BAR REVIEW MATERIALS: Political Law Digests 1

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Political Law Digests 1
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
I. Bill of Rights
Procedural Due Process
1. Existence of Violation
Lameyra v. Pangilinan
322 SCRA 117
FACTS: Petitioner received a letter from the mayor informing him that he is dropped from
the roll of employees of the local government unit. Petitioner claims that he was
terminated without prior written notice of the charges and without investigation and
hearing.
HELD: Although it is clear from the Civil Service Memorandum Circular that no prior
notice is required to drop from the rolls an employee who has been continuously absent
without leave for at least thirty days, petitioner contests the finding that he was absent at
all. He claims that he reported for work but was prevented form signing the log book. In
view of the circumstances prevailing in this case, the Civil Service Commission should
have considered the new evidence annexed by petitioner to his motion for reconsideration.
Velayo v. Comelec
327 SCRA 713
FACTS: The Comelec issued a resolution annulling the proclamation of Velayo as mayor.
Velayo claimed that he was denied due process because he was not furnished any notice
of the pre-proclamation proceedings against him from beginning to end. All that petitioner
received from the Comelec was its en banc resolution annulling his proclamation.
HELD: Velayo is a real party-in-interest since he was the proclaimed mayor. His non-
inclusion as respondent and his lack of notice of the proceedings in the Comelec which
resulted to the cancellation of his proclamation constitute clear denial of due process.
Uy v. Commission on Audit
G.R. No. 130685 (March 21, 2000)
FACTS: Governor Paredes dismissed from service more than sixty employees, allegedly
to scale down the operations of the office. The Merit Systems Protection Board rendered
a decision that the reduction in work force was not done in accordance with civil service
rules and regulations, and ordered the reinstatement of the workers. The Commission on
Audit (COA) rendered a decision ruling that the back salaries of the workers have become
the personal liability of the Governor because the illegal dismissal was done in bad faith.
HELD: Governor Paredes was never made a party to nor served a notice of the
proceedings before the COA. Fundamental requirement of procedural due process cannot
be violated before administrative agencies like COA.
Summary Dismissal Board v. Torcita
G.R. No. 130442 (April 6, 2000)
FACTS: Respondent was charged with 12 administrative complaints which were
consolidated into one major complaint, which is, conduct unbecoming of a police officer.
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The Summary Dismissal Board suspended respondent from service for 20 days, for
“simple irregularity in the performance of service”. The Board later found respondent to
have committed a breach of internal discipline by taking alcoholic drinks while on duty.
HELD: Respondent was entitled to know that he was being charged with being drunk
while in the performance of duty. Although he was given the opportunity to be heard on
the multiple and broad charges filed against him, the absence of specification of the
offense for which he was eventually found guilty is not a proper observance of due
process.
Villanueva v. Malaya
G.R. No. 94617 (April 12, 2000)
HELD: The RTC’s granting of the writ of possession ex parte violates petitioner-lessees’
right to due process. A writ of possession may issue against occupants of a property
subject of execution who derive their right of possession from the judgment debtor upon
motion in the execution proceedings and without need of a separate ejectment action,
provided that the occupants are afforded an opportunity to explain the nature of their
possession, on which basis the writ of possession will be denied or granted.
Gozun v. Llangco
A.M. No. MTJ-97-1136 (August 30, 2000)
FACTS: The Sangguniang Bayan passed a resolution declaring the parcel of land
occupied by complainant as the new site of the rural health center. Respondent issued a
resolution declaring that the Sangguniang Bayan resolution is valid and enforceable and
that the mayor could order the police authorities to evict complainant.
HELD: Complainant was not made a party to the petition nor notified thereof. Respondent
violated the rights of the complainant to due process.
2. Absence of violation
Immam v. Comelec
322 SCRA 866
FACTS: Petitioner claims that the questioned Comelec order was issued without any
motion for its issuance and without notice and hearing. Thus, he claimed that his right to
due process was violated.
HELD: The essence of due process is the opportunity to be heard. The right to be heard
does not only refer to the right to present verbal arguments in court. A party can be heard
through the pleadings he submits. In this case, petitioner was heard through the
memorandum he submitted.
Ocampo v. Office of the Ombudsman
322 SCRA 17
FACTS: A criminal complaint was filed against petitioner for estafa and falsification. The
Ombudsman issued several orders to petitioner to file his counter-affidavit and
controverting evidence. Petitioner failed. The Ombudsman issued the assailed resolution
dismissing petitioner from service. Petitioner claimed that he was denied due process
because he was not given any notice of the order declaring him to have waived his right to
file his counter-affidavit.
HELD: The orders of the Ombudsman requiring petitioner to submit his counter-affidavit
contained a warning that if no counter-affidavit is filed within the given period, a waiver
would be considered. Also, petitioner was given the opportunity to be heard. A party who
chooses not to avail of the opportunity cannot complain of denial of due process
National Police Commission v. Bernabe
G.R. No. 129914 (May 12, 2000)
FACTS: The Court of Appeals set aside the decision of the National Police Commission
on the ground that respondent was denied due process in the conduct of the investigation
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of the charges filed against him.
HELD: The essence of due process is simply to be heard, or as applied to administrative
proceedings, an opportunity to explain one’s side or an opportunity to seek a
reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. Due process does not always require
a trial-type proceeding. In this case, the record shows that respondent was given notice of
the complaints and an opportunity to answer. He even submitted an affidavit answering
point by point the charges against him.
3. Administrative Due Process
Pefianco v. Moral
322 SCRA 439
FACTS: Former DECS Secretary filed an administrative complaint against respondent for
dishonesty. She was dismissed. Respondent filed a petition for mandamus to compel
petitioner to furnish her a copy of the DECS Investigation Committee Report. It was
denied.
HELD: A respondent in an administrative case is not entitled to be informed of the findings
and recommendations of any investigating committee created to inquire into charges filed
against him. He is entitled only to the administrative decision and a reasonable
opportunity to meet the charges and the evidence presented during the hearings of the
investigation committee. Respondent had been accorded these rights.
4. Impartiality of Judge
Soriano v. Angeles
G.R. No. 109920 (August 31, 2000)
FACTS: This is a petition for certiorari which seeks to annul the decision of respondent
judge acquitting the accused in a direct assault case filed against him by the petitioner on
the ground that respondent was biased.
HELD: The fact that respondent judge believed the evidence of the defense more than
that of the prosecution does not indicate that she was biased.
Almendra v. Asis
A.M. RTJ-1590 (April 6, 2000)
HELD: The mere fact that respondent judge ruled against complainant in the three cases
filed before him did not amount to partiality against said complainant or warrant the
conclusion that respondent rendered an unjust judgment.
People v. Zheng Bai Hui
G.R. No. 127580 (August 22, 2000)
HELD: The questioning of the witnesses by the judge is not a sufficient sign of bias. (See
also People v. Cabiles, G.R. No. 125008, October 23, 2000)
Equal Protection
De Guzman v. Comelec
G.R. No. 129118 (July 19, 2000)
FACTS: The Comelec reassigned petitioners to other stations pursuant to Section 44 of
the Voter’s Registration Act. The Act prohibits election officers from holding office in a
particular city or municipality for more than four years. Petitioners claim that the act
violated the equal protection clause because not all election officials were covered by the
prohibition.
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HELD: The law does not violate the equal protection clause. It is intended to ensure the
impartiality of election officials by preventing them from developing familiarity with the
people of their place of assignment. Large-scale anomalies in the registration of voters
cannot be carried out without the complicity of election officers, who are the highest
representatives of Comelec in a city or municipality.
B. Searches and Seizures
1. Determination of Probable Cause by Judge
Dizon v. Veneracion
A.M. No. RTJ-97-1376 (July 20, 2000)
FACTS: Respondent issued a search warrant for the seizure of 100 cars imported by the
operators of Metro Manila Inc. on the ground that the value of the cars had not been paid
to the supplier. Prior to the issuance of the warrant, the judge asked the witness for proof.
The witness answered that there was evidence from the shipper.
HELD: The judge failed to comply with the constitutional requirement that before a search
warrant may be issued, there must first be a complainant and his witness, and that the
judge should determine probable cause through searching questions and answers.
Abdula v. Guiani
326 SCRA 1
HELD: If a judge relies solely on the certification of the prosecutor when the records are
not before him, he has not personally determined the existence of probable cause. The
constitutional requirement has not been satisfied. The judge does not have to personally
examine the witnesses. However, there should be a report and necessary documents
supporting the certification of the prosecutor. All these should be before the judge. (See
also Raro v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 108431, J uly 14, 2000 and Lim v. Felix, G.R. No.
940547)
Tolentino v. Malangaon
A.M. No. RTJ-99-1444 (August 3, 2000)
FACTS: Respondent judge dismissed the case of child abuse filed by petitioner on the
ground that the prosecution failed to establish probable cause. Previously, the court
ordered petitioner to show cause why the court should order the arrest of the accused.
However, petitioner refused to present additional affidavits on the ground that there was no
need to prove the factual basis of the information.
HELD: The judge must be satisfied with the existence of probable cause for the issuance
of a warrant of arrest. The judge may require the prosecutor to present further evidence to
provide a factual basis for the finding of probable cause.
2. Particularity of Description
Uy v. Bureau of Internal Revenue
G.R. No. 129651 (October 20, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioners claim that the search warrant issued lacks particularity. The items
described in the warrant are as follows: multiple sets of books of accounts, ledgers,
journals, columnar books, cash register books, sales books or records, provisional and
official receipts, production record books, inventory lists, stock cards, unregistered delivery
receipts, unregistered purchase and sales invoices; sales records, job orders, corporate
financial records, bank statements, cancelled checks.
HELD: Most of the items listed lacked particularity. The judge could have formed a more
specific description of the documents, since the former employee of the petitioners
furnished photocopies of the documents sought to be seized. With regard to the
unregistered delivery receipts and unregistered purchase and sales invoices, they are
specific. No more detailed description could have been given. Items not particularly
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described may be cut off, without rendering the entire warrant void.
3. Warrantless Searches and Seizure
a. Incident of Arrest
People v. Elamparo
G.R. No. 121572 (March 31, 2000)
HELD: Appellant’s subsequent arrest was lawful, coming as it is within the purview of “in
flagrante delicto” arrest. The warrantless search and seizure was also lawful since it was
a search incidental to a lawful arrest.
People v. Sevilla
G.R. No. 124077 (September 5, 2000)
FACTS: A team of police officers went to the house of the accused to enforce a warrant of
arrest. Some members of the Narcotics Command joined the team to look for marijuana.
Accused was subsequently charged with illegal possession of marijuana.
HELD: The search is illegal. It is not a search incidental to a valid arrest since the
Narcotics Command joined the team of police officers for the specific purpose of
conducting a search.
People v. Figueroa
G.R. No. 134056 (July 6, 2000)
FACTS: Accused, together with NBI agents, went to the house of his co-accused and
pointed to a pail in the kitchen containing prohibited drugs. NBI agents seized the item
and arrested co-accused. Is the warrantless seizure valid?

HELD: No. The search is not incidental to a valid arrest. The arrest of the co-accused did
not precede the search.
People v. Che Chun Ting
G.R. No. 130568 (March 21, 2000)
FACTS: Standing outside Unit 122, accused handled two transparent bags of drugs to
Mabel Po, in full view of NARCOM agents. Police officers arrested the surprised man and
conducted a search of Unit 122 where they found more bags of shabu.
HELD: The search of Unit 122 and the seizure of drugs found therein are illegal. A
warrantless search should be limited to the premises and surroundings that are under the
immediate control of the accused. Unit 122 is not even the house of the accused but that
of his girlfriend.
b. Moving Vehicle
People v. Escaño
323 SCRA 754
FACTS: During a checkpoint, a police saw a firearm on the lap of the accused. As a
result, other passengers were searched and all firearms were seized. Are checkpoints
illegal?
HELD: As long as the vehicle is neither searched nor its occupants subjected to a body
search, and the inspection is limited to a visual search, such routine checks cannot be
regarded as violative of the right against unreasonable search.
c. Prohibited Article in Plain View / Custodial Investigation
People v. Valdez
G.R. No. 129296 (September 25, 2000)
FACTS: Based on a tip from an informer, police officers went to the place of the accused
where they found marijuana plants being cultivated approximately twenty-five meters from
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the house of the accused. They uprooted the plants and arrested the accused. They
asked the accused who owned the plants and the accused admitted that they belonged to
him. The prosecution offered the plants and the admission of the accused as evidence.
The accused claimed that the warrantless search was illegal while the police officers
claimed that the plants were found in plain view.
HELD: The marijuana plants were not in plain view. For the plain view doctrine to apply,
the following must be present: (a) there was a valid prior intrusion based on a valid
warrantless arrest in which the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official
duties; (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who have the right to
be where they were; (c) the evidence must be immediately apparent; and (d) plain view
justified seizure of the evidence without further search. In this case, the police officers
located the plants before they arrested the accused without a warrant. Also, they were
dispatched precisely to look for the marijuana plants. The discovery was not inadvertent.
The confession is also inadmissible. In trying to elicit information from the accused, the
police was investigating him as a suspect. At this point, he was already under custodial
investigation and had a right to counsel.
People v. Deang
G.R. No. 128045 (August 24, 2000)
FACTS: The accused was arrested for kidnapping for ransom with homicide. He
accompanied the police to his house to surrender his share of the ransom. Subsequently,
the accused got convicted. He claimed that the warrantless seizure of the money was
illegal.
HELD: The warrantless seizure of the money was legal because it was made with the
consent of the accused.
4. Warrantless Arrests
a. Invalid Arrests
People v. Dela Cruz
G. R. No. 138516 (October 17, 2000)
HELD: A warrantless arrest after the commission of a crime is illegal. The seizure of the
items he stole is also illegal.
Posadas v. Ombudsman
G.R. No. 131492 (September 29, 2000)
FACTS: Upon the request of the University Chancellor, the NBI sent agents to the
university and tried to arrest two members of a fraternity who were identified by two
witnesses as responsible for the killing of a member of another fraternity.
HELD: The NBI agents had no personal knowledge of any fact which might indicate that
the two students were probably guilty of the crime. Their attempt to arrest them without a
warrant was illegal.
5. Effect of Plea on Illegal Arrest
People v. Gomez
325 SCRA 61
HELD: Any objection to the warrant of arrest or the procedure in the acquisition by the
court of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be made before he enters his
plea, otherwise, the objection is deemed waived. Thus, if he fails to move for the quashing
of the information against him before his arraignment, he may be estopped from assailing
the illegality of his arrest. (See also People v. Buluran, 325 SCRA 476)
D. Freedom of Speech and of the Press
1. Libel
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Jalandoni v. Drilon
327 SCRA 107
FACTS: Private respondents published a full-page advertisement in five major daily
newspapers. These ads contained allegations naming petitioner who was then a PCGG
Commissioner of having committed illegal and unauthorized acts. Petitioner filed a
complaint for the crime of libel.
HELD: In libel cases against public officials, for liability to arise, the alleged defamatory
statement must relate to official conduct, even if the defamatory statement is false, unless
the public official concerned proves that the statement was made with actual malice, that
is, with knowledge that it was false or not. Here, petitioner failed to prove actual malice on
the part of the private respondents. The statements embodied in the advertisement are
covered by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. This carries the right to
criticize the action and conduct of a public official.
2. Freedom of expression
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v. Comelec
323 SCRA 811
FACTS: Comelec came up with a resolution prohibiting the conduct of exit polls during
elections for the reason that exit polls have the tendency to cause confusion.
HELD: Conducting exit polls and reporting their results are valid exercises of freedom of
speech and of the press. A limitation on them may be justified only by a danger of such
substantive character that the state has a right to prevent. The concern of the Comelec
cannot be justified since there is no showing that exit polls cause chaos in voting centers.
E. Right to Information
Gonzales v. Narvasa
G.R. No. 140835 (August 14, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioner wrote a letter to the Executive Secretary requesting for information with
respect to the names of executive officials holding multiple positions, copies of their
appointments, and a list of recipients of luxury vehicles previously seized by the Bureau of
Customs and turned over to the Office of the President. Petitioner filed this petition to
compel the Executive Secretary to answer his letter.
HELD: It is the duty of the Executive Secretary to answer the letter of the petitioner. The
letter deals with matters of public concern, appointments to public offices and utilization of
public property. The Executive Secretary is obliged to allow the inspection and copying of
appointment papers.
F. Eminent Domain
Santos v. Land Bank of the Philippines
G.R. No. 137431 (September 7, 2000)
HELD: Compensation for land expropriation for agrarian reform is valid, even if made not
completely in cash.
G. Prohibition Against Impairment of Contracts
Harrison Motors Corporation v. Navarro
G.R. No. 132269 (April 27, 2000)
FACTS: Harrison Motors sold two trucks to Navarro. Subsequently, the Bureau of Internal
Revenue (BIR), the Land Transportation Office and the Bureau of Customers (BOC)
entered in a Memorandum of Agreement which provided that for purposes of registering
vehicles, a Certificate of Payment should first be obtained from the BIR. Government
agents seized and detained the two trucks of Navarro after discovering that there were still
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unpaid taxes.
HELD: The Memorandum of Agreement does not impose any additional taxes which
would unduly impair the contract of sale between petitioner and private respondent.
Instead, these administrative orders were passed to enforce payment of existing BIR taxes
and customs duties at the time of importation. What Sec. 10 Art. III of the Constitution
prohibits is the passage of a law which enlarges, abridges or in any manner changes the
intention of the contracting parties.
H. Rights During Investigation
1. Inapplicability
a. Administrative Investigation
Sebastian v. Garchitorena
G.R. No. 114028 (October 18, 2000)
FACTS: Some employees of the post office were investigated by the chief postal service
officer in connection with missing postage stamps. During interrogation, they submitted
sworn statements. The prosecution presented the sworn statements as evidence.
Accused claimed that their sworn statements were not admissible in evidence since they
were not assisted by counsel.
HELD: The right to counsel is not imperative in administrative investigation because such
inquiries are conducted merely to determine whether there are facts that merit disciplinary
measures against erring public officers.
b. Police Line-Up
People v. Partiare
G.R. No. 129970 (April 5, 2000)
HELD: The accused-appellant’s defense that the identification made by the private
complainant in the police line-up is inadmissible because the appellant stood at the line-up
without the assistance of counsel is inadmissible. The stage of an investigation wherein a
person is asked to stand in a police line-up is outside the mantle of protection of the right
to counsel. (See also People v. Sirad, G.R. No. 130594, J uly 5, 2000)
c. Photograph
People v. Gallarde
325 SCRA 835
FACTS: Accused was charged with the crime of rape with homicide. The trial court
convicted him of murder only. The trial court rejected the photographs taken of the
accused immediately after the incident on the ground that the same were taken when the
accused was already under the mercy of the police.
HELD: The taking of pictures of an accused, even without the assistance of counsel,
being purely a mechanical act, is not a violation of his constitutional rights against self-
incrimination.
G. Applicability
Gutang v. People
G.R. No. 135406 (July 11, 2000)
HELD: Receipt by the accused of prohibited drugs is inadmissible in evidence.
3. Custodial Investigation
People v. Bariquit
G.R. No. 122733 (October 2, 2000)
HELD: Confession given by the accused without the assistance of counsel, while on the
way to the police station, is inadmissible in evidence.
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People v. Valdez
G.R. No. 129296 (September 25, 2000)
FACTS: The accused was arrested for bank robbery. After four days, the police
investigator took down his extrajudicial confession and called a lawyer who conferred with
the accused for ten minutes and executed his confession.
HELD: The confession is inadmissible. The moment the accused was arrested and
detained, he was already under custodial investigation. The lawyer was called only on the
4
th
day of detention when the accused was about to put down his confession in writing.
People v. Legaspi
G.R. No. 117802 (April 27, 2000)
FACTS: Legaspi and Franco were charged and convicted of the special complex crime of
robbery with homicide. They were identified as perpetrators of the crime by someone from
a group of eleven residents who were invited for questioning by the police. The accused
now claims that their rights during custodial investigation were violated.
HELD: No rights were transgressed inasmuch as Legaspi and Franco were not yet
singled out as perpetrators of the crime on November 29, 1992. Inviting certain individuals
for questioning and asking them a single question as to their whereabouts on the day of
the crime do not amount to custodial investigation. When certain persons are already
singled out and pinpointed as authors of the crime, they are entitled to the rights of
persons under custodial investigation.
4. Sufficiency of Warning
People v. Samolde
G.R. No. 128551 (July 31, 2000)
FACTS: The accused was arrested for murder. Before he was interrogated, he was
informed of his right to remain silent, that any statement he might give could be used as
evidence against him, and that he had the right to be assisted by counsel of his own
choice. During trial, the prosecution offered his confession in evidence.
HELD: The confession is inadmissible. The accused was given only a perfunctory
recitation of his rights. This is inadequate to transmit meaningful information to the
suspect.
People v. Manriquez
G.R. No. 122510 (March 17, 2000)
FACTS: Accused were found guilty of two counts of murder. They executed an extra-
judicial confession wherein they narrated their participation in the commission of the crime.
They also signed a waiver in the presence of a counsel which contained that they did not
want the assistance of counsel.
HELD: Rights to remain silent and to counsel were violated. The lawyer’s explanation on
the effects of the waiver is unsatisfactory. Also, the extra-judicial confession is
inadmissible evidence. It is intrinsically flawed. It was merely attached as page 2 of the
waiver. It was not prepared at the time the waiver was being prepared since another
typewriter was used in preparing the extra-judicial confession.
People v. Obrero
G.R. No. 122142 (May 17, 2000)
FACTS: Appellant was charged with robbery with homicide. His extra-judicial confession
was presented as evidence.
HELD: Extra-judicial confession is inadmissible in evidence because counsel for accused
was not independent. At the time he assisted accused-appellant, he was the station
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commander of the WPD and a PC captain. As part of the police force, he could not be
expected to have effectively assisted the accused during the investigation.
5. Independence of Counsel
People v. Base
G.R. No. 109773 (March 30, 2000)
HELD: While the initial choice in cases where a person under custodial investigation
cannot afford the services of a lawyer is naturally lodged in the police investigators, the
accused really has the final choice as he may reject the counsel chosen for him and ask
for another one. A lawyer provided by the investigators is deemed engaged by the
accused where he never raised any objection against the former’s appointment during the
course of the investigation. (See also People v. Gallardo, 323 SCRA 318)
6. Admissibility of Evidence
a. Admissible Evidence
People v. Lumandong
327 SCRA 650
HELD: The four fundamental requirements on the admissibility of the extrajudicial
confession are: 1) the confession must be voluntary; 2 ) the confession must be made
with the assistance of competent and independent counsel; 3) the confession must be
express; and 4) the confession must be in writing. (See also People v. Daeng, G.R. No.
128045, August 24, 2000; People v. Llanes, G.R. No. 140268, September 18, 2000; and
People v. Mameng, G.R. No. 123147, October 13, 2000)
People v. Continente
G.R. No. 1000801 (August 25, 2000)
FACTS: The trial court convicted the accused of murder. Among the evidence the trial
court relied upon were the confession of the accused. The accused argued that their
confession were inadmissible in evidence, since they were not informed of their
constitutional right.
HELD: The written warning contained an explanation that the investigation dealt with the
participation of the accused who chose not to give any statement to the investigator and a
warning that any statement obtained from the accused might be used against them in
court. They contained an advice that the accused might engage the service of a lawyer of
their own choice and that if they could not afford the service of a lawyer, they would be
provided with one for free. Despite the manifestation of the accused that they intended to
give their statements, the investigator requested two lawyers to act as counsel for the
accused. The lawyers conferred with the accused before their investigation. The accused
were informed of their constitutional rights in the presence of their counsel. The confession
are admissible in evidence.
b. Inadmissible Evidence
People v. Naag
322 SCRA 710
HELD: Circumstances show that the extrajudicial confession was signed without the
assistance of counsel. As such, it is inadmissible. The text of the confession is darker
suggesting that a different typewriter was used from that used to type the name of the
accused. (See also People v. Paglinawan, 324 SCRA 97)
c. Waiver
People v. Hermoso
G.R. No. 130590 (October 18, 2000)
HELD: When the confession of the accused was given without the assistance of counsel
and the accused did not object, he waives his right to object.
H. Right to Bail
Lardes v. CA
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324 SCRA 321
FACTS: Petitioner filed a petition for bail. The trial court granted it but imposed a
condition that the approval of the bail bond would only be made after arraignment to make
sure that the accused could not delay his trial by absenting himself.
HELD: Bails should be granted before arraignment. Otherwise, the accused might be
precluded from filing a motion to quash.
I. Right to Counsel
1. Absence of Violation
People v. Aquino
G.R. No. 129288 (March 30, 2000)
FACTS: Accused were charged with robbery with homicide. Accused claimed that he was
denied of his constitutional right to counsel.
HELD: Accused should have informed the trial court if he had difficulties with his counsel.
He had the opportunity to present his own version of the events but he just kept quiet.
Besides, accused was convicted based on the strength of the prosecution and not on the
weakness of the defense.
Villanueva v. People
G.R. No. 135098 (April 12, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioner was found guilty of the Bouncing Check Law. He appealed to the
Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. Petitioner filed a motion
for reconsideration but the same was denied because it was filed out of time. Petitioner
claimed that he had a difficulty in finding a new lawyer and that when the CA denied his
motion for reconsideration, he was denied of his right to counsel.
HELD: Petitioner was represented by counsel of his choice in the trial court, and also by a
counsel de parte before the CA. There was no violation of his right to counsel when his
new lawyer committed a procedural blunder.
2. Presence of Violation
People v. Nadera
324 SCRA 490
FACTS: The accused was charged for raping his two daughters. He pleaded guilty. The
lawyer of the accused did not cross-examine the first daughter because he was convinced
that she was telling the truth. The cross examination of the second daughter centered on
what she did when she saw her sister being raped. The lawyer did not present any
evidence, and expressed his conformity for the admission of the evidence of the
prosecution.
HELD: The case should be remanded because of the neglect of the lawyer of the accused
in representing his cause.
I. Right to be Informed
1. Different Offense
People v. Paglinawan
324 SCRA 97
FACTS: The accused was charged with murder. During trial, it was shown that the victims
also suffered injuries.
HELD: A person cannot be convicted of a crime for which he has not been charged.
Accused cannot be held liable for the injuries.
2. Absence of Qualifying Circumstance
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People v. Villar
322 SCRA 390
HELD: If no qualifiying circumstances were alleged in the information, accused cannot be
sentenced to death. (See also People v. Bernaldez, 322 SCRA 762).
4. Number of Offense
People v. Pambid,
G.R. No. 129164 (March 15, 2000)
HELD: If a person is charged only with one count of rape, even though the victim was
raped more than once, the accused can only be convicted of one count of rape. (See also
People v. Alnero, G.R. No. 134536, April 5, 2000)
5. Date of Commission of Crime
Sumbang v. General Court Martial PRO-Region 6
G.R. No. 140188 (August 3, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioner, who is a member of the Philippine Constabulary, was charged with
double murder before a general court martial. The composition of the court martial was
changed four times. The accused argued that his right to a speedy trial has been violated
since the case has been going on for years.
HELD: The prosecution had no fault in the delay since the membership of the general
court martial underwent changes four times and none of the original members who heard
the prosecution witnesses were reappointed in the succeeding court martial. Besides, the
petitioner failed to assert his right to a speedy trial. It was only after the general court
martial resumed hearing of the case in 1999 that petitioner invoked his right to a speedy
trial. His silence should be interpreted as a waiver of such right.
Arambulo v. Laqui
G.R. No. 138596 (October 12, 2000)
FACTS: A libel case was filed against the petitioner-accused. He filed a motion to quash
on the ground of prescription which was denied. He filed motion for reconsideration which
was also denied. Petitioner-accused filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals
which was dismissed. His motion for reconsideration was also denied. Petitioner-accused
later on claimed that his right to a speedy trial was violated.
HELD: The right to a speedy trial is violated only when there is an unreasonable delay
without the fault of the accused. Petitioner-accused is not without fault in the delay of the
prosecution against her.
M. Right to Confrontation
People v. Crispin
327 SCRA 167
HELD: Affidavit of a witness who was not presented as such is not admissible in evidence.
N. Right to Compulsory Process
People v. Yambot
G.R. No. 120350 (Oct. 13, 2000)
FACTS: The accused were charged with kidnapping for ransom. When it was their turn to
present evidence, the subpoena for the first witness was not served because she was
unknown at her given address, while the subpoena for the other witness was received only
three days before the hearing. At the next hearing, the two witnesses did not appear. The
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subpoena for the first witness remained unserved while the subpoena for the second was
received four days before date of hearing. The trial court denied the request of the
counsel of the accused for postponement and considered the case submitted for decision
even though it issued a warrant for the arrest of the second witness.
HELD: The delay is not entirely attributable to the accused. The trial court should have
granted postponement.
O. Right to Speedy Disposition of Cases
Dansal v. Fernandez
327 SCRA 145
FACTS: Petitioners, who were officers of the National Food Authority, were charged with
estafa thru falsification of a public document in the office of the Ombudsman. An additional
charge for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act was filed against the
petitioners. More than one year and four months after the cases were submitted for
resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman issued a resolution recommending the filing of a
case for estafa thru falsification and a case for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act against the petitioners. Petitioners argued that the delay in the termination of
the preliminary investigation violated their right to a speedy disposition of their cases.
HELD: The concept of speedy disposition of cases is a relative and flexible concept. It is
consistent with reasonable delay. The protection under the speedy disposition of cases
should not operate as to deprive the government of the inherent prerogative to prosecute
criminal cases or in seeing to it that all who approach the bar of justice be afforded a fair
opportunity to present their side. It cannot be said that petitioners found themselves in a
situation oppressive to their rights simply by reason of delay.
Domingo v. Sandiganbayan
322 SCRA 655
FACTS: On May 26, 1987, a complaint was filed with the Tanodbayan against petitioner
for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. On J uly 30, 1992, a case was
filed against petitioner with the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner argued that the inordinate delay
in the preliminary investigation violated right to speedy disposition of his case.
HELD: The delay was not undue since it was brought about by peculiar unforeseen
circumstances. The SC nullified the authority of the Office of the Special Prosecutor which
necessitated the issuance of AO #1 by the Ombudsman authorizing the Special Prosecutor
to continue with the preliminary investigation. The assigned prosecutor retired in 1989.
After the reorganization by the Ombudsman of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the
case was assigned to a new prosecutor. The subpoena sent to petitioner was return
unserved because he was no longer connected with his previous office. The prosecutor
issued another subpoena to give petitioner chance to file counteraffidavits which he filed
only on March 1992.
Castillo v. Sandiganbayan
G.R. No. 109271 (March 14, 2000)
FACTS: On August 25, 1986, a complaint was filed against petitioners with the
Tanodbayan. On Oct. 30, 1987, the Tanodbayan recommended filing a case for violation
of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Petitioners filed motion for reinvestigation.
The Ombudsman filed an information against petitioners on November 5, 1990 without first
resolving the motion for reinvestigation. Petitioners argued that the case should be
dismissed for unjustified delay in the filing of the information.
HELD: There was no violation of right to speedy trial. The delay was not capricious nor
oppressive but was brought about by frequent amendments of procedural laws in the initial
stages of the case.
Raro v. Sandiganbayan
G.R. No. 108431 (July 14, 2000)
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FACTS: The complaint against petitioner for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act was referred by the Deputy Ombudsman to the NBI for investigation. The
NBI recommended the prosecution of the petitioners. However, the petitioners argue that
the four-year delay in the completion of the preliminary investigation violated right to
speedy disposition of cases.
HELD: It took the NBI 2 years to complete its report. The resolution recommending the
filing of the case against petitioner has to be reviewed. The length of time it took before
the conclusion of the preliminary investigation may only be attributed to the adherence of
the Ombudsman and NBI to the rudiments of fair play.
P. Prohibition Against Cruel Punishment
People v. Alicante
G.R. No. 127026 (May 31, 2000)
HELD: Death penalty is not cruel.
Q. Double Jeopardy
1. Termination
People v. Velasco
G.R. No. 127444 (September 13, 2000)
FACTS: Trial court acquitted respondent from a case of murder; two cases of frustrated
murder and a case for illegal possession of firearms outside of his residence. The
prosecution filed a petition for certiorari on the ground that the trial court deliberately and
wrongfully interpreted certain facts and evidence.
HELD: On the ground of double jeopardy, an acquittal is final and unappealable.
Prosecution cannot accomplish through a writ of certiorari what it could not do so by
appeal.
2. Different Offenses
People v. Ong
322 SCRA 38
HELD: An illegal recruiter can be charged with estafa and illegal recruitment (See also
People v. Meris, G.R. No. 117145, March 28, 2000)
II. Citizenship
Valles v. Comelec
G.R. No. 137000 (August 9, 2000)
FACTS: Respondent was born in Australia on May 16, 1934 to a Filipino father and an
Australian mother. She ran for governor. Petitioner, her opponent, filed a case for
disqualification on the ground that she is not a Filipino citizen since she was issued an
alien certificate of registration; there was an application for an immigrant certificate of
residence and she was a holder of an Australian passport.
HELD: The respondent is a Filipino citizen since her father is a Filipino. Holding of an
Australian passport and an alien certificate of registration does not constitute an effective
renunciation of citizenship and does not militate against her claim of Filipino citizenship. At
most, she has dual citizenship.
Valles v. Comelec
G.R. No. 137000 (August 9, 2000)
FACTS: Respondent was born in Australia to a Filipino father and an Australian mother.
Australia follows jus soli. She ran for governor. Opponent filed petition to disqualify her on
the ground of dual citizenship.
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HELD: Dual citizenship as a disqualification refers to citizens with dual allegiance. The
fact that she has dual citizenship does not automatically disqualify her from running for
public office. Filing a certificate of candidacy suffices to renounce foreign citizenship
because in the certificate, the candidate declares himself to be a Filipino citizen and that
he will support the Philippine Constitution. Such declaration operates as an effective
renunciation of foreign citizenship.
III. LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT
A. Party-List
Veteran Federation Party v. Comelec
G.R. No. 136781 (October 6, 2000)
FACTS: The Comelec proclaimed 14 party list representatives from 13 parties which
obtained at least 2% of the total number of votes cast as member of the House of Rep.
Upon petition by other party-list organization, it proclaimed another 38 additional party
representatives althout they received less than 2% of the votes on the ground that under
the Constitution it is mandatory that at least 20% of the members of House of Rep. must
come from the party list system.
HELD: Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution is not mandatory. It merely provides a
ceiling for party list seats in the House of Representatives. The Congress is vested with
power to define and prescribe the mechanics of the party-list system of representation. In
the exercise of their Constitutional prerogative, Congress deemed it necessary that parties
participating in the system to obtain at least 2% of the total votes cast to be entitled to a
party-list seat. This is to ensure that only parties with sufficient number of constituents are
actually represented in Congress.
B. Attendance of Session
People v. Jalosjos
324 SCRA 689
FACTS: While his appeal from a conviction of rape is pending, the accused, a
Congressman was confined at the national penitentiary. Since he was reelected to his
position, he argued that he should be allowed to attend the legislative sessions and
committee hearings, because his confinement was depriving his constituents of their voice
in Congress.
HELD: Election to high government office does free accused from the common restraints
of general law. Under Section II, Article VI of the Constitution, a member of the House of
Rep is privileged from arrest only if offense is punishable by not more than 6 years
imprisonment. Confinement of a congressman charged with a crime punishable by more
than 6 years has constitutional foundations. If allowed to attend the congressional
sessions, the accused would be virtually made a free man. When he was elected into
office, the voters were aware of his limitations on his freedom of action. Congress can
continue to function even without all its members being present. Election to the position of
Congressman is not a reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement.
C. Electoral Tribunal
Guerrero v. Comelec
G.R. No. 137004 (July 26, 2000)
FACTS: A petition to disqualify respondent as a candidate for Congressman was filed with
the Comelec on the ground that he was campaigning although he had not filed a certificate
for candidacy. Three days before the election, respondent filed his certificate of candidacy
as substitute for another candidate who withdrew. The petitioner argued that the
substitution was fatally defective since the replaced candidate was an independent and the
respondent ran as candidate for a political party. Respondent was proclaimed winner and
assumed office. Comelec dismissed petition on the ground that the matter is now within
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the exclusive jurisdiction of the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal.
HELD: Once a winning candidate has assumed office as a member of the House of Rep,
the jurisdiction of Comelec over his qualification ends and jurisdiction of Electoral Tribunal
begins. The jurisdiction of the Tribunal is not limited to constitutional qualifications only.
The filing of a certificate of candidacy is a statutory qualification.
D. Title of the Law
De Guzman v. Comelec
G.R.No. 129118 (July 19, 2000)
FACTS: Section 44 of the Voter’s Registration Act provided that no election officer
shall hold office in a particular municipality or city for more than 4 years. In accordance
with it, the Comelec reassigned petitioners, who were election officers to other stations.
Petitioners argued that the provision was not expressed in the title of the law, which is “An
Act Providing for a General Registration of Voters, Adopting a System of Continuing
Registration, Prescribing the Procedures Thereof and Authorizing the Appropriation of
Fund Thereof”.
HELD: The contention is untenable. Section 44 is relevant to the subject matter of
registration as it seeks to ensure the integrity of the registration process by providing a
guideline for the Comelec to follow in the reassignment of election officers.
E. Appellate Jurisdiction of Supreme Court
Villanert v. Desierto
326 SCRA 355
HELD: The law making the decision of the Ombudsman appealable to the SC is invalid
because the concurrence of the SC was not obtained. (See also Tirol v. Commission on
Audit, G.R. No. 133594, August 3, 2000)
IV. Executive Department
A. Immunity from Suit
Gloria v. CA
G.R. No. 119903 (August 15, 2000)
FACTS: Upon recommendation by the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports,
respondent was reassigned as superintendent in another school. Respondent filed a
petition for prohibition against the Secretary on the ground that his indefinite reassignment
violated his security of tenure. The Secretary argued that the filing of the case violated the
immunity of the President from suit.
HELD: The contention is untenable. The petition is not directed against the President.
Presidential decisions may be questioned before the courts.
B. Power of Control
Hutchison Ports Philippines, Ltd. V. Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
G.R. No. 131367 (August 31, 2000)
FACTS: The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority conducted a bidding for the development
and operation of a modern marine container terminal. It awarded the contract to
petitioner. The Office of the President set aside the award and ordered a new bidding.
Petitioner filed action for specific performance.
HELD: The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is under the control of the Office of the
President. Therefore the President may overturn any of awards granted by it for justifiable
reasons.
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C. Power to Call Out Armed Forces
IBP v. Zamora
G.R. No. 941284 (August 15, 2000)
FACTS: In view of the alarming increase in violent crimes in Metropolitan Manila, the
President ordered the PNP and the Phil. Marines to conduct joint visibility patrols for crime
prevention and suppression. IBP questioned validity of the order on the ground that there
is no factual basis for President to exercise his power to call out the Armed Forces to
prevent or suppress lawless violence.
HELD: The IBP failed to support its assertion that the President acted without factual
basis. The President has determined the necessity and factual basis for calling the armed
forces. He asserted that violent crimes like bank and store robberies, holdups,
kidnappings and carnappings continue to occur. The court can take judicial notice of the
recent bombing perpetrated by lawless elements in public places.
D. State of Rebellion
Lacson v. Perez
G.R. No. 147780 (May 10, 2001)
FACTS:
On May 1, 2001, President Macapagal-Arroyo, faced by an angry mob assaulting
and attempting to break into Malacañang, issued Proclamation No. 38 declaring that there
was a state of rebellion in the National Capital Region. She likewise issued General Order
No. 1 directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to
suppress the rebellion in the National Capital Region. Warrantless arrests of several
alleged leaders and promoters of the “rebellion” were thereafter effected.
Aggrieved by the warrantless arrests, and the declaration of a “state of rebellion,”
which allegedly gave a semblance of legality to the arrests, four related petitions were filed
before the Court assailing the declaration of a state of rebellion by the President and the
warrantless arrests allegedly effected by virtue thereof, as having no basis both in fact and
in law.
1. On May 6, 2001, the President ordered the lifting of the declaration of a “state of
rebellion” in Metro Manila. Accordingly, the instant petitions have been rendered moot
and academic.
2. As to petitioners’ claim that the proclamation of a “state of rebellion” is being used by
the authorities to justify warrantless arrests, there are actually general instructions to
law enforcement officers and military agencies to implement Proclamation No. 38 and
obtain regular warrants of arrests from the courts. This means that preliminary
investigations will be conducted.
3. Moreover, petitioners’ contention that they are under imminent danger of being arrested
without warrant do not justify their resort to the extraordinary remedies of mandamus
and prohibition, since an individual subjected to warrantless arrest is not without
adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law.
4. Petitioners cannot ask the Court to direct the courts before whom the informations
against the petitioners are filed to desist from arraigning and proceeding with the trial of
the case. Such relief is clearly premature considering that as of this date, no complaints
or charges have been filed against any of the petitioners for any crime.
5. Hold departure orders issued against petitioners cannot be declared null and void since
petitioners are not directly assailing the validity of the subject hold departure orders in
their petition.
6. Petitioner Defensor-Santiago has not shown that she is in imminent danger of being
arrested without a warrant. Hence, her petition of mandamus cannot be issued since
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such right to relief must be clear at the time of the award.
7. Petitioner Lumbao, leader of the People’s Movement against Poverty (PMAP), argues
that the declaration of a “state of rebellion” is violative of the doctrine of separation of
powers, being an encroachment on the domain of the judiciary to interpret what took
place on May 1. The Court disagreed since the President as the Commander-in-Chief
of all armed forces of the Philippines, may call out such armed forces to prevent or
suppress lawless violence.
8. As for petitioner Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), it is not a real party-in-
interest. LDP has not demonstrated any injury to itself which would justify resort to the
Court. Petitioner is a juridical person not subject to arrest. Thus, it cannot claim to be
threatened by a warrantless arrest. Nor is it alleged that its leaders, members and
supporters are being threatened with warrantless arrest and detention for the crime of
rebellion.
Even if instant petition may be considered as an action for declaratory relief, the
Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction in the first instance over such a petition.
PETITIONS DISMISSED (However, petitioners cannot be arrested without the required
judicial warrant for all acts committed in relation to or in connection with the May 1, 2001
siege)
E. Legitimacy of the Arroyo Presidency
Estrada v. Desierto
G. R. Nos. 146710-15, March 2, 2001
Estrada V. Arroyo
G.R. No. 146738
FACTS: Petitioner sought to enjoin the respondent Ombudsman from conducting any
further proceedings in any criminal complaint that may be filed in his office, until after the
term of petitioner as President is over and only if legally warranted. Erap also filed a Quo
Warranto case, praying for judgment “confirming petitioner to be the lawful and incumbent
President of the Republic of the Philippines temporarily unable to discharge the duties of
his office, and declaring respondent to have taken her oath as and to be holding the Office
of the President, only in an acting capacity pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution.”
HELD:
FIRST: The cases at bar pose legal and not political questions.
The principal issues for resolution require the proper interpretation of certain
provisions in the 1987 Constitution, notably section 1 of Article II, and section 8 of Article
VII, and the allocation of governmental powers under section II of Article VII. The issues
likewise call for a ruling on the scope of presidential immunity from suit. They also involve
the correct calibration of the right of petitioner against prejudicial publicity. As early as the
1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, the doctrine has been laid down that “it is emphatically
the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is . . .”
The Court also distinguished between EDSA People Power I and EDSA People
Power II. EDSA I involves the exercise of the people power of revolution which overthrew
the whole government. EDSA II is an exercise of people power of freedom of speech and
freedom of assembly to petition the government for redress of grievances which only
affected the office of the President. EDSA I is extra constitutional and the legitimacy of the
new government that resulted from it cannot be the subject of judicial review, but EDSA II
is intra constitutional and the resignation of the sitting President that it caused and the
succession of the Vice President as President are subject to judicial review. EDSA I
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presented political question; EDSA II involves legal questions.
SECOND: Using the totality test, the SC held that petitioner resigned as President.
a. The proposal for a snap election for president in May where he would not be a
candidate is an indicium that petitioner had intended to give up the presidency even at
that time.
b. The Angara diary shows that the President wanted only five-day period promised by
Reyes, as well as to open the second envelop to clear his name.
"If the envelope is opened, on Monday, he says, he will leave by Monday.
"The President says. “Pagod na pagod na ako. Ayoko na masyado nang masakit.
Pagod na ako sa red tape, bureaucracy, intriga. (I am very tired. I don’t want any more
of this – it’s too painful. I’m tired of the red tape, the bureaucracy, the intrigue.)
"I just want to clear my name, then I will go.”
The SC held that this is high grade evidence that the petitioner has resigned. The
intent to resign is clear when he said “x x x Ayoko na masyado nang masakit.” “ Ayoko
na” are words of resignation.
c. During the negotiations, the resignation of the petitioner was treated as a given fact.
The only unsettled points at that time were the measures to be undertaken by the
parties during and after transition period.
d. His resignation was also confirmed by his leaving Malacañang. In the press release
containing his final statement, (1) he acknowledged the oath-taking of the respondent
as President of the Republic albeit with the reservation about its legality; (2) he
emphasized he was leaving the Palace, the seat of the presidency, for the sake of
peace and in order to begin the healing process of our nation. He did not say he was
leaving the Palace due to any kind of inability and he was going to re-assume the
presidency as soon as the disability disappears; (3) he expressed his gratitude to the
people for the opportunity to serve them. Without doubt, he was referring to the past
opportunity given him to serve the people as President; (4) he assured that he will not
shirk from any future challenge that may come ahead in the same service of our
country. Petitioner’s reference is to a future challenge after occupying the office of’ the
president which he has given up; and (5) he called on his supporters to join him in the
promotion of a constructive national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity. Certainly, the
national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity could not be attained if he did not give up
the presidency. The press release was petitioner’s valedictory, his final act of farewell.
His presidency is now in the past tense.
THIRD: The petitioner is permanently unable to act as President.
Section 11 of Article VII provides that “Congress has the ultimate authority under the
Constitution to determine whether the President is incapable of performing his functions.”
Both houses of Congress have recognized respondent Arroyo as the President.
The House of Representative passed on J anuary 24, 2001 House Resolution No.
l75 which states: “RESOLUTION EXPRESSING THE SUPPORT OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES TO THE ASSUMPTION INTO OFFICE BY VICE PRESIDENT
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO AS PRESIDENT OFTHE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, EXTENDING ITS CONGRATULATIONS AND EXPRESSING ITS
SUPPORT FOR HER ADMINISTRATION AS A PARTNER IN THE ATTAINMENT OF THE
NATION’S GOALS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.” The Senate also passed Senate
Resolution No. 82 which states: “RESOLUTION CONFIRMING PRESIDENT GLORIA
MACAPAGAL-ARROYO’S NOMINATION OF SEN. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, J R. AS
VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES”
Implicitly clear in that recognition is the premise that the inability of petitioner
Estrada is no longer temporary. Congress has clearly rejected petitioner’s claim of
inability. Even if petitioner can prove that he did not resign, still, he cannot successfully
claim that he is a President on leave on the ground that he is merely unable to govern
temporarily. That claim has been laid to rest by Congress and the decision that
respondent Arroyo is the de jure President made by a co-equal branch of government
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cannot be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
FOURTH: The petitioner does not enjoy immunity from suit.
The Supreme Court rejected petitioner’s argument that he cannot be prosecuted for
the reason that he must first be convicted in the impeachment proceedings. The
impeachment trial of petitioner Estrada was aborted by the walkout of the prosecutors and
by the events that led to his loss of the presidency. On February 7, 2001, the Senate
passed Senate Resolution No. 83 “Recognizing that the Impeachment Court is Functus
Officio.” Since the Impeachment Court is now functus officio, it is untenable for petitioner
to demand that he should first be impeached and then convicted before he can be
prosecuted. The plea, if granted, would put a perpetual bar against his prosecution. The
debates in the Constitutional Commission make it clear that when impeachment
proceedings have become moot due to the resignation of the President, the proper criminal
and civil cases may already be filed against him.
The SC also ruled in In re: Saturnino Bermudez that “incumbent Presidents are
immune from suit or from being brought to court during the period of their incumbency and
tenure” but not beyond. Considering the peculiar circumstance that the impeachment
process against the petitioner has been aborted and thereafter he lost the presidency,
petitioner cannot demand as a condition sine qua non to his criminal prosecution before
the Ombudsman that he be convicted in the impeachment proceedings.
Also, petitioner cannot cite any decision of the SC licensing the President to commit
criminal acts and wrapping him with post-tenure immunity from liability. The rule is that
unlawful acts of public officials are not acts of the State and the officer who acts illegally is
not acting as such but stands in the same footing as any other trespasser.
FIFTH: Petitioner was not denied the right to impartial trial.
Pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to fair trial.
The mere fact that the trial of appellant was given a day-to-day, gavel-to-gavel coverage
does not by itself prove that the publicity so permeated the mind of the trial judge and
impaired his impartiality. In the case at bar, the records do not show that the trial judge
developed actual bias against appellant as a consequence of the extensive media
coverage of the pre-trial and trial of his case. The totality of circumstances of the case
does not prove that the trial judge acquired a fixed opinion as a result of prejudicial
publicity which is incapable if change even by evidence presented during the trial.
Appellant has the burden to prove this actual bias and he has not discharged the burden.
V. Judicial Department
A. Judicial Review
Gonzales v. Narvasa
G.R. No. 140835 (August 14, 2000)
FACTS: The president issued EO 43 creating the Preparatory Commission on
Constitutional Reform to recommend amendments to the Constitution. Petitioner, in his
capacity as taxpayer, filed a petition assailing constitutionality of the Commission.
HELD: The Preparatory Commission was created by the President by virtue of EO 43. An
amount was set aside for its operation from the funds of the Office of the President. There
was no exercise by Congress of its taxing or spending powers. Petitioner cannot question
the constitutionality of the Commission in his capacity as taxpayer.
Gonzales v. Narvasa
G.R. No. 140835 (August 14, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioner filed a petition in his capacity as taxpayer questioning the
constitutionality of the creation by the President of seventy positions for presidential
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advisers on the ground that the President did not have the power to create these positions.
HELD: Petitioner has not proven that he has sustained any injury as a result of the
appointment of presidential advisers.
Bayan v. Zamora
G.R. No. 138570 (Oct. 10, 2000)
FACTS: Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) was entered into by the Philippines and United
States to regulate conditions of presence of US military personnels in the Philippines. The
Senate concurred with the VFA. Petitioners who are taxpayers and members of Congress
questioned its validity.
HELD: Petitioners failed to show that they have sustained or are in danger of sustaining
any direct injury as a result of the enforcement of VFA. As taxpayers, they failed to show
how the VFA will involve the exercise of Congress of its taxing or spending powers.
Members of Congress’ standing cannot be upheld absent a clear showing of any direct
injury to their person or to the institution to which they belong. Further, IBP has no
standing.
IBP v. Zamora
G.R. No. 141284 (August 15, 2000)
FACTS: In view of the alarming increase in violent crimes in Metropolitan Manila, the
President ordered the PNP and the Phil. Marines to conduct joint visibility patrols for crime
prevention and suppression. The IBP questioned validity of the order invoking its
responsibility to uphold the rule of law.
HELD: The mere invocation by the IBP of its duty to preserve the rule of law is not
sufficient to clothe it with standing in this case. This is too general an interest which is
shared by the whole citizenry. The IBP has failed to show any specific injury it has
suffered or may suffer by virtue of the questioned order. The presumed possible injury is
highly speculative.
Militante v. CA
GR. No. 107040 (April 12, 2000)
FACTS: Pres. Marcos issued PD 1315 in 1975 expropriating 40 hectares in Caloocan for
distribution to their occupants. The lots of petitioners were included in the coverage of the
decree. However, these lots were not among those acquired by government in 1978 and
1979. On May 14, 1980, Proclamation No. 1967 indentified 244 sites in Metropolitan
Manila as areas for priority development and urban land reform zones. In 1981, the
Human Settlements Regulatory Commission (HSRC) declared the lots of petitioner to be
outside the reform area. Because the National Housing Authority (NHA) failed to evict the
squatters on his lots, petitioner questioned the constitutionality of PD 1315.
HELD: The lots of petitioners are not in danger of expropriation. PD. 1315 was issued in
1975. It is doubtful that the government will still desire to expropriate the lots of petitioner.
Moreover, the HSRC certified that the lots were outside the Urban Land Reform Zone. In
1987, petitioner negotiated with the NHA for the price of his lots therefore, he is estopped
from asserting that PD 1315 to be unconstitutional.
B. Form of Decision
1. Void Decision
People v. Nadera
324 SCRA 490
FACTS: The accused was charged with rape. The trial court convicted him. The decision
merely narrated the evidence of the prosecution and a republic act.
HELD: The trial court failed to state the factual and legal reasons on which it based the
conviction of the accused. There is nothing to indicate the reason for the decision. No
reason is given why the trial court found the testimonies of the witnesses credible.
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Madrid v. CA
GR No. 130683 (May 31, 2000)
FACTS: The accused was convicted of homicide by the trial court. The decision
summarized the testimonies of witnesses from both sides. It then stated that the
testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution convinced the court. On the other hand,
the demeanor of the defense witnesses were not credible. The decision added that the
aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength were
present.
HELD: The decision does not indicate what the trial court found in the testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses to consider them straightforward when they are in fact contradictory
and confused. Neither does the decision contain any justification for the appreciation of
aggravating circumstances against the accused. The decision failed to comply with the
constitutional requirement that a decision must expressly state the facts and the law on
which it is based
Yao v. CA
GR. No. 132428 (October 24, 2000)
FACTS: The MTC convicted petitioner of unfair competition. Petitioner appealed to RTC.
The RTC confirmed his conviction. In its decision, it stated that it found no cogent reason
to disturb the finding of fact of the MTC.
HELD: The decision of the RTC fell short of the constitutional requirement. Parties to a
litigation should be informed of how it was decided, with an explanation of the factual and
legal reasons that led to the conclusion of the court. The decision in question should be
struck close as a nullity.
People v. Dumaguing
G.R. No. 135516 (September 20, 2000)
FACTS: The trial court convicted the accused of rape. The decision simply stated that the
accused was guilty of raping his own daughter and that the evidence of the prosecution
was not controverted by the accused.
HELD: The trial court failed to comply with the requirement that it should state clearly and
distinctly the facts on which it is based.
2. Valid Decision
People v. Ordonez
G.R. No. 129593 (July 10, 2000)
FACTS: The trial court convicted the accused of illegal recruitment and estafa. The
accused argued that the decision did not comply with Section 14, Article VIII of the
constitution, because it merely paraphrased the testimonies of the witnesses.
HELD: The trial court went over the testimonies of every witness of both parties. After
summarizing the testimonies, the trial court stated in its decision that it found that the
accused informed the complainants that they would be going to Korea to work when in fact
they landed in Kuala Lumpur instead; that one of the complainants had no job waiting, and
the other complainant landed in jail at the time he arrived in Kuala Lumpur and had to be
returned to the Philippines. The decision complied with the requirement.
VI. Constitutional Commissions
A. Term of Commissioners
Gaminde v. Commission on Audit
G.R. No. 140335 (December 13, 2000)
FACTS: On J une 11, 1993, the President appointed petitioner as Commissioner of the
CSC for a term expiring on February 2, 1999. She took her oath of office on J une 22,
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1993 and was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on September 7, 1993. The
Commission on Audit issued a decision that her term expired on Feb. 2, 1999.
HELD: The constitution adopted a rotational system for the appointment of the Chairman
and Commissioners of the Constitutional Commissions. The operation of the rotational
plan requires that the terms of the first Commissioners should start on a common date and
any vacancy before the expiration of the term should be filled only for the unexpired
balance of the term. Consequently, the term of the first Chairman and Commissioners of
the Constitutional Commissions must start on a common date, irrespective of variations in
the dates of appointments and qualifications of the appointees in order that the expiration
of the first terms should lead to the regular recurrence of the two-year interval between the
expiration of the terms. February 2, 1987 is the proper starting point of the terms of office
of the first appointees to the Constitutional Commission, as the beginning of the term of
office is understood to coincide with the effectivity of the Constitution upon its ratification.
B. Civil Service Commission
1. Reassignment
Chato v. Zenarosa
GR No. 120539 (October 20, 2000)
HELD: A government employee may be transferred.
De Guzman v. Comelec
G.R. No. 129118 (July 19, 2000)
FACTS: Section 44 of the Voter’s Registration Act provided that no election officer shall
hold office in a particular municipality or city for more than 4 years. In accordance with it,
the Comelec reassigned petitioners, who were election officers to other stations.
Petitioners argued that the law violated their security of tenure.
HELD: What the guarantee of security of tenure seeks to prevent is the capricious
exercise of the power to dismiss. Where it is the legislature which furnishes the ground for
the transfer of a class of employees, no such capriciousness can be raised for so long as
the remedy proposed to cure a perceived evil is germane to the purpose of the law.
Gloria v. CA
G.R. No. 119903 (August 15, 2000)
FACTS: Respondent was appointed School Division Superintendent, Division of City
Schools, Quezon City. Upon recommendation of the Secretary of Education, Culture and
Sports, the President reassigned him as Superintendent of the Marikina Institute of
Science and Technology on the ground that he is an expert in vocational and technical
education. Respondent questioned the validity of his reassignment on the ground that it is
indefinite and it violated his security of tenure.
HELD: There is nothing to show that the reassignment of respondent is temporary. The
evidence or intention to reassign respondent had no definite period. It is violative of his
security of tenure.
Padolino v. Fernandez
G.R. No. 133511 (October 10, 2000)
FACTS: Respondent was Finance and Management Division Chief. The petitioner, the
Secretary of Science and Technology issued an order providing for the reassignment of
branch, division and section chiefs. The order provided that their return would be the
subject of a separate order. Pursuant to the order, respondent was reassigned to the
Office of the Director of Finance and Management Service in Taguig. Respondent argued
that this violated her security of tenure.
HELD: The order violated the security of tenure of respondent and hence invalid. The
order contains no definite duration of the reassignment. The reassignment of respondent
reduced her to a mere subordinate without authority to supervise anyone.
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2. Reorganization
Canonizado v. Aguirre
323 SCRA 312
FACTS: Petitioners were incumbent commissioners of the National Police Commission
when Republic Act. No. 8851, otherwise known as the PNP Reform and Reorganization
Act of 1998, took effect. Section 8 of Republic Act. No. 8851 provided that the terms of
office of the incumbent commissioners were deemed expired. Petitioners claimed that this
violated their security of tenure.
HELD: Petitioners are members of the civil service. Republic Act No. 8551 did not
expressly abolish the positions of petitioners. Under RA No. 6975, the National Police
Commission was under the Department of Interior and Local Government, while under
Republic Act. No. 8551 it is made an agency attached to the Department of Interior and
Local Government. The organizational structure and the composition of the National
Police Commission remain essentially the same except for the addition of the Chief of PNP
as ex-officio member. The powers and duties of the National Police Commission remain
basically unchanged. No bona fide reorganization of the NPC having been mandated by
Congress and insofar as RA 8851 declares the office of the petitioner as expired resulting
in their separation from office, it is tantamount to removing civil service employees from
office without legal cause therefore, it must be struck down for being constitutionally infirm.
3. Lack of Eligibility
Cuevas v. Bacal
G.R. No. 139382 (December 6, 2000)
FACTS: Respondent passed the Career Executive Service Examination. She was
appointed Regional Director of the Public Attorney’s Office. Later, she was designated as
acting chief Public Attorney. Upon change of administration, respondent was appointed
Regional Director. Respondent argued she was removed without cause.
HELD: The rank level of respondent is Rank level III. The position of Chief Public
Attorney required rank level I. As respondent does not have the required Rank, her
appointment to that position cannot be considered permanent and she cannot claim the
right to a security of tenure.
C. Commission on Elections
1. Power to Appoint Employees
De Guzman v. Comelec
G.R. No. 129118 (July 19, 2000)
FACTS: Section 44 of the Voter’s Registration Act provided that no election officer shall
hold office in a particular municipality or city for more than 4 years. In accordance with it,
the Comelec reassigned petitioners, who were election officers to other stations. Petitioner
argue that the law undermined the constitutional authority of the Comelec to appoint its
own officials.
HELD: The law merely provides the basis for the transfer of an election officers and does
not deprive the Comelec of its power to appoint its officials.
2. Judicial Review
Ambil v. Comelec
G.R. No. 143398 (October 25, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioner and respondent were opposing candidates for governor. Petitioner
won. Respondent filed election protest with the Commission on Elections. A member of its
first division prepared the resolution but he retired before it could be promulgated. A new
member was appointed to replace the retired commissioner. The first division issued a
resolution declaring the previously prepared resolution void, because it had not been
promulgated.
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HELD: Petition should be denied because the SC had no power to review interlocutory
orders or final resolutions of a division of Comelec. It must first be reviewed by the
Comelec en banc before it can be brought to the SC.
ABS-CBN v. Comelec
323 SCRA 811
FACTS: Comelec approved Resolution 98-1419 on April 21, 1998 which prohibited the
conduct of exit polls. Petitioners questioned the validity of the resolution by filing a petition
for certiorari in the SC. Solicitor General argued that case should be dismissed for failure
to exhaust all available remedies by failure to file a motion for reconsideration before the
Comelec.
HELD: Considering that the resolution was issued only 20 days before the election and
that the petitioners got a copy of it only on May 4, 1998, there was hardly any opportunity
to move for reconsideration and to obtain and swift resolution in time for the May 11
elections. The petition also involves transcendental constitutional issues therefore, direct
resort to SC is justified.
Salva v. Makalintal
G.R. No. 132603 (September 8, 2000)
FACTS: The Sangguniang Pambayan of Calaca Batangas approved an ordinance
merging Barangay San Rafael with another Barangay. The Sanggunian Panlalawigan
passed a resolution instructing the Comelec to hold a plebiscite. The Comelec passed a
resolution calling for a plebiscite. The officials and residents of San Rafael filed a case in
RTC to prohibit the plebiscite on the ground that the ordinance and the resolutions were
invalid. The RTC ruled that it had no jurisdiction over the case because only the Supreme
Court can review the resolution of the Commission on Elections.
HELD: The issuance of the Resolution of the Comelec was a ministerial duty which may
be enjoined by law and is part of its administrative functions. Any question pertaining to its
validity may be taken in an ordinary civil action before the RTC.
3. Decision
Soller v. Comelec
G.R. No. 139853 (Sept.5, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioner and respondent were opposing candidates for mayor. Petitioner was
proclaimed elected. Respondent filed with Comelec a petition for annulment of
proclamation. A week later, he filed an election protest in the RTC. Petitioner moved to
dismiss the protest on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, forum shopping, and failure to
state a cause of action. The RTC denied motion. Respondent also filed certiorari with
Comelec en banc which was later denied.
HELD: The authority to resolve petitions for certiorari involving incidental issues of election
protests falls within the jurisdiction of the Division of the Comelec and not with the Comelec
en banc. If the principal case is cognizable on appeal by a Division, there is no reason
why petitions for certiorari relating to incidents of election protest should not be referred
first to a Division of the Comelec for resolution.
D. Commission on Audit
Laysa v. Commission on Audit
G.R. No. 12813 (October 18, 2000)
FACTS: As a result of an audit of the Fishery Sector Program Fund of the Department of
Agriculture, Regional Office No. V was found to not have complied with the rules on
bidding, submission of documents to support claim of disbursement. Petitioner, Director of
the office, argued that since the Fishery Sector Program is a special program for research
and development, bureaucratic adherence to prescribed rules and procedures stifles
research and development.
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HELD: Verification of whether officials of an agency properly discharged their fiscal
responsibilities and whether an agency complied with internal audit controls in the
collection and disbursement of government funds are part of the functions of the
Commission on Audit.
1. Prevention of Unnecessary Expenses
Polloso v. Gangan
G.R. No. 140563 (July 14, 2000)
FACTS: The National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) hired the legal service of
petitioner, a private lawyer. The Commission on Audit disallowed the payment of his
compensation, since he was hired without complying with Circular No. 86-255 which
requires prior written approval by the Solicitor General as well as the Commission on
Audit. Petitioner argued that circular is unconstitutional because it restricted the practice of
law.
HELD: The claim is bereft of merit. The circular simply sets forth the prerequisite for the
government agency in hiring a private lawyer which are reasonable safeguards to prevent
irregular, unnecessary, excessive and extravagant expenditures of government funds.
Uy v. Commission on Audit
G.R. No. 130685 (March 21, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioners were permanent employees of the Provincial Engineering Office who
were dismissed by the governor allegedly to scale down the operations of that office.
Petitioners filed a petition for reinstatement with the Merit Protection System Board. The
board held that the reduction in work force was not done in accordance with the civil
service rules since it was made without comparing the relative fitness, efficiency and
length of service of the employees. It ordered the reinstatement of petitioners and
payment of their back salaries. The decision became final. The Commission on Audit
disallowed the payment of back salaries on the ground that it should be the personal
liability of the governor since illegal dismissal was done in bad faith.
HELD: The decision of the Merit System Protection Board has become final and
executory. The Commission on Audit cannot be allowed to set it aside since payment
cannot be described as irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or unconscionable.
VII. Local Government
Pimentel v. Aguirre
G.R. No. 132988 July 19, 2000)
A. Ombudsman
1. Form of Complaint
Raro v. Sandiganbayan
G.R. No. 108431 (July 14, 2000)
FACTS: Upon complaint of an employee of a corporation which was authorized by the
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to operate a small town lottery, the Ombudsman
filed a criminal case against petitioner for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act. Petitioner argued that the complaint was sworn to before a notary public and the
affidavits of witnesses against him were sworn to before a provincial fiscal not deputized
by the Ombudsman.
HELD: Under Section 12, Article XI of the Constitution, the Ombudsman is required to act
on complaints filed in any form or manner. The charges are valid.
2. Investigation
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Raro v. Sandiganbayan
G.R. No. 108431 (July 14, 2000)
FACTS: The Deputy Ombudsman referred the complaint against petitioner for violation of
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act to the NBI for investigation. The NBI
recommended the prosecution of the case. Petitioner argued that by referring the
complaint to the NBI, the office of the Ombudsman abdicated its duty to conduct
preliminary investigation.
HELD: The Office of the Ombudsman did not delegate the conduct of the preliminary
investigation to the NBI. What was delegated was only the fact-finding function,
preparatory to the preliminary investigation still to be conducted by the Ombudsman.
3. State immunity from Suit
A. Applicability
Calub v. CA
G.R. No. 115634 (April 27, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioners, who were officers of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources seized two motor vehicles for transporting illegally cut lumber. The owner and
the driver filed a case against them for the recovery of the possession of the motor vehicle.
HELD: The acts for which petitioners are being called to account were performed by them
in the discharge of their official duties. A suit against them is a suit against the state. It
cannot prosper without the consent of the state.

B. Law Enforcement
Armed Forces
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES V. ZAMORA
G.R. NO. 141284 (August 15, 2000)
FACTS: The petitioner argues that the order of the President for the Philippine National
Police and the Philippine Marines to carry out joint visibility patrols to prevent and restrain
crime, violated the prohibition on the appointment of the members of the Armed Forces
who are in active service to civilian positions.
HELD: The SC held that there was actually no appointment of the members of the Armed
Forces to civilian positions. The members of the Philippine Marines were not integrated as
members of the PNP. The participation of the Chief of Staff in civilian law enforcement
does not mean that he was appointed to a civilian post, since the head of the PNP is the
one actually vested with authority in these operations.
Philippine National Police
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES V. ZAMORA
G.R. NO. 141284 (August 15, 2000)
FACTS: The petitioner argues that the order of the President for the Philippine National
Police and the Philippine Marines to carry out joint visibility patrols to prevent and restrain
crime, violated the principle of supremacy of civilian authority over the military and the
civilian character of the police force.
HELD: The participation of the Philippine Marines constitutes a permissible use of military
assets for civilian law enforcement. The civilian character of the police force is also not
affected by this participation. The members of the PNP are the ones in charge of the
operations. They are the ones who will direct and supervise the deployment of the
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Philippine Marines.
Visiting Forces Agreement
Bayan v. Zamora
G.R. NO. 138570 (October 10. 2000)
The Visiting Forces Agreement, for which Senate concurrence was sought and
received on May 27, 1999, is the subject of a number of Constitutional challenges.
Issue 1: Do the Petitioners have legal standing as concerned citizens, taxpayers, or
legislators to question the constitutionality of the VFA?
Petitioners Bayan Muna, etc. have no standing. A party bringing a suit challenging
the Constitutionality of a law must show not only that the law is invalid, but that he has
sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its
enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. Petitioners
have failed to show that they are in any danger of direct injury as a result of the VFA.
As taxpayers, they have failed to establish that the VFA involves the exercise by
Congress of its taxing or spending powers. A taxpayer's suit refers to a case where the act
complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from
taxation. Before he can invoke the power of judicial review, he must specifically prove that
he has sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation
and that he will sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned
statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to all
members of the public. Clearly, inasmuch as no public funds raised by taxation are
involved in this case, and in the absence of any allegation by petitioners that public funds
are being misspent or illegally expended, petitioners, as taxpayers, have no legal standing
to assail the legality of the VFA.
Similarly, the petitioner-legislators (Tanada, Arroyo, etc.) do not possess the
requisite locus standi to sue. In the absence of a clear showing of any direct injury to their
person or to the institution to which they belong, they cannot sue. The Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP) is also stripped of standing in these cases. The IBP lacks the legal
capacity to bring this suit in the absence of a board resolution from its Board of Governors
authorizing its National President to commence the present action.
Notwithstanding, in view of the paramount importance and the constitutional
significance of the issues raised, the Court may brush aside the procedural barrier and
takes cognizance of the petitions.
Issue 2: Is the VFA governed by section 21, Art. VII, or section 25, Art. XVIII of the
Constitution?
Section 25, Art XVIII, not section 21, Art. VII, applies, as the VFA involves the
presence of foreign military troops in the Philippines.
The Constitution contains two provisions requiring the concurrence of the Senate on
treaties or international agreements. Section 21, Article VII reads: “[n]o treaty or
international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-
thirds of all the Members of the Senate." Section 25, Article XVIII, provides:"[a]fter the
expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the
United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or
facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by
the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by
the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by
the other contracting State."
Section 21, Article VII deals with treaties or international agreements in general, in
which case, the concurrence of at least two-thirds (2/3) of all the Members of the Senate is
required to make the treaty valid and binding to the Philippines. This provision lays down
the general rule on treaties. All treaties, regardless of subject matter, coverage, or
particular designation or appellation, requires the concurrence of the Senate to be valid
and effective.
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In contrast, Section 25, Article XVIII is a special provision that applies to treaties
which involve the presence of foreign military bases, troops or facilities in the Philippines.
Under this provision, the concurrence of the Senate is only one of the requisites to render
compliance with the constitutional requirements and to consider the agreement binding on
the Philippines. Sec 25 further requires that "foreign military bases, troops, or facilities"
may be allowed in the Philippines only by virtue of a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate,
ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a national referendum held for that purpose if so
required by Congress, and recognized as such by the other contracting state.
On the whole, the VFA is an agreement which defines the treatment of US troops
visiting the Philippines. It provides for the guidelines to govern such visits of military
personnel, and further defines the rights of the US and RP government in the matter of
criminal jurisdiction, movement of vessel and aircraft, import and export of equipment,
materials and supplies.
Undoubtedly, Section 25, Article XVIII, which specifically deals with treaties
involving foreign military bases, troops, or facilities, should apply in the instant case. To a
certain extent, however, the provisions of Section 21, Article VII will find applicability with
regard to determining the number of votes required to obtain the valid concurrence of the
Senate.
It is specious to argue that Section 25, Article XVIII is inapplicable to mere transient
agreements for the reason that there is no permanent placing of structure for the
establishment of a military base. The Constitution makes no distinction between "transient"
and "permanent". We find nothing in Section 25, Article XVIII that requires foreign troops
or facilities to be stationed or placed permanently in the Philippines. When no distinction is
made by law; the Court should not distinguish. We do not subscribe to the argument that
Section 25, Article XVIII is not controlling since no foreign military bases, but merely
foreign troops and facilities, are involved in the VFA. The proscription covers "foreign
military bases, troops, or facilities." Stated differently, this prohibition is not limited to the
entry of troops and facilities without any foreign bases being established. The clause does
not refer to "foreign military bases, troops, or facilities" collectively but treats them as
separate and independent subjects, such that three different situations are contemplated
— a military treaty the subject of which could be either (a) foreign bases, (b) foreign troops,
or (c) foreign facilities — any of the three standing alone places it under the coverage of
Section 25, Article XVIII.
Issue 3: Was Sec 25 Art XVIII’s requisites satisfied to make the VFA effective?
Section 25, Article XVIII disallows foreign military bases, troops, or facilities in the
country, unless the following conditions are sufficiently met: (a) it must be under a treaty;
(b) the treaty must be duly concurred in by the Senate and, when so required by Congress,
ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum; and (c)
recognized as a treaty by the other contracting state. There is no dispute as to the
presence of the first two requisites in the case of the VFA. The concurrence handed by the
Senate through Resolution No. 18 is in accordance with the Constitution, as there were at
least 16 Senators that concurred.
As to condition (c), the Court held that the phrase "recognized as a treaty" means
that the other contracting party accepts or acknowledges the agreement as a treaty. To
require the US to submit the VFA to the US Senate for concurrence pursuant to its
Constitution, is to accord strict meaning to the phrase. Well-entrenched is the principle that
the words used in the Constitution are to be given their ordinary meaning except where
technical terms are employed, in which case the significance thus attached to them
prevails. Its language should be understood in the sense they have in common use.
The records reveal that the US Government, through Ambassador Hubbard, has
stated that the US has fully committed to living up to the terms of the VFA. For as long as
the US accepts or acknowledges the VFA as a treaty, and binds itself further to comply
with its treaty obligations, there is indeed compliance with the mandate of the Constitution.
Worth stressing too, is that the ratification by the President of the VFA, and the
concurrence of the Senate, should be taken as a clear and unequivocal expression of our
nation's consent to be bound by said treaty, with the concomitant duty to uphold the
obligations and responsibilities embodied thereunder. Ratification is generally held to be
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an executive act, undertaken by the head of the state, through which the formal
acceptance of the treaty is proclaimed. A State may provide in its domestic legislation the
process of ratification of a treaty. In our jurisdiction, the power to ratify is vested in the
President and not, as commonly believed, in the legislature. The role of the Senate
is limited only to giving or withholding its consent, or concurrence, to the
ratification.
With the ratification of the VFA it now becomes obligatory and incumbent on our
part, under principles of international law (pacta sunt servanda), to be bound by the terms
of the agreement. Thus, no less than Section 2, Article II declares that the Philippines
adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land
and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with
all nations.