G.R. No.

L-45081 July 15, 1936
JOSE A. ANGARA, petitioner,
vs.
THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PEDRO YNSUA, MIGUEL CASTILLO, and DIONISIO C.
MAYOR, respondents.
Godofredo Reyes for petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for respondent Electoral Commission.
Pedro Ynsua in his own behalf.
No appearance for other respondents.

D E C I S I O N
LAUREL, J.:
This is an original action instituted in this court by the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, for the issuance of
a writ of prohibition to restrain and prohibit the Electoral Commission, one of the respondents, from
taking further cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua, another respondent, against the
election of said petitioner as member of the National Assembly for the first assembly district of the
Province of Tayabas.
The facts of this case as they appear in the petition and as admitted by the respondents are as
follows:
(1) That in the elections of September 17, 1935, the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, and the
respondents, Pedro Ynsua, Miguel Castillo and Dionisio Mayor, were candidates voted for the
position of member of the National Assembly for the first district of the Province of Tayabas;
(2) That on October 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers, proclaimed the petitioner as
member-elect of the National Assembly for the said district, for having received the most number of
votes;
(3) That on November 15, 1935, the petitioner took his oath of office;
(4) That on December 3, 1935, the National Assembly in session assembled, passed the following
resolution:
[No. 8]
RESOLUCION CONFIRMANDO LAS ACTAS DE AQUELLOS DIPUTADOS CONTRA QUIENES
NO SE HA PRESENTADO PROTESTA.
Se resuelve: Que las actas de eleccion de los Diputados contra quienes no se hubiere presentado
debidamente una protesta antes de la adopcion de la presente resolucion sean, como por la
presente, son aprobadas y confirmadas.
Adoptada, 3 de diciembre, 1935.
(5) That on December 8, 1935, the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua filed before the Electoral
Commission a ―Motion of Protest‖ against the election of the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, being
the only protest filed after the passage of Resolutions No. 8 aforequoted, and praying, among other-
things, that said respondent be declared elected member of the National Assembly for the first
district of Tayabas, or that the election of said position be nullified;
(6) That on December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted a resolution, paragraph 6 of which
provides:
6. La Comision no considerara ninguna protesta que no se haya presentado en o antes de este dia.
(7) That on December 20, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, one of the respondents in the
aforesaid protest, filed before the Electoral Commission a ―Motion to Dismiss the Protest‖, alleging
(a) that Resolution No. 8 of Dismiss the Protest‖, alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8 of the National
Assembly was adopted in the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative to prescribe the
period during which protests against the election of its members should be presented; (b) that the
aforesaid resolution has for its object, and is the accepted formula for, the limitation of said period;
and (c) that the protest in question was filed out of the prescribed period;
(8) That on December 27, 1935, the herein respondent, Pedro Ynsua, filed an ―Answer to the Motion
of Dismissal‖ alleging that there is no legal or constitutional provision barring the presentation of a
protest against the election of a member of the National Assembly after confirmation;
(9) That on December 31, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, filed a ―Reply‖ to the
aforesaid ―Answer to the Motion of Dismissal‖;
(10) That the case being submitted for decision, the Electoral Commission promulgated a resolution
on January 23, 1936, denying herein petitioner‘s ―Motion to Dismiss the Protest.‖
The application of the petitioner sets forth the following grounds for the issuance of the writ prayed
for:
(a) That the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction upon the electoral Commission solely as
regards the merits of contested elections to the National Assembly;
(b) That the Constitution excludes from said jurisdiction the power to regulate the proceedings of
said election contests, which power has been reserved to the Legislative Department of the
Government or the National Assembly;
(c) That like the Supreme Court and other courts created in pursuance of the Constitution, whose
exclusive jurisdiction relates solely to deciding the merits of controversies submitted to them for
decision and to matters involving their internal organization, the Electoral Commission can regulate
its proceedings only if the National Assembly has not availed of its primary power to so regulate
such proceedings;
(d) That Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly is, therefore, valid and should be respected and
obeyed;
(e) That under paragraph 13 of section 1 of the ordinance appended to the Constitution and
paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the United
States) as well as under section 1 and 3 (should be sections 1 and 2) of article VIII of the
Constitution, this Supreme Court has jurisdiction to pass upon the fundamental question herein
raised because it involves an interpretation of the Constitution of the Philippines.
On February 25, 1936, the Solicitor-General appeared and filed an answer in behalf of the
respondent Electoral Commission interposing the following special defenses:
(a) That the Electoral Commission has been created by the Constitution as an instrumentality of the
Legislative Department invested with the jurisdiction to decide ―all contests relating to the election,
returns, and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly‖; that in adopting its resolution
of December 9, 1935, fixing this date as the last day for the presentation of protests against the
election of any member of the National Assembly, it acted within its jurisdiction and in the legitimate
exercise of the implied powers granted it by the Constitution to adopt the rules and regulations
essential to carry out the power and functions conferred upon the same by the fundamental law; that
in adopting its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the petitioner to dismiss the
election protest in question, and declaring itself with jurisdiction to take cognizance of said protest, it
acted in the legitimate exercise of its quasi-judicial functions a an instrumentality of the Legislative
Department of the Commonwealth Government, and hence said act is beyond the judicial
cognizance or control of the Supreme Court;
(b) That the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935, confirming the election of the
members of the National Assembly against whom no protest had thus far been filed, could not and
did not deprive the electoral Commission of its jurisdiction to take cognizance of election protests
filed within the time that might be set by its own rules:
(c) That the Electoral Commission is a body invested with quasi-judicial functions, created by the
Constitution as an instrumentality of the Legislative Department, and is not an ―inferior tribunal, or
corporation, or board, or person‖ within the purview of section 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, against which prohibition would lie.
The respondent Pedro Ynsua, in his turn, appeared and filed an answer in his own behalf on March
2, 1936, setting forth the following as his special defense:
(a) That at the time of the approval of the rules of the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935,
there was no existing law fixing the period within which protests against the election of members of
the National Assembly should be filed; that in fixing December 9, 1935, as the last day for the filing
of protests against the election of members of the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission was
exercising a power impliedly conferred upon it by the Constitution, by reason of its quasi-judicial
attributes;
(b) That said respondent presented his motion of protest before the Electoral Commission on
December 9, 1935, the last day fixed by paragraph 6 of the rules of the said Electoral Commission;
(c) That therefore the Electoral Commission acquired jurisdiction over the protest filed by said
respondent and over the parties thereto, and the resolution of the Electoral Commission of January
23, 1936, denying petitioner‘s motion to dismiss said protest was an act within the jurisdiction of the
said commission, and is not reviewable by means of a writ of prohibition;
(d) That neither the law nor the Constitution requires confirmation by the National Assembly of the
election of its members, and that such confirmation does not operate to limit the period within which
protests should be filed as to deprive the Electoral Commission of jurisdiction over protest filed
subsequent thereto;
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent entity created by the Constitution, endowed
with quasi-judicial functions, whose decision are final and unappealable;
( f ) That the electoral Commission, as a constitutional creation, is not an inferior tribunal,
corporation, board or person, within the terms of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil
Procedure; and that neither under the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of article II (should be article
VIII) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of section 1 of the Ordinance appended thereto could it be
subject in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions to a writ of prohibition from the Supreme Court;
(g) That paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the
united States) has no application to the case at bar.
The case was argued before us on March 13, 1936. Before it was submitted for decision, the
petitioner prayed for the issuance of a preliminary writ of injunction against the respondent Electoral
Commission which petition was denied ―without passing upon the merits of the case‖ by resolution of
this court of March 21, 1936.
There was no appearance for the other respondents.
The issues to be decided in the case at bar may be reduced to the following two principal
propositions:
1. Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the
controversy upon the foregoing related facts, and in the affirmative,
2. Has the said Electoral Commission acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in assuming to the
cognizance of the protest filed the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous
confirmation of such election by resolution of the National Assembly?
We could perhaps dispose of this case by passing directly upon the merits of the controversy.
However, the question of jurisdiction having been presented, we do not feel justified in evading the
issue. Being a case primæ impressionis, it would hardly be consistent with our sense of duty to
overlook the broader aspect of the question and leave it undecided. Neither would we be doing
justice to the industry and vehemence of counsel were we not to pass upon the question of
jurisdiction squarely presented to our consideration.
The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not
through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the
government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own
sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct
that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other.
The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure
coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. For example, the Chief
Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on the legislative power that this assent is
required in the enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to the further check that a bill may
become a law notwithstanding the refusal of the President to approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or
three-fourths, as the case may be, of the National Assembly. The President has also the right to
convene the Assembly in special session whenever he chooses. On the other hand, the National
Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the sense that its consent through its
Commission on Appointments is necessary in the appointments of certain officers; and the
concurrence of a majority of all its members is essential to the conclusion of treaties. Furthermore, in
its power to determine what courts other than the Supreme Court shall be established, to define their
jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for their support, the National Assembly controls the judicial
department to a certain extent. The Assembly also exercises the judicial power of trying
impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively
checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to declare
executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution.
But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of
power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. The
overlapping and interlacing of functions and duties between the several departments, however,
sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves off and the other begins. In times of social
disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or
marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only
constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between
the several departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.
As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as
much as it was within the power of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that
instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however limited, has established a republican
government intended to operate and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and
balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said instrument. The
Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental
powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it would be inconceivable
if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the course of government
along constitutional channels, for then the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of
rights mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good government mere political
apothegms. Certainly, the limitation and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they
should be in any living constitution. In the United States where no express constitutional grant is
found in their constitution, the possession of this moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its
historical origin and development there, has been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of
more than one and a half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly,
by clear implication from section 2 of article VIII of our constitution.
The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope
and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the instrumentality of the
judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it
does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate
an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the
Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for
the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them.
This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed ―judicial supremacy‖ which properly is the power
of judicial review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual
cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited
further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction
could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to
actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of
wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of
constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by
the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and
controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their
representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the governments of the government.
But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power provided in our Constitution, it
ought not the less to be remembered that, in the language of James Madison, the system itself is not
―the chief palladium of constitutional liberty . . . the people who are authors of this blessing must also
be its guardians . . . their eyes must be ever ready to mark, their voice to pronounce . . . aggression
on the authority of their constitution.‖ In the Last and ultimate analysis, then, must the success of our
government in the unfolding years to come be tested in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than
in consultation rooms and court chambers.
In the case at bar, the national Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of December 3, 1935, confirmed
the election of the herein petitioner to the said body. On the other hand, the Electoral Commission
has by resolution adopted on December 9, 1935, fixed said date as the last day for the filing of
protests against the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly,
notwithstanding the previous confirmation made by the National Assembly as aforesaid. If, as
contended by the petitioner, the resolution of the National Assembly has the effect of cutting off the
power of the Electoral Commission to entertain protests against the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, submitted after December 3, 1935, then the
resolution of the Electoral Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere surplusage and had no effect.
But, if, as contended by the respondents, the Electoral Commission has the sole power of regulating
its proceedings to the exclusion of the National Assembly, then the resolution of December 9, 1935,
by which the Electoral Commission fixed said date as the last day for filing protests against the
election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, should be upheld.
Here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a conflict of a grave constitutional
nature between the National Assembly on the one hand, and the Electoral Commission on the other.
From the very nature of the republican government established in our country in the light of
American experience and of our own, upon the judicial department is thrown the solemn and
inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and defining constitutional boundaries. The
Electoral Commission, as we shall have occasion to refer hereafter, is a constitutional organ, created
for a specific purpose, namely to determine all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly. Although the Electoral Commission may not
be interfered with, when and while acting within the limits of its authority, it does not follow that it is
beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the people and that it is not subject to
constitutional restrictions. The Electoral Commission is not a separate department of the
government, and even if it were, conflicting claims of authority under the fundamental law between
department powers and agencies of the government are necessarily determined by the judiciary in
justifiable and appropriate cases. Discarding the English type and other European types of
constitutional government, the framers of our constitution adopted the American type where the
written constitution is interpreted and given effect by the judicial department. In some countries
which have declined to follow the American example, provisions have been inserted in their
constitutions prohibiting the courts from exercising the power to interpret the fundamental law. This
is taken as a recognition of what otherwise would be the rule that in the absence of direct prohibition
courts are bound to assume what is logically their function. For instance, the Constitution of Poland
of 1921, expressly provides that courts shall have no power to examine the validity of statutes (Art.
81, chap. IV). The former Austrian Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries whose
constitutions are silent in this respect, courts have assumed this power. This is true in Norway,
Greece, Australia and South Africa. Whereas, in Czechoslovakia (Arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law to
constitutional Charter of the Czechoslovak Republic, February 29, 1920) and Spain (Arts. 121-123,
Title IX, Constitutional of the Republic of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to pass
upon the validity of ordinary laws. In our case, the nature of the present controversy shows the
necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to determine the conflict of authority between two agencies
created by the Constitution. Were we to decline to take cognizance of the controversy, who will
determine the conflict? And if the conflict were left undecided and undetermined, would not a void be
thus created in our constitutional system which may be in the long run prove destructive of the entire
framework? To ask these questions is to answer them. Natura vacuum abhorret, so must we avoid
exhaustion in our constitutional system. Upon principle, reason and authority, we are clearly of the
opinion that upon the admitted facts of the present case, this court has jurisdiction over the Electoral
Commission and the subject matter of the present controversy for the purpose of determining the
character, scope and extent of the constitutional grant to the Electoral Commission as ―the sole
judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly.‖
Having disposed of the question of jurisdiction, we shall now proceed to pass upon the second
proposition and determine whether the Electoral Commission has acted without or in excess of its
jurisdiction in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, and in assuming to take cognizance of
the protest filed against the election of the herein petitioner notwithstanding the previous
confirmation thereof by the National Assembly on December 3, 1935. As able counsel for the
petitioner has pointed out, the issue hinges on the interpretation of section 4 of Article VI of the
Constitution which provides:
―SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justice of the Supreme Court
designated by the Chief Justice, and of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of
whom shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes, and three by the party
having the second largest number of votes therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its
Chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly.‖ It is imperative, therefore, that
we delve into the origin and history of this constitutional provision and inquire into the intention of its
framers and the people who adopted it so that we may properly appreciate its full meaning, import
and significance.
The original provision regarding this subject in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902 (sec. 7, par. 5)
laying down the rule that ―the assembly shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications
of its members‖, was taken from clause 1 of section 5, Article I of the Constitution of the United
States providing that ―Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of
its own Members, . . . .‖ The Act of Congress of August 29, 1916 (sec. 18, par. 1) modified this
provision by the insertion of the word ―sole‖ as follows: ―That the Senate and House of
Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of
their elective members . . .‖ apparently in order to emphasize the exclusive the Legislative over the
particular case s therein specified. This court has had occasion to characterize this grant of power to
the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, as ―full, clear and complete‖
(Veloso vs. Boards of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar [1919], 39 Phil., 886, 888.)
The first step towards the creation of an independent tribunal for the purpose of deciding contested
elections to the legislature was taken by the sub-committee of five appointed by the Committee on
Constitutional Guarantees of the Constitutional Convention, which sub-committee submitted a report
on August 30, 1934, recommending the creation of a Tribunal of Constitutional Security empowered
to hear legislature but also against the election of executive officers for whose election the vote of
the whole nation is required, as well as to initiate impeachment proceedings against specified
executive and judicial officer. For the purpose of hearing legislative protests, the tribunal was to be
composed of three justices designated by the Supreme Court and six members of the house of the
legislature to which the contest corresponds, three members to be designed by the majority party
and three by the minority, to be presided over by the Senior Justice unless the Chief Justice is also a
member in which case the latter shall preside. The foregoing proposal was submitted by the
Committee on Constitutional Guarantees to the Convention on September 15, 1934, with slight
modifications consisting in the reduction of the legislative representation to four members, that is,
two senators to be designated one each from the two major parties in the Senate and two
representatives to be designated one each from the two major parties in the House of
Representatives, and in awarding representation to the executive department in the persons of two
representatives to be designated by the President.
Meanwhile, the Committee on Legislative Power was also preparing its report. As submitted to the
Convention on September 24, 1934 subsection 5, section 5, of the proposed Article on the
Legislative Department, reads as follows:
The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of either house and all cases contesting the
election of any of their members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, constituted, as to each
House, by three members elected by the members of the party having the largest number of votes
therein, three elected by the members of the party having the second largest number of votes, and
as to its Chairman, one Justice of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice.
The idea of creating a Tribunal of Constitutional Security with comprehensive jurisdiction as
proposed by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees which was probably inspired by the
Spanish plan (art. 121, Constitution of the Spanish Republic of 1931), was soon abandoned in favor
of the proposition of the Committee on Legislative Power to create a similar body with reduced
powers and with specific and limited jurisdiction, to be designated as a Electoral Commission. The
Sponsorship Committee modified the proposal of the Committee on Legislative Power with respect
to the composition of the Electoral Commission and made further changes in phraseology to suit the
project of adopting a unicameral instead of a bicameral legislature. The draft as finally submitted to
the Convention on October 26, 1934, reads as follows:
(6) The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly and all cases
contesting the election of any of its Members shall be judged by an Electoral Commission,
composed of three members elected by the party having the largest number of votes in the National
Assembly, three elected by the members of the party having the second largest number of votes,
and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be
presided over by one of said justices.
During the discussion of the amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo, and others,
proposing to strike out the whole subsection of the foregoing draft and inserting in lieu thereof the
following: ―The National Assembly shall be the soled and exclusive judge of the elections, returns,
and qualifications of the Members‖, the following illuminating remarks were made on the floor of the
Convention in its session of December 4, 1934, as to the scope of the said draft:
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. VENTURA. Mr. President, we have a doubt here as to the scope of the meaning of the first four
lines, paragraph 6, page 11 of the draft, reading: ―The elections, returns and qualifications of the
Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the election of any of its Members shall
be judged by an Electoral Commission, . . .‖ I should like to ask from the gentleman from Capiz
whether the election and qualification of the member whose elections is not contested shall also be
judged by the Electoral Commission.
Mr. ROXAS. If there is no question about the election of the members, there is nothing to be judged;
that is why the word ―judge‖ is used to indicate a controversy. If there is no question about the
election of a member, there is nothing to be submitted to the Electoral Commission and there is
nothing to be determined.
Mr. VENTURA. But does that carry the idea also that the Electoral Commission shall confirm also
the election of those whose election is not contested?
Mr. ROXAS. There is no need of confirmation. As the gentleman knows, the action of the House of
Representatives confirming the election of its members is just a matter of the rules of the assembly.
It is not constitutional. It is not necessary. After a man files his credentials that he has been elected,
that is sufficient, unless his election is contested.
Mr. VENTURA. But I do not believe that that is sufficient, as we have observed that for purposes of
the auditor, in the matter of election of a member to a legislative body, because he will not authorize
his pay.
Mr. ROXAS. Well, what is the case with regards to the municipal president who is elected? What
happens with regards to the councilors of a municipality? Does anybody confirm their election? The
municipal council does this: it makes a canvass and proclaims — in this case the municipal council
proclaims who has been elected, and it ends there, unless there is a contest. It is the same case;
there is no need on the part of the Electoral Commission unless there is a contest. The first clause
refers to the case referred to by the gentleman from Cavite where one person tries to be elected in
place of another who was declared elected. From example, in a case when the residence of the man
who has been elected is in question, or in case the citizenship of the man who has been elected is in
question.
However, if the assembly desires to annul the power of the commission, it may do so by certain
maneuvers upon its first meeting when the returns are submitted to the assembly. The purpose is to
give to the Electoral Commission all the powers exercised by the assembly referring to the elections,
returns and qualifications of the members. When there is no contest, there is nothing to be judged.
Mr. VENTURA. Then it should be eliminated.
Mr. ROXAS. But that is a different matter, I think Mr. Delegate.
Mr. CINCO. Mr. President, I have a similar question as that propounded by the gentleman from
Ilocos Norte when I arose a while ago. However I want to ask more questions from the delegate from
Capiz. This paragraph 6 on page 11 of the draft cites cases contesting the election as separate from
the first part of the sections which refers to elections, returns and qualifications.
Mr. ROXAS. That is merely for the sake of clarity. In fact the cases of contested elections are
already included in the phrase “the elections, returns and qualifications.” This phrase “and contested
elections” was inserted merely for the sake of clarity.
Mr. CINCO. Under this paragraph, may not the Electoral Commission, at its own instance, refuse to
confirm the elections of the members.‖
Mr. ROXAS. I do not think so, unless there is a protest.
Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. President, will the gentleman yield?
THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman may yield, if he so desires.
Mr. ROXAS. Willingly.
Mr. LABRADOR. Does not the gentleman from Capiz believe that unless this power is granted to the
assembly, the assembly on its own motion does not have the right to contest the election and
qualification of its members?
Mr. ROXAS. I have no doubt but that the gentleman is right. If this draft is retained as it is, even if
two-thirds of the assembly believe that a member has not the qualifications provided by law, they
cannot remove him for that reason.
Mr. LABRADOR. So that the right to remove shall only be retained by the Electoral Commission.
Mr. ROXAS. By the assembly for misconduct.
Mr. LABRADOR. I mean with respect to the qualifications of the members.
Mr. ROXAS. Yes, by the Electoral Commission.
Mr. LABRADOR. So that under this draft, no member of the assembly has the right to question the
eligibility of its members?
Mr. ROXAS. Before a member can question the eligibility, he must go to the Electoral Commission
and make the question before the Electoral Commission.
Mr. LABRADOR. So that the Electoral Commission shall decide whether the election is contested or
not contested.
Mr. ROXAS. Yes, sir: that is the purpose.
Mr. PELAYO. Mr. President, I would like to be informed if the Electoral Commission has power and
authority to pass upon the qualifications of the members of the National Assembly even though that
question has not been raised.
Mr. ROXAS. I have just said that they have no power, because they can only judge.
In the same session, the first clause of the aforesaid draft reading ―The election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly and‖ was eliminated by the Sponsorship
Committee in response to an amendment introduced by Delegates Francisco, Ventura, Vinzons,
Rafols, Lim, Mumar and others. In explaining the difference between the original draft and the draft
as amended, Delegate Roxas speaking for the Sponsorship Committee said:
x x x x x x x x x
Sr. ROXAS. La diferencia, señor Presidente, consiste solamente en obviar la objecion apuntada por
varios Delegados al efecto de que la primera clausula del draft que dice: ―The elections, returns and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly‖ parece que da a la Comision Electoral la
facultad de determinar tambien la eleccion de los miembros que no ha sido protestados y para
obviar esa dificultad, creemos que la enmienda tien razon en ese sentido, si enmendamos el draft,
de tal modo que se lea como sigue: ―All cases contesting the election‖, de modo que los jueces de la
Comision Electoral se limitaran solamente a los casos en que haya habido protesta contra las
actas.‖ Before the amendment of Delegate Labrador was voted upon the following interpellation also
took place:
El Sr. CONEJERO. Antes de votarse la enmienda, quisiera
El Sr. PRESIDENTE. ¿Que dice el Comite?
El Sr. ROXAS. Con mucho gusto.
El Sr. CONEJERO. Tal como esta el draft, dando tres miembros a la mayoria, y otros tres a la
minoria y tres a la Corte Suprema, ¿no cree Su Señoria que esto equivale practicamente a dejar el
asunto a los miembros del Tribunal Supremo?
El Sr. ROXAS. Si y no. Creemos que si el tribunal o la Commission esta constituido en esa forma,
tanto los miembros de la mayoria como los de la minoria asi como los miembros de la Corte
Suprema consideraran la cuestion sobre la base de sus meritos, sabiendo que el partidismo no es
suficiente para dar el triunfo.
El Sr. CONEJERO. ¿Cree Su Señoria que en un caso como ese, podriamos hacer que tanto los de
la mayoria como los de la minoria prescindieran del partidismo?
El Sr. ROXAS. Creo que si, porque el partidismo no les daria el triunfo.
x x x x x x x x x
The amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo and others seeking to restore the power
to decide contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National
Assembly to the National Assembly itself, was defeated by a vote of ninety-eight (98) against fifty-six
(56).
In the same session of December 4, 1934, Delegate Cruz (C.) sought to amend the draft by reducing
the representation of the minority party and the Supreme Court in the Electoral Commission to two
members each, so as to accord more representation to the majority party. The Convention rejected
this amendment by a vote of seventy-six (76) against forty-six (46), thus maintaining the non-
partisan character of the commission.
As approved on January 31, 1935, the draft was made to read as follows:
(6) All cases contesting the elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National
Assembly shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected by the
party having the largest number of votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of
the party having the second largest number of votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court
designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be presided over by one of said justices.
The Style Committee to which the draft was submitted revised it as follows:
SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justices of the Supreme Court
designated by the Chief Justice, and of six Members chosen by the National Assembly, three of
whom shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes, and three by the party
having the second largest number of votes therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its
chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of the election, returns, and
qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly.
When the foregoing draft was submitted for approval on February 8, 1935, the Style Committee,
through President Recto, to effectuate the original intention of the Convention, agreed to insert the
phrase ―All contests relating to‖ between the phrase ―judge of‖ and the words ―the elections‖, which
was accordingly accepted by the Convention.
The transfer of the power of determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of
the legislature long lodged in the legislative body, to an independent, impartial and non-partisan
tribunal, is by no means a mere experiment in the science of government.
Cushing, in his Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (ninth edition, chapter VI, pages 57, 58),
gives a vivid account of the ―scandalously notorious‖ canvassing of votes by political parties in the
disposition of contests by the House of Commons in the following passages which are partly quoted
by the petitioner in his printed memorandum of March 14, 1936:
153. From the time when the commons established their right to be the exclusive judges of the
elections, returns, and qualifications of their members, until the year 1770, two modes of proceeding
prevailed, in the determination of controverted elections, and rights of membership. One of the
standing committees appointed at the commencement of each session, was denominated the
committee of privileges and elections, whose functions was to hear and investigate all questions of
this description which might be referred to them, and to report their proceedings, with their opinion
thereupon, to the house, from time to time. When an election petition was referred to this committee
they heard the parties and their witnesses and other evidence, and made a report of all the
evidence, together with their opinion thereupon, in the form of resolutions, which were considered
and agreed or disagreed to by the house. The other mode of proceeding was by a hearing at the bar
of the house itself. When this court was adopted, the case was heard and decided by the house, in
substantially the same manner as by a committee. The committee of privileges and elections
although a select committee. The committee of privileges and elections although a select committee
was usually what is called an open one; that is to say, in order to constitute the committee, a quorum
of the members named was required to be present, but all the members of the house were at liberty
to attend the committee and vote if they pleased.
154. With the growth of political parties in parliament questions relating to the right of membership
gradually assumed a political character; so that for many years previous to the year 1770,
controverted elections had been tried and determined by the house of commons, as mere party
questions, upon which the strength of contending factions might be tested. Thus, for Example, in
1741, Sir Robert Walpole, after repeated attacks upon his government, resigned his office in
consequence of an adverse vote upon the Chippenham election. Mr. Hatsell remarks, of the trial of
election cases, as conducted under this system, that ―Every principle of decency and justice were
notoriously and openly prostituted, from whence the younger part of the house were insensibly, but
too successfully, induced to adopt the same licentious conduct in more serious matters, and in
questions of higher importance to the public welfare.‖ Mr. George Grenville, a distinguished member
of the House of Commons, undertook to propose a remedy for the evil, and, on the 7th of March,
1770, obtained the unanimous leave of the house to bring in a bill, ―to regulate the trial of
controverted elections, or returns of members to serve in parliament.‖ In his speech to explain his
plan, on the motion for leave, Mr. Grenville alluded to the existing practice in the following terms:
―Instead of trusting to the merits of their respective causes, the principal dependence of both parties
is their private interest among us; and it is scandalously notorious that we are as earnestly
canvassed to attend in favor of the opposite sides, as if we were wholly self-elective, and not bound
to act by the principles of justice, but by the discretionary impulse of our own inclinations; nay, it is
well known, that in every contested election, many members of this house, who are ultimately to
judge in a kind of judicial capacity between the competitors, enlist themselves as parties in the
contention, and take upon themselves the partial management of the very business, upon which
they should determine with the strictest impartiality.‖
155. It was to put an end to the practices thus described, that Mr. Grenville brought in a bill which
met with the approbation of both houses, and received the royal assent on the 12th of April, 1770.
This was the celebrated law since known by the name of the Grenville Act; of which Mr. Hatsell
declares, that it ―was one of the nobles works, for the honor of the house of commons, and the
security of the constitution, that was ever devised by any minister or statesman.‖ It is probable, that
the magnitude of the evil, or the apparent success of the remedy, may have led many of the
contemporaries of the measure to the information of a judgment, which was not acquiesced in by
some of the leading statesmen of the day, and has not been entirely confirmed by subsequent
experience. The bill was objected to by Lord North, Mr. De Grey, afterwards chief justice of the
common pleas, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Dyson, who had been clerk of the house, and Mr. Charles James Fox,
chiefly on the ground, that the introduction of the new system was an essential alteration of the
constitution of parliament, and a total abrogation of one of the most important rights and jurisdictions
of the house of commons.
As early as 1868, the House of Commons in England solved the problem of insuring the non-
partisan settlement of the controverted elections of its members by abdicating its prerogative to two
judges of the King‘s Bench of the High Court of Justice selected from arota in accordance with rules
of court made for the purpose. Having proved successful, the practice has become imbedded in
English jurisprudence (Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868 [31 & 32 Vict. c. 125] as amended by
Parliamentary Elections and Corrupt Practices Act. 1879 [42 & 43 Vict. c. 75], s. 2; Corrupt and
Illegal Practices Preventions Act, 1883 [46 & 47 Vict. c. 51;, s. 70; Expiring Laws Continuance Act,
1911 [1 & 2 Geo. 5, c. 22]; Laws of England, vol. XII, p. 408, vol. XXI, p. 787). In the Dominion of
Canada, election contests which were originally heard by the Committee of the House of Commons,
are since 1922 tried in the courts. Likewise, in the Commonwealth of Australia, election contests
which were originally determined by each house, are since 1922 tried in the High Court. In Hungary,
the organic law provides that all protests against the election of members of the Upper House of the
Diet are to be resolved by the Supreme Administrative Court (Law 22 of 1916, chap. 2, art. 37, par.
6). The Constitution of Poland of March 17, 1921 (art. 19) and the Constitution of the Free City of
Danzig of May 13, 1922 (art. 10) vest the authority to decide contested elections to the Diet or
National Assembly in the Supreme Court. For the purpose of deciding legislative contests, the
Constitution of the German Reich of July 1, 1919 (art. 31), the Constitution of the Czechoslovak
Republic of February 29, 1920 (art. 19) and the Constitution of the Grecian Republic of June 2, 1927
(art. 43), all provide for an Electoral Commission.
The creation of an Electoral Commission whose membership is recruited both from the legislature
and the judiciary is by no means unknown in the United States. In the presidential elections of 1876
there was a dispute as to the number of electoral votes received by each of the two opposing
candidates. As the Constitution made no adequate provision for such a contingency, Congress
passed a law on January 29, 1877 (United States Statutes at Large, vol. 19, chap. 37, pp. 227-229),
creating a special Electoral Commission composed of five members elected by the Senate, five
members elected by the House of Representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court, the fifth
justice to be selected by the four designated in the Act. The decision of the commission was to be
binding unless rejected by the two houses voting separately. Although there is not much of a moral
lesson to be derived from the experience of America in this regard, judging from the observations of
Justice Field, who was a member of that body on the part of the Supreme Court (Countryman, the
Supreme Court of the United States and its Appellate Power under the Constitution [Albany, 1913]
— Relentless Partisanship of Electoral Commission, p. 25 et seq.), the experiment has at least
abiding historical interest.
The members of the Constitutional Convention who framed our fundamental law were in their
majority men mature in years and experience. To be sure, many of them were familiar with the
history and political development of other countries of the world. When , therefore, they deemed it
wise to create an Electoral Commission as a constitutional organ and invested it with the exclusive
function of passing upon and determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of
the National Assembly, they must have done so not only in the light of their own experience but also
having in view the experience of other enlightened peoples of the world. The creation of the Electoral
Commission was designed to remedy certain evils of which the framers of our Constitution were
cognizant. Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of some members of the Convention to its
creation, the plan, as hereinabove stated, was approved by that body by a vote of 98 against 58. All
that can be said now is that, upon the approval of the constitutional the creation of the Electoral
Commission is the expression of the wisdom and ―ultimate justice of the people‖. (Abraham
Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.)
From the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident that the purpose was to transfer
in its totality all the powers previously exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested
elections of its members, to an independent and impartial tribunal. It was not so much the knowledge
and appreciation of contemporary constitutional precedents, however, as the long-felt need of
determining legislative contests devoid of partisan considerations which prompted the people, acting
through their delegates to the Convention, to provide for this body known as the Electoral
Commission. With this end in view, a composite body in which both the majority and minority parties
are equally represented to off-set partisan influence in its deliberations was created, and further
endowed with judicial temper by including in its membership three justices of the Supreme Court.
The Electoral Commission is a constitutional creation, invested with the necessary authority in the
performance and execution of the limited and specific function assigned to it by the Constitution.
Although it is not a power in our tripartite scheme of government, it is, to all intents and purposes,
when acting within the limits of its authority, an independent organ. It is, to be sure, closer to the
legislative department than to any other. The location of the provision (section 4) creating the
Electoral Commission under Article VI entitled ―Legislative Department‖ of our Constitution is very
indicative. Its compositions is also significant in that it is constituted by a majority of members of the
legislature. But it is a body separate from and independent of the legislature.
The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to the election, returns
and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, is intended to be as complete and
unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of that power in the
Electoral Commission is an implied denial of the exercise of that power by the National Assembly.
And this is as effective a restriction upon the legislative power as an express prohibition in the
Constitution (Ex parte Lewis, 45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1; State vs. Whisman, 36 S.D., 260; L.R.A.,
1917B, 1). If we concede the power claimed in behalf of the National Assembly that said body may
regulate the proceedings of the Electoral Commission and cut off the power of the commission to lay
down the period within which protests should be filed, the grant of power to the commission would
be ineffective. The Electoral Commission in such case would be invested with the power to
determine contested cases involving the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the
National Assembly but subject at all times to the regulative power of the National Assembly. Not only
would the purpose of the framers of our Constitution of totally transferring this authority from the
legislative body be frustrated, but a dual authority would be created with the resultant inevitable
clash of powers from time to time. A sad spectacle would then be presented of the Electoral
Commission retaining the bare authority of taking cognizance of cases referred to, but in reality
without the necessary means to render that authority effective whenever and whenever the National
Assembly has chosen to act, a situation worse than that intended to be remedied by the framers of
our Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the National Assembly in procedural matters
will inevitably lead to the ultimate control by the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the Electoral
Commission, and, by indirection, to the entire abrogation of the constitutional grant. It is obvious that
this result should not be permitted.
We are not insensible to the impassioned argument or the learned counsel for the petitioner
regarding the importance and necessity of respecting the dignity and independence of the national
Assembly as a coordinate department of the government and of according validity to its acts, to
avoid what he characterized would be practically an unlimited power of the commission in the
admission of protests against members of the National Assembly. But as we have pointed out
hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral Commission carried with it ex necesitate rei the power
regulative in character to limit the time with which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed.
It is a settled rule of construction that where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every
particular power necessary for the exercise of the one or the performance of the other is also
conferred (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eight ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any
further constitutional provision relating to the procedure to be followed in filing protests before the
Electoral Commission, therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules necessary for the
proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary implication to
have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.
It is, indeed, possible that, as suggested by counsel for the petitioner, the Electoral Commission may
abuse its regulative authority by admitting protests beyond any reasonable time, to the disturbance
of the tranquillity and peace of mind of the members of the National Assembly. But the possibility of
abuse is not argument against the concession of the power as there is no power that is not
susceptible of abuse. In the second place, if any mistake has been committed in the creation of an
Electoral Commission and in investing it with exclusive jurisdiction in all cases relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, the remedy is political, not
judicial, and must be sought through the ordinary processes of democracy. All the possible abuses
of the government are not intended to be corrected by the judiciary. We believe, however, that the
people in creating the Electoral Commission reposed as much confidence in this body in the
exclusive determination of the specified cases assigned to it, as they have given to the Supreme
Court in the proper cases entrusted to it for decision. All the agencies of the government were
designed by the Constitution to achieve specific purposes, and each constitutional organ working
within its own particular sphere of discretionary action must be deemed to be animated with the
same zeal and honesty in accomplishing the great ends for which they were created by the
sovereign will. That the actuations of these constitutional agencies might leave much to be desired in
given instances, is inherent in the perfection of human institutions. In the third place, from the fact
that the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with in the exercise of its legitimate power, it
does not follow that its acts, however illegal or unconstitutional, may not be challenge in appropriate
cases over which the courts may exercise jurisdiction.
But independently of the legal and constitutional aspects of the present case, there are
considerations of equitable character that should not be overlooked in the appreciation of the
intrinsic merits of the controversy. The Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on November
15, 1935, on which date the Constitution, except as to the provisions mentioned in section 6 of
Article XV thereof, went into effect. The new National Assembly convened on November 25th of that
year, and the resolution confirming the election of the petitioner, Jose A. Angara was approved by
that body on December 3, 1935. The protest by the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua against the
election of the petitioner was filed on December 9 of the same year. The pleadings do not show
when the Electoral Commission was formally organized but it does appear that on December 9,
1935, the Electoral Commission met for the first time and approved a resolution fixing said date as
the last day for the filing of election protest. When, therefore, the National Assembly passed its
resolution of December 3, 1935, confirming the election of the petitioner to the National Assembly,
the Electoral Commission had not yet met; neither does it appear that said body had actually been
organized. As a matter of fact, according to certified copies of official records on file in the archives
division of the National Assembly attached to the record of this case upon the petition of the
petitioner, the three justices of the Supreme Court the six members of the National Assembly
constituting the Electoral Commission were respectively designated only on December 4 and 6,
1935. If Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming non-protested elections of members
of the National Assembly had the effect of limiting or tolling the time for the presentation of protests,
the result would be that the National Assembly — on the hypothesis that it still retained the incidental
power of regulation in such cases — had already barred the presentation of protests before the
Electoral Commission had had time to organize itself and deliberate on the mode and method to be
followed in a matter entrusted to its exclusive jurisdiction by the Constitution. This result was not and
could not have been contemplated, and should be avoided.
From another angle, Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming the election of members
against whom no protests had been filed at the time of its passage on December 3, 1935, cannot be
construed as a limitation upon the time for the initiation of election contests. While there might have
been good reason for the legislative practice of confirmation of the election of members of the
legislature at the time when the power to decide election contests was still lodged in the legislature,
confirmation alone by the legislature cannot be construed as depriving the Electoral Commission of
the authority incidental to its constitutional power to be ―the sole judge of all contest relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly‖, to fix the time for the
filing of said election protests. Confirmation by the National Assembly of the returns of its members
against whose election no protests have been filed is, to all legal purposes, unnecessary. As
contended by the Electoral Commission in its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion
of the herein petitioner to dismiss the protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua, confirmation of
the election of any member is not required by the Constitution before he can discharge his duties as
such member. As a matter of fact, certification by the proper provincial board of canvassers is
sufficient to entitle a member-elect to a seat in the national Assembly and to render him eligible to
any office in said body (No. 1, par. 1, Rules of the National Assembly, adopted December 6, 1935).
Under the practice prevailing both in the English House of Commons and in the Congress of the
United States, confirmation is neither necessary in order to entitle a member-elect to take his seat.
The return of the proper election officers is sufficient, and the member-elect presenting such return
begins to enjoy the privileges of a member from the time that he takes his oath of office (Laws of
England, vol. 12, pp. 331. 332; vol. 21, pp. 694, 695; U. S. C. A., Title 2, secs. 21, 25, 26).
Confirmation is in order only in cases of contested elections where the decision is adverse to the
claims of the protestant. In England, the judges‘ decision or report in controverted elections is
certified to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the House, upon being informed of such
certificate or report by the Speaker, is required to enter the same upon the Journals, and to give
such directions for confirming or altering the return, or for the issue of a writ for a new election, or for
carrying into execution the determination as circumstances may require (31 & 32 Vict., c. 125, sec.
13). In the United States, it is believed, the order or decision of the particular house itself is generally
regarded as sufficient, without any actual alternation or amendment of the return (Cushing, Law and
Practice of Legislative Assemblies, 9th ed., sec. 166).
Under the practice prevailing when the Jones Law was still in force, each house of the Philippine
Legislature fixed the time when protests against the election of any of its members should be filed.
This was expressly authorized by section 18 of the Jones Law making each house the sole judge of
the election, return and qualifications of its members, as well as by a law (sec. 478, Act No. 3387)
empowering each house to respectively prescribe by resolution the time and manner of filing contest
in the election of member of said bodies. As a matter of formality, after the time fixed by its rules for
the filing of protests had already expired, each house passed a resolution confirming or approving
the returns of such members against whose election no protests had been filed within the prescribed
time. This was interpreted as cutting off the filing of further protests against the election of those
members not theretofore contested (Amistad vs. Claravall [Isabela], Second Philippine Legislature,
Record — First Period, p. 89; Urguello vs. Rama[Third District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine
Legislature; Fetalvero vs. Festin [Romblon], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, pp.
637-640; Kintanar vs. Aldanese [Fourth District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First
Period, pp. 1121, 1122;Aguilar vs. Corpus [Masbate], Eighth Philippine Legislature, Record — First
Period, vol. III, No. 56, pp. 892, 893). The Constitution has repealed section 18 of the Jones Law.
Act No. 3387, section 478, must be deemed to have been impliedly abrogated also, for the reason
that with the power to determine all contest relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, is inseparably linked the authority to prescribe regulations for
the exercise of that power. There was thus no law nor constitutional provisions which authorized the
National Assembly to fix, as it is alleged to have fixed on December 3, 1935, the time for the filing of
contests against the election of its members. And what the National Assembly could not do directly,
it could not do by indirection through the medium of confirmation.
Summarizing, we conclude:
(a) That the government established by the Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of
separation of power into the legislative, the executive and the judicial.
(b) That the system of checks and balances and the overlapping of functions and duties often makes
difficult the delimitation of the powers granted.
(c) That in cases of conflict between the several departments and among the agencies thereof, the
judiciary, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, is the only constitutional mechanism devised
finally to resolve the conflict and allocate constitutional boundaries.
(d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in actual and appropriate cases and
controversies, and is the power and duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government
transcends the Constitution, which is the source of all authority.
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent constitutional creation with specific powers and
functions to execute and perform, closer for purposes of classification to the legislative than to any of
the other two departments of the governments.
(f ) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns
and qualifications of members of the National Assembly.
(g) That under the organic law prevailing before the present Constitution went into effect, each
house of the legislature was respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of
their elective members.
(h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the powers previously exercised by the
legislature with respect to contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of its
members, to the Electoral Commission.
(i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the Electoral Commission was full, clear and
complete, and carried with it ex necesitate rei the implied power inter alia to prescribe the rules and
regulations as to the time and manner of filing protests.
( j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral Commission was to have an independent
constitutional organ pass upon all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, devoid of partisan influence or consideration, which object
would be frustrated if the National Assembly were to retain the power to prescribe rules and
regulations regarding the manner of conducting said contests.
(k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed not only section 18 of the Jones Law
making each house of the Philippine Legislature respectively the sole judge of the elections, returns
and qualifications of its elective members, but also section 478 of Act No. 3387 empowering each
house to prescribe by resolution the time and manner of filing contests against the election of its
members, the time and manner of notifying the adverse party, and bond or bonds, to be required, if
any, and to fix the costs and expenses of contest.
(l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election is contested or not, is not essential
before such member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the
National Assembly.
(m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any member against whom no
protest had been filed prior to said confirmation, does not and cannot deprive the Electoral
Commission of its incidental power to prescribe the time within which protests against the election of
any member of the National Assembly should be filed.
We hold, therefore, that the Electoral Commission was acting within the legitimate exercise of its
constitutional prerogative in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent
Pedro Ynsua against the election of the herein petitioner Jose A. Angara, and that the resolution of
the National Assembly of December 3, 1935 can not in any manner toll the time for filing protests
against the elections, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, nor prevent
the filing of a protest within such time as the rules of the Electoral Commission might prescribe.
In view of the conclusion reached by us relative to the character of the Electoral Commission as a
constitutional creation and as to the scope and extent of its authority under the facts of the present
controversy, we deem it unnecessary to determine whether the Electoral Commission is an inferior
tribunal, corporation, board or person within the purview of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil
Procedure.
The petition for a writ of prohibition against the Electoral Commission is hereby denied, with costs
against the petitioner. So ordered.
Avanceña, C. J., Diaz, Concepcion, and Horrilleno, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 160261 November 10, 2003
ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner,
NAGMAMALASAKIT NA MGA MANANANGGOL NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO, INC.,
ITS OFFICERS AND MEMBERS, petitioner-in-intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON,
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO C. TEODORO, JR. AND REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B.
FUENTEBELLA, respondents.
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-Intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160262 November 10, 2003
SEDFREY M. CANDELARIA, CARLOS P. MEDINA, JR. AND HENEDINA RAZON-
ABAD, petitioners,
ATTYS. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL AND PETE QUIRINO QUADRA, petitioners-in-intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR
PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G.
TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTA-TIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M.
DRILON, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160263 November 10, 2003
ARTURO M. DE CASTRO AND SOLEDAD M. CAGAMPANG, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioners-in-
intervention,
vs.
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SENATE PRESIDENT, AND JOSE G. DE
VENECIA, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160277 November 10, 2003
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
JOSE G. DE VENECIA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT OF THE
SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, GILBERT TEODORO, JR., FELIX WILLIAM
FUENTEBELLA, JULIO LEDESMA IV, HENRY LANOT, KIM BERNARDO-LOKIN, MARCELINO
LIBANAN, EMMYLOU TALIÑO-SANTOS, DOUGLAS CAGAS, SHERWIN GATCHALIAN, LUIS
BERSAMIN, JR., NERISSA SOON-RUIZ, ERNESTO NIEVA, EDGAR ERICE, ISMAEL MATHAY,
SAMUEL DANGWA, ALFREDO MARAÑON, JR., CECILIA CARREON-JALOSJOS, AGAPITO
AQUINO, FAUSTO SEACHON, JR., GEORGILU YUMUL-HERMIDA, JOSE CARLOS LACSON,
MANUEL ORTEGA, ULIRAN JUAQUIN, SORAYA JAAFAR, WILHELMINO SY-ALVARADO,
CLAUDE BAUTISTA, DEL DE GUZMAN, ZENAIDA CRUZ-DUCUT, AUGUSTO BACULIO,
FAUSTINO DY III, AUGUSTO SYJUCO, ROZZANO RUFINO BIAZON, LEOVIGILDO BANAAG,
ERIC SINGSON, JACINTO PARAS, JOSE SOLIS, RENATO MATUBO, HERMINO TEVES,
AMADO ESPINO, JR., EMILIO MACIAS, ARTHUR PINGOY, JR., FRANCIS NEPOMUCENO,
CONRADO ESTRELLA III, ELIAS BULUT, JR., JURDIN ROMUALDO, JUAN PABLO BONDOC,
GENEROSO TULAGAN, PERPETUO YLAGAN, MICHAEL DUAVIT, JOSEPH DURANO, JESLI
LAPUS, CARLOS COJUANGCO, GIORGIDI AGGABAO, FRANCIS ESCUDERRO, RENE
VELARDE, CELSO LOBREGAT, ALIPIO BADELLES, DIDAGEN DILANGALEN, ABRAHAM
MITRA, JOSEPH SANTIAGO, DARLENE ANTONIO-CUSTODIO, ALETA SUAREZ, RODOLF
PLAZA, JV BAUTISTA, GREGORIO IPONG, GILBERT REMULLA, ROLEX SUPLICO, CELIA
LAYUS, JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI, BENASING MACARAMBON, JR., JOSEFINA JOSON, MARK
COJUANGCO, MAURICIO DOMOGAN, RONALDO ZAMORA, ANGELO MONTILLA, ROSELLER
BARINAGA, JESNAR FALCON, REYLINA NICOLAS, RODOLFO ALBANO, JOAQUIN CHIPECO,
JR., AND RUY ELIAS LOPEZ, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160292 November 10, 2003
HERMINIO HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ BUTUYAN, MA. CECILIA PAPA, NAPOLEON C.
REYES, ANTONIO H. ABAD, JR., ALFREDO C. LIGON, JOAN P. SERRANO AND GARY S.
MALLARI, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR. AND ROBERTO P. NAZARENO, IN HIS CAPACITY
AS SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160295 November 10, 2003
SALACNIB F. BATERINA AND DEPUTY SPEAKER RAUL M. GONZALES, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,

vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESEN-TATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR
PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G.
TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M.
DRILON, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160310 November 10, 2003
LEONILO R. ALFONSO, PETER ALVAREZ, SAMUEL DOCTOR, MELVIN MATIBAG, RAMON
MIQUIBAS, RODOLFO MAGSINO, EDUARDO MALASAGA, EDUARDO SARMIENTO,
EDGARDO NAOE, LEONARDO GARCIA, EDGARD SMITH, EMETERIO MENDIOLA, MARIO
TOREJA, GUILLERMO CASTASUS, NELSON A. LOYOLA, WILFREDO BELLO, JR., RONNIE
TOQUILLO, KATE ANN VITAL, ANGELITA Q. GUZMAN, MONICO PABLES, JR., JAIME
BOAQUINA, LITA A. AQUINO, MILA P. GABITO, JANETTE ARROYO, RIZALDY EMPIG, ERNA
LAHUZ, HOMER CALIBAG, DR. BING ARCE, SIMEON ARCE, JR., EL DELLE ARCE, WILLIE
RIVERO, DANTE DIAZ, ALBERTO BUENAVISTA, FAUSTO BUENAVISTA, EMILY SENERIS,
ANNA CLARISSA LOYOLA, SALVACION LOYOLA, RAINIER QUIROLGICO, JOSEPH
LEANDRO LOYOLA, ANTONIO LIBREA, FILEMON SIBULO, MANUEL D. COMIA, JULITO U.
SOON, VIRGILIO LUSTRE, AND NOEL ISORENA, MAU RESTRIVERA, MAX VILLAESTER, AND
EDILBERTO GALLOR, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY HON. SPEAKER JOSE C. DE
VENECIA, JR., THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN
DRILON, HON. FELIX FUENTEBELLA, ET AL., respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160318 November 10, 2003
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, INC., CRISPIN T. REYES, petitioners,
vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, ALL MEMBERS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, AND ALL MEMBERS, PHILIPPINE
SENATE, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160342 November 10, 2003
ATTY. FERNANDO P.R. PERITO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS A MEMBER OF THE INTEGRATED BAR
OF THE PHILIPPINES, MANILA III, AND ENGR. MAXIMO N. MENEZ JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS
A TAXPAYER AND MEMBER OF THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES REPRESENTED BY THE 83 HONORABLE MEMBERS
OF THE HOUSE LED BY HON. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160343 November 10, 2003
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER OR
PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G.
TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M.
DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160360 November 10, 2003
CLARO B. FLORES, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE SPEAKER, AND THE SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, THROUGH THE SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160365 November 10, 2003
U.P. LAW ALUMNI CEBU FOUNDATION, INC., GOERING G.C. PADERANGA, DANILO V.
ORTIZ, GLORIA C. ESTENZO-RAMOS, LIZA D. CORRO, LUIS V. DIORES, SR., BENJAMIN S.
RALLON, ROLANDO P. NONATO, DANTE T. RAMOS, ELSA R. DIVINAGRACIA, KAREN B.
CAPARROS-ARQUILLANO, SYLVA G. AGUIRRE-PADERANGA, FOR THEMSELVES AND IN
BEHALF OF OTHER CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE SENATE OF
THE PHILIPPINES, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES
FELIX FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERTO TEODORO, BY THEMSELVES AND AS
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GROUP OF MORE THAN 80 HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES WHO
SIGNED AND FILED THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST SUPREME COURT CHIEF
JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160370 November 10, 2003
FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE HONORABLE SPEAKER OF THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160376 November 10, 2003
NILO A. MALANYAON, petitioner,
vs.
HON. FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERT TEODORO, IN REPRESENTATION OF
THE 86 SIGNATORIES OF THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE
HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CONGRESS OF THE
PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ITS SPEAKER, HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160392 November 10, 2003
VENICIO S. FLORES AND HECTOR L. HOFILEÑA, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AND THE
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN
DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160397 November 10, 2003
IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G.
DAVIDE, JR., ATTY. DIOSCORO U. VALLEJOS, JR., petitioner.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160403 November 10, 2003
PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER,
HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR.,
REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
THROUGH SENATE PRESIDENT, HON. FRANKLIN DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160405 November 10, 2003
DEMOCRITO C. BARCENAS, PRESIDENT OF IBP, CEBU CITY CHAPTER, MANUEL M.
MONZON, PRESIDING OF IBP, CEBU PROVINCE, VICTOR A. MAAMBONG, PROVINCIAL
BOARD MEMBER, ADELINO B. SITOY, DEAN OF THE COLLEG EOF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF
CEBU, YOUNG LAWYERS ASSOCAITION OF CEBU, INC. [YLAC], REPRSEENTED BY ATTY.
MANUEL LEGASPI, CONFEDERATION OF ACCREDITED MEDIATORS OF THE PHILIPPINES,
INC. [CAMP, INC], REPRESENTED BY RODERIC R. POCA, MANDAUE LAWYERS
ASSOCIATION, [MANLAW], REPRESENTED BY FELIPE VELASQUEZ, FEDERACION
INTERNACIONAL DE ABOGADAS [FIDA], REPRESENTED BY THELMA L. JORDAN, CARLOS
G. CO, PRESIENT OF CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY AND CEBU LADY
LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, INC. [CELLA, INC.], MARIBELLE NAVARRO AND BERNARDITO
FLORIDO, PAST PRESIDENT CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INTEGRATED BAR OF
THE PHILIPPINES, CEBU CHAPTER, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, REPRESENTED BY REP. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AS
HOUSE SPEAKER AND THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON, AS
SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents.
CARPIO MORALES, J .:
There can be no constitutional crisis arising from a conflict, no matter how passionate and seemingly
irreconcilable it may appear to be, over the determination by the independent branches of
government of the nature, scope and extent of their respective constitutional powers where the
Constitution itself provides for the means and bases for its resolution.
Our nation's history is replete with vivid illustrations of the often frictional, at times turbulent,
dynamics of the relationship among these co-equal branches. This Court is confronted with one such
today involving the legislature and the judiciary which has drawn legal luminaries to chart antipodal
courses and not a few of our countrymen to vent cacophonous sentiments thereon.
There may indeed be some legitimacy to the characterization that the present controversy subject of
the instant petitions – whether the filing of the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice
Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives falls within the one year bar provided in the
Constitution, and whether the resolution thereof is a political question – has resulted in a political
crisis. Perhaps even more truth to the view that it was brought upon by a political crisis of
conscience.
In any event, it is with the absolute certainty that our Constitution is sufficient to address all the
issues which this controversy spawns that this Court unequivocally pronounces, at the first instance,
that the feared resort to extra-constitutional methods of resolving it is neither necessary nor legally
permissible. Both its resolution and protection of the public interest lie in adherence to, not departure
from, the Constitution.
In passing over the complex issues arising from the controversy, this Court is ever mindful of the
essential truth that the inviolate doctrine of separation of powers among the legislative, executive or
judicial branches of government by no means prescribes for absolute autonomy in the discharge by
each of that part of the governmental power assigned to it by the sovereign people.
At the same time, the corollary doctrine of checks and balances which has been carefully calibrated
by the Constitution to temper the official acts of each of these three branches must be given effect
without destroying their indispensable co-equality.
Taken together, these two fundamental doctrines of republican government, intended as they are to
insure that governmental power is wielded only for the good of the people, mandate a relationship of
interdependence and coordination among these branches where the delicate functions of enacting,
interpreting and enforcing laws are harmonized to achieve a unity of governance, guided only by
what is in the greater interest and well-being of the people. Verily, salus populi est suprema lex.
Article XI of our present 1987 Constitution provides:
ARTICLE XI
Accountability of Public Officers
SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be
accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.
SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the
Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from
office, on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason,
bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public
officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by
impeachment.
SECTION 3. (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all
cases of impeachment.
(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of
Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof,
which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the
proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by
a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session
days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be
calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.
(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to
affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override
its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.
(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of
all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and
trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once
within a period of one year.
(6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. When
sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of
the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not
vote. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members
of the Senate.
(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and
disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party
convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment
according to law.
(8) The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the
purpose of this section. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Following the above-quoted Section 8 of Article XI of the Constitution, the 12th Congress of the
House of Representatives adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment
Proceedings (House Impeachment Rules) on November 28, 2001, superseding the previous House
Impeachment Rules
1
approved by the 11th Congress. The relevant distinctions between these two
Congresses' House Impeachment Rules are shown in the following tabulation:
11TH CONGRESS RULES 12TH CONGRESS NEW RULES
RULE II
INITIATING IMPEACHMENT
Section 2. Mode of Initiating
Impeachment. – Impeachment shall
be initiated only by a verified
complaint for impeachment filed by
any Member of the House of
Representatives or by any citizen
upon a resolution of endorsement by
any Member thereof or by a verified
complaint or resolution of
impeachment filed by at least one-
third (1/3) of all the Members of the
House.
RULE V
BAR AGAINST INITIATION OF
IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS
AGAINST THE SAME OFFICIAL
Section 16. – Impeachment
Proceedings Deemed Initiated. –
In cases where a Member of the
House files a verified complaint of
impeachment or a citizen files a
verified complaint that is endorsed
by a Member of the House through
a resolution of endorsement
against an impeachable officer,
impeachment proceedings against
such official are deemed initiated
on the day the Committee on
Justice finds that the verified
complaint and/or resolution against
such official, as the case may be,
is sufficient in substance, or on the
date the House votes to overturn
or affirm the finding of the said
Committee that the verified
complaint and/or resolution, as the
case may be, is not sufficient in
substance.
In cases where a verified
complaint or a resolution of
impeachment is filed or endorsed,
as the case may be, by at least
one-third (1/3) of the Members of
the House, impeachment
proceedings are deemed
initiated at the time of the filing
of such verified complaint or
resolution of impeachment with
the Secretary General.

RULE V
BAR AGAINST IMPEACHMENT
Section 14. Scope of Bar. – No
impeachment proceedings shall be
initiated against the same official
more than once within the period of
one (1) year.
Section 17. Bar Against
Initiation Of Impeachment
Proceedings. – Within a period of
one (1) year from the date
impeachment proceedings are
deemed initiated as provided in
Section 16 hereof, no
impeachment proceedings, as
such, can be initiated against the
same official. (Italics in the original;
emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution,
2
sponsored by
Representative Felix William D. Fuentebella, which directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct an
investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)."
3

On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint
4
(first
impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices
5
of
this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other high
crimes."
6
The complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico, Ronaldo B. Zamora and
Didagen Piang Dilangalen,
7
and was referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5,
2003
8
in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution which reads:
Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House
of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member
thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and
referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after
hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within
sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The
resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from
receipt thereof.
The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003 that the first impeachment complaint
was "sufficient in form,"
9
but voted to dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for being insufficient in
substance.
10
To date, the Committee Report to this effect has not yet been sent to the House in
plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution.
Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on October
23, 2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second impeachment
complaint
11
was filed with the Secretary General of the House
12
by Representatives Gilberto C.
Teodoro, Jr. (First District, Tarlac) and Felix William B. Fuentebella (Third District, Camarines Sur)
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry
initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. This second impeachment complaint was
accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all
the Members of the House of Representatives.
13

Thus arose the instant petitions against the House of Representatives, et. al., most of which petitions
contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it violates the
provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment proceedings shall be
initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year."
In G.R. No. 160261, petitioner Atty. Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr., alleging that he has a duty as a
member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to use all available legal remedies to stop an
unconstitutional impeachment, that the issues raised in his petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and
Mandamus are of transcendental importance, and that he "himself was a victim of the capricious and
arbitrary changes in the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings introduced by the 12th
Congress,"
14
posits that his right to bring an impeachment complaint against then Ombudsman
Aniano Desierto had been violated due to the capricious and arbitrary changes in the House
Impeachment Rules adopted and approved on November 28, 2001 by the House of Representatives
and prays that (1) Rule V, Sections 16 and 17 and Rule III, Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 thereof be
declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue a writ of mandamus directing respondents House of
Representatives et. al. to comply with Article IX, Section 3 (2), (3) and (5) of the Constitution, to
return the second impeachment complaint and/or strike it off the records of the House of
Representatives, and to promulgate rules which are consistent with the Constitution; and (3) this
Court permanently enjoin respondent House of Representatives from proceeding with the second
impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160262, petitioners Sedfrey M. Candelaria, et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, alleging
that the issues of the case are of transcendental importance, pray, in their petition for
Certiorari/Prohibition, the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondent House of
Representatives from filing any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice with the Senate;
and for the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondents Senate and Senate President
Franklin Drilon from accepting any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in the event
that the Senate has accepted the same, from proceeding with the impeachment trial.
In G.R. No. 160263, petitioners Arturo M. de Castro and Soledad Cagampang, as citizens,
taxpayers, lawyers and members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that their petition
for Prohibition involves public interest as it involves the use of public funds necessary to conduct the
impeachment trial on the second impeachment complaint, pray for the issuance of a writ of
prohibition enjoining Congress from conducting further proceedings on said second impeachment
complaint.
In G.R. No. 160277, petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, alleging that this Court has recognized that he
has locus standi to bring petitions of this nature in the cases of Chavez v. PCGG
15
and Chavez v.
PEA-Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation,
16
prays in his petition for Injunction that the
second impeachment complaint be declared unconstitutional.
In G.R. No. 160292, petitioners Atty. Harry L. Roque, et. al., as taxpayers and members of the legal
profession, pray in their petition for Prohibition for an order prohibiting respondent House of
Representatives from drafting, adopting, approving and transmitting to the Senate the second
impeachment complaint, and respondents De Venecia and Nazareno from transmitting the Articles
of Impeachment to the Senate.
In G.R. No. 160295, petitioners Representatives Salacnib F. Baterina and Deputy Speaker Raul M.
Gonzalez, alleging that, as members of the House of Representatives, they have a legal interest in
ensuring that only constitutional impeachment proceedings are initiated, pray in their petition for
Certiorari/Prohibition that the second impeachment complaint and any act proceeding therefrom be
declared null and void.
In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso et al., claiming that they have a right to be
protected against all forms of senseless spending of taxpayers' money and that they have an
obligation to protect the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, and the integrity of the Judiciary, allege in
their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that it is instituted as "a class suit" and pray that (1) the
House Resolution endorsing the second impeachment complaint as well as all issuances emanating
therefrom be declared null and void; and (2) this Court enjoin the Senate and the Senate President
from taking cognizance of, hearing, trying and deciding the second impeachment complaint, and
issue a writ of prohibition commanding the Senate, its prosecutors and agents to desist from
conducting any proceedings or to act on the impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160318, petitioner Public Interest Center, Inc., whose members are citizens and
taxpayers, and its co-petitioner Crispin T. Reyes, a citizen, taxpayer and a member of the Philippine
Bar, both allege in their petition, which does not state what its nature is, that the filing of the second
impeachment complaint involves paramount public interest and pray that Sections 16 and 17 of the
House Impeachment Rules and the second impeachment complaint/Articles of Impeachment be
declared null and void.
In G.R. No. 160342, petitioner Atty. Fernando P. R. Perito, as a citizen and a member of the
Philippine Bar Association and of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and petitioner Engr. Maximo
N. Menez, Jr., as a taxpayer, pray in their petition for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order
and Permanent Injunction to enjoin the House of Representatives from proceeding with the second
impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160343, petitioner Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that it is mandated by the
Code of Professional Responsibility to uphold the Constitution, prays in its petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Rule III of the House
Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional and that the House of Representatives be
permanently enjoined from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160360, petitioner-taxpayer Atty. Claro Flores prays in his petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition that the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional.
In G.R. No. 160365, petitioners U.P. Law Alumni Cebu Foundation Inc., et. al., in their petition for
Prohibition and Injunction which they claim is a class suit filed in behalf of all citizens, citing Oposa v.
Factoran
17
which was filed in behalf of succeeding generations of Filipinos, pray for the issuance of a
writ prohibiting respondents House of Representatives and the Senate from conducting further
proceedings on the second impeachment complaint and that this Court declare as unconstitutional
the second impeachment complaint and the acts of respondent House of Representatives in
interfering with the fiscal matters of the Judiciary.
In G.R. No. 160370, petitioner-taxpayer Father Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, alleging that the issues in
his petition for Prohibition are of national and transcendental significance and that as an official of
the Philippine Judicial Academy, he has a direct and substantial interest in the unhampered
operation of the Supreme Court and its officials in discharging their duties in accordance with the
Constitution, prays for the issuance of a writ prohibiting the House of Representatives from
transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and the Senate from receiving the same or
giving the impeachment complaint due course.
In G.R. No. 160376, petitioner Nilo A. Malanyaon, as a taxpayer, alleges in his petition for
Prohibition that respondents Fuentebella and Teodoro at the time they filed the second
impeachment complaint, were "absolutely without any legal power to do so, as they acted without
jurisdiction as far as the Articles of Impeachment assail the alleged abuse of powers of the Chief
Justice to disburse the (JDF)."
In G.R. No. 160392, petitioners Attorneys Venicio S. Flores and Hector L. Hofileña, alleging that as
professors of law they have an abiding interest in the subject matter of their petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition as it pertains to a constitutional issue "which they are trying to inculcate in the minds of
their students," pray that the House of Representatives be enjoined from endorsing and the Senate
from trying the Articles of Impeachment and that the second impeachment complaint be declared
null and void.
In G.R. No. 160397, petitioner Atty. Dioscoro Vallejos, Jr., without alleging his locus standi, but
alleging that the second impeachment complaint is founded on the issue of whether or not the
Judicial Development Fund (JDF) was spent in accordance with law and that the House of
Representatives does not have exclusive jurisdiction in the examination and audit thereof, prays in
his petition "To Declare Complaint Null and Void for Lack of Cause of Action and Jurisdiction" that
the second impeachment complaint be declared null and void.
In G.R. No. 160403, petitioner Philippine Bar Association, alleging that the issues raised in the filing
of the second impeachment complaint involve matters of transcendental importance, prays in its
petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment complaint and all proceedings
arising therefrom be declared null and void; (2) respondent House of Representatives be prohibited
from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate; and (3) respondent Senate be
prohibited from accepting the Articles of Impeachment and from conducting any proceedings
thereon.
In G.R. No. 160405, petitioners Democrit C. Barcenas et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, pray in their
petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment complaint as well as the resolution
of endorsement and impeachment by the respondent House of Representatives be declared null and
void and (2) respondents Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon be prohibited from accepting
any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in the event that they have accepted the
same, that they be prohibited from proceeding with the impeachment trial.
Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262 and 160263, the first three of the
eighteen which were filed before this Court,
18
prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the House of Representatives from transmitting the
Articles of Impeachment arising from the second impeachment complaint to the Senate. Petition
bearing docket number G.R. No. 160261 likewise prayed for the declaration of the November 28,
2001 House Impeachment Rules as null and void for being unconstitutional.
Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160277, 160292 and 160295, which were filed on
October 28, 2003, sought similar relief. In addition, petition bearing docket number G.R. No. 160292
alleged that House Resolution No. 260 (calling for a legislative inquiry into the administration by the
Chief Justice of the JDF) infringes on the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers and is a
direct violation of the constitutional principle of fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.
On October 28, 2003, during the plenary session of the House of Representatives, a motion was put
forth that the second impeachment complaint be formally transmitted to the Senate, but it was not
carried because the House of Representatives adjourned for lack of quorum,
19
and as reflected
above, to date, the Articles of Impeachment have yet to be forwarded to the Senate.
Before acting on the petitions with prayers for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction which were filed on or before October 28, 2003, Justices Puno and Vitug offered to recuse
themselves, but the Court rejected their offer. Justice Panganiban inhibited himself, but the Court
directed him to participate.
Without necessarily giving the petitions due course, this Court in its Resolution of October 28, 2003,
resolved to (a) consolidate the petitions; (b) require respondent House of Representatives and the
Senate, as well as the Solicitor General, to comment on the petitions not later than 4:30 p.m. of
November 3, 2003; (c) set the petitions for oral arguments on November 5, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.; and
(d) appointed distinguished legal experts as amici curiae.
20
In addition, this Court called on
petitioners and respondents to maintain the status quo, enjoining all the parties and others acting for
and in their behalf to refrain from committing acts that would render the petitions moot.
Also on October 28, 2003, when respondent House of Representatives through Speaker Jose C. De
Venecia, Jr. and/or its co-respondents, by way of special appearance, submitted a Manifestation
asserting that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear, much less prohibit or enjoin the House of
Representatives, which is an independent and co-equal branch of government under the
Constitution, from the performance of its constitutionally mandated duty to initiate impeachment
cases. On even date, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, filed a Motion to Intervene
(Ex Abudante Cautela)
21
and Comment, praying that "the consolidated petitions be dismissed for
lack of jurisdiction of the Court over the issues affecting the impeachment proceedings and that the
sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate as the impeachment court to try and decide
impeachment cases, including the one where the Chief Justice is the respondent, be recognized and
upheld pursuant to the provisions of Article XI of the Constitution."
22

Acting on the other petitions which were subsequently filed, this Court resolved to (a) consolidate
them with the earlier consolidated petitions; (b) require respondents to file their comment not later
than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; and (c) include them for oral arguments on November 5, 2003.
On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the Philippines, through Senate President Franklin M. Drilon,
filed a Manifestation stating that insofar as it is concerned, the petitions are plainly premature and
have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the time of the filing of the petitions, no justiciable
issue was presented before it since (1) its constitutional duty to constitute itself as an impeachment
court commences only upon its receipt of the Articles of Impeachment, which it had not, and (2) the
principal issues raised by the petitions pertain exclusively to the proceedings in the House of
Representatives.
On October 30, 2003, Atty. Jaime Soriano filed a "Petition for Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos.
160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, and 160295, questioning the status quo Resolution
issued by this Court on October 28, 2003 on the ground that it would unnecessarily put Congress
and this Court in a "constitutional deadlock" and praying for the dismissal of all the petitions as the
matter in question is not yet ripe for judicial determination.
On November 3, 2003, Attorneys Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra filed in G.R. No.
160262 a "Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and to Admit the Herein Incorporated Petition in
Intervention."
On November 4, 2003, Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino,
Inc. filed a Motion for Intervention in G.R. No. 160261. On November 5, 2003, World War II Veterans
Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. also filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to Intervene" in
G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and 160310.
The motions for intervention were granted and both Senator Pimentel's Comment and Attorneys
Macalintal and Quadra's Petition in Intervention were admitted.
On November 5-6, 2003, this Court heard the views of the amici curiae and the arguments of
petitioners, intervenors Senator Pimentel and Attorney Makalintal, and Solicitor General Alfredo
Benipayo on the principal issues outlined in an Advisory issued by this Court on November 3, 2003,
to wit:
Whether the certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may be invoked; who can invoke it;
on what issues and at what time; and whether it should be exercised by this Court at this
time.
In discussing these issues, the following may be taken up:
a) locus standi of petitioners;
b) ripeness(prematurity; mootness);
c) political question/justiciability;
d) House's "exclusive" power to initiate all cases of impeachment;
e) Senate's "sole" power to try and decide all cases of impeachment;
f) constitutionality of the House Rules on Impeachment vis-a-vis Section 3(5) of
Article XI of the Constitution; and
g) judicial restraint (Italics in the original)
In resolving the intricate conflux of preliminary and substantive issues arising from the instant
petitions as well as the myriad arguments and opinions presented for and against the grant of the
reliefs prayed for, this Court has sifted and determined them to be as follows: (1) the threshold and
novel issue of whether or not the power of judicial review extends to those arising from impeachment
proceedings; (2) whether or not the essential pre-requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial
review have been fulfilled; and (3) the substantive issues yet remaining. These matters shall now be
discussed in seriatim.
J udicial Review
As reflected above, petitioners plead for this Court to exercise the power of judicial review to
determine the validity of the second impeachment complaint.
This Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in Section
1, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution:
SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower
courts as may be established by law.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether
or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. (Emphasis
supplied)
Such power of judicial review was early on exhaustively expounded upon by Justice Jose P. Laurel
in the definitive 1936 case of Angara v. Electoral Commission
23
after the effectivity of the 1935
Constitution whose provisions, unlike the present Constitution, did not contain the present provision
in Article VIII, Section 1, par. 2 on what judicial power includes. Thus, Justice Laurel discoursed:
x x x In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the
Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict,
the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon
to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments and
among the integral or constituent units thereof.
As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility,
but as much as it was within the power of our people, acting through their delegates to so
provide, that instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however limited, has
established a republican government intended to operate and function as a harmonious
whole, under a system of checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and
restrictions provided in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain
language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If
these restrictions and limitations are transcended it would be inconceivable if the
Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the course of
government along constitutional channels, for then the distribution of powers would be
mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good
government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the limitations and restrictions embodied in
our Constitution are real as they should be in any living constitution. In the United States
where no express constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of this
moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there,
has been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half
centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear
implication from section 2 of article VIII of our Constitution.
The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the
nature, scope and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the
instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to
allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other
departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only
asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to
determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for
the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and
guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial
supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even
then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised
after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional
question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to
dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities.
Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of
wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption
of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to
abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases
and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through
their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the
government.
24
(Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of
powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of government along
constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts
25
as a necessary consequence of the judicial power
itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable."
26

Thus, even in the United States where the power of judicial review is not explicitly conferred upon
the courts by its Constitution, such power has "been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period
of more than one and a half centuries." To be sure, it was in the 1803 leading case of Marbury v.
Madison
27
that the power of judicial review was first articulated by Chief Justice Marshall, to wit:
It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the supreme law
of the land, the constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of the United States
generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the constitution, have that
rank.
Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and
strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a
law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other
departments, are bound by that instrument.
28
(Italics in the original; emphasis supplied)
In our own jurisdiction, as early as 1902, decades before its express grant in the 1935 Constitution,
the power of judicial review was exercised by our courts to invalidate constitutionally infirm
acts.
29
And as pointed out by noted political law professor and former Supreme Court Justice Vicente
V. Mendoza,
30
the executive and legislative branches of our government in fact effectively
acknowledged this power of judicial review in Article 7 of the Civil Code, to wit:
Article 7. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-observance
shall not be excused by disuse, or custom or practice to the contrary.
When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the Constitution, the former
shall be void and the latter shall govern.
Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when they
are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution. (Emphasis supplied)
As indicated in Angara v. Electoral Commission,
31
judicial review is indeed an integral component of
the delicate system of checks and balances which, together with the corollary principle of separation
of powers, forms the bedrock of our republican form of government and insures that its vast powers
are utilized only for the benefit of the people for which it serves.
The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It
obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each
department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and
is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers
are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely
unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an
elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of
the various departments of the government. x x x And the judiciary in turn, with the
Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the
exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to declare executive and
legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution.
32
(Emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano, "x x x judicial
review is essential for the maintenance and enforcement of the separation of powers and the
balancing of powers among the three great departments of government through the definition and
maintenance of the boundaries of authority and control between them."
33
To him, "[j]udicial review is
the chief, indeed the only, medium of participation – or instrument of intervention – of the judiciary in
that balancing operation."
34

To ensure the potency of the power of judicial review to curb grave abuse of discretion by "any
branch or instrumentalities of government," the afore-quoted Section 1, Article VIII of the
Constitution engraves, for the first time into its history, into block letter law the so-called
"expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this Court, the nature of and rationale for which are mirrored in
the following excerpt from the sponsorship speech of its proponent, former Chief Justice
Constitutional Commissioner Roberto Concepcion:
x x x
The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:
The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be
established by law.
I suppose nobody can question it.
The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.
Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving
rights which are legally demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there
has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
or instrumentality of the government.
Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during
martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the role of the
judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the circumstance
that in a number of cases against the government, which then had no legal defense at
all, the solicitor general set up the defense of political questions and got away with it.
As a consequence, certain principles concerning particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that
is, the authority of courts to order the release of political detainees, and other matters related
to the operation and effect of martial law failed because the government set up the defense
of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is political, we have no
authority to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a
proper solution of the questions involved. It did not merely request an encroachment
upon the rights of the people, but it, in effect, encouraged further violations thereof
during the martial law regime. x x x
x x x
Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and
offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary
is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of its
officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously
as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of
jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters
of this nature.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot
hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that such matters
constitute a political question.
35
(Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant petitions, this Court must necessarily turn
to the Constitution itself which employs the well-settled principles of constitutional construction.
First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible, the words used in the Constitution must be given
their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. Thus, in J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc.
v. Land Tenure Administration,
36
this Court, speaking through Chief Justice Enrique Fernando,
declared:
We look to the language of the document itself in our search for its meaning. We do
not of course stop there, but that is where we begin. It is to be assumed that the
words in which constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to
be attained. They are to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms
are employed in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails. As the
Constitution is not primarily a lawyer's document, it being essential for the rule of law to
obtain that it should ever be present in the people's consciousness, its language as much as
possible should be understood in the sense they have in common use. What it says
according to the text of the provision to be construed compels acceptance and
negates the power of the courts to alter it, based on the postulate that the framers and the
people mean what they say. Thus these are the cases where the need for construction is
reduced to a minimum.
37
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The words of the Constitution should be
interpreted in accordance with the intent of its framers. And so did this Court apply this principle
in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary
38
in this wise:
A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the intention underlying the provision
under consideration. Thus, it has been held that the Court in construing a Constitution should
bear in mind the object sought to be accomplished by its adoption, and the evils, if any,
sought to be prevented or remedied. A doubtful provision will be examined in the light of the
history of the times, and the condition and circumstances under which the Constitution was
framed. The object is to ascertain the reason which induced the framers of the
Constitution to enact the particular provision and the purpose sought to be
accomplished thereby, in order to construe the whole as to make the words
consonant to that reason and calculated to effect that purpose.
39
(Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on Internal Revenue
40
where, speaking through Madame Justice
Amuerfina A. Melencio-Herrera, it declared:
x x x The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle
of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of
the people adopting it should be given effect. The primary task in constitutional
construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the
framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely
assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly by the
explanation offered by the framers.
41
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. Thus,
in Chiongbian v. De Leon,
42
this Court, through Chief Justice Manuel Moran declared:
x x x [T]he members of the Constitutional Convention could not have dedicated a
provision of our Constitution merely for the benefit of one person without considering
that it could also affect others. When they adopted subsection 2, they permitted, if not
willed, that said provision should function to the full extent of its substance and its
terms, not by itself alone, but in conjunction with all other provisions of that great
document.
43
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Likewise, still in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary,
44
this Court affirmed that:
It is a well-established rule in constitutional construction that no one provision of the
Constitution is to be separated from all the others, to be considered alone, but that all
the provisions bearing upon a particular subject are to be brought into view and to be
so interpreted as to effectuate the great purposes of the instrument. Sections bearing
on a particular subject should be considered and interpreted together as to effectuate
the whole purpose of the Constitution and one section is not to be allowed to defeat
another, if by any reasonable construction, the two can be made to stand together.
In other words, the court must harmonize them, if practicable, and must lean in favor of a
construction which will render every word operative, rather than one which may make the
words idle and nugatory.
45
(Emphasis supplied)
If, however, the plain meaning of the word is not found to be clear, resort to other aids is available. In
still the same case of Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, this Court expounded:
While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult the debates and proceedings of the
constitutional convention in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting
Constitution, resort thereto may be had only when other guides fail as said
proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is
clear. Debates in the constitutional convention "are of value as showing the views of the
individual members, and as indicating the reasons for their votes, but they give us no light as
to the views of the large majority who did not talk, much less of the mass of our fellow
citizens whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental law. We
think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face." The
proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people
adopting it than in the framers's understanding thereof.
46
(Emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
It is in the context of the foregoing backdrop of constitutional refinement and jurisprudential
application of the power of judicial review that respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and
intervenor Senator Pimentel raise the novel argument that the Constitution has excluded
impeachment proceedings from the coverage of judicial review.
Briefly stated, it is the position of respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. that impeachment is a
political action which cannot assume a judicial character. Hence, any question, issue or incident
arising at any stage of the impeachment proceeding is beyond the reach of judicial review.
47

For his part, intervenor Senator Pimentel contends that the Senate's "sole power to
try" impeachment cases
48
(1) entirely excludes the application of judicial review over it; and (2)
necessarily includes the Senate's power to determine constitutional questions relative to
impeachment proceedings.
49

In furthering their arguments on the proposition that impeachment proceedings are outside the
scope of judicial review, respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and intervenor Senator Pimentel
rely heavily on American authorities, principally the majority opinion in the case of Nixon v. United
States.
50
Thus, they contend that the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings is
inappropriate since it runs counter to the framers' decision to allocate to different fora the powers to
try impeachments and to try crimes; it disturbs the system of checks and balances, under which
impeachment is the only legislative check on the judiciary; and it would create a lack of finality and
difficulty in fashioning relief.
51
Respondents likewise point to deliberations on the US Constitution to
show the intent to isolate judicial power of review in cases of impeachment.
Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American jurisprudence, the American Constitution and
American authorities cannot be credited to support the proposition that the Senate's "sole power to
try and decide impeachment cases," as provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the Constitution, is a
textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of all issues pertaining to impeachment to the
legislature, to the total exclusion of the power of judicial review to check and restrain any grave
abuse of the impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably support the interpretation that it
necessarily confers upon the Senate the inherently judicial power to determine constitutional
questions incident to impeachment proceedings.
Said American jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious
application for these are no longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited persuasive
merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned. As held in the case of Garcia vs.
COMELEC,
52
"[i]n resolving constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be beguiled by foreign
jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable because they have been dictated by different
constitutional settings and needs."
53
Indeed, although the Philippine Constitution can trace its origins
to that of the United States, their paths of development have long since diverged. In the colorful
words of Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the umbilical cord."
The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine Supreme Court and that of the
U.S. Supreme Court is that while the power of judicial review is only impliedly granted to the U.S.
Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the Philippine Supreme Court and
lower courts, as expressly provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also a duty, and it
was given an expanded definition to include the power to correct any grave abuse of discretion on
the part of any government branch or instrumentality.
There are also glaring distinctions between the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine Constitution with
respect to the power of the House of Representatives over impeachment proceedings. While the
U.S. Constitution bestows sole power of impeachment to the House of Representatives without
limitation,
54
our Constitution, though vesting in the House of Representatives the exclusive power to
initiate impeachment cases,
55
provides for several limitations to the exercise of such power as
embodied in Section 3(2), (3), (4) and (5), Article XI thereof. These limitations include the manner of
filing, required vote to impeach, and the one year bar on the impeachment of one and the same
official.
Respondents are also of the view that judicial review of impeachments undermines their finality and
may also lead to conflicts between Congress and the judiciary. Thus, they call upon this Court to
exercise judicial statesmanship on the principle that "whenever possible, the Court should defer to
the judgment of the people expressed legislatively, recognizing full well the perils of judicial
willfulness and pride."
56

But did not the people also express their will when they instituted the above-mentioned safeguards
in the Constitution? This shows that the Constitution did not intend to leave the matter of
impeachment to the sole discretion of Congress. Instead, it provided for certain well-defined limits, or
in the language of Baker v. Carr,
57
"judicially discoverable standards" for determining the validity of
the exercise of such discretion, through the power of judicial review.
The cases of Romulo v. Yniguez
58
and Alejandrino v. Quezon,
59
cited by respondents in support of
the argument that the impeachment power is beyond the scope of judicial review, are not in point.
These cases concern the denial of petitions for writs of mandamus to compel the legislature to
perform non-ministerial acts, and do not concern the exercise of the power of judicial review.
There is indeed a plethora of cases in which this Court exercised the power of judicial review over
congressional action. Thus, in Santiago v. Guingona, Jr.,
60
this Court ruled that it is well within the
power and jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether the Senate or its officials committed a violation
of the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of their functions and prerogatives.
In Tanada v. Angara,
61
in seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it
contravened the Constitution, it held that the petition raises a justiciable controversy and that when
an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes
not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. In Bondoc v. Pineda,
62
this
Court declared null and void a resolution of the House of Representatives withdrawing the
nomination, and rescinding the election, of a congressman as a member of the House Electoral
Tribunal for being violative of Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution. In Coseteng v. Mitra,
63
it held
that the resolution of whether the House representation in the Commission on Appointments was
based on proportional representation of the political parties as provided in Section 18, Article VI of
the Constitution is subject to judicial review. In Daza v. Singson,
64
it held that the act of the House of
Representatives in removing the petitioner from the Commission on Appointments is subject to
judicial review. In Tanada v. Cuenco,
65
it held that although under the Constitution, the legislative
power is vested exclusively in Congress, this does not detract from the power of the courts to pass
upon the constitutionality of acts of Congress. In Angara v. Electoral Commission,
66
it ruled that
confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any member, irrespective of whether his
election is contested, is not essential before such member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy
the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.
Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for the contention that the exercise of judicial review over
impeachment proceedings would upset the system of checks and balances. Verily, the Constitution
is to be interpreted as a whole and "one section is not to be allowed to defeat another."
67
Both are
integral components of the calibrated system of independence and interdependence that insures
that no branch of government act beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution.
Essential Requisites for J udicial Review
As clearly stated in Angara v. Electoral Commission, the courts' power of judicial review, like almost
all powers conferred by the Constitution, is subject to several limitations, namely: (1) an actual case
or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have
"standing" to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he
has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of
constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the issue of
constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.
x x x Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to
be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the
constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction
could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated
to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon
questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the
presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is
presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of
actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as
expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the
government.
68
(Italics in the original)
Standing
Locus standi or legal standing or has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case
such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that
is being challenged. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal
stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the
presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional
questions.
69

Intervenor Soriano, in praying for the dismissal of the petitions, contends that petitioners do not have
standing since only the Chief Justice has sustained and will sustain direct personal injury. Amicus
curiae former Justice Minister and Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza similarly contends.
Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General asserts that petitioners have standing since this Court
had, in the past, accorded standing to taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, legislators in cases
involving paramount public interest
70
and transcendental importance,
71
and that procedural matters
are subordinate to the need to determine whether or not the other branches of the government have
kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the
discretion given to them.
72
Amicus curiae Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law is of
the same opinion, citing transcendental importance and the well-entrenched rule exception that,
when the real party in interest is unable to vindicate his rights by seeking the same remedies, as in
the case of the Chief Justice who, for ethical reasons, cannot himself invoke the jurisdiction of this
Court, the courts will grant petitioners standing.
There is, however, a difference between the rule on real-party-in-interest and the rule on standing,
for the former is a concept of civil procedure
73
while the latter has constitutional underpinnings.
74
In
view of the arguments set forth regarding standing, it behooves the Court to reiterate the ruling
in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato
75
to clarify what is meant by locus standi and to distinguish it from real
party-in-interest.
The difference between the rule on standing and real party in interest has been noted by
authorities thus: "It is important to note . . . that standing because of its constitutional and
public policy underpinnings, is very different from questions relating to whether a particular
plaintiff is the real party in interest or has capacity to sue. Although all three requirements are
directed towards ensuring that only certain parties can maintain an action, standing
restrictions require a partial consideration of the merits, as well as broader policy concerns
relating to the proper role of the judiciary in certain areas.
Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because in some cases suits are brought
not by parties who have been personally injured by the operation of a law or by official action
taken, but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public interest.
Hence the question in standing is whether such parties have "alleged such a personal stake
in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens
the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult
constitutional questions."
x x x
On the other hand, the question as to "real party in interest" is whether he is "the party who
would be benefited or injured by the judgment, or the 'party entitled to the avails of the
suit.'"
76
(Citations omitted)
While rights personal to the Chief Justice may have been injured by the alleged unconstitutional acts
of the House of Representatives, none of the petitioners before us asserts a violation of the personal
rights of the Chief Justice. On the contrary, they invariably invoke the vindication of their own rights –
as taxpayers; members of Congress; citizens, individually or in a class suit; and members of the bar
and of the legal profession – which were supposedly violated by the alleged unconstitutional acts of
the House of Representatives.
In a long line of cases, however, concerned citizens, taxpayers and legislators when specific
requirements have been met have been given standing by this Court.
When suing as a citizen, the interest of the petitioner assailing the constitutionality of a statute must
be direct and personal. He must be able to show, not only that the law or any government act is
invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a
result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must
appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to
which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by
reason of the statute or act complained of.
77
In fine, when the proceeding involves the assertion of a
public right,
78
the mere fact that he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of personal interest.
In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally
disbursed, or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that there is a
wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.
79
Before he
can invoke the power of judicial review, however, he must specifically prove that he has sufficient
interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he would 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.
80

At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be
entertained.
81
This Court opts to grant standing to most of the petitioners, given their allegation that
any impending transmittal to the Senate of the Articles of Impeachment and the ensuing trial of the
Chief Justice will necessarily involve the expenditure of public funds.
As for a legislator, he is allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which he claims
infringes his prerogatives as a legislator.
82
Indeed, a member of the House of Representatives has
standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in
his office.
83

While an association has legal personality to represent its members,
84
especially when it is
composed of substantial taxpayers and the outcome will affect their vital interests,
85
the mere
invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any member of the legal profession of the duty
to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, although undoubtedly true, does not suffice to clothe it
with standing. Its interest is too general. It is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry.
However, a reading of the petitions shows that it has advanced constitutional issues which deserve
the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents.
86
It,
therefore, behooves this Court to relax the rules on standing and to resolve the issues presented by
it.
In the same vein, when dealing with class suits filed in behalf of all citizens, persons intervening
must be sufficiently numerous to fully protect the interests of all concerned
87
to enable the court to
deal properly with all interests involved in the suit,
88
for a judgment in a class suit, whether favorable
or unfavorable to the class, is, under theres judicata principle, binding on all members of the class
whether or not they were before the court.
89
Where it clearly appears that not all interests can be
sufficiently represented as shown by the divergent issues raised in the numerous petitions before
this Court, G.R. No. 160365 as a class suit ought to fail. Since petitioners additionallyallege standing
as citizens and taxpayers, however, their petition will stand.
The Philippine Bar Association, in G.R. No. 160403, invokes the sole ground of transcendental
importance, while Atty. Dioscoro U. Vallejos, in G.R. No. 160397, is mum on his standing.
There being no doctrinal definition of transcendental importance, the following instructive
determinants formulated by former Supreme Court Justice Florentino P. Feliciano are instructive: (1)
the character of the funds or other assets involved in the case; (2) the presence of a clear case of
disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent agency or
instrumentality of the government; and (3) the lack of any other party with a more direct and specific
interest in raising the questions being raised.
90
Applying these determinants, this Court is satisfied
that the issues raised herein are indeed of transcendental importance.
In not a few cases, this Court has in fact adopted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner
where the petitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people, as when
the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public.
91
Such liberality does not, however,
mean that the requirement that a party should have an interest in the matter is totally eliminated. A
party must, at the very least, still plead the existence of such interest, it not being one of which
courts can take judicial notice. In petitioner Vallejos' case, he failed to allege any interest in the case.
He does not thus have standing.
With respect to the motions for intervention, Rule 19, Section 2 of the Rules of Court requires an
intervenor to possess a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the
parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or
other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof. While intervention is
not a matter of right, it may be permitted by the courts when the applicant shows facts which satisfy
the requirements of the law authorizing intervention.
92

In Intervenors Attorneys Romulo Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra's case, they seek to join
petitioners Candelaria, et. al. in G.R. No. 160262. Since, save for one additional issue, they raise the
same issues and the same standing, and no objection on the part of petitioners Candelaria, et. al.
has been interposed, this Court as earlier stated, granted the Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene
and Petition-in-Intervention.
Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et. al. sought to join
petitioner Francisco in G.R. No. 160261. Invoking their right as citizens to intervene, alleging that
"they will suffer if this insidious scheme of the minority members of the House of Representatives is
successful," this Court found the requisites for intervention had been complied with.
Alleging that the issues raised in the petitions in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277,
160292, 160295, and 160310 were of transcendental importance, World War II Veterans
Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to Intervene" to raise
the additional issue of whether or not the second impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice is
valid and based on any of the grounds prescribed by the Constitution.
Finding that Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et al. and
World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. possess a legal interest in the matter in
litigation the respective motions to intervene were hereby granted.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel, on the other hand, sought to intervene for the limited purpose of making
of record and arguing a point of view that differs with Senate President Drilon's. He alleges that
submitting to this Court's jurisdiction as the Senate President does will undermine the independence
of the Senate which will sit as an impeachment court once the Articles of Impeachment are
transmitted to it from the House of Representatives. Clearly, Senator Pimentel possesses a legal
interest in the matter in litigation, he being a member of Congress against which the herein petitions
are directed. For this reason, and to fully ventilate all substantial issues relating to the matter at
hand, his Motion to Intervene was granted and he was, as earlier stated, allowed to argue.
Lastly, as to Jaime N. Soriano's motion to intervene, the same must be denied for, while he asserts
an interest as a taxpayer, he failed to meet the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's suits as
set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec,
93
to wit:
x x x While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure of public moneys,
nowhere in their Petition do said petitioners allege that their tax money is "being extracted
and spent in violation of specific constitutional protection against abuses of legislative
power," or that there is a misapplication of such funds by respondent COMELEC, or that
public money is being deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to
restrain respondent from wasting public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or
unconstitutional law.
94
(Citations omitted)
In praying for the dismissal of the petitions, Soriano failed even to allege that the act of petitioners
will result in illegal disbursement of public funds or in public money being deflected to any improper
purpose. Additionally, his mere interest as a member of the Bar does not suffice to clothe him with
standing.
Ripeness and Prematurity
In Tan v. Macapagal,
95
this Court, through Chief Justice Fernando, held that for a case to be
considered ripe for adjudication, "it is a prerequisite that something had by then been accomplished
or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture."
96
Only then may the courts
pass on the validity of what was done, if and when the latter is challenged in an appropriate legal
proceeding.
The instant petitions raise in the main the issue of the validity of the filing of the second
impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice in accordance with the House Impeachment Rules
adopted by the 12th Congress, the constitutionality of which is questioned. The questioned acts
having been carried out, i.e., the second impeachment complaint had been filed with the House of
Representatives and the 2001 Rules have already been already promulgated and enforced, the
prerequisite that the alleged unconstitutional act should be accomplished and performed before suit,
as Tan v. Macapagal holds, has been complied with.
Related to the issue of ripeness is the question of whether the instant petitions are
premature. Amicus curiaeformer Senate President Jovito R. Salonga opines that there may be no
urgent need for this Court to render a decision at this time, it being the final arbiter on questions of
constitutionality anyway. He thus recommends that all remedies in the House and Senate should
first be exhausted.
Taking a similar stand is Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law who suggests to this
Court to take judicial notice of on-going attempts to encourage signatories to the second
impeachment complaint to withdraw their signatures and opines that the House Impeachment Rules
provide for an opportunity for members to raise constitutional questions themselves when the
Articles of Impeachment are presented on a motion to transmit to the same to the Senate. The dean
maintains that even assuming that the Articles are transmitted to the Senate, the Chief Justice can
raise the issue of their constitutional infirmity by way of a motion to dismiss.
The dean's position does not persuade. First, the withdrawal by the Representatives of their
signatures would not, by itself, cure the House Impeachment Rules of their constitutional infirmity.
Neither would such a withdrawal, by itself, obliterate the questioned second impeachment complaint
since it would only place it under the ambit of Sections 3(2) and (3) of Article XI of the
Constitution
97
and, therefore, petitioners would continue to suffer their injuries.
Second and most importantly, the futility of seeking remedies from either or both Houses of
Congress before coming to this Court is shown by the fact that, as previously discussed, neither the
House of Representatives nor the Senate is clothed with the power to rule with definitiveness on the
issue of constitutionality, whether concerning impeachment proceedings or otherwise, as said power
is exclusively vested in the judiciary by the earlier quoted Section I, Article VIII of the Constitution.
Remedy cannot be sought from a body which is bereft of power to grant it.
J usticiability
In the leading case of Tanada v. Cuenco,
98
Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion defined the term
"political question," viz:
[T]he term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, what it means in ordinary
parlance, namely, a question of policy. In other words, in the language of Corpus Juris
Secundum, it refers to "those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by
the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has
been delegated to the Legislature or executive branch of the Government." It is concerned
with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure.
99
(Italics in the
original)
Prior to the 1973 Constitution, without consistency and seemingly without any rhyme or reason, this
Court vacillated on its stance of taking cognizance of cases which involved political questions. In
some cases, this Court hid behind the cover of the political question doctrine and refused to exercise
its power of judicial review.
100
In other cases, however, despite the seeming political nature of the
therein issues involved, this Court assumed jurisdiction whenever it found constitutionally imposed
limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies.
101
Even in the landmark 1988 case
of Javellana v. Executive Secretary
102
which raised the issue of whether the 1973 Constitution was
ratified, hence, in force, this Court shunted the political question doctrine and took cognizance
thereof. Ratification by the people of a Constitution is a political question, it being a question decided
by the people in their sovereign capacity.
The frequency with which this Court invoked the political question doctrine to refuse to take
jurisdiction over certain cases during the Marcos regime motivated Chief Justice Concepcion, when
he became a Constitutional Commissioner, to clarify this Court's power of judicial review and its
application on issues involving political questions, viz:
MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.
I will speak on the judiciary. Practically, everybody has made, I suppose, the usual comment that the
judiciary is the weakest among the three major branches of the service. Since the legislature holds
the purse and the executive the sword, the judiciary has nothing with which to enforce its decisions
or commands except the power of reason and appeal to conscience which, after all, reflects the will
of God, and is the most powerful of all other powers without exception. x x x And so, with the body's
indulgence, I will proceed to read the provisions drafted by the Committee on the Judiciary.
The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:
The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be
established by law.
I suppose nobody can question it.
The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.
Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving
rights which are legally demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there
has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
or instrumentality of the government.
Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during
martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the role of the
judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the circumstance
that in a number of cases against the government, which then had no legal defense at
all, the solicitor general set up the defense of political questions and got away with it.
As a consequence, certain principles concerning particularly the writ of habeas
corpus, that is, the authority of courts to order the release of political detainees, and
other matters related to the operation and effect of martial law failed because the
government set up the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well,
since it is political, we have no authority to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary
feels that this was not a proper solution of the questions involved. It did not merely
request an encroachment upon the rights of the people, but it, in effect, encouraged
further violations thereof during the martial law regime. I am sure the members of the
Bar are familiar with this situation. But for the benefit of the Members of the Commission who
are not lawyers, allow me to explain. I will start with a decision of the Supreme Court in 1973
on the case of Javellana vs. the Secretary of Justice, if I am not mistaken. Martial law was
announced on September 22, although the proclamation was dated September 21. The
obvious reason for the delay in its publication was that the administration had apprehended
and detained prominent newsmen on September 21. So that when martial law was
announced on September 22, the media hardly published anything about it. In fact, the
media could not publish any story not only because our main writers were already
incarcerated, but also because those who succeeded them in their jobs were under mortal
threat of being the object of wrath of the ruling party. The 1971 Constitutional Convention
had begun on June 1, 1971 and by September 21 or 22 had not finished the Constitution; it
had barely agreed in the fundamentals of the Constitution. I forgot to say that upon the
proclamation of martial law, some delegates to that 1971 Constitutional Convention, dozens
of them, were picked up. One of them was our very own colleague, Commissioner Calderon.
So, the unfinished draft of the Constitution was taken over by representatives of
Malacañang. In 17 days, they finished what the delegates to the 1971 Constitutional
Convention had been unable to accomplish for about 14 months. The draft of the 1973
Constitution was presented to the President around December 1, 1972, whereupon the
President issued a decree calling a plebiscite which suspended the operation of some
provisions in the martial law decree which prohibited discussions, much less public
discussions of certain matters of public concern. The purpose was presumably to allow a
free discussion on the draft of the Constitution on which a plebiscite was to be held
sometime in January 1973. If I may use a word famous by our colleague, Commissioner
Ople, during the interregnum, however, the draft of the Constitution was analyzed and
criticized with such a telling effect that Malacañang felt the danger of its approval. So, the
President suspended indefinitely the holding of the plebiscite and announced that he would
consult the people in a referendum to be held from January 10 to January 15. But the
questions to be submitted in the referendum were not announced until the eve of its
scheduled beginning, under the supposed supervision not of the Commission on Elections,
but of what was then designated as "citizens assemblies or barangays." Thus the barangays
came into existence. The questions to be propounded were released with proposed answers
thereto, suggesting that it was unnecessary to hold a plebiscite because the answers given
in the referendum should be regarded as the votes cast in the plebiscite. Thereupon, a
motion was filed with the Supreme Court praying that the holding of the referendum be
suspended. When the motion was being heard before the Supreme Court, the Minister of
Justice delivered to the Court a proclamation of the President declaring that the new
Constitution was already in force because the overwhelming majority of the votes cast in the
referendum favored the Constitution. Immediately after the departure of the Minister of
Justice, I proceeded to the session room where the case was being heard. I then informed
the Court and the parties the presidential proclamation declaring that the 1973 Constitution
had been ratified by the people and is now in force.
A number of other cases were filed to declare the presidential proclamation null and void.
The main defense put up by the government was that the issue was a political question and
that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the case.
x x x
The government said that in a referendum held from January 10 to January 15, the vast
majority ratified the draft of the Constitution. Note that all members of the Supreme Court
were residents of Manila, but none of them had been notified of any referendum in their
respective places of residence, much less did they participate in the alleged referendum.
None of them saw any referendum proceeding.
In the Philippines, even local gossips spread like wild fire. So, a majority of the members of
the Court felt that there had been no referendum.
Second, a referendum cannot substitute for a plebiscite. There is a big difference between
a referendum and a plebiscite. But another group of justices upheld the defense that
the issue was a political question. Whereupon, they dismissed the case. This is not
the only major case in which the plea of "political question" was set up. There have
been a number of other cases in the past.
x x x The defense of the political question was rejected because the issue was clearly
justiciable.
x x x
x x x When your Committee on the Judiciary began to perform its functions, it faced the
following questions: What is judicial power? What is a political question?
The Supreme Court, like all other courts, has one main function: to settle actual
controversies involving conflicts of rights which are demandable and enforceable. There are
rights which are guaranteed by law but cannot be enforced by a judiciary party. In a decided
case, a husband complained that his wife was unwilling to perform her duties as a wife. The
Court said: "We can tell your wife what her duties as such are and that she is bound to
comply with them, but we cannot force her physically to discharge her main marital duty to
her husband. There are some rights guaranteed by law, but they are so personal that to
enforce them by actual compulsion would be highly derogatory to human dignity."
This is why the first part of the second paragraph of Section I provides that:
Judicial power includes the duty of courts to settle actual controversies involving rights which
are legally demandable or enforceable . . .
The courts, therefore, cannot entertain, much less decide, hypothetical questions. In a
presidential system of government, the Supreme Court has, also another important
function. The powers of government are generally considered divided into three
branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme
within its own sphere and independent of the others. Because of that supremacy
power to determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in courts of justice.
Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and
offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary
is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of its
officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so capriciously
as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of
jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters
of this nature.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts
cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that such
matters constitute a political question.
I have made these extended remarks to the end that the Commissioners may have an initial
food for thought on the subject of the judiciary.
103
(Italics in the original; emphasis supplied)
During the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, Chief Justice Concepcion further clarified
the concept of judicial power, thus:
MR. NOLLEDO. The Gentleman used the term "judicial power" but judicial power is
not vested in the Supreme Court alone but also in other lower courts as may be
created by law.
MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.
MR. NOLLEDO. And so, is this only an example?
MR. CONCEPCION. No, I know this is not. The Gentleman seems to identify political
questions with jurisdictional questions. But there is a difference.
MR. NOLLEDO. Because of the expression "judicial power"?
MR. CONCEPCION. No. Judicial power, as I said, refers to ordinary cases but where
there is a question as to whether the government had authority or had abused its
authority to the extent of lacking jurisdiction or excess of jurisdiction, that is not a
political question. Therefore, the court has the duty to decide.
x x x
FR. BERNAS. Ultimately, therefore, it will always have to be decided by the Supreme Court
according to the new numerical need for votes.
On another point, is it the intention of Section 1 to do away with the political question
doctrine?
MR. CONCEPCION. No.
FR. BERNAS. It is not.
MR. CONCEPCION. No, because whenever there is an abuse of discretion, amounting
to a lack of jurisdiction. . .
FR. BERNAS. So, I am satisfied with the answer that it is not intended to do away with
the political question doctrine.
MR. CONCEPCION. No, certainly not.
When this provision was originally drafted, it sought to define what is judicial power.
But the Gentleman will notice it says, "judicial power includes" and the reason being
that the definition that we might make may not cover all possible areas.
FR. BERNAS. So, this is not an attempt to solve the problems arising from the political
question doctrine.
MR. CONCEPCION. It definitely does not eliminate the fact that truly political
questions are beyond the pale of judicial power.
104
(Emphasis supplied)
From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is clear that
judicial power is not only a power; it is also a duty, a duty which cannot be abdicated by the mere
specter of this creature called the political question doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to
clarify, however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not intended to do away with "truly political
questions." From this clarification it is gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1)
"truly political questions" and (2) those which "are not truly political questions."
Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review, the reason for respect of the doctrine of
separation of powers to be maintained. On the other hand, by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII of the
Constitution, courts can review questions which are not truly political in nature.
As pointed out by amicus curiae former dean Pacifico Agabin of the UP College of Law, this Court
has in fact in a number of cases taken jurisdiction over questions which are not truly political
following the effectivity of the present Constitution.
In Marcos v. Manglapus,
105
this Court, speaking through Madame Justice Irene Cortes, held:
The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the
scope of judicial inquiry into areas which the Court, under previous constitutions, would have
normally left to the political departments to decide.
106
x x x
In Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,
107
through Justice Teodoro Padilla, this Court
declared:
The "allocation of constitutional boundaries" is a task that this Court must perform under the
Constitution. Moreover, as held in a recent case, "(t)he political question doctrine neither
interposes an obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The jurisdiction
to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court. It cannot abdicate
that obligation mandated by the 1987 Constitution, although said provision by no
means does away with the applicability of the principle in appropriate
cases."
108
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
And in Daza v. Singson,
109
speaking through Justice Isagani Cruz, this Court ruled:
In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and
decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue presented before us
was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from resolving it under
the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the
political question.
110
x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
Section 1, Article VIII, of the Court does not define what are justiciable political questions and non-
justiciable political questions, however. Identification of these two species of political questions may
be problematic. There has been no clear standard. The American case of Baker v. Carr
111
attempts
to provide some:
x x x Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found
a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political
department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; or
the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-
judicial discretion; or the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without
expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need
for questioning adherence to a political decision already made; or thepotentiality of
embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one
question.
112
(Underscoring supplied)
Of these standards, the more reliable have been the first three: (1) a textually demonstrable
constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; (2) the lack of judicially
discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; and (3) the impossibility of deciding without
an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion. These standards are not
separate and distinct concepts but are interrelated to each in that the presence of one strengthens
the conclusion that the others are also present.
The problem in applying the foregoing standards is that the American concept of judicial review is
radically different from our current concept, for Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution provides our
courts with far less discretion in determining whether they should pass upon a constitutional issue.
In our jurisdiction, the determination of a truly political question from a non-justiciable political
question lies in the answer to the question of whether there are constitutionally imposed limits on
powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If there are, then our courts are duty-bound to
examine whether the branch or instrumentality of the government properly acted within such limits.
This Court shall thus now apply this standard to the present controversy.
These petitions raise five substantial issues:
I. Whether the offenses alleged in the Second impeachment complaint constitute valid
impeachable offenses under the Constitution.
II. Whether the second impeachment complaint was filed in accordance with Section 3(4),
Article XI of the Constitution.
III. Whether the legislative inquiry by the House Committee on Justice into the Judicial
Development Fund is an unconstitutional infringement of the constitutionally mandated fiscal
autonomy of the judiciary.
IV. Whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the Rules on Impeachment adopted by the 12th
Congress are unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the
Constitution.
V. Whether the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of
the Constitution.
The first issue goes into the merits of the second impeachment complaint over which this
Court has no jurisdiction. More importantly, any discussion of this issue would require this
Court to make a determination of what constitutes an impeachable offense. Such a
determination is a purely political question which the Constitution has left to the sound
discretion of the legislation. Such an intent is clear from the deliberations of the
Constitutional Commission.
113

Although Section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution enumerates six grounds for impeachment, two of
these, namely, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust, elude a precise definition. In fact, an
examination of the records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission shows that the framers could find
no better way to approximate the boundaries of betrayal of public trust and other high crimes than by
alluding to both positive and negative examples of both, without arriving at their clear cut definition or
even a standard therefor.
114
Clearly, the issue calls upon this court to decide a non-justiciable
political question which is beyond the scope of its judicial power under Section 1, Article VIII.
Lis Mota
It is a well-settled maxim of adjudication that an issue assailing the constitutionality of a
governmental act should be avoided whenever possible. Thus, in the case of Sotto v. Commission
on Elections,
115
this Court held:
x x x It is a well-established rule that a court should not pass upon a constitutional question
and decide a law to be unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question is raised by the
parties and that when it is raised, if the record also presents some other ground upon
which the court may rest its judgment, that course will be adopted and the
constitutional question will be left for consideration until a case arises in which a
decision upon such question will be unavoidable.
116
[Emphasis and underscoring
supplied]
The same principle was applied in Luz Farms v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform,
117
where this Court
invalidated Sections 13 and 32 of Republic Act No. 6657 for being confiscatory and violative of due
process, to wit:
It has been established that this Court will assume jurisdiction over a constitutional
question only if it is shown that the essential requisites of a judicial inquiry into such
a question are first satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual case or controversy involving a
conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination, the constitutional question must
have been opportunely raised by the proper party, and the resolution of the question is
unavoidably necessary to the decision of the case itself.
118
[Emphasis supplied]
Succinctly put, courts will not touch the issue of constitutionality unless it is truly unavoidable and is
the very lis mota or crux of the controversy.
As noted earlier, the instant consolidated petitions, while all seeking the invalidity of the second
impeachment complaint, collectively raise several constitutional issues upon which the outcome of
this controversy could possibly be made to rest. In determining whether one, some or all of the
remaining substantial issues should be passed upon, this Court is guided by the related cannon of
adjudication that "the court should not form a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by
the precise facts to which it is applied."
119

In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso, et al. argue that, among other reasons, the
second impeachment complaint is invalid since it directly resulted from a Resolution
120
calling for a
legislative inquiry into the JDF, which Resolution and legislative inquiry petitioners claim to likewise
be unconstitutional for being: (a) a violation of the rules and jurisprudence on investigations in aid of
legislation; (b) an open breach of the doctrine of separation of powers; (c) a violation of the
constitutionally mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary; and (d) an assault on the independence of
the judiciary.
121

Without going into the merits of petitioners Alfonso, et. al.'s claims, it is the studied opinion of this
Court that the issue of the constitutionality of the said Resolution and resulting legislative inquiry is
too far removed from the issue of the validity of the second impeachment complaint. Moreover, the
resolution of said issue would, in the Court's opinion, require it to form a rule of constitutional law
touching on the separate and distinct matter of legislative inquiries in general, which would thus be
broader than is required by the facts of these consolidated cases. This opinion is further
strengthened by the fact that said petitioners have raised other grounds in support of their petition
which would not be adversely affected by the Court's ruling.
En passant, this Court notes that a standard for the conduct of legislative inquiries has already been
enunciated by this Court in Bengzon, Jr. v. Senate Blue Ribbon Commttee,
122
viz:
The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof provides:
The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure.
The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.
The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not,
therefore absolute or unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-quoted provision of
the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein, the investigation must be "in aid of legislation in
accordance with its duly published rules of procedure" and that "the rights of persons
appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the right
rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including the right to due
process and the right not be compelled to testify against one's self.
123

In G.R. No. 160262, intervenors Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra, while joining the
original petition of petitioners Candelaria, et. al., introduce the new argument that since the second
impeachment complaint was verified and filed only by Representatives Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and
Felix William Fuentebella, the same does not fall under the provisions of Section 3 (4), Article XI of
the Constitution which reads:
Section 3(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least
one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of
Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
They assert that while at least 81 members of the House of Representatives signed a Resolution of
Endorsement/Impeachment, the same did not satisfy the requisites for the application of the afore-
mentioned section in that the "verified complaint or resolution of impeachment" was not filed "by at
least one-third of all the Members of the House." With the exception of Representatives Teodoro and
Fuentebella, the signatories to said Resolution are alleged to have verified the same merely as a
"Resolution of Endorsement." Intervenors point to the "Verification" of the Resolution of
Endorsement which states that:
"We are the proponents/sponsors of the Resolution of Endorsement of the abovementioned
Complaint of Representatives Gilberto Teodoro and Felix William B. Fuentebella x x x"
124

Intervenors Macalintal and Quadra further claim that what the Constitution requires in order for said
second impeachment complaint to automatically become the Articles of Impeachment and for trial in
the Senate to begin "forthwith," is that the verified complaint be "filed," not merely endorsed, by at
least one-third of the Members of the House of Representatives. Not having complied with this
requirement, they concede that the second impeachment complaint should have been calendared
and referred to the House Committee on Justice under Section 3(2), Article XI of the
Constitution, viz:
Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House
of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member
thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and
referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after
hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within
sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The
resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from
receipt thereof.
Intervenors' foregoing position is echoed by Justice Maambong who opined that for Section 3 (4),
Article XI of the Constitution to apply, there should be 76 or more representatives who signed and
verified the second impeachment complaint as complainants, signed and verified the signatories to a
resolution of impeachment. Justice Maambong likewise asserted that the Resolution of
Endorsement/Impeachment signed by at least one-third of the members of the House of
Representatives as endorsers is not the resolution of impeachment contemplated by the
Constitution, such resolution of endorsement being necessary only from at least one Member
whenever a citizen files a verified impeachment complaint.
While the foregoing issue, as argued by intervenors Macalintal and Quadra, does indeed limit the
scope of the constitutional issues to the provisions on impeachment, more compelling considerations
militate against its adoption as the lis mota or crux of the present controversy. Chief among this is
the fact that only Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra, intervenors in G.R. No. 160262, have raised this
issue as a ground for invalidating the second impeachment complaint. Thus, to adopt this additional
ground as the basis for deciding the instant consolidated petitions would not only render for naught
the efforts of the original petitioners in G.R. No. 160262, but the efforts presented by the other
petitioners as well.
Again, the decision to discard the resolution of this issue as unnecessary for the determination of the
instant cases is made easier by the fact that said intervenors Macalintal and Quadra have joined in
the petition of Candelaria, et. al., adopting the latter's arguments and issues as their own.
Consequently, they are not unduly prejudiced by this Court's decision.
In sum, this Court holds that the two remaining issues, inextricably linked as they are, constitute the
very lis mota of the instant controversy: (1) whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the House
Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress are unconstitutional for violating the provisions of
Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution; and (2) whether, as a result thereof, the second
impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution.
J udicial Restraint
Senator Pimentel urges this Court to exercise judicial restraint on the ground that the Senate, sitting
as an impeachment court, has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. Again,
this Court reiterates that the power of judicial review includes the power of review over justiciable
issues in impeachment proceedings.
On the other hand, respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. argue that "[t]here is a moral compulsion
for the Court to not assume jurisdiction over the impeachment because all the Members thereof are
subject to impeachment."
125
But this argument is very much like saying the Legislature has a moral
compulsion not to pass laws with penalty clauses because Members of the House of
Representatives are subject to them.
The exercise of judicial restraint over justiciable issues is not an option before this Court.
Adjudication may not be declined, because this Court is not legally disqualified. Nor can jurisdiction
be renounced as there is no other tribunal to which the controversy may be referred."
126
Otherwise,
this Court would be shirking from its duty vested under Art. VIII, Sec. 1(2) of the Constitution. More
than being clothed with authority thus, this Court is duty-bound to take cognizance of the instant
petitions.
127
In the august words of amicus curiae Father Bernas, "jurisdiction is not just a power; it is
a solemn duty which may not be renounced. To renounce it, even if it is vexatious, would be a
dereliction of duty."
Even in cases where it is an interested party, the Court under our system of government cannot
inhibit itself and must rule upon the challenge because no other office has the authority to do
so.
128
On the occasion that this Court had been an interested party to the controversy before it, it has
acted upon the matter "not with officiousness but in the discharge of an unavoidable duty and, as
always, with detachment and fairness."
129
After all, "by [his] appointment to the office, the public has
laid on [a member of the judiciary] their confidence that [he] is mentally and morally fit to pass upon
the merits of their varied contentions. For this reason, they expect [him] to be fearless in [his] pursuit
to render justice, to be unafraid to displease any person, interest or power and to be equipped with a
moral fiber strong enough to resist the temptations lurking in [his] office."
130

The duty to exercise the power of adjudication regardless of interest had already been settled in the
case ofAbbas v. Senate Electoral Tribunal.
131
In that case, the petitioners filed with the respondent
Senate Electoral Tribunal a Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition of the Senators-Members thereof
from the hearing and resolution of SET Case No. 002-87 on the ground that all of them were
interested parties to said case as respondents therein. This would have reduced the Tribunal's
membership to only its three Justices-Members whose disqualification was not sought, leaving them
to decide the matter. This Court held:
Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the substitution of any Senator sitting
in the Tribunal by any of his other colleagues in the Senate without inviting the same
objections to the substitute's competence, the proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned
and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative but to abandon a duty that no other
court or body can perform, but which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation
of its entire membership of Senators.
To our mind, this is the overriding consideration — that the Tribunal be not prevented from
discharging a duty which it alone has the power to perform, the performance of which is in
the highest public interest as evidenced by its being expressly imposed by no less than the
fundamental law.
It is aptly noted in the first of the questioned Resolutions that the framers of the Constitution
could not have been unaware of the possibility of an election contest that would involve all
Senators—elect, six of whom would inevitably have to sit in judgment thereon. Indeed, such
possibility might surface again in the wake of the 1992 elections when once more, but for the
last time, all 24 seats in the Senate will be at stake. Yet the Constitution provides no scheme
or mode for settling such unusual situations or for the substitution of Senators designated to
the Tribunal whose disqualification may be sought. Litigants in such situations must simply
place their trust and hopes of vindication in the fairness and sense of justice of the Members
of the Tribunal. Justices and Senators, singly and collectively.
Let us not be misunderstood as saying that no Senator-Member of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal may inhibit or disqualify himself from sitting in judgment on any case before said
Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as his conscience dictates, refrain from
participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely feels that his personal interests or
biases would stand in the way of an objective and impartial judgment. What we are merely
saying is that in the light of the Constitution, the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot legally
function as such, absent its entire membership of Senators and that no amendment of its
Rules can confer on the three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a
senatorial election contest.
More recently in the case of Estrada v. Desierto,
132
it was held that:
Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, particularly a majority of them, is
nothing short ofpro tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as established by the
fundamental law. Disqualification of a judge is a deprivation of his judicial power. And if that
judge is the one designated by the Constitution to exercise the jurisdiction of his court, as is
the case with the Justices of this Court, the deprivation of his or their judicial power is
equivalent to the deprivation of the judicial power of the court itself. It affects the very heart of
judicial independence. The proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would
leave the Court no alternative but to abandon a duty which it cannot lawfully discharge if
shorn of the participation of its entire membership of Justices.
133
(Italics in the original)
Besides, there are specific safeguards already laid down by the Court when it exercises its power of
judicial review.
In Demetria v. Alba,
134
this Court, through Justice Marcelo Fernan cited the "seven pillars" of
limitations of the power of judicial review, enunciated by US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis
in Ashwander v. TVA
135
as follows:
1. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a friendly, non-adversary
proceeding, declining because to decide such questions 'is legitimate only in the last resort,
and as a necessity in the determination of real, earnest and vital controversy between
individuals. It never was the thought that, by means of a friendly suit, a party beaten in the
legislature could transfer to the courts an inquiry as to the constitutionality of the legislative
act.'
2. The Court will not 'anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of
deciding it.' . . . 'It is not the habit of the Court to decide questions of a constitutional nature
unless absolutely necessary to a decision of the case.'
3. The Court will not 'formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the
precise facts to which it is to be applied.'
4. The Court will not pass upon a constitutional question although properly presented by the
record, if there is also present some other ground upon which the case may be disposed of.
This rule has found most varied application. Thus, if a case can be decided on either of two
grounds, one involving a constitutional question, the other a question of statutory
construction or general law, the Court will decide only the latter. Appeals from the highest
court of a state challenging its decision of a question under the Federal Constitution are
frequently dismissed because the judgment can be sustained on an independent state
ground.
5. The Court will not pass upon the validity of a statute upon complaint of one who fails to
show that he is injured by its operation. Among the many applications of this rule, none is
more striking than the denial of the right of challenge to one who lacks a personal or property
right. Thus, the challenge by a public official interested only in the performance of his official
duty will not be entertained . . . In Fairchild v. Hughes, the Court affirmed the dismissal of a
suit brought by a citizen who sought to have the Nineteenth Amendment declared
unconstitutional. In Massachusetts v. Mellon, the challenge of the federal Maternity Act was
not entertained although made by the Commonwealth on behalf of all its citizens.
6. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute at the instance of one who
has availed himself of its benefits.
7. When the validity of an act of the Congress is drawn in question, and even if a serious
doubt of constitutionality is raised, it is a cardinal principle that this Court will first ascertain
whether a construction of the statute is fairly possible by which the question may be avoided
(citations omitted).
The foregoing "pillars" of limitation of judicial review, summarized in Ashwander v. TVA from different
decisions of the United States Supreme Court, can be encapsulated into the following categories:
1. that there be absolute necessity of deciding a case
2. that rules of constitutional law shall be formulated only as required by the facts of the case
3. that judgment may not be sustained on some other ground
4. that there be actual injury sustained by the party by reason of the operation of the statute
5. that the parties are not in estoppel
6. that the Court upholds the presumption of constitutionality.
As stated previously, parallel guidelines have been adopted by this Court in the exercise of judicial
review:
1. actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power
2. the person challenging the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a
personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain,
direct injury as a result of its enforcement
3. the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity
4. the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.
136

Respondents Speaker de Venecia, et. al. raise another argument for judicial restraint the possibility
that "judicial review of impeachments might also lead to embarrassing conflicts between the
Congress and the [J]udiciary." They stress the need to avoid the appearance of impropriety or
conflicts of interest in judicial hearings, and the scenario that it would be confusing and humiliating
and risk serious political instability at home and abroad if the judiciary countermanded the vote of
Congress to remove an impeachable official.
137
Intervenor Soriano echoes this argument by alleging
that failure of this Court to enforce its Resolution against Congress would result in the diminution of
its judicial authority and erode public confidence and faith in the judiciary.
Such an argument, however, is specious, to say the least. As correctly stated by the Solicitor
General, the possibility of the occurrence of a constitutional crisis is not a reason for this Court to
refrain from upholding the Constitution in all impeachment cases. Justices cannot abandon their
constitutional duties just because their action may start, if not precipitate, a crisis.
Justice Feliciano warned against the dangers when this Court refuses to act.
x x x Frequently, the fight over a controversial legislative or executive act is not regarded as
settled until the Supreme Court has passed upon the constitutionality of the act involved, the
judgment has not only juridical effects but also political consequences. Those political
consequences may follow even where the Court fails to grant the petitioner's prayer to nullify
an act for lack of the necessary number of votes. Frequently, failure to act explicitly, one way
or the other, itself constitutes a decision for the respondent and validation, or at least quasi-
validation, follows."
138

Thus, in Javellana v. Executive Secretary
139
where this Court was split and "in the end there were not
enough votes either to grant the petitions, or to sustain respondent's claims,"
140
the pre-existing
constitutional order was disrupted which paved the way for the establishment of the martial law
regime.
Such an argument by respondents and intervenor also presumes that the coordinate branches of the
government would behave in a lawless manner and not do their duty under the law to uphold the
Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Yet there is no reason to believe that any of the branches
of government will behave in a precipitate manner and risk social upheaval, violence, chaos and
anarchy by encouraging disrespect for the fundamental law of the land.
Substituting the word public officers for judges, this Court is well guided by the doctrine in People v.
Veneracion, towit:
141

Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If [public officers],
under the guise of religious or political beliefs were allowed to roam unrestricted beyond
boundaries within which they are required by law to exercise the duties of their office, then
law becomes meaningless. A government of laws, not of men excludes the exercise of broad
discretionary powers by those acting under its authority. Under this system, [public officers]
are guided by the Rule of Law, and ought "to protect and enforce it without fear or favor,"
resist encroachments by governments, political parties, or even the interference of their own
personal beliefs.
142

Constitutionality of the Rules of Procedure
for Impeachment Proceedings
adopted by the 12th Congress
Respondent House of Representatives, through Speaker De Venecia, argues that Sections 16 and
17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules do not violate Section 3 (5) of Article XI of our
present Constitution, contending that the term "initiate" does not mean "to file;" that Section 3 (1) is
clear in that it is the House of Representatives, as a collective body, which has the exclusive power
to initiate all cases of impeachment; that initiate could not possibly mean "to file" because filing can,
as Section 3 (2), Article XI of the Constitution provides, only be accomplished in 3 ways, to wit: (1)
by a verified complaint for impeachment by any member of the House of Representatives; or (2) by
any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any member; or (3) by at least 1/3 of all the
members of the House. Respondent House of Representatives concludes that the one year bar
prohibiting the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same officials could not have been
violated as the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide and seven Associate Justices
had not been initiated as the House of Representatives, acting as the collective body, has yet to act
on it.
The resolution of this issue thus hinges on the interpretation of the term "initiate." Resort to statutory
construction is, therefore, in order.
That the sponsor of the provision of Section 3(5) of the Constitution, Commissioner Florenz
Regalado, who eventually became an Associate Justice of this Court, agreed on the meaning of
"initiate" as "to file," as proffered and explained by Constitutional Commissioner Maambong during
the Constitutional Commission proceedings, which he (Commissioner Regalado) as amicus
curiae affirmed during the oral arguments on the instant petitions held on November 5, 2003 at
which he added that the act of "initiating" included the act of taking initial action on the complaint,
dissipates any doubt that indeed the word "initiate" as it twice appears in Article XI (3) and (5) of the
Constitution means to file the complaint and take initial action on it.
"Initiate" of course is understood by ordinary men to mean, as dictionaries do, to begin, to
commence, or set going. As Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language
concisely puts it, it means "to perform or facilitate the first action," which jibes with Justice
Regalado's position, and that of Father Bernas, who elucidated during the oral arguments of the
instant petitions on November 5, 2003 in this wise:
Briefly then, an impeachment proceeding is not a single act. It is a comlexus of acts
consisting of a beginning, a middle and an end. The end is the transmittal of the articles of
impeachment to the Senate. The middle consists of those deliberative moments leading to
the formulation of the articles of impeachment. The beginning or the initiation is the filing of
the complaint and its referral to the Committee on Justice.
Finally, it should be noted that the House Rule relied upon by Representatives Cojuangco
and Fuentebella says that impeachment is "deemed initiated" when the Justice Committee
votes in favor of impeachment or when the House reverses a contrary vote of the
Committee. Note that the Rule does not say "impeachment proceedings" are initiated but
rather are "deemed initiated." The language is recognition that initiation happened earlier, but
by legal fiction there is an attempt to postpone it to a time after actual initiation. (Emphasis
and underscoring supplied)
As stated earlier, one of the means of interpreting the Constitution is looking into the intent of the
law. Fortunately, the intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution can be pried from its records:
MR. MAAMBONG. With reference to Section 3, regarding the procedure and the substantive
provisions on impeachment, I understand there have been many proposals and, I think,
these would need some time for Committee action.
However, I would just like to indicate that I submitted to the Committee a resolution on
impeachment proceedings, copies of which have been furnished the Members of this body.
This is borne out of my experience as a member of the Committee on Justice, Human Rights
and Good Government which took charge of the last impeachment resolution filed before the
First Batasang Pambansa. For the information of the Committee, the resolution covers
several steps in the impeachment proceedings starting with initiation, action of the
Speaker committee action, calendaring of report, voting on the report, transmittal
referral to the Senate, trial and judgment by the Senate.
x x x
MR. MAAMBONG. Mr. Presiding Officer, I am not moving for a reconsideration of the
approval of the amendment submitted by Commissioner Regalado, but I will just make of
record my thinking that we do not really initiate the filing of the Articles of Impeachment on
the floor. The procedure, as I have pointed out earlier, was that the initiation starts with
the filing of the complaint. And what is actually done on the floor is that the committee
resolution containing the Articles of Impeachment is the one approved by the body.
As the phraseology now runs, which may be corrected by the Committee on Style, it appears
that the initiation starts on the floor. If we only have time, I could cite examples in the case of
the impeachment proceedings of President Richard Nixon wherein the Committee on the
Judiciary submitted the recommendation, the resolution, and the Articles of Impeachment to
the body, and it was the body who approved the resolution. It is not the body which
initiates it. It only approves or disapproves the resolution. So, on that score, probably
the Committee on Style could help in rearranging these words because we have to be very
technical about this. I have been bringing with me The Rules of the House of
Representatives of the U.S. Congress. The Senate Rules are with me. The proceedings on
the case of Richard Nixon are with me. I have submitted my proposal, but the Committee has
already decided. Nevertheless, I just want to indicate this on record.
x x x
MR. MAAMBONG. I would just like to move for a reconsideration of the approval of Section 3
(3). My reconsideration will not at all affect the substance, but it is only in keeping with the
exact formulation of the Rules of the House of Representatives of the United States
regarding impeachment.
I am proposing, Madam President, without doing damage to any of this provision, that on
page 2, Section 3 (3), from lines 17 to 18, we delete the words which read: "to initiate
impeachment proceedings"and the comma (,) and insert on line 19 after the word
"resolution" the phrase WITH THE ARTICLES, and then capitalize the letter "i" in
"impeachment" and replace the word "by" with OF, so that the whole section will now read:
"A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to
affirm a resolution WITH THE ARTICLES of Impeachment OF the Committee or to override
its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded."
I already mentioned earlier yesterday that the initiation, as far as the House of
Representatives of the United States is concerned, really starts from the filing of the
verified complaint and every resolution to impeach always carries with it the Articles of
Impeachment. As a matter of fact, the words "Articles of Impeachment" are mentioned on
line 25 in the case of the direct filing of a verified compliant of one-third of all the Members of
the House. I will mention again, Madam President, that my amendment will not vary the
substance in any way. It is only in keeping with the uniform procedure of the House of
Representatives of the United States Congress. Thank you, Madam President.
143
(Italics in
the original; emphasis and udnerscoring supplied)
This amendment proposed by Commissioner Maambong was clarified and accepted by the
Committee on the Accountability of Public Officers.
144

It is thus clear that the framers intended "initiation" to start with the filing of the complaint. In
his amicus curiaebrief, Commissioner Maambong explained that "the obvious reason in deleting the
phrase "to initiate impeachment proceedings" as contained in the text of the provision of Section
3 (3) was to settle and make it understood once and for all that the initiation of impeachment
proceedings starts with the filing of the complaint, and the vote of one-third of the House in a
resolution of impeachment does not initiate the impeachment proceedings which was already
initiated by the filing of a verified complaint under Section 3, paragraph (2), Article XI of the
Constitution."
145

Amicus curiae Constitutional Commissioner Regalado is of the same view as is Father Bernas, who
was also a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, that the word "initiate" as used in Article
XI, Section 3(5) means to file, both adding, however, that the filing must be accompanied by an
action to set the complaint moving.
During the oral arguments before this Court, Father Bernas clarified that the word "initiate,"
appearing in the constitutional provision on impeachment, viz:
Section 3 (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all
cases of impeachment.
x x x
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once
within a period of one year, (Emphasis supplied)
refers to two objects, "impeachment case" and "impeachment proceeding."
Father Bernas explains that in these two provisions, the common verb is "to initiate." The object in
the first sentence is "impeachment case." The object in the second sentence is "impeachment
proceeding." Following the principle of reddendo singuala sinuilis, the term "cases" must be
distinguished from the term "proceedings." An impeachment case is the legal controversy that must
be decided by the Senate. Above-quoted first provision provides that the House, by a vote of one-
third of all its members, can bring a case to the Senate. It is in that sense that the House has
"exclusive power" to initiate all cases of impeachment. No other body can do it. However, before a
decision is made to initiate a case in the Senate, a "proceeding" must be followed to arrive at a
conclusion. A proceeding must be "initiated." To initiate, which comes from the Latin word initium,
means to begin. On the other hand, proceeding is a progressive noun. It has a beginning, a middle,
and an end. It takes place not in the Senate but in the House and consists of several steps: (1) there
is the filing of a verified complaint either by a Member of the House of Representatives or by a
private citizen endorsed by a Member of the House of the Representatives; (2) there is the
processing of this complaint by the proper Committee which may either reject the complaint or
uphold it; (3) whether the resolution of the Committee rejects or upholds the complaint, the resolution
must be forwarded to the House for further processing; and (4) there is the processing of the same
complaint by the House of Representatives which either affirms a favorable resolution of the
Committee or overrides a contrary resolution by a vote of one-third of all the members. If at least one
third of all the Members upholds the complaint, Articles of Impeachment are prepared and
transmitted to the Senate. It is at this point that the House "initiates an impeachment case." It is at
this point that an impeachable public official is successfully impeached. That is, he or she is
successfully charged with an impeachment "case" before the Senate as impeachment court.
Father Bernas further explains: The "impeachment proceeding" is not initiated when the complaint is
transmitted to the Senate for trial because that is the end of the House proceeding and the beginning
of another proceeding, namely the trial. Neither is the "impeachment proceeding" initiated when the
House deliberates on the resolution passed on to it by the Committee, because something prior to
that has already been done. The action of the House is already a further step in the proceeding, not
its initiation or beginning. Rather, the proceeding is initiated or begins, when a verified complaint is
filed and referred to the Committee on Justice for action. This is the initiating step which triggers the
series of steps that follow.
The framers of the Constitution also understood initiation in its ordinary meaning. Thus when a
proposal reached the floor proposing that "A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the
House shall be necessary… toinitiate impeachment proceedings," this was met by a proposal to
delete the line on the ground that the vote of the House does not initiate impeachment proceeding
but rather the filing of a complaint does.
146
Thus the line was deleted and is not found in the present
Constitution.
Father Bernas concludes that when Section 3 (5) says, "No impeachment proceeding shall be
initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year," it means that no
second verified complaint may be accepted and referred to the Committee on Justice for action. By
his explanation, this interpretation is founded on the common understanding of the meaning of "to
initiate" which means to begin. He reminds that the Constitution is ratified by the people, both
ordinary and sophisticated, as they understand it; and that ordinary people read ordinary meaning
into ordinary words and not abstruse meaning, they ratify words as they understand it and not as
sophisticated lawyers confuse it.
To the argument that only the House of Representatives as a body can initiate impeachment
proceedings because Section 3 (1) says "The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive
power to initiate all cases of impeachment," This is a misreading of said provision and is contrary to
the principle of reddendo singula singulisby equating "impeachment cases" with "impeachment
proceeding."
From the records of the Constitutional Commission, to the amicus curiae briefs of two former
Constitutional Commissioners, it is without a doubt that the term "to initiate" refers to the filing of the
impeachment complaint coupled with Congress' taking initial action of said complaint.
Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing and referral or endorsement of the
impeachment complaint to the House Committee on Justice or, by the filing by at least one-third of
the members of the House of Representatives with the Secretary General of the House, the meaning
of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated,
another impeachment complaint may not be filed against the same official within a one year period.
Under Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules, impeachment proceedings
are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House Committee on Justice that the verified
complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House itself affirms or
overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is not
sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-General of the House
of Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the
members of the House. These rules clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI since the rules give
the term "initiate" a meaning different meaning from filing and referral.
In his amicus curiae brief, Justice Hugo Gutierrez posits that this Court could not use
contemporaneous construction as an aid in the interpretation of Sec.3 (5) of Article XI, citing Vera v.
Avelino
147
wherein this Court stated that "their personal opinions (referring to Justices who were
delegates to the Constitution Convention) on the matter at issue expressed during this Court's our
deliberations stand on a different footing from the properly recorded utterances of debates and
proceedings." Further citing said case, he states that this Court likened the former members of the
Constitutional Convention to actors who are so absorbed in their emotional roles that intelligent
spectators may know more about the real meaning because of the latter's balanced perspectives
and disinterestedness.
148

Justice Gutierrez's statements have no application in the present petitions. There are at present only
two members of this Court who participated in the 1986 Constitutional Commission – Chief Justice
Davide and Justice Adolf Azcuna. Chief Justice Davide has not taken part in these proceedings for
obvious reasons. Moreover, this Court has not simply relied on the personal opinions now given by
members of the Constitutional Commission, but has examined the records of the deliberations and
proceedings thereof.
Respondent House of Representatives counters that under Section 3 (8) of Article XI, it is clear and
unequivocal that it and only it has the power to make and interpret its rules governing impeachment.
Its argument is premised on the assumption that Congress has absolute power to promulgate its
rules. This assumption, however, is misplaced.
Section 3 (8) of Article XI provides that "The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to
effectively carry out the purpose of this section." Clearly, its power to promulgate its rules on
impeachment is limited by the phrase "to effectively carry out the purpose of this section." Hence,
these rules cannot contravene the very purpose of the Constitution which said rules were intended to
effectively carry out. Moreover, Section 3 of Article XI clearly provides for other specific limitations on
its power to make rules, viz:
Section 3. (1) x x x
(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of
Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof,
which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the
proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by
a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session
days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be
calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.
(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary to either
affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override
its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.
(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of
all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and
trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once
within a period of one year.
It is basic that all rules must not contravene the Constitution which is the fundamental law. If as
alleged Congress had absolute rule making power, then it would by necessary implication have the
power to alter or amend the meaning of the Constitution without need of referendum.
In Osmeña v. Pendatun,
149
this Court held that it is within the province of either House of Congress
to interpret its rules and that it was the best judge of what constituted "disorderly behavior" of its
members. However, in Paceta v. Secretary of the Commission on Appointments,
150
Justice (later
Chief Justice) Enrique Fernando, speaking for this Court and quoting Justice Brandeis in United
States v. Smith,
151
declared that where the construction to be given to a rule affects persons other
than members of the Legislature, the question becomes judicial in nature. In Arroyo v. De
Venecia,
152
quoting United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co.,
153
Justice Vicente Mendoza, speaking for
this Court, held that while the Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of
proceedings, it may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and
further that there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceeding
established by the rule and the result which is sought to be attained. It is only within these limitations
that all matters of method are open to the determination of the Legislature. In the same case
of Arroyo v. De Venecia, Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion, was
even more emphatic as he stressed that in the Philippine setting there is even more reason for
courts to inquire into the validity of the Rules of Congress, viz:
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the petitioner are non-
justiciable. Nor do I agree that we will trivialize the principle of separation of power if
we assume jurisdiction over he case at bar. Even in the United States, the principle of
separation of power is no longer an impregnable impediment against the interposition of
judicial power on cases involving breach of rules of procedure by legislators.
Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891 case of US v Ballin (144 US 1) as a window to view the
issues before the Court. It is in Ballin where the US Supreme Court first defined the
boundaries of the power of the judiciary to review congressional rules. It held:
"x x x
"The Constitution, in the same section, provides, that each house may determine the rules of
its proceedings." It appears that in pursuance of this authority the House had, prior to that
day, passed this as one of its rules:
Rule XV
3. On the demand of any member, or at the suggestion of the Speaker, the names of
members sufficient to make a quorum in the hall of the House who do not vote shall be noted
by the clerk and recorded in the journal, and reported to the Speaker with the names of the
members voting, and be counted and announced in determining the presence of a quorum to
do business. (House Journal, 230, Feb. 14, 1890)
The action taken was in direct compliance with this rule. The question, therefore, is as to
the validity of this rule, and not what methods the Speaker may of his own motion resort to
for determining the presence of a quorum, nor what matters the Speaker or clerk may of their
own volition place upon the journal. Neither do the advantages or disadvantages, the wisdom
or folly, of such a rule present any matters for judicial consideration. With the courts the
question is only one of power. The Constitution empowers each house to determine its
rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate
fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or
method of proceedings established by the rule and the result which is sought to be
attained. But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of
the House, and it is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other way would be better,
more accurate, or even more just. It is no objection to the validity of a rule that a different one
has been prescribed and in force for a length of time. The power to make rules is not one
which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised
by the House, and within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of
any other body or tribunal."
Ballin, clearly confirmed the jurisdiction of courts to pass upon the validity of
congressional rules, i.e, whether they are constitutional. Rule XV was examined by the
Court and it was found to satisfy the test: (1) that it did not ignore any constitutional restraint;
(2) it did not violate any fundamental right; and (3) its method had a reasonable relationship
with the result sought to be attained. By examining Rule XV, the Court did not allow its
jurisdiction to be defeated by the mere invocation of the principle of separation of powers.
154

x x x
In the Philippine setting, there is a more compelling reason for courts to categorically
reject the political question defense when its interposition will cover up abuse of
power. For section 1, Article VIII of our Constitution was intentionally cobbled to
empower courts "x x x to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the government." This power is new and was not granted to our courts
in the 1935 and 1972 Constitutions. It was not also xeroxed from the US Constitution or
any foreign state constitution. The CONCOM granted this enormous power to our
courts in view of our experience under martial law where abusive exercises of state
power were shielded from judicial scrutiny by the misuse of the political question
doctrine. Led by the eminent former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, the CONCOM
expanded and sharpened the checking powers of the judiciary vis-à-vis the Executive and
the Legislative departments of government.
155

x x x
The Constitution cannot be any clearer. What it granted to this Court is not a mere power
which it can decline to exercise. Precisely to deter this disinclination, the Constitution
imposed it as a duty of this Court to strike down any act of a branch or instrumentality
of government or any of its officials done with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction. Rightly or wrongly, the Constitution has elongated the
checking powers of this Court against the other branches of government despite their more
democratic character, the President and the legislators being elected by the people.
156

x x x
The provision defining judicial power as including the 'duty of the courts of justice. . . to
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government'
constitutes the capstone of the efforts of the Constitutional Commission to upgrade the
powers of this court vis-à-vis the other branches of government. This provision was dictated
by our experience under martial law which taught us that a stronger and more independent
judiciary is needed to abort abuses in government. x x x
x x x
In sum, I submit that in imposing to this Court the duty to annul acts of government
committed with grave abuse of discretion, the new Constitution transformed this Court from
passivity to activism. This transformation, dictated by our distinct experience as nation, is not
merely evolutionary but revolutionary.Under the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions, this Court
approached constitutional violations by initially determining what it cannot do; under the
1987 Constitution, there is a shift in stress – this Court is mandated to approach
constitutional violations not by finding out what it should not do but what
itmust do. The Court must discharge this solemn duty by not resuscitating a past that
petrifies the present.
I urge my brethren in the Court to give due and serious consideration to this new
constitutional provision as the case at bar once more calls us to define the parameters of our
power to review violations of the rules of the House. We will not be true to our trust as the
last bulwark against government abuses if we refuse to exercise this new power or if
we wield it with timidity. To be sure, it is this exceeding timidity to unsheathe the
judicial sword that has increasingly emboldened other branches of government to
denigrate, if not defy, orders of our courts. In Tolentino, I endorsed the view of former
Senator Salonga that this novel provision stretching the latitude of judicial power is distinctly
Filipino and its interpretation should not be depreciated by undue reliance on inapplicable
foreign jurisprudence. In resolving the case at bar, the lessons of our own history should
provide us the light and not the experience of foreigners.
157
(Italics in the original emphasis
and underscoring supplied)
Thus, the ruling in Osmena v. Pendatun is not applicable to the instant petitions. Here, the third
parties alleging the violation of private rights and the Constitution are involved.
Neither may respondent House of Representatives' rely on Nixon v. US
158
as basis for arguing that
this Court may not decide on the constitutionality of Sections 16 and 17 of the House Impeachment
Rules. As already observed, the U.S. Federal Constitution simply provides that "the House of
Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment." It adds nothing more. It gives no clue
whatsoever as to how this "sole power" is to be exercised. No limitation whatsoever is given. Thus,
the US Supreme Court concluded that there was a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment
of a constitutional power to the House of Representatives. This reasoning does not hold with regard
to impeachment power of the Philippine House of Representatives since our Constitution, as earlier
enumerated, furnishes several provisions articulating how that "exclusive power" is to be exercised.
The provisions of Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules which state that
impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House Committee on
Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House
itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or
resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-
General of the House of Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment by
at least 1/3 of the members of the House thus clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI as they
give the term "initiate" a meaning different from "filing."
Validity of the Second Impeachment Complaint
Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and
referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the meaning of Section 3
(5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing
manner, another may not be filed against the same official within a one year period following Article
XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution.
In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of this Court, on
June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003, the second
impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William
Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition
against the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a
one-year period.
Conclusion
If there is anything constant about this country, it is that there is always a phenomenon that takes the
center stage of our individual and collective consciousness as a people with our characteristic flair
for human drama, conflict or tragedy. Of course this is not to demean the seriousness of the
controversy over the Davide impeachment. For many of us, the past two weeks have proven to be
an exasperating, mentally and emotionally exhausting experience. Both sides have fought bitterly a
dialectical struggle to articulate what they respectively believe to be the correct position or view on
the issues involved. Passions had ran high as demonstrators, whether for or against the
impeachment of the Chief Justice, took to the streets armed with their familiar slogans and chants to
air their voice on the matter. Various sectors of society - from the business, retired military, to the
academe and denominations of faith – offered suggestions for a return to a state of normalcy in the
official relations of the governmental branches affected to obviate any perceived resulting instability
upon areas of national life.
Through all these and as early as the time when the Articles of Impeachment had been constituted,
this Court was specifically asked, told, urged and argued to take no action of any kind and form with
respect to the prosecution by the House of Representatives of the impeachment complaint against
the subject respondent public official. When the present petitions were knocking so to speak at the
doorsteps of this Court, the same clamor for non-interference was made through what are now the
arguments of "lack of jurisdiction," "non-justiciability," and "judicial self-restraint" aimed at halting the
Court from any move that may have a bearing on the impeachment proceedings.
This Court did not heed the call to adopt a hands-off stance as far as the question of the
constitutionality of initiating the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide is concerned.
To reiterate what has been already explained, the Court found the existence in full of all the requisite
conditions for its exercise of its constitutionally vested power and duty of judicial review over an
issue whose resolution precisely called for the construction or interpretation of a provision of the
fundamental law of the land. What lies in here is an issue of a genuine constitutional material which
only this Court can properly and competently address and adjudicate in accordance with the clear-
cut allocation of powers under our system of government. Face-to-face thus with a matter or problem
that squarely falls under the Court's jurisdiction, no other course of action can be had but for it to
pass upon that problem head on.
The claim, therefore, that this Court by judicially entangling itself with the process of impeachment
has effectively set up a regime of judicial supremacy, is patently without basis in fact and in law.
This Court in the present petitions subjected to judicial scrutiny and resolved on the merits only the
main issue of whether the impeachment proceedings initiated against the Chief Justice transgressed
the constitutionally imposed one-year time bar rule. Beyond this, it did not go about assuming
jurisdiction where it had none, nor indiscriminately turn justiciable issues out of decidedly political
questions. Because it is not at all the business of this Court to assert judicial dominance over the
other two great branches of the government. Rather, the raison d'etre of the judiciary is to
complement the discharge by the executive and legislative of their own powers to bring about
ultimately the beneficent effects of having founded and ordered our society upon the rule of law.
It is suggested that by our taking cognizance of the issue of constitutionality of the impeachment
proceedings against the Chief Justice, the members of this Court have actually closed ranks to
protect a brethren. That the members' interests in ruling on said issue is as much at stake as is that
of the Chief Justice. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The institution that is the Supreme Court together with all other courts has long held and been
entrusted with the judicial power to resolve conflicting legal rights regardless of the personalities
involved in the suits or actions. This Court has dispensed justice over the course of time, unaffected
by whomsoever stood to benefit or suffer therefrom, unfraid by whatever imputations or speculations
could be made to it, so long as it rendered judgment according to the law and the facts. Why can it
not now be trusted to wield judicial power in these petitions just because it is the highest ranking
magistrate who is involved when it is an incontrovertible fact that the fundamental issue is not him
but the validity of a government branch's official act as tested by the limits set by the Constitution?
Of course, there are rules on the inhibition of any member of the judiciary from taking part in a case
in specified instances. But to disqualify this entire institution now from the suit at bar is to regard the
Supreme Court as likely incapable of impartiality when one of its members is a party to a case,
which is simply a non sequitur.
No one is above the law or the Constitution. This is a basic precept in any legal system which
recognizes equality of all men before the law as essential to the law's moral authority and that of its
agents to secure respect for and obedience to its commands. Perhaps, there is no other government
branch or instrumentality that is most zealous in protecting that principle of legal equality other than
the Supreme Court which has discerned its real meaning and ramifications through its application to
numerous cases especially of the high-profile kind in the annals of jurisprudence. The Chief Justice
is not above the law and neither is any other member of this Court. But just because he is the Chief
Justice does not imply that he gets to have less in law than anybody else. The law is solicitous of
every individual's rights irrespective of his station in life.
The Filipino nation and its democratic institutions have no doubt been put to test once again by this
impeachment case against Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Accordingly, this Court has resorted to no
other than the Constitution in search for a solution to what many feared would ripen to a crisis in
government. But though it is indeed immensely a blessing for this Court to have found answers in
our bedrock of legal principles, it is equally important that it went through this crucible of a
democratic process, if only to discover that it can resolve differences without the use of force and
aggression upon each other.
WHEREFORE, Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment
Proceedings which were approved by the House of Representatives on November 28, 2001 are
unconstitutional. Consequently, the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G.
Davide, Jr. which was filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B.
Fuentebella with the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives on October 23,
2003 is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo and Tinga, JJ., see separate opinion.
Puno, and Ynares-Santiago, J., see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Vitug, Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez and Callejo, Sr., JJ., see separate concurring opinion.
Quisumbing, J., concurring separate opinion received.
Carpio, J., concur.
Austria-Martinez, J., concur in the majority opinion and in the separate opinion of J. Vitug.
Corona, J., will write a separate concurring opinion.
Azcuna, J., concur in the separate opinion.
G.R. No. L-45459 March 13, 1937
GREGORIO AGLIPAY, petitioner,
vs.
JUAN RUIZ, respondent.
Vicente Sotto for petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor-General Tuason for respondent.
LAUREL, J.:
The petitioner, Mons. Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church, seeks the
issuance from this court of a writ of prohibition to prevent the respondent Director of Posts from issuing
and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress.
In May, 1936, the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of Manila that he would order the issues of
postage stamps commemorating the celebration in the City of Manila of the Thirty-third international
Eucharistic Congress, organized by the Roman Catholic Church. The petitioner, in the fulfillment of what
he considers to be a civic duty, requested Vicente Sotto, Esq., member of the Philippine Bar, to denounce
the matter to the President of the Philippines. In spite of the protest of the petitioner‟s attorney, the
respondent publicly announced having sent to the United States the designs of the postage stamps for
printing as follows:
“In the center is chalice, with grape vine and stalks of wheat as border design. The stamps are blue, green,
brown, cardinal red, violet and orange, 1 inch by 1,094 inches. The denominations are for 2, 6, 16, 20, 36
and 50 centavos.” The said stamps were actually issued and sold though the greater part thereof, to this
day, remains unsold. The further sale of the stamps is sought to be prevented by the petitioner herein.
The Solicitor-General contends that the writ of prohibition is not the proper legal remedy in the instant
case, although he admits that the writ may properly restrain ministerial functions. While, generally,
prohibition as an extraordinary legal writ will not issue to restrain or control the performance of other
than judicial or quasi-judicial functions (50 C. J., 6580, its issuance and enforcement are regulated by
statute and in this jurisdiction may issue to . . . inferior tribunals, corporations, boards, or persons,
whether excercising functions judicial or ministerial, which are without or in excess of the jurisdiction of
such tribunal, corporation, board, or person, . . . .” (Secs. 516 and 226, Code of Civil Procedure.) The
terms “judicial” and “ministerial” used with reference to “functions” in the statute are undoubtedly
comprehensive and include the challenged act of the respondent Director of Posts in the present case,
which act because alleged to be violative of the Constitution is a fortiorari “without or in excess of . . .
jurisdiction.” The statutory rule, therefore, in the jurisdiction is that the writ of prohibition is not confined
exclusively to courts or tribunals to keep them within the limits of their own jurisdiction and to prevent
them from encroaching upon the jurisdiction of other tribunals, but will issue, in appropriate cases, to an
officer or person whose acts are without or in excess of his authority. Not infrequently, “the writ is
granted, where it is necessary for the orderly administration of justice, or to prevent the use of the strong
arm of the law in an oppressive or vindictive manner, or a multiplicity of actions.” (Dimayuga and Fajardo
vs. Fernandez [1923], 43 Phil., 304, 307.)
The more important question raised refers to the alleged violation of the Constitution by the respondent
in issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic
Congress. It is alleged that this action of the respondent is violative of the provisions of section 23,
subsection 3, Article VI, of the Constitution of the Philippines, which provides as follows:
No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, or used, directly or indirectly, for the
use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, secretarian, institution, or system of religion,
or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary
as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces or to
any penal institution, orphanage, or leprosarium.
The prohibition herein expressed is a direct corollary of the principle of separation of church and state.
Without the necessity of adverting to the historical background of this principle in our country, it is
sufficient to say that our history, not to speak of the history of mankind, has taught us that the union of
church and state is prejudicial to both, for ocassions might arise when the estate will use the church, and
the church the state, as a weapon in the furtherance of their recognized this principle of separation of
church and state in the early stages of our constitutional development; it was inserted in the Treaty of
Paris between the United States and Spain of December 10, 1898, reiterated in President McKinley‟s
Instructions of the Philippine Commission, reaffirmed in the Philippine Bill of 1902 and in the autonomy
Act of August 29, 1916, and finally embodied in the constitution of the Philippines as the supreme
expression of the Filipino people. It is almost trite to say now that in this country we enjoy both religious
and civil freedom. All the officers of the Government, from the highest to the lowest, in taking their oath
to support and defend the constitution, bind themselves to recognize and respect the constitutional
guarantee of religious freedom, with its inherent limitations and recognized implications. It should be
stated that what is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious liberty, not mere religious toleration.
Religious freedom, however, as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of profound reverence for
religion and is not denial of its influence in human affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an active
power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And, in so far as it instills into the minds
the purest principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and highly appreciated. When the Filipino
people, in the preamble of their Constitution, implored “the aid of Divine Providence, in order to establish
a government that shall embody their ideals, conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation, promote
the general welfare, and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of independence under a
regime of justice, liberty and democracy,” they thereby manifested reliance upon Him who guides the
destinies of men and nations. The elevating influence of religion in human society is recognized here as
elsewhere. In fact, certain general concessions are indiscriminately accorded to religious sects and
denominations. Our Constitution and laws exempt from taxation properties devoted exclusively to
religious purposes (sec. 14, subsec. 3, Art. VI, Constitution of the Philippines and sec. 1, subsec. 4,
Ordinance appended thereto; Assessment Law, sec. 344, par. [c]. Adm. Code). Sectarian aid is not
prohibited when a priest, preacher, minister or other religious teacher or dignitary as such is assigned to
the armed forces or to any penal institution, orphanage or leprosarium 9 sec. 13, subsec. 3, Art. VI,
Constitution of the Philippines). Optional religious instruction in the public schools is by constitutional
mandate allowed (sec. 5, Art. XIII, Constitution of the Philippines, in relation to sec. 928, Adm. Code).
Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Sundays and made legal
holidays (sec. 29, Adm. Code) because of the secular idea that their observance is conclusive to beneficial
moral results. The law allows divorce but punishes polygamy and bigamy; and certain crimes against
religious worship are considered crimes against the fundamental laws of the state (see arts. 132 and 133,
Revised Penal Code).
In the case at bar, it appears that the respondent Director of Posts issued the postage stamps in question
under the provisions of Act No. 4052 of the Philippine Legislature. This Act is as follows:
No. 4052. — AN ACT APPROPRIATING THE SUM OF SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS AND MAKING THE SAME
AVAILABLE OUT OF ANY FUNDS IN THE INSULAR TREASURY NOT OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED FOR THE COST
OF PLATES AND PRINTING OF POSTAGE STAMPS WITH NEW DESIGNS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Legislature assembled and
by the authority of the same:
SECTION 1. The sum of sixty thousand pesos is hereby appropriated and made immediately available out
of any funds in the Insular Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the costs of plates and printing of
postage stamps with new designs, and other expenses incident thereto.
SEC. 2. The Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, is
hereby authorized to dispose of the whole or any portion of the amount herein appropriated in the
manner indicated and as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government.
SEC. 3. This amount or any portion thereof not otherwise expended shall not revert to the Treasury.
SEC. 4. This act shall take effect on its approval.
Approved, February 21, 1933.
It will be seen that the Act appropriates the sum of sixty thousand pesos for the costs of plates and
printing of postage stamps with new designs and other expenses incident thereto, and authorizes the
Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, to dispose of
the amount appropriated in the manner indicated and “as often as may be deemed advantageous to the
Government”. The printing and issuance of the postage stamps in question appears to have been
approved by authority of the President of the Philippines in a letter dated September 1, 1936, made part of
the respondent‟s memorandum as Exhibit A. The respondent alleges that the Government of the
Philippines would suffer losses if the writ prayed for is granted. He estimates the revenue to be derived
from the sale of the postage stamps in question at P1,618,17.10 and states that there still remain to be
sold stamps worth P1,402,279.02.
Act No. 4052 contemplates no religious purpose in view. What it gives the Director of Posts is the
discretionary power to determine when the issuance of special postage stamps would be “advantageous to
the Government.” Of course, the phrase “advantageous to the Government” does not authorize the
violation of the Constitution. It does not authorize the appropriation, use or application of public money
or property for the use, benefit or support of a particular sect or church. In the present case, however, the
issuance of the postage stamps in question by the Director of Posts and the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications was not inspired by any sectarian denomination. The stamps were not issue and sold for
the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor were money derived from the sale of the stamps given to
that church. On the contrary, it appears from the latter of the Director of Posts of June 5, 1936,
incorporated on page 2 of the petitioner‟s complaint, that the only purpose in issuing and selling the
stamps was “to advertise the Philippines and attract more tourist to this country.” The officials concerned
merely, took advantage of an event considered of international importance “to give publicity to the
Philippines and its people” (Letter of the Undersecretary of Public Works and Communications to the
President of the Philippines, June 9, 1936; p. 3, petitioner‟s complaint). It is significant to note that the
stamps as actually designed and printed (Exhibit 2), instead of showing a Catholic Church chalice as
originally planned, contains a map of the Philippines and the location of the City of Manila, and an
inscription as follows: “Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress, Feb. 3-7,1937.” What is emphasized
is not the Eucharistic Congress itself but Manila, the capital of the Philippines, as the seat of that congress.
It is obvious that while the issuance and sale of the stamps in question may be said to be inseparably
linked with an event of a religious character, the resulting propaganda, if any, received by the Roman
Catholic Church, was not the aim and purpose of the Government. We are of the opinion that the
Government should not be embarassed in its activities simply because of incidental results, more or less
religious in character, if the purpose had in view is one which could legitimately be undertaken by
appropriate legislation. The main purpose should not be frustrated by its subordinate to mere incidental
results not contemplated. (Vide Bradfield vs. Roberts, 175 U. S., 295; 20 Sup. Ct. Rep., 121; 44 Law. ed.,
168.)
We are much impressed with the vehement appeal of counsel for the petitioner to maintain inviolate the
complete separation of church and state and curb any attempt to infringe by indirection a constitutional
inhibition. Indeed, in the Philippines, once the scene of religious intolerance and prescription, care should
be taken that at this stage of our political development nothing is done by the Government or its officials
that may lead to the belief that the Government is taking sides or favoring a particular religious sect or
institution. But, upon very serious reflection, examination of Act No. 4052, and scrutiny of the attending
circumstances, we have come to the conclusion that there has been no constitutional infraction in the case
at bar, Act No. 4052 grants the Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, discretion to misuse postage stamps with new designs “as often as may be deemed
advantageous to the Government.” Even if we were to assume that these officials made use of a poor
judgment in issuing and selling the postage stamps in question still, the case of the petitioner would fail
to take in weight. Between the exercise of a poor judgment and the unconstitutionality of the step taken, a
gap exists which is yet to be filled to justify the court in setting aside the official act assailed as coming
within a constitutional inhibition.
The petition for a writ of prohibition is hereby denied, without pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.
Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Imperial, Diaz and Concepcion, JJ., concur.
G.R No. 187167 August 16, 2011
PROF. MERLIN M. MAGALLONA, AKBAYAN PARTY-LIST REP. RISA HONTIVEROS, PROF.
HARRY C. ROQUE, JR., AND UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES COLLEGE OF LAW
STUDENTS, ALITHEA BARBARA ACAS, VOLTAIRE ALFERES, CZARINA MAY ALTEZ,
FRANCIS ALVIN ASILO, SHERYL BALOT, RUBY AMOR BARRACA, JOSE JAVIER BAUTISTA,
ROMINA BERNARDO, VALERIE PAGASA BUENAVENTURA, EDAN MARRI CAÑETE, VANN
ALLEN DELA CRUZ, RENE DELORINO, PAULYN MAY DUMAN, SHARON ESCOTO, RODRIGO
FAJARDO III, GIRLIE FERRER, RAOULLE OSEN FERRER, CARLA REGINA GREPO, ANNA
MARIE CECILIA GO, IRISH KAY KALAW, MARY ANN JOY LEE, MARIA LUISA
MANALAYSAY, MIGUEL RAFAEL MUSNGI, MICHAEL OCAMPO, JAKLYN HANNA PINEDA,
WILLIAM RAGAMAT, MARICAR RAMOS, ENRIK FORT REVILLAS, JAMES MARK
TERRY RIDON, JOHANN FRANTZ RIVERA IV, CHRISTIAN RIVERO, DIANNE MARIE ROA,
NICHOLAS SANTIZO, MELISSA CHRISTINA SANTOS, CRISTINE MAE TABING, VANESSA
ANNE TORNO, MARIA ESTER VANGUARDIA, and MARCELINO VELOSO III,Petitioners,
vs.
HON. EDUARDO ERMITA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, HON.
ALBERTO ROMULO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN
AFFAIRS, HON. ROLANDO ANDAYA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, HON. DIONY VENTURA, IN HISCAPACITY
AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL MAPPING & RESOURCE
INFORMATION AUTHORITY, and HON. HILARIO DAVIDE, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY
AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THEREPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES TO THE UNITED NATIONS, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
This original action for the writs of certiorari and prohibition assails the constitutionality of Republic
Act No. 9522
1
(RA 9522) adjusting the country‘s archipelagic baselines and classifying the baseline
regime of nearby territories.
The Antecedents
In 1961, Congress passed Republic Act No. 3046 (RA 3046)
2
demarcating the maritime baselines of
the Philippines as an archipelagic State.
3
This law followed the framing of the Convention on the
Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone in 1958 (UNCLOS I),
4
codifying, among others, the
sovereign right of States parties over their ―territorial sea,‖ the breadth of which, however, was left
undetermined. Attempts to fill this void during the second round of negotiations in Geneva in 1960
(UNCLOS II) proved futile. Thus, domestically, RA 3046 remained unchanged for nearly five
decades, save for legislation passed in 1968 (Republic Act No. 5446 [RA 5446]) correcting
typographical errors and reserving the drawing of baselines around Sabah in North Borneo.
In March 2009, Congress amended RA 3046 by enacting RA 9522, the statute now under scrutiny.
The change was prompted by the need to make RA 3046 compliant with the terms of the United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III),
5
which the Philippines ratified on 27
February 1984.
6
Among others, UNCLOS III prescribes the water-land ratio, length, and contour of
baselines of archipelagic States like the Philippines
7
and sets the deadline for the filing of application
for the extended continental shelf.
8
Complying with these requirements, RA 9522 shortened one
baseline, optimized the location of some basepoints around the Philippine archipelago and classified
adjacent territories, namely, the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and the Scarborough Shoal, as
―regimes of islands‖ whose islands generate their own applicable maritime zones.
Petitioners, professors of law, law students and a legislator, in their respective capacities as
―citizens, taxpayers or x x x legislators,‖
9
as the case may be, assail the constitutionality of RA 9522
on two principal grounds, namely: (1) RA 9522 reduces Philippine maritime territory, and logically,
the reach of the Philippine state‘s sovereign power, in violation of Article 1 of the 1987
Constitution,
10
embodying the terms of the Treaty of Paris
11
and ancillary treaties,
12
and (2) RA 9522
opens the country‘s waters landward of the baselines to maritime passage by all vessels and
aircrafts, undermining Philippine sovereignty and national security, contravening the country‘s
nuclear-free policy, and damaging marine resources, in violation of relevant constitutional
provisions.
13

In addition, petitioners contend that RA 9522‘s treatment of the KIG as ―regime of islands‖ not only
results in the loss of a large maritime area but also prejudices the livelihood of subsistence
fishermen.
14
To buttress their argument of territorial diminution, petitioners facially attack RA 9522 for
what it excluded and included – its failure to reference either the Treaty of Paris or Sabah and its use
of UNCLOS III‘s framework of regime of islands to determine the maritime zones of the KIG and the
Scarborough Shoal.
Commenting on the petition, respondent officials raised threshold issues questioning (1) the
petition‘s compliance with the case or controversy requirement for judicial review grounded on
petitioners‘ alleged lack of locus standi and (2) the propriety of the writs of certiorari and prohibition
to assail the constitutionality of RA 9522. On the merits, respondents defended RA 9522 as the
country‘s compliance with the terms of UNCLOS III, preserving Philippine territory over the KIG or
Scarborough Shoal. Respondents add that RA 9522 does not undermine the country‘s security,
environment and economic interests or relinquish the Philippines‘ claim over Sabah.
Respondents also question the normative force, under international law, of petitioners‘ assertion that
what Spain ceded to the United States under the Treaty of Paris were the islands and all the
waters found within the boundaries of the rectangular area drawn under the Treaty of Paris.
We left unacted petitioners‘ prayer for an injunctive writ.
The Issues
The petition raises the following issues:
1. Preliminarily –
a) Whether petitioners possess locus standi to bring this suit; and
b) Whether the writs of certiorari and prohibition are the proper remedies to assail the
constitutionality of RA 9522.
2. On the merits, whether RA 9522 is unconstitutional.
The Ruling of the Court
On the threshold issues, we hold that (1) petitioners possess locus standi to bring this suit as
citizens and (2) the writs of certiorari and prohibition are proper remedies to test the constitutionality
of RA 9522. On the merits, we find no basis to declare RA 9522 unconstitutional.
On the Threshold Issues Petitioners Possess Locus Standi as Citizens
Petitioners themselves undermine their assertion of locus standi as legislators and taxpayers
because the petition alleges neither infringement of legislative prerogative
15
nor misuse of public
funds,
16
occasioned by the passage and implementation of RA 9522. Nonetheless, we recognize
petitioners‘ locus standi as citizens with constitutionally sufficient interest in the resolution of the
merits of the case which undoubtedly raises issues of national significance necessitating urgent
resolution. Indeed, owing to the peculiar nature of RA 9522, it is understandably difficult to find other
litigants possessing ―a more direct and specific interest‖ to bring the suit, thus satisfying one of the
requirements for granting citizenship standing.
17

The Writs of Certiorari and Prohibition Are Proper Remedies to Test the Constitutionality of
Statutes
In praying for the dismissal of the petition on preliminary grounds, respondents seek a strict
observance of the offices of the writs of certiorari and prohibition, noting that the writs cannot issue
absent any showing of grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of judicial, quasi-judicial or
ministerial powers on the part of respondents and resulting prejudice on the part of petitioners.
18

Respondents‘ submission holds true in ordinary civil proceedings. When this Court exercises its
constitutional power of judicial review, however, we have, by tradition, viewed the writs of certiorari
and prohibition as proper remedial vehicles to test the constitutionality of statutes,
19
and indeed, of
acts of other branches of government.
20
Issues of constitutional import are sometimes crafted out of
statutes which, while having no bearing on the personal interests of the petitioners, carry such
relevance in the life of this nation that the Court inevitably finds itself constrained to take cognizance
of the case and pass upon the issues raised, non-compliance with the letter of procedural rules
notwithstanding. The statute sought to be reviewed here is one such law.
RA 9522 is Not Unconstitutional
RA 9522 is a Statutory Tool to Demarcate the Country’s Maritime Zones and Continental Shelf
Under UNCLOS III, not toDelineate Philippine Territory
Petitioners submit that RA 9522 ―dismembers a large portion of the national territory‖
21
because it
discards the pre-UNCLOS III demarcation of Philippine territory under the Treaty of Paris and related
treaties, successively encoded in the definition of national territory under the 1935, 1973 and 1987
Constitutions. Petitioners theorize that this constitutional definition trumps any treaty or statutory
provision denying the Philippines sovereign control over waters, beyond the territorial sea
recognized at the time of the Treaty of Paris, that Spain supposedly ceded to the United States.
Petitioners argue that from the Treaty of Paris‘ technical description, Philippine sovereignty over
territorial waters extends hundreds of nautical miles around the Philippine archipelago, embracing
the rectangular area delineated in the Treaty of Paris.
22

Petitioners‘ theory fails to persuade us.
UNCLOS III has nothing to do with the acquisition (or loss) of territory. It is a multilateral treaty
regulating, among others, sea-use rights over maritime zones (i.e., the territorial waters [12 nautical
miles from the baselines], contiguous zone [24 nautical miles from the baselines], exclusive
economic zone [200 nautical miles from the baselines]), and continental shelves that UNCLOS III
delimits.
23
UNCLOS III was the culmination of decades-long negotiations among United Nations
members to codify norms regulating the conduct of States in the world‘s oceans and submarine
areas, recognizing coastal and archipelagic States‘ graduated authority over a limited span of waters
and submarine lands along their coasts.
On the other hand, baselines laws such as RA 9522 are enacted by UNCLOS III States parties to
mark-out specific basepoints along their coasts from which baselines are drawn, either straight or
contoured, to serve as geographic starting points to measure the breadth of the maritime zones and
continental shelf. Article 48 of UNCLOS III on archipelagic States like ours could not be any clearer:
Article 48. Measurement of the breadth of the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive
economic zone and the continental shelf. – The breadth of the territorial sea, the contiguous zone,
the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf shall be measured from archipelagic
baselines drawn in accordance with Article 47. (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, baselines laws are nothing but statutory mechanisms for UNCLOS III States parties to delimit
with precision the extent of their maritime zones and continental shelves. In turn, this gives notice to
the rest of the international community of the scope of the maritime space and submarine areas
within which States parties exercise treaty-based rights, namely, the exercise of sovereignty over
territorial waters (Article 2), the jurisdiction to enforce customs, fiscal, immigration, and sanitation
laws in the contiguous zone (Article 33), and the right to exploit the living and non-living resources in
the exclusive economic zone (Article 56) and continental shelf (Article 77).
Even under petitioners‘ theory that the Philippine territory embraces the islands and all the
waters within the rectangular area delimited in the Treaty of Paris, the baselines of the Philippines
would still have to be drawn in accordance with RA 9522 because this is the only way to draw the
baselines in conformity with UNCLOS III. The baselines cannot be drawn from the boundaries or
other portions of the rectangular area delineated in the Treaty of Paris, but from the ―outermost
islands and drying reefs of the archipelago.‖
24

UNCLOS III and its ancillary baselines laws play no role in the acquisition, enlargement or, as
petitioners claim, diminution of territory. Under traditional international law typology, States acquire
(or conversely, lose) territory through occupation, accretion, cession and prescription,
25
not by
executing multilateral treaties on the regulations of sea-use rights or enacting statutes to comply with
the treaty‘s terms to delimit maritime zones and continental shelves. Territorial claims to land
features are outside UNCLOS III, and are instead governed by the rules on general international
law.
26

RA 9522’s Use of the Framework of Regime of Islands to Determine the Maritime Zones of the
KIG and the Scarborough Shoal, not Inconsistent with the Philippines’ Claim of Sovereignty
Over these Areas
Petitioners next submit that RA 9522‘s use of UNCLOS III‘s regime of islands framework to draw the
baselines, and to measure the breadth of the applicable maritime zones of the KIG, ―weakens our
territorial claim‖ over that area.
27
Petitioners add that the KIG‘s (and Scarborough Shoal‘s) exclusion
from the Philippine archipelagic baselines results in the loss of ―about 15,000 square nautical miles
of territorial waters,‖ prejudicing the livelihood of subsistence fishermen.
28
A comparison of the
configuration of the baselines drawn under RA 3046 and RA 9522 and the extent of maritime space
encompassed by each law, coupled with a reading of the text of RA 9522 and its congressional
deliberations, vis-à-vis the Philippines‘ obligations under UNCLOS III, belie this view.
The configuration of the baselines drawn under RA 3046 and RA 9522 shows that RA 9522 merely
followed the basepoints mapped by RA 3046, save for at least nine basepoints that RA 9522
skipped to optimize the location of basepoints and adjust the length of one baseline (and thus
comply with UNCLOS III‘s limitation on the maximum length of baselines). Under RA 3046, as under
RA 9522, the KIG and the Scarborough Shoal lie outside of the baselines drawn around the
Philippine archipelago. This undeniable cartographic fact takes the wind out of petitioners‘ argument
branding RA 9522 as a statutory renunciation of the Philippines‘ claim over the KIG, assuming that
baselines are relevant for this purpose.
Petitioners‘ assertion of loss of ―about 15,000 square nautical miles of territorial waters‖ under RA
9522 is similarly unfounded both in fact and law. On the contrary, RA 9522, by optimizing the
location of basepoints, increased the Philippines‘ total maritime space (covering its internal waters,
territorial sea and exclusive economic zone) by 145,216 square nautical miles, as shown in the table
below:
29

Extent of maritime area
using RA 3046, as
amended, taking into
account the Treaty of
Paris‘ delimitation (in
square nautical miles)
Extent of maritime area
using RA 9522, taking into
account UNCLOS III (in
square nautical miles)
Internal or archipelagic
waters
166,858 171,435
Territorial Sea 274,136 32,106
Exclusive Economic Zone

382,669TOTAL440,994586,210
Thus, as the map below shows, the reach of the exclusive economic zone drawn under RA 9522
even extends way beyond the waters covered by the rectangular demarcation under the Treaty of
Paris. Of course, where there are overlapping exclusive economic zones of opposite or adjacent
States, there will have to be a delineation of maritime boundaries in accordance with UNCLOS III.
30


Further, petitioners‘ argument that the KIG now lies outside Philippine territory because the
baselines that RA 9522 draws do not enclose the KIG is negated by RA 9522 itself. Section 2 of the
law commits to text the Philippines‘ continued claim of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the KIG and
the Scarborough Shoal:
SEC. 2. The baselines in the following areas over which the Philippines likewise exercises
sovereignty and jurisdiction shall be determined as ―Regime of Islands‖ under the Republic of the
Philippines consistent with Article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
(UNCLOS):
a) The Kalayaan Island Group as constituted under Presidential Decree No. 1596 and
b) Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal. (Emphasis supplied)
Had Congress in RA 9522 enclosed the KIG and the Scarborough Shoal as part of the Philippine
archipelago, adverse legal effects would have ensued. The Philippines would have committed a
breach of two provisions of UNCLOS III. First, Article 47 (3) of UNCLOS III requires that ―[t]he
drawing of such baselines shall not depart to any appreciable extent from the general configuration
of the archipelago.‖ Second, Article 47 (2) of UNCLOS III requires that ―the length of the baselines
shall not exceed 100 nautical miles,‖ save for three per cent (3%) of the total number of baselines
which can reach up to 125 nautical miles.
31

Although the Philippines has consistently claimed sovereignty over the KIG
32
and the Scarborough
Shoal for several decades, these outlying areas are located at an appreciable distance from the
nearest shoreline of the Philippine archipelago,
33
such that any straight baseline loped around them
from the nearest basepoint will inevitably ―depart to an appreciable extent from the general
configuration of the archipelago.‖
The principal sponsor of RA 9522 in the Senate, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, took pains to
emphasize the foregoing during the Senate deliberations:
What we call the Kalayaan Island Group or what the rest of the world call[] the Spratlys and the
Scarborough Shoal are outside our archipelagic baseline because if we put them inside our
baselines we might be accused of violating the provision of international law which states: “The
drawing of such baseline shall not depart to any appreciable extent from the general configuration of
the archipelago.” So sa loob ng ating baseline, dapat magkalapit ang mga islands. Dahil malayo ang
Scarborough Shoal, hindi natin masasabing malapit sila sa atin although we are still allowed by
international law to claim them as our own.
This is called contested islands outside our configuration. We see that our archipelago is defined by
the orange line which [we] call[] archipelagic baseline. Ngayon, tingnan ninyo ang maliit na circle
doon sa itaas, that is Scarborough Shoal, itong malaking circle sa ibaba, that is Kalayaan Group or
the Spratlys. Malayo na sila sa ating archipelago kaya kung ilihis pa natin ang dating archipelagic
baselines para lamang masama itong dalawang circles, hindi na sila magkalapit at baka hindi na
tatanggapin ng United Nations because of the rule that it should follow the natural configuration of
the archipelago.
34
(Emphasis supplied)
Similarly, the length of one baseline that RA 3046 drew exceeded UNCLOS III‘s limits. The need to
shorten this baseline, and in addition, to optimize the location of basepoints using current maps,
became imperative as discussed by respondents:
[T]he amendment of the baselines law was necessary to enable the Philippines to draw the outer
limits of its maritime zones including the extended continental shelf in the manner provided by Article
47 of [UNCLOS III]. As defined by R.A. 3046, as amended by R.A. 5446, the baselines suffer from
some technical deficiencies, to wit:
1. The length of the baseline across Moro Gulf (from Middle of 3 Rock Awash to Tongquil Point) is
140.06 nautical miles x x x. This exceeds the maximum length allowed under Article 47(2) of the
[UNCLOS III], which states that ―The length of such baselines shall not exceed 100 nautical miles,
except that up to 3 per cent of the total number of baselines enclosing any archipelago may exceed
that length, up to a maximum length of 125 nautical miles.‖
2. The selection of basepoints is not optimal. At least 9 basepoints can be skipped or deleted from
the baselines system. This will enclose an additional 2,195 nautical miles of water.
3. Finally, the basepoints were drawn from maps existing in 1968, and not established by geodetic
survey methods. Accordingly, some of the points, particularly along the west coasts of Luzon down
to Palawan were later found to be located either inland or on water, not on low-water line and drying
reefs as prescribed by Article 47.
35

Hence, far from surrendering the Philippines‘ claim over the KIG and the Scarborough Shoal,
Congress‘ decision to classify the KIG and the Scarborough Shoal as ―‗Regime[s] of Islands‘ under
the Republic of the Philippines consistent with Article 121‖
36
of UNCLOS III manifests the Philippine
State‘s responsible observance of its pacta sunt servanda obligation under UNCLOS III. Under
Article 121 of UNCLOS III, any ―naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above
water at high tide,‖ such as portions of the KIG, qualifies under the category of ―regime of islands,‖
whose islands generate their own applicable maritime zones.
37

Statutory Claim Over Sabah under RA 5446 Retained
Petitioners‘ argument for the invalidity of RA 9522 for its failure to textualize the Philippines‘ claim
over Sabah in North Borneo is also untenable. Section 2 of RA 5446, which RA 9522 did not repeal,
keeps open the door for drawing the baselines of Sabah:
Section 2. The definition of the baselines of the territorial sea of the Philippine Archipelago as
provided in this Act is without prejudice to the delineation of the baselines of the territorial sea
around the territory of Sabah, situated in North Borneo, over which the Republic of the
Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty. (Emphasis supplied)
UNCLOS III and RA 9522 not Incompatible with the Constitution’s Delineation of Internal
Waters
As their final argument against the validity of RA 9522, petitioners contend that the law
unconstitutionally ―converts‖ internal waters into archipelagic waters, hence subjecting these waters
to the right of innocent and sea lanes passage under UNCLOS III, including overflight. Petitioners
extrapolate that these passage rights indubitably expose Philippine internal waters to nuclear and
maritime pollution hazards, in violation of the Constitution.
38

Whether referred to as Philippine ―internal waters‖ under Article I of the Constitution
39
or as
―archipelagic waters‖ under UNCLOS III (Article 49 [1]), the Philippines exercises sovereignty over
the body of water lying landward of the baselines, including the air space over it and the submarine
areas underneath. UNCLOS III affirms this:
Article 49. Legal status of archipelagic waters, of the air space over archipelagic waters and of their
bed and subsoil. –
1. The sovereignty of an archipelagic State extends to the waters enclosed by the
archipelagic baselines drawn in accordance with article 47, described as archipelagic waters,
regardless of their depth or distance from the coast.
2. This sovereignty extends to the air space over the archipelagic waters, as well as to their
bed and subsoil, and the resources contained therein.
x x x x
4. The regime of archipelagic sea lanes passage established in this Part shall not in other
respects affect the status of the archipelagic waters, including the sea lanes, or the exercise by
the archipelagic State of its sovereignty over such waters and their air space, bed and
subsoil, and the resources contained therein. (Emphasis supplied)
The fact of sovereignty, however, does not preclude the operation of municipal and international law
norms subjecting the territorial sea or archipelagic waters to necessary, if not marginal, burdens in
the interest of maintaining unimpeded, expeditious international navigation, consistent with the
international law principle of freedom of navigation. Thus, domestically, the political branches of the
Philippine government, in the competent discharge of their constitutional powers, may pass
legislation designating routes within the archipelagic waters to regulate innocent and sea lanes
passage.
40
Indeed, bills drawing nautical highways for sea lanes passage are now pending in
Congress.
41

In the absence of municipal legislation, international law norms, now codified in UNCLOS III, operate
to grant innocent passage rights over the territorial sea or archipelagic waters, subject to the treaty‘s
limitations and conditions for their exercise.
42
Significantly, the right of innocent passage is a
customary international law,
43
thus automatically incorporated in the corpus of Philippine law.
44
No
modern State can validly invoke its sovereignty to absolutely forbid innocent passage that is
exercised in accordance with customary international law without risking retaliatory measures from
the international community.
The fact that for archipelagic States, their archipelagic waters are subject to both the right of
innocent passage and sea lanes passage
45
does not place them in lesser footing vis-à-vis continental
coastal States which are subject, in their territorial sea, to the right of innocent passage and the right
of transit passage through international straits. The imposition of these passage rights through
archipelagic waters under UNCLOS III was a concession by archipelagic States, in exchange for
their right to claim all the waters landward of their baselines, regardless of their depth or distance
from the coast, as archipelagic waters subject to their territorial sovereignty. More importantly, the
recognition of archipelagic States‘ archipelago and the waters enclosed by their baselines as one
cohesive entity prevents the treatment of their islands as separate islands under UNCLOS
III.
46
Separate islands generate their own maritime zones, placing the waters between islands
separated by more than 24 nautical miles beyond the States‘ territorial sovereignty, subjecting these
waters to the rights of other States under UNCLOS III.
47

Petitioners‘ invocation of non-executory constitutional provisions in Article II (Declaration of
Principles and State Policies)
48
must also fail. Our present state of jurisprudence considers the
provisions in Article II as mere legislative guides, which, absent enabling legislation, ―do not embody
judicially enforceable constitutional rights x x x.‖
49
Article II provisions serve as guides in formulating
and interpreting implementing legislation, as well as in interpreting executory provisions of the
Constitution. Although Oposa v. Factoran
50
treated the right to a healthful and balanced ecology
under Section 16 of Article II as an exception, the present petition lacks factual basis to substantiate
the claimed constitutional violation. The other provisions petitioners cite, relating to the protection of
marine wealth (Article XII, Section 2, paragraph 2
51
) and subsistence fishermen (Article XIII, Section
7
52
), are not violated by RA 9522.
In fact, the demarcation of the baselines enables the Philippines to delimit its exclusive economic
zone, reserving solely to the Philippines the exploitation of all living and non-living resources within
such zone. Such a maritime delineation binds the international community since the delineation is in
strict observance of UNCLOS III. If the maritime delineation is contrary to UNCLOS III, the
international community will of course reject it and will refuse to be bound by it.
UNCLOS III favors States with a long coastline like the Philippines. UNCLOS III creates a sui
generis maritime space – the exclusive economic zone – in waters previously part of the high seas.
UNCLOS III grants new rights to coastal States to exclusively exploit the resources found within this
zone up to 200 nautical miles.
53
UNCLOS III, however, preserves the traditional freedom of
navigation of other States that attached to this zone beyond the territorial sea before UNCLOS III.
RA 9522 and the Philippines’ Maritime Zones
Petitioners hold the view that, based on the permissive text of UNCLOS III, Congress was not bound
to pass RA 9522.
54
We have looked at the relevant provision of UNCLOS III
55
and we find petitioners‘
reading plausible. Nevertheless, the prerogative of choosing this option belongs to Congress, not to
this Court. Moreover, the luxury of choosing this option comes at a very steep price. Absent an
UNCLOS III compliant baselines law, an archipelagic State like the Philippines will find itself devoid
of internationally acceptable baselines from where the breadth of its maritime zones and continental
shelf is measured. This is recipe for a two-fronted disaster: first, it sends an open invitation to the
seafaring powers to freely enter and exploit the resources in the waters and submarine areas around
our archipelago; and second, it weakens the country‘s case in any international dispute over
Philippine maritime space. These are consequences Congress wisely avoided.
The enactment of UNCLOS III compliant baselines law for the Philippine archipelago and adjacent
areas, as embodied in RA 9522, allows an internationally-recognized delimitation of the breadth of
the Philippines‘ maritime zones and continental shelf. RA 9522 is therefore a most vital step on the
part of the Philippines in safeguarding its maritime zones, consistent with the Constitution and our
national interest.
WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition.
SO ORDERED.
Corona, Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, Brion, Peralta, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Abad, Villarama,
Jr., Portugal Perez (on leave), Mendoza, Sereno, JJ., concur.
READ CASE DIGEST HERE.
Footnotes
1Entitled ―An Act to Amend Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 3046, as Amended by Republic
Act No. 5446, to Define the Archipelagic Baselines of the Philippines, and for Other Purposes.‖
2 Entitled ―An Act to Define the Baselines of the Territorial Sea of the Philippines.‖
3 The third ―Whereas Clause‖ of RA 3046 expresses the import of treating the Philippines as an
archipelagic State:
―WHEREAS, all the waters around, between, and connecting the various islands of the Philippine
archipelago, irrespective of their width or dimensions, have always been considered as necessary
appurtenances of the land territory, forming part of the inland waters of the Philippines.‖
4 One of the four conventions framed during the first United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea in Geneva, this treaty, excluding the Philippines, entered into force on 10 September 1964.
5 UNCLOS III entered into force on 16 November 1994.
6 The Philippines signed the treaty on 10 December 1982.
7 Article 47, paragraphs 1-3, provide:
1. An archipelagic State may draw straight archipelagic baselines joining the outermost points of the
outermost islands and drying reefs of the archipelago provided that within such baselines are
included the main islands and an area in which the ratio of the area of the water to the area of the
land, including atolls, is between 1 to 1 and 9 to 1.
2. The length of such baselines shall not exceed 100 nautical miles, except that up to 3 per cent of
the total number of baselines enclosing any archipelago may exceed that length, up to a maximum
length of 125 nautical miles.
3. The drawing of such baselines shall not depart to any appreciable extent from the general
configuration of the archipelago. (Emphasis supplied)
x x x x
8 UNCLOS III entered into force on 16 November 1994. The deadline for the filing of application is
mandated in Article 4, Annex II: ―Where a coastal State intends to establish, in accordance with
article 76, the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, it shall submit particulars
of such limits to the Commission along with supporting scientific and technical data as soon as
possible but in any case within 10 years of the entry into force of this Convention for that State. The
coastal State shall at the same time give the names of any Commission members who have
provided it with scientific and technical advice.‖ (Underscoring supplied)
In a subsequent meeting, the States parties agreed that for States which became bound by the
treaty before 13 May 1999 (such as the Philippines) the ten-year period will be counted from that
date. Thus, RA 9522, which took effect on 27 March 2009, barely met the deadline.
9 Rollo, p. 34.
10Which provides: ―The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands
and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or
jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial, and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the
seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. The waters around, between,
and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, form part
of the internal waters of the Philippines.‖
11 Entered into between the Unites States and Spain on 10 December 1898 following the conclusion
of the Spanish-American War. Under the terms of the treaty, Spain ceded to the United States ―the
archipelago known as the Philippine Islands‖ lying within its technical description.
12 The Treaty of Washington, between Spain and the United States (7 November 1900), transferring
to the US the islands of Cagayan, Sulu, and Sibutu and the US-Great Britain Convention (2 January
1930) demarcating boundary lines between the Philippines and North Borneo.
13 Article II, Section 7, Section 8, and Section 16.
14 Allegedly in violation of Article XII, Section 2, paragraph 2 and Article XIII, Section 7 of the
Constitution.
15 Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, 320 Phil. 171, 186 (1995).
16 Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, 110 Phil. 331 (1960); Sanidad v. COMELEC, 165 Phil. 303
(1976).
17 Francisco, Jr. v. House of Representatives, 460 Phil. 830, 899 (2003) citing Kilosbayan, Inc. v.
Guingona, Jr., G.R. No. 113375, 5 May 1994, 232 SCRA 110, 155-156 (1995) (Feliciano, J.,
concurring). The two other factors are: ―the character of funds or assets involved in the controversy
and a clear disregard of constitutional or statutory prohibition.‖ Id.
18 Rollo, pp. 144-147.
19 See e.g. Aquino III v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 189793, 7 April 2010, 617 SCRA 623 (dismissing a
petition for certiorari and prohibition assailing the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 9716, not for
the impropriety of remedy but for lack of merit); Aldaba v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 188078, 25 January
2010, 611 SCRA 137 (issuing the writ of prohibition to declare unconstitutional Republic Act No.
9591); Macalintal v. COMELEC, 453 Phil. 586 (2003) (issuing the writs of certiorari and prohibition
declaring unconstitutional portions of Republic Act No. 9189).
20See e.g. Neri v. Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, G.R.
No. 180643, 25 March 2008, 549 SCRA 77 (granting a writ of certiorari against the Philippine Senate
and nullifying the Senate contempt order issued against petitioner).
21 Rollo, p. 31.
22 Respondents state in their Comment that petitioners‘ theory ―has not been accepted or
recognized by either the United States or Spain,‖ the parties to the Treaty of Paris. Respondents add
that ―no State is known to have supported this proposition.‖ Rollo, p. 179.
23 UNCLOS III belongs to that larger corpus of international law of the sea, which petitioner
Magallona himself defined as ―a body of treaty rules and customary norms governing the uses of the
sea, the exploitation of its resources, and the exercise of jurisdiction over maritime regimes. x x x x‖
(Merlin M. Magallona, Primer on the Law of the Sea 1 [1997]) (Italicization supplied).
24 Following Article 47 (1) of UNCLOS III which provides:
An archipelagic State may draw straight archipelagic baselines joining the outermost points of
the outermost islands and drying reefs of the archipelago provided that within such baselines
are included the main islands and an area in which the ratio of the area of the water to the area of
the land, including atolls, is between 1 to 1 and 9 to 1. (Emphasis supplied)
25 Under the United Nations Charter, use of force is no longer a valid means of acquiring territory.
26 The last paragraph of the preamble of UNCLOS III states that ―matters not regulated by this
Convention continue to be governed by the rules and principles of general international law.‖
27 Rollo, p. 51.
28 Id. at 51-52, 64-66.
29 Based on figures respondents submitted in their Comment (id. at 182).
30 Under Article 74.
31 See note 7.
32 Presidential Decree No. 1596 classifies the KIG as a municipality of Palawan.
33 KIG lies around 80 nautical miles west of Palawan while Scarborough Shoal is around 123
nautical west of Zambales.
34 Journal, Senate 14th Congress 44th Session 1416 (27 January 2009).
35 Rollo, p. 159.
36 Section 2, RA 9522.
37 Article 121 provides: ―Regime of islands. —
1. An island is a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high
tide.
2. Except as provided for in paragraph 3, the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive
economic zone and the continental shelf of an island are determined in accordance with the
provisions of this Convention applicable to other land territory.
3. Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no
exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.‖
38 Rollo, pp. 56-57, 60-64.
39 Paragraph 2, Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution uses the term ―archipelagic waters‖
separately from ―territorial sea.‖ Under UNCLOS III, an archipelagic State may have internal waters
– such as those enclosed by closing lines across bays and mouths of rivers. See Article 50,
UNCLOS III. Moreover, Article 8 (2) of UNCLOS III provides: ―Where the establishment of a straight
baseline in accordance with the method set forth in article 7 has the effect of enclosing as internal
waters areas which had not previously been considered as such, a right of innocent passage as
provided in this Convention shall exist in those waters.‖ (Emphasis supplied)
40 Mandated under Articles 52 and 53 of UNCLOS III:
Article 52. Right of innocent passage. —
1. Subject to article 53 and without prejudice to article 50, ships of all States enjoy the right of
innocent passage through archipelagic waters, in accordance with Part II, section 3.
2. The archipelagic State may, without discrimination in form or in fact among foreign ships, suspend
temporarily in specified areas of its archipelagic waters the innocent passage of foreign ships if such
suspension is essential for the protection of its security. Such suspension shall take effect only after
having been duly published. (Emphasis supplied)
Article 53. Right of archipelagic sea lanes passage. —
1. An archipelagic State may designate sea lanes and air routes thereabove, suitable for the
continuous and expeditious passage of foreign ships and aircraft through or over its archipelagic
waters and the adjacent territorial sea.
2. All ships and aircraft enjoy the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage in such sea lanes
and air routes.
3. Archipelagic sea lanes passage means the exercise in accordance with this Convention of the
rights of navigation and overflight in the normal mode solely for the purpose of continuous,
expeditious and unobstructed transit between one part of the high seas or an exclusive economic
zone and another part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone.
4. Such sea lanes and air routes shall traverse the archipelagic waters and the adjacent territorial
sea and shall include all normal passage routes used as routes for international navigation or
overflight through or over archipelagic waters and, within such routes, so far as ships are concerned,
all normal navigational channels, provided that duplication of routes of similar convenience between
the same entry and exit points shall not be necessary.
5. Such sea lanes and air routes shall be defined by a series of continuous axis lines from the entry
points of passage routes to the exit points. Ships and aircraft in archipelagic sea lanes passage shall
not deviate more than 25 nautical miles to either side of such axis lines during passage, provided
that such ships and aircraft shall not navigate closer to the coasts than 10 per cent of the distance
between the nearest points on islands bordering the sea lane.
6. An archipelagic State which designates sea lanes under this article may also prescribe traffic
separation schemes for the safe passage of ships through narrow channels in such sea lanes.
7. An archipelagic State may, when circumstances require, after giving due publicity thereto,
substitute other sea lanes or traffic separation schemes for any sea lanes or traffic separation
schemes previously designated or prescribed by it.
8. Such sea lanes and traffic separation schemes shall conform to generally accepted international
regulations.
9. In designating or substituting sea lanes or prescribing or substituting traffic separation schemes,
an archipelagic State shall refer proposals to the competent international organization with a view to
their adoption. The organization may adopt only such sea lanes and traffic separation schemes as
may be agreed with the archipelagic State, after which the archipelagic State may designate,
prescribe or substitute them.
10. The archipelagic State shall clearly indicate the axis of the sea lanes and the traffic separation
schemes designated or prescribed by it on charts to which due publicity shall be given.
11. Ships in archipelagic sea lanes passage shall respect applicable sea lanes and traffic separation
schemes established in accordance with this article.
12. If an archipelagic State does not designate sea lanes or air routes, the right of archipelagic sea
lanes passage may be exercised through the routes normally used for international navigation.
(Emphasis supplied)
41 Namely, House Bill No. 4153 and Senate Bill No. 2738, identically titled ―AN ACT TO
ESTABLISH THE ARCHIPELAGIC SEA LANES IN THE PHILIPPINE ARCHIPELAGIC WATERS,
PRESCRIBING THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF FOREIGN SHIPS AND AIRCRAFTS
EXERCISING THE RIGHT OF ARCHIPELAGIC SEA LANES PASSAGE THROUGH THE
ESTABLISHED ARCHIPELAGIC SEA LANES AND PROVIDING FOR THE ASSOCIATED
PROTECTIVE MEASURES THEREIN.‖
42 The relevant provision of UNCLOS III provides:
Article 17. Right of innocent passage. —
Subject to this Convention, ships of all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of
innocent passage through the territorial sea. (Emphasis supplied)
Article 19. Meaning of innocent passage. —
1. Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the
coastal State. Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules
of international law.
2. Passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, good order or
security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities:
(a) any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of
the coastal State, or in any other manner in violation of the principles of international law embodied
in the Charter of the United Nations;
(b) any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind;
(c) any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal
State;
(d) any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State;
(e) the launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft;
(f) the launching, landing or taking on board of any military device;
(g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal,
immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State;
(h) any act of willful and serious pollution contrary to this Convention;
(i) any fishing activities;
(j) the carrying out of research or survey activities;
(k) any act aimed at interfering with any systems of communication or any other facilities or
installations of the coastal State;
(l) any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage
Article 21. Laws and regulations of the coastal State relating to innocent passage. —
1. The coastal State may adopt laws and regulations, in conformity with the provisions of this
Convention and other rules of international law, relating to innocent passage through the territorial
sea, in respect of all or any of the following:
(a) the safety of navigation and the regulation of maritime traffic;
(b) the protection of navigational aids and facilities and other facilities or installations;
(c) the protection of cables and pipelines;
(d) the conservation of the living resources of the sea;
(e) the prevention of infringement of the fisheries laws and regulations of the coastal State;
(f) the preservation of the environment of the coastal State and the prevention, reduction and control
of pollution thereof;
(g) marine scientific research and hydrographic surveys;
(h) the prevention of infringement of the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations
of the coastal State.
2. Such laws and regulations shall not apply to the design, construction, manning or equipment of
foreign ships unless they are giving effect to generally accepted international rules or standards.
3. The coastal State shall give due publicity to all such laws and regulations.
4. Foreign ships exercising the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea shall comply with
all such laws and regulations and all generally accepted international regulations relating to the
prevention of collisions at sea.
43 The right of innocent passage through the territorial sea applies only to ships and not to aircrafts
(Article 17, UNCLOS III). The right of innocent passage of aircrafts through the sovereign territory of
a State arises only under an international agreement. In contrast, the right of innocent passage
through archipelagic waters applies to both ships and aircrafts (Article 53 (12), UNCLOS III).
44 Following Section 2, Article II of the Constitution: ―Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as
an instrument of national policy, 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.‖ (Emphasis supplied)
45―Archipelagic sea lanes passage is essentially the same as transit passage through straits‖ to
which the territorial sea of continental coastal State is subject. R.R. Churabill and A.V. Lowe, The
Law of the Sea 127 (1999).
46 Falling under Article 121 of UNCLOS III (see note 37).
47 Within the exclusive economic zone, other States enjoy the following rights under UNCLOS III:
Article 58. Rights and duties of other States in the exclusive economic zone. —
1. In the exclusive economic zone, all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy, subject to the
relevant provisions of this Convention, the freedoms referred to in article 87 of navigation and
overflight and of the laying of submarine cables and pipelines, and other internationally lawful uses
of the sea related to these freedoms, such as those associated with the operation of ships, aircraft
and submarine cables and pipelines, and compatible with the other provisions of this Convention.
2. Articles 88 to 115 and other pertinent rules of international law apply to the exclusive economic
zone in so far as they are not incompatible with this Part.
x x x x
Beyond the exclusive economic zone, other States enjoy the freedom of the high seas, defined
under UNCLOS III as follows:
Article 87. Freedom of the high seas. —
1. The high seas are open to all States, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas is
exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law.
It comprises, inter alia, both for coastal and land-locked States:
(a) freedom of navigation;
(b) freedom of overflight;
(c) freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines, subject to Part VI;
(d) freedom to construct artificial islands and other installations permitted under international law,
subject to Part VI;
(e) freedom of fishing, subject to the conditions laid down in section 2;
(f) freedom of scientific research, subject to Parts VI and XIII.
2. These freedoms shall be exercised by all States with due regard for the interests of other States in
their exercise of the freedom of the high seas, and also with due regard for the rights under this
Convention with respect to activities in the Area.
48 See note 13.
49 Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, 316 Phil. 652, 698 (1995); Tañada v. Angara, 338 Phil. 546, 580-581
(1997).
50 G.R. No. 101083, 30 July 1993, 224 SCRA 792.
51 ―The State shall protect the nation‘s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and
exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.‖
52―The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local communities, to the
preferential use of the communal marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore. It shall
provide support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and research, adequate financial,
production, and marketing assistance, and other services. The State shall also protect, develop, and
conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to offshore fishing grounds of subsistence
fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the
utilization of marine and fishing resources.‖
53 This can extend up to 350 nautical miles if the coastal State proves its right to claim an extended
continental shelf (seeUNCLOS III, Article 76, paragraphs 4(a), 5 and 6, in relation to Article 77).
54 Rollo, pp. 67-69.
55 Article 47 (1) provides: ―An archipelagic State may draw straight archipelagic baselines joining
the outermost points of the outermost islands and drying reefs of the archipelago provided that within
such baselines are included the main islands and an area in which the ratio of the area of the water
to the area of the land, including atolls, is between 1 to 1 and 9 to 1.‖ (Emphasis supplied)

G.R. No. L-26379 December 27, 1969
WILLIAM C. REAGAN, ETC., petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondent.
Quasha, Asperilla, Blanco, Zafra and Tayag for petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Felicisimo R. Rosete, Solicitor
Lolita O. Gal-lang and Special Attorney Gamaliel H. Mantolino for respondent.
FERNANDO, J.:
A question novel in character, the answer to which has far-reaching implications, is raised by petitioner
William C. Reagan, at one time a civilian employee of an American corporation providing technical
assistance to the United States Air Force in the Philippines. He would dispute the payment of the income
tax assessed on him by respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue on an amount realized by him on a
sale of his automobile to a member of the United States Marine Corps, the transaction having taken place
at the Clark Field Air Base at Pampanga. It is his contention, seriously and earnestly expressed, that in
legal contemplation the sale was made outside Philippine territory and therefore beyond our jurisdictional
power to tax.
Such a plea, far-fetched and implausible, on its face betraying no kinship with reality, he would justify by
invoking, mistakenly as will hereafter be more fully shown an observation to that effect in a 1951
opinion,
1
petitioner ignoring that such utterance was made purely as a flourish of rhetoric and by way of
emphasizing the decision reached, that the trading firm as purchaser of army goods must respond for the
sales taxes due from an importer, as the American armed forces being exempt could not be taxed as such
under the National Internal Revenue Code.
2
Such an assumption, inspired by the commendable aim to
render unavailing any attempt at tax evasion on the part of such vendee, found expression anew in a 1962
decision,
3
coupled with the reminder however, to render the truth unmistakable, that “the areas covered
by the United States Military Bases are not foreign territories both in the political and geographical sense.”
As thus clarified, it is manifest that such a view amounts at most to a legal fiction and is moreover obiter.
It certainly cannot control the resolution of the specific question that confronts us. We declare our stand in
an unequivocal manner. The sale having taken place on what indisputably is Philippine territory,
petitioner‟s liability for the income tax due as a result thereof was unavoidable. As the Court of Tax
Appeals reached a similar conclusion, we sustain its decision now before us on appeal.
In the decision appealed from, the Court of Tax Appeals, after stating the nature of the case, started the
recital of facts thus: “It appears that petitioner, a citizen of the United States and an employee of Bendix
Radio, Division of Bendix Aviation Corporation, which provides technical assistance to the United States Air
Force, was assigned at Clark Air Base, Philippines, on or about July 7, 1959 … . Nine (9) months thereafter
and before his tour of duty expired, petitioner imported on April 22, 1960 a tax-free 1960 Cadillac car
with accessories valued at $6,443.83, including freight, insurance and other charges.”
4
Then came the
following: “On July 11, 1960, more than two (2) months after the 1960 Cadillac car was imported into the
Philippines, petitioner requested the Base Commander, Clark Air Base, for a permit to sell the car, which
was granted provided that the sale was made to a member of the United States Armed Forces or a citizen
of the United States employed in the U.S. military bases in the Philippines. On the same date, July 11,
1960, petitioner sold his car for $6,600.00 to a certain Willie Johnson, Jr. (Private first class), United States
Marine Corps, Sangley Point, Cavite, Philippines, as shown by a Bill of Sale . . . executed at Clark Air Base.
On the same date, Pfc. Willie (William) Johnson, Jr. sold the car to Fred Meneses for P32,000.00 as
evidenced by a deed of sale executed in Manila.”
5

As a result of the transaction thus made, respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue, after deducting
the landed cost of the car as well as the personal exemption to which petitioner was entitled, fixed as his
net taxable income arising from such transaction the amount of P17,912.34, rendering him liable for
income tax in the sum of P2,979.00. After paying the sum, he sought a refund from respondent claiming
that he was exempt, but pending action on his request for refund, he filed the case with the Court of Tax
Appeals seeking recovery of the sum of P2,979.00 plus the legal rate of interest.
As noted in the appealed decision: “The only issue submitted for our resolution is whether or not the said
income tax of P2,979.00 was legally collected by respondent for petitioner.”
6
After discussing the legal
issues raised, primarily the contention that the Clark Air Base “in legal contemplation, is a base outside the
Philippines” the sale therefore having taken place on “foreign soil”, the Court of Tax Appeals found
nothing objectionable in the assessment and thereafter the payment of P2,979.00 as income tax and
denied the refund on the same. Hence, this appeal predicated on a legal theory we cannot accept.
Petitioner cannot make out a case for reversal.
1. Resort to fundamentals is unavoidable to place things in their proper perspective, petitioner apparently
feeling justified in his refusal to defer to basic postulates of constitutional and international law, induced
no doubt by the weight he would accord to the observation made by this Court in the two opinions earlier
referred to. To repeat, scant comfort, if at all is to be derived from such an obiter dictum, one which is
likewise far from reflecting the fact as it is.
Nothing is better settled than that the Philippines being independent and sovereign, its authority may be
exercised over its entire domain. There is no portion thereof that is beyond its power. Within its limits, its
decrees are supreme, its commands paramount. Its laws govern therein, and everyone to whom it applies
must submit to its terms. That is the extent of its jurisdiction, both territorial and personal. Necessarily,
likewise, it has to be exclusive. If it were not thus, there is a diminution of its sovereignty.
It is to be admitted that any state may, by its consent, express or implied, submit to a restriction of its
sovereign rights. There may thus be a curtailment of what otherwise is a power plenary in character. That
is the concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation, which, in the succinct language of Jellinek, “is the
property of a state-force due to which it has the exclusive capacity of legal self-determination and self-
restriction.”
7
A state then, if it chooses to, may refrain from the exercise of what otherwise is illimitable
competence.
Its laws may as to some persons found within its territory no longer control. Nor does the matter end
there. It is not precluded from allowing another power to participate in the exercise of jurisdictional right
over certain portions of its territory. If it does so, it by no means follows that such areas become
impressed with an alien character. They retain their status as native soil. They are still subject to its
authority. Its jurisdiction may be diminished, but it does not disappear. So it is with the bases under lease
to the American armed forces by virtue of the military bases agreement of 1947. They are not and cannot
be foreign territory.
Decisions coming from petitioner‟s native land, penned by jurists of repute, speak to that effect with
impressive unanimity. We start with the citation from Chief Justice Marshall, announced in the leading case
of Schooner Exchange v. M‟Faddon,
8
an 1812 decision: “The jurisdiction of the nation within its own
territory is necessarily exclusive and absolute. It is susceptible of no limitation not imposed by itself. Any
restriction upon it, deriving validity from an external source, would imply a diminution of its sovereignty
to the extent of the restriction, and an investment of that sovereignty to the same extent in that power
which could impose such restriction.” After which came this paragraph: “All exceptions, therefore, to the
full and complete power of a nation within its own territories, must be traced up to the consent of the
nation itself. They can flow from no other legitimate source.”
Chief Justice Taney, in an 1857 decision,
9
affirmed the fundamental principle of everyone within the
territorial domain of a state being subject to its commands: “For undoubtedly every person who is found
within the limits of a government, whether the temporary purposes or as a resident, is bound by its laws.”
It is no exaggeration then for Justice Brewer to stress that the United States government “is one having
jurisdiction over every foot of soil within its territory, and acting directly upon each [individual found
therein]; . . .”
10

Not too long ago, there was a reiteration of such a view, this time from the pen of Justice Van Devanter.
Thus: “It now is settled in the United States and recognized elsewhere that the territory subject to its
jurisdiction includes the land areas under its dominion and control the ports, harbors, bays, and other in
closed arms of the sea along its coast, and a marginal belt of the sea extending from the coast line
outward a marine league, or 3 geographic miles.”
11
He could cite moreover, in addition to many American
decisions, such eminent treatise-writers as Kent, Moore, Hyde, Wilson, Westlake, Wheaton and
Oppenheim.
As a matter of fact, the eminent commentator Hyde in his three-volume work on International Law, as
interpreted and applied by the United States, made clear that not even the embassy premises of a foreign
power are to be considered outside the territorial domain of the host state. Thus: “The ground occupied by
an embassy is not in fact the territory of the foreign State to which the premises belong through
possession or ownership. The lawfulness or unlawfulness of acts there committed is determined by the
territorial sovereign. If an attache commits an offense within the precincts of an embassy, his immunity
from prosecution is not because he has not violated the local law, but rather for the reason that the
individual is exempt from prosecution. If a person not so exempt, or whose immunity is waived, similarly
commits a crime therein, the territorial sovereign, if it secures custody of the offender, may subject him to
prosecution, even though its criminal code normally does not contemplate the punishment of one who
commits an offense outside of the national domain. It is not believed, therefore, that an ambassador
himself possesses the right to exercise jurisdiction, contrary to the will of the State of his sojourn, even
within his embassy with respect to acts there committed. Nor is there apparent at the present time any
tendency on the part of States to acquiesce in his exercise of it.”
12

2. In the light of the above, the first and crucial error imputed to the Court of Tax Appeals to the effect
that it should have held that the Clark Air Force is foreign soil or territory for purposes of income tax
legislation is clearly without support in law. As thus correctly viewed, petitioner‟s hope for the reversal of
the decision completely fades away. There is nothing in the Military Bases Agreement that lends support to
such an assertion. It has not become foreign soil or territory. This country‟s jurisdictional rights therein,
certainly not excluding the power to tax, have been preserved. As to certain tax matters, an appropriate
exemption was provided for.
Petitioner could not have been unaware that to maintain the contrary would be to defy reality and would
be an affront to the law. While his first assigned error is thus worded, he would seek to impart plausibility
to his claim by the ostensible invocation of the exemption clause in the Agreement by virtue of which a
“national of the United States serving in or employed in the Philippines in connection with the
construction, maintenance, operation or defense of the bases and residing in the Philippines only by
reason of such employment” is not to be taxed on his income unless “derived from Philippine source or
sources other than the United States sources.”
13
The reliance, to repeat, is more apparent than real for as
noted at the outset of this opinion, petitioner places more faith not on the language of the provision on
exemption but on a sentiment given expression in a 1951 opinion of this Court, which would be made to
yield such an unwarranted interpretation at war with the controlling constitutional and international law
principles. At any rate, even if such a contention were more adequately pressed and insisted upon, it is on
its face devoid of merit as the source clearly was Philippine.
In Saura Import and Export Co. v. Meer,
14
the case above referred to, this Court affirmed a decision
rendered about seven months previously,
15
holding liable as an importer, within the contemplation of the
National Internal Revenue Code provision, the trading firm that purchased army goods from a United
States government agency in the Philippines. It is easily understandable why. If it were not thus, tax
evasion would have been facilitated. The United States forces that brought in such equipment later
disposed of as surplus, when no longer needed for military purposes, was beyond the reach of our tax
statutes.
Justice Tuason, who spoke for the Court, adhered to such a rationale, quoting extensively from the earlier
opinion. He could have stopped there. He chose not to do so. The transaction having occurred in 1946,
not so long after the liberation of the Philippines, he proceeded to discuss the role of the American
military contingent in the Philippines as a belligerent occupant. In the course of such a dissertion, drawing
on his well-known gift for rhetoric and cognizant that he was making an as if statement, he did say: “While
in army bases or installations within the Philippines those goods were in contemplation of law on foreign
soil.”
It is thus evident that the first, and thereafter the controlling, decision as to the liability for sales taxes as
an importer by the purchaser, could have been reached without any need for such expression as that
given utterance by Justice Tuason. Its value then as an authoritative doctrine cannot be as much as
petitioner would mistakenly attach to it. It was clearly obiter not being necessary for the resolution of the
issue before this Court.
16
It was an opinion “uttered by the way.”
17
It could not then be controlling on the
question before us now, the liability of the petitioner for income tax which, as announced at the opening
of this opinion, is squarely raised for the first time.
18

On this point, Chief Justice Marshall could again be listened to with profit. Thus: “It is a maxim, not to be
disregarded, that general expressions, in every opinion, are to be taken in connection with the case in
which those expressions are used. If they go beyond the case, they may be respected, but ought not to
control the judgment in a subsequent suit when the very point is presented for decision.”
19

Nor did the fact that such utterance of Justice Tuason was cited in Co Po v. Collector of Internal
Revenue,
20
a 1962 decision relied upon by petitioner, put a different complexion on the matter. Again, it
was by way of pure embellishment, there being no need to repeat it, to reach the conclusion that it was
the purchaser of army goods, this time from military bases, that must respond for the advance sales taxes
as importer. Again, the purpose that animated the reiteration of such a view was clearly to emphasize that
through the employment of such a fiction, tax evasion is precluded. What is more, how far divorced from
the truth was such statement was emphasized by Justice Barrera, who penned the Co Po opinion, thus: “It
is true that the areas covered by the United States Military Bases are not foreign territories both in the
political and geographical sense.”
21

Justice Tuason moreover made explicit that rather than corresponding with reality, what was said by him
was in the way of a legal fiction. Note his stress on “in contemplation of law.” To lend further support to a
conclusion already announced, being at that a confirmation of what had been arrived at in the earlier case,
distinguished by its sound appreciation of the issue then before this Court and to preclude any tax
evasion, an observation certainly not to be taken literally was thus given utterance.
This is not to say that it should have been ignored altogether afterwards. It could be utilized again, as it
undoubtedly was, especially so for the purpose intended, namely to stigmatize as without support in law
any attempt on the part of a taxpayer to escape an obligation incumbent upon him. So it was quoted with
that end in view in the Co Po case. It certainly does not justify any effort to render futile the collection of a
tax legally due, as here. That was farthest from the thought of Justice Tuason.
What is more, the statement on its face is, to repeat, a legal fiction. This is not to discount the uses of
a fictio jurisin the science of the law. It was Cardozo who pointed out its value as a device “to advance the
ends of justice” although at times it could be “clumsy” and even “offensive”.
22
Certainly, then, while far
from objectionable as thus enunciated, this observation of Justice Tuason could be misused or
misconstrued in a clumsy manner to reach an offensive result. To repeat, properly used, a legal fiction
could be relied upon by the law, as Frankfurter noted, in the pursuit of legitimate ends.
23
Petitioner then
would be well-advised to take to heart such counsel of care and circumspection before invoking not a
legal fiction that would avoid a mockery of the law by avoiding tax evasion but what clearly is a
misinterpretation thereof, leading to results that would have shocked its originator.
The conclusion is thus irresistible that the crucial error assigned, the only one that calls for discussion to
the effect that for income tax purposes the Clark Air Force Base is outside Philippine territory, is utterly
without merit. So we have said earlier.
3. To impute then to the statement of Justice Tuason the meaning that petitioner would fasten on it is, to
paraphrase Frankfurter, to be guilty of succumbing to the vice of literalness. To so conclude is, whether by
design or inadvertence, to misread it. It certainly is not susceptible of the mischievous consequences now
sought to be fastened on it by petitioner.
That it would be fraught with such peril to the enforcement of our tax statutes on the military bases under
lease to the American armed forces could not have been within the contemplation of Justice Tuason. To so
attribute such a bizarre consequence is to be guilty of a grave disservice to the memory of a great jurist.
For his real and genuine sentiment on the matter in consonance with the imperative mandate of
controlling constitutional and international law concepts was categorically set forth by him, not as
an obiter but as the rationale of the decision, in People v. Acierto
24
thus: “By the [Military Bases]
Agreement, it should be noted, the Philippine Government merely consents that the United States exercise
jurisdiction in certain cases. The consent was given purely as a matter of comity, courtesy, or expediency
over the bases as part of the Philippine territory or divested itself completely of jurisdiction over offenses
committed therein.”
Nor did he stop there. He did stress further the full extent of our territorial jurisdiction in words that do
not admit of doubt. Thus: “This provision is not and can not on principle or authority be construed as a
limitation upon the rights of the Philippine Government. If anything, it is an emphatic recognition and
reaffirmation of Philippine sovereignty over the bases and of the truth that all jurisdictional rights granted
to the United States and not exercised by the latter are reserved by the Philippines for itself.”
25

It is in the same spirit that we approach the specific question confronting us in this litigation. We hold, as
announced at the outset, that petitioner was liable for the income tax arising from a sale of his automobile
in the Clark Field Air Base, which clearly is and cannot otherwise be other than, within our territorial
jurisdiction to tax.
4. With the mist thus lifted from the situation as it truly presents itself, there is nothing that stands in the
way of an affirmance of the Court of Tax Appeals decision. No useful purpose would be served by
discussing the other assigned errors, petitioner himself being fully aware that if the Clark Air Force Base is
to be considered, as it ought to be and as it is, Philippine soil or territory, his claim for exemption from
the income tax due was distinguished only by its futility.
There is further satisfaction in finding ourselves unable to indulge petitioner in his plea for reversal. We
thus manifest fealty to a pronouncement made time and time again that the law does not look with favor
on tax exemptions and that he who would seek to be thus privileged must justify it by words too plain to
be mistaken and too categorical to be misinterpreted.
26
Petitioner had not done so. Petitioner cannot do
so.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals of May 12, 1966 denying the refund of P2,979.00 as
the income tax paid by petitioner is affirmed. With costs against petitioner.
Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Teehankee, JJ., concur.
Reyes, J.B.L., J., concurs in the result.
Barredo, J., took no part.
[G.R. No. L-9657. November 29, 1956.]
LEOPOLDO T. BACANI and MATEO A. MATOTO, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
vs.
NATIONAL COCONUT CORPORATION, ET AL., Defendants, NATIONAL COCONUT CORPORATION and
BOARD OF LIQUIDATORS, Defendants-Appellants.

D E C I S I O N
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
Plaintiffs herein are court stenographers assigned in Branch VI of the Court of First Instance of Manila.
During the pendency of Civil Case No. 2293 of said court, entitled Francisco Sycip vs. National Coconut
Corporation, Assistant Corporate Counsel Federico Alikpala, counsel for Defendant, requested said
stenographers for copies of the transcript of the stenographic notes taken by them during the
hearing. Plaintiffs complied with the request by delivering to Counsel Alikpala the needed transcript
containing 714 pages and thereafter submitted to him their bills for the payment of their fees. The
National Coconut Corporation paid the amount of P564 to Leopoldo T. Bacani and P150 to Mateo A.
Matoto for said transcript at the rate of P1 per page.
Upon inspecting the books of this corporation, the Auditor General disallowed the payment of these fees
and sought the recovery of the amounts paid. On January 19, 1953, the Auditor General required
the Plaintiffs to reimburse said amounts on the strength of a circular of the Department of Justice wherein
the opinion was expressed that the National Coconut Corporation, being a government entity, was exempt
from the payment of the fees in question. On February 6, 1954, the Auditor General issued an order
directing the Cashier of the Department of Justice to deduct from the salary of Leopoldo T. Bacani the
amount of P25 every payday and from the salary of Mateo A. Matoto the amount of P10 every payday
beginning March 30, 1954. To prevent deduction of these fees from their salaries and secure a judicial
ruling that the National Coconut Corporation is not a government entity within the purview of section 16,
Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, this action was instituted in the Court of First Instance of Manila.
Defendants set up as a defense that the National Coconut Corporation is a government entity within the
purview of section 2 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 and, hence, it is exempt from paying the
stenographers‟ fees under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. After trial, the court found for
the Plaintiffs declaring (1) “that Defendant National Coconut Corporation is not a government entity within
the purview of section 16, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court; (2) that the payments already made by
said Defendant to Plaintiffs herein and received by the latter from the former in the total amount of P714,
for copies of the stenographic transcripts in question, are valid, just and legal; and (3) that Plaintiffs are
under no obligation whatsoever to make a refund of these payments already received by them.” This is an
appeal from said decision.
Under section 16, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, the Government of the Philippines is exempt from
paying the legal fees provided for therein, and among these fees are those which stenographers may
charge for the transcript of notes taken by them that may be requested by any interested person (section
8). The fees in question are for the transcript of notes taken during the hearing of a case in which the
National Coconut Corporation is interested, and the transcript was requested by its assistant corporate
counsel for the use of said corporation.
On the other hand, section 2 of the Revised Administrative Code defines the scope of the term
“Government of the Republic of the Philippines” as follows:
“„The Government of the Philippine Islands‟ is a term which refers to the corporate governmental entity
through which the functions of government are exercised throughout the Philippine Islands, including,
save as the contrary appears from the context, the various arms through which political authority is made
effective in said Islands, whether pertaining to the central Government or to the provincial or municipal
branches or other form of local government.”
The question now to be determined is whether the National Coconut Corporation may be considered as
included in the term “Government of the Republic of the Philippines” for the purposes of the exemption of
the legal fees provided for in Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
As may be noted, the term “Government of the Republic of the Philippines” refers to a government entity
through which the functions of government are exercised, including the various arms through which
political authority is made effective in the Philippines, whether pertaining to the central government or to
the provincial or municipal branches or other form of local government. This requires a little digression on
the nature and functions of our government as instituted in our Constitution.
To begin with, we state that the term “Government” may be defined as “that institution or aggregate of
institutions by which an independent society makes and carries out those rules of action which are
necessary to enable men to live in a social state, or which are imposed upon the people forming that
society by those who possess the power or authority of prescribing them” (U.S. vs. Dorr, 2 Phil., 332). This
institution, when referring to the national government, has reference to what our Constitution has
established composed of three great departments, the legislative, executive, and the judicial, through
which the powers and functions of government are exercised. These functions are twofold: constitute and
ministrant. The former are those which constitute the very bonds of society and are compulsory in
nature; the latter are those that are undertaken only by way of advancing the general interests of society,
and are merely optional. President Wilson enumerates the constituent functions as follows:
“„(1) The keeping of order and providing for the protection of persons and property from violence and
robbery.
„(2) The fixing of the legal relations between man and wife and between parents and children.
„(3) The regulation of the holding, transmission, and interchange of property, and the determination of its
liabilities for debt or for crime.
„(4) The determination of contract rights between individuals.
„(5) The definition and punishment of crime.
„(6) The administration of justice in civil cases.
„(7) The determination of the political duties, privileges, and relations of citizens.
„(8) Dealings of the state with foreign powers: the preservation of the state from external danger or
encroachment and the advancement of its international interests.‟“ (Malcolm, The Government of the
Philippine Islands, p. 19.)
The most important of the ministrant functions are: public works, public education, public charity, health
and safety regulations, and regulations of trade and industry. The principles deter mining whether or not a
government shall exercise certain of these optional functions are: (1) that a government should do for the
public welfare those things which private capital would not naturally undertake and (2) that a government
should do these things which by its very nature it is better equipped to administer for the public welfare
than is any private individual or group of individuals. (Malcolm, The Government of the Philippine Islands,
pp. 19-20.)
From the above we may infer that, strictly speaking, there are functions which our government is required
to exercise to promote its objectives as expressed in our Constitution and which are exercised by it as an
attribute of sovereignty, and those which it may exercise to promote merely the welfare, progress and
prosperity of the people. To this latter class belongs the organization of those corporations owned or
controlled by the government to promote certain aspects of the economic life of our people such as the
National Coconut Corporation. These are what we call government-owned or controlled corporations
which may take on the form of a private enterprise or one organized with powers and formal
characteristics of a private corporations under the Corporation Law.
The question that now arises is: Does the fact that these corporation perform certain functions of
government make them a part of the Government of the Philippines?
The answer is simple: they do not acquire that status for the simple reason that they do not come under
the classification of municipal or public corporation. Take for instance the National Coconut Corporation.
While it was organized with the purpose of “adjusting the coconut industry to a position independent of
trade preferences in the United States” and of providing “Facilities for the better curing of copra products
and the proper utilization of coconut by-products”, a function which our government has chosen to
exercise to promote the coconut industry, however, it was given a corporate power separate and distinct
from our government, for it was made subject to the provisions of our Corporation Law in so far as its
corporate existence and the powers that it may exercise are concerned (sections 2 and 4, Commonwealth
Act No. 518). It may sue and be sued in the same manner as any other private corporations, and in this
sense it is an entity different from our government. As this Court has aptly said, “The mere fact that the
Government happens to be a majority stockholder does not make it a public corporation” (National Coal
Co. vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, 46 Phil., 586-587). “By becoming a stockholder in the National Coal
Company, the Government divested itself of its sovereign character so far as respects the transactions of
the corporation. Unlike the Government, the corporation may be sued without its consent, and is subject
to taxation. Yet the National Coal Company remains an agency or instrumentality of government.”
(Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Springer, 50 Phil., 288.)
To recapitulate, we may mention that the term “Government of the Republic of the Philippines” used in
section 2 of the Revised Administrative Code refers only to that government entity through which the
functions of the government are exercised as an attribute of sovereignty, and in this are included those
arms through which political authority is made effective whether they be provincial, municipal or other
form of local government. These are what we call municipal corporations. They do not include government
entities which are given a corporate personality separate and distinct from the government and which are
governed by the Corporation Law. Their powers, duties and liabilities have to be determined in the light of
that law and of their corporate charters. They do not therefore come within the exemption clause
prescribed in section 16, Rule 130 of our Rules of Court.
“Public corporations are those formed or organized for the government of a portion of the State.” (Section
3, Republic Act No. 1459, Corporation Law).
“„The generally accepted definition of a municipal corporation would only include organized cities and
towns, and like organizations, with political and legislative powers for the local, civil government and
police regulations of the inhabitants of the particular district included in the boundaries of the
corporation.‟ Heller vs. Stremmel, 52 Mo. 309, 312.”
“In its more general sense the phrase „municipal corporation‟ may include both towns and counties, and
other public corporations created by government for political purposes. In its more common and limited
signification, it embraces only incorporated villages, towns and cities. Dunn vs. Court of County Revenues,
85 Ala. 144, 146, 4 So. 661.” (McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, 2nd ed., Vol. 1, p. 385.)
“We may, therefore, define a municipal corporation in its historical and strict sense to be the
incorporation, by the authority of the government, of the inhabitants of a particular place or district, and
authorizing them in their corporate capacity to exercise subordinate specified powers of legislation and
regulation with respect to their local and internal concerns. This power of local government is the
distinctive purpose and the distinguishing feature of a municipal corporation proper.” (Dillon, Municipal
Corporations, 5th ed., Vol. I, p. 59.)
It is true that under section 8, Rule 130, stenographers may only charge as fees P0.30 for each page of
transcript of not less than 200 words before the appeal is taken and P0.15 for each page after the filing of
the appeal, but in this case the National Coconut Corporation has agreed and in fact has paid P1.00 per
page for the services rendered by the Plaintiffs and has not raised any objection to the amount paid until
its propriety was disputed by the Auditor General. The payment of the fees in question became therefore
contractual and as such is valid even if it goes beyond the limit prescribed in section 8, Rule 130 of the
Rules of Court.
As regards the question of procedure raised by Appellants, suffice it to say that the same is insubstantial,
considering that this case refers not to a money claim disapproved by the Auditor General but to an action
of prohibition the purpose of which is to restrain the officials concerned from deducting from Plaintiffs‟
salaries the amount paid to them as stenographers‟ fees. This case does not come under section 1, Rule
45 of the Rules of Court relative to appeals from a decision of the Auditor General.
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L., Endencia and Felix, JJ.,
concur.
G.R. No. L-21484 November 29, 1969
THE AGRICULTURAL CREDIT and COOPERATIVE FINANCING ADMINISTRATION
(ACCFA), petitioner,
vs.
ACCFA SUPERVISORS' ASSOCIATION, ACCFA WORKERS' ASSOCIATION, and THE COURT
OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, respondents.
Deogracias E. Lerma and Esmeraldo U. Guloy for petitioner Agricultural Credit and Cooperative
Financing Administration.
Office of the Agrarian Counsel, Department of Justice for petitioner Agricultural Credit Administration
J. C. Espinas and Associates for respendents Confederation of Unions in Government Corporations
Offices, et al. Mariano B. Tuason for respondent Court of Industrial Relations.
MAKALINTAL, J .:
These are two separate appeals by certiorari from the decision dated March 25, 1963 (G.R. No. L-
21484) and the order dated May 21, 1964 (G.R. No. L-23605) as affirmed by the resolutions en
banc, of the Court of Industrial Relations, in Cases Nos. 3450-ULP and 1327-MC, respectively. The
parties, except the Confederation of Unions in Government Corporations and Offices (CUGCO),
being practically the same and the principal issues involved related, only one decision is now
rendered in these two cases.
The Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Financing Administration (ACCFA) was a government
agency created under Republic Act No. 821, as amended. Its administrative machinery was
reorganized and its name changed to Agricultural Credit Administration (ACA) under the Land
Reform Code (Republic Act No. 3844). On the other hand, the ACCFA Supervisors' Association
(ASA) and the ACCFA Workers' Association (AWA), hereinafter referred to as the Unions, are labor
organizations composed of the supervisors and the rank-and-file employees, respectively, in the
ACCFA (now ACA).
G.R. No. L-21484
On September 4, 1961 a collective bargaining agreement, which was to be effective for a period of
one (1) year from July 1, 1961, was entered into by and between the Unions and the ACCFA. A few
months thereafter, the Unions started protesting against alleged violations and non-implementation
of said agreement. Finally, on October 25, 1962 the Unions declared a strike, which was ended
when the strikers voluntarily returned to work on November 26, 1962.
On October 30, 1962 the Unions, together with its mother union, the Confederation of Unions in
Government Corporations and Offices (CUGCO), filed a complaint with the Court of Industrial
Relations against the ACCFA (Case No. 3450-ULP) for having allegedly committed acts of unfair
labor practice, namely: violation of the collective bargaining agreement in order to discourage the
members of the Unions in the exercise of their right to self-organization, discrimination against said
members in the matter of promotions, and refusal to bargain. The ACCFA denied the charges and
interposed as affirmative and special defenses lack of jurisdiction of the CIR over the case, illegality
of the bargaining contract, expiration of said contract and lack of approval by the office of the
President of the fringe benefits provided for therein. Brushing aside the foregoing defenses, the CIR
in its decision dated March 25, 1963 ordered the ACCFA:
1. To cease and desist from committing further acts tending to discourage the members of
complainant unions in the exercise of their right to self-organization;
2. To comply with and implement the provision of the collective bargaining contract executed
on September 4, 1961, including the payment of P30.00 a month living allowance;
3. To bargain in good faith and expeditiously with the herein complainants.
The ACCFA moved to reconsider but was turned down in a resolution dated April 25, 1963 of the
CIR en banc. Thereupon it brought this appeal by certiorari.
The ACCFA raises the following issues in its petition, to wit:
1. Whether or not the respondent court has jurisdiction over this case, which in turn depends
on whether or not ACCFA exercised governmental or proprietary functions.
2. Whether or not the collective bargaining agreement between the petitioner and the
respondent union is valid; if valid, whether or not it has already lapsed; and if not, whether or
not its (sic) fringe benefits are already enforceable.
3. Whether or not there is a legal and/or factual basis for the finding of the respondent court
that the petitioner had committed acts of unfair labor practice.
4. Whether or not it is within the competence of the court to enforce the collective bargaining
agreement between the petitioner and the respondent unions, the same having already
expired.
G.R. No. L-23605
During the pendency of the above mentioned case (G.R. No. L-21484), specifically on August 8,
1963, the President of the Philippines signed into law the Agricultural Land Reform Code (Republic
Act No. 3844), which among other things required the reorganization of the administrative machinery
of the Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Financing Administration (ACCFA) and changed its name
to Agricultural Credit Administration (ACA). On March 17, 1964 the ACCFA Supervisors' Association
and the ACCFA Workers' Association filed a petition for certification election with the Court of
Industrial Relations (Case No. 1327-MC) praying that they be certified as the exclusive bargaining
agents for the supervisors and rank-and-file employees, respectively, in the ACA. The trial Court in
its order dated March 30, 1964 directed the Manager or Officer-in-Charge of the ACA to allow the
posting of said order "for the information of all employees and workers thereof," and to answer the
petition. In compliance therewith, the ACA, while admitting most of the allegations in the petition,
denied that the Unions represented the majority of the supervisors and rank-and-file workers,
respectively, in the ACA. It further alleged that the petition was premature, that the ACA was not the
proper party to be notified and to answer the petition, and that the employees and supervisors could
not lawfully become members of the Unions, nor be represented by them. However, in a joint
manifestation of the Unions dated May 7, 1964, with the conformity of the ACA Administrator and of
the Agrarian Counsel in his capacity as such and as counsel for the National Land Reform Council, it
was agreed "that the union petitioners in this case represent the majority of the employees in their
respective bargaining units" and that only the legal issues raised would be submitted for the
resolution of the trial Court.
Finding the remaining grounds for ACA's opposition to the petition to be without merit, the trial Court
in its order dated May 21, 1964 certified "the ACCFA Workers' Association and the ACCFA
Supervisors' Association as the sole and exclusive bargaining representatives of the rank-and-file
employees and supervisors, respectively, of the Agricultural Credit Administration." Said order was
affirmed by the CIR en banc in its resolution dated August 24, 1964.
On October 2, 1964 the ACA filed in this Court a petition for certiorari with urgent motion to stay the
CIR order of May 21, 1964. In a resolution dated October 6, 1964, this Court dismissed the petition
for "lack of adequate allegations," but the dismissal was later reconsidered when the ACA complied
with the formal requirement stated in said resolution. As prayed for, this Court ordered the CIR to
stay the execution of its order of May 21, 1964.
In this appeal, the ACA in effect challenges the jurisdiction of the CIR to entertain the petition of the
Unions for certification election on the ground that it (ACA) is engaged in governmental functions.
The Unions join the issue on this single point, contending that the ACA forms proprietary functions.
Under Section 3 of the Agricultural Land Reform Code the ACA was established, among other
governmental agencies,
1
to extend credit and similar assistance to agriculture, in pursuance of the
policy enunciated in Section 2 as follows:
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. — It is the policy of the State:
(1) To establish owner-cultivatorships and the economic family-size farm as the basis of
Philippine agriculture and, as a consequence, divert landlord capital in agriculture to
industrial development;
(2) To achieve a dignified existence for the small farmers free from pernicious institutional
restraints and practices;
(3) To create a truly viable social and economic structure in agriculture conducive to greater
productivity and higher farm incomes;
(4) To apply all labor laws equally and without discrimination to both industrial and
agricultural wage earners;
(5) To provide a more vigorous and systematic land resettlement program and public land
distribution; and
(6) To make the small farmers more independent, self-reliant and responsible citizens, and a
source of genuine strength in our democratic society.
The implementation of the policy thus enunciated, insofar as the role of the ACA therein is
concerned, is spelled out in Sections 110 to 118, inclusive, of the Land Reform Code. Section 110
provides that "the administrative machinery of the ACCFA shall be reorganized to enable it to align
its activities with the requirements and objective of this Code and shall be known as the Agricultural
Credit Administration." Under Section 112 the sum of P150,000,000 was appropriated out of national
funds to finance the additional credit functions of the ACA as a result of the land reform program laid
down in the Code. Section 103 grants the ACA the privilege of rediscounting with the Central Bank,
the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine National Bank. Section 105 directs the
loaning activities of the ACA "to stimulate the development of farmers' cooperatives," including those
"relating to the production and marketing of agricultural products and those formed to manage and/or
own, on a cooperative basis, services and facilities, such as irrigation and transport systems,
established to support production and/or marketing of agricultural products." Section 106 deals with
the extension by ACA of credit to small farmers in order to stimulate agricultural production. Sections
107 to 112 lay down certain guidelines to be followed in connection with the granting of loans, such
as security, interest and supervision of credit. Sections 113 to 118, inclusive, invest the ACA with
certain rights and powers not accorded to non-governmental entities, thus:
SEC. 113. Auditing of Operations. — For the effective supervision of farmers' cooperatives,
the head of the Agricultural Credit Administration shall have the power to audit their
operations, records and books of account and to issue subpoena and subpoena duces
tecum to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents and
records in the conduct of such audit or of any inquiry into their affairs. Any person who,
without lawful cause, fails to obey such subpoena or subpoena duces tecum shall, upon
application of the head of Agricultural Credit Administration with the proper court, be liable to
punishment for contempt in the manner provided by law and if he is an officer of the
Association, to suspension or removal from office.
SEC. 114. Prosecution of officials. — The Agricultural Credit Administration, through the
appropriate provincial or city fiscal, shall have the power to file and prosecute any and all
actions which it may have against any and all officials or employees of farmers' cooperatives
arising from misfeasance or malfeasance in office.
SEC. 115. Free Notarial Service. — Any justice of the peace, in his capacity as notary ex-
officio, shall render service free of charge to any person applying for a loan under this Code
either in administering the oath or in the acknowledgment of instruments relating to such
loan.
SEC. 116. Free Registration of Deeds. — Any register of deeds shall accept for registration,
free of charge any instrument relative to a loan made under this Code.
SEC. 117. Writing-off Unsecured and Outstanding Loans. — Subject to the approval of the
President upon recommendation of the Auditor General, the Agricultural Credit
Administration may write-off from its books, unsecured and outstanding loans and accounts
receivable which may become uncollectible by reason of the death or disappearance of the
debtor, should there be no visible means of collecting the same in the foreseeable future, or
where the debtor has been verified to have no income or property whatsoever with which to
effect payment. In all cases, the writing-off shall be after five years from the date the debtor
defaults.
SEC. 118. Exemption from Duties, Taxes and Levies. — The Agricultural Credit
Administration is hereby exempted from the payment of all duties, taxes, levies, and fees,
including docket and sheriff's fees, of whatever nature or kind, in the performance of its
functions and in the exercise of its powers hereunder.
The power to audit the operations of farmers' cooperatives and otherwise inquire into their affairs, as
given by Section 113, is in the nature of the visitorial power of the sovereign, which only a
government agency specially delegated to do so by the Congress may legally exercise.
On March 19, 1964 Executive Order No. 75 was promulgated. It is entitled: "Rendering in Full Force
and Effect the Plan of Reorganization Proposed by the Special Committee on Reorganization of
Agencies for Land Reform for the Administrative Machinery of the Agricultural Land Reform Code,"
and contains the following pertinent provisions:
Section 3. The Land Reform Project Administration
2
shall be considered a single
organization and the personnel complement of the member agencies including the legal
officers of the Office of the Agrarian Counsel which shall provide legal services to the LRPA
shall be regarded as one personnel pool from which the requirements of the operations shall
be drawn and subject only to the civil service laws, rules and regulations, persons from one
agency may be freely assigned to positions in another agency within the LRPA when the
interest of the service so demands.
Section 4. The Land Reform Project Administration shall be considered as one organization
with respect to the standardization of job descriptions position classification and wage and
salary structures to the end that positions involving the same or equivalent qualifications and
equal responsibilities and effort shall have the same remuneration.
Section 5. The Civil Service laws, rules and regulations with respect to promotions,
particularly in the consideration of person next in rank, shall be made applicable to the Land
Reform Project Administration as a single agency so that qualified individuals in one member
agency must be considered in considering promotion to higher positions in another member
agency.
The implementation of the land reform program of the government according to Republic Act No.
3844 is most certainly a governmental, not a proprietary, function; and for that purpose Executive
Order No. 75 has placed the ACA under the Land Reform Project Administration together with the
other member agencies, the personnel complement of all of which are placed in one single pool and
made available for assignment from one agency to another, subject only to Civil Service laws, rules
and regulations, position classification and wage structures.
The appointing authority in respect of the officials and employees of the ACA is the President of the
Philippines, as stated in a 1st indorsement by his office to the Chairman of the National Reform
Council dated May 22, 1964, as follows:
Appointments of officials and employees of the National Land Reform Council and its
agencies may be made only by the President, pursuant to the provisions of Section 79(D) of
the Revised Administrative Code. In accordance with the policy and practice, such
appointments should be prepared for the signature of the Executive Secretary, "By Authority
ofthe President".
3

When the Agricultural Reform Code was being considered by the Congress, the nature of the ACA
was the subject of the following exposition on the Senate floor:
Senator Tolentino: . . . . "The ACA is not going to be a profit making institution. It is supposed
to be a public service of the government to the lessees and farmer-owners of the lands that
may be bought after expropriation from owners. It is the government here that is the lender.
The government should not exact a higher interest than what we are telling a private
landowner now in his relation to his tenants if we give to their farmers a higher rate of interest
. . . ." (pp. 17 & 18, Senate Journal No. 16, July 3, 1963)
The reason is obvious, to pinpoint responsibility for many losses in the government, in order to avoid
irresponsible lending of government money — to pinpoint responsibility for many losses . . . .
Senator Manglapus: ". . . But assuming that hypothesis, that is the reason why we are
appropriating P150,000,000.00 for the Agricultural Credit Administration which will go to
intensified credit operations on the barrio level . . ." (p. 3, Senate Journal No. 7).
That it is the reason why we are providing for the expansion of the ACCFA and the weeding out of
the cooperative activity of the ACCFA and turning this over to the Agricultural Productivity
Commission, so that the Agricultural Credit Administration will concentrate entirely on the facilitation
of credit on the barrio level with the massive support of 150 million provided by the government. . . .
(pp. 4 & 5 of Senate Journal No. 7, July 3, 1963)
. . . But by releasing them from this situation, we feel that we are putting them in a much better
condition than that in which they are found by providing them with a business-like way of obtaining
credit, not depending on a paternalistic system but one which is business-like — that is to say, a
government office, which on the barrio level will provide them that credit directly . . . . (p. 40, Senate
Journal No. 7, July 3, 1963) (emphasis supplied).
The considerations set forth above militate quite strongly against the recognition of collective
bargaining powers in the respondent Unions within the context of Republic Act No. 875, and hence
against the grant of their basic petition for certification election as proper bargaining units. The ACA
is a government office or agency engaged in governmental, not proprietary functions. These
functions may not be strictly what President Wilson described as "constituent" (as distinguished from
"ministrant"),
4
such as those relating to the maintenance of peace and the prevention of crime, those
regulating property and property rights, those relating to the administration of justice and the
determination of political duties of citizens, and those relating to national defense and foreign
relations. Under this traditional classification, such constituent functions are exercised by the State
as attributes of sovereignty, and not merely to promote the welfare, progress and prosperity of the
people — these letter functions being ministrant he exercise of which is optional on the part of the
government.
The growing complexities of modern society, however, have rendered this traditional classification of
the functions of government quite unrealistic, not to say obsolete. The areas which used to be left to
private enterprise and initiative and which the government was called upon to enter optionally, and
only "because it was better equipped to administer for the public welfare than is any private
individual or group of individuals,"
5
continue to lose their well-defined boundaries and to be absorbed
within activities that the government must undertake in its sovereign capacity if it is to meet the
increasing social challenges of the times. Here as almost everywhere else the tendency is
undoubtedly towards a greater socialization of economic forces. Here of course this development
was envisioned, indeed adopted as a national policy, by the Constitution itself in its declaration of
principle concerning the promotion of social justice.
It was in furtherance of such policy that the Land Reform Code was enacted and the various
agencies, the ACA among them, established to carry out its purposes. There can be no dispute as to
the fact that the land reform program contemplated in the said Code is beyond the capabilities of any
private enterprise to translate into reality. It is a purely governmental function, no less than, say, the
establishment and maintenance of public schools and public hospitals. And when, aside from the
governmental objectives of the ACA, geared as they are to the implementation of the land reform
program of the State, the law itself declares that the ACA is a government office, with the formulation
of policies, plans and programs vested no longer in a Board of Governors, as in the case of the
ACCFA, but in the National Land Reform Council, itself a government instrumentality; and that its
personnel are subject to Civil Service laws and to rules of standardization with respect to positions
and salaries, any vestige of doubt as to the governmental character of its functions disappears.
In view of the foregoing premises, we hold that the respondent Unions are not entitled to the
certification election sought in the Court below. Such certification is admittedly for purposes of
bargaining in behalf of the employees with respect to terms and conditions of employment, including
the right to strike as a coercive economic weapon, as in fact the said unions did strike in 1962
against the ACCFA (G.R. No. L-21824).
6
This is contrary to Section 11 of Republic Act No. 875,
which provides:
SEC. 11. Prohibition Against Strike in the Government — The terms and conditions of
employment in the Government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof,
are governed by law and it is declared to be the policy of this Act that employees therein
shall not strike for the purposes of securing changes or modification in their terms and
conditions of employment. Such employees may belong to any labor organization which
does not impose the obligation to strike or to join in strike: Provided, However, that this
section shall apply only to employees employed in governmental functions of the
Government including but not limited to governmental corporations.
7

With the reorganization of the ACCFA and its conversion into the ACA under the Land Reform Code
and in view of our ruling as to the governmental character of the functions of the ACA, the decision
of the respondent Court dated March 25, 1963, and the resolution en banc affirming it, in the unfair
labor practice case filed by the ACCFA, which decision is the subject of the present review in G. R.
No. L-21484, has become moot and academic, particularly insofar as the order to bargain
collectively with the respondent Unions is concerned.
What remains to be resolved is the question of fringe benefits provided for in the collective
bargaining contract of September 4, 1961. The position of the ACCFA in this regard is that the said
fringe benefits have not become enforceable because the condition that they should first be
approved by the Office of the President has not been complied with. The Unions, on the other hand,
contend that no such condition existed in the bargaining contract, and the respondent Court upheld
this contention in its decision.
It is to be listed that under Section 3, Article XIV, of the agreement, the same "shall not become
effective unless and until the same is duly ratified by the Board of Governors of the Administration."
Such approval was given even before the formal execution of the agreement, by virtue of
"Resolution No. 67, Regular Meeting No. 7, FY 1960-61, held on August 17, 1961," but with the
proviso that "the fringe benefits contained therein shall take effect only if approved by the office of
the President." The condition is, therefore, deemed to be incorporated into the agreement by
reference.
On October 23, 1962 the Office of the President, in a letter signed by the Executive Secretary,
expressed its approval of the bargaining contract "provided the salaries and benefits therein fixed
are not in conflict with applicable laws and regulations, are believed to be reasonable considering
the exigencies of the service and the welfare of the employees, and are well within the financial
ability of the particular corporation to bear."
On July 1, 1963 the ACCFA management and the Unions entered into an agreement for the
implementation of the decision of the respondent Court concerning the fringe benefits, thus:
In the meantime, only Cost of Living Adjustment, Longevity Pay, and Night Differential
Benefits accruing from July 1, 1961 to June 30, 1963 shall be paid to all employees entitled
thereto, in the following manner:
A) The sum of P180,000 shall be set aside for the payment of:
1) Night differential benefits for Security Guards.
2) Cost of Living Adjustment and Longevity Pay.
3) The unpaid balance due employees on Item A (1) and (2) this paragraph shall be paid in
monthly installments as finances permit but not beyond December 20, 1963.
3. All benefits accruing after July 1, 1963, shall be allowed to accumulate but payable only
after all benefits accruing up to June 30, 1963, as per CIR decision hereinabove referred to
shall have been settled in full; provided, however, that commencing July 1, 1963 and for a
period of only two (2) months thereafter (during which period the ACCFA and the Unions
shall negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement) the provisions of the September 4,
1961 Collective Bargaining Agreement shall be temporarily suspended, except as to Cost of
Living Adjustment and "political" or non-economic privileges and benefits thereunder.
On July 24, 1963 the ACCFA Board of Governors ratified the agreement thus entered into, pursuant
to the provision thereof requiring such ratification, but with the express qualification that the same
was "without prejudice to the pending appeal in the Supreme Court . . . in Case No. 3450-ULP." The
payment of the fringe benefits agreed upon, to our mind, shows that the same were within the
financial capability of the ACCFA then, and hence justifies the conclusion that this particular
condition imposed by the Office of the President in its approval of the bargaining contract was
satisfied.
We hold, therefore, that insofar as the fringe benefits already paid are concerned, there is no reason
to set aside the decision of the respondent Court, but that since the respondent Unions have no right
to the certification election sought by them nor, consequently, to bargain collectively with the
petitioner, no further fringe benefits may be demanded on the basis of any collective bargaining
agreement.
The decisions and orders appealed from are set aside and/or modified in accordance with the
foregoing pronouncements. No costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Sanchez, Castro, Teehankee and Barredo, JJ., concur.
Zaldivar, J., concurs in the result.


Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, J ., concurring:
The decision reached by this Court so ably given expression in the opinion of Justice Makalintal,
characterized with vigor, clarity and precision, represents what for me is a clear tendency not to be
necessarily bound by our previous pronouncements on what activities partake of a nature that is
governmental.
1
Of even greater significance, there is a definite rejection of the "constituent-
ministrant" criterion of governmental functions, followed in Bacani v. National Coconut
Corporation.
2
That indeed is cause for gratification. For me at least, there is again full adherence to
the basic philosophy of the Constitution as to the extensive and vast power lodged in our
government to cope with the social and economic problems that even now sorely beset us. There is
therefore full concurrence on my part to the opinion of the Court, distinguished by its high quality of
juristic craftsmanship. I feel however that the matter is of such vital importance that a separate
concurring opinion is not inappropriate. It will also serve to give expression to my view, which is that
of the Court likewise, that our decision today does not pass upon the rights of labor employed in
instrumentalities of the state discharging governmental functions.
1. In the above Bacani decision, governmental functions are classified into constituent and
ministrant. "The former are those which constitute the very bonds of society and are compulsory in
nature; the latter are those that are undertaken only by way of advancing the general interests of
society, and are merely optional. President Wilson enumerates the constituent functions as follows:
'(1) The keeping of order and providing for the protection of persons and property from violence and
robbery. (2) The fixing of the legal relations between man and wife and between parents and
children. (3) The regulation of the holding, transmission, and interchange of property, and the
determination of its liabilities for debt or for crime. (4) The determination of contract rights between
individuals. (5) The definition and punishment of crime. (6) The administration of justice in civil
cases. (7) The determination of the political duties, privileges, and relations of citizens. (8) Dealings
of the state with foreign powers: the preservation of the state from external danger or encroachment
and the advancement of its international interests.' "
3

The ministrant functions were then enumerated, followed by a statement of the basis that would
justify engaging in such activities. Thus: "The most important of the ministrant functions are: public
works, public education, public charity, health and safety regulations, and regulations of trade and
industry. The principles determining whether or not a government shall exercise certain of these
optional functions are: (1) that a government should do for the public welfare those things which
private capital would not naturally undertake and (2) that a government should do these things which
by its very nature it is better equipped to administer for the public welfare than is any private
individual or group of individuals."
4

Reference is made in the Bacani decision to the first of the many publications of Justice Malcolm on
the Philippine government, which appeared in 1916,
5
adopting the formulation of the then Professor,
later President, Woodrow Wilson of the United States, in a textbook on political science the first
edition of which was published in 1898. The Wilson classification reflected the primacy of the
dominant laissez-faire concept carried into the sphere of government.
A most spirited defense of such a view was given by former President Hadley of Yale in a series of
three lectures delivered at Oxford University in 1914. According to President Hadley: "I shall begin
with a proposition which may sound somewhat startling, but which I believe to be literally true. The
whole American political and social system is based on industrial property right, far more completely
than has ever been the case in any European country. In every nation of Europe there has been a
certain amount of traditional opposition between the government and the industrial classes. In the
United States no such tradition exists. In the public law of European communities industrial
freeholding is a comparatively recent development. In the United States, on the contrary, industrial
freeholding is the foundation on which the whole social order has been established and built up."
6

The view is widely accepted that such a fundamental postulate did influence American court
decisions on constitutional law. As was explicitly stated by Justice Cardozo, speaking of that era:
"Laissez-faire was not only a counsel of caution which statesmen would do well to heed. It was a
categorical imperative which statesmen as well as judges, must obey."
7
For a long time, legislation
tending to reduce economic inequality foundered on the rock that was the due process clause,
enshrining as it did the liberty of contract. To cite only one instance, the limitation of employment in
bakeries to sixty hours a week and ten hours a day under a New York statute was stricken down for
being tainted with a due process objection in Lochner v. New York.
8
It provoked one of the most
vigorous dissents of Justice Holmes, who was opposed to the view that the United States
Constitution did embody laissez-faire. Thus: "General propositions do not decide concrete cases.
The decision will depend on a judgment or intuition more subtle than any articulate major premise.
But I think that the proposition just stated, if it is accepted, will carry us far toward the end. Every
opinion tends to become a law. I think that the word 'liberty,' in the 14th Amendment, is perverted
when it is held to prevent the natural outcome of a dominant opinion, unless it can be said that a
rational and fair man necessarily would admit that the statute proposed would infringe fundamental
principles as they have been understood by the traditions of our people and our law. It does not
need research to show that no such sweeping condemnation can be passed upon the statute before
us. A reasonable man might think it a proper measure on the score of health. Men whom I certainly
could not pronounce unreasonable would uphold it as a first installment of a general regulation of the
hours of work. Whether in the latter aspect it would be open to the charge of inequality I think it
unnecessary to discuss." It was not until 1908, in Muller v. Oregon,
9
that the American Supreme
Court held valid a ten-hour maximum for women workers in laundries and not until 1917 inBunting v.
Oregon
10
that such a regulatory ten-hour law applied to men and women passed the constitutional
test.
Similarly, state legislation fixing minimum wages was deemed offensive to the due process clause in
a 1923 decision in Adkins v. Children's Hospital.
11
Only in 1937, in the leading case of West Coast
Hotel v. Parrish,
12
was the Adkins case overruled and a minimum wage law New York statute
upheld. The same unsympathetic attitude arising from the laissez-faire concept was manifest in
decisions during such period, there being the finely-spun distinctions in the Wolff Packing Co. v.
Court of Industrial Relations
13
decision, as to when certain businesses could be classified as affected
with public interest to justify state regulation as to prices. After eleven years, in 1934, in Nebbia v.
New York,
14
the air of unreality was swept away by this explicit pronouncement from the United
States Supreme Court: "The phrase 'affected with a public interest' can, in the nature of things, mean
no more than that an industry, for adequate reason, is subject to control for the public good."
It is thus apparent that until the administration of President Roosevelt, the laissez-faire principle
resulted in the contraction of the sphere where governmental entry was permissible. The object was
to protect property even if thereby the needs of the general public would be left unsatisfied. This was
emphatically put forth in a work of former Attorney General, later Justice, Jackson, citing an opinion
of Judge Van Orsdel. Thus: "It should be remembered that of the three fundamental principles which
underlie government, and for which government exists, the protection of life, liberty, and property,
the chief of these is property . . . ."
15
The above excerpt from Judge Van Orsdel forms part of his
opinion in Children's Hospital v. Adkins, when decided by the Circuit Court of Appeals.
16

Nonetheless, the social and economic forces at work in the United States to which the new deal
administration of President Roosevelt was most responsive did occasion, as of 1937, greater
receptivity by the American Supreme Court to a philosophy less rigid in its obeisance to property
rights. Earlier legislation deemed offensive to thelaissez-faire concept had met a dismal fate. Their
nullity during his first term could, more often than not, be expected.
17

As a matter of fact, even earlier, in 1935, Professor Coker of Yale, speaking as a historian, could
already discern a contrary drift. Even then he could assert that the range of governmental activity in
the United States had indeed expanded. According to him: "Thus both liberals and conservatives
approve wide and varied governmental intervention; the latter condemning it, it is true, when the
former propose it, but endorsing it, after it has become a fixed part of the status quo, as so beneficial
in its effects that no more of it is needed. Our history for the last half-century shows that each
important governmental intervention we have adopted has been called socialistic or communistic by
contemporary conservatives, and has later been approved by equally conservative men who now
accept it both for its proved benefits and for the worthy traditions it has come to represent. Both
liberal and conservative supporters of our large-scale business under private ownership advocate or
concede the amounts and kinds of governmental limitation and aid which they regard as necessary
to make the system work efficiently and humanely. Sooner or later, they are willing to have
government intervene for the purpose of preventing the system from being too oppressive to the
masses of the people, protecting it from its self-destructive errors, and coming to its help in other
ways when it appears not to be able to take care of itself."
18

At any rate, by 1943, the United States was reconciled to laissez-faire having lost its dominance. In
the language of Justice Jackson in the leading case of West Virginia State Board of Education v.
Barnette:
19
"We must transplant these rights to a soil in which the laissez-faire concept or principle of
non-interference has withered at least as to economic affairs, and social advancements are
increasingly sought through closer integration of society and through expanded and strengthened
governmental controls."
2. The influence exerted by American constitutional doctrines unavoidable when the Philippines was
still under American rule notwithstanding, an influence that has not altogether vanished even after
independence, thelaissez-faire principle never found full acceptance in this jurisdiction, even during
the period of its full flowering in the United States. Moreover, to erase any doubts, the Constitutional
Convention saw to it that our fundamental law embodies a policy of the responsibility thrust on
government to cope with social and economic problems and an earnest and sincere commitment to
the promotion of the general welfare through state action. It would thus follow that the force of any
legal objection to regulatory measures adversely affecting property rights or to statutes organizing
public corporations that may engage in competition with private enterprise has been blunted. Unless
there be a clear showing of any invasion of rights guaranteed by the Constitution, their validity is a
foregone conclusion. No fear need be entertained that thereby spheres hitherto deemed outside
government domain have been enchroached upon. With our explicit disavowal of the "constituent-
ministrant" test, the ghost of the laissez-faire concept no longer stalks the juridical stage.
As early as 1919, in the leading case of Rubi V. Provincial Board of Mindoro,
20
Justice Malcolm
already had occasion to affirm: "The doctrines of laissez-faire and of unrestricted freedom of the
individual, as axioms of economic and political theory, are of the past. The modern period has shown
a widespread belief in the amplest possible demonstration of governmental activity. The Courts
unfortunately have sometimes seemed to trail after the other two branches of the Government in this
progressive march."
It was to be expected then that when he spoke for the Court in Government of the Philippine Islands
v. Springer,
21
a 1927 decision, he found nothing objectionable in the government itself organizing and
investing public funds in such corporations as the National Coal Co., the Phil. National Bank, the
National Petroleum Co., the National Development Co., the National Cement Co. and the National
Iron Co. There was not even a hint that thereby thelaissez-faire concept was not honored at all. It is
true that Justice Malcolm concurred with the majority in People v. Pomar,
22
a 1924 opinion, which
held invalid under the due process clause a provision providing for maternity leave with pay thirty
days before and thirty days after confinement. It could be that he had no other choice as the
Philippines was then under the United States, and only recently the year before, the above-cited
case of Adkins v. Children's Hospital,
23
in line with the laissez-faire principle, did hold that a statute
providing for minimum wages was constitutionally infirm on the same ground.
Our constitution which took effect in 1935, upon the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the
Philippines, erased whatever doubts there might be on that score. Its philosophy is antithetical to
the laissez-faire concept. Delegate, later President, Manuel Roxas, one of the leading members of
the Constitutional Convention, in answer precisely to an objection of Delegate Jose Reyes of
Sorsogon, who noted the "vast extensions in the sphere of governmental functions" and the "almost
unlimited power to interfere in the affairs of industry and agriculture as well as to compete with
existing business" as "reflections of the fascination exerted by [the then] current tendencies" in other
jurisdictions,
24
spoke thus: "My answer is that this constitution has a definite and well defined
philosophy, not only political but social and economic. A constitution that in 1776 or in 1789 was
sufficient in the United States, considering the problems they had at that time, may not now be
sufficient with the growing and ever-widening complexities of social and economic problems and
relations. If the United States of America were to call a constitutional convention today to draft a
constitution for the United States, does any one doubt that in the provisions of that constitution there
will be found definite declarations of policy as to economic tendencies; that there will be matters
which are necessary in accordance with the experience of the American people during these years
when vast organizations of capital and trade have succeeded to a certain degree to control the life
and destiny of the American people? If in this constitution the gentleman will find declarations of
economic policy, they are there because they are necessary to safeguard the interests and welfare
of the Filipino people because we believe that the days have come when in self-defense, a nation
may provide in its constitution those safeguards, the patrimony, the freedom to grow, the freedom to
develop national aspirations and national interests, not to be hampered by the artificial boundaries
which a constitutional provision automatically imposes."
25

Delegate Roxas continued further: "The government is the creature of the people and the
government exercises its powers and functions in accordance with the will and purposes of the
people. That is the first principle, the most important one underlying this document. Second, the
government established in this document is, in its form, in our opinion, the most adapted to
prevailing conditions, circumstances and the political outlook of the Filipino people. Rizal said, 'Every
people has the kind of government that they deserve.' That is just another form of expressing the
principle in politics enunciated by the French philosophers when they said: 'Every people has the
right to establish the form of government which they believe is most conducive to their welfare and
their liberty.' Why have we preferred the government that is established in this draft? Because it is
the government with which we are familiar. It is the form of government fundamentally such as it
exists today; because it is the only kind of government that our people understand; it is the kind of
government we have found to be in consonance with our experience, with the necessary
modification, capable of permitting a fair play of social forces and allowing the people to conduct the
affairs of that government."
26

One of the most prominent delegates, a leading intellectual, former President Rafael Palma of the
University of the Philippines, stressed as a fundamental principle in the draft of the Constitution the
limitation on the right to property. He pointed out that the then prevailing view allowed the
accumulation of wealth in one family down to the last remote descendant, resulting in a grave
disequilibrium and bringing in its wake extreme misery side by side with conspicuous luxury. He did
invite attention to the few millionaires at one extreme with the vast masses of Filipinos deprived of
the necessities of life at the other. He asked the Convention whether the Filipino people could long
remain indifferent to such a deplorable situation. For him to speak of a democracy under such
circumstances would be nothing but an illusion. He would thus emphasize the urgent need to
remedy the grave social injustice that had produced such widespread impoverishment, thus
recognizing the vital role of government in this sphere.
27

Another delegate, Tomas Confesor of Iloilo, was quite emphatic in his assertion for the need of a
social justice provision which is a departure from the laissez-faire principle. Thus: "Take the case of
the tenancy system in the Philippines. You have a tenant. There are hundreds of thousands of
tenants working day in and day out, cultivating the fields of their landlords. He puts all his time, all his
energy, the labor and the assistance of his wife and children, in cultivating a piece of ground for his
landlord but when the time comes for the partition of the products of his toil what happens? If he
produces 25 cavanes of rice, he gets only perhaps five and the twenty goes to the landlord. Now can
he go to court? Has he a chance to go to court in order to secure his just share of the products of his
toil? No. Under our present regime of law, under our present regime of justice, you do not give that
to the poor tenant. Gentlemen, you go to the Cagayan Valley and see the condition under which
those poor farmers are being exploited day in and day out. Can they go to court under our present
regime of justice, of liberty, or democracy? The other day, workmen were shot by the police just
because they wanted to increase or they desired that their wages be increased from thirty centavos
a day to forty or fifty centavos. Is it necessary to spill human blood just to secure an increase of ten
centavos in the daily wages of an ordinary laborer? And yet under our present regime of social
justice, liberty and democracy, these things are happening; these things, I say, are happening. Are
those people getting any justice? No. They cannot get justice now from our courts. For this reason, I
say it is necessary that we insert 'social justice' here and that social justice must be established by
law. Proper legal provisions, proper legal facilities must be provided in order that there be a regime
not of justice alone, because we have that now and we are seeing the oppression arising from such
a regime. Consequently, we must emphasize the term 'social justice'."
28

Delegate Ventenilla of Pangasinan reflected the attitude of the Convention as to why laissez-
faire was no longer acceptable. After speaking of times having changed, he proceeded: "Since then
new problems have arisen. The spiritual mission of government has descended to the level of the
material. Then its function was primarily to soothe the aching spirit. Now, it appears, it must also
appease hunger. Now that we may read history backwards, we know for instance, that the old theory
of 'laissez-faire' has degenerated into 'big business affairs' which are gradually devouring the rights
of the people — the same rights intended to be guarded and protected by the system of
constitutional guaranties. Oh, if the Fathers were now alive to see the changes that the centuries
have wrought in our life! They might contemplate the sad spectacle of organized exploitation greedily
devouring the previous rights of the individual. They might also behold the gradual disintegration of
society, the fast disappearance of the bourgeois — the middle class, the backbone of the nation —
and the consequent drifting of the classes toward the opposite extremes — the very rich and the
very poor."
29

Shortly after the establishment of the Commonwealth, the then Justice Jose P. Laurel, himself one of
the foremost delegates of the Constitutional Convention, in a concurring opinion, later quoted with
approval in the leading case of Antamok Goldfields Mining Co. v. Court of Industrial
Relations,
30
decided in 1940, explained clearly the need for the repudiation of the laissez-
faire doctrine. Thus: "It should be observed at the outset that our Constitution was adopted in the
midst of surging unrest and dissatisfaction resulting from economic and social distress which was
threatening the stability of governments the world over. Alive to the social and economic forces at
work, the framers of our Constitution boldly met the problems and difficulties which faced them and
endeavored to crystallize, with more or less fidelity, the political, social and economic propositions of
their age, and this they did, with the consciousness that the political and philosophical aphorism of
their generation will, in the language of a great jurist, 'be doubted by the next and perhaps entirely
discarded by the third.' . . . Embodying the spirit of the present epoch, general provisions were
inserted in the Constitution which are intended to bring about the needed social and economic
equilibrium between component elements of society through the application of what may be termed
as the justitia communis advocated by Grotius and Leibnits many years ago to be secured through
the counterbalancing of economic and social forces and opportunities which should be regulated, if
not controlled, by the State or placed, as it were, in custodia societatis. 'The promotion of social
justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people' was thus inserted as vital
principle in our Constitution. ... ."
31
In the course of such concurring opinion and after noting the
changes that have taken place stressing that the policy of laissez-faire had indeed given way to the
assumption by the government of the right to intervene although qualified by the phrase "to some
extent", he made clear that the doctrine in People v. Pomar no longer retain, "its virtuality as a living
principle."
32

3. It must be made clear that the objection to the "constituent-ministrant" classification of
governmental functions is not to its formulation as such. From the standpoint of law as logic, it is not
without merit. It has neatness and symmetry. There are hardly any loose ends. It has the virtue of
clarity. It may be said in its favor likewise that it reflects all-too-faithfully the laissez-faire notion that
government cannot extend its operation outside the maintenance of peace and order, protection
against external security, and the administration of justice, with private rights, especially so in the
case of property, being safeguarded and a hint that the general welfare is not to be entirely ignored.
It must not be lost sight of though that logic and jural symmetry while undoubtedly desirable are not
the prime consideration. This is especially so in the field of public law. What was said by Holmes,
almost nine decades ago, carry greater conviction now. "The life of the law has not been logic; it has
been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions
of public policy avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-
men, have had a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining the rules by which men
should be governed."
33
Then too, there was the warning of Geny cited by Cardozo that undue stress
or logic may result in confining the entire system of positive law, "within a limited number of logical
categories, predetermined in essence, immovable in basis, governed by inflexible dogmas," thus
rendering it incapable of responding to the ever varied and changing exigencies of life.
34,

It is cause enough for concern if the objection to the Bacani decision were to be premised on the
score alone that perhaps there was fidelity to the requirements of logic and jural symmetry carried to
excess. What appears to me much more deplorable is that it did fail to recognize that there was a
repudiation of the laissez-faire concept in the Constitution. As was set forth in the preceding pages,
the Constitution is distinguished precisely by a contrary philosophy. The regime of liberty if provided
for, with the realization that under the then prevalent social and economic conditions, it may be
attained only through a government with its sphere of activity ranging far and wide, not excluding
matters hitherto left to the operation of free enterprise. As rightfully stressed in our decision today in
line with what was earlier expressed by Justice Laurel, the government that we have established has
as a fundamental principle the promotion of social justice.
35
The same jurist gave it a comprehensive
and enduring definition as the "promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the
government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the component elements of
society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of
the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable,
or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments
in the time honored principle of salus populi estsuprema lex."
36

There is thus from the same distinguished pen, this time writing for the Court, a reiteration of the
view of thelaissez-faire doctrine being repugnant to the fundamental law. It must be added though
that the reference to extra-constitutional measures being allowable must be understood in the sense
that there is no infringement of specific constitutional guarantees. Otherwise, the judiciary will be
hard put to sustain their validity if challenged in an appropriate legal proceeding.
The regime of liberty contemplated in the Constitution with social justice as a fundamental principle
to reinforce the pledge in the preamble of promoting the general welfare reflects traditional concepts
of a democratic policy infused with an awareness of the vital and pressing need for the government
to assume a much more active and vigorous role in the conduct of public affairs. The framers of our
fundamental law were as one in their strongly-held belief that thereby the grave and serious infirmity
then confronting our body-politic, on the whole still with us now, of great inequality of wealth and
mass poverty, with the great bulk of our people ill-clad, ill-housed, ill-fed, could be remedied. Nothing
else than communal effort, massive in extent and earnestly engaged in, would suffice.
To paraphrase Laski, with the necessary modification in line with such worthy constitutional ends, we
look upon the state as an organization to promote the happiness of individuals, its authority as a
power bound by subordination to that purpose, liberty while to be viewed negatively as absence of
restraint impressed with a positive aspect as well to assure individual self-fulfillment in the attainment
of which greater responsibility is thrust on government; and rights as boundary marks defining areas
outside its domain.
37
From which it would follow as Laski so aptly stated that it is the individual's
"happiness and not its well-being [that is] the criterion by which its behavior [is] to be judged. His
interests, and not its power, set the limits to the authority it [is] entitled to exercise."
38
We have under
such a test enlarged its field of competence. 4. With the decision reached by us today, the
government is freed from the compulsion exerted by the Bacani doctrine of the "constituent-
ministrant" test as a criterion for the type of activity in which it may engage. Its constricting effect is
consigned to oblivion. No doubts or misgivings need assail us that governmental efforts to promote
the public weal, whether through regulatory legislation of vast scope and amplitude or through the
undertaking of business activities, would have to face a searching and rigorous scrutiny. It is clear
that their legitimacy cannot be challenged on the ground alone of their being offensive to the
implications of the laissez-faire concept. Unless there be a repugnancy then to the limitations
expressly set forth in the Constitution to protect individual rights, the government enjoys a much
wider latitude of action as to the means it chooses to cope with grave social and economic problems
that urgently press for solution. For me, at least, that is to manifest deference to the philosophy of
our fundamental law. Hence my full concurrence, as announced at the outset.
5. The opinion of Justice Makalintal contains this footnote: "It must be stated, however, that we do
not here decide the question — not at issue in this case — of whether or not a labor organization
composed employees discharging governmental functions, which is allowed under the legal
provision just quoted, provided such organization does not impose the obligation to strike or to join in
strike, may petition for a certification election and compel the employer to bargain collectively with it
for purposes other than to secure changes or conditions in the terms and conditions of employment."
With such an affirmation as to the scope of our decision there being no holding on the vexing
question of the effects on the rights of labor in view of the conclusion reached that the function
engaged in is governmental in character, I am in full agreement. The answer to such a vital query
must await another day.
G.R. No. L-25843 July 25, 1974
MELCHORA CABANAS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FRANCISCO PILAPIL, defendant-appellant.
Seno, Mendoza & Associates for plaintiff-appellee.
Emilio Benitez, Jr. for defendant-appellant.

FERNANDO, J.:p
The disputants in this appeal from a question of law from a lower court decision are the mother and the
uncle of a minor beneficiary of the proceeds of an insurance policy issued on the life of her deceased
father. The dispute centers as to who of them should be entitled to act as trustee thereof. The lower court
applying the appropriate Civil Code provisions decided in favor of the mother, the plaintiff in this case.
Defendant uncle appealed. As noted, the lower court acted the way it did following the specific mandate of
the law. In addition, it must have taken into account the principle that in cases of this nature the welfare of
the child is the paramount consideration. It is not an unreasonable assumption that between a mother and
an uncle, the former is likely to lavish more care on and pay greater attention to her. This is all the more
likely considering that the child is with the mother. There are no circumstances then that did militate
against what conforms to the natural order of things, even if the language of the law were not as clear. It
is not to be lost sight of either that the judiciary pursuant to its role as an agency of the State as parens
patriae, with an even greater stress on family unity under the present Constitution, did weigh in the
balance the opposing claims and did come to the conclusion that the welfare of the child called for the
mother to be entrusted with such responsibility. We have to affirm.
The appealed decision made clear: “There is no controversy as to the facts. “
1
The insured, Florentino
Pilapil had a child, Millian Pilapil, with a married woman, the plaintiff, Melchora Cabanas. She was ten
years old at the time the complaint was filed on October 10, 1964. The defendant, Francisco Pilapil, is the
brother of the deceased. The deceased insured himself and instituted as beneficiary, his child, with his
brother to act as trustee during her minority. Upon his death, the proceeds were paid to him. Hence this
complaint by the mother, with whom the child is living, seeking the delivery of such sum. She filed the
bond required by the Civil Code. Defendant would justify his claim to the retention of the amount in
question by invoking the terms of the insurance policy.
2

After trial duly had, the lower court in a decision of May 10, 1965, rendered judgment ordering the
defendant to deliver the proceeds of the policy in question to plaintiff. Its main reliance was on Articles
320 and 321 of the Civil Code. The former provides: “The father, or in his absence the mother, is the legal
administrator of the property pertaining to the child under parental authority. If the property is worth
more than two thousand pesos, the father or mother shall give a bond subject to the approval of the Court
of First Instance.”
3
The latter states: “The property which the unemancipated child has acquired or may
acquire with his work or industry, or by any lucrative title, belongs to the child in ownership, and in
usufruct to the father or mother under whom he is under parental authority and whose company he lives;

4

Conformity to such explicit codal norm is apparent in this portion of the appealed decision: “The insurance
proceeds belong to the beneficiary. The beneficiary is a minor under the custody and parental authority of
the plaintiff, her mother. The said minor lives with plaintiff or lives in the company of the plaintiff. The
said minor acquired this property by lucrative title. Said property, therefore, belongs to the minor child in
ownership, and in usufruct to the plaintiff, her mother. Since under our law the usufructuary is entitled to
possession, the plaintiff is entitled to possession of the insurance proceeds. The trust, insofar as it is in
conflict with the above quoted provision of law, is pro tanto null and void. In order, however, to protect
the rights of the minor, Millian Pilapil, the plaintiff should file an additional bond in the guardianship
proceedings, Sp. Proc. No. 2418-R of this Court to raise her bond therein to the total amount of
P5,000.00.”
5

It is very clear, therefore, considering the above, that unless the applicability of the two cited Civil Code
provisions can be disputed, the decision must stand. There is no ambiguity in the language employed. The
words are rather clear. Their meaning is unequivocal. Time and time again, this Court has left no doubt
that where codal or statutory norms are cast in categorical language, the task before it is not one of
interpretation but of application.
6
So it must be in this case. So it was in the appealed decision.
1. It would take more than just two paragraphs as found in the brief for the defendant-appellant
7
to blunt
the force of legal commands that speak so plainly and so unqualifiedly. Even if it were a question of policy,
the conclusion will remain unaltered. What is paramount, as mentioned at the outset, is the welfare of the
child. It is in consonance with such primordial end that Articles 320 and 321 have been worded. There is
recognition in the law of the deep ties that bind parent and child. In the event that there is less than full
measure of concern for the offspring, the protection is supplied by the bond required. With the added
circumstance that the child stays with the mother, not the uncle, without any evidence of lack of maternal
care, the decision arrived at can stand the test of the strictest scrutiny. It is further fortified by the
assumption, both logical and natural, that infidelity to the trust imposed by the deceased is much less in
the case of a mother than in the case of an uncle. Manresa, commenting on Article 159 of the Civil Code of
Spain, the source of Article 320 of the Civil Code, was of that view: Thus “El derecho y la obligacion de
administrar el Patrimonio de los hijos es una consecuencia natural y lógica de la patria potestad y de la
presunción de que nadie cuidará de los bienes de acquéllos con mas cariño y solicitude que los padres. En
nuestro Derecho antiguo puede decirse que se hallaba reconocida de una manera indirecta aquelia
doctrina, y asi se desprende de la sentencia del Tribunal Supremeo de 30 de diciembre de 1864, que se
refiere a la ley 24, tit. XIII de la Partida 5. De la propia suerte aceptan en general dicho principio los
Codigos extranjeros, con las limitaciones y requisitos de que trataremos mis adelante.”
8

2. The appealed decision is supported by another cogent consideration. It is buttressed by its adherence
to the concept that the judiciary, as an agency of the State acting as parens patriae, is called upon
whenever a pending suit of litigation affects one who is a minor to accord priority to his best interest. It
may happen, as it did occur here, that family relations may press their respective claims. It would be more
in consonance not only with the natural order of things but the tradition of the country for a parent to be
preferred. it could have been different if the conflict were between father and mother. Such is not the case
at all. It is a mother asserting priority. Certainly the judiciary as the instrumentality of the State in its role
of parens patriae, cannot remain insensible to the validity of her plea. In a recent case,
9
there is this
quotation from an opinion of the United States Supreme Court: “This prerogative of parens patriae is
inherent in the supreme power of every State, whether that power is lodged in a royal person or in the
legislature, and has no affinity to those arbitrary powers which are sometimes exerted by irresponsible
monarchs to the great detriment of the people and the destruction of their liberties.” What is more, there
is this constitutional provision vitalizing this concept. It reads: “The State shall strengthen the family as a
basic social institution.”
10
If, as the Constitution so wisely dictates, it is the family as a unit that has to be
strengthened, it does not admit of doubt that even if a stronger case were presented for the uncle, still
deference to a constitutional mandate would have led the lower court to decide as it did.
WHEREFORE, the decision of May 10, 1965 is affirmed. Costs against defendant-appellant.
Zaldivar (Chairman), Antonio, Fernandez and Aquino, JJ., concur.
Barredo, J., took no part.

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