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Gonzales vs Hechanova On October 29, 2011 Constitutional Law Treaty vs Executive Agreements Statutes Can Repeal Executive Agreements

ts Then President Diosdado Macapagal entered into two executive agreements with Vietnam and Burma for the importation of rice without complying with the requisite of securing a certification from the Natl Economic Council showing that there is a shortage in cereals. Hence, Hechanova authorized the importation of 67000 tons of rice from abroad to the detriment of our local planters. Gonzales, then president of the Iloilo Palay and Corn Planters Association assailed the executive agreements. Gonzales averred that Hechanova is without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, because RA 3452 prohibits the importation of rice and corn by the Rice and Corn Administration or any other government agency.

ISSUE: Whether or not RA 3452 prevails over the 2 executive agreements entered into by Macapagal.

HELD: Under the Constitution, the main function of the Executive is to enforce laws enacted by Congress. The former may not interfere in the performance of the legislative powers of the latter, except in the exercise of his veto power. He may not defeat legislative enactments that have acquired the status of laws, by indirectly repealing the same through an executive agreement providing for the performance of the very act prohibited by said laws. In the event of conflict between a treaty and a statute, the one which is latest in point of time shall prevail, is not applicable to the case at bar, Hechanova not only admits, but, also, insists that the contracts adverted to are not treaties. No such justification can be given as regards executive agreements not authorized by previous legislation, without completely upsetting the principle of separation of powers and the system of checks and balances which are fundamental in our constitutional set up.

As regards the question whether an executive or an international agreement may be invalidated by our courts, suffice it to say that the Constitution of the Philippines has clearly settled it in the affirmative, by providing that the SC may not be deprived of its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal, certiorari, or writ of error, as the law or the rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question. In other words, our Constitution authorizes the nullification of a treaty, not only when it conflicts with the fundamental law, but, also, when it runs counter to an act of Congress.

Ichong vs Hernandez Case Digest LAO H. ICHONG, in his own behalf and in behalf of other alien residents, corporations and partnerships adversely affected. by Republic Act No. 1180, petitioner, vs. JAIME HERNANDEZ, Secretary of Finance, and MARCELINO SARMIENTO, City Treasurer of Manila, respondents.

G.R. No. L-7995 May 31, 1957

FACTS: Republic Act No. 1180 is entitled "An Act to Regulate the Retail Business." In effect it nationalizes the retail trade business. The main provisions of the Act are: (1) a prohibition against persons, not citizens of the Philippines, and against associations, partnerships, or corporations the capital of which are not wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines, from engaging directly or indirectly in the retail trade; (2) an exception from the above prohibition in favor of aliens actually engaged in said business on May 15, 1954, who are allowed to continue to engaged therein, unless their licenses are forfeited in accordance with the law, until their death or voluntary retirement in case of natural persons, and for ten years after the approval of the Act or until the expiration of term in case of juridical persons; (3) an exception there from in favor of citizens and juridical entities of the United States; (4) a provision for the forfeiture of licenses for violation of the laws on nationalization, control weights and measures and labor and other laws relating to trade, commerce and industry; (5) a prohibition against the establishment or opening by aliens actually engaged in the retail business of additional stores or branches of retail business, (6) a provision requiring aliens actually engaged in the retail business to present for registration with the proper authorities a verified statement concerning their businesses, giving, among other matters, the nature of the business, their assets and liabilities and their offices and principal offices of judicial entities; and (7) a provision allowing the heirs of aliens now engaged in the retail business who die, to continue such business for a period of six months for purposes of liquidation.

Petitioner, for and in his own behalf and on behalf of other alien resident,s corporations and partnerships adversely affected by the provisions of Republic Act. No. 1180, brought this action to obtain a judicial declaration that said Act is unconstitutional, and to enjoin the Secretary of Finance and all other persons acting under him, particularly city and municipal treasurers, from enforcing its provisions. Petitioner attacks the constitutionality of the Act, contending that it denies to alien residents the equal protection of the laws and deprives of their liberty and property without due process of law.

ISSUE: Whether or not R.A. No. 1180 denies equal protection of laws and due process?

HELD: The Court cited the following reason in upholding the constitutionality and validity of R.A. No. 1180 which does not violate the equal protection of laws and due process.

We hold that the disputed law was enacted to remedy a real actual threat and danger to national economy posed by alien dominance and control of the retail business and free citizens and country from dominance and control; that the enactment clearly falls within the scope of the police power of the State, thru which and by which it protects its own personality and insures its security and future.

The present dominance of the alien retailer, especially in the big centers of population, therefore, becomes a potential source of danger on occasions of war or other calamity. We do not have here in this country isolated groups of harmless aliens retailing goods among nationals; what we have are well organized and powerful groups that dominate the distribution of goods and commodities in the communities and big centers of population. They owe no allegiance or loyalty to the State, and the State cannot rely upon them in times of crisis or emergency. While the national holds his life, his person and his property subject to the needs of his country, the alien may even become the potential enemy of the State.

The law does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution because sufficient grounds exist for the distinction between alien and citizen in the exercise of the occupation regulated. Aliens are under no special constitutional protection which forbids a classification otherwise justified simply because the limitation of the class falls along the lines of nationality. That would be requiring a higher degree of protection for aliens as a class than for similar classes than for similar classes of American citizens. Broadly speaking, the difference in status between citizens and aliens constitutes a basis for reasonable classification in the exercise of police power.


The due process of law clause is not violated because the law is prospective in operation and recognizes the privilege of aliens already engaged in the occupation and reasonably protects their privilege; that the wisdom and efficacy of the law to carry out its objectives appear to us to be plainly evident as a matter of fact it seems not only appropriate but actually necessary and that in any case such matter falls within the prerogative of the Legislature, with whose power and discretion the Judicial department of the Government may not interfere.

The guaranty of due process demands only that the law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious, and that the means selected shall have a real and substantial relation to the subject sought to be attained.

So far as the requirement of due process is concerned and in the absence of other constitutional restriction a state is free to adopt whatever economic policy may reasonably be deemed to promote public welfare, and to enforce that policy by legislation adapted to its purpose. The courts are without authority either to declare such policy, or, when it is declared by the legislature, to override it. If the laws passed are seen to have a reasonable relation to a proper legislative purpose, and are neither arbitrary nor discriminatory, the requirements of due process are satisfied, and judicial determination to that effect renders a court functus officio. . . .

To justify the state in thus interposing its authority in behalf of the public, it must appear, first, that the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require such interference; and second, that the means are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose, and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. The real question at issue, therefore, is not that posed by petitioner, which overlooks and ignores the facts and circumstances, but this, Is the exclusion in the future of aliens from the retail trade unreasonable?; Arbitrary capricious, taking into account the illegitimate and pernicious form and manner in which the aliens have heretofore engaged therein? As thus correctly stated the answer is clear. The law in question is deemed absolutely necessary to bring about the desired legislative objective, i.e., to free national economy from alien control and dominance. It is not necessarily unreasonable because it affects private rights and privileges (11 Am. Jur. pp. 10801081.) The test of reasonableness of a law is the appropriateness or adequacy under all circumstances of the means adopted to carry out its purpose into effect (Id.) Judged by this test, disputed legislation, which is not merely reasonable but actually necessary, must be considered not to have infringed the constitutional limitation of reasonableness.

Kuroda vs Jalandoni digest 1 MORAN, C.J.:



Petitioner Shigenori Kuroda, the Commanding General of the Japanese Imperial Forces in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation, was charged before the Philippine Military Commission of war crimes. He questioned the constitutionality of E.O. No. 68 that created the National War Crimes Office and prescribed rules on the trial of accused war criminals. He contended the Philippines is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on Rules and Regulations covering Land Warfare and therefore he is charged of crimes not based on law, national and international.


Was E.O. No. 68 valid and constitutional?


[The Court DENIED the petition and upheld the validity and constitutionality of E.O. No. 68.]

YES, E.O. No. 68 valid and constitutional.

Article 2 of our Constitution provides in its section 3, that The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy and adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the nation.

In accordance with the generally accepted principle of international law of the present day including the Hague Convention the Geneva Convention and significant precedents of international jurisprudence established by the United Nation all those person military or civilian who have been guilty of planning

preparing or waging a war of aggression and of the commission of crimes and offenses consequential and incidental thereto in violation of the laws and customs of war, of humanity and civilization are held accountable therefor. Consequently in the promulgation and enforcement of Execution Order No. 68 the President of the Philippines has acted in conformity with the generally accepted and policies of international law which are part of the our Constitution.




Petitioner argues that respondent Military Commission has no jurisdiction to try petitioner for acts committed in violation of the Hague Convention and the Geneva Convention because the Philippines is not a signatory to the first and signed the second only in 1947. It cannot be denied that the rules and regulation of the Hague and Geneva conventions form, part of and are wholly based on the generally accepted principals of international law. In facts these rules and principles were accepted by the two belligerent nations the United State and Japan who were signatories to the two Convention. Such rule and principles therefore form part of the law of our nation even if the Philippines was not a signatory to the conventions embodying them for our Constitution has been deliberately general and extensive in its scope and is not confined to the recognition of rule and principle of international law as contained in treaties to which our government may have been or shall be a signatory.

Kuroda vs jalandoni digest 2 Facts Shinegori Kuroda, a former Lieutenant-General of the Japanese Imperial Army and Commanding General of the Japanese Imperial Forces in the Philippines was charged before the Philippine Military Commission for war crimes. As he was the commanding general during such period of war, he was tried for failure to discharge his duties and permitting the brutal atrocities and other high crimes committed by his men against noncombatant civilians and prisoners of the Japanese forces, in violation of of the laws and customs of war. Kuroda, in his petition, argues that the Military Commission is not a valid court because the law that created it, Executive Order No. 68, is unconstitutional. He further contends that using as basis the Hague Conventions Rules and Regulations covering Land Warfare for the war crime committed cannot stand ground as the Philippines was not a signatory of such rules in such convention. Furthermore, he alleges that the United States is not a party of interest in the case and that the two US prosecutors cannot practice law in the Philippines. Issue 1.Whether or not Executive Order No. 68 is constitutional 2.Whether or not the US is a party of interest to this case

Ruling The Supreme Court ruled that Executive Order No. 68, creating the National War Crimes Office and prescribing rules on the trial of accused war criminals, is constitutional as it is aligned with Sec 3,Article 2 of the Constitution which states that The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy and adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the nation. The generally accepted principles of international law includes those formed during the Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention and other international jurisprudence established by United Nations. These include the principle that all persons, military or civilian, who have been guilty of planning, preparing or waging a war of aggression and of the commission of crimes and offenses in violation of laws and customs of war, are to be held accountable. In the doctrine of incorporation, the Philippines abides by these principles and therefore has a right to try persons that commit such crimes and most especially when it is committed againsts its citizens. It abides with it even if it was not a signatory to these conventions by the mere incorporation of such principles in the constitution. The United States is a party of interest because the country and its people have been equally, if not more greatly, aggrieved by the crimes with which the petitioner is charged for. By virtue of Executive Order No. 68, the Military Commission is a special military tribunal and that the rules as to parties and representation are not governed by the rules of court but by the very provisions of this special law.

Co Kim Chan v Valdez Tan Keh

Facts of the case: Co Kim Chan had a pending civil case, initiated during the Japanese occupation, with the Court of First Instance of Manila. After the Liberation of the Manila and the American occupation, Judge Arsenio Dizon refused to continue hearings on the case, saying that a proclamation issued by General Douglas MacArthur had invalidated and nullified all judicial proceedings and judgments of the courts of the Philippines and, without an enabling law, lower courts have no jurisdiction to take cognizance of and continue judicial proceedings pending in the courts of the defunct Republic of the Philippines (the Philippine government under the Japanese).

The court resolved three issues: 1. Whether or not judicial proceedings and decisions made during the Japanese occupation were valid and remained valid even after the American occupation; 2. Whether or not the October 23, 1944 proclamation MacArthur issued in which he declared that all laws, regulations and processes of any other government in the Philippines than that of the said Commonwealth are null and void and without legal effect in areas of the Philippines free of enemy occupation and control invalidated all judgments and judicial acts and proceedings of the courts; 3. And whether or not if they were not invalidated by MacArthurs proclamation, those courts could continue hearing the cases pending before them.

Ratio: Political and international law recognizes that all acts and proceedings of a de facto government are good and valid. The Philippine Executive Commission and the Republic of the Philippines under the Japanese occupation may be considered de facto governments, supported by the military force and deriving their authority from the laws of war. Municipal laws and private laws, however, usually remain in force unless suspended or changed by the conqueror. Civil obedience is expected even during war, for the existence of a state of insurrection and war did not loosen the bonds of society, or do away with civil government or the regular administration of the laws. And if they were not valid, then it would not have been necessary for MacArthur to come out with a proclamation abrogating them. The second question, the court said, hinges on the interpretation of the phrase processes of any other government and whether or not he intended it to annul all other judgments and judicial proceedings of courts during the Japanese military occupation. IF, according to international law, non-political judgments and judicial proceedings of de facto governments are valid and remain valid even after the occupied territory has been liberated, then it

could not have been MacArthurs intention to refer to judicial processes, which would be in violation of international law. A well-known rule of statutory construction is: A statute ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations if any other possible construction remains. Another is that where great inconvenience will result from a particular construction, or great mischief done, such construction is to be avoided, or the court ought to presume that such construction was not intended by the makers of the law, unless required by clear and unequivocal words. Annulling judgments of courts made during the Japanese occupation would clog the dockets and violate international law, therefore what MacArthur said should not be construed to mean that judicial proceedings are included in the phrase processes of any other governments. In the case of US vs Reiter, the court said that if such laws and institutions are continued in use by the occupant, they become his and derive their force from him. The laws and courts of the Philippines did not become, by being continued as required by the law of nations, laws and courts of Japan. It is a legal maxim that, excepting of a political nature, law once established continues until changed by some competent legislative power. IT IS NOT CHANGED MERELY BY CHANGE OF SOVEREIGNTY. Until, of course, the new sovereign by legislative act creates a change. Therefore, even assuming that Japan legally acquired sovereignty over the Philippines, and the laws and courts of the Philippines had become courts of Japan, as the said courts and laws creating and conferring jurisdiction upon them have continued in force until now, it follows that the same courts may continue exercising the same jurisdiction over cases pending therein before the restoration of the Commonwealth Government, until abolished or the laws creating and conferring jurisdiction upon them are repealed by the said government. DECISION: Writ of mandamus issued to the judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, ordering him to take cognizance of and continue to final judgment the proceedings in civil case no. 3012.

Summary of ratio: 1. International law says the acts of a de facto government are valid and civil laws continue even during occupation unless repealed. 2. MacArthur annulled proceedings of other governments, but this cannot be applied on judicial proceedings because such a construction would violate the law of nations. 3. Since the laws remain valid, the court must continue hearing the case pending before it.

***3 kinds of de facto government: one established through rebellion (govt gets possession and control through force or the voice of the majority and maintains itself against the will of the rightful government) through occupation (established and maintained by military forces who invade and occupy a territory of the enemy in the course of war; denoted as a government of paramount force) through insurrection (established as an independent government by the inhabitants of a country who rise in insurrection against the parent state)