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Avelino vs Cuenco

On January 4, 2012 Political Law Election of Members/Quorum/ !"ournment/Minutes On 18 Feb 1949, Senator Taada invoked his right to speak on the senate floor to formulate charges against the then Senate resident !velino" #e re$uest to do so on the ne%t session &'1 Feb 1949(" On the ne%t session ho)ever, !velino dela*ed the opening of the session for about t)o hours" +pon insistent demand b* Taada, ,uenco and Sanidad and others, !velino )as forced to open session" #e ho)ever, together )ith his allies initiated all dilator* and dela*ing tactics to forestall Taada from delivering his piece" -otions being raised b* Taada et al )ere being blocked b* !velino and his allies and the* even ruled Taada and Sanidad, among others, as being out of order" !velino.s camp then moved to ad/ourn the session due to the disorder" Sanidad ho)ever countered and the* re$uested the said ad/ournment to be placed in voting" !velino /ust banged his gavel and he hurriedl* left his chair and he )as immediatel* follo)ed b* his follo)ers" Senator ,abili then stood up, and asked that it be made of record 0 it )as so made 0 that the deliberate abandonment of the ,hair b* the !velino, made it incumbent upon Senate resident ro1tempore !rran2 and the remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to paral*2e the functions of the Senate" Tanada )as subse$uentl* recogni2ed to deliver his speech" 3ater, !rran2 *ielded to Sanidad.s 4esolution &5o" 68( that ,uenco be elected as the Senate resident" This )as unanimousl* approved and )as even recogni2ed b* the resident of the hilippines the follo)ing da*" ,uenco took his oath of office thereafter" !velino then filed a $uo )arranto proceeding before the S, to declare him as the rightful Senate resident" ISSUE: 7hether or not the S, can take cogni2ance of the case" HELD: 8* a vote of 6 to 4, the S, held that the* cannot take cogni2ance of the case" This is in vie) of the separation of po)ers, the political nature of the controvers* and the constitutional grant to the Senate of the po)er to elect its o)n president, )hich po)er should not be interfered )ith, nor taken over, b* the /udiciar*" The S, should abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding officer affects onl* the Senators themselves )ho are at libert* at an* time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them" !n*)a*, if, as the petition must impl* to be acceptable, the ma/orit* of the Senators )ant petitioner to preside, his remed* lies in the Senate Session #all 0 not in the Supreme ,ourt" Supposed the SC can take cognizance of the case, hat ill !e the "esolution# There is unanimit* in the vie) that the session under Senator !rran2 )as a continuation of the morning session and that a minorit* of ten senators &!velino et al( ma* not, b* leaving the #all, prevent the other &,uenco et al( t)elve senators from passing a

resolution that met )ith their unanimous endorsement" The ans)er might be different had the resolution been approved onl* b* ten or less" 99T)o senators )ere not present that time" Sen" Soto )as in a hospital )hile Sen" ,onfesor )as in the +S!" Is the "u$p session %p"esided !& Cuenco' a continuation of the $o"ning session %p"esided !& Avelino'# A"e the"e t o sessions in one da&# (as the"e a )uo"u$ constituting such session# The second session is a continuation of the morning session as evidenced b* the minutes entered into the /ournal" There )ere ': senators considered to be in session that time &including Soto, e%cluding ,onfesor(" #ence, t)elve senators constitute a ma/orit* of the Senate of t)ent* three senators" 7hen the ,onstitution declares that a ma/orit* of ;each #ouse< shall constitute a $uorum, ;the #ouse< does not mean ;all< the members" =ven a ma/orit* of all the members constitute ;the #ouse<" There is a difference bet)een a ma/orit* of ;all the members of the #ouse< and a ma/orit* of ;the #ouse<, the latter re$uiring less number than the first" Therefore an absolute ma/orit* &1'( of all the members of the Senate less one &':(, constitutes constitutional ma/orit* of the Senate for the purpose of a $uorum" Furthermore, even if the t)elve did not constitute a $uorum, the* could have ordered the arrest of one, at least, of the absent members> if one had been so arrested, there )ould be no doubt ?uorum then, and Senator ,uenco )ould have been elected /ust the same inasmuch as there )ould be eleven for ,uenco, one against and one abstained" *+,I+- .+/ /EC+-SIDE/A,I+- &filed b* !velino on -arch 14, 1949( !velino and his group &11 senators in all( insist that the S, take cogni2ance of the case and that the* are )illing to bind themselves to the decision of the S, )hether it be right or )rong" !velino contends that there is no constitutional $uorum )hen ,uenco )as elected president" There are '4 senators in all" T)o are absentee senators> one being confined and the other abroad but this does not change the number of senators nor does it change the ma/orit* )hich if mathematicall* construed is @ A 1> in this case 1' &half of '4( plus 1 or 1: 5OT 1'" There being onl* 1' senators )hen ,uenco )as elected unanimousl* there )as no $uorum" The Supreme ,ourt, b* a vote of seven resolved to assume /urisdiction over the case in the light of subse$uent events )hich /ustif* its intervention" The ,hief Bustice agrees )ith the result of the ma/orit*.s pronouncement on the $uorum upon the ground that, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, the constitutional re$uirement in that regard has become a mere formalism, it appearing from the evidence that an* ne) session )ith a $uorum )ould result in ,uenco.s election as Senate resident, and that the ,uenco group, taking cue from the dissenting opinions, has been tr*ing to satisf* such formalism b* issuing compulsor* processes against senators of the !velino group, but to no avail, because of the !velino.s persistent efforts to block all avenues to constitutional processes" For this reason, the S, believes that the ,uenco group has done enough to

satisf* the re$uirements of the ,onstitution and that the ma/orit*.s ruling is in conformit* )ith substantial /ustice and )ith the re$uirements of public interest" Therefore ,uenco has been legall* elected as Senate resident and the petition is dismissed" 0ustice .e"ia: %Concu""ing' !rt" : &4( Title CD of the ,onstitution of 19:E provided that ;the ma/orit* of all the members of the 5ational !ssembl* constitute a $uorum to do business< and the fact that said provision )as amended in the ,onstitution of 19:9, so as to read ;a ma/orit* of each #ouse shall constitute a $uorum to do business,< sho)s the intention of the framers of the Constitution to !ase the $a1o"it&, not on the nu$!e" fi2ed o" p"ovided fo" in the Constitution, !ut on actual $e$!e"s o" incu$!ents, and this $ust !e li$ited to actual $e$!e"s ho a"e not incapacitated to discha"ge thei" duties !& "eason of death, incapacit&, o" a!sence f"o$ the 1u"isdiction of the house o" fo" othe" causes hich $ake attendance of the $e$!e" conce"ned i$possi!le, even th"ough coe"cive p"ocess hich each house is e$po e"ed to issue to co$pel its $e$!e"s to attend the session in o"de" to constitute a )uo"u$3 That the amendment )as intentional or made for some purpose, and not a mere oversight, or for considering the use of the )ords ;of all the members< as unnecessar*, is evidenced b* the fact that Sec" E &E( Title CD of the original ,onstitution )hich re$uired ;concurrence of t)o1thirds of the members of the 5ational !ssembl* to e%pel a member< )as amended b* Sec" 1F &:( !rticle CD of the present ,onstitution, so as to re$uire ;the concurrence of t)o1thirds of all the members of each #ouse<" Therefore, as Senator ,onfesor )as in the +nited States and absent from the /urisdiction of the Senate, the actual members of the Senate at its session of Februar* '1, 1949, )ere t)ent*1three &':( and therefore 1' constituted a ma/orit*"