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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-34150 October 16, 1971 ARTURO M. TOLENT NO, petitioner, vs. COMM SS ON ON ELECT ONS, !"# T$E C$ E% ACCOUNTANT, T$E AU& TOR, !"# T$E & S'URS NG O%% CER O% T$E 1971 CONST TUT ONAL CON(ENT ON, respondents, RAUL S. MANGLAPUS, )ESUS G. 'ARRERA, PA'LO S. TR LLANA , ( CTOR &E LA SERNA, MARCELO '. %ERNAN, )OSE *. %ER A, LEONAR&O S GU ON RE*NA, ( CTOR %. ORTEGA, !"# )UAN (. 'ORRA, Intervenors. Arturo M. Tolentino in his own behalf. Ramon A. Gonzales for respondents Chief Accountant and Auditor of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. mmanuel !elaez" #or$e M. #uco and Tomas %. chivarre for respondent &isbursin$ 'fficer of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. (ntervenors in their own behalf.

As a preliminary step, since the petition named as respondent only the C*ME-EC, the Count re+uired that copies thereof be served on the (olicitor /eneral and the Constitutional Convention, throu"h its President, for such action as they may deem proper to ta!e. In due time, respondent C*ME-EC filed its ans'er 0oinin" issues 'ith petitioner. 1o further put thin"s in proper order, and considerin" that the fiscal officers of the Convention are indispensable parties in a proceedin" of this nature, since the acts sou"ht to be en0oined involve the e2penditure of funds appropriated by la' for the Convention, the Court also ordered that the 3isbursin" *fficer, Chief Accountant and Auditor of the Convention be made respondents. After the petition 'as so amended, the first appeared thru (enator Emmanuel Pelae4 and the last t'o thru 3ele"ate Ramon /on4ales. All said respondents, thru counsel, resist petitioner5s action. 6or reasons of orderliness and to avoid unnecessary duplication of ar"uments and even possible confusion, and considerin" that 'ith the principal parties bein" duly represented by able counsel, their interests 'ould be ade+uately protected already, the Court had to limit the number of intervenors from the ran!s of the dele"ates to the Convention 'ho, more or less, have le"al interest in the success of the respondents, and so, only 3ele"ates Raul (. Man"lapus, 7esus /. Barrera, Pablo (. 1rillana III, )ictor de la (erna, Marcelo B. 6ernan, 7ose 8. 6eria, -eonardo (i"uion Reyna, )ictor *rte"a and 7uan B. Borra, all distin"uished la'yers in their o'n ri"ht, have been allo'ed to intervene 0ointly. 1he Court feels that 'ith such an array of brilliant and dedicated counsel, all interests involved should be duly and amply represented and protected. At any rate, not'ithstandin" that their correspondin" motions for leave to intervene or to appear as amicus curiae $ have been denied, the pleadin"s filed by the other dele"ates and some private parties, the latter in representation of their minor children alle"edly to be affected by the result of this case 'ith the records and the Court ac!no'led"es that they have not been 'ithout value as materials in the e2tensive study that has been underta!en in this case. 1he bac!"round facts are beyond dispute. 1he Constitutional Convention of $%&$ came into bein" by virtue of t'o resolutions of the Con"ress of the Philippines approved in its capacity as a constituent assembly convened for the purpose of callin" a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution namely, Resolutions 9 and : of the 0oint sessions of Con"ress held on March $;, $%;& and 7une $&, $%;% respectively. 1he dele"ates to the said Convention 'ere all elected under and by virtue of said resolutions and the implementin" le"islation thereof, Republic Act ;$<9. 1he pertinent portions of Resolution No 9 read as follo's= (EC1I*N $. 1here is hereby called a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution of the Philippines, to be composed of t'o elective 3ele"ates from each representative district 'ho shall have the same +ualifications as those re+uired of Members of the >ouse of Representatives. 222 222 222

'ARRE&O, J.: Petition for prohibition principally to restrain the respondent Commission on Elections from underta!in" to hold a plebiscite on November #, $%&$, at 'hich the proposed constitutional amendment reducin" the votin" a"e in (ection $ of Article ) of the Constitution of the Philippines to ei"hteen years shall be, submitted for ratification by the people pursuant to *r"anic Resolution No. $ of the Constitutional Convention of $%&$, and the subse+uent implementin" resolutions, by declarin" said resolutions to be 'ithout the force and effect of la' in so far as they direct the holdin" of such plebiscite and by also declarin" the acts of the respondent Commission ,C*ME-EC. performed and to be done by it in obedience to the aforesaid Convention resolutions to be null and void, for bein" violative of the Constitution of the Philippines.

(EC1I*N &. 1he amendments proposed by the Convention shall be valid and considered part of the Constitution 'hen approved by a ma0ority of the votes cast in an election at 'hich they are submitted to the people for their ratification pursuant to Article ?) of the Constitution. Resolution No. : merely modified the number of dele"ates to represent the different cities and provinces fi2ed ori"inally in Resolution No 9. After the election of the dele"ates held on November $@, $%&@, the Convention held its inau"ural session on 7une $, $%&$. Its preliminary labors of election of officers, or"ani4ation of committees and other preparatory 'or!s over, as its first formal proposal to amend the Constitution, its session 'hich be"an on (eptember 9&, $%&$, or more accurately, at about <=<@ in the mornin" of (eptember 9#, $%&$, the Convention approved *r"anic Resolution No. $ readin" thus= . CC *R/ANIC RE(*-A1I*N N*. $ A RE(*-A1I*N AMEN3IN/ (EC1I*N *NE *6 AR1IC-E ) *6 1>E C*N(1I1A1I*N *6 1>E P>I-IPPINE( (* A( 1* -*BER 1>E )*1IN/ A/E 1* $# BE I1 RE(*-)E3 as it is hereby resolved by the $%&$ Constitutional Convention= (ection $. (ection *ne of Article ) of the Constitution of the Philippines is amended to as follo's= (ection $. (uffra"e may be e2ercised by ,male. citi4ens of the Philippines not other'ise dis+ualified by la', 'ho are ,t'entyCone. EI/>1EEN years or over and are able to read and 'rite, and 'ho shall have resided in the Philippines for one year and in the municipality 'herein they propose to vote for at least si2 months precedin" the election. (ection 9. 1his amendment shall be valid as part of the Constitution of the Philippines 'hen approved by a ma0ority of the votes cast in a plebiscite to coincide 'ith the local elections in November $%&$. (ection <. 1his partial amendment, 'hich refers only to the a"e +ualification for the e2ercise of suffra"e shall be 'ithout pre0udice to other amendments that 'ill be proposed in the future by the $%&$ Constitutional Convention on other portions of the amended (ection or on other portions of the entire Constitution. ,see above.

(ection :. 1he Convention hereby authori4es the use of the sum of P&D,@@@.@@ from its savin"s or from its une2pended funds for the e2pense of the advanced plebisciteE provided, ho'ever that should there be no savin"s or une2pended sums, the 3ele"ates 'aive P9D@.@@ each or the e+uivalent of 9C$F9 days per diem. By a letter dated (eptember 9#, $%&$, President 3iosdado Macapa"al, called upon respondent Comelec to help the Convention implement ,the above. resolution. 1he said letter reads= (eptember 9#, $%&$ 1he Commission on Elections Manila 1hru the Chairman /entlemen= -ast ni"ht the Constitutional Convention passed Resolution No. $ +uoted as follo's= 222 222 222

Pursuant to the provision of (ection $:, Republic Act No. ;$<9 other'ise !no'n as the Constitutional Convention Act of $%&$, may 'e call upon you to help the Convention implement this resolution= (incerely, ,("d.. 3I*(3A3* P. MACAPA/A 3I*(3A3* P. MACAPA/A President *n (eptember <@, $%&$, C*ME-EC RE(*-)E3 to inform the Constitutional Convention that it 'ill hold the plebiscite on condition that=

,a. 1he Constitutional Convention 'ill underta!e the printin" of separate official ballots, election returns and tally sheets for the use of said plebiscite at its e2penseE ,b. 1he Constitutional Convention 'ill adopt its o'n security measures for the printin" and shipment of said ballots and election formsE and ,c. (aid official ballots and election forms 'ill be delivered to the Commission in time so that they could be distributed at the same time that the Commission 'ill distribute its official and sample ballots to be used in the elections on November #, $%&$. Bhat happened after'ards may best be stated by +uotin" from intervenors5 /overnors5 statement of the "enesis of the above proposal= 1he President of the Convention also issued an order formin" an Ad >oc Committee to implement the Resolution. 1his Committee issued implementin" "uidelines 'hich 'ere approved by the President 'ho then transmitted them to the Commission on Elections. 1he Committee on Plebiscite and Ratification filed a report on the pro"ress of the implementation of the plebiscite in the afternoon of *ctober &,$%&$, enclosin" copies of the order, resolution and letters of transmittal above referred to ,Copy of the report is hereto attached as Anne2 #C Memorandum.. RECE(( RE(*-A1I*N In its plenary session in the evenin" of *ctober &, $%&$, the Convention approved a resolution authored by 3ele"ate Antonio *lmedo of 3avao *riental, callin" for a recess of the Convention from November $, $%&$ to November %, $%&$ to permit the dele"ates to campai"n for the ratification of *r"anic Resolution No. $. ,Copies of the resolution and the transcript of debate thereon are hereto attached as Anne2es % and %CA Memorandum, respectively.. RE(*-A1I*N C*N6IRMIN/ IMP-EMEN1A1I*N *n *ctober $9, $%&$, the Convention passed Resolution No. 9: submitted by 3ele"ate 7ose *4ami4 confirmin" the authority of the President of the Convention to implement *r"anic Resolution No. $, includin" the creation of the Ad >oc Committee ratifyin" all acts performed in connection 'ith said implementation.

Apon these facts, the main thrust of the petition is that *r"anic Resolution No. $ and the other implementin" resolutions thereof subse+uently approved by the Convention have no force and effect as la's in so far as they provide for the holdin" of a plebiscite coCincident 'ith the elections of ei"ht senators and all city, provincial and municipal officials to be held on November #, $%&$, hence all of Comelec5s acts in obedience thereof and tendin" to carry out the holdin" of the plebiscite directed by said resolutions are null and void, on the "round that the callin" and holdin" of such a plebiscite is, by the Constitution, a po'er lod"ed e2clusively in Con"ress, as a le"islative body, and may not be e2ercised by the Convention, and that, under (ection $, Article ?) of the Constitution, the proposed amendment in +uestion cannot be presented to the people for ratification separately from each and all of the other amendments to be drafted and proposed by the Convention. *n the other hand, respondents and intervenors posit that the po'er to provide for, fi2 the date and lay do'n the details of the plebiscite for the ratification of any amendment the Convention may deem proper to propose is 'ithin the authority of the Convention as a necessary conse+uence and part of its po'er to propose amendments and that this po'er includes that of submittin" such amendments either individually or 0ointly at such time and manner as the Convention may direct in discretion. 1he Court5s delicate tas! no' is to decide 'hich of these t'o poses is really in accord 'ith the letter and spirit of the Constitution. As a preliminary and pre0udicial matter, the intervenors raise the +uestion of 0urisdiction. 1hey contend that the issue before As is a political +uestion and that the Convention bein" le"islative body of the hi"hest order is soverei"n, and as such, its acts impu"ned by petitioner are beyond the control of the Con"ress and the courts. In this connection, it is to be noted that none of the respondent has 0oined intervenors in this posture. In fact, respondents Chief Accountant and Auditor of the convention e2pressly concede the 0urisdiction of this Court in their ans'er ac!no'led"in" that the issue herein is a 0ustifiable one. (tran"ely, intervenors cite in support of this contention portions of the decision of this Court in the case of /on4ales v. Comelec, 9$ (CRA &&:, 'herein the members of the Court, despite their bein" divided in their opinions as to the other matters therein involved, 'ere precisely unanimous in upholdin" its 0urisdiction. *bviously, distin"uished counsel have either failed to "rasp the full impact of the portions of *ur decision they have +uoted or 'ould misapply them by ta!in" them out of conte2t. 1here should be no more doubt as to the position of this Court re"ardin" its 0urisdiction visCaCvis the constitutionality of the acts of the Con"ress, actin" as a constituent assembly, and, for that matter, those of a constitutional convention called for the purpose of proposin" amendments to the Constitution, 'hich concededly is at par 'ith the former. A simple readin" of *ur rulin" in that very case of Gonzales relied upon by intervenors should dispel any lin"erin" mis"ivin"s as re"ards that point. (uccinctly but comprehensively, Chief 7ustice Concepcion held for the Court thus= . As early as An$ara vs. lectoral Commission ,;< Phil. $<%, $D&., this Court G spea!in" throu"h one of the leadin" members of the Constitutional

Convention and a respected professor of Constitutional -a', 3r. 7ose P. -aurel G declared that the 0udicial department is the only constitutional or"an 'hich can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of po'ers bet'een the several departments and amon" the inte"ral or constituent units thereof. It is true that in Mabana$ v. %opez )ito ,supra., this Court characteri4in" the issue submitted thereto as a political one declined to pass upon the +uestion 'hether or not a "iven number of votes cast in Con"ress in favor of a proposed amendment to the Constitution G 'hich 'as bein" submitted to the people for ratification G satisfied the threeCfourths vote re+uirement of the fundamental la'. 1he force of this precedent has been 'ea!ened, ho'ever, by *uanes v. Chief Accountant of the (enate ,#$ Phil. #$#., Avelino v. Cuenco, ,-C9#D$, March : H $:, $%:%., Ta+ada v. Cuenco, ,-C$@D9@, 6eb. 9#, $%D&. and Macias v. Commission on lections , ,-C $#;#:, (ept. $:, $%;$.. In the first 'e held that the officers and employees of the (enate Electoral 1ribunal are under its supervision and control, not of that of the (enate President, as claimed by the latterE in the second, this Court proceeded to determine the number of (enators necessary for ,uorum in the (enateE in the third, 'e nullified the election, by (enators belon"in" to the party havin" the lar"est number of votes in said chamber, purportin" to act, on behalf of the party havin" the second lar"est number of votes therein of t'o ,9. (enators belon"in" to the first party, as members, for the second party, of the (enate Electoral 1ribunalE and in the fourth, 'e declared unconstitutional an act of Con"ress purportin" to apportion the representatives districts for the >ouse of Representatives, upon the "round that the apportionment had not been made as may be possible accordin" to the number of inhabitants of each province. 1hus 'e re0ected the theory, advanced in these four ,:. cases that the issues therein raised 'ere political +uestions the determination of 'hich is beyond 0udicial revie'. Indeed, the po'er to amend the Constitution or to propose amendments thereto is not included in the "eneral "rant of le"islative po'ers to Con"ress ,(ection $, Art. )I, Constitution of the Philippines.. It is part of the inherent po'ers of the people G as the repository soverei"nty in a republican state, such as ours ,(ection $, Art. $$, Constitution of the Philippines. G to ma!e, and, hence, to amend their o'n 6undamental -a'. Con"ress may propose amendments to the Constitution merely because the same e2plicitly "rants such po'er. ,(ection $, Art. ?), Constitution of the Philippines. >ence, 'hen e2ercisin" the same, it is said that (enators and members of the >ouse of Representatives act, not as members of Con"ress, but as component elements of a constituent assembl-. Bhen actin" as such, the members of Con"ress derive their authority from the Constitution, unli!e the people, 'hen performin" the same function, ,*f amendin" the Constitution. for their authority does not emanate from the

Constitution G they are the versource of "overnment includin$ the Constitution itself.

all

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(ince, 'hen proposin", as a constituent assembly, amendments to the Constitution, the members of Con"ress derive their authority from the 6undamental -a', it follo's, necessarily, that they do not have the final say on 'hether or not their acts are 'ithin or beyond constitutional limits. *ther'ise, they could brush aside and set the same at nau"ht, contrary to the basic tenet that ours is a "overnment of la's, not of men, and to the ri"id nature of our Constitution. (uch ri"idity is stressed by the fact that the Constitution e2pressly confers upon the (upreme Court, ,And, inferentially, to lo'er courts.. the po'er to declare a treaty unconstitutional. ,(ec. 9,$., Art. )III of the Constitution., despite the eminently political character of treatyCma!in" po'er. In short, the issue 'hether or not a Resolution of Con"ress G actin" as a constituent assembly G violates the Constitution is essentially 0usticiable not political, and, hence, sub0ect to 0udicial revie', and, to the e2tent that this vie' may be inconsistent 'ith the stand ta!en in Mabana$ v. %opez )ito, ,supra. the latter should be deemed modified accordin"ly. 1he Members of the Court are unanimous on this point. No one can ri"htly claim that 'ithin the domain of its le"itimate authority, the Convention is not supreme. No'here in his petition and in his oral ar"ument and memoranda does petitioner point other'ise. Actually, 'hat respondents and intervenors are seemin"ly reluctant to admit is that the Constitutional Convention of $%&$, as any other convention of the same nature, o'es its e2istence and derives all its authority and po'er from the e2istin" Constitution of the Philippines. 1his Convention has not been called by the people directly as in the case of a revolutionary convention 'hich drafts the first Constitution of an entirely ne' "overnment born of either a 'ar of liberation from a mother country or of a revolution a"ainst an e2istin" "overnment or of a bloodless sei4ure of po'er a la coup d.etat. As to such !ind of conventions, it is absolutely true that the convention is completely 'ithout restrain and omnipotent all 'ise, and it is as to such conventions that the remar!s of 3ele"ate Manuel Ro2as of the Constitutional Convention of $%<: +uoted by (enator Pelae4 refer. No amount of rationali4ation can belie the fact that the current convention came into bein" only because it 'as called by a resolution of a 0oint session of Con"ress actin" as a constituent assembly by authority of (ection $, Article ?) of the present Constitution 'hich provides= AR1IC-E ?) G AMEN3MEN1( (EC1I*N $. 1he Con"ress in 0oint session assembled, by a vote of threeC fourths of all the Members of the (enate and of the >ouse of Representatives votin" separately, may propose amendments to this Constitution or call a convention for the purpose. (uch amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution 'hen approved by a ma0ority of the

votes cast at an election at 'hich the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification. 1rue it is that once convened, this Convention became endo'ed 'ith e2tra ordinary po'ers "enerally beyond the control of any department of the e2istin" "overnment, but the compass of such po'ers can be coCe2tensive only 'ith the purpose for 'hich the convention 'as 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 follo's that the acts of convention, its officers and members are not immune from attac! on constitutional "rounds. 1he present Constitution is in full force and effect in its entirety and in everyone of its parts the e2istence of the Convention not'ithstandin", and operates even 'ithin the 'alls of that assembly. Bhile it is indubitable that in its internal operation and the performance of its tas! to propose amendments to the Constitution it is not sub0ect to any de"ree of restraint or control by any other authority than itself, it is e+ually beyond cavil that neither the Convention nor any of its officers or members can ri"htfully deprive any person of life, liberty or property 'ithout due process of la', deny to anyone in this country the e+ual protection of the la's or the freedom of speech and of the press in disre"ard of the Bill of Ri"hts of the e2istin" Constitution. Nor, for that matter, can such Convention validly pass any resolution providin" for the ta!in" of private property 'ithout 0ust compensation or for the imposition or e2actin" of any ta2, impost or assessment, or declare 'ar or call the Con"ress to a special session, suspend the privile"e of the 'rit of habeas corpus, pardon a convict or render 0ud"ment in a controversy bet'een private individuals or bet'een such individuals and the state, in violation of the distribution of po'ers in the Constitution. It bein" manifest that there are po'ers 'hich the Convention may not and cannot validly assert, much less e2ercise, in the li"ht of the e2istin" Constitution, the simple +uestion arises, should an act of the Convention be assailed by a citi4en as bein" amon" those not "ranted to or inherent in it, accordin" to the e2istin" Constitution, 'ho can decide 'hether such a contention is correct or notI It is of the very essence of the rule of la' that someho' some'here the Po'er and duty to resolve such a "rave constitutional +uestion must be lod"ed on some authority, or 'e 'ould have to confess that the inte"rated system of "overnment established by our foundin" fathers contains a 'ide vacuum no intelli"ent man could i"nore, 'hich is naturally un'orthy of their learnin", e2perience and craftsmanship in constitutionCma!in". Be need not "o far in search for the ans'er to the +uery Be have posed. 1he very decision of Chief 7ustice Concepcion in /on4ales, so much invo!ed by intervenors, reiterates and reinforces the irrefutable lo"ic and 'ealth of principle in the opinion 'ritten for a unanimous Court by 7ustice -aurel in An"ara vs. Electoral Commission, ;< Phil., $<:, readin"= ... ,I.n the main, the Constitution has bloc!ed out 'ith deft stro!es and in bold lines, allotment of po'er to the e2ecutive, the le"islative and the 0udicial departments of the "overnment. 1he overlappin" and interlacin" of functions and duties bet'een the several departments, ho'ever,

sometimes ma!es it hard to say 'here the one leaves off and the other be"ins. In times of social dis+uietude or political e2citement, the "reat landmar! of the Constitution are apt to be for"otten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the 0udicial department is the only constitutional or"an 'hich can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of po'ers bet'een the several departments and amon" the inte"ral or constituent units thereof. As any human production our Constitution is of course lac!in" perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it 'as 'ithin the po'er of our people, actin" throu"h their dele"ates to so provide, that instrument 'hich is the e2pression of their soverei"nty ho'ever limited, has established a republican "overnment intended to operate and function as a harmonious 'hole, under a system of chec! and balances and sub0ect to specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said instrument. 1he Constitution sets forth in no uncertain lan"ua"e the restrictions and limitations upon "overnmental po'ers and a"encies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it 'ould be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by 'hich to direct the course of "overnment alon" constitutional channels, for then the distribution of po'ers 'ould be mere verbia"e, the bill of ri"hts mere e2pressions of sentiment and the principles of "ood "overnment mere political apothe"ms. Certainly the limitations and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they should be in any livin" Constitution. In the Anited (tates 'here no e2press constitutional "rant is found in their constitution, the possession of this moderatin" po'er of the courts, not to spea! of its historical ori"in and development there, has been set at rest by popular ac+uiescence for a period of more than one and half centuries. In our case, this moderatin" po'er is "ranted, if not e2pressly, by clear implication from section 9 of Article )III of our Constitution. 1he Constitution is a definition of the po'ers or "overnment. Bho is to determine the nature, scope and e2tent of such po'ersI 1he Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the 0udiciary as the rational 'ay. And 'hen the 0udiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departmentsE it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the le"islature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obli"ation assi"ned to it by the Constitution to determine conflictin" claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the ri"hts 'hich that instrument secures and "uarantees to them. 1his is in truth all that is involved in 'hat is termed 0udicial supremacy 'hich properly is the po'er of 0udicial revie' under the Constitution. Even then, this po'er of 0udicial revie' is limited to actual cases and controversies to be e2ercised after full opportunity of ar"ument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional +uestion raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren le"al +uestions and

to stri!e conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narro'ed as its functions is in this manner the 0udiciary does not pass upon +uestions of 'isdom, 0ustice or e2pediency of le"islation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to le"islative enactments, not only because the le"islature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the 0udiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the 'isdom and 0ustice of the people as e2pressed throu"h their representatives in the e2ecutive and le"islative departments of the "overnment. But much as 'e mi"ht postulate on the internal chec!s of po'er provided in our Constitution, it ou"ht not the less to be remembered that, in the lan"ua"e of 7ames Madison, the system itself is not the chief palladium of constitutional liberty ... the people 'ho are authors of this blessin" must also be its "uardians ... their eyes must be ever ready to mar!, their voices to pronounce ... a""ression on the authority of their Constitution. In the last and ultimate analysis then, must the success of our "overnment in the unfoldin" years to come be tested in the crucible of 6ilipino minds and hearts than in consultation rooms and court chambers. In the case at bar, the National Assembly has by resolution ,No. #. of 3ecember <, $%<D, confirmed the election of the herein petitioner to the said body. *n the other hand, the Electoral Commission has by resolution adopted on 3ecember %, $%<D, fi2ed said date as the last day for the filin" of protests a"ainst the election, returns and +ualifications of members of the National AssemblyE not'ithstandin" 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 cuttin" off the po'er of the Electoral Commission to entertain protests a"ainst the election, returns and +ualifications of members of the National Assembly, submitted after 3ecember <, $%<D then the resolution of the Electoral Commission of 3ecember %, $%<D, is mere surplusa"e and had no effect. But, if, as contended by the respondents, the Electoral Commission has the sole po'er of re"ulatin" its proceedin"s to the e2clusion of the National Assembly, then the resolution of 3ecember %, $%<D, by 'hich the Electoral Commission fi2ed said date as the last day for filin" protests a"ainst the election, returns and +ualifications of members of the National Assembly, should be upheld. >ere is then presented an actual controversy involvin" as it does a conflict of a "rave constitutional nature bet'een the National Assembly on the one hand and the Electoral Commission on the other. 6rom the very nature of the republican "overnment established in our country in the li"ht of American e2perience and of our o'n, upon the 0udicial department is thro'n the solemn and inescapable obli"ation of interpretin" the Constitution and definin" constitutional boundaries. 1he Electoral Commission as 'e shall have occasion to refer hereafter, is a

constitutional or"an, created for a specific purpose, namely, to determine all contests relatin" to the election, returns and +ualifications of the members of the National Assembly. Althou"h the Electoral Commission may not be interfered 'ith, 'hen and 'hile actin" 'ithin the limits of its authority, it does not follo' that it is beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the people and that it is not sub0ect to constitutional restriction. 1he Electoral Commission is not a separate department of the "overnment, and even if it 'ere, conflictin" claims of authority under the fundamental la' bet'een departmental po'ers and a"encies of the "overnment are necessarily determined by the 0udiciary in 0usticiable and appropriate cases. 3iscardin" the En"lish type and other European types of constitutional "overnment, the framers of our Constitution adopted the American type 'here the 'ritten constitution is interpreted and "iven effect by the 0udicial department. In some countries 'hich have declined to follo' the American e2ample, provisions have been inserted in their constitutions prohibitin" the courts from e2ercisin" the po'er to interpret the fundamental la'. 1his is ta!en as a reco"nition of 'hat other'ise 'ould be the rule that in the absence of direct prohibition, courts are bound to assume 'hat is lo"ically their function. 6or instance, the Constitution of Poland of $%9$ e2pressly provides that courts shall have no po'er to e2amine the validity of statutes ,art. #$, Chap. I).. 1he former Austrian Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries 'hose constitution are silent in this respect, courts have assumed this po'er. 1his is true in Nor'ay, /reece, Australia and (outh Africa. Bhereas, in C4echoslova!ia ,arts. 9 and <, Preliminary -a' to Constitutional Charter of the C4echoslava!, Republic, 6ebruary 9%, $%9@. and (pain ,arts. $9$C$9<, 1itle I?, Constitution of the Republic of $%<$. especial constitutional courts are established to pass upon the validity of ordinary la's. In our case, the nature of the present controversy sho's the necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to determine the conflict of authority bet'een t'o a"encies created by the Constitution. Bere 'e to decline to ta!e co"ni4ance of the controversy, 'ho 'ill determine the conflictI And if the conflict 'ere left undecided and undetermined, 'ould not a void be thus created in our constitutional system 'hich may in the lon" run prove destructive of the entire frame'or!I 1o as! these +uestions is to ans'er them. /atura vacuum abhorret, so must 'e avoid e2haustion in our constitutional system. Apon principle, reason, and authority, 'e are clearly of the opinion that upon the admitted facts of the present case, this court has 0urisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the sub0ect matter of the present controversy for the purpose of determinin" the character, scope and e2tent of the constitutional "rant to the Electoral Commission as the sole 0ud"e of all contests relatin" to the election, returns and +ualifications of the members of the National Assembly. . As the Chief 7ustice has made it clear in Gonzales, li!e 7ustice -aurel did in An$ara, these postulates 0ust +uoted do not apply only to conflicts of authority bet'een the three

e2istin" re"ular departments of the "overnment but to all such conflicts bet'een and amon" these departments, or, bet'een any of them, on the one hand, and any other constitutionally created independent body, li!e the electoral tribunals in Con"ress, the Comelec and the Constituent assemblies constituted by the >ouse of Con"ress, on the other. Be see no reason of lo"ic or principle 'hatsoever, and none has been convincin"ly sho'n to As by any of the respondents and intervenors, 'hy the same rulin" should not apply to the present Convention, even if it is an assembly of dele"ate 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.. Accordin"ly, Be are left 'ith no alternative but to uphold the 0urisdiction of the Court over the present case. It "oes 'ithout sayin" that Be do this not because the Court is superior to the Convention or that the Convention is sub0ect to the control of the Court, but simply because both the Convention and the Court are sub0ect to the Constitution and the rule of la', and upon principle, reason and authority, per 7ustice -aurel, supra, it is 'ithin the po'er as it is the solemn duty of the Court, under the e2istin" Constitution to resolve the issues in 'hich petitioner, respondents and intervenors have 0oined in this case. II 1he issue of 0urisdiction thus resolved, Be come to the cru2 of the petition. Is it 'ithin the po'ers of the Constitutional Convention of $%&$ to order, on its o'n fiat, the holdin" of a plebiscite for the ratification of the proposed amendment reducin" to ei"hteen years the a"e for the e2ercise of suffra"e under (ection $ of Article ) of the Constitution proposed in the Convention5s *r"anic Resolution No. $ in the manner and form provided for in said resolution and the subse+uent implementin" acts and resolution of the ConventionI At the threshold, the environmental circumstances of this case demand the most accurate and une+uivocal statement of the real issue 'hich the Court is called upon to resolve. Petitioner has very clearly stated that he is not a"ainst the constitutional e2tension of the ri"ht of suffra"e to the ei"hteenCyearColds, as a matter of fact, he has advocated or sponsored in Con"ress 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 filin" the petition bein" to comply 'ith his s'orn duty to prevent, Bhenever he can, any violation of the Constitution of the Philippines even if it is committed in the course of or in connection 'ith the most laudable underta!in". Indeed, as the Court sees it, the specific +uestion raised in this case is limited solely and only to the point of 'hether or not it is 'ithin the po'er of the Convention to call for a plebiscite for the ratification by the people of the constitutional amendment proposed in the above+uoted *r"anic Resolution No. $, in the manner and form provided in said resolution as 'ell as in the sub0ect +uestion implementin" actions and resolution of the Convention and its officers, at this 0uncture of its proceedin"s, 'hen as it is a matter of common !no'led"e and 0udicial notice, it is not set to ad0ourn sine die, and is, in fact, still in the preliminary sta"es of considerin" other reforms or amendments affectin" other parts of the e2istin" ConstitutionE and, indeed, *r"anic Resolution No. $ itself e2pressly provides, that the amendment therein proposed shall be 'ithout

pre0udice to other amendments that 'ill be proposed in the future by the $%&$ Constitutional Convention on other portions of the amended section or on other portions of the entire Constitution. In other 'ords, nothin" that the Court may say or do, in this case should be understood as reflectin", in any de"ree or means the individual or collective stand of the members of the Court on the fundamental issue of 'hether or not the ei"hteenCyearColds should be allo'ed to vote, simply because that issue is not before As no'. 1here should be no doubt in the mind of anyone that, once the Court finds it constitutionally permissible, it 'ill not hesitate to do its part so that the said proposed amendment may be presented to the people for their approval or re0ection. Bithal, 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 'hich the 6ilipino people is committed, of adherin" al'ays to the rule of la'. (urely, their idealism, sincerity and purity of purpose cannot permit any other line of conduct or approach in respect of the problem before As. 1he Constitutional Convention of $%&$ itself 'as born, in a "reat measure, because of the pressure brou"ht to bear upon the Con"ress of the Philippines by various elements of the people, the youth in particular, in their incessant search for a peaceful and orderly means of brin"in" about meanin"ful chan"es in the structure and bases of the e2istin" social and "overnmental institutions, includin" the provisions of the fundamental la' related to the 'ellCbein" and economic security of the underprivile"ed classes of our people as 'ell as those concernin" the preservation and protection of our natural resources and the national patrimony, as an alternative to violent and chaotic 'ays of achievin" such lofty ideals. In brief, leavin" aside the e2cesses of enthusiasm 'hich at times have 0ustifiably or un0ustifiably marred the demonstrations in the streets, pla4as and campuses, the youth of the Philippines, in "eneral, li!e the rest of the people, do not 'ant confusion and disorder, anarchy and violenceE 'hat they really 'ant are la' and order, peace and orderliness, even in the pursuit of 'hat they stron"ly and ur"ently feel must be done to chan"e the present order of thin"s in this Republic of ours. It 'ould be tra"ic and contrary to the plain compulsion of these perspectives, if the Court 'ere to allo' itself in decidin" this case to be carried astray by considerations other than the imperatives of the rule of la' and of the applicable provisions of the Constitution. Needless to say, in a lar"er measure than 'hen it binds other departments of the "overnment or any other official or entity, the Constitution imposes upon the Court the sacred duty to "ive meanin" and vi"or to the Constitution, by interpretin" and construin" its provisions in appropriate cases 'ith the proper parties, and by stri!in" do'n any act violative thereof. >ere, as in all other cases, Be are resolved to dischar"e that duty. 3urin" these t'ice 'hen most anyone feels very stron"ly the ur"ent need for constitutional reforms, to the point of bein" convinced that meanin"ful chan"e is the only alternative to a violent revolution, this Court 'ould be the last to put any obstruction or impediment to the 'or! of the Constitutional Convention. If there are respectable sectors opinin" that it has not been called to supplant the e2istin" Constitution in its entirety, since its enablin" provision, Article ?), from 'hich the Convention itself dra's life e2pressly spea!s only of amendments 'hich shall form part of it, 'hich opinion is not 'ithout persuasive force both in principle and in lo"ic, the seemin"ly prevailin" vie' is that only the collective 0ud"ment of its members as to 'hat is 'arranted by the present

condition of thin"s, as they see it, can limit the e2tent of the constitutional innovations the Convention may propose, hence the complete substitution of the e2istin" constitution is not beyond the ambit of the Convention5s authority. 3esirable as it may be to resolve, this "rave diver"ence of vie's, the Court does not consider this case to be properly the one in 'hich it should dischar"e its constitutional duty in such premises. 1he issues raised by petitioner, even those amon" them in 'hich respondents and intervenors have 0oined in an apparent 'ish to have them s+uarely passed upon by the Court do not necessarily impose upon As the imperative obli"ation to e2press *ur vie's thereon. 1he Court considers it to be of the utmost importance that the Convention should be untrammelled and unrestrained in the performance of its constitutionally as si"ned 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 do'n by the Constitution only 'hen and to the specific e2tent only that it 'ould be necessary to do so to avoid a constitutional crisis or a clearly demonstrable violation of the e2istin" Charter. Bithal, it is a very familiar principle of constitutional la' that constitutional +uestions are to be resolved by the (upreme Court only 'hen 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 "overnment, and certainly, the Constitutional Convention stands almost in a uni+ue footin" in that re"ard. In our discussion of the issue of 0urisdiction, Be have already made it clear that the Convention came into bein" by a call of a 0oint session of Con"ress pursuant to (ection I of Article ?) of the Constitution, already +uoted earlier in this opinion. Be reiterate also that as to matters not related to its internal operation and the performance of its assi"ned mission to propose amendments to the Constitution, the Convention and its officers and members are all sub0ect to all the provisions of the e2istin" Constitution. No' Be hold that even as to its latter tas! of proposin" amendments to the Constitution, it is sub0ect to the provisions of (ection I of Article ?). 1his must be so, because it is plain to As that the framers of the Constitution too! care that the process of amendin" the same should not be underta!en 'ith the same ease and facility in chan"in" an ordinary le"islation. Constitution ma!in" is the most valued po'er, second to none, of the people in a constitutional democracy such as the one our foundin" fathers have chosen for this nation, and 'hich 'e of the succeedin" "enerations "enerally cherish. And because the Constitution affects the lives, fortunes, future and every other conceivable aspect of the lives of all the people 'ithin the country and those sub0ect to its soverei"nty, every de"ree of care is ta!en in preparin" and draftin" it. A constitution 'orthy of the people for 'hich it is intended must not be prepared in haste 'ithout ade+uate deliberation and study. It is obvious that correspondin"ly, any amendment of the Constitution is of no less importance than the 'hole Constitution itself, and perforce must be conceived and prepared 'ith as much care and deliberation. 6rom the very nature of thin"s, the drafters of an ori"inal constitution, as already observed earlier, operate 'ithout any limitations, restraints or inhibitions save those that they may impose upon themselves. 1his is not necessarily true of subse+uent conventions called to amend the ori"inal constitution. /enerally, the framers of the latter see to it that their handi'or! is not li"htly treated and as easily mutilated or chan"ed, not only for reasons purely personal but more importantly, because 'ritten constitutions are supposed to be desi"ned so as to last for some time, if not for a"es, or for, at least, as lon" as they can be adopted to the needs and e2i"encies

of the people, hence, they must be insulated a"ainst precipitate and hasty actions motivated by more or less passin" political moods or fancies. 1hus, as a rule, the ori"inal constitutions carry 'ith them limitations and conditions, more or less strin"ent, made so by the people themselves, in re"ard to the process of their amendment. And 'hen such limitations or conditions are so incorporated in the ori"inal constitution, it does not lie in the dele"ates of any subse+uent convention to claim that they may i"nore and disre"ard such conditions because they are as po'erful and omnipotent as their ori"inal counterparts. Nothin" of 'hat is here said is to be understood as curtailin" in any de"ree the number and nature and the scope and e2tent of the amendments the Convention may deem proper to propose. Nor does the Court propose to pass on the issue e2tensively and brilliantly discussed by the parties as to 'hether or not the po'er or duty to call a plebiscite for the ratification of the amendments to be proposed by the Convention is e2clusively le"islative and as such may be e2ercised only by the Con"ress or 'hether the said po'er can be e2ercised concurrently by the Convention 'ith the Con"ress. In the vie' the Court ta!es of present case, it does not perceive absolute necessity to resolve that +uestion, "rave and important as it may be. 1ruth to tell, the lac! of unanimity or even of a consensus amon" 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 #, $%&$, the date set by the Convention for the plebiscite it is callin", bein" ni"h, Be 'ill refrain from ma!in" any pronouncement or e2pressin" *ur vie's on this +uestion until a more appropriate case comes to As. After all, the basis of this decision is as important and decisive as any can be. 1he ultimate +uestion, therefore boils do'n to this= Is there any limitation or condition in (ection $ of Article ?) of the Constitution 'hich is violated by the act of the Convention of callin" for a plebiscite on the sole amendment contained in *r"anic Resolution No. $I 1he 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 sin"le election or plebiscite. It bein" indisputable that the amendment no' proposed to be submitted to a plebiscite is only the first amendment the Convention propose Be hold that the plebiscite bein" called for the purpose of submittin" the same for ratification of the people on November #, $%&$ is not authori4ed by (ection $ of Article ?) of the Constitution, hence all acts of the Convention and the respondent Comelec in that direction are null and void. Be have arrived at this conclusion for the follo'in" reasons= $. 1he lan"ua"e of the constitutional provision afore+uoted is sufficiently clear. lt says distinctly that either Con"ress sittin" as a constituent assembly or a convention called for the purpose may propose amendments to this Constitution, thus placin" no limit as to the number of amendments that Con"ress or the Convention may propose. 1he same provision also as definitely provides that such amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution 'hen approved by a ma0ority of the votes cast at an election at 'hich the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification, thus leavin" no room

for doubt as to ho' many elections or plebiscites may be held to ratify any amendment or amendments proposed by the same constituent assembly of Con"ress or convention, and the provision une+uivocably says an election 'hich means only one. ,9. )ery little reflection is needed for anyone to reali4e the 'isdom and appropriateness of this provision. As already stated, amendin" the Constitution is as serious and important an underta!in" as constitution ma!in" itself. Indeed, any amendment of the Constitution is as important as the 'hole of it if only because the Constitution has to be an inte"rated and harmonious instrument, if it is to be viable as the frame'or! of the "overnment it establishes, on the one hand, and ade+uately formidable and reliable as the succinct but comprehensive articulation of the ri"hts, liberties, ideolo"y, social ideals, and national and nationalistic policies and aspirations of the people, on the other. lt is inconceivable ho' a constitution 'orthy of any country or people can have any part 'hich is out of tune 'ith its other parts.. A constitution is the 'or! of the people thru its drafters assembled by them for the purpose. *nce the ori"inal constitution is approved, the part that the people play in its amendment becomes harder, for 'hen a 'hole constitution is submitted to them, more or less they can assumed its harmony as an inte"rated 'hole, and they can either accept or re0ect it in its entirety. At the very least, they can e2amine it before castin" their vote and determine for themselves from a study of the 'hole document the merits and demerits of all or any of its parts and of the document as a 'hole. And so also, 'hen an amendment is submitted to them that is to form part of the e2istin" constitution, in li!e fashion they can study 'ith deliberation the proposed amendment in relation to the 'hole e2istin" constitution and or any of its parts and thereby arrive at an intelli"ent 0ud"ment as to its acceptability. 1his cannot happen in the case of the amendment in +uestion. Prescindin" already from the fact that under (ection < of the +uestioned resolution, it is evident that no fi2ed frame of reference is provided the voter, as to 'hat finally 'ill be concomitant +ualifications that 'ill be re+uired by the final draft of the constitution to be formulated by the Convention of a voter to be able to en0oy the ri"ht of suffra"e, there are other considerations 'hich ma!e it impossible to vote intelli"ently on the proposed amendment, althou"h it may already be observed that under (ection <, if a voter 'ould favor the reduction of the votin" a"e to ei"hteen 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 'hether they 'ill ever be or not, because Con"ress has reserved those for future action, 'hat !ind of 0ud"ment can he render on the proposalI But the situation actually before As is even 'orse. No one !no's 'hat chan"es in the fundamental principles of the constitution the Convention 'ill be minded to approve. 1o be more specific, 'e do not have any means of foreseein" 'hether the ri"ht to vote 'ould be of any si"nificant value at all. Bho can say 'hether or not later on the Convention may decide to provide for varyin" types of voters for each level of the political units it may divide the country into. 1he root of the difficulty in other 'ords, lies in that the Convention is precisely on the ver"e of introducin" substantial chan"es, if not radical ones, in almost

every part and aspect of the e2istin" social and political order enshrined in the present Constitution. >o' can a voter in the proposed plebiscite intelli"ently determine the effect of the reduction of the votin" a"e upon the different institutions 'hich the Convention may establish and of 'hich presently he is not "iven any ideaI Be 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 intelli"ent appraisal of the nature of the amendment per se as 'ell as its relation to the other parts of the Constitution 'ith 'hich it has to form a harmonious 'hole. In the conte2t of the present state of thin"s, 'here the Convention has hardly started considerin" the merits of hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals to amend the e2istin" Constitution, to present to the people any sin"le proposal or a fe' of them cannot comply 'ith this re+uirement. Be are of the opinion that the present Constitution does not contemplate in (ection $ of Article ?) a plebiscite or election 'herein the people are in the dar! as to frame of reference they can base their 0ud"ment on. Be re0ect the rationali4ation that the present Constitution is a possible frame of reference, for the simple reason that intervenors themselves are statin" that the sole purpose of the proposed amendment is to enable the ei"hteen year olds to ta!e 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 lan"ua"e of 7ustice (anche4, spea!in" for the si2 members of the Court in /on4ales, supra, no proper submission . III 1he Court has no desire at all to hamper and hamstrin" the noble 'or! of the Constitutional Convention. Much less does the Court 'ant to pass 0ud"ment on the merits of the proposal to allo' these ei"hteen years old to vote. But li!e the Convention, the Court has its o'n duties to the people under the Constitution 'hich is to decide in appropriate cases 'ith appropriate parties Bhether or not the mandates of the fundamental la' are bein" complied 'ith. In the best li"ht /od has "iven As, 'e are of the conviction that in providin" for the +uestioned plebiscite before it has finished, and separately from, the 'hole draft of the constitution it has been called to formulate, the Convention5s *r"anic Resolution No. $ and all subse+uent acts of the Convention implementin" the same violate the condition in (ection $, Article ?) that there should only be one election or plebiscite for the ratification of all the amendments the Convention may propose. Be are not denyin" any ri"ht of the people to vote on the proposed amendmentE Be are only holdin" that under (ection $, Article ?) of the Constitution, the same should be submitted to them not separately from but to"ether 'ith all the other amendments to be proposed by this present Convention. IN )IEB *6 A-- 1>E 6*RE/*IN/, the petition herein is "ranted. *r"anic Resolution No. $ of the Constitutional Convention of $%&$ and the implementin" acts and resolutions of the Convention, insofar as they provide for the holdin" of a plebiscite on November #, $%&$, as 'ell as the resolution of the respondent Comelec complyin" there'ith ,RR Resolution No. ;%D. are hereby declared null and void. 1he respondents Comelec, 3isbursin" *fficer, Chief Accountant and Auditor of the Constitutional Convention are hereby en0oined from

ta!in" any action in compliance 'ith the said or"anic resolution. In vie' of the peculiar circumstances of this case, the Court declares this decision immediately e2ecutory. No costs. Concepcion" C.#." Teehan0ee" )illamor and Ma0asiar" ##." concur.

+uestion 'ithin the meanin" and intendment of (ection $ of Article ?) of the Constitution, and ,9. that the forthcomin" election is not the proper election envisioned by the same provision of the Constitution. Mr. 7ustice C. ). (anche4, in his dissent in Gonzales vs. Commission on lections 1 and !hilippine Constitution Association vs. Commission on lections, 0 e2pounded his vie', 'ith 'hich 'e essentially a"ree, on the minimum re+uirements that must be met in order that there can be a proper submission to the people of a proposed constitutional amendment. 1his is 'hat he said= ... amendments must be fairly laid before the people for their blessin" or spurnin". 1he people are not to be mere rubber stamps. 1hey are not to vote blindly. 1hey must be afforded ample opportunity to mull over the ori"inal provisions, compare them 'ith the proposed amendments, and try to reach a conclusion as the dictates of their conscience su""est, free from the incubus of e2traneous or possibly insidious influences. Be believe the 'ord submitted can only mean that the "overnment, 'ithin its ma2imum capabilities, should strain every effort to inform citi4en of the provisions to be amended, and the proposed amendments and the meanin", nature and effects thereof. By this, 'e are not to be understood as sayin" that, if one citi4en or $@@ citi4ens or $,@@@ citi4ens cannot be reached, then there is no submission 'ithin the meanin" of the 'ord as intended by the framers of the Constitution. Bhat the Constitution in effect directs is that the "overnment, in submittin" an amendment for ratification, should put every instrumentality or a"ency 'ithin its structural frame'or! to enli"hten the people, educate them 'ith respect to their act of ratification or re0ection. 6or 'e have earlier stated, one thin" is submission and another is ratification. 1here must be fair submission, intelli"ent consent or re0ection. . 1he second constitutional ob0ection 'as "iven e2pression by one of the 'riters of this concurrin" opinion, in the follo'in" 'ords= I find it impossible to believe that it 'as ever intended by its framers that such amendment should be submitted and ratified by 0ust a ma0ority of the votes cast at an election at 'hich the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification , if the concentration of the people5s attention thereon is to be diverted by other e2traneous issues, such as the choice of local and national officials. 1he framers of the Constitution, a'are of the fundamental character thereof, and of the need of "ivin" it as much stability as is practicable, could have only meant that any amendments thereto should be debated, considered and voted upon an election 'herein the people could devote undivided attention to the sub0ect. 4

Se+!r!te O+,",o"-

MA.AL NTAL, J., reserves his vote G I reserve my vote. 1he resolution in +uestion is voted do'n by a sufficient ma0ority of the Court on 0ust one "round, 'hich to be sure achieves the result from the le"al and constitutional vie'point. I entertain "rave doubts as to the validity of the premises postulated and conclusions reached in support of the dispositive portion of the decision. >o'ever, considerin" the ur"ent nature of this case, the lac! of time to set do'n at len"th my opinion on the particular issue upon 'hich the decision is made to rest, and the fact that a dissent on the said issue 'ould necessarily be inconclusive unless the other issues raised in the petition are also considered and ruled upon G a tas! that 'ould be premature and pointless at this time G I limit myself to this reservation. RE*ES, ).'.L., /AL& (AR, CASTRO !"# MA.AS AR, JJ., concurrin"= Be concur in the main opinion penned by Mr. 7ustice Barredo in his usual inimitable, forthri"ht and vi"orous style. -i!e him, 'e do not e2press our individual vie's on the wisdom of the proposed constitutional amendment, 'hich is not in issue here because it is a matter that properly and e2clusively addresses itself to the collective 0ud"ment of the people. Be must, ho'ever, articulate t'o additional ob0ections of constitutional dimension 'hich, althou"h they 'ould seem to be superfluous because of the reach of the basic constitutional infirmity discussed in e1tenso in the main opinion, nevertheless appear to us to be 0ust as fundamental in character and scope. Assumin" that the Constitutional Convention has po'er to propose piecemeal amendments and submit each separately to the people for ratification, 'e are nonetheless persuaded that ,$. that there is no proper submissionof title proposed amendment in

1rue it is that the +uestion posed by the proposed amendment, 3o you or do you not 'ant the $#Cyear old to be allo'ed to voteI, 'ould seem to be uncomplicated and innocuous. But it is one of life5s verities that thin"s 'hich appear to be simple may turn out not to be so simple after all. A number of doubts or mis"ivin"s could conceivably and lo"ically assail the avera"e voter. Bhy should the votin" a"e be lo'ered at all, in the first placeI Bhy should the ne' votin" a"e be precisely $# years, and not $% or 9@I And 'hy not $&I *r even $; or $DI Is the $#C year old as mature as the 9$Cyear old so that there is no need of an educational +ualification to entitle him to voteI In this a"e of permissiveness and dissent, can the $#C year old be relied upon to vote 'ith 0udiciousness 'hen the 9$Cyear old, in the past elections, has not performed so 'ellI If the proposed amendment is voted do'n by the people, 'ill the Constitutional Convention insist on the said amendmentI Bhy is there an unseemly haste on the part of the Constitutional Convention in havin" this particular proposed amendment ratified at this particular timeI 3o some of the members of the Convention have future political plans 'hich they 'ant to be"in to subserve by the approval this year of this amendmentI If this amendment is approved, does it thereby mean that the $#Cyear old should no' also shoulder the moral and le"al responsibilities of the 9$Cyear oldI Bill he be re+uired to render compulsory military service under the colorsI Bill the a"e of contractual consent be reduced to $# yearsI If I vote a"ainst this amendment, 'ill I not be unfair to my o'n child 'ho 'ill be $# years old, come $%&<I . 1he above are 0ust samplin"s from here, there and every'here G from a domain ,of searchin" +uestions. the bounds of 'hich are not immediately ascertainable. (urely, many more +uestions can be added to the already lon" litany. And the ans'ers cannot be had e2cept as the +uestions are debated fully, pondered upon purposefully, and accorded undivided attention. (cannin" the contemporary scene, 'e say that the people are not, and by election time 'ill not be, sufficiently informed of the meanin", nature and effects of the proposed constitutional amendment. 1hey have not been afforded ample time to deliberate thereon conscientiously. 1hey 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. 1hey cannot thus 'ei"h in tran+uility the need for and the 'isdom of the proposed amendment. Apon the above dis+uisition, it is our considered vie' that the intendment of the 'ords, at an election at 'hich the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification, embodied in (ection $ of Article ?) of the Constitution, has not been met. %ERNAN&O, J., concurrin" and dissentin"= 1here is much to be said for the opinion of the Court penned by 7ustice Barredo, characteri4ed by clarity and vi"or, its manifestation of fealty to the rule of la' couched in elo+uent lan"ua"e, that commands assent. As the Constitution occupies the topmost ran! in the hierarchy of le"al norms, Con"ress and Constitutional Convention ali!e, no less than

this Court, must bo' to its supremacy. 1hereby constitutionalism asserts itself. Bith the vie' I entertain of 'hat is allo'able, if not indeed re+uired by the Constitution, my conformity does not e2tend as far as the acceptance of the conclusion reached. 1he +uestion presented is indeed novel, not bein" controlled by constitutional prescription, definite and certain. Ander the circumstances, 'ith the e2press reco"nition in the Constitution of the po'ers of the Constitutional Convention to propose amendments, I cannot discern any ob0ection to the validity of its action there bein" no le"al impediment that 'ould call for its nullification. (uch an approach all the more commends itself to me considerin" that 'hat 'as sou"ht to be done is to refer the matter to the people in 'hom, accordin" to our Constitution, soverei"nty resides. It is in that sense that, 'ith due respect, I find myself unable to 0oin my brethren. I. It is understandable then 'hy the decisive issue posed could not be resolved by reliance on, implicit in the petition and the ans'er of intervenors, such concepts as le"islative control of the constitutional convention referred to by petitioner on the one hand or, on the other, the theory of conventional soverei"nty favored by intervenors. It is "ratifyin" to note that durin" the oral ar"ument of petitioner and counsel for respondents and intervenors, there apparently 'as a retreat from such e2treme position, all parties, as should be the case, e2pressly avo'in" the primacy of the Constitution, the applicable provision of 'hich as interpreted by this Court, should be controllin" on both Con"ress and the Convention. It cannot be denied thou"h that in at least one American state, that is Pennsylvania, there 'ere decisions announcin" the doctrine that the po'ers to be e2ercised by a constitutional convention are dependent on a le"islative "rant, in the absence of any authority conferred directly by the fundamental la'. 1he result is a convention that is subordinate to the la'ma!in" body. Its field of competence is circumscribed. It has to loo! to the latter for the delimitation of its permissible scope of activity. It is thus made subordinate to the le"islature. No'here has such a vie' been more vi"orously e2pressed than in the Pennsylvania case of Bood5s Appeal. 1 Its holdin" thou"h finds no support under our constitutional provision. It does not thereby follo' that 'hile free from le"islative control, a constitutional convention may lay claim to an attribute soverei"n in character. 1he Constitution is +uite e2plicit that it is to the people, and to the people alone, in 'hom soverei"nty resides. 0 (uch a prero"ative is therefore 'ithheld from a convention. It is an a"ency entrusted 'ith the responsibility of hi"h import and si"nificance it is trueE it is denied unlimited le"al competence thou"h. 1hat is 'hat soverei"nty connotes. It has to yield to the superior force of the Constitution. 1here can then be no basis for the e2a""erated pretension that it is an alter e$o of the people. It is to be admitted that there are some American state decisions, the most notable of 'hich is *proule v. 2rederic0s , 3 a Mississippi case, that dates bac! to $#%9, that yield a different conclusion. 1he doctrine therein announced cannot bind us. *ur Constitution ma!es clear that the po'er of a constitutional convention is not soverei"n. It is appropriately termed constituent, limited as it is to the purpose of draftin" a constitution or proposin" revision or amendments to one in e2istence, sub0ect in either case to popular approval. 1he vie' that commends itself for acceptance is that le"islature and constitutional convention, ali!e reco"ni4ed by the Constitution, are coordinate, there bein" no

superiority of one over the other. Insofar as the constituent po'er of proposin" amendments to the Constitution is concerned, a constitutional convention en0oys a 'ide sphere of autonomy consistently 'ith the Constitution 'hich can be the only source of valid restriction on its competence. It is true it is to the le"islative body that the call to a convention must proceed, but once convened, it cannot in any 'ise be interfered 'ith, much less controlled by Con"ress. A contrary conclusion 'ould impair its usefulness for the delicate, and paramount tas! assi"ned to it. A convention then is to be loo!ed upon as if it 'ere one of the three coordinate departments 'hich under the principle of separation of po'ers is supreme 'ithin its field and has e2clusive co"ni4ance of matters properly sub0ect to its 0urisdiction. A succinct statement of the appropriate principle that should "overn the relationship bet'een a constitutional convention and a le"islative body under American la' is that found in *rfield5s 'or!. 1hus= 1he earliest vie' seems to have been that a convention 'as absolute. 1he convention 'as soverei"n and sub0ect to no restraint. *n the other hand, 7ameson, 'hose vie's have been most fre+uently cited in decisions, vie'ed a convention as a body 'ith strictly limited po'ers, and sub0ect to the restrictions imposed on it by the le"islative call. A third and intermediate vie' is that ur"ed by 3odd G that a convention, thou"h not soverei"n, is a body independent of the le"islatureE it is bound by the e2istin" constitution, but not by the acts of the le"islature, as to the e2tent of its constituent po'er. 1his vie' has become increasin"ly prevalent in the state decisions. 4 9. It is to the Constitution, and to the Constitution alone then, as so vi"orously stressed in the opinion of the Court, that any limitation on the po'er the Constitutional, Convention must find its source. I turn to its Article ?). It reads= 1he Con"ress in 0oint session assembled, by a vote of three fourths of all the Members of the (enate and of the >ouse of Representatives votin" separately, may propose amendments to this Constitution or call a convention for that purpose. (uch amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution 'hen approved by a ma0ority of the votes cast at an election at 'hich the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification. Clearly, insofar as amendments, includin" revision, are concerned, there are t'o steps, proposal and thereafter ratification. 1hus as to the former, t'o constituent bodies are provided for, the Con"ress of the Philippines in the mode therein provided, and a constitutional convention that may be called into bein". *nce assembled, a constitutional convention, li!e the Con"ress of the Philippines, possesses in all its plenitude the constituent po'er. Inasmuch as Con"ress may determine 'hat amendments it 'ould have the people ratify and thereafter ta!e all the steps necessary so that the approval or disapproval of the electorate may be obtained, the convention li!e'ise, to my mind, should be deemed possessed of all the necessary authority to assure that 'hatever amendments it see!s to introduce 'ould be submitted to the people at an election called for that purpose. It 'ould appear to me that to vie' the convention as bein" denied a prero"ative 'hich is not 'ithheld from Con"ress as a constituent body 'ould be to place it in an inferior cate"ory. (uch a proposition I do not find acceptable. Con"ress and constitutional convention are a"encies for submittin" proposals under the fundamental la'. A po'er "ranted to one should not be denied the other. No 0ustification for such a drastic differentiation either in theory or practice e2ists.

(uch a conclusion has for me the added reinforcement that to re+uire ordinary le"islation before the convention could be enabled to have its proposals voted on by the people 'ould be to place a po'er in the le"islative and e2ecutive branches that could, 'hether by act or omission, result in the frustration of the amendin" process. I am the first to admit that such li!elihood is remote, but if such a ris! even if minimal could be avoided, it should be, unless the compellin" force of an applicable constitutional provision re+uires other'ise. Considerin" that a constitutional convention is not precluded from imposin" additional restrictions on the po'ers of either the e2ecutive or le"islative branches, or, for that matter, the 0udiciary, it 'ould appear to be the better policy to interpret Article ?) in such a 'ay that 'ould not sanction such restraint on the authority that must be reco"ni4ed as vested in a constitutional convention. 1here is nothin" in such a vie' that to my mind 'ould collide 'ith a reasonable interpretation of Article ?). It certainly is one 'ay by 'hich freed from pernicious abstractions, it 'ould be easier to accommodate a constitution to the needs of an unfoldin" future. 1hat is to facilitate its bein" responsive to the challen"e that time inevitably brin"s in its 'a!e. 6rom such an approach then, I am irresistibly led to the conclusion that the challen"ed resolution 'as 'ell 'ithin the po'er of the convention. 1hat 'ould be to brush aside the 'eb of unreality spun from a tooCrestrictive mode of appraisin" the le"itimate scope of its competence. 1hat 'ould be, for me, to "ive added vi"or and life to the conferment of authority vested in it, attended by such "rave and a'esome responsibility. <. It becomes pertinent to in+uire then 'hether the last sentence of Article ?) providin" that such amendment shall be valid 'hen submitted and thereafter approved by the ma0ority 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 'hen the convention has finished its 'or! should all amendments proposed be submitted for ratification. 1hat is not for me, and I say this 'ith respect, the appropriate interpretation. It is true that the Constitution uses the 'ord election in the sin"ular, but that is not decisive. No undue reliance should be accorded rules of "rammarE they do not e2ert a compellin" force in constitutional interpretation. Meanin" is to be sou"ht not from specific lan"ua"e in the sin"ular but from the mosaic of si"nificance derived from the total conte2t. It could be, if it 'ere not thus, selfCdefeatin". (uch a mode of construction does not commend itself. 1he 'ords used in the Constitution are not inertE they derive vitality from the obvious purposes at 'hich they are aimed. Petitioner5s stress on lin"uistic refinement, 'hile not implausible does not, for me, carry the day. It 'as li!e'ise ar"ued by petitioner that the proposed amendment is provisional and therefore is not such as 'as contemplated in this article. I do not find such contention convincin". 1he fact that the Constitutional Convention did see! to consult the 'ishes of the people by the proposed submission of a tentative amendatory provision is an ar"ument for its validity. It mi"ht be said of course that until impressed 'ith finality, an amendment is not to be passed upon by the electorate. 1here is plausibility in such a vie'. A literal readin" of the Constitution 'ould support it. 1he spirit that informs it thou"h 'ould not, for me, be satisfied. 6rom its silence I deduce the inference that there is no repu"nancy to the fundamental la' 'hen the Constitutional Convention ascertains the

popular 'ill. In that sense, the Constitution, to follo' the phraseolo"y of 1homas Reed Po'el, is not silently silent but silently vocal. Bhat I deem the more important consideration is that 'hile a public official, as an a"ent, has to locate his source of authority in either Constitution or statute, the people, as the principal, can only be limited in the e2ercise of their soverei"n po'ers by the e2press terms of the Constitution. A concept to the contrary 'ould to my 'ay of thin!in" be inconsistent 'ith the fundamental principle that it is in the people, and the people alone, that soverei"nty resides. :. 1he constitutional Convention havin" acted 'ithin the scope of its authority, an action to restrain or prohibit respondent Commission on Elections from conductin" the plebiscite does not lie. It should not be lost si"ht of that the Commission on Elections in thus bein" char"ed 'ith such a duty does not act in its capacity as the constitutional a"ency to ta!e char"e of all la's relative to the conduct of election. 1hat is a purely e2ecutive function vested in it under Article ? of the Constitution. 5 It is not precluded from assistin" the Constitutional Convention if pursuant to its competence to amend the fundamental la' it see!s, 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 $%&$ Constitutional Convention Act, it is not to turn a deaf ear to a summons from the Convention to aid it in the le"itimate dischar"e of its functions. 6 1he aforesaid considerations, such as they are, but 'hich for me have a force that I mind myself unable to overcome, leave me no alternative but to dissent from my brethren, 'ith due ac!no'led"ement of course that from their basic premises, the conclusion arrived at by them cannot be characteri4ed as in any 'ise bereft of a persuasive +uality of a hi"h order.

Be concur in the main opinion penned by Mr. 7ustice Barredo in his usual inimitable, forthri"ht and vi"orous style. -i!e him, 'e do not e2press our individual vie's on the wisdom of the proposed constitutional amendment, 'hich is not in issue here because it is a matter that properly and e2clusively addresses itself to the collective 0ud"ment of the people. Be must, ho'ever, articulate t'o additional ob0ections of constitutional dimension 'hich, althou"h they 'ould seem to be superfluous because of the reach of the basic constitutional infirmity discussed in e1tenso in the main opinion, nevertheless appear to us to be 0ust as fundamental in character and scope. Assumin" that the Constitutional Convention has po'er to propose piecemeal amendments and submit each separately to the people for ratification, 'e are nonetheless persuaded that ,$. that there is no proper submissionof title proposed amendment in +uestion 'ithin the meanin" and intendment of (ection $ of Article ?) of the Constitution, and ,9. that the forthcomin" election is not the proper election envisioned by the same provision of the Constitution. Mr. 7ustice C. ). (anche4, in his dissent in Gonzales vs. Commission on lections 1 and !hilippine Constitution Association vs. Commission on lections, 0 e2pounded his vie', 'ith 'hich 'e essentially a"ree, on the minimum re+uirements that must be met in order that there can be a proper submission to the people of a proposed constitutional amendment. 1his is 'hat he said= ... amendments must be fairly laid before the people for their blessin" or spurnin". 1he people are not to be mere rubber stamps. 1hey are not to vote blindly. 1hey must be afforded ample opportunity to mull over the ori"inal provisions, compare them 'ith the proposed amendments, and try to reach a conclusion as the dictates of their conscience su""est, free from the incubus of e2traneous or possibly insidious influences. Be believe the 'ord submitted can only mean that the "overnment, 'ithin its ma2imum capabilities, should strain every effort to inform citi4en of the provisions to be amended, and the proposed amendments and the meanin", nature and effects thereof. By this, 'e are not to be understood as sayin" that, if one citi4en or $@@ citi4ens or $,@@@ citi4ens cannot be reached, then there is no submission 'ithin the meanin" of the 'ord as intended by the framers of the Constitution. Bhat the Constitution in effect directs is that the "overnment, in submittin" an amendment for ratification, should put every instrumentality or a"ency 'ithin its structural frame'or! to enli"hten the people, educate them 'ith respect to their act of ratification or re0ection. 6or 'e have earlier stated, one thin" is submission and another is ratification. 1here must be fair submission, intelli"ent consent or re0ection. . 1he second constitutional ob0ection 'as "iven e2pression by one of the 'riters of this concurrin" opinion, in the follo'in" 'ords=

Se+!r!te O+,",o"MA.AL NTAL, J., reserves his vote G I reserve my vote. 1he resolution in +uestion is voted do'n by a sufficient ma0ority of the Court on 0ust one "round, 'hich to be sure achieves the result from the le"al and constitutional vie'point. I entertain "rave doubts as to the validity of the premises postulated and conclusions reached in support of the dispositive portion of the decision. >o'ever, considerin" the ur"ent nature of this case, the lac! of time to set do'n at len"th my opinion on the particular issue upon 'hich the decision is made to rest, and the fact that a dissent on the said issue 'ould necessarily be inconclusive unless the other issues raised in the petition are also considered and ruled upon G a tas! that 'ould be premature and pointless at this time G I limit myself to this reservation. RE*ES, ).'.L., /AL& (AR, CASTRO !"# MA.AS AR, JJ., concurrin"=

I find it impossible to believe that it 'as ever intended by its framers that such amendment should be submitted and ratified by 0ust a ma0ority of the votes cast at an election at 'hich the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification , if the concentration of the people5s attention thereon is to be diverted by other e2traneous issues, such as the choice of local and national officials. 1he framers of the Constitution, a'are of the fundamental character thereof, and of the need of "ivin" it as much stability as is practicable, could have only meant that any amendments thereto should be debated, considered and voted upon an election 'herein the people could devote undivided attention to the sub0ect. 4 1rue it is that the +uestion posed by the proposed amendment, 3o you or do you not 'ant the $#Cyear old to be allo'ed to voteI, 'ould seem to be uncomplicated and innocuous. But it is one of life5s verities that thin"s 'hich appear to be simple may turn out not to be so simple after all. A number of doubts or mis"ivin"s could conceivably and lo"ically assail the avera"e voter. Bhy should the votin" a"e be lo'ered at all, in the first placeI Bhy should the ne' votin" a"e be precisely $# years, and not $% or 9@I And 'hy not $&I *r even $; or $DI Is the $#C year old as mature as the 9$Cyear old so that there is no need of an educational +ualification to entitle him to voteI In this a"e of permissiveness and dissent, can the $#C year old be relied upon to vote 'ith 0udiciousness 'hen the 9$Cyear old, in the past elections, has not performed so 'ellI If the proposed amendment is voted do'n by the people, 'ill the Constitutional Convention insist on the said amendmentI Bhy is there an unseemly haste on the part of the Constitutional Convention in havin" this particular proposed amendment ratified at this particular timeI 3o some of the members of the Convention have future political plans 'hich they 'ant to be"in to subserve by the approval this year of this amendmentI If this amendment is approved, does it thereby mean that the $#Cyear old should no' also shoulder the moral and le"al responsibilities of the 9$Cyear oldI Bill he be re+uired to render compulsory military service under the colorsI Bill the a"e of contractual consent be reduced to $# yearsI If I vote a"ainst this amendment, 'ill I not be unfair to my o'n child 'ho 'ill be $# years old, come $%&<I . 1he above are 0ust samplin"s from here, there and every'here G from a domain ,of searchin" +uestions. the bounds of 'hich are not immediately ascertainable. (urely, many more +uestions can be added to the already lon" litany. And the ans'ers cannot be had e2cept as the +uestions are debated fully, pondered upon purposefully, and accorded undivided attention. (cannin" the contemporary scene, 'e say that the people are not, and by election time 'ill not be, sufficiently informed of the meanin", nature and effects of the proposed constitutional amendment. 1hey have not been afforded ample time to deliberate thereon conscientiously. 1hey 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. 1hey cannot thus 'ei"h in tran+uility the need for and the 'isdom of the proposed amendment. Apon the above dis+uisition, it is our considered vie' that the intendment of the 'ords, at an election at 'hich the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification, embodied in (ection $ of Article ?) of the Constitution, has not been met. %ERNAN&O, J., concurrin" and dissentin"= 1here is much to be said for the opinion of the Court penned by 7ustice Barredo, characteri4ed by clarity and vi"or, its manifestation of fealty to the rule of la' couched in elo+uent lan"ua"e, that commands assent. As the Constitution occupies the topmost ran! in the hierarchy of le"al norms, Con"ress and Constitutional Convention ali!e, no less than this Court, must bo' to its supremacy. 1hereby constitutionalism asserts itself. Bith the vie' I entertain of 'hat is allo'able, if not indeed re+uired by the Constitution, my conformity does not e2tend as far as the acceptance of the conclusion reached. 1he +uestion presented is indeed novel, not bein" controlled by constitutional prescription, definite and certain. Ander the circumstances, 'ith the e2press reco"nition in the Constitution of the po'ers of the Constitutional Convention to propose amendments, I cannot discern any ob0ection to the validity of its action there bein" no le"al impediment that 'ould call for its nullification. (uch an approach all the more commends itself to me considerin" that 'hat 'as sou"ht to be done is to refer the matter to the people in 'hom, accordin" to our Constitution, soverei"nty resides. It is in that sense that, 'ith due respect, I find myself unable to 0oin my brethren. I. It is understandable then 'hy the decisive issue posed could not be resolved by reliance on, implicit in the petition and the ans'er of intervenors, such concepts as le"islative control of the constitutional convention referred to by petitioner on the one hand or, on the other, the theory of conventional soverei"nty favored by intervenors. It is "ratifyin" to note that durin" the oral ar"ument of petitioner and counsel for respondents and intervenors, there apparently 'as a retreat from such e2treme position, all parties, as should be the case, e2pressly avo'in" the primacy of the Constitution, the applicable provision of 'hich as interpreted by this Court, should be controllin" on both Con"ress and the Convention. It cannot be denied thou"h that in at least one American state, that is Pennsylvania, there 'ere decisions announcin" the doctrine that the po'ers to be e2ercised by a constitutional convention are dependent on a le"islative "rant, in the absence of any authority conferred directly by the fundamental la'. 1he result is a convention that is subordinate to the la'ma!in" body. Its field of competence is circumscribed. It has to loo! to the latter for the delimitation of its permissible scope of activity. It is thus made subordinate to the le"islature. No'here has such a vie' been more vi"orously e2pressed than in the Pennsylvania case of Bood5s Appeal. 1 Its holdin" thou"h finds no support under our constitutional provision. It does not thereby follo' that 'hile free from le"islative control, a constitutional convention may lay claim to an attribute soverei"n in character. 1he Constitution is +uite e2plicit that it is to the people, and to the people alone, in 'hom soverei"nty

resides. 0 (uch a prero"ative is therefore 'ithheld from a convention. It is an a"ency entrusted 'ith the responsibility of hi"h import and si"nificance it is trueE it is denied unlimited le"al competence thou"h. 1hat is 'hat soverei"nty connotes. It has to yield to the superior force of the Constitution. 1here can then be no basis for the e2a""erated pretension that it is an alter e$o of the people. It is to be admitted that there are some American state decisions, the most notable of 'hich is *proule v. 2rederic0s , 3 a Mississippi case, that dates bac! to $#%9, that yield a different conclusion. 1he doctrine therein announced cannot bind us. *ur Constitution ma!es clear that the po'er of a constitutional convention is not soverei"n. It is appropriately termed constituent, limited as it is to the purpose of draftin" a constitution or proposin" revision or amendments to one in e2istence, sub0ect in either case to popular approval. 1he vie' that commends itself for acceptance is that le"islature and constitutional convention, ali!e reco"ni4ed by the Constitution, are coordinate, there bein" no superiority of one over the other. Insofar as the constituent po'er of proposin" amendments to the Constitution is concerned, a constitutional convention en0oys a 'ide sphere of autonomy consistently 'ith the Constitution 'hich can be the only source of valid restriction on its competence. It is true it is to the le"islative body that the call to a convention must proceed, but once convened, it cannot in any 'ise be interfered 'ith, much less controlled by Con"ress. A contrary conclusion 'ould impair its usefulness for the delicate, and paramount tas! assi"ned to it. A convention then is to be loo!ed upon as if it 'ere one of the three coordinate departments 'hich under the principle of separation of po'ers is supreme 'ithin its field and has e2clusive co"ni4ance of matters properly sub0ect to its 0urisdiction. A succinct statement of the appropriate principle that should "overn the relationship bet'een a constitutional convention and a le"islative body under American la' is that found in *rfield5s 'or!. 1hus= 1he earliest vie' seems to have been that a convention 'as absolute. 1he convention 'as soverei"n and sub0ect to no restraint. *n the other hand, 7ameson, 'hose vie's have been most fre+uently cited in decisions, vie'ed a convention as a body 'ith strictly limited po'ers, and sub0ect to the restrictions imposed on it by the le"islative call. A third and intermediate vie' is that ur"ed by 3odd G that a convention, thou"h not soverei"n, is a body independent of the le"islatureE it is bound by the e2istin" constitution, but not by the acts of the le"islature, as to the e2tent of its constituent po'er. 1his vie' has become increasin"ly prevalent in the state decisions. 4 9. It is to the Constitution, and to the Constitution alone then, as so vi"orously stressed in the opinion of the Court, that any limitation on the po'er the Constitutional, Convention must find its source. I turn to its Article ?). It reads= 1he Con"ress in 0oint session assembled, by a vote of three fourths of all the Members of the (enate and of the >ouse of Representatives votin" separately, may propose amendments to this Constitution or call a convention for that purpose. (uch amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution 'hen approved by a ma0ority of the votes cast at an election at 'hich the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification. Clearly, insofar as amendments, includin" revision, are concerned, there are t'o steps, proposal and thereafter ratification. 1hus as to the former, t'o constituent bodies are provided for, the Con"ress of the Philippines in the mode therein provided, and a

constitutional convention that may be called into bein". *nce assembled, a constitutional convention, li!e the Con"ress of the Philippines, possesses in all its plenitude the constituent po'er. Inasmuch as Con"ress may determine 'hat amendments it 'ould have the people ratify and thereafter ta!e all the steps necessary so that the approval or disapproval of the electorate may be obtained, the convention li!e'ise, to my mind, should be deemed possessed of all the necessary authority to assure that 'hatever amendments it see!s to introduce 'ould be submitted to the people at an election called for that purpose. It 'ould appear to me that to vie' the convention as bein" denied a prero"ative 'hich is not 'ithheld from Con"ress as a constituent body 'ould be to place it in an inferior cate"ory. (uch a proposition I do not find acceptable. Con"ress and constitutional convention are a"encies for submittin" proposals under the fundamental la'. A po'er "ranted to one should not be denied the other. No 0ustification for such a drastic differentiation either in theory or practice e2ists. (uch a conclusion has for me the added reinforcement that to re+uire ordinary le"islation before the convention could be enabled to have its proposals voted on by the people 'ould be to place a po'er in the le"islative and e2ecutive branches that could, 'hether by act or omission, result in the frustration of the amendin" process. I am the first to admit that such li!elihood is remote, but if such a ris! even if minimal could be avoided, it should be, unless the compellin" force of an applicable constitutional provision re+uires other'ise. Considerin" that a constitutional convention is not precluded from imposin" additional restrictions on the po'ers of either the e2ecutive or le"islative branches, or, for that matter, the 0udiciary, it 'ould appear to be the better policy to interpret Article ?) in such a 'ay that 'ould not sanction such restraint on the authority that must be reco"ni4ed as vested in a constitutional convention. 1here is nothin" in such a vie' that to my mind 'ould collide 'ith a reasonable interpretation of Article ?). It certainly is one 'ay by 'hich freed from pernicious abstractions, it 'ould be easier to accommodate a constitution to the needs of an unfoldin" future. 1hat is to facilitate its bein" responsive to the challen"e that time inevitably brin"s in its 'a!e. 6rom such an approach then, I am irresistibly led to the conclusion that the challen"ed resolution 'as 'ell 'ithin the po'er of the convention. 1hat 'ould be to brush aside the 'eb of unreality spun from a tooCrestrictive mode of appraisin" the le"itimate scope of its competence. 1hat 'ould be, for me, to "ive added vi"or and life to the conferment of authority vested in it, attended by such "rave and a'esome responsibility. <. It becomes pertinent to in+uire then 'hether the last sentence of Article ?) providin" that such amendment shall be valid 'hen submitted and thereafter approved by the ma0ority 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 'hen the convention has finished its 'or! should all amendments proposed be submitted for ratification. 1hat is not for me, and I say this 'ith respect, the appropriate interpretation. It is true that the Constitution uses the 'ord election in the sin"ular, but that is not decisive. No undue reliance should be accorded rules of "rammarE they do not e2ert a compellin" force in constitutional interpretation. Meanin" is to be sou"ht not from specific lan"ua"e in the sin"ular but from the mosaic of si"nificance derived from the total conte2t. It could be, if it

'ere not thus, selfCdefeatin". (uch a mode of construction does not commend itself. 1he 'ords used in the Constitution are not inertE they derive vitality from the obvious purposes at 'hich they are aimed. Petitioner5s stress on lin"uistic refinement, 'hile not implausible does not, for me, carry the day. It 'as li!e'ise ar"ued by petitioner that the proposed amendment is provisional and therefore is not such as 'as contemplated in this article. I do not find such contention convincin". 1he fact that the Constitutional Convention did see! to consult the 'ishes of the people by the proposed submission of a tentative amendatory provision is an ar"ument for its validity. It mi"ht be said of course that until impressed 'ith finality, an amendment is not to be passed upon by the electorate. 1here is plausibility in such a vie'. A literal readin" of the Constitution 'ould support it. 1he spirit that informs it thou"h 'ould not, for me, be satisfied. 6rom its silence I deduce the inference that there is no repu"nancy to the fundamental la' 'hen the Constitutional Convention ascertains the popular 'ill. In that sense, the Constitution, to follo' the phraseolo"y of 1homas Reed Po'el, is not silently silent but silently vocal. Bhat I deem the more important consideration is that 'hile a public official, as an a"ent, has to locate his source of authority in either Constitution or statute, the people, as the principal, can only be limited in the e2ercise of their soverei"n po'ers by the e2press terms of the Constitution. A concept to the contrary 'ould to my 'ay of thin!in" be inconsistent 'ith the fundamental principle that it is in the people, and the people alone, that soverei"nty resides. :. 1he constitutional Convention havin" acted 'ithin the scope of its authority, an action to restrain or prohibit respondent Commission on Elections from conductin" the plebiscite does not lie. It should not be lost si"ht of that the Commission on Elections in thus bein" char"ed 'ith such a duty does not act in its capacity as the constitutional a"ency to ta!e char"e of all la's relative to the conduct of election. 1hat is a purely e2ecutive function vested in it under Article ? of the Constitution. 5 It is not precluded from assistin" the Constitutional Convention if pursuant to its competence to amend the fundamental la' it see!s, 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 $%&$ Constitutional Convention Act, it is not to turn a deaf ear to a summons from the Convention to aid it in the le"itimate dischar"e of its functions. 6 1he aforesaid considerations, such as they are, but 'hich for me have a force that I mind myself unable to overcome, leave me no alternative but to dissent from my brethren, 'ith due ac!no'led"ement of course that from their basic premises, the conclusion arrived at by them cannot be characteri4ed as in any 'ise bereft of a persuasive +uality of a hi"h order.