are all subject to all the provisions of the existing Constitution. Now We hold that even as to its latter task of proposing amendments to the Constitution, it is subject to the provisions of Section I of Article XV. This must be so, because it is plain to Us that the framers of the Constitution took care that the process of amending the same should not be undertaken with the same ease and facility in changing an ordinary legislation. Constitution making is the most valued power, second to none, of the people in a constitutional democracy such as the one our founding fathers have chosen for this nation, and which we of the succeeding generations generally cherish. And because the Constitution affects the lives, fortunes, future and every other conceivable aspect of the lives of all the people within the country and those subject to its sovereignty, every

degree of care is taken in preparing and drafting it. A constitution worthy of the people for which it is intended must not be prepared in haste without adequate deliberation and study. It is obvious that correspondingly, any amendment of the Constitution is of no less importance than the whole Constitution itself, and perforce must be conceived and prepared with as much care and deliberation. From the very nature of things, the drafters of an original constitution, as already observed earlier, operate without any limitations, restraints or inhibitions save those that they may impose upon themselves. This is not necessarily true of subsequent conventions called to amend the original constitution. Generally, the framers of the latter see to it that their handiwork is not lightly treated and as easily mutilated or changed, not only for reasons purely personal but more importantly, because written constitutions are supposed to be designed so as to last for some time, if not for ages, or for, at least, as long as they can be adopted to the needs and exigencies of the people, hence, they must be insulated against precipitate and hasty actions motivated by more or less passing political moods or fancies. Thus, as a rule, the original constitutions carry with them limitations and conditions, more or less stringent, made so by the people themselves, in regard to the process of their amendment. And when such limitations or conditions are so incorporated in the original constitution, it does not lie in the delegates of any subsequent convention to claim that they may ignore and disregard such conditions because they are as powerful and omnipotent as their original counterparts. Nothing of what is here said is to be understood as curtailing in any degree the number and nature and the scope and extent of the amendments the Convention may deem proper to propose. Nor does the Court propose to pass on the issue extensively and brilliantly discussed by the parties as to whether or not the power or duty to call a plebiscite for the ratification of the amendments to be proposed by the Convention is exclusively legislative and as such may be exercised only by the Congress or whether the said power can be exercised concurrently by the Convention with the Congress. In the view the Court takes of present case, it does not perceive absolute necessity to resolve that question, grave and important as it may be. Truth to tell, the lack of unanimity or even of a consensus among the members of the Court in respect to this issue creates the need for more study and deliberation, and as time is of the essence in this case, for obvious reasons, November 8, 1971, the date set by the Convention for the plebiscite it is calling, being nigh, We will refrain from making any pronouncement or expressing Our views on this question until a more appropriate case comes to Us. After all, the basis of this decision is as important and decisive as any can be. The ultimate question, therefore boils down to this: Is there any limitation or condition in Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution which is violated by the act of the Convention of calling for a plebiscite on the sole amendment contained in Organic Resolution No. 1? The Court holds that there is, and it is the condition and limitation that all the amendments to be proposed by the same Convention must be submitted to the people in a single "election" or plebiscite. It being indisputable that the amendment now proposed to be submitted to a plebiscite is only the first amendment the Convention propose We hold that the plebiscite being called for the purpose of submitting the same for ratification of the people on November 8, 1971 is not authorized by Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution, hence all acts of the Convention and the respondent Comelec in that direction are null and void. We have arrived at this conclusion for the following reasons: 1. The language of the constitutional provision aforequoted is sufficiently clear. lt says distinctly that either Congress sitting as a constituent assembly or a convention called for the purpose "may propose amendments to this Constitution," thus placing no limit as to the number of amendments that Congress or the Convention may propose. The same provision also as definitely provides that "such amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification," thus leaving no room for doubt as to how many "elections" or plebiscites may be held to ratify any amendment or amendments proposed by the same constituent assembly of Congress or convention, and the provision unequivocably says "an election" which means only one. (2) Very little reflection is needed for anyone to realize the wisdom and appropriateness of this provision. As already stated, amending the Constitution is as serious and important an undertaking as constitution making itself. Indeed, any amendment of the Constitution is as important as the whole of it if only because the Constitution has to be an integrated and harmonious instrument, if it is to be viable as the framework of the government it establishes, on the one hand, and adequately formidable and reliable as the succinct but comprehensive articulation of the rights, liberties, ideology, social ideals, and national and nationalistic policies

and aspirations of the people, on the other. lt is inconceivable how a constitution worthy of any country or people can have any part which is out of tune with its other parts.. A constitution is the work of the people thru its drafters assembled by them for the purpose. Once the original constitution is approved, the part that the people play in its amendment becomes harder, for when a whole constitution is submitted to them, more or less they can assumed its harmony as an integrated whole, and they can either accept or reject it in its entirety. At the very least, they can examine it before casting their vote and determine for themselves from a study of the whole document the merits and demerits of all or any of its parts and of the document as a whole. And so also, when an amendment is submitted to them that is to form part of the existing constitution, in like fashion they can study with deliberation the proposed amendment in relation to the whole existing constitution and or any of its parts and thereby arrive at an intelligent judgment as to its acceptability. This cannot happen in the case of the amendment in question. Prescinding already from the fact that under Section 3 of the questioned resolution, it is evident that no fixed frame of reference is provided the voter, as to what finally will be concomitant qualifications that will be required by the final draft of the constitution to be formulated by the Convention of a voter to be able to enjoy the right of suffrage, there are other considerations which make it impossible to vote intelligently on the proposed amendment, although it may already be observed that under Section 3, if a voter would favor the reduction of the voting age to eighteen under conditions he feels are needed under the circumstances, and he does not see those conditions in the ballot nor is there any possible indication whether they will ever be or not, because Congress has reserved those for future action, what kind of judgment can he render on the proposal? But the situation actually before Us is even worse. No one knows what changes in the fundamental principles of the constitution the Convention will be minded to approve. To be more specific, we do not have any means of foreseeing whether the right to vote would be of any significant value at all. Who can say whether or not later on the Convention may decide to provide for varying types of voters for each level of the political units it may divide the country into. The root of the difficulty in other words, lies in that the Convention is precisely on the verge of introducing substantial changes, if not radical ones, in almost every part and aspect of the existing social and political order enshrined in the present Constitution. How can a voter in the proposed plebiscite intelligently determine the effect of the reduction of the voting age upon the different institutions which the Convention may establish and of which presently he is not given any idea? We are certain no one can deny that in order that a plebiscite for the ratification of an amendment to the Constitution may be validly held, it must provide the voter not only sufficient time but ample basis for an intelligent appraisal of the nature of the amendment per se as well as its relation to the other parts of the Constitution with which it has to form a harmonious whole. In the context of the present state of things, where the Convention has hardly started considering the merits of hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals to amend the existing Constitution, to present to the people any single proposal or a few of them cannot comply with this requirement. We are of the opinion that the present Constitution does not contemplate in Section 1 of Article XV a plebiscite or "election" wherein the people are in the dark as to frame of reference they can base their judgment on. We reject the rationalization that the present Constitution is a possible frame of reference, for the simple reason that intervenors themselves are stating that the sole purpose of the proposed amendment is to enable the eighteen year olds to take part in the election for the ratification of the Constitution to be drafted by the Convention. In brief, under the proposed plebiscite, there can be, in the language of Justice Sanchez, speaking for the six members of the Court in Gonzales, supra, "no proper submission". III The Court has no desire at all to hamper and hamstring the noble work of the Constitutional Convention. Much less does the Court want to pass judgment on the merits of the proposal to allow these eighteen years old to vote. But like the Convention, the Court has its own duties to the people under the Constitution which is to decide in appropriate cases with appropriate parties Whether or not the mandates of the fundamental law are being complied with. In the best light God has given Us, we are of the conviction that in providing for the questioned plebiscite before it has finished, and separately from, the whole draft of the constitution it has been called to formulate, the Convention's Organic Resolution No. 1 and all subsequent acts of the Convention implementing the same violate the condition in Section 1, Article XV that there should only be one "election" or

plebiscite for the ratification of all the amendments the Convention may propose. We are not denying any right of the people to vote on the proposed amendment; We are only holding that under Section 1, Article XV of the Constitution, the same should be submitted to them not separately from but together with all the other amendments to be proposed by this present Convention. IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition herein is granted. Organic Resolution No. 1 of the Constitutional Convention of 1971 and the implementing acts and resolutions of the Convention, insofar as they provide for the holding of a plebiscite on November 8, 1971, as well as the resolution of the respondent Comelec complying therewith (RR Resolution No. 695) are hereby declared null and void. The respondents Comelec, Disbursing Officer, Chief Accountant and Auditor of the Constitutional Convention are hereby enjoined from taking any action in compliance with the said organic resolution. In view of the peculiar circumstances of this case, the Court declares this decision immediately executory. No costs. Concepcion, C.J., Teehankee, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

MAKALINTAL, J., reserves his vote I reserve my vote. The resolution in question is voted down by a sufficient majority of the Court on just one ground, which to be sure achieves the result from the legal and constitutional viewpoint. I entertain grave doubts as to the validity of the premises postulated and conclusions reached in support of the dispositive portion of the decision. However, considering the urgent nature of this case, the lack of time to set down at length my opinion on the particular issue upon which the decision is made to rest, and the fact that a dissent on the said issue would necessarily be inconclusive unless the other issues raised in the petition are also considered and ruled upon a task that would be premature and pointless at this time I limit myself to this reservation. REYES, J.B.L., ZALDIVAR, CASTRO and MAKASIAR, JJ., concurring: We concur in the main opinion penned by Mr. Justice Barredo in his usual inimitable, forthright and vigorous style. Like him, we do not express our individual views on the wisdom of the proposed constitutional amendment, which is not in issue here because it is a matter that properly and exclusively addresses itself to the collective judgment of the people. We must, however, articulate two additional objections of constitutional dimension which, although they would seem to be superfluous because of the reach of the basic constitutional infirmity discussed in extenso in the main opinion, nevertheless appear to us to be just as fundamental in character and scope. Assuming that the Constitutional Convention has power to propose piecemeal amendments and submit each separately to the people for ratification, we are nonetheless persuaded that (1) that there is no proper submissionof title proposed amendment in question within the meaning and intendment of Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution, and (2) that the forthcoming election is not the proper election envisioned by the same provision of the Constitution. Mr. Justice C. V. Sanchez, in his dissent in Gonzales vs. Commission on Elections 1 and Philippine Constitution Association vs. Commission on Elections, 2 expounded his view, with which

we essentially agree, on the minimum requirements that must be met in order that there can be a proper submission to the people of a proposed constitutional amendment. This is what he said: ... amendments must be fairly laid before the people for their blessing or spurning. The people are not to be mere rubber stamps. They are not to vote blindly. They must be afforded ample opportunity to mull over the original provisions, compare them with the proposed amendments, and try to reach a conclusion as the dictates of their conscience suggest, free from the incubus of extraneous or possibly insidious influences. We believe the word "submitted" can only mean that the government, within its maximum capabilities, should strain every effort to inform citizen of the provisions to be amended, and the proposed amendments and the meaning, nature and effects thereof. By this, we are not to be understood as saying that, if one citizen or 100 citizens or 1,000 citizens cannot be reached, then there is no submission within the meaning of the word as intended by the framers of the Constitution. What the Constitution in effect directs is that the government, in submitting an amendment for ratification, should put every instrumentality or agency within its structural framework to enlighten the people, educate them with respect to their act of ratification or rejection. For we have earlier stated, one thing is submission and another is ratification. There must be fair submission, intelligent consent or rejection." . The second constitutional objection was given expression by one of the writers of this concurring opinion, in the following words: I find it impossible to believe that it was ever intended by its framers that such amendment should be submitted and ratified by just "a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification", if the concentration of the people's attention thereon is to be diverted by other extraneous issues, such as the choice of local and national officials. The framers of the Constitution, aware of the fundamental character thereof, and of the need of giving it as much stability as is practicable, could have only meant that any amendments thereto should be debated, considered and voted upon an election wherein the people could devote undivided attention to the subject. 4 True it is that the question posed by the proposed amendment, "Do you or do you not want the 18-year old to be allowed to vote?," would seem to be uncomplicated and innocuous. But it is one of life's verities that things which appear to be simple may turn out not to be so simple after all. A number of doubts or misgivings could conceivably and logically assail the average voter. Why should the voting age be lowered at all, in the first place? Why should the new voting age be precisely 18 years, and not 19 or 20? And why not 17? Or even 16 or 15? Is the 18-year old as mature as the 21-year old so that there is no need of an educational qualification to entitle him to vote? In this age of permissiveness and dissent, can the 18-year old be relied upon to vote with judiciousness when the 21-year old, in the past elections, has not performed so well? If the proposed amendment is voted down by the people, will the Constitutional Convention insist on the said amendment? Why is there an unseemly haste on the part of the Constitutional Convention in having this particular proposed amendment ratified at this particular time? Do some of the members of the Convention have future political plans which they want to begin to subserve by the approval this year of this amendment? If this amendment is approved, does it thereby mean that the 18-year old should now also shoulder the moral and legal responsibilities of the 21-year old? Will he be required to render compulsory military service under the colors? Will the age of contractual consent be reduced to 18 years? If I vote against this amendment, will I not be unfair to my own child who will be 18 years old, come 1973? . The above are just samplings from here, there and everywhere from a domain (of searching questions) the bounds of which are not immediately ascertainable. Surely, many more questions can be added to the already long litany. And the answers cannot be had except as the questions are debated fully, pondered upon purposefully, and accorded undivided attention. Scanning the contemporary scene, we say that the people are not, and by election time will not be, sufficiently informed of the meaning, nature and effects of the proposed constitutional amendment. They have not been afforded ample time to deliberate thereon conscientiously. They have been and are effectively distracted from a full and dispassionate consideration of the merits and demerits of the proposed amendment by their

traditional pervasive involvement in local elections and politics. They cannot thus weigh in tranquility the need for and the wisdom of the proposed amendment. Upon the above disquisition, it is our considered view that the intendment of the words, "at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification," embodied in Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution, has not been met. FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting: There is much to be said for the opinion of the Court penned by Justice Barredo, characterized by clarity and vigor, its manifestation of fealty to the rule of law couched in eloquent language, that commands assent. As the Constitution occupies the topmost rank in the hierarchy of legal norms, Congress and Constitutional Convention alike, no less than this Court, must bow to its supremacy. Thereby constitutionalism asserts itself. With the view I entertain of what is allowable, if not indeed required by the Constitution, my conformity does not extend as far as the acceptance of the conclusion reached. The question presented is indeed novel, not being controlled by constitutional prescription, definite and certain. Under the circumstances, with the express recognition in the Constitution of the powers of the Constitutional Convention to propose amendments, I cannot discern any objection to the validity of its action there being no legal impediment that would call for its nullification. Such an approach all the more commends itself to me considering that what was sought to be done is to refer the matter to the people in whom, according to our Constitution, sovereignty resides. It is in that sense that, with due respect, I find myself unable to join my brethren. I. It is understandable then why the decisive issue posed could not be resolved by reliance on, implicit in the petition and the answer of intervenors, such concepts as legislative control of the constitutional convention referred to by petitioner on the one hand or, on the other, the theory of conventional sovereignty favored by intervenors. It is gratifying to note that during the oral argument of petitioner and counsel for respondents and intervenors, there apparently was a retreat from such extreme position, all parties, as should be the case, expressly avowing the primacy of the Constitution, the applicable provision of which as interpreted by this Court, should be controlling on both Congress and the Convention. It cannot be denied though that in at least one American state, that is Pennsylvania, there were decisions announcing the doctrine that the powers to be exercised by a constitutional convention are dependent on a legislative grant, in the absence of any authority conferred directly by the fundamental law. The result is a convention that is subordinate to the lawmaking body. Its field of competence is circumscribed. It has to look to the latter for the delimitation of its permissible scope of activity. It is thus made subordinate to the legislature. Nowhere has such a view been more vigorously expressed than in the Pennsylvania case of Wood's Appeal. 1 Its holding though finds no support under our constitutional provision. It does not thereby follow that while free from legislative control, a constitutional convention may lay claim to an attribute sovereign in character. The Constitution is quite explicit that it is to the people, and to the people alone, in whom sovereignty resides. 2 Such a prerogative is therefore withheld from a convention. It is an agency entrusted with the responsibility of high import and significance it is true; it is denied unlimited legal competence though. That is what sovereignty connotes. It has to yield to the superior force of the Constitution. There can then be no basis for the exaggerated pretension that it is an alter ego of the people. It is to be admitted that there are some American state decisions, the most notable of which is Sproule v. Fredericks, 3 a Mississippi case, that dates back to 1892, that yield a different conclusion. The doctrine therein announced cannot bind us. Our Constitution makes clear that the power of a constitutional convention is not sovereign. It is appropriately termed constituent, limited as it is to the purpose of drafting a constitution or proposing revision or amendments to one in existence, subject in either case to popular approval. The view that commends itself for acceptance is that legislature and constitutional convention, alike recognized by the Constitution, are coordinate, there being no superiority of one over the other. Insofar as the constituent power of proposing amendments to the Constitution is concerned, a constitutional convention enjoys a wide sphere of autonomy consistently with the Constitution which can be the only source of valid restriction on its competence. It is true it is to the legislative body that the call to a convention must proceed, but once convened, it cannot in any wise be interfered with, much less controlled by Congress. A contrary conclusion would impair its usefulness for the delicate, and paramount task assigned to it. A convention then is to be looked upon as if it were one of the three coordinate departments which under the principle of

separation of powers is supreme within its field and has exclusive cognizance of matters properly subject to its jurisdiction. A succinct statement of the appropriate principle that should govern the relationship between a constitutional convention and a legislative body under American law is that found in Orfield's work. Thus: "The earliest view seems to have been that a convention was absolute. The convention was sovereign and subject to no restraint. On the other hand, Jameson, whose views have been most frequently cited in decisions, viewed a convention as a body with strictly limited powers, and subject to the restrictions imposed on it by the legislative call. A third and intermediate view is that urged by Dodd that a convention, though not sovereign, is a body independent of the legislature; it is bound by the existing constitution, but not by the acts of the legislature, as to the extent of its constituent power. This view has become increasingly prevalent in the state decisions." 4 2. It is to the Constitution, and to the Constitution alone then, as so vigorously stressed in the opinion of the Court, that any limitation on the power the Constitutional, Convention must find its source. I turn to its Article XV. It reads: "The Congress in joint session assembled, by a vote of three fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately, may propose amendments to this Constitution or call a convention for that purpose. Such amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification." Clearly, insofar as amendments, including revision, are concerned, there are two steps, proposal and thereafter ratification. Thus as to the former, two constituent bodies are provided for, the Congress of the Philippines in the mode therein provided, and a constitutional convention that may be called into being. Once assembled, a constitutional convention, like the Congress of the Philippines, possesses in all its plenitude the constituent power. Inasmuch as Congress may determine what amendments it would have the people ratify and thereafter take all the steps necessary so that the approval or disapproval of the electorate may be obtained, the convention likewise, to my mind, should be deemed possessed of all the necessary authority to assure that whatever amendments it seeks to introduce would be submitted to the people at an election called for that purpose. It would appear to me that to view the convention as being denied a prerogative which is not withheld from Congress as a constituent body would be to place it in an inferior category. Such a proposition I do not find acceptable. Congress and constitutional convention are agencies for submitting proposals under the fundamental law. A power granted to one should not be denied the other. No justification for such a drastic differentiation either in theory or practice exists. Such a conclusion has for me the added reinforcement that to require ordinary legislation before the convention could be enabled to have its proposals voted on by the people would be to place a power in the legislative and executive branches that could, whether by act or omission, result in the frustration of the amending process. I am the first to admit that such likelihood is remote, but if such a risk even if minimal could be avoided, it should be, unless the compelling force of an applicable constitutional provision requires otherwise. Considering that a constitutional convention is not precluded from imposing additional restrictions on the powers of either the executive or legislative branches, or, for that matter, the judiciary, it would appear to be the better policy to interpret Article XV in such a way that would not sanction such restraint on the authority that must be recognized as vested in a constitutional convention. There is nothing in such a view that to my mind would collide with a reasonable interpretation of Article XV. It certainly is one way by which freed from pernicious abstractions, it would be easier to accommodate a constitution to the needs of an unfolding future. That is to facilitate its being responsive to the challenge that time inevitably brings in its wake. From such an approach then, I am irresistibly led to the conclusion that the challenged resolution was well within the power of the convention. That would be to brush aside the web of unreality spun from a toorestrictive mode of appraising the legitimate scope of its competence. That would be, for me, to give added vigor and life to the conferment of authority vested in it, attended by such grave and awesome responsibility. 3. It becomes pertinent to inquire then whether the last sentence of Article XV providing that such amendment shall be valid when submitted and thereafter approved by the majority of the votes cast by the people at an election is a bar to the proposed submission. It is the conclusion arrived at by my brethren that there is to be only one election and that therefore the petition must be sustained as only when the convention has finished its work should all amendments proposed be submitted for ratification. That is not for me, and I say this with respect, the appropriate interpretation. It is true that the Constitution uses the word "election" in the singular, but that is not decisive. No undue reliance should be accorded rules of grammar; they do not exert a compelling

force in constitutional interpretation. Meaning is to be sought not from specific language in the singular but from the mosaic of significance derived from the total context. It could be, if it were not thus, self-defeating. Such a mode of construction does not commend itself. The words used in the Constitution are not inert; they derive vitality from the obvious purposes at which they are aimed. Petitioner's stress on linguistic refinement, while not implausible does not, for me, carry the day. It was likewise argued by petitioner that the proposed amendment is provisional and therefore is not such as was contemplated in this article. I do not find such contention convincing. The fact that the Constitutional Convention did seek to consult the wishes of the people by the proposed submission of a tentative amendatory provision is an argument for its validity. It might be said of course that until impressed with finality, an amendment is not to be passed upon by the electorate. There is plausibility in such a view. A literal reading of the Constitution would support it. The spirit that informs it though would not, for me, be satisfied. From its silence I deduce the inference that there is no repugnancy to the fundamental law when the Constitutional Convention ascertains the popular will. In that sense, the Constitution, to follow the phraseology of Thomas Reed Powel, is not silently silent but silently vocal. What I deem the more important consideration is that while a public official, as an agent, has to locate his source of authority in either Constitution or statute, the people, as the principal, can only be limited in the exercise of their sovereign powers by the express terms of the Constitution. A concept to the contrary would to my way of thinking be inconsistent with the fundamental principle that it is in the people, and the people alone, that sovereignty resides. 4. The constitutional Convention having acted within the scope of its authority, an action to restrain or prohibit respondent Commission on Elections from conducting the plebiscite does not lie. It should not be lost sight of that the Commission on Elections in thus being charged with such a duty does not act in its capacity as the constitutional agency to take charge of all laws relative to the conduct of election. That is a purely executive function vested in it under Article X of the Constitution. 5 It is not precluded from assisting the Constitutional Convention if pursuant to its competence to amend the fundamental law it seeks, as in this case, to submit a proposal, even if admittedly tentative, to the electorate to ascertain its verdict. At any rate, it may be implied that under the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act, it is not to turn a deaf ear to a summons from the Convention to aid it in the legitimate discharge of its functions. 6 The aforesaid considerations, such as they are, but which for me have a force that I mind myself unable to overcome, leave me no alternative but to dissent from my brethren, with due acknowledgement of course that from their basic premises, the conclusion arrived at by them cannot be characterized as in any wise bereft of a persuasive quality of a high order.

Separate Opinions MAKALINTAL, J., reserves his vote I reserve my vote. The resolution in question is voted down by a sufficient majority of the Court on just one ground, which to be sure achieves the result from the legal and constitutional viewpoint. I entertain grave doubts as to the validity of the premises postulated and conclusions reached in support of the dispositive portion of the decision. However, considering the urgent nature of this case, the lack of time to set down at length my opinion on the particular issue upon which the decision is made to rest, and the fact that a dissent on the said issue would necessarily be inconclusive unless the other issues raised in the petition are also considered and ruled upon a task that would be premature and pointless at this time I limit myself to this reservation. REYES, J.B.L., ZALDIVAR, CASTRO and MAKASIAR, JJ., concurring: We concur in the main opinion penned by Mr. Justice Barredo in his usual inimitable, forthright and vigorous style. Like him, we do not express our individual views on the wisdom of the proposed constitutional

amendment, which is not in issue here because it is a matter that properly and exclusively addresses itself to the collective judgment of the people. We must, however, articulate two additional objections of constitutional dimension which, although they would seem to be superfluous because of the reach of the basic constitutional infirmity discussed in extenso in the main opinion, nevertheless appear to us to be just as fundamental in character and scope. Assuming that the Constitutional Convention has power to propose piecemeal amendments and submit each separately to the people for ratification, we are nonetheless persuaded that (1) that there is no proper submissionof title proposed amendment in question within the meaning and intendment of Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution, and (2) that the forthcoming election is not the proper election envisioned by the same provision of the Constitution. Mr. Justice C. V. Sanchez, in his dissent in Gonzales vs. Commission on Elections 1 and Philippine Constitution Association vs. Commission on Elections , 2 expounded his view, with which we essentially agree, on the minimum requirements that must be met in order that there can be a proper submission to the people of a proposed constitutional amendment. This is what he said: ... amendments must be fairly laid before the people for their blessing or spurning. The people are not to be mere rubber stamps. They are not to vote blindly. They must be afforded ample opportunity to mull over the original provisions, compare them with the proposed amendments, and try to reach a conclusion as the dictates of their conscience suggest, free from the incubus of extraneous or possibly insidious influences. We believe the word "submitted" can only mean that the government, within its maximum capabilities, should strain every effort to inform citizen of the provisions to be amended, and the proposed amendments and the meaning, nature and effects thereof. By this, we are not to be understood as saying that, if one citizen or 100 citizens or 1,000 citizens cannot be reached, then there is no submission within the meaning of the word as intended by the framers of the Constitution. What the Constitution in effect directs is that the government, in submitting an amendment for ratification, should put every instrumentality or agency within its structural framework to enlighten the people, educate them with respect to their act of ratification or rejection. For we have earlier stated, one thing is submission and another is ratification. There must be fair submission, intelligent consent or rejection." . The second constitutional objection was given expression by one of the writers of this concurring opinion, in the following words: I find it impossible to believe that it was ever intended by its framers that such amendment should be submitted and ratified by just "a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification", if the concentration of the people's attention thereon is to be diverted by other extraneous issues, such as the choice of local and national officials. The framers of the Constitution, aware of the fundamental character thereof, and of the need of giving it as much stability as is practicable, could have only meant that any amendments thereto should be debated, considered and voted upon an election wherein the people could devote undivided attention to the subject. 4 True it is that the question posed by the proposed amendment, "Do you or do you not want the 18-year old to be allowed to vote?," would seem to be uncomplicated and innocuous. But it is one of life's verities that things which appear to be simple may turn out not to be so simple after all. A number of doubts or misgivings could conceivably and logically assail the average voter. Why should the voting age be lowered at all, in the first place? Why should the new voting age be precisely 18 years, and not 19 or 20? And why not 17? Or even 16 or 15? Is the 18-year old as mature as the 21-year old so that there is no need of an educational qualification to entitle him to vote? In this age of permissiveness and dissent, can the 18-year old be relied upon to vote with judiciousness when the 21-year old, in the past elections, has not performed so well? If the proposed amendment is voted down by the people, will the Constitutional Convention insist on the said amendment? Why is there an unseemly haste on the part of the Constitutional Convention in having this particular proposed amendment ratified at this particular time? Do some of the

members of the Convention have future political plans which they want to begin to subserve by the approval this year of this amendment? If this amendment is approved, does it thereby mean that the 18-year old should now also shoulder the moral and legal responsibilities of the 21-year old? Will he be required to render compulsory military service under the colors? Will the age of contractual consent be reduced to 18 years? If I vote against this amendment, will I not be unfair to my own child who will be 18 years old, come 1973? . The above are just samplings from here, there and everywhere from a domain (of searching questions) the bounds of which are not immediately ascertainable. Surely, many more questions can be added to the already long litany. And the answers cannot be had except as the questions are debated fully, pondered upon purposefully, and accorded undivided attention. Scanning the contemporary scene, we say that the people are not, and by election time will not be, sufficiently informed of the meaning, nature and effects of the proposed constitutional amendment. They have not been afforded ample time to deliberate thereon conscientiously. They have been and are effectively distracted from a full and dispassionate consideration of the merits and demerits of the proposed amendment by their traditional pervasive involvement in local elections and politics. They cannot thus weigh in tranquility the need for and the wisdom of the proposed amendment. Upon the above disquisition, it is our considered view that the intendment of the words, "at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification," embodied in Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution, has not been met. FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting: There is much to be said for the opinion of the Court penned by Justice Barredo, characterized by clarity and vigor, its manifestation of fealty to the rule of law couched in eloquent language, that commands assent. As the Constitution occupies the topmost rank in the hierarchy of legal norms, Congress and Constitutional Convention alike, no less than this Court, must bow to its supremacy. Thereby constitutionalism asserts itself. With the view I entertain of what is allowable, if not indeed required by the Constitution, my conformity does not extend as far as the acceptance of the conclusion reached. The question presented is indeed novel, not being controlled by constitutional prescription, definite and certain. Under the circumstances, with the express recognition in the Constitution of the powers of the Constitutional Convention to propose amendments, I cannot discern any objection to the validity of its action there being no legal impediment that would call for its nullification. Such an approach all the more commends itself to me considering that what was sought to be done is to refer the matter to the people in whom, according to our Constitution, sovereignty resides. It is in that sense that, with due respect, I find myself unable to join my brethren. I. It is understandable then why the decisive issue posed could not be resolved by reliance on, implicit in the petition and the answer of intervenors, such concepts as legislative control of the constitutional convention referred to by petitioner on the one hand or, on the other, the theory of conventional sovereignty favored by intervenors. It is gratifying to note that during the oral argument of petitioner and counsel for respondents and intervenors, there apparently was a retreat from such extreme position, all parties, as should be the case, expressly avowing the primacy of the Constitution, the applicable provision of which as interpreted by this Court, should be controlling on both Congress and the Convention. It cannot be denied though that in at least one American state, that is Pennsylvania, there were decisions announcing the doctrine that the powers to be exercised by a constitutional convention are dependent on a legislative grant, in the absence of any authority conferred directly by the fundamental law. The result is a convention that is subordinate to the lawmaking body. Its field of competence is circumscribed. It has to look to the latter for the delimitation of its permissible scope of activity. It is thus made subordinate to the legislature. Nowhere has such a view been more vigorously expressed than in the Pennsylvania case of Wood's Appeal. 1 Its holding though finds no support under our constitutional provision. It does not thereby follow that while free from legislative control, a constitutional convention may lay claim to an attribute sovereign in character. The Constitution is quite explicit that it is to the people, and to the people alone, in whom sovereignty resides. 2 Such a prerogative is therefore withheld from a convention. It is an agency entrusted with the responsibility of high import and significance it is true; it is denied unlimited legal competence though. That is what sovereignty connotes. It has to yield to the superior force of the Constitution.

There can then be no basis for the exaggerated pretension that it is an alter ego of the people. It is to be admitted that there are some American state decisions, the most notable of which is Sproule v. Fredericks, 3 a Mississippi case, that dates back to 1892, that yield a different conclusion. The doctrine therein announced cannot bind us. Our Constitution makes clear that the power of a constitutional convention is not sovereign. It is appropriately termed constituent, limited as it is to the purpose of drafting a constitution or proposing revision or amendments to one in existence, subject in either case to popular approval. The view that commends itself for acceptance is that legislature and constitutional convention, alike recognized by the Constitution, are coordinate, there being no superiority of one over the other. Insofar as the constituent power of proposing amendments to the Constitution is concerned, a constitutional convention enjoys a wide sphere of autonomy consistently with the Constitution which can be the only source of valid restriction on its competence. It is true it is to the legislative body that the call to a convention must proceed, but once convened, it cannot in any wise be interfered with, much less controlled by Congress. A contrary conclusion would impair its usefulness for the delicate, and paramount task assigned to it. A convention then is to be looked upon as if it were one of the three coordinate departments which under the principle of separation of powers is supreme within its field and has exclusive cognizance of matters properly subject to its jurisdiction. A succinct statement of the appropriate principle that should govern the relationship between a constitutional convention and a legislative body under American law is that found in Orfield's work. Thus: "The earliest view seems to have been that a convention was absolute. The convention was sovereign and subject to no restraint. On the other hand, Jameson, whose views have been most frequently cited in decisions, viewed a convention as a body with strictly limited powers, and subject to the restrictions imposed on it by the legislative call. A third and intermediate view is that urged by Dodd that a convention, though not sovereign, is a body independent of the legislature; it is bound by the existing constitution, but not by the acts of the legislature, as to the extent of its constituent power. This view has become increasingly prevalent in the state decisions." 4 2. It is to the Constitution, and to the Constitution alone then, as so vigorously stressed in the opinion of the Court, that any limitation on the power the Constitutional, Convention must find its source. I turn to its Article XV. It reads: "The Congress in joint session assembled, by a vote of three fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately, may propose amendments to this Constitution or call a convention for that purpose. Such amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification." Clearly, insofar as amendments, including revision, are concerned, there are two steps, proposal and thereafter ratification. Thus as to the former, two constituent bodies are provided for, the Congress of the Philippines in the mode therein provided, and a constitutional convention that may be called into being. Once assembled, a constitutional convention, like the Congress of the Philippines, possesses in all its plenitude the constituent power. Inasmuch as Congress may determine what amendments it would have the people ratify and thereafter take all the steps necessary so that the approval or disapproval of the electorate may be obtained, the convention likewise, to my mind, should be deemed possessed of all the necessary authority to assure that whatever amendments it seeks to introduce would be submitted to the people at an election called for that purpose. It would appear to me that to view the convention as being denied a prerogative which is not withheld from Congress as a constituent body would be to place it in an inferior category. Such a proposition I do not find acceptable. Congress and constitutional convention are agencies for submitting proposals under the fundamental law. A power granted to one should not be denied the other. No justification for such a drastic differentiation either in theory or practice exists. Such a conclusion has for me the added reinforcement that to require ordinary legislation before the convention could be enabled to have its proposals voted on by the people would be to place a power in the legislative and executive branches that could, whether by act or omission, result in the frustration of the amending process. I am the first to admit that such likelihood is remote, but if such a risk even if minimal could be avoided, it should be, unless the compelling force of an applicable constitutional provision requires otherwise. Considering that a constitutional convention is not precluded from imposing additional restrictions on the powers of either the executive or legislative branches, or, for that matter, the judiciary, it would appear to be the better policy to interpret Article XV in such a way that would not sanction such restraint on the authority that must be recognized as vested in a constitutional convention. There is nothing in such a view that to my mind would collide with a reasonable interpretation of Article XV. It certainly is one way by which freed

from pernicious abstractions, it would be easier to accommodate a constitution to the needs of an unfolding future. That is to facilitate its being responsive to the challenge that time inevitably brings in its wake. From such an approach then, I am irresistibly led to the conclusion that the challenged resolution was well within the power of the convention. That would be to brush aside the web of unreality spun from a toorestrictive mode of appraising the legitimate scope of its competence. That would be, for me, to give added vigor and life to the conferment of authority vested in it, attended by such grave and awesome responsibility. 3. It becomes pertinent to inquire then whether the last sentence of Article XV providing that such amendment shall be valid when submitted and thereafter approved by the majority of the votes cast by the people at an election is a bar to the proposed submission. It is the conclusion arrived at by my brethren that there is to be only one election and that therefore the petition must be sustained as only when the convention has finished its work should all amendments proposed be submitted for ratification. That is not for me, and I say this with respect, the appropriate interpretation. It is true that the Constitution uses the word "election" in the singular, but that is not decisive. No undue reliance should be accorded rules of grammar; they do not exert a compelling force in constitutional interpretation. Meaning is to be sought not from specific language in the singular but from the mosaic of significance derived from the total context. It could be, if it were not thus, self-defeating. Such a mode of construction does not commend itself. The words used in the Constitution are not inert; they derive vitality from the obvious purposes at which they are aimed. Petitioner's stress on linguistic refinement, while not implausible does not, for me, carry the day. It was likewise argued by petitioner that the proposed amendment is provisional and therefore is not such as was contemplated in this article. I do not find such contention convincing. The fact that the Constitutional Convention did seek to consult the wishes of the people by the proposed submission of a tentative amendatory provision is an argument for its validity. It might be said of course that until impressed with finality, an amendment is not to be passed upon by the electorate. There is plausibility in such a view. A literal reading of the Constitution would support it. The spirit that informs it though would not, for me, be satisfied. From its silence I deduce the inference that there is no repugnancy to the fundamental law when the Constitutional Convention ascertains the popular will. In that sense, the Constitution, to follow the phraseology of Thomas Reed Powel, is not silently silent but silently vocal. What I deem the more important consideration is that while a public official, as an agent, has to locate his source of authority in either Constitution or statute, the people, as the principal, can only be limited in the exercise of their sovereign powers by the express terms of the Constitution. A concept to the contrary would to my way of thinking be inconsistent with the fundamental principle that it is in the people, and the people alone, that sovereignty resides. 4. The constitutional Convention having acted within the scope of its authority, an action to restrain or prohibit respondent Commission on Elections from conducting the plebiscite does not lie. It should not be lost sight of that the Commission on Elections in thus being charged with such a duty does not act in its capacity as the constitutional agency to take charge of all laws relative to the conduct of election. That is a purely executive function vested in it under Article X of the Constitution. 5 It is not precluded from assisting the Constitutional Convention if pursuant to its competence to amend the fundamental law it seeks, as in this case, to submit a proposal, even if admittedly tentative, to the electorate to ascertain its verdict. At any rate, it may be implied that under the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act, it is not to turn a deaf ear to a summons from the Convention to aid it in the legitimate discharge of its functions. 6 The aforesaid considerations, such as they are, but which for me have a force that I mind myself unable to overcome, leave me no alternative but to dissent from my brethren, with due acknowledgement of course that from their basic premises, the conclusion arrived at by them cannot be characterized as in any wise bereft of a persuasive quality of a high order. SANIDAD VS. COMELEC a c t s : On 2 September 1976, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree 991 calling for a national referendum on16 October 1976 for the Citizens Assemblies ("barangays") toresolve, among other things, the issues of martial law, theinterim assembly, its replacement, the powers of suchreplacement, the period of its existence, the

length of theperiod for the exercise bythe President of his present powers.20 days after or on 22 September 1976, the President issuedanother related decree, Presidential Decree 1031 , amendingthe previous Presidential Decree 991, by declaring theprovisions of Presidential Decree 229 providing for the manner of voting and canvass of votes in "barangays" (Citizens Assemblies) applicable to the national referendum-plebisciteof 16 October 1976. Quite relevantly, Presidential Decree1031 repealed inter alia, Section 4, of Presidential Decree991.On the same date of 22 September 1976, the Presidentissued Presidential Decree 1033, stating the questions to hesubmitted to the people in the referendum-plebiscite on 16October 1976. The Decree recites in its "whereas" clausesthat the people's continued opposition to the convening of theinterim National Assembly evinces their desire to have suchbody abolished and replaced thru a constitutional amendment,providing for a new interim legislative body, which will besubmitted directly to the peoplein the referendum-plebiscite of October 16.The Commission on Elections was vested with the exclusivesupervision and control of the October 1976 NationalReferendum-Plebiscite. On 27 September 1976, Pablo C.Sanidad and Pablito V. Sanidad, father and son, commencedL-44640 for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction seeking toenjoin the Commission on Elections from holding andconducting the Referendum Plebiscite on October 16; to declare without force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. 991and 1033, insofar as they propose amendments to theConstitution, as well as Presidential Decree 1031, insofar as itdirects the Commission on Elections to supervise, control,hold, and conduct the Referendum-Plebiscite scheduled on 16October 1976. They contend thatunder the 1935 and 1973Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President toexercise the constituent power to propose amendments to thenew Constitution. As a consequence, the ReferendumPlebiscite on October 16has no constitutional or legal basis. On 30 September 1976,another action for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction,docketed as L-44684, was instituted by Vicente M. Guzman, adelegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, asserting thatthe power to propose amendments to, or revision of theConstitution during the transition period is expressly conferredon the interim National Assembly under action 16, Article XVIIof the Constitution. Still another petition for Prohibition withPreliminary Injunction was filed on 5 October 1976 byRaul M.Gonzales, his son Raul Jr., and Alfredo Salapantan, docketedas L-44714, to restrain the implementation of PresidentialDecrees relative to the forthcoming Referendum-Plebiscite of October 16. I s s u e : Whether the President may call upon a referendumfor the amendment of the Constitution. H e l d : Section 1 of Article XVI of the 1973 Constitution on Amendments ordains that "(1) Any amendment to, or revisionof, this Constitution may be proposed by the National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths ofall its Members, or by a constitutional convention. (2) The National Assemblymay, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, call aconstitutional convention or, by a majority vote of all itsMembers, submit the question of calling such a convention tothe electorate in an election." Section 2 thereof provides that Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution shall bevalid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in aplebiscite which shall be held not later than three months aafter the approval of such amendment or revision." In thepresent period of transition, the interim National Assemblyinstituted in the Transitory Provisions is conferred with thatamending power. Section 15 of the Transitory Provisionsreads "The interim National Assembly, upon special call by theinterim Prime Minister, may, by a majority vote of all itsMembers, propose amendments to this Constitution. Suchamendments shall take effect when ratified in accordance with Article Sixteen hereof." There are, therefore, two periodscontemplated in the constitutional life of the nation, i.e., periodof normalcy and period of transition. In times of normalcy, theamending process may be initiated by the proposals of the (1)regular National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of allits members; or (2) by a Constitutional Convention called by avote of two-thirds of all the Members of the National Assembly. However the calling of a Constitutional Conventionmay be submitted to the electorate in an election voted uponby a majority vote of all the members of the National Assembly. In times of transition, amendments may beproposed by a majority vote of all the Members of the interimNational Assembly upon special call by the interim PrimeMinister. The Court in Aquino v. COMELEC, had alreadysettled that the incumbent President is vested with thatprerogative of discretion as to when he shall initially convenethe interim National Assembly. The Constitutional Conventionintended to leave to the President the determination of thetime when he shall initially convene the interim National Assembly, consistent with the prevailing conditions of peaceand order in the country. When the Delegates to theConstitutional Convention voted on the Transitory Provisions,they were aware of the fact that under the same, theincumbent President was given the discretion as to when hecould convene the interim National Assembly. The President's decision to defer the convening of the interim National Assembly soon found support from the people themselves. Inthe plebiscite of January 10-15, 1973, at which the ratificationof the 1973 Constitution was submitted, the people votedagainst the convening of the interim National Assembly. In thereferendum of 24 July 1973, the Citizens Assemblies("bagangays") reiterated their sovereign will to withhold theconvening of the interim National Assembly. Again, in thereferendum of 27 February 1975, the proposed question of whether the interim National Assembly shall be initiallyconvened was eliminated, because some of the

members of Congress and delegates of the Constitutional Convention, whowere deemed automatically members of the interim National Assembly, were against its inclusion since in that referendumof January, 1973 the people had already resolvedagainst it. Insensu striciore, when the legislative arm of the stateundertakes the proposals of amendment to a Constitution, thatbody is not in the usual function of lawmaking. It is notlegislating when engaged in the amending process. Rather, itis exercising a peculiar power bestowed upon it by thefundamental charter itself. In the Philippines, that power isprovided for in Article XVI of the 1973 Constitution (for theregular National Assembly) or in Section 15 of the TransitoryProvisions (for theinterim National Assembly). While ordinarilyit is the business of the legislating body to legislate for thenation by virtue of constitutional conferment, amending of theConstitution is not legislative in character. In political science adistinction ismade between constitutional content of anorganic character and that of a legislative character. Thedistinction, however, is one of policy, not of law. Such beingthe case, approval of the President of any proposedamendment is a misnomer. The prerogative of the Presidentto approve or disapprove applies only to the ordinary cases of legislation. The President has nothing to do with proposition or adoption of amendments to the Constitution.

GREGORIO vs. JUAN RUIZ, respondent. Vicente Sotto Office of the Solicitor-General Tuason for respondent. LAUREL, J.: for

AGLIPAY, petitioner,

petitioner.

The petitioner, Mons. Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church, seeks the issuance from this court of a writ of prohibition to prevent the respondent Director of Posts from issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress. In May, 1936, the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of Manila that he would order the issues of postage stamps commemorating the celebration in the City of Manila of the Thirty-third international Eucharistic Congress, organized by the Roman Catholic Church. The petitioner, in the fulfillment of what he considers to be a civic duty, requested Vicente Sotto, Esq., member of the Philippine Bar, to denounce the matter to the President of the Philippines. In spite of the protest of the petitioner's attorney, the respondent publicly announced having sent to the United States the designs of the postage stamps for printing as follows: "In the center is chalice, with grape vine and stalks of wheat as border design. The stamps are blue, green, brown, cardinal red, violet and orange, 1 inch by 1,094 inches. The denominations are for 2, 6, 16, 20, 36 and 50 centavos." The said stamps were actually issued and sold though the greater part thereof, to this day, remains unsold. The further sale of the stamps is sought to be prevented by the petitioner herein. The Solicitor-General contends that the writ of prohibition is not the proper legal remedy in the instant case, although he admits that the writ may properly restrain ministerial functions. While, generally, prohibition as an extraordinary legal writ will not issue to restrain or control the performance of other than judicial or quasi-judicial functions (50 C. J., 6580, its issuance and enforcement are regulated by statute and in this jurisdiction may issue to . . . inferior tribunals, corporations, boards, or persons, whether excercising functions judicial or ministerial, which are without or in excess of the jurisdiction of such tribunal, corporation, board, or person, . . . ." (Secs. 516 and 226, Code of Civil Procedure.) The terms "judicial" and "ministerial" used with reference to "functions" in the statute are undoubtedly comprehensive and include the challenged act of the respondent Director of Posts in the present case, which act because alleged to be violative of the Constitution is a fortiorari "without or in excess of . . . jurisdiction." The statutory rule, therefore, in the jurisdiction is that the writ of prohibition is not confined exclusively to courts or tribunals to keep them within the limits of their own jurisdiction and to prevent them from encroaching upon the jurisdiction of other tribunals, but will issue, in appropriate cases, to an officer or person whose acts are without or in excess of his authority. Not infrequently, "the writ is granted, where it is necessary for the orderly administration of justice, or to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive or vindictive manner, or a multiplicity of actions." (Dimayuga and Fajardo vs. Fernandez [1923], 43 Phil., 304, 307.)

The more important question raised refers to the alleged violation of the Constitution by the respondent in issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress. It is alleged that this action of the respondent is violative of the provisions of section 23, subsection 3, Article VI, of the Constitution of the Philippines, which provides as follows: No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, secretarian, institution, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution, orphanage, or leprosarium. The prohibition herein expressed is a direct corollary of the principle of separation of church and state. Without the necessity of adverting to the historical background of this principle in our country, it is sufficient to say that our history, not to speak of the history of mankind, has taught us that the union of church and state is prejudicial to both, for ocassions might arise when the estate will use the church, and the church the state, as a weapon in the furtherance of their recognized this principle of separation of church and state in the early stages of our constitutional development; it was inserted in the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain of December 10, 1898, reiterated in President McKinley's Instructions of the Philippine Commission, reaffirmed in the Philippine Bill of 1902 and in the autonomy Act of August 29, 1916, and finally embodied in the constitution of the Philippines as the supreme expression of the Filipino people. It is almost trite to say now that in this country we enjoy both religious and civil freedom. All the officers of the Government, from the highest to the lowest, in taking their oath to support and defend the constitution, bind themselves to recognize and respect the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, with its inherent limitations and recognized implications. It should be stated that what is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious liberty, not mere religious toleration. Religious freedom, however, as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not denial of its influence in human affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And, in so far as it instills into the minds the purest principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and highly appreciated. When the Filipino people, in the preamble of their Constitution, implored "the aid of Divine Providence, in order to establish a government that shall embody their ideals, conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation, promote the general welfare, and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of independence under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy," they thereby manifested reliance upon Him who guides the destinies of men and nations. The elevating influence of religion in human society is recognized here as elsewhere. In fact, certain general concessions are indiscriminately accorded to religious sects and denominations. Our Constitution and laws exempt from taxation properties devoted exclusively to religious purposes (sec. 14, subsec. 3, Art. VI, Constitution of the Philippines and sec. 1, subsec. 4, Ordinance appended thereto; Assessment Law, sec. 344, par. [c]. Adm. Code). Sectarian aid is not prohibited when a priest, preacher, minister or other religious teacher or dignitary as such is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution, orphanage or leprosarium 9 sec. 13, subsec. 3, Art. VI, Constitution of the Philippines). Optional religious instruction in the public schools is by constitutional mandate allowed (sec. 5, Art. XIII, Constitution of the Philippines, in relation to sec. 928, Adm. Code). Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Sundays and made legal holidays (sec. 29, Adm. Code) because of the secular idea that their observance is conclusive to beneficial moral results. The law allows divorce but punishes polygamy and bigamy; and certain crimes against religious worship are considered crimes against the fundamental laws of the state (see arts. 132 and 133, Revised Penal Code). In the case at bar, it appears that the respondent Director of Posts issued the postage stamps in question under the provisions of Act No. 4052 of the Philippine Legislature. This Act is as follows: No. 4052. AN ACT APPROPRIATING THE SUM OF SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS AND MAKING THE SAME AVAILABLE OUT OF ANY FUNDS IN THE INSULAR TREASURY NOT OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED FOR THE COST OF PLATES AND PRINTING OF POSTAGE STAMPS WITH NEW DESIGNS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Legislature assembled and by the authority of the same:

SECTION 1. The sum of sixty thousand pesos is hereby appropriated and made immediately available out of any funds in the Insular Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the costs of plates and printing of postage stamps with new designs, and other expenses incident thereto. SEC. 2. The Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, is hereby authorized to dispose of the whole or any portion of the amount herein appropriated in the manner indicated and as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government. SEC. 3. This amount or any portion thereof not otherwise expended shall not revert to the Treasury. SEC. 4. This act shall take effect on its approval. Approved, February 21, 1933. It will be seen that the Act appropriates the sum of sixty thousand pesos for the costs of plates and printing of postage stamps with new designs and other expenses incident thereto, and authorizes the Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, to dispose of the amount appropriated in the manner indicated and "as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government". The printing and issuance of the postage stamps in question appears to have been approved by authority of the President of the Philippines in a letter dated September 1, 1936, made part of the respondent's memorandum as Exhibit A. The respondent alleges that the Government of the Philippines would suffer losses if the writ prayed for is granted. He estimates the revenue to be derived from the sale of the postage stamps in question at P1,618,17.10 and states that there still remain to be sold stamps worth P1,402,279.02. Act No. 4052 contemplates no religious purpose in view. What it gives the Director of Posts is the discretionary power to determine when the issuance of special postage stamps would be "advantageous to the Government." Of course, the phrase "advantageous to the Government" does not authorize the violation of the Constitution. It does not authorize the appropriation, use or application of public money or property for the use, benefit or support of a particular sect or church. In the present case, however, the issuance of the postage stamps in question by the Director of Posts and the Secretary of Public Works and Communications was not inspired by any sectarian denomination. The stamps were not issue and sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor were money derived from the sale of the stamps given to that church. On the contrary, it appears from the latter of the Director of Posts of June 5, 1936, incorporated on page 2 of the petitioner's complaint, that the only purpose in issuing and selling the stamps was "to advertise the Philippines and attract more tourist to this country." The officials concerned merely, took advantage of an event considered of international importance "to give publicity to the Philippines and its people" (Letter of the Undersecretary of Public Works and Communications to the President of the Philippines, June 9, 1936; p. 3, petitioner's complaint). It is significant to note that the stamps as actually designed and printed (Exhibit 2), instead of showing a Catholic Church chalice as originally planned, contains a map of the Philippines and the location of the City of Manila, and an inscription as follows: "Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress, Feb. 3-7,1937." What is emphasized is not the Eucharistic Congress itself but Manila, the capital of the Philippines, as the seat of that congress. It is obvious that while the issuance and sale of the stamps in question may be said to be inseparably linked with an event of a religious character, the resulting propaganda, if any, received by the Roman Catholic Church, was not the aim and purpose of the Government. We are of the opinion that the Government should not be embarassed in its activities simply because of incidental results, more or less religious in character, if the purpose had in view is one which could legitimately be undertaken by appropriate legislation. The main purpose should not be frustrated by its subordinate to mere incidental results not contemplated. (Vide Bradfield vs. Roberts, 175 U. S., 295; 20 Sup. Ct. Rep., 121; 44 Law. ed., 168.) We are much impressed with the vehement appeal of counsel for the petitioner to maintain inviolate the complete separation of church and state and curb any attempt to infringe by indirection a constitutional inhibition. Indeed, in the Philippines, once the scene of religious intolerance and prescription, care should be taken that at this stage of our political development nothing is done by the Government or its officials that may lead to the belief that the Government is taking sides or favoring a particular religious sect or institution. But, upon very serious reflection, examination of Act No. 4052, and scrutiny of the attending circumstances, we have come to the conclusion that there has been no constitutional infraction in the case at bar, Act No. 4052 grants the Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, discretion

to misuse postage stamps with new designs "as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government." Even if we were to assume that these officials made use of a poor judgment in issuing and selling the postage stamps in question still, the case of the petitioner would fail to take in weight. Between the exercise of a poor judgment and the unconstitutionality of the step taken, a gap exists which is yet to be filled to justify the court in setting aside the official act assailed as coming within a constitutional inhibition. The petition for a writ of prohibition is hereby denied, without pronouncement as to costs. So ordered. North cotabato versus gov. of the Philippines FACTS: The Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) brought about by the Government of the republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as an aspect of Tripoli Agreement of Peace in 2001 is scheduled to be signed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This agreement was petitioned by the Province of North Cotabato for Mandamus and Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order. The agreement mentions Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) to which it grants the authority and jurisdiction over the Ancestral Domain and Ancestral Lands of the Bangsamoro; authority and jurisdiction over all natural resources within internal waters. The agreement is composed of two local statutes: the organic act for autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). ISSUE: Whether or not the GRP violated the Constitutional and statutory provisions on public consultation and the right to information when they negotiated and initiated the MOA-AD and Whether or not the MOA-AD brought by the GRP and MILF is constitutional HELD:GRP violated the Constitutional and statutory provisions on public consultation and the right to information when they negotiated and initiated the MOA-AD and it are unconstitutional because it is contrary to law and the provisions of the constitution thereof. REASONING: The GRP is required by this law to carry out public consultations on both national and local levels to build consensus for peace agenda and process and the mobilization and facilitation of peoples participation in the peace process. Article III (Bill of Rights) Sec. 7. The right of people 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 as 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. Article II Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law , that state adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. LGC (1991), require all national agencies and officers to conduct periodic consultations. No project or program be implemented unless such consultations are complied with and approval mus be obtained. Article VII (Executive Department) Sec. 21. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least twothirds of all the Members of the Senate. Article X. (Local Government)

Sec. 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the province, cities, municipalities and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions on Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera as hereinafter provided. Sec. 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. Section 16. The President shall exercise general supervision over autonomous regions to ensure that laws are faithfully executed. Sec. 18. The creation of autonomous region shall be effective when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituents units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only provinces, cities and geographic areas voting favourably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region. Sec. 20. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over: 1. Administrative organization; 2. Creation of sources of revenues; 3. Ancestral domain and natural resources; 4. Personal, family, and property relations; 5. Regional urban and rural planning development; 6. Economic, social, and tourism development; 7. Educational policies; 8. Preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and 9. Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. The President has sole authority in the treaty-making. ARTICLE XVII (AMENDMENTS OR REVISIONS) Section 1. Any amendment 1. The Congress, upon 2. A constitutional convention. to, a or revision vote of of, this Constitution may be three-fourths of all its proposed Members; by: or

Section 4. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution under Section 1 hereof shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than sixty days nor later than ninety days after the approval of such amendment or revision. MOA-AD states that all provisions thereof which cannot be reconciled with the present constitution and laws shall come into force upon signing of a comprehensive compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework. The presidents authority is limited to proposing co nstitutional amendments. She cannot guarantee to any third party that the required amendments will eventually be put in place nor even be submitted to a plebiscite. MOA-AD itself presents the need to amend therein. PROF. MERLIN M. MAGALLONA, et.al v . HON. EDUARDO ERMITA, IN HISCAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, et.al G.R. No. 187167, 16 July 2011, EN BANC

(Carpio, J. ) The conversion of internal waters into archipelagic waters will not risk thePhilippines because an archipelagic State has sovereign power that extends tothe waters enclosed by the archipelagic baselines, regardless of their depth or distance from the coast. R.A. 9522 was enacted by the Congress in March 2009 to comply with thet e r m s o f t h e U n i t e d N a t i o n s C o n v e n t i o n o n t h e L a w o f t h e S e a ( U N C L O S I I I ) , which the Philippines ratified on February 27, 1984. Such compliance shortenedone baseline, optimized the location of some basepoints around the Philippinea r c h i p e l a g o a n d c l a s s i f i e d a d j a c e n t t e r r i t o r i e s s u c h a s t h e K a l a y a a n I s l a n d Gr ound (KIG) and the Scarborough Shoal as regimes of islands whose islandsgenerate their own applicable maritime zones.Petitioners, in their capacities as citizens, taxpayers or legislators assailthe constitutionality of R.A. 9522 with one of their arguments contending thatthe law unconstitutionally converts internal waters into archipelagic waters,thus subjecting these waters to the right of innocent and sea lanes passageunder UNCLOS III, including overflight. Petitioners have contended that thesepassage rights will violate the Constitution as it shall expose Philippine internalwaters to nuclear and maritime pollution hazard. ISSUE: Whether or not R.A. 9522 is unconstitutional for converting internal watersinto archipelagic waters HELD: Petition DISMISSED. T h e C o u r t f i n d s R . A . 9 5 2 2 c o n s t i t u t i o n a l a n d i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e Philippines national interest. Aside from being a vital step in safeguarding thecountrys maritime zones, the law also allows an internationally-recognizeddelimitation of the breadth of the Philippines maritime zones and continentalshelf. T h e C o u r t a l s o f i n d s t h a t t h e c o n v e r s i o n o f i n t e r n a l w a t e r s i n t o archipelagic waters will not risk the Philippines as affirmed in the Article 49 of the UNCLOS III, an archipelagic State has sovereign power that extends to thew a t e r s e n c l o s e d b y t h e a r c h i p e l a g i c b a s e l i n e s , r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e i r d e p t h o r distance from the coast. It is further stated that the regime of archipelagic sealanes passage will not affect the status of its archipelagic waters or the exerciseof sovereignty over waters and air space, bed and subsoil and the resources Therein.