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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-10520 February 28, 1957
LORENO M. T!"!#! a$% #&OS#!#O M!C!P!G!L, petitioners,
vs.
M!R&!NO 'ESUS CUENCO, FR!NC&SCO !. #ELG!#O, !LFRE#O CRU, C!T!L&N! C!(ET!NO,
M!NUEL SER!P&O, PL!C&#O RE(ES, a$% FERN!N#O )&POL&TO *$ +*, -a.a-*/y a, -a,+*er a$%
%*,bur,*$0 o11*-er,respondents.
Tañada, Teehankee and Macapagal for petitioners.
Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Troadio T. Quiaon, !r. for respondents.
CONCEPC&ON, J.2
Petitioner Lorenzo M. Taada is a !e!ber of the "#enate of the "Philippines, and President of the "Citizens
Part$, %hereas petitioner &iosdado Macapa'al, a !e!ber of the "(ouse of Representatives of
the "Philippines, %as one of the official candidates of the "Liberal Part$ for the "#enate, at
the ")eneral elections held in Nove!ber, *+,,, in %hich Pacita Madri'al -arns, Lorenzo #u!ulon', .uintin
Paredes, /rancisco Rodri'o, Pedro #abido, Claro M. Recto, &o!ocao Alonto and "&ecoroso Rosales, %ere
proclai!ed elected. #ubse0uentl$, the elections of this #enators1elect1%ho eventuall$ assu!ed their respective
seats in the #enate1%as contested b$ petitioner "Macapa'al, to'ether %ith Ca!ilo 2sias, )eroni!a Pecson,
Macario Peralta, Enri0ue Ma'alona, Pio Pedrosa and -illia! Chion'bian1%ho had, also, run for the "#enate,
in said election1in #enate Electoral Case No. 3, no% pendin' before the #enate Electoral Tribunal. .
The #enate, in its session of /ebruar$ 44, *+,5, upon no!ination of #enator Cipriano Pri!icias, on behalf of
the Nacionalista Part$, chose #enators 6ose P. Laurel, /ernando Lopez and Cipriano Pri!icias, as !e!bers of
the #enate Electoral Tribunal. 7pon no!ination of petitioner #enator Taada, on behalf of the Citizens Part$,
said petitioner %as ne8t chosen b$ the #enate as !e!ber of said Tribunal. Then, upon no!ination of #enator
Pri!icias on behalf of the Co!!ittee on Rules of the #enate, and over the ob9ections of #enators Taada and
#u!ulon', the #enate choose respondents #enators Mariano 6. Cuenco and /rancisco A. &el'ado as
!e!bers of the sa!e Electoral Tribunal. #ubse0uentl$, the Chair!an of the latter appointed: ;*< Alfredo Cruz
and Catalina Ca$etano, as technical assistant and private secretar$, respectivel$, to #enator Cuenco, as
supposed !e!ber of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, upon his reco!!endation of said respondent= and ;4<
Manuel #erapio and Placido Re$es, as technical assistant and private secretar$, respectivel$ to #enator
&el'ado, as supposed !e!ber of said Electoral Tribunal, and upon his reco!!endation.
#oon, thereafter, #enator Lorenzo M. Taada and Con'ress!an &iosdado Macapa'al instituted the case at
bar a'ainst #enators Cuenco and &el'ado, and said Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Ca$etano, Manuel #erapio and
Placido Re$es, as %ell as /ernando (ipolito, in his capacit$ as Cashier and &isbursin' 2fficer of the #enate
Electoral Tribunal. Petitioners alle'e that on /ebruar$ 44, *+,5, as %ell as at present, the #enate consists of 4>
#enators %ho belon' to the Nacionalista Part$, and one ;*< #enator1na!el$, petitioner, Lorenzo M. Taada1
belon'in' to the Citizens Part$= that the Co!!ittee on Rules for the #enate, in no!inatin' #enators Cuenco
and &el'ado, and the #enate, in choosin' these respondents, as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal,
had ?acted absolutel$ %ithout po%er or color of authorit$ and in clear violation .. of Article @A, #ection ** of the
Constitution?= that ?in assu!in' !e!bership in the #enate Electoral Tribunal, b$ taBin' the correspondin' oath
of office therefor?, said respondents had ?acted absolutel$ %ithout color of appoint!ent or authorit$ and are
unla%full$, and in violation of the Constitution, usurpin', intrudin' into and e8ercisin' the po%ers of !e!bers of
the #enate Electoral Tribunal?= that, conse0uentl$, the appoint!ents of respondents, Cruz, Ca$etano, #erapio
and Re$es, as technical assistants and private secretaries to #enators Cuenco and &el'ado1%ho caused said
appoint!ents to be !ade1as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, are unla%ful and void= and that
#enators Cuenco and &el'ado ?are threatenin' and are about to taBe co'nizance of Electoral Case No. 3 of
the #enate Electoral Tribunal, as alle'ed !e!bers thereof, in nullification of the ri'hts of petitioner Lorenzo M.
Taada, both as a #enator belon'in' to the Citizens Part$ and as representative of the Citizens Part$ in the
#enate Electoral Tribunal, and in deprivation of the constitutional ri'hts of petitioner &iosdado Macapa'al and
his co1protestants to have their election protest tried and decided1b$ an Electoral Tribunal co!posed of not
!ore than three ;>< senators chosen b$ the #enate upon no!ination of the part$ havin' the lar'est nu!ber of
votes in the #enate and not !ore than the ;>< #enators upon no!ination of the Part$ havin' the second lar'est
nu!ber of votes therein, to'ether, three ;>< 6ustice of the #upre!e Court to be desi'nated b$ the Chief 6ustice,
instead of b$ an Electoral Tribunal pacBed %ith five !e!bers belon'in' to the Nacionalista Part$, %hich is the
rival part$ of the Liberal Part$, to %hich the Petitioner &iosdado Macapa'al and his co1protestants in Electoral
Case No. 3 belon', the said five ;,< Nacionalista #enators havin' been no!inated and chosen in the !anner
alle'ed.. hereinabove.?.
Petitioners pra$ that:.
?*. 7pon petitionersC filin' of bond in such a!ount as !a$ be deter!ined b$ this (onorable Court, a %rit of
preli!inar$ in9unction be i!!ediatel$ issued directed to respondents Mariano 6. Cuenco, /rancisco A.
&el'ado, Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Ca$etano, Manuel #erapio and Placido Re$es, restrainin' the! fro!
continuin' to usurp, intrude into andD or hold or e8ercise the said public offices respectivel$ bein' occupied b$
the! in the #enate Electoral Tribunal, and to respondent /ernando (ipolito restrainin' hi! fro! pa$in' the
salaries of respondent Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Ca$etano, Manuel #erapio and Placido Re$es, pendin' this
action.
?4. After hearin', 9ud'!ent be rendered oustin' respondent Mariano 6. Cuenco /rancisco A. &el'ado, Alfredo
Cruz, Catalina Ca$etano, Manuel #erapio and Placido Re$es fro! the afore!entioned public offices in the
#enate Electoral Tribunal and that the$ be alto'ether e8cluded therefro! and !aBin' the Preli!inar$ in9unction
per!anent, %ith costs a'ainst the respondents.?.
Respondents have ad!itted the !ain alle'ations of fact in the petition, e8cept insofar as it 0uestions the
le'alit$, and validit$ of the election of respondents #enators Cuenco and &el'ado, as !e!bers of the #enate
Electoral Tribunal, and of the appoint!ent of respondent Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Ca$etano, Manuel #erapio and
Placido Re$es as technical assistants and private secretaries to said respondents #enators. Respondents,
liBe%ise, alle'e, b$ %a$ of special and affir!ative defenses, that: ;a< this Court is %ithout po%er, authorit$ of
9urisdiction to direct or control the action of the #enate in choosin' the !e!bers of the Electoral Tribunal= and
;b< that the petition states no cause of action, because ?petitioner Taada has e8hausted his ri'ht to no!inate
after he no!inated hi!self and refused to no!inate t%o ;4< !ore #enators?, because said petitioner is in
estoppel, and because the present action is not the proper re!ed$. .
A. Respondents assail our 9urisdiction to entertain the petition, upon the 'round that the po%er to choose si8 ;5<
#enators as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal has been e8pressl$ conferred b$ the Constitution upon
the #enate, despite the fact that the draft sub!itted to the constitutional convention 'ave to the respective
political parties the ri'ht to elect their respective representatives in the Electoral Co!!ission provided for in the
ori'inal Constitution of the Philippines, and that the onl$ re!ed$ available to petitioners herein ?is not in the
9udicial foru!?, but ?to brin' the !atter to the bar of public opinion.?.
-e cannot a'ree %ith the conclusion dra%n b$ respondents fro! the fore'oin' facts. To be'in %ith, unliBe the
cases of Ale9andrino vs. .uezon ;35 Phil., E>< and @era vs. Avelino ;FF Phil., *+4<1relied upon b$ the
respondents this is not an action a'ainst the #enate, and it does not seeB to co!pel the latter, either directl$ or
indirectl$, to allo% the petitioners to perfor! their duties as !e!bers of said (ouse. Althou'h the Constitution
provides that the #enate shall choose si8 ;5< #enators to be !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, the
latter is part neither of Con'ress nor of the #enate. ;An'ara vs. Electoral Co!!ission, 5> Phil., *>+, #uanes
vs. Chief Accountant, E* Phil., E*E= 35 2ff. )az., 354.<.
#econdl$, althou'h the #enate has, under the Constitution, the e8clusive po%er to choose the #enators %ho
shall for! part of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, the funda!ental la% has prescribed the !anner in %hich the
authorit$ shall be e8ercised. As the author of a ver$ enli'htenin' stud$ on 9udicial self1li!itation has aptl$ put it:.
?The courts are called upon to sa$, on the one hand, b$ %ho! certain po%ers shall be e8ercised, and on the
other hand, to deter!ine %hether the po%ers possessed have been validl$ e8ercised. An perfor!in' the latter
function, the$ do not encroach upon the po%ers of a coordinate branch of the, 'overn!ent, since the
deter!ination of the validit$ of an act is not the sa!e, thin' as the perfor!ance of the act. An the one case %e
are seeBin' to ascertain upon %ho! devolves the dut$ of the particular service. An the other case %e are
!erel$ seeBin' to deter!ine %hether the Constitution has been violated b$ an$thin' done or attented b$ either
an e8ecutive official or the le'islative.? ;6udicial #elf1Li!itation b$ /inBelstein, pp. 44*, 443, 433, (arvard La%
Revie%, @ol. >+= e!phasis supplied,<.
The case of #uanes vs. Chief Accountant ;supra< cited b$ respondent refutes their o%n pretense. This Court
e8ercised its 9urisdiction over said case and decided the sa!e on the !erits thereof, despite the fact that it
involved an in0uir$ into the po%ers of the #enate and its President over the #enate Electoral Tribunal and the
personnel thereof. .
A'ain, under the Constitution, ?the le'islative po%er? is vested e8clusivel$ in the Con'ress of the Philippines.
Get, this does not detract fro! the po%er of the courts to pass upon the constitutionalit$ of acts of Con'ress *
And, since 9udicial po%er includes the authorit$ to in0uire into the le'alit$ of statutes enacted b$ the t%o
(ouses of Con'ress, and approved b$ the E8ecutive, there can be no reason %h$ the validit$ of an act of one
of said (ouses, liBe that of an$ other branch of the )overn!ent, !a$ not be deter!ined in the proper actions.
Thus, in the e8ercise of the so1called ?9udicial supre!ac$?, this Court declared that a resolution of the defunct
National Asse!bl$ could not bar the e8ercise of the po%ers of the for!er Electoral Co!!ission under the
ori'inal Constitution. 4 ;An'ara vs. Electoral Co!!ission, supra<, and annulled certain acts of the E8ecutive >
as inco!patible %ith the funda!ental la%.
An fact, %henever the conflictin' clai!s of the parties to a liti'ation cannot properl$ be settled %ithout in0uirin'
into the validit$ of an act of Con'ress or of either (ouse thereof, the courts have, not onl$ 9urisdiction to pass
upon said issue, but, also, the dut$ to do so, %hich cannot be evaded %ithout violatin' the funda!ental la% and
pavin' the %a$ to its eventual destruction. 3.
Neither are the cases of Mabana' vs. Lopez @ito ;FE Phil., *< and Cabili vs. /rancisco ;EE Phil., 5,3<, liBe%ise,
invoBed b$ respondents, in point. An the Mabana' case, it %as held that the courts could not revie% the findin'
of the #enate to the effect that the !e!bers thereof %ho had been suspended b$ said (ouse should not be
considered in deter!inin' %hether the votes cast therein, in favor of a resolution proposin' an a!end!ent to
the Constitution, sufficed to satisf$ the re0uire!ents of the latter, such 0uestion bein' a political one. The
%ei'ht of this decision, as a precedent, has been %eaBened, ho%ever, b$ our resolutions in Avelino vs. Cuenco
;E> Phil., *F<, in %hich this Court proceeded to deter!ine the nu!ber essential to constitute a 0uoru! in the
#enate. Besides, the case at bar does not hin'e on the nu!ber of votes needed for a particular act of said
bod$. The issue before us is %hether the #enate1after acBno%led'in' that the Citizens Part$ is the part$, havin'
the second lar'est nu!ber of votes in the #enate, to %hich part$ the Constitution 'ives the ri'ht to no!inate
three ;>< #enators for the #enate electoral Tribunal1could validl$ choose therefor t%o ;4< Nacionalista #enators,
upon no!ination b$ the floor leader of the Nacionalista Part$ in the #enate, #enator Pri!icias clai!in' to act
on behalf of the Co!!ittee on Rules for the #enate.
The issue in the Cabili case %as %hether %e could revie% a resolution of the #enate reor'anizin' its
representation in the Co!!ission on Appoint!ents. This %as decided in the ne'ative, upon the authorit$ of
Ale9andrino vs. .uezon ;supra< and @era vs. Avelino ;supra<, the !ain purpose of the petition bein' ?to force
upon the #enate the reinstate!ent of #enator Ma'alona in the Co!!ission on Appoint!ents,? one1half ;*D4< of
the !e!bers of %hich is to be elected b$ each (ouse on the basis of proportional representation of the political
parties therein. (ence, the issue depended !ainl$ on the deter!ination of the political ali'n!ent of the
!e!bers of the #enate at the ti!e of said reor'anization and of the necessit$ or advisabilit$ of effectin' said
reor'anization, %hich is a political 0uestion. -e are not called upon, in the case at bar, to pass upon an
identical or si!ilar 0uestion, it bein' conceded, i!pliedl$, but clearl$, that the Citizens Part$ is the part$ %ith the
second lar'est nu!ber of votes in the #enate. The issue, therefore, is %hether a ri'ht vested b$ the
Constitution in the Citizens Part$ !a$ validl$ be e8ercised, either b$ the Nacionalista Part$, or b$ the
Co!!ittee on Rules for the #enate, over the ob9ection of said Citizens Part$.
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
The onl$ 'round upon %hich respondentsC ob9ection to the 9urisdiction of this Court and their theor$ to the effect
that the proper re!ed$ for petitioners herein is, not the present action, but an appeal to public opinion, could
possibl$ be entertained is, therefore, %hether the case at bar raises !erel$ a political 0uestion, not one
9usticiable in nature.
An this connection, respondents assert in their ans%er that ?the re!ed$ of petitioners is not in the 9udicial foru!,
but, to use petitioner, TaadaCs o%n %ords, to brin' the !atter to the bar of public opinionC ;p. E*, &iscussion on
the Creation of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, /ebruar$ 4*, *+,5<.? This alle'ation !a$ 'ive the i!pression that
said petitioner had declared, on the floor of the #enate, that his onl$ relief a'ainst the acts co!plained of in the
petition is to taBe up the issue before the people1 %hich is not a fact. &urin' the discussions in the #enate, in
the course of the or'anization of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, on /ebruar$ 4*, *+,5, #enator Taada %as
asBed %hat re!edies he %ould su''est if he no!inated t%o ;4< Nacionialista #enators and the latter declined
the, no!ination. #enator Taada replied:.
?There are t%o re!edies that occur to !$ !ind ri'ht no%, Mr. #enator= one is the re!ed$ open to all of us that
if %e feel a''rieved and there is no recourse in the court of 9ustice, %e can appeal to public opinion. Another
re!ed$ is an action in the #upre!e Court. 2f course, as #enator Rodri'uez, our President here, has said one
da$= ?Af $ou taBe this !atter to the #upre!e Court, $ou %ill lose, because until no% the #upre!e Court has
al%a$s ruled a'ainst an$ action that %ould constitute interference in the business of an$bod$ pertainin' to the
#enate. The theor$ of separation of po%ers %ill be upheld b$ the #upre!e Court.? But that learned opinion of
#enator Rodri'uez, our President, not%ithstandin', A !a$ taBe the case to the #upre!e Court if !$ ri'ht herein
is not respected. A !a$ lose, Mr. President, but %ho has not lost in the #upre!e CourtH A !a$ lose because of
the theor$ of the separation of po%ers, but that does not !ean, Mr. President, that %hat has been done here is
pursuant to the provision of the Constitution.? ;Con'ressional Record, @ol. AAA, p. >>+= e!phasis supplied.<.
This state!ent did not refer to the no!ination, b$ #enator Pri!icias, and the election, b$ the #enate, of
#enators Cuenco and &el'ado as !e!bers of said Tribunal. Andeed, said no!ination and election tooB place
the da$ after the afore!entioned state!ent of #enator Taada %as !ade. At an$ rate, the latter announced
that he !i'ht ?taBe the case to the #upre!e Court if !$ ri'ht here is not respected.?.
As alread$ adverted to, the ob9ection to our 9urisdiction hin'es on the 0uestion %hether the issue before us is
political or not. An this connection, -illou'hb$ lucidl$ states:.
?Else%here in this treatise the %ell1Bno%n and %ell1established principle is considered that it is not %ithin the
province of the courts to pass 9ud'!ent upon the polic$ of le'islative or e8ecutive action. -here, therefore,
discretionar$ po%ers are 'ranted b$ the Constitution or b$ statute, the !anner in %hich those po%ers are
e8ercised is not sub9ect to 9udicial revie%. The courts, therefore, concern the!selves onl$ %ith the 0uestion as
to the e8istence and e8tent of these discretionar$ po%ers.
?As distin'uished fro! the 9udicial, the le'islative and e8ecutive depart!ents are spoBen of as the political
depart!ents of 'overn!ent because in ver$ !an$ cases their action is necessaril$ dictated b$ considerations
of public or political polic$. These considerations of public or political polic$ of course %ill not per!it the
le'islature to violate constitutional provisions, or the e8ecutive to e8ercise authorit$ not 'ranted hi! b$ the
Constitution or b$, statute, but, %ithin these li!its, the$ do per!it the depart!ents, separatel$ or to'ether, to
reco'nize that a certain set of facts e8ists or that a 'iven status e8ists, and these deter!inations, to'ether %ith
the conse0uences that flo% therefro!, !a$ not be traversed in the courts.? ;-illou'hb$ on the Constitution of
the 7nited #tates, @ol. >, p. *>45= e!phasis supplied.<.
To the sa!e effect is the lan'ua'e used in Corpus 6uris #ecundu!, fro! %hich %e 0uote:.
?At is %ell1settled doctrine that political 0uestions are not %ithin the province of the 9udiciar$, e8cept to the e8tent
that po%er to deal %ith such 0uestions has been conferred upon the courts b$ e8press constitutional or
statutor$ provisions.
?At is not eas$, ho%ever, to define the phrase Ipolitical 0uestionC, nor to deter!ine %hat !atters, fall %ithin its
scope. At is fre0uentl$ used to desi'nate all 0uestions that lie outside the scope of the 9udicial 0uestions, %hich
under the constitution, are to be decided b$ the people in their soverei'n capacit$, or in re'ard to %hich full
discretionar$ authorit$ has been dele'ated to the le'islative or e8ecutive branch of the 'overn!ent.? ;*5
C.6.#., 3*>= see, also )eau'a LaBe A!prove!ent AssCn. vs. Lozier, *E4 N. E. 3+*, *4, 2hio #t. ,5,= #evilla vs,
Elizalde, **4 /. 4d 4+, F4 App. &. C., *JE= e!phasis supplied.<.
Thus, it has been repeatedl$ held that the 0uestion %hether certain a!end!ents to the Constitution are invalid
for non1co!pliance %ith the procedure therein prescribed, is not a political one and !a$ be settled b$ the
Courts. , .
An the case of An re McConau'h$ ;**+ N.-. 3JE<, the nature of political 0uestion %as considered carefull$. The
Court said:.
?At the threshold of the case %e are !et %ith the assertion that the 0uestions involved are political, and not
9udicial. Af this is correct, the court has no 9urisdiction as the certificate of the state canvassin' board %ould then
be final, re'ardless of the actual vote upon the a!end!ent. The 0uestion thus raised is a funda!ental one= but
it has been so often decided contrar$ to the vie% contended for b$ the Attorne$ )eneral that it %ould see! to
be finall$ settled.
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8.
? .. -hat is 'enerall$ !eant, %hen it is, said that a 0uestion is political, and not 9udicial, is that it is a !atter
%hich, is to be e8ercised b$ the people in their pri!ar$ political capacit$, or that it has been specificall$
dele'ated to so!e other depart!ent or particular officer of the 'overn!ent, %ith discretionar$ po%er to act.
#ee #tate vs. Cunnin'ha!, E* -is. 3+F, ,* L. R. A. ,5*= An Re )unn, ,J Kan. *,,= >4 Pac. 3FJ, +3E, *+ L. R.
A. ,*+= )reen vs. Mills, 5+ /ed. E,4, *5, C. C. A. ,*5, >J L. R. A. +J= /letcher vs. Tuttle, *,* All. 3*, >F N. E.
5E>, 4, L. R. A. *3>, 34 A!. #t. Rep. 44J. Thus the Le'islature !a$ in its discretion deter!ine %hether it %ill
pass a la% or sub!it a proposed constitutional a!end!ent to the people. The courts have no 9udicial control
over such !atters, not !erel$ because the$ involve political 0uestion, but because the$ are !atters %hich the
people have b$ the Constitution dele'ated to the Le'islature. The )overnor !a$ e8ercise the po%ers
dele'ated to hi!, free fro! 9udicial control, so lon' as he observes the la%s and acts %ithin the li!its of the
po%er conferred. (is discretionar$ acts cannot be controllable, not pri!aril$ because the$ are of a political
nature, but because the Constitution and la%s have placed the particular !atter under his control. But ever$
officer under a constitutional 'overn!ent !ust act accordin' to la% and sub9ect hi! to the restrainin' and
controllin' po%er of the people, actin' throu'h the courts, as %ell as throu'h the e8ecutive or the Le'islature.
2ne depart!ent is 9ust as representative as the other, and the 9udiciar$ is the depart!ent %hich is char'ed %ith
the special dut$ of deter!inin' the li!itations %hich the la% places upon all official action. The reco'nition of
this principle, unBno%n e8cept in )reat Britain and A!erica, is necessar$, to the end that the 'overn!ent !a$
be one of la%s and not !enC1%ords %hich -ebster said %ere the 'reatest contained in an$ %ritten
constitutional docu!ent.? ;pp. 3**, 3*F= e!phasis supplied.<.
An short, the ter! ?political 0uestion? connotes, in le'al parlance, %hat it !eans in ordinar$ parlance, na!el$, a
0uestion of polic$. An other %ords, in the lan'ua'e of Corpus 6uris #ecundu! ;supra<, it refers to ?those
0uestions %hich, under the Constitution, are to be decided b$ the people in their soverei'n capacit$, or in
re'ard to %hich full discretionar$ authorit$ has been dele'ated to the Le'islature or e8ecutive branch of the
)overn!ent.? At is concerned %ith issues dependent upon the %isdo!, not le'alit$, of a particular !easure.
#uch is not the nature of the 0uestion for deter!ination in the present case. (ere, %e are called upon to decide
%hether the election of #enators Cuenco and &el'ado, b$ the #enate, as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral
Tribunal, upon no!ination b$ #enator Pri!icias1a !e!ber and spoBes!an of the part$ havin' the lar'est
nu!ber of votes in the #enate1on behalf of its Co!!ittee on Rules, contravenes the constitutional !andate
that said !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal shall be chosen ?upon no!ination .. of the part$ havin' the
second lar'est nu!ber of votes? in the #enate, and hence, is null and void. This is not a political 0uestion. The
#enate is not clothed %ith ?full discretionar$ authorit$? in the choice of !e!bers of the #enate Electoral
Tribunal. The e8ercise of its po%er thereon is sub9ect to constitutional li!itations %hich are clai!ed to be
!andator$ in nature. At is clearl$ %ithin the le'iti!ate prove of the 9udicial depart!ent to pass upon the validit$
the proceedin's in connection there%ith.
?.. %hether an election of public officers has been in accordance %ith la% is for the 9udiciar$. Moreover, %here
the le'islative depart!ent has b$ statute prescribed election procedure in a 'iven situation, the 9udiciar$ !a$
deter!ine %hether a particular election has been in confor!it$ %ith such statute, and, particularl$, %hether
such statute has been applied in a %a$ to den$ or trans'ress on the constitutional or statutor$ ri'hts ..? ;*5
C.6.#., 3>+= e!phasis supplied.<.
At is, therefore, our opinion that %e have, not onl$ 9urisdiction, but, also, the dut$, to consider and deter!ine the
principal issue raised b$ the parties herein.
AA. As the election of #enators Cuenco and &el'ado, b$ the #enate, as !e!bers of the Electoral Tribunal, valid
and la%fulH.
#ection ** of Article @A of the Constitution, reads:.
?The #enate and the (ouse of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal %hich shall be the sole
9ud'e of all contests relatin' to the election, returns, and 0ualifications of their respective Me!bers. Each
Electoral Tribunal shall be co!posed of nine Me!bers, three of %ho! shall be 6ustices of the #upre!e Court
to be desi'nated b$ the Chief 6ustice, and the re!ainin' si8 shall be Me!bers of the #enate or of the (ouse of
Representatives, as the case !a$ be, %ho shall be chosen b$ each (ouse, three upon no!ination of the part$
havin' the lar'est nu!ber of votes and three of the part$ havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes therein.
The #enior 6ustice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chair!an.? ;E!phasis supplied.<.
At appears that on /ebruar$ 44, *+,5, as %ell as at present, the #enate of the Philippines consists of t%ent$
three ;4>< !e!bers of the Nacionalista Part$ and one ;*< !e!ber of the Citizens Part$, na!el$, #enator
Taada, %ho is, also, the president of said part$. An the session of the #enate held on /ebruar$ 4*, *+,5,
#enator #abido !oved that #enator Taada, ?the President of the Citizens Part$, be 'iven the privile'e to
no!inate .. three ;>< !e!bers? of the #enate Electoral Tribunal ;Con'ressional Record for the #enate, @ol. AAA,
pp. >4E1>4+<, referrin' to those %ho, accordin' to the provision above10uoted, should be no!inated b$ ?the
part$ havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes? in the #enate. #enator Taada ob9ected for!all$ to this
!otion upon the1'round: ;a< that the ri'ht to no!inate said !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal belon's,
not to the Nacionalista Part$ of %hich #enator #abido and the other #enators are !e!bers1but to the Citizens
Part$, as the one havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes in the #enate, so that, bein' devoid of authorit$ to
no!inate the afore!entioned !e!bers of said Tribunal, the Nacionalista Part$ cannot 'ive it to the Citizens
Part$, %hich, alread$, has such authorit$, pursuant to the Constitution= and ;b< that #enator #abidoCs !otion
%ould co!pel #enator Taada to no!inate three ;>< #enators to said Tribunal, althou'h as representative of
the !inorit$ part$ in the #enate he has ?the ri'ht to no!inate one, t%o or three to the Electoral Tribunal,? in his
discretion. #enator Taada further stated that he reserved the ri'ht to deter!ine ho% !an$ he %ould no!inate,
after hearin' the reasons of #enator #abido in support of his !otion. After so!e discussion, in %hich #enators
Pri!icias, Cea, Li!, #u!ulon', Lulueta, and Rodri'o tooB part, the #enate ad9ourned until the ne8t !ornin',
/ebruar$ 44, *+,5 ;&o., do, pp. >4+, >>J, >>41>>>, >>5, >>E, >>+, >3><.
Then, said issues %ere debated upon !ore e8tensivel$, %ith #enator #u!ulon', not onl$ secondin' the
opposition of #enator Taada, but, also, !aintainin' that ?#enator Taada should no!inate onl$ one? !e!ber
of the #enate, na!el$, hi!self, he bein' the onl$ #enator %ho belon's to the !inorit$ part$ in said (ouse ;&o.,
do., pp. >5J1>53, >5+<. Thus, a ne% issue %as raised 1 %hether or not one %ho does not belon' to said part$
!a$ be no!inated b$ its spoBes!an, #enator Taada 1 on %hich #enators Paredes, Pelaez, Rosales and
Laurel, as %ell as the other #enators alread$ !entioned, e8pressed their vie%s ;&o., do., pp. >3,, >3+, >,J,
>,3, >,E, >53, >F,<. Althou'h the deliberations of the #enate consu!ed the %hole !ornin' and afternoon of
/ebruar$ 44, *+,5, a satisfactor$ solution of the 0uestion before the #enate appeared to be re!ote. #o, at F:3J
p.!., the !eetin' %as suspended, on !otion of #enator Laurel, %ith a vie% to seeBin' a co!pro!ise for!ula
;&o., do., pp. >FF<. -hen session %as resu!ed at E:*J p.!., #enator #abido %ithdre% his !otion above
referred to. Thereupon, #enator Pri!icias, on behalf of the Nacionalista Part$, no!inated, and the #enate
elected, #enators Laurel, Lopez and Pri!icias, as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal. #ubse0uentl$,
#enator Taada stated:.
?2n behalf of the Citizens Part$, the !inorit$ part$ in this Bod$, A no!inate the onl$ Citizens Part$ !e!ber in
this Bod$, and that is #enator Lorenzo M. Taada.?.
-ithout an ob9ection, this no!ination %as approved b$ the (ouse. Then, #enator Pri!icias stood up and said:.
?No%, Mr. President, in order to co!pl$ %ith the provision in the Constitution, the Co!!ittee on Rules of the
#enate1and A a! no% !aBin' this proposal not on behalf of the Nacionalista Part$ but on behalf of the
Co!!ittee on Rules of the #enate1A no!inate t%o other !e!bers to co!plete the !e!bership of the Tribunal:
#enators &el'ado and Cuenco.?.
-hat tooB place thereafter appears in the follo%in' 0uotations fro! the Con'ressional Record for the #enate.
?#ENAT2R TAMA&A. Mr. President.
?EL PRE#A&ENTE ANTERAN2. Caballero de .uezon.
?#ENAT2R TAMA&A. A %ould liBe to record !$ opposition to the no!inations of the last t%o na!ed 'entle!en,
#enators &el'ado and Cuenco, not because A donCt believe that the$ do not deserve to be appointed to the
tribunal but because of !$ sincere and fir! conviction that these additional no!inations are not sanctioned b$
the Constitution. The Constitution onl$ per!its the Nacionalista Part$ or the part$ havin' the lar'est nu!ber of
votes to no!inate three.
?#ENAT2R #7M7L2N). Mr. President.
?EL PRE#A&ENTE ANTERAN2. Caballero de Rizal.
?#ENAT2R #7M7L2N). /or the reasons that A have stated a fe% !o!ents a'o %hen A tooB the floor, A also
%ish to record !$ ob9ection to the last no!inations, to the no!ination of t%o additional NPCs to the Electoral
Tribunal.
?EL PRE#A&ENTE ANTERAN2. Esta dispuesto el #enado a votarH ;@arios #enadores: #i.< Los 0ue esten
confor!es con la no!inacion hecha por el Presidente del Co!ite de Re'la!entos a favor de los #enadores
&el'ado $ Cuenco para ser !ie!bros del Tribunal Electoral, di'an, si. ;@arios #enadores: #i.< Los 0ue no lo
esten di'an, no ;#ilencio.< .ueda aprobada.? ;Con'ressional Record for the #enate, @ol. AAA, p. >FF= e!phasis
supplied.<.
Petitioners !aintain that said no!ination and election of #enators Cuenco and &el'ado1%ho belon' to the
Nacionalista Part$1as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, are null and void and have been !ade %ithout
po%er or color of authorit$, for, after the no!ination b$ said part$, and the election b$ the #enate, of #enators
Laurel, Lopez and Pri!icias, as !e!bers of said Tribunal, the other #enators, %ho shall be !e!bers thereof,
!ust necessaril$ be no!inated b$ the part$ havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes in the #enate, and such
part$ is, ad!ittedl$, the Citizens Part$, to %hich #enator Taada belon's and %hich he represents.
Respondents alle'e, ho%ever, that the constitutional !andate to the effect that ?each Electoral Tribunal shall be
co!pose of nine ;+< !e!bers,? si8 ;5< of %ho! ?shall be !e!bers of the #enate or of the (ouse of
Representatives, as the case !a$ be?, is !andator$= that %hen1after the no!ination of three ;>< #enators b$
the !a9orit$ part$, and their election b$ the #enate, as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal1#enator
Taada no!inated hi!self onl$, on behalf of the !inorit$ part$, he thereb$ ?%aived his ri'ht to no t%o !ore
#enators=? that, %hen #enator Pri!icias no!inated #enators Cuenco and &el'ado, and these respondents
%ere chosen b$ the #enate, as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, #aid #enator Pri!icias and the
#enate !erel$ co!plied %ith the afore!entioned provision of the funda!ental la%, relative to the nu!ber of
!e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal= and, that, accordin'l$, #enators Cuenco and &el'ado are de 9ure
!e!bers of said bod$, and the appoint!ent of their co1respondents, Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Ca$etano, Manuel
#erapio and Placido Re$es is valid and la%ful.
At the outset, it %ill be recalled that the proceedin's the or'anization of the #enate Electoral Tribunal be'an
%ith a !otion of #enator #abido to the effect that ?the distin'uished 'entle!an fro! .uezon, the President of
the Citizens Part$, be 'iven the privile'e to no!inate the three Me!bers? of said Tribunal. #enator Pri!icias
in0uired %h$ the !ovant had used the %ord ?privile'e?. #enator #abido e8plained that the present co!position
of the #enate had created a condition or situation %hich %as not anticipated b$ the fra!ers of our Constitution=
that althou'h #enator Taada for!ed part of the Nacionalista Part$ before the end of *+,,, he subse0uentl$
parted %a$s %ith? said part$= and that #enator Taada ?is the distin'uished president of the Citizens Part$,?
%hich ?appro8i!ates the situation desired b$ the fra!ers of the Constitution? ;Con'ressional Record for the
#enate @ol. AAA, pp. >4+1>>J<. Then #enator Li! intervened, statin':.
?At present #enator Taada is considered as for!in' the onl$ !inorit$ or the one that has the second lar'est
nu!ber of votes in the e8istin' #enate, is not that ri'htH And if this is so, he should be 'iven this as a !atter of
ri'ht, not as a !atter of privile'e. .. A donCt believe that %e should be allo%ed to 'rant this authorit$ to #enator
Taada onl$ as a privile'e but %e !ust 'rant it as a !atter of ri'ht.? ;Ad., id., p. >4= e!phasis supplied.<.
#i!ilarl$, #enator #u!ulon' !aintained that ?#enator Taada, as Citizens Part$ #enator, has the ri'ht and not
a !ere privile'e to no!inate,? addin' that:.
?.. the 0uestion is %hether %e have a part$ here havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes, and it is clear in
!$ !ind that there is such a part$, and that is the Citizens Part$ to %hich the 'entle!an fro! .uezon
belon's. .. -e have to bear in !ind, .. that %hen #enator Taada %as included in the Nacionalista Part$ ticBet
in *+,>, it %as b$ virtue of a coalition or an alliance bet%een the Citizens Part$ and the Nacionalista Part$ at
that ti!e, and A !aintain that %hen #enator Taada as head of the Citizens Part$ entered into a coalition %ith
the Nacionalista Part$, he did not thereb$ beco!e a Nacionalista because that %as a !ere coalition, not a
fusion. -hen the Citizens Part$ entered into a !ere coalition, that part$ did not lose its personalit$ as a part$
separate and distinct fro! the, Nacionalista Part$. And %e should also re!e!ber that the certificate of
candidac$ filed b$ #enator Taada in the *+,> election %as one to the effect that he belon'ed to the Citizens
Part$ ..? ;Ad., id., p. >5J= e!phasis supplied.<.
The debate %as closed b$ #enator Laurel, %ho re!arBed, referrin' to #enator Taada:.
?..there is no doubt that he does not belon' to the !a9orit$ in the first place, and that, therefore, he belon's to
the !inorit$. And %hether %e liBe it or not, that is the realit$ of the actual situation1that he is not a Nacionalista
no%, that he is the head and the representative of the Citizens Part$. A thinB that on e0uitable 'round and fro!
the point of vie% of public opinion, his situation .. appro8i!ates or approaches %hat is %ithin the spirit of that
Constitution. .. and fro! the point of vie% of the spirit of the Constitution it %ould be a 'ood thin' if %e 'rant the
opportunit$ to #enator Taada to help us in the or'anization of this Electoral Tribunal ;Ad., id., p. >F5= e!phasis
supplied.<.
The fore'oin' state!ents and the fact that, thereafter, #enator #abido %ithdre% his !otion to 'rant #enator
Taada the ?privile'e? to no!inate, and said petitioner actuall$ no!inated hi!self ?on behalf of the Citizens
Part$, the !inorit$ part$ in this Bod$?1not onl$ %ithout an$, ob9ection %hatsoever, but, also, %ith the approval of
the #enate1leave no roo! for doubt that the #enate1leave no roo! for doubt that the #enate has re'arded the
Citizens Part$, represented b$ #enator Taada, as the part$ havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes in said
(ouse.
Referrin', no%, to the contention of respondents herein, their !ain ar'u!ent in support of the !andator$
character of the constitutional provision relative to the nu!ber of !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal is
that the %ord ?shall?, therein used, is i!perative in nature and that this is borne out b$ an opinion of the
#ecretar$ of 6ustice dated /ebruar$ *, *+>+, pertinent parts of %hich are 0uoted at the footnote. 5.
Re'ardless of the respect due its author, as a distin'uished citizen and public official, said opinion has little, if
an$, %ei'ht in the solution of the 0uestion before this Court, for the practical construction of a Constitution is of
little, if an$, unless it has been unifor! ..? 5a A'ain, ?as a 'eneral rule, it is onl$ in cases of substantial doubt
and a!bi'uit$ that the doctrine of conte!poraneous or practical construction has an$ application?. As a
conse0uence, ?%here the !eanin' of a constitutional provision is clear, a conte!poraneous or practical
e8ecutive interpretation thereof is entitled to no %ei'ht, and %ill not be allo%ed to distort or in an$ %a$ chan'e
its natural !eanin'.? The reason is that ?the application of the doctrine of conte!poraneous construction is
!ore restricted as applied to the interpretation of constitutional provisions than %hen applied to statutor$
provisions?, and that, ?e8cept as to !atters co!!itted b$ the Constitution, itself to the discretion of so!e other
depart!ent, conte!porar$ or practical construction is not necessaril$ bindin' upon the courts, even in a
doubtful case.? (ence, ?if in the 9ud'!ent of the court, such construction is erroneous and its further application
is not !ade i!perative b$ an$ para!ount considerations of public polic$, it !a$ he re9ected.? ;*5 C. 6. #., F*1
F4= e!phasis supplied.< 5b.
The afore!ention opinion of the #ecretar$ of 6ustice is not bacBed up b$ a, ?unifor!? application of the vie%
therein adopted, so essential to 'ive thereto the %ei'ht accorded b$ the rules on conte!poraneous
constructions. Moreover, said opinion tends to chan'e the natural !eanin' of section ** of Article @A of the
Constitution, %hich is clear. -hat is !ore, there is not the sli'htest doubt in our !ind that the purpose and spirit
of said provisions do not %arrant said chan'e and that the re9ection of the latter is de!anded b$ para!ount
considerations of public polic$. .
The fla% in the position taBen in said opinion and b$ respondent herein is that, %hile, it relies upon the
co!pulsor$ nature of the %ord ?shall?, as re'ards the nu!ber of !e!bers of the Electoral Tribunals, it i'nores
the fact that the sa!e ter! is used %ith respect to the !ethod prescribed for their election, and that both for!
part of a sin'le sentence and !ust be considered, therefore, as inte'ral portions of one and the sa!e thou'ht.
Andeed, respondents have not even tried to sho% and %e cannot conceive1%h$ ?shall? !ust be dee!ed
!andator$ insofar as the nu!ber of !e!bers of each Electoral Tribunal, and should be considered director$ as
re'ards the procedure for their selection. More i!portant still, the histor$ of section ** of Article @A of the
Constitution and the records of the Convention, refute respondentsC pretense, and bacB up the theor$ of
petitioners herein.
Co!!entin' on the fra!e of !ind of the dele'ates to the Constitutional Convention, %hen the$ faced the tasB
of providin' for the ad9udication of contests relatin' to the election, returns and 0ualifications of !e!bers of the
Le'islative &epart!ent, &r. 6ose M. Arue'o, a !e!ber of said Convention, sa$s:.
?The e8perience of the /ilipino people under the provisions of the or'anic la%s %hich left to the la%!aBin'
bod$ the deter!ination of the elections, returns, and 0ualifications of its !e!bers %as not alto'ether
satisfactor$. There %ere !an$ co!plaints a'ainst the lacB of political 9ustice in this deter!ination= for in a 'reat
nu!ber of cases, part$ interests controlled and dictated the decisions. The undue dela$ in the dispatch of
election contests for le'islative seats, the irre'ularities that characterized the proceedin's in so!e of the!, and
the ver$ apparent in9ection of partisanship in the deter!ination of a 'reat nu!ber of the cases %ere decried b$
a 'reat nu!ber of the people as %ell as b$ the or'ans of public opinion.
?The faith of the people in the upri'htness of the la%!aBin' bod$ in the perfor!ance of this function assi'ned
to it in the or'anic la%s %as b$ no !eans 'reat. An fact so blatant %as the lacB of political 9ustice in the
decisions that there %as, 'raduall$ built up a ca!p of thou'ht in the Philippines inclined to leave to the courts
the deter!ination of election contests, follo%in' the practice in so!e countries, liBe En'land and Canada.
?#uch %ere the conditions of thin's at the ti!e of the !eetin' of the convention.? ;The /ra!in' of the
Philippine Constitution b$ Arue'o, @ol. *, pp. 4,F14,E= e!phasis supplied.<.
This vie% is shared b$ distin'uished !e!bers of the #enate. Thus, in its session of /ebruar$ 44, *+,5,
#enator #u!ulon' declared:.
?.. %hen $ou leave it to either (ouse to decide election protests involvin' its o%n !e!bers, that is virtuall$
placin' the !a9orit$ part$ in a position to dictate the decision in those election cases, because each (ouse %ill
be co!posed of a !a9orit$ and a !inorit$, and %hen $ou !aBe each (ouse the 9ud'e of ever$ election protest
involvin' an$ !e!ber of that (ouse, $ou place the !a9orit$ in a position to do!inate and dictate the decision in
the case and result %as, there %ere so !an$ abuses, there %ere so !ain in9ustices: co!!itted b$ the !a9orit$
at the e8pense and to the pre9udice of the !inorit$ protestants. #tate!ents have been !ade here that 9ustice
%as done even under the old s$ste!, liBe that case involvin' #enator Mabana', %hen he al!ost beca!e a
victi! of the !a9orit$ %hen he had an election case, and it %as onl$ throu'h the intervention of President
.uezon that he %as saved fro! beco!in' the victi! of !a9orit$ in9ustices.
?At is true that 9ustice had so!eti!es prevailed under the old s$ste!, but the record %ill sho% that those cases
%ere fe% and the$ %ere the rare e8ceptions. The over%hel!in' !a9orit$ of election protests decided under the
old s$ste! %as that the !a9orit$ bein' then in a position to dictate the, decision in the election protest, %as
te!pted to co!!it as it did co!!it !an$ abuses and in9ustices.? ;Con'ressional Record for the #enate, @ol.
***, p. >5*= e!phasis supplied.<.
#enator Paredes, a veteran le'islator and for!er #peaBer of the (ouse of Representatives, said:.
?.. %hat %as intended in the creation of the electoral tribunal %as to create a sort of colle'iate court co!posed
of nine !e!bers: Three of the! belon'in' to the part$ havin' the lar'est nu!ber of votes, and three fro! the
part$ havin' the second lar'est nu!ber votes so that these !e!bers !a$ represent the part$, and the
!e!bers of said part$ %ho %ill sit before the electoral tribunal as protestees. /or %hen it co!es to a part$, Mr.
President, there 'round to believe that decisions %ill be !ade alon' part$ lines.? ;Con'ressional Record for the
#enate, @ol. AAA, p. >,*= e!phasis supplied.<.
#enator Laurel, %ho pla$ed an i!portant role in the fra!in' of our Constitution, e8pressed hi!self as follo%s:.
?No%, %ith reference to the protests or contests, relatin' to the election, the returns and the 0ualifications of the
!e!bers of the le'islative bodies, A heard it said here correctl$ that there %as a ti!e %hen that %as 'iven to
the correspondin' cha!ber of the le'islative depart!ent. #o the election, returns and 0ualifications of the
!e!bers, of the Con'ress or le'islative bod$ %as entrusted to that bod$ itself as the e8clusive bod$ to
deter!ine the election, returns and 0ualifications of its !e!bers. There %as so!e doubt also e8pressed as to
%hether that should continue or not, and the 'reatest ar'u!ent in favor of the retention of that provision %as
the fact that %as, a!on' other thin's, the s$ste! obtainin' in the 7nited #tates under the /ederal Constitution
of the 7nited #tates, and there %as no reason %h$ that po%er or that ri'ht vested in the le'islative bod$ should
not be retained. But it %as thou'ht that %ould !aBe the deter!ination of this contest, of this election protest,
purel$ political as has been observed in the past.? ;Con'ressional Record for the #enate, @ol. AAA, p. >F5=
e!phasis supplied.<.
At is interestin' to note that not one of the !e!bers of the #enate contested the accurac$ of the vie%s thus
e8pressed.
Referrin' particularl$ to the philosoph$ underl$in' the constitutional provision 0uoted above, &r. Arue'o states:.
?The defense of the Electoral Co!!ission %as based pri!aril$ upon the hope and belief that the abolition of
Part$ line because of the e0ual representation in this bod$ of the !a9orit$ and the !inorit$ parties of the
National Asse!bl$ and the intervention of so!e !e!bers of the #upre!e Court %ho, under the proposed
constitutional provision, %ould also be !e!bers of the sa!e, %ould insure 'reater political 9ustice in the
deter!ination of election contests for seats in the National Asse!bl$ than there %ould be if the po%er had been
lod'ed in the la%!aBin' bod$ itself. &ele'ate /rancisco su!!arized the ar'u!ents for the creation of the
Electoral Co!!ission in the follo%in' %ords:.
?A understand that fro! the ti!e that this 0uestion is placed in the hands of !e!bers not onl$ of the !a9orit$
part$ but also of the !inorit$ part$, there is alread$ a condition, a factor %hich %ould !aBe protests decided in
a non1partisan !anner. -e Bno% fro! e8perience that !an$ ti!es in the !an$ protests tried in the (ouse or in
the #enate, it %as i!possible to prevent the factor of part$ fro! 'ettin' in. /ro! the !o!ent that it is re0uired
that not onl$ the !a9orit$ but also the !inorit$ should intervene in these 0uestions, %e have alread$ enou'h
'uarantee that there %ould be no t$rann$ on the part of the !a9orit$.
IBut there is another !ore detail %hich is the one %hich satisfies !e !ost, and that is the intervention of three
9ustices. #o that %ith this intervention of three 9ustices if there %ould be an$ 0uestion as to the 9ustice applied
b$ the !a9orit$ or the !inorit$, if there %ould be an$ funda!ental disa'ree!ent, or if there %ould be nothin' but
0uestions purel$ of part$ in %hich the !e!bers of the !a9orit$ as %ell as those of the !inorit$ should %ish to
taBe li'htl$ a protest because the protestant belon's to one of said parties, %e have in this case, as a checB
upon the t%o parties, the actuations of the three 9ustices. An the last anal$sis, %hat is reall$ applied in the
deter!ination of electoral cases brou'ht before the tribunals of 9ustice or before the (ouse of Representatives
or the #enateH -ell, it is nothin' !ore than the la% and the doctrine of the #upre!e Court. Af that is the case,
there %ill be 'reater sBill in the application of the la%s and in the application of doctrines to electoral !atters
havin' as %e shall have three 9ustices %ho %ill act i!partiall$ in these electoral 0uestions.
IA %ish to call the attention of !$ distin'uished collea'ues to the fact that in electoral protests it is i!possible to
set aside part$ interests. (ence, the best 'uarantee, A repeat, for the ad!inistration of 9ustice to the parties, for
the fact that the la%s %ill not be applied ri'htfull$ or incorrectl$ as %ell as for the fact that the doctrines of the
#upre!e Court %ill be applied ri'htfull$, the best 'uarantee %hich %e shall have, A repeat, is the intervention of
the three 9ustices. And %ith the for!ation of the Electoral Co!!ission, A sa$ a'ain, the protestants as %ell as
the protestees could re!ain tran0uil in the certaint$ that the$ %ill receive the 9ustice that the$ reall$ deserve. Af
%e eli!inate fro! this precept the intervention of the part$ of the !inorit$ and that of the three 9ustices, then %e
shall be placin' protests e8clusivel$ in the hands of the part$ in po%er. And A understand, 'entle!en, that in
practice that has not 'iven 'ood results. Man$ have criticized, !an$ have co!plained a'ainst, the t$rann$ of
the !a9orit$ in electoral cases .. A repeat that the best 'uarantee the fact that these 0uestions %ill be 9ud'ed not
onl$ b$ three !e!bers of the !a9orit$ but also b$ three !e!bers of the !inorit$, %ith the additional 'uarantee
of the i!partial 9ud'!ent of three 9ustices of the #upre!e Court.? ;The /ra!in' of the Philippine Constitution
b$ Arue'o, @ol. A, pp. 45*145>= e!phasis supplied.<.
The fore'oin' %as corroborated b$ #enator Laurel. #peaBin' for this Court, in An'ara vs. Electoral
Co!!ission ;5> Phil., *>+<, he asserted:.
?The !e!bers of the Constitutional Convention %ho fra!ed our funda!ental la% %ere in their !a9orit$1!en
!ature in $ears and e8perience. To be sure, !an$ of the! %ere fa!iliar %ith the histor$ and political
develop!ent of other countries of the %orld. -hen, therefore the$ dee!ed it %ise to create an Electoral
Co!!ission as a constitutional or'an and invested %ith the e8clusive function of passin' upon and deter!inin'
the election, returns and 0ualifications of the !e!bers of the National Asse!bl$, the$ !ust have done so not
onl$ in the li'ht of their o%n e8perience but also havin' in vie% the e8perience of other enli'htened peoples of
the %orld. The creation of the Electoral Co!!ission %as desi'ned to re!ed$ certain evils of %hich the fra!ers
of our Constitution %ere co'nizant. Not%ithstandin' the vi'orous opposition of so!e !e!bers of the
Convention to its creation, the plan, as hereinabove stated, %as approved b$ that bod$ b$ a vote of +E a'ainst
,E. All that can be said no% is that, upon the approval of the Constitution, the creation of the Electoral
Co!!ission is the e8pression of the %isdo! Iulti!ate 9ustice of the peopleC. ;Abraha! Lincoln, /irst Anau'ural
Address, March 3, *E5*.<.
?/ro! the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident that the purpose %as to transfer in its
totalit$ all the po%ers previousl$ e8ercised b$ the le'islature in !atters pertainin' to contested elections of its
!e!bers, to an independent and i!partial tribunal. At %as not so !uch the Bno%led'e and appreciation of
conte!porar$ constitutional precedents, ho%ever, as the lon' felt need of deter!inin' le'islative contests
devoid of partisan considerations %hich pro!pted the people actin' throu'h their dele'ates to the Convention,
to provide for this bod$ Bno%n as the Electoral Co!!ission. -ith this end in vie%, a co!posite bod$ in %hich
both the !a9orit$ and !inorit$ parties are e0uall$ represented to off1set partisan influence in its deliberations
%as created, and further endo%ed %ith 9udicial te!per b$ includin' in its !e!bership three 9ustices of the
#upre!e Court,? ;Pp. *F31*F,.< F.
As a !atter of fact, durin' the deliberations of the convention, &ele'ates Cone9ero and Ro8as said:.
?El #r. C2NE6ER2. Antes de votarse la en!ienda, 0uisiera pedir infor!acion del #ubco!ite de #iete.
?El #r. PRE#A&ENTE. .ue dice el Co!iteH? El #r. R2NA#. Con !ucho 'usto. ?El #r. C2NE6ER2. Tal co!o
esta el draft., dando tres !ie!brosala !a$oria, $ otros tH1es a la !in$or$ia $ atros a la Corte #uprer!a, no
cree su #enoria 0ue este e0uivale prictica!ente a de9ar el asunto a los !ie!bros del Tribunal #upre!oH.
?El #r. R2NA#. #i $ no. Cree!os 0ue si el tribunal a la Co!ision esta cotistuido en esa for!a, tanto los
!ie!bros de la !a$oria co!o los de la !inoria asi co!o los !ie!bros de la Corte #apre!a consideration la
cuestion sobre la base de sus !eritos, sabiendo 0ue el partidis!o no es suficiente para dar el triunbo.
?El #r. C2NE6ER2. Cree #u #enoria 0ue en un caso co!o ese, podria!os hacer 0ue tanto los de la !a$oria
co!o los de la !inoria prescindieran del partidisrnoH.
?El #r. R2NA#. Creo 0ue si, por0ue el partidis!o no les daria el triunfo.? ;An'ara vs. Electoral Co!!ission,
supra, pp. *5E1*5+= e!phasis supplied.<.
At is clear fro! the fore'oin' that the !ain ob9ective of the fra!ers of our Constitution in providin' for the
establish!ent, first, of an Electoral Co!!ission, E and then + of one Electoral Tribunal for each (ouse of
Con'ress, %as to insure the e8ercise of 9udicial i!partialit$ in the disposition of election contests affectin'
!e!bers of the la%!aBin' bod$. To achieve this purpose, t%o devices %ere resorted to, na!el$: ;a< the part$
havin' the lar'est nu!ber of votes, and the part$ havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes, in the National
Asse!bl$ or in each (ouse of Con'ress, %ere 'iven the sa!e nu!ber of representatives in the Electoral
Co!!ission or Tribunal, so that the$ !a$ realize that partisan considerations could not control the ad9udication
of said cases, and thus be induced to act %ith 'reater i!partialit$= and ;b< the #upre!e Court %as 'iven in said
bod$ the sa!e nu!ber of representatives as each one of said political parties, so that the influence of the
for!er !a$ be decisive and endo% said Co!!ission or Tribunal %ith 9udicial te!per.
This is obvious fro! the ver$ lan'ua'e of the constitutional provision under consideration. An fact, #enator
#abido1%ho had !oved to 'rant to #enator Taada the privile'e? to !aBe the no!inations on behalf of part$
havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes in the #enate1a'rees %ith it. As #enator #u!ulon' in0uired:.
?..A suppose Gour (onor %ill a'ree %ith !e that the fra!ers of the Constitution precisel$ thou'ht of creatin' this
Electoral Tribunal so as to prevent the !a9orit$ fro! ever havin' a preponderant !a9orit$ in the Tribunal.?
;Con'ressional Record for the #enate, @ol. AAA, p. >>J= e!phasis supplied.<.
#enator #abido replied:.
?That is so, ..? ;Ad., p. >>J.<.
7pon further interpretation, #enator #abido said:.
?.. the purpose of the creation of the Electoral Tribunal and of its co!position is to !aintain a balance bet%een
the t%o parties and !aBe the !e!bers of the #upre!e Court the controllin' po%er so to speaB of the Electoral
Tribunal or hold the balance of po%er. That is the ideal situation.? ;Con'ressional Record for the #enate, @ol.
AAA, p. >3+= e!phasis supplied.<.
#enator #u!ulon' opined alon' the sa!e line. (is %ords %ere: .
?..The intention is that %hen the three fro! the !a9orit$ and the three fro! the !inorit$ beco!e !e!bers of the
Tribunal it is hoped that the$ %ill beco!e a%are of their 9udicial functions, not to protect the protestants or the
prote'ees. At is hoped that the$ %ill act as 9ud'es because to decide election cases is a 9udicial function. But the
fra!ers of, the Constitution besides bein' learned %ere !en of e8perience. The$ Bne% that even #enators liBe
us are not an'els, that %e are hu!an bein's, that if %e should be chosen to 'o to the Electoral Tribunal no one
can sa$ that %e %ill entirel$ be free fro! partisan influence to favor our part$, so that in, case that hope that the
three fro! the !a9orit$ and the three fro! the !inorit$ %ho %ill act as 6ud'es should result in disappoint!ent,
in case the$ do not act as 9ud'es but the$ 'o there and vote alon' part$ liner, still there is the 'uarantee that
the$ %ill offset each other and the result %ill be that the decidin' vote %ill reside in the hands of the three
6ustices %ho have no partisan !otives to favor either the protestees or the protestants. An other %ords, the
%hole idea is to prevent the !a9orit$ fro! controllin' and dictatin' the decisions of the Tribunal and to !aBe
sure that the decisive vote %ill be %ielded b$ the Con'ress!en or #enators %ho are !e!bers the Tribunal but
%ill be %ielded b$ the 6ustices %ho, b$ virtue of their 9udicial offices, %ill have no partisan !otives to serve,
either protestants, or protestees. That is !$ understandin' of the intention of the fra!ers of the Constitution
%hen the$ decided to create the Electoral Tribunal.
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8.
?M$ idea is that the intention of the fra!ers of the constitution in creatin' the Electoral Tribunal is to insure
i!partiall$ and independence in its decision, and that is sou'ht to be done b$ never allo%in' the !a9orit$ part$
to control the Tribunal, and secondl$ b$ seein' to it that the decisive vote in the Tribunal %ill be left in the hands
of persons %ho have no partisan interest or !otive to favor either protestant or protestee.? ;Con'ressional
Record for the #enate, @ol. AAA, pp. >541>5>, >5,1>55= e!phasis supplied.<.
#o i!portant in the ?balance of po%ers? bet%een the t%o political parties in the Electoral Tribunals, that several
!e!bers of the #enate 0uestioned the ri'ht of the part$ havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes in the
#enate and, hence, of #enator Taada, as representative of the Citizens Part$1to no!inate for the #enate
Electoral Tribunal an$ #enator not belon'in' to said part$. #enators Li!, #abido, Cea and Paredes !aintained
that the spirit of the Constitution %ould be violated if the no!inees to the Electoral Tribunals did not belon' to
the parties respectivel$ !aBin' the no!inations. *J.
At is not necessar$, for the purpose of this decision, to deter!ine %hether the parties havin' the lar'est, and the
second lar'est, nu!ber of votes in each (ouse !a$ no!inate, to the Electoral Tribunals, those !e!bers of
Con'ress %ho do not belon' to the part$ no!inatin' the!. At is patent, ho%ever, that the !ost vital feature of
the Electoral Tribunals is the e0ual representation of said parties therein, and the resultin' e0uilibriu! to be
!aintained b$ the 6ustices of the #upre!e Court as !e!bers of said Tribunals. An the %ords of the !e!bers
of the present #enate, said feature reflects the ?intent? ?purpose?, and ?spirit of the Constitution?, pursuant to
%hich the #enate Electoral Tribunal should be or'anized ;Con'ressional Record for the #enate, pp. >>J, >>F,
>3E1+, >,J, >,*, >,,, >,E, >541>, >53, >FJ, >F5<.
No% then, it is %ell settled that ?the purpose of all rules or !a8i!s as to the construction or interpretation of
statutes is to discover the true intention of the la%? ;E4 C. 6. #., ,45< and that.
?As a 'eneral rule of statutor$ construction, the spirit or intention of a statute prevails over the letter thereof,
and %hatever is %ithin the spirit of statute is %ithin the statute althou'h it is not %ithin the letter, %hile that %hich
is %ithin the letter, but not %ithin the spirit of a statute, is not %ithin the statute= but, %here the la% is free and
clear fro! a!bi'uit$, the letter of it is not to be disre'arded on the prete8t of pursuin' its spirit.? ;E4 C. 6. #.,
5*>.<.
?There is no universal rule or absolute test b$ %hich director$ provisions in a statute !a$ in all circu!stances
be distin'uished fro! those %hich are !andator$. (o%ever, in the deter!ination of this 0uestion, as of ever$
other 0uestion of statutor$ construction, the pri!e ob9ect is to ascertain the le'islative intent. The le'islative
intent !ust be obtained front all the surroundin' circu!stances, and the deter!ination does not depend on the
for! of the statute. Consideration !ust be 'iven to the entire statute, its nature, its ob9ect, and the
conse0uences %hich %ould result fro! construin' it one %a$ or the other, and the statute !ust be construed in
connection %ith other related statutes. -ords of per!issive character !a$ be 'iven a !andator$ si'nificance in
order to effect the le'islative intent, and, %hen the ter!s of a statute are such that the$ cannot be !ade
effective to the e8tent of 'ivin' each and all of the! so!e reasonable operation, %ithout construin' the statute
as !andator$, such construction should be 'iven= .. 2n the other hand, the lan'ua'e of a statute, ho%ever
!andator$ in for!, !a$ be dee!ed director$ %henever le'islative purpose can best be carried out b$ such
construction, and the le'islative intent does not re0uire a !andator$ construction= but the construction of
!andator$ %ords as director$ should not be li'htl$ adopted and never %here it %ould in fact !aBe a ne% la%
instead of that passed b$ the le'islature. .. -hether a statute is !andator$ or director$ depends on %hether the
thin' directed to be done is of the essence of the thin' re0uired, or is a !ere !atter of for!, and %hat is a
!atter of essence can often be deter!ined onl$ b$ 9udicial construction. Accordin'l$, %hen a particular
provision of a statute relates to so!e i!!aterial !atter, as to %hich co!pliance %ith the statute is a !atter of
convenience rather than substance, or %here the directions of a statute are 'iven !erel$ %ith a vie% to the
proper, orderl$, and pro!pt conduct of business, it is 'enerall$ re'arded as director$, unless follo%ed b$ %ords
of absolute prohibition= and a statute is re'arded as director$ %ere no substantial ri'hts depend on it, no in9ur$
can result fro! i'norin' it, and the purpose of the le'islative can be acco!plished in a !anner other than that
prescribed, %ith substantiall$ the sa!e result. 2n the other hand, a provision relatin' to the essence of the
thin' to be done, that is, to !atters of substance, is !andator$, and %hen a fair interpretation of a statute,
%hich directs acts or proceedin's to be done in a certain %a$ sho%s that the le'islature intended a co!pliance
%ith such provision to be essential to the validit$ of the act or proceedin', or %hen sa!e antecedent and pre1
re0uisite conditions !ust e8ist prior to the e8ercise of po%er, or !ust be perfor!ed before certain other po%ers
can be e8ercise, the statute !ust be re'arded as !andator$. ;Ad., pp. E5+1EF3.< ;#ee also, -ords and Phrases,
@ol. 45, pp. 35>135F= e!phasis supplied.<.
-hat has been said above, relative to the conditions antecedent to, and conco!itant %ith, the adoption of
section ** of Article @A of the Constitution, reveals clearl$ that its fra!ers intended to prevent the !a9orit$ part$
fro! controllin' the Electoral Tribunals, and that the structure thereof is founded upon the e0uilibriu! bet%een
the !a9orit$ and the !inorit$ parties therein, %ith the 6ustices of the #upre!e Court, %ho are !e!bers of said
Tribunals, holdin' the resultin' balance of po%er. The procedure prescribed in said provision for the selection
of !e!bers of the Electoral Tribunals is vital to the role the$ are called upon to pla$. it constitutes the essence
of said Tribunals. (ence, co!pliance %ith said procedure is !andator$, and acts perfor!ed in violation thereof
are null and void. **.
At is true that the application of the fore'oin' criterion %ould li!it the !e!bership of the #enate Electoral
Tribunal, in the case at bar, to seven ;F<, instead of nine ;+<, !e!bers= but, it is conceded that the present
co!position of the #enate %as not foreseen b$ the fra!ers of our Constitution ;Con'ressional Record for the
#enate, @ol. AAA, pp. >4+, >34, >3+, >,3, >,+, >F,<. /urther!ore, the spirit of the la% prevails over its letter, and
the solution herein adopted !aintains the spirit of the Constitution, for partisan considerations can not be
decisive in a tribunal consistin' of three ;>< 6ustices of the #upre!e Court, three ;>< !e!bers no!inated b$
the !a9orit$ part$ and either one ;*< or t%o ;4< !e!bers no!inated b$ the part$ havin' the second lar'est
nu!ber of votes in the (ouse concerned.
7pon the other hand, %hat %ould be the result of respondentsC contention if upheldH 2%in' to the fact that the
Citizens Part$ *4 has onl$ one !e!ber in the 7pper (ouse, #enator Taada felt he should no!inate, for the
#enate Electoral Tribunal, onl$ said !e!ber of the Citizens Part$. The sa!e is, thus, nu!ericall$ handicapped,
vis1a1vis the !a9orit$ part$, in said Tribunal. 2bviousl$, #enator Taada did not no!inate other t%o #enators,
because, other%ise, he %ould %orsen the alread$ disadvanta'eous position, therein, of the Citizens Part$.
Andeed, b$ the afore!entioned no!ination and election of #enators Cuenco and &el'ado, if the sa!e %ere
sanctioned, the Nacionalista Part$ %ould have five ;,< !e!bers in the #enate Electoral Tribunal, as a'ainst
one ;*< !e!ber of the Citizens Part$ and three !e!bers of the #upre!e Court. -ith the absolute !a9orit$
thereb$ attained b$ the !a9orit$ part$ in said Tribunal, the philosoph$ underl$in' the sa!e %ould be entirel$
upset. The e0uilibriu! bet%een the political parties therein %ould be destro$ed. -hat is %orst, the decisive
!oderatin' role of the 6ustices of the #upre!e Court %ould be %iped out, and, in lieu thereof, the door %ould
be thro%n %ide open for the predo!inance of political considerations in the deter!ination of election protests
pendin' before said Tribunal, %hich is precisel$ %hat the fathers of our Constitution earnestl$ strove to forestall.
*>.
This does not i!pl$ that the honest$, inte'rit$ or i!partialit$ of #enators Cuenco and &el'ado are bein'
0uestioned. As a !atter of fact, %hen #enator Taada ob9ected to their no!ination, he e8plicitl$ !ade of record
that his opposition %as based, not upon their character, but upon the principle involved. -hen the election of
!e!bers of Con'ress to the Electoral Tribunal is !ade dependent upon the no!ination of the political parties
above referred to, the Constitution thereb$ indicates its reliance upon the !ethod of selection thus established,
re'ardless of the individual 0ualities of those chosen therefor. Considerin' the %ealth of e8perience of the
dele'atesto the Convention, as la%$ers of 'reat note, as veteran politicians and as leaders in other fields of
endeavor, the$ could not, and did not, i'nore the fact that the Constitution !ust li!it itself to 'ivin' 'eneral
patterns or nor!s of action. An connection, particularl$, %ith the co!position of the Electoral Tribunals, the$
believed that, even the !ost %ell !eanin' individuals often find it difficult to shaBe off the bias and pre9udice
created b$ political anta'onis!s and to resist the de!ands of political e8i'encies, the pressure of %hich is
bound to increase in proportion to the de'ree of predo!inance of the part$ fro! %hich it co!es. As above
stated, this %as confir!ed b$ distin'uished !e!bers of the present #enate. ;#ee pp. 4,14E, >>, >3, supra.<.
An connection %ith the ar'u!ent of the for!er #ecretar$ of 6ustice to the effect that %hen ?there is no !inorit$
part$ represented in the Asse!bl$, the necessit$ for such a checB b$ the !inorit$ disappears?, the follo%in'
observations of the petitioners herein are %orth$ of notice:.
? 7nder the interpretation espoused b$ the respondents, the ver$ frauds or terroris! co!!itted b$ a part$
%ould establish the le'al basis for the final destruction of !inorit$ parties in the Con'ress at least. Let us
suppose, for e8a!ple, that in the #enate, the *, or *5 senators %ith une8pired ter!s belon' to the part$ A. An
the senatorial elections to fill the re!ainin' E seats, all the E candidates of part$ A are proclai!ed elected
throu'h alle'ed fraud andDor terroris!. ;The ouster of not less than > senators1elect in the elections held since
liberation attests to the realit$ of election frauds and terroris! in our countr$.< There bein' no senator or onl$
one senator belon'in' to the !inorit$, %ho %ould sit in 9ud'!ent on the election candidates of the !inorit$
partiesH Accordin' to the contention of the respondents, it %ould be a #enate Electoral Tribunal !ade up of
three #upre!e Court 6ustices and , or 5 !e!bers of the sa!e part$ A accused of fraud and terroris!. Most
respectfull$, %e pra$ this (onorable Court to re9ect an interpretation that %ould !aBe of a de!ocratic
constitution the ver$ instru!ent b$ %hich a corrupt and ruthless part$ could entrench itself in po%er the
le'islature and thus destro$ de!ocrac$ in the Philippines.
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8.
?.. -hen there are no electoral protests filed b$ the Minorit$ part$, or %hen the onl$ electoral protests filed are
b$ candidates of the !a9orit$ a'ainst !e!bers1elect of the sa!e !a9orit$ part$, there !i'ht be no ob9ection to
the state!ent. But if electoral protests are filed b$ candidates of the !inorit$ part$, it is at this point that a need
for a checB on the !a9orit$ part$ is 'reatest, and contrar$ to the observation !ade in the above10uoted opinion,
such a cheeB is a function that cannot be successfull$ e8ercised b$ the > 6ustices of the #upre!e Court, for
the obvious and si!ple reason that the$ could easil$ be outvoted b$ the 5 !e!bers of the !a9orit$ part$ in the
Tribunal.
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8.
?An the case of the cited opinion of #ecretar$ Abad #antos rendered in *+>+, it, did not appear that there %ere
!inorit$ part$ candidates %ho %ere adversel$ affected b$ the rulin' of the #ecretar$ of 6ustice and %ho could
have brou'ht a test case to court.? ;E!phasis supplied.<.
The defenses of %aiver and estoppel set up a'ainst petitioner Taada are untenable. Althou'h ?an individual
!a$ %aive constitutional provisions intended for his benefit?, particularl$ those !eant for the protection of his
propert$, and, so!eti!es, even those tendin' ?to secure his personal libert$?, the po%er to %aive does not
e8ist %hen ?public polic$ or public !orals? are involved. ;** A!. 6ur. F5,= A Coole$Cs Constitutional Li!itations,
pp. >5E1>F*<. The procedure outlined in the Constitution for the or'anization, of the Electoral Tribunals %as
adopted in response to the de!ands of the co!!on %eal, and it has been held that %here a statute is founded
on public polic$, those to %ho! it applies should not be per!itted to %aive its provisions? ;E4 C. 6. #., EF3<.
Besides, there can be no %aiver %ithout an intent to such effect, %hich #enator Taada did not have. A'ain, the
alle'ed %aiver or e8haustion of his ri'hts does not 9ustif$ the e8ercise thereof b$ a person or part$, other than
that to %hich it is vested e8clusivel$ b$ the Constitution.
The rule estoppel is that ?%henever a part$ has, b$ his declaration, act or o!issions, intentionall$ and
deliberatel$ led another to believe a particular thin' true, and to act upon such belief, he cannot, in a liti'ation
arisin' out of such declaration, act or o!ission, be per!itted to falsif$ it? ;Rule 5+, sec. 5E OaP, Rules of Court<.
An the case at bar, petitioner #enator Taada did not lead the #enate to believe that #enator Pri!icias could
no!inate #enators Cuenco and &el'ado. 2n the contrar$, said petitioner repeatedl$ asserted that his %as the
e8clusive ri'ht to !aBe the no!ination. (e, liBe%ise, specificall$ contested said no!ination of #enators
Cuenco and &el'ado. A'ain, the rule on estoppel applies to 0uestions of fact, not of la%, about the truth of
%hich the other part$ is i'norant ;see MoranCs Co!!ents on the Rules of Court, @ol. >, pp. 3+J, 3+,<. #uch is
not the nature of the situation that confronted #enator Taada and the other !e!bers of the #enate. Lastl$, the
case of Landueta vs. &e la Costa ;55 Phil., 5*,<, cited b$ respondents, is not in point. 6ud'e Landueta
assu!ed office b$ virtue of an appoint!ent, the le'alit$ of %hich he later on assailed. An the case at bar, the
no!ination and election of #enator Taada as !e!ber of the #enate Electoral Tribunal %as separate, distinct
and independent fro! the no!ination and election of #enators Cuenco and &el'ado.
An vie% of the fore'oin', %e hold that the #enate !a$ not elect, as !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal,
those #enators %ho have not been no!inated b$ the political parties specified in the Constitution= that the part$
havin' the lar'est nu!ber of votes in the #enate !a$ no!inate not !ore than three ;>< !e!bers thereof to
said Electoral Tribunal= that the part$ havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes in the #enate has the
e8clusive ri'ht to no!inate the other three ;>< #enators %ho shall sit as !e!bers in the Electoral Tribunal= that
neither these three ;>< #enators, nor an$ of the!, !a$ be no!inated b$ a person or part$ other than the one
havin' the second lar'est nu!ber of votes in the #enate or its representative therein= that the Co!!ittee on
Rules for the #enate has no standin' to validl$ !aBe such no!ination and that the no!ination of #enators
Cuenco and &el'ado b$ #enator Pri!icias, and the election of said respondents b$ the #enate, as !e!bers of
said Tribunal, are null and void ab initio.
As re'ards respondents Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Ca$etano, Manuel #erapio and Placido Re$es, %e are not
prepared to hold, ho%ever, that their appoint!ents %ere null and void. Althou'h reco!!ended b$ #enators
Cuenco and &el'ado, %ho are not la%ful !e!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, the$ %ere appointed b$ its
Chair!an, presu!abl$, %ith the consent of the !a9orit$ of the de 9ure !e!bers of said bod$ *3 or, pursuant to
the Rules thereof. At an$ rate, as held in #uanes vs. Chief Accountant ;supra<, the election of its personnel is
an internal !atter fallin' %ithin the 9urisdiction and control of said bod$, and there is ever$ reason to believe
that it %ill, hereafter taBe appropriate !easures, in relation to the four ;3< respondents above!entioned,
confor!abl$ %ith the spirit of the Constitution and of, the decision in the case at bar.
-herefore, 9ud'!ent is hereb$ rendered declarin' that, respondents #enators Mariano 6esus Cuenco and
/rancisco A. &el'ado have not been dul$ elected as Me!bers of the #enate Electoral Tribunal, that the$ are
not entitled to act as such and that the$ should be, as the$ are hereb$, en9oined fro! e8ercisin' the po%ers
and duties of Me!bers of said Electoral Tribunal and fro! actin' in such capacit$ in connection %ith #enate
Electoral Case No. 3 thereof. -ith the 0ualification stated above, the petition is dis!issed, as re'ards
respondents Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Ca$etano, Manuel #erapio and Placido Re$es. -ithout special
pronounce!ent as to costs. At is so ordered.
"engon, Padilla, Montema#or, $e#es, A., "autista Angelo, $e#es, !.".%., and &eli', !!., concur.