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Gonzales v.

Narvasa
G. R. No. 140835
August 14, 2000
FACTS:
Petitioner Ramon Gonzales, as a citizen and taxpayer assails the constitutionality of the
creation of the Preparatory Commission on Constitutional Reform (PCCR) and the positions of
presidential consultants, advisers, and assistants. The PCCR was created by President Estrada by
virtue of EO 43 to study and recommend proposed amendments and revisions to the 1987
Constitution, and the manner of implementing the same. Gonzales in this petition seeks to enjoin
the PCCR and the ones in the specified positions from acting as such, to enjoin Secretary Zamora
from enforcing their advice and recommendations, to enjoin the Commission on Audit from
passing the audit expenditures for the PCCR and finally seeks to compel Zamora to furnish him
with the information, requesting for the names of executive officials holding multiple positions
in the government, copies of their appointments, and a list of the recipients of luxury vehicles
seized by the Bureau of Customs and turned over to Malacanang.
Gonzales contends that the PCCR is a public office, which only the Congress can create by way
of a law, and that the President through the PCCR is amending the Constitution, a power not
granted to him.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the petitioner has the locus standi for the present petition.
2. Whether or not the respondent has the obligation to furnish the petitioner with the
information requested, in respect of the right to information of the petitioner.
HELD:
1. No.
The Court rules that the action is already moot, for it no longer presents a justiciable
controversy due to the extension granted to the PCCR, first instructed to complete its task on
June 30, 1999, but eventually was changed to December 31, 1999 by EO 70. Therefore the
PCCR already submitted its recommendations to the President on December 20, 1999 and was
subsequently dissolved. Thus the body sought to be enjoined has already ceased to exist, making
prohibition an inappropriate remedy. In addition to that, the petitioner has no standing as a
citizen and a taxpayer for he did not establish that he is suffering or that will suffer some actual
or threatened injury due to the creation of the PCCR, or the creation of the positions. Likewise,
there is no illegal disbursement of funds in the exercise of Congress of its spending or taxing
power, for the source of funds for the PCCR will not come from an act of appropriation by the
Congress, but will be sourced out the funds of the Office of the President.
2. Yes.
Prepared by: Jo-Anne D. Coloquio

On the issue of whether or not Secretary Zamora can be compelled to furnish the petitioner
with information: the names of executive officials holding multiple positions in government,
copies of their appointments, and a list of the recipients of luxury vehicles seized by the Bureau
of Customs and turned over to Malacanang, the Court rules in favor of the petitioner. As secured
by the Constitution, the right to information is a self-executory provision which can be invoked
by any citizen to assert a public right. The right to information of the people on matters of public
concern shall be recognized, subject to limitations as may be provided by law such as in RA
6713, which provides that, in the performance of their duties, all public officials and employees
are obliged to respond to letters sent by the public within 15 working days from receipt thereof
and to ensure the accessibility of all public documents for inspection by the public within
reasonable working hours, subject to the reasonable claims of confidentiality.
The Court further held that the right to information is the key in having a meaningful
democratic decision-making, to enable the society to cope up with the exigencies of the times. It
is for the courts to determine in a case-by-case basis whether the matter is of public interest or
importance, thus agreeing with the petitioner that Secretary Zamora has the constitutional duty to
answer the request, involving matters of public concern appointments made to public offices
and the utilization of public property, also allowing the inspection and copying of the copies of
the appointment papers, subject to reasonable limitations.
Wherefore, the petition is dismissed, with the exception that respondent Zamora is ordered to
furnish petitioner with the information requested.

Prepared by: Jo-Anne D. Coloquio