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G.R. No.

101949 December 1, 1994


THE HOLY SEE, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. ERIBERTO U. ROSARIO, JR., as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 61
and STARBRIGHT SALES ENTERPRISES, INC., respondents.
Padilla Law Office for petitioner.
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako for private respondent.

QUIASON, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to reverse and set aside the Orders
dated June 20, 1991 and September 19, 1991 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati, Metro Manila in Civil
Case No. 90-183.
The Order dated June 20, 1991 denied the motion of petitioner to dismiss the complaint in Civil Case No. 90-183,
while the Order dated September 19, 1991 denied the motion for reconsideration of the June 20,1991 Order.
Petitioner is the Holy See who exercises sovereignty over the Vatican City in Rome, Italy, and is represented in the
Philippines by the Papal Nuncio.
Private respondent, Starbright Sales Enterprises, Inc., is a domestic corporation engaged in the real estate
business.
This petition arose from a controversy over a parcel of land consisting of 6,000 square meters (Lot 5-A, Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 390440) located in the Municipality of Paraaque, Metro Manila and registered in the name of
petitioner.
Said Lot 5-A is contiguous to Lots 5-B and 5-D which are covered by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 271108 and
265388 respectively and registered in the name of the Philippine Realty Corporation (PRC).
The three lots were sold to Ramon Licup, through Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos, Jr., acting as agent to the sellers. Later,
Licup assigned his rights to the sale to private respondent.
In view of the refusal of the squatters to vacate the lots sold to private respondent, a dispute arose as to who of the
parties has the responsibility of evicting and clearing the land of squatters. Complicating the relations of the parties
was the sale by petitioner of Lot 5-A to Tropicana Properties and Development Corporation (Tropicana).
I
On January 23, 1990, private respondent filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati, Metro
Manila for annulment of the sale of the three parcels of land, and specific performance and damages against
petitioner, represented by the Papal Nuncio, and three other defendants: namely, Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos, Jr., the
PRC and Tropicana (Civil Case No.
90-183).
The complaint alleged that: (1) on April 17, 1988, Msgr. Cirilos, Jr., on behalf of petitioner and the PRC, agreed to
sell to Ramon Licup Lots 5-A, 5-B and 5-D at the price of P1,240.00 per square meters; (2) the agreement to sell
was made on the condition that earnest money of P100,000.00 be paid by Licup to the sellers, and that the sellers
clear the said lots of squatters who were then occupying the same; (3) Licup paid the earnest money to Msgr.
Cirilos; (4) in the same month, Licup assigned his rights over the property to private respondent and informed the
sellers of the said assignment; (5) thereafter, private respondent demanded from Msgr. Cirilos that the sellers fulfill

their undertaking and clear the property of squatters; however, Msgr. Cirilos informed private respondent of the
squatters' refusal to vacate the lots, proposing instead either that private respondent undertake the eviction or that
the earnest money be returned to the latter; (6) private respondent counterproposed that if it would undertake the
eviction of the squatters, the purchase price of the lots should be reduced from P1,240.00 to P1,150.00 per square
meter; (7) Msgr. Cirilos returned the earnest money of P100,000.00 and wrote private respondent giving it seven
days from receipt of the letter to pay the original purchase price in cash; (8) private respondent sent the earnest
money back to the sellers, but later discovered that on March 30, 1989, petitioner and the PRC, without notice to
private respondent, sold the lots to Tropicana, as evidenced by two separate Deeds of Sale, one over Lot 5-A, and
another over Lots 5-B and 5-D; and that the sellers' transfer certificate of title over the lots were cancelled,
transferred and registered in the name of Tropicana; (9) Tropicana induced petitioner and the PRC to sell the lots to
it and thus enriched itself at the expense of private respondent; (10) private respondent demanded the rescission of
the sale to Tropicana and the reconveyance of the lots, to no avail; and (11) private respondent is willing and able to
comply with the terms of the contract to sell and has actually made plans to develop the lots into a townhouse
project, but in view of the sellers' breach, it lost profits of not less than P30,000.000.00.
Private respondent thus prayed for: (1) the annulment of the Deeds of Sale between petitioner and the PRC on the
one hand, and Tropicana on the other; (2) the reconveyance of the lots in question; (3) specific performance of the
agreement to sell between it and the owners of the lots; and (4) damages.
On June 8, 1990, petitioner and Msgr. Cirilos separately moved to dismiss the complaint petitioner for lack of
jurisdiction based on sovereign immunity from suit, and Msgr. Cirilos for being an improper party. An opposition to
the motion was filed by private respondent.
On June 20, 1991, the trial court issued an order denying, among others, petitioner's motion to dismiss after finding
that petitioner "shed off [its] sovereign immunity by entering into the business contract in question" (Rollo, pp. 2021).
On July 12, 1991, petitioner moved for reconsideration of the order. On August 30, 1991, petitioner filed a "Motion
for a Hearing for the Sole Purpose of Establishing Factual Allegation for claim of Immunity as a Jurisdictional
Defense." So as to facilitate the determination of its defense of sovereign immunity, petitioner prayed that a hearing
be conducted to allow it to establish certain facts upon which the said defense is based. Private respondent
opposed this motion as well as the motion for reconsideration.
On October 1, 1991, the trial court issued an order deferring the resolution on the motion for reconsideration until
after trial on the merits and directing petitioner to file its answer (Rollo, p. 22).
Petitioner forthwith elevated the matter to us. In its petition, petitioner invokes the privilege of sovereign immunity
only on its own behalf and on behalf of its official representative, the Papal Nuncio.
On December 9, 1991, a Motion for Intervention was filed before us by the Department of Foreign Affairs, claiming
that it has a legal interest in the outcome of the case as regards the diplomatic immunity of petitioner, and that it
"adopts by reference, the allegations contained in the petition of the Holy See insofar as they refer to arguments
relative to its claim of sovereign immunity from suit" (Rollo, p. 87).
Private respondent opposed the intervention of the Department of Foreign Affairs. In compliance with the resolution
of this Court, both parties and the Department of Foreign Affairs submitted their respective memoranda.
II
A preliminary matter to be threshed out is the procedural issue of whether the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of
the Revised Rules of Court can be availed of to question the order denying petitioner's motion to dismiss. The
general rule is that an order denying a motion to dismiss is not reviewable by the appellate courts, the remedy of the
movant being to file his answer and to proceed with the hearing before the trial court. But the general rule admits of
exceptions, and one of these is when it is very clear in the records that the trial court has no alternative but to
dismiss the complaint (Philippine National Bank v. Florendo, 206 SCRA 582 [1992]; Zagada v. Civil Service
Commission, 216 SCRA 114 [1992]. In such a case, it would be a sheer waste of time and energy to require the
parties to undergo the rigors of a trial.

The other procedural question raised by private respondent is the personality or legal interest of the Department of
Foreign Affairs to intervene in the case in behalf of the Holy See (Rollo, pp. 186-190).
In Public International Law, when a state or international agency wishes to plead sovereign or diplomatic immunity in
a foreign court, it requests the Foreign Office of the state where it is sued to convey to the court that said defendant
is entitled to immunity.
In the United States, the procedure followed is the process of "suggestion," where the foreign state or the
international organization sued in an American court requests the Secretary of State to make a determination as to
whether it is entitled to immunity. If the Secretary of State finds that the defendant is immune from suit, he, in turn,
asks the Attorney General to submit to the court a "suggestion" that the defendant is entitled to immunity. In
England, a similar procedure is followed, only the Foreign Office issues a certification to that effect instead of
submitting a "suggestion" (O'Connell, I International Law 130 [1965]; Note: Immunity from Suit of Foreign Sovereign
Instrumentalities and Obligations, 50 Yale Law Journal 1088 [1941]).
In the Philippines, the practice is for the foreign government or the international organization to first secure an
executive endorsement of its claim of sovereign or diplomatic immunity. But how the Philippine Foreign Office
conveys its endorsement to the courts varies. In International Catholic Migration Commission v. Calleja, 190 SCRA
130 (1990), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs just sent a letter directly to the Secretary of Labor and Employment,
informing the latter that the respondent-employer could not be sued because it enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
InWorld Health Organization v. Aquino, 48 SCRA 242 (1972), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs sent the trial court a
telegram to that effect. In Baer v. Tizon, 57 SCRA 1 (1974), the U.S. Embassy asked the Secretary of Foreign Affairs
to request the Solicitor General to make, in behalf of the Commander of the United States Naval Base at Olongapo
City, Zambales, a "suggestion" to respondent Judge. The Solicitor General embodied the "suggestion" in a
Manifestation and Memorandum as amicus curiae.
In the case at bench, the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Office of Legal Affairs moved with this Court to
be allowed to intervene on the side of petitioner. The Court allowed the said Department to file its memorandum in
support of petitioner's claim of sovereign immunity.
In some cases, the defense of sovereign immunity was submitted directly to the local courts by the respondents
through their private counsels (Raquiza v. Bradford, 75 Phil. 50 [1945]; Miquiabas v. Philippine-Ryukyus Command,
80 Phil. 262 [1948]; United States of America v. Guinto, 182 SCRA 644 [1990] and companion cases). In cases
where the foreign states bypass the Foreign Office, the courts can inquire into the facts and make their own
determination as to the nature of the acts and transactions involved.
III
The burden of the petition is that respondent trial court has no jurisdiction over petitioner, being a foreign state
enjoying sovereign immunity. On the other hand, private respondent insists that the doctrine of non-suability is not
anymore absolute and that petitioner has divested itself of such a cloak when, of its own free will, it entered into a
commercial transaction for the sale of a parcel of land located in the Philippines.
A. The Holy See
Before we determine the issue of petitioner's non-suability, a brief look into its status as a sovereign state is in order.
Before the annexation of the Papal States by Italy in 1870, the Pope was the monarch and he, as the Holy See, was
considered a subject of International Law. With the loss of the Papal States and the limitation of the territory under
the Holy See to an area of 108.7 acres, the position of the Holy See in International Law became controversial
(Salonga and Yap, Public International Law 36-37 [1992]).
In 1929, Italy and the Holy See entered into the Lateran Treaty, where Italy recognized the exclusive dominion and
sovereign jurisdiction of the Holy See over the Vatican City. It also recognized the right of the Holy See to receive
foreign diplomats, to send its own diplomats to foreign countries, and to enter into treaties according to International
Law (Garcia, Questions and Problems In International Law, Public and Private 81 [1948]).

The Lateran Treaty established the statehood of the Vatican City "for the purpose of assuring to the Holy See
absolute and visible independence and of guaranteeing to it indisputable sovereignty also in the field of international
relations" (O'Connell, I International Law 311 [1965]).
In view of the wordings of the Lateran Treaty, it is difficult to determine whether the statehood is vested in the Holy
See or in the Vatican City. Some writers even suggested that the treaty created two international persons the
Holy See and Vatican City (Salonga and Yap, supra, 37).
The Vatican City fits into none of the established categories of states, and the attribution to it of "sovereignty" must
be made in a sense different from that in which it is applied to other states (Fenwick, International Law 124-125
[1948]; Cruz, International Law 37 [1991]). In a community of national states, the Vatican City represents an entity
organized not for political but for ecclesiastical purposes and international objects. Despite its size and object, the
Vatican City has an independent government of its own, with the Pope, who is also head of the Roman Catholic
Church, as the Holy See or Head of State, in conformity with its traditions, and the demands of its mission in the
world. Indeed, the world-wide interests and activities of the Vatican City are such as to make it in a sense an
"international state" (Fenwick, supra., 125; Kelsen, Principles of International Law 160 [1956]).
One authority wrote that the recognition of the Vatican City as a state has significant implication that it is possible
for any entity pursuing objects essentially different from those pursued by states to be invested with international
personality (Kunz, The Status of the Holy See in International Law, 46 The American Journal of International Law
308 [1952]).
Inasmuch as the Pope prefers to conduct foreign relations and enter into transactions as the Holy See and not in the
name of the Vatican City, one can conclude that in the Pope's own view, it is the Holy See that is the international
person.
The Republic of the Philippines has accorded the Holy See the status of a foreign sovereign. The Holy See, through
its Ambassador, the Papal Nuncio, has had diplomatic representations with the Philippine government since 1957
(Rollo, p. 87). This appears to be the universal practice in international relations.
B. Sovereign Immunity
As expressed in Section 2 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution, we have adopted the generally accepted principles
of International Law. Even without this affirmation, such principles of International Law are deemed incorporated as
part of the law of the land as a condition and consequence of our admission in the society of nations (United States
of America v. Guinto, 182 SCRA 644 [1990]).
There are two conflicting concepts of sovereign immunity, each widely held and firmly established. According to the
classical or absolute theory, a sovereign cannot, without its consent, be made a respondent in the courts of another
sovereign. According to the newer or restrictive theory, the immunity of the sovereign is recognized only with regard
to public acts or acts jure imperii of a state, but not with regard to private acts or acts jure gestionis
(United States of America v. Ruiz, 136 SCRA 487 [1987]; Coquia and Defensor-Santiago, Public International Law
194 [1984]).
Some states passed legislation to serve as guidelines for the executive or judicial determination when an act may
be considered as jure gestionis. The United States passed the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, which
defines a commercial activity as "either a regular course of commercial conduct or a particular commercial
transaction or act." Furthermore, the law declared that the "commercial character of the activity shall be determined
by reference to the nature of the course of conduct or particular transaction or act, rather than by reference to its
purpose." The Canadian Parliament enacted in 1982 an Act to Provide For State Immunity in Canadian Courts. The
Act defines a "commercial activity" as any particular transaction, act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that
by reason of its nature, is of a "commercial character."
The restrictive theory, which is intended to be a solution to the host of problems involving the issue of sovereign
immunity, has created problems of its own. Legal treatises and the decisions in countries which follow the restrictive
theory have difficulty in characterizing whether a contract of a sovereign state with a private party is an act jure
gestionis or an act jure imperii.

The restrictive theory came about because of the entry of sovereign states into purely commercial activities remotely
connected with the discharge of governmental functions. This is particularly true with respect to the Communist
states which took control of nationalized business activities and international trading.
This Court has considered the following transactions by a foreign state with private parties as acts jure imperii: (1)
the lease by a foreign government of apartment buildings for use of its military officers (Syquia v. Lopez, 84 Phil. 312
[1949]; (2) the conduct of public bidding for the repair of a wharf at a United States Naval Station (United States of
America v. Ruiz, supra.); and (3) the change of employment status of base employees (Sanders v. Veridiano, 162
SCRA 88 [1988]).
On the other hand, this Court has considered the following transactions by a foreign state with private parties as
acts jure gestionis: (1) the hiring of a cook in the recreation center, consisting of three restaurants, a cafeteria, a
bakery, a store, and a coffee and pastry shop at the John Hay Air Station in Baguio City, to cater to American
servicemen and the general public (United States of America v. Rodrigo, 182 SCRA 644 [1990]); and (2) the bidding
for the operation of barber shops in Clark Air Base in Angeles City (United States of America v. Guinto, 182 SCRA
644 [1990]). The operation of the restaurants and other facilities open to the general public is undoubtedly for profit
as a commercial and not a governmental activity. By entering into the employment contract with the cook in the
discharge of its proprietary function, the United States government impliedly divested itself of its sovereign immunity
from suit.
In the absence of legislation defining what activities and transactions shall be considered "commercial" and as
constituting acts jure gestionis, we have to come out with our own guidelines, tentative they may be.
Certainly, the mere entering into a contract by a foreign state with a private party cannot be the ultimate test. Such
an act can only be the start of the inquiry. The logical question is whether the foreign state is engaged in the activity
in the regular course of business. If the foreign state is not engaged regularly in a business or trade, the particular
act or transaction must then be tested by its nature. If the act is in pursuit of a sovereign activity, or an incident
thereof, then it is an act jure imperii, especially when it is not undertaken for gain or profit.
As held in United States of America v. Guinto, (supra):
There is no question that the United States of America, like any other state, will be deemed to have
impliedly waived its non-suability if it has entered into a contract in its proprietary or private capacity.
It is only when the contract involves its sovereign or governmental capacity that no such waiver may
be implied.
In the case at bench, if petitioner has bought and sold lands in the ordinary course of a real estate business, surely
the said transaction can be categorized as an act jure gestionis. However, petitioner has denied that the acquisition
and subsequent disposal of Lot 5-A were made for profit but claimed that it acquired said property for the site of its
mission or the Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippines. Private respondent failed to dispute said claim.
Lot 5-A was acquired by petitioner as a donation from the Archdiocese of Manila. The donation was made not for
commercial purpose, but for the use of petitioner to construct thereon the official place of residence of the Papal
Nuncio. The right of a foreign sovereign to acquire property, real or personal, in a receiving state, necessary for the
creation and maintenance of its diplomatic mission, is recognized in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
Relations (Arts. 20-22). This treaty was concurred in by the Philippine Senate and entered into force in the
Philippines on November 15, 1965.
In Article 31(a) of the Convention, a diplomatic envoy is granted immunity from the civil and administrative
jurisdiction of the receiving state over any real action relating to private immovable property situated in the territory
of the receiving state which the envoy holds on behalf of the sending state for the purposes of the mission. If this
immunity is provided for a diplomatic envoy, with all the more reason should immunity be recognized as regards the
sovereign itself, which in this case is the Holy See.
The decision to transfer the property and the subsequent disposal thereof are likewise clothed with a governmental
character. Petitioner did not sell Lot
5-A for profit or gain. It merely wanted to dispose off the same because the squatters living thereon made it almost

impossible for petitioner to use it for the purpose of the donation. The fact that squatters have occupied and are still
occupying the lot, and that they stubbornly refuse to leave the premises, has been admitted by private respondent in
its complaint (Rollo, pp. 26, 27).
The issue of petitioner's non-suability can be determined by the trial court without going to trial in the light of the
pleadings, particularly the admission of private respondent. Besides, the privilege of sovereign immunity in this case
was sufficiently established by the Memorandum and Certification of the Department of Foreign Affairs. As the
department tasked with the conduct of the Philippines' foreign relations (Administrative Code of 1987, Book IV, Title
I, Sec. 3), the Department of Foreign Affairs has formally intervened in this case and officially certified that the
Embassy of the Holy See is a duly accredited diplomatic mission to the Republic of the Philippines exempt from
local jurisdiction and entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities of a diplomatic mission or embassy in this
country (Rollo, pp. 156-157). The determination of the executive arm of government that a state or instrumentality is
entitled to sovereign or diplomatic immunity is a political question that is conclusive upon the courts (International
Catholic Migration Commission v. Calleja, 190 SCRA 130 [1990]). Where the plea of immunity is recognized and
affirmed by the executive branch, it is the duty of the courts to accept this claim so as not to embarrass the
executive arm of the government in conducting the country's foreign relations (World Health Organization v. Aquino,
48 SCRA 242 [1972]). As in International Catholic Migration Commission and in World Health Organization, we
abide by the certification of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Ordinarily, the procedure would be to remand the case and order the trial court to conduct a hearing to establish the
facts alleged by petitioner in its motion. In view of said certification, such procedure would however be pointless and
unduly circuitous (Ortigas & Co. Ltd. Partnership v. Judge Tirso Velasco, G.R. No. 109645, July 25, 1994).
IV
Private respondent is not left without any legal remedy for the redress of its grievances. Under both Public
International Law and Transnational Law, a person who feels aggrieved by the acts of a foreign sovereign can ask
his own government to espouse his cause through diplomatic channels.
Private respondent can ask the Philippine government, through the Foreign Office, to espouse its claims against the
Holy See. Its first task is to persuade the Philippine government to take up with the Holy See the validity of its
claims. Of course, the Foreign Office shall first make a determination of the impact of its espousal on the relations
between the Philippine government and the Holy See (Young, Remedies of Private Claimants Against Foreign
States, Selected Readings on Protection by Law of Private Foreign Investments 905, 919 [1964]). Once the
Philippine government decides to espouse the claim, the latter ceases to be a private cause.
According to the Permanent Court of International Justice, the forerunner of the International Court of Justice:
By taking up the case of one of its subjects and by reporting to diplomatic action or international
judicial proceedings on his behalf, a State is in reality asserting its own rights its right to ensure, in
the person of its subjects, respect for the rules of international law (The Mavrommatis Palestine
Concessions, 1 Hudson, World Court Reports 293, 302 [1924]).
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is GRANTED and the complaint in Civil Case No. 90-183 against petitioner
is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ.,
concur.
Padilla, J., took no part.
Feliciano, J., is on leave.

EN BANC
G.R. No. 139465

January 18, 2000

SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, petitioner,


vs.
HON. RALPH C. LANTION, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25, and MARK B.
JIMENEZ, respondents.
MELO, J.:
The individual citizen is but a speck of particle or molecule vis--vis the vast and overwhelming powers of
government. His only guarantee against oppression and tyranny are his fundamental liberties under the Bill of
Rights which shield him in times of need. The Court is now called to decide whether to uphold a citizen's basic due
process rights, or the government's ironclad duties under a treaty. The bugle sounds and this Court must once again
act as the faithful guardian of the fundamental writ.
The petition at our doorstep is cast against the following factual backdrop:
On January 13, 1977, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1069 "Prescribing the
Procedure for the Extradition of Persons Who Have Committed Crimes in a Foreign Country". The Decree is
founded on: the doctrine of incorporation under the Constitution; the mutual concern for the suppression of crime
both in the state where it was committed and the state where the criminal may have escaped; the extradition treaty
with the Republic of Indonesia and the intention of the Philippines to enter into similar treaties with other interested
countries; and the need for rules to guide the executive department and the courts in the proper implementation of
said treaties.
On November 13, 1994, then Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon, representing the Government of the Republic
of the Philippines, signed in Manila the "Extradition Treaty Between the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines and the Government of the United States of America" (hereinafter referred to as the RP-US Extradition
Treaty). The Senate, by way of Resolution No. 11, expressed its concurrence in the ratification of said treaty. It also
expressed its concurrence in the Diplomatic Notes correcting Paragraph (5)(a), Article 7 thereof (on the admissibility
of the documents accompanying an extradition request upon certification by the principal diplomatic or consular
officer of the requested state resident in the Requesting State).
On June 18, 1999, the Department of Justice received from the Department of Foreign Affairs U.S. Note Verbale No.
0522 containing a request for the extradition of private respondent Mark Jimenez to the United States. Attached to
the Note Verbale were the Grand Jury Indictment, the warrant of arrest issued by the U.S. District Court, Southern
District of Florida, and other supporting documents for said extradition. Based on the papers submitted, private
respondent appears to be charged in the United States with violation of the following provisions of the United States
Code (USC):
A) 18 USC 371 (Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States; two [2] counts; Maximum
Penalty 5 years on each count);
B) 26 USC 7201 (Attempt to evade or defeat tax; four [4] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years on each
count);
C) 18 USC 1343 (Fraud by wire, radio, or television; two [2] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years on each
count);
D) 18 USC 1001 (False statement or entries; six [6] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years on each count);

E) 2 USC 441f (Election contributions in name of another; thirty-three [33] counts; Maximum Penalty less
than one year).
(p. 14, Rollo.)
On the same day, petitioner issued Department Order No. 249 designating and authorizing a panel of attorneys to
take charge of and to handle the case pursuant to Section 5(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1069. Accordingly, the
panel began with the "technical evaluation and assessment" of the extradition request and the documents in support
thereof. The panel found that the "official English translation of some documents in Spanish were not attached to the
request and that there are some other matters that needed to be addressed" (p. 15, Rollo).
Pending evaluation of the aforestated extradition documents, private respondent, through counsel, wrote a letter
dated July 1, 1999 addressed to petitioner requesting copies of the official extradition request from the U.S.
Government, as well as all documents and papers submitted therewith; and that he be given ample time to
comment on the request after he shall have received copies of the requested papers. Private respondent also
requested that the proceedings on the matter be held in abeyance in the meantime.
Later, private respondent requested that preliminary, he be given at least a copy of, or access to, the request of the
United States Government, and after receiving a copy of the Diplomatic Note, a period of time to amplify on his
request.
In response to private respondent's July 1, 1999 letter, petitioner, in a reply-letter dated July 13, 1999 (but received
by private respondent only on August 4, 1999), denied the foregoing requests for the following reasons:
1. We find it premature to furnish you with copies of the extradition request and supporting documents from
the United States Government, pending evaluation by this Department of the sufficiency of the extradition
documents submitted in accordance with the provisions of the extradition treaty and our extradition law.
Article 7 of the Extradition Treaty between the Philippines and the United States enumerates the
documentary requirements and establishes the procedures under which the documents submitted shall be
received and admitted as evidence. Evidentiary requirements under our domestic law are also set forth in
Section 4 of P.D. No. 1069.
Evaluation by this Department of the aforementioned documents is not a preliminary investigation nor akin to
preliminary investigation of criminal cases. We merely determine whether the procedures and requirements
under the relevant law and treaty have been complied with by the Requesting Government. The
constitutionally guaranteed rights of the accused in all criminal prosecutions are therefore not available.
It is only after the filing of the petition for extradition when the person sought to be extradited will be
furnished by the court with copies of the petition, request and extradition documents and this Department will
not pose any objection to a request for ample time to evaluate said documents.
2. The formal request for extradition of the United States contains grand jury information and documents
obtained through grand jury process covered by strict secrecy rules under United States law. The United
States had to secure orders from the concerned District Courts authorizing the United States to disclose
certain grand jury information to Philippine government and law enforcement personnel for the purpose of
extradition of Mr. Jimenez. Any further disclosure of the said information is not authorized by the United
States District Courts. In this particular extradition request the United States Government requested the
Philippine Government to prevent unauthorized disclosure of the subject information. This Department's
denial of your request is consistent with Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty which provides that the
Philippine Government must represent the interests of the United States in any proceedings arising out of a
request for extradition. The Department of Justice under P.D. No. 1069 is the counsel of the foreign
governments in all extradition requests.
3. This Department is not in a position to hold in abeyance proceedings in connection with an extradition
request. Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, to which we are a party provides that
"[E]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith".

Extradition is a tool of criminal law enforcement and to be effective, requests for extradition or surrender of
accused or convicted persons must be processed expeditiously.
(pp. 77-78, Rollo.)
Such was the state of affairs when, on August 6, 1999, private respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of the
National Capital Judicial Region a petition against the Secretary of Justice, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the
Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, for mandamus (to compel herein petitioner to furnish private
respondent the extradition documents, to give him access thereto, and to afford him an opportunity to comment on,
or oppose, the extradition request, and thereafter to evaluate the request impartially, fairly and
objectively);certiorari (to set aside herein petitioner's letter dated July 13, 1999); and prohibition (to restrain
petitioner from considering the extradition request and from filing an extradition petition in court; and to enjoin the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Director of the NBI from performing any act directed to the extradition of private
respondent to the United States), with an application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of
preliminary injunction (pp. 104-105, Rollo).
The aforementioned petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 99-94684 and thereafter raffled to Branch 25 of said
regional trial court stationed in Manila which is presided over by the Honorable Ralph C. Lantion.
After due notice to the parties, the case was heard on August 9, 1999. Petitioner, who appeared in his own behalf,
moved that he be given ample time to file a memorandum, but the same was denied.
On August 10, 1999, respondent judge issued an order dated the previous day, disposing:
WHEREFORE, this Court hereby Orders the respondents, namely: the Secretary of Justice, the Secretary of
Foreign Affairs and the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, their agents and/or representatives
to maintain the status quo by refraining from committing the acts complained of; from conducting further
proceedings in connection with the request of the United States Government for the extradition of the
petitioner; from filing the corresponding Petition with a Regional Trial court; and from performing any act
directed to the extradition of the petitioner to the United States, for a period of twenty (20) days from service
on respondents of this Order, pursuant to Section 5, Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Court.
The hearing as to whether or not this Court shall issue the preliminary injunction, as agreed upon by the
counsels for the parties herein, is set on August 17, 1999 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. The respondents
are, likewise, ordered to file their written comment and/or opposition to the issuance of a Preliminary
Injunction on or before said date.
SO ORDERED.
(pp. 110-111, Rollo.)
Forthwith, petitioner initiated the instant proceedings, arguing that:
PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER BECAUSE:
I.
BY ORDERING HEREIN PETITIONER TO REFRAIN FROM COMMITTING THE ACTS COMPLAINED
OF, I.E., TO DESIST FROM REFUSING PRIVATE RESPONDENT ACCESS TO THE OFFICIAL
EXTRADITION REQUEST AND DOCUMENTS AND FROM DENYING PRIVATE RESPONDENT AN
OPPORTUNITY TO FILE A COMMENT ON, OR OPPOSITION TO, THE REQUEST, THE MAIN PRAYER
FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUSIN THE PETITION FOR MANDAMUS, CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION
WAS, IN EFFECT, GRANTED SO AS TO CONSTITUTE AN ADJUDICATION ON THE MERITS OF
THE MANDAMUS ISSUES;

II.
PETITIONER WAS UNQUALIFIEDLY PREVENTED FROM PERFORMING LEGAL DUTIES UNDER THE
EXTRADITION TREATY AND THE PHILIPPINE EXTRADITION LAW;
III.
THE PETITION FOR (MANDAMUS), CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION IS, ON ITS FACE, FORMALLY
AND SUBSTANTIALLY DEFICIENT; AND
IV.
PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAS NO RIGHT IN ESSE THAT NEEDS PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT,
AND WILL NOT SUFFER ANY IRREPARABLE INJURY.
(pp. 19-20, Rollo.)
On August 17, 1999, the Court required private respondent to file his comment. Also issued, as prayed for, was a
temporary restraining order (TRO) providing:
NOW, THEREFORE, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, You,
Respondent Judge Ralph C. Lantion, your agents, representatives or any person or persons acting in your
place or stead are hereby ORDERED to CEASE and DESIST from enforcing the assailed order dated
August 9, 1999 issued by public respondent in Civil Case No. 99-94684.
GIVEN by the Honorable HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines, this
17th day of August 1999.
(pp. 120-121, Rollo.)
The case was heard on oral argument on August 31, 1999, after which the parties, as directed, filed their respective
memoranda.
From the pleadings of the opposing parties, both procedural and substantive issues are patent. However, a review
of these issues as well as the extensive arguments of both parties, compel us to delineate the focal point raised by
the pleadings: During the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings, is private respondent entitled to the two
basic due process rights of notice and hearing? An affirmative answer would necessarily render the proceedings at
the trial court, moot and academic (the issues of which are substantially the same as those before us now), while a
negative resolution would call for the immediate lifting of the TRO issued by this Court dated August 24, 1999, thus
allowing petitioner to fast-track the process leading to the filing of the extradition petition with the proper regional trial
court. Corollarily, in the event that private respondent is adjudged entitled to basic due process rights at the
evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings, would this entitlement constitute a breach of the legal commitments
and obligations of the Philippine Government under the RP-US Extradition Treaty? And assuming that the result
would indeed be a breach, is there any conflict between private respondent's basic due process rights and the
provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty?
The issues having transcendental importance, the Court has elected to go directly into the substantive merits of the
case, brushing aside peripheral procedural matters which concern the proceedings in Civil Case No. 99-94684,
particularly the propriety of the filing of the petition therein, and of the issuance of the TRO of August 17, 1999 by the
trial court.
To be sure, the issues call for a review of the extradition procedure. The RP-US Extradition Treaty which was
executed only on November 13, 1994, ushered into force the implementing provisions of Presidential Decree No.
1069, also called as the Philippine Extradition Law. Section 2(a) thereof defines extradition as "the removal of an
accused from the Philippines with the object of placing him at the disposal of foreign authorities to enable the
requesting state or government to hold him in connection with any criminal investigation directed against him or the
execution of a penalty imposed on him under the penal or criminal law of the requesting state or government." The

portions of the Decree relevant to the instant case which involves a charged and not convicted individual, are
abstracted as follows:
The Extradition Request
The request is made by the Foreign Diplomat of the Requesting State, addressed to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,
and shall be accompanied by:
1. The original or an authentic copy of the criminal charge and the warrant of arrest issued by the authority
of the Requesting State having jurisdiction over the matter, or some other instruments having equivalent
legal force;
2. A recital of the acts for which extradition is requested, with the fullest particulars as to the name and
identity of the accused, his whereabouts in the Philippines, if known, the acts or omissions complained of,
and the time and place of the commission of these acts;
3. The text of the applicable law or a statement of the contents of said law, and the designation or
description of the offense by the law, sufficient for evaluation of the request; and
4. Such other documents or information in support of the request.
(Sec. 4. Presidential Decree No. 1069.)
Sec. 5 of the Presidential Decree, which sets forth the duty of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, pertinently provides
. . . (1) Unless it appears to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs that the request fails to meet the requirements of
this law and the relevant treaty or convention, he shall forward the request together with the related
documents to the Secretary of Justice, who shall immediately designate and authorize an attorney in his
office to take charge of the case.
The above provision shows only too clearly that the executive authority given the task of evaluating the sufficiency of
the request and the supporting documents is the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. What then is the coverage of this
task?
In accordance with Paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty, the executive authority must
ascertain whether or not the request is supported by:
1. Documents, statements, or other types of information which describe the identity and probable location of
the person sought;
2. A statement of the facts of the offense and the procedural history of the case;
3. A statement of the provisions of the law describing the essential elements of the offense for which
extradition is requested;
4. A statement of the provisions of law describing the punishment for the offense;
5. A statement of the provisions of the law describing any time limit on the prosecution or the execution of
punishment for the offense;
6. Documents, statements, or other types of information specified in paragraph 3 or paragraph 4 of said
Article, as applicable.
(Paragraph 2, Article 7, Presidential Decree No. 1069.)

7. Such evidence as, according to the law of the Requested State, would provide probable cause for his
arrest and committal for trial if the offense had been committed there;
8. A copy of the warrant or order of arrest issued by a judge or other competent authority; and
9. A copy of the charging document.
(Paragraph 3, ibid.)
The executive authority (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) must also see to it that the accompanying documents received
in support of the request had been certified by the principal diplomatic or consular officer of the Requested State
resident in the Requesting State (Embassy Note No. 052 from U. S. Embassy; Embassy Note No. 951309 from the
Department of Foreign Affairs).
In this light, Paragraph 3, Article 3 of the Treaty provides that "[e]xtradition shall not be granted if the executive
authority of the Requested State determines that the request is politically motivated, or that the offense is a military
offense which is not punishable under non-military penal legislation."
The Extradition Petition
Upon a finding made by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs that the extradition request and its supporting documents
are sufficient and complete in form and substance, he shall deliver the same to the Secretary of Justice, who shall
immediately designate and authorize an attorney in his office to take charge of the case (Paragraph [1], Section 5,
P.D. No. 1069). The lawyer designated shall then file a written petition with the proper regional trial court of the
province or city, with a prayer that the court take the extradition request under consideration (Paragraph [2], ibid.).
The presiding judge of the regional trial court, upon receipt of the petition for extradition, shall, as soon as
practicable, issue an order summoning the prospective extraditee to appear and to answer the petition on the day
and hour fixed in the order. The judge may issue a warrant of arrest if it appears that the immediate arrest and
temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of justice (Paragraph [1], Section 6, ibid.), particularly to
prevent the flight of the prospective extraditee.
The Extradition Hearing
The Extradition Law does not specifically indicate whether the extradition proceeding is criminal, civil, or a special
proceeding. Nevertheless, Paragraph [1], Section 9 thereof provides that in the hearing of the extradition petition,
the provisions of the Rules of Court, insofar as practicable and not inconsistent with the summary nature of the
proceedings, shall apply. During the hearing, Section 8 of the Decree provides that the attorney having charge of the
case may, upon application by the Requesting State, represent the latter throughout the proceedings.
Upon conclusion of the hearing, the court shall render a decision granting the extradition and giving the reasons
therefor upon a showing of the existence of a prima facie case, or dismiss the petition (Section 10, ibid.). Said
decision is appealable to the Court of Appeals, whose decision shall be final and immediately executory (Section
12, ibid.). The provisions of the Rules of Court governing appeal in criminal cases in the Court of Appeals shall apply
in the aforementioned appeal, except for the required 15-day period to file brief (Section 13, ibid.).
The trial court determines whether or not the offense mentioned in the petition is extraditable based on the
application of the dual criminality rule and other conditions mentioned in Article 2 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty.
The trial court also determines whether or not the offense for which extradition is requested is a political one
(Paragraph [1], Article 3, RP-US Extradition Treaty).
1wphi1.nt

With the foregoing abstract of the extradition proceedings as backdrop, the following query presents itself: What is
the nature of the role of the Department of Justice at the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings?
A strict observance of the Extradition Law indicates that the only duty of the Secretary of Justice is to file the
extradition petition after the request and all the supporting papers are forwarded to him by the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs. It is the latter official who is authorized to evaluate the extradition papers, to assure their sufficiency, and

under Paragraph [3], Article 3 of the Treaty, to determine whether or not the request is politically motivated, or that
the offense is a military offense which is not punishable under non-military penal legislation. Ipso facto, as expressly
provided in Paragraph [1], Section 5 of the Extradition Law, the Secretary of Justice has the ministerial duty of filing
the extradition papers.
However, looking at the factual milieu of the case before us, it would appear that there was failure to abide by the
provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1069. For while it is true that the extradition request was delivered to the
Department of Foreign Affairs on June 17, 1999, the following day or less than 24 hours later, the Department of
Justice received the request, apparently without the Department of Foreign Affairs discharging its duty of thoroughly
evaluating the same and its accompanying documents. The statement of an assistant secretary at the Department
of Foreign Affairs that his Department, in this regard, is merely acting as a post office, for which reason he simply
forwarded the request to the Department of Justice, indicates the magnitude of the error of the Department of
Foreign Affairs in taking lightly its responsibilities. Thereafter, the Department of Justice took it upon itself to
determine the completeness of the documents and to evaluate the same to find out whether they comply with the
requirements laid down in the Extradition Law and the RP-US Extradition Treaty. Petitioner ratiocinates in this
connection that although the Department of Justice had no obligation to evaluate the extradition documents, the
Department also had to go over them so as to be able to prepare an extradition petition (tsn, August 31, 1999, pp.
24-25). Notably, it was also at this stage where private respondent insisted on the following; (1) the right to be
furnished the request and the supporting papers; (2) the right to be heard which consists in having a reasonable
period of time to oppose the request, and to present evidence in support of the opposition; and (3) that the
evaluation proceedings be held in abeyance pending the filing of private respondent's opposition to the request.
The two Departments seem to have misread the scope of their duties and authority, one abdicating its powers and
the other enlarging its commission. The Department of Foreign Affairs, moreover, has, through the Solicitor General,
filed a manifestation that it is adopting the instant petition as its own, indirectly conveying the message that if it were
to evaluate the extradition request, it would not allow private respondent to participate in the process of evaluation.
Plainly then, the record cannot support the presumption of regularity that the Department of Foreign Affairs
thoroughly reviewed the extradition request and supporting documents and that it arrived at a well-founded
judgment that the request and its annexed documents satisfy the requirements of law. The Secretary of Justice,
eminent as he is in the field of law, could not privately review the papers all by himself. He had to officially constitute
a panel of attorneys. How then could the DFA Secretary or his undersecretary, in less than one day, make the more
authoritative determination?
The evaluation process, just like the extradition proceedings proper, belongs to a class by itself. It is sui generis. It is
not a criminal investigation, but it is also erroneous to say that it is purely an exercise of ministerial functions. At
such stage, the executive authority has the power: (a) to make a technical assessment of the completeness and
sufficiency of the extradition papers; (b) to outrightly deny the request if on its face and on the face of the supporting
documents the crimes indicated are not extraditable; and (c) to make a determination whether or not the request is
politically motivated, or that the offense is a military one which is not punishable under non-military penal legislation
(tsn, August 31, 1999, pp. 28-29; Article 2 & and Paragraph [3], Article 3, RP-US Extradition Treaty). Hence, said
process may be characterized as an investigative or inquisitorial process in contrast to a proceeding conducted in
the exercise of an administrative body's quasi-judicial power.
In administrative law, a quasi-judicial proceeding involves: (a) taking and evaluation of evidence; (b) determining
facts based upon the evidence presented; and (c) rendering an order or decision supported by the facts proved (De
Leon, Administrative Law: Text and Cases, 1993 ed., p. 198, citing Morgan vs. United States, 304 U.S. 1).
Inquisitorial power, which is also known as examining or investigatory power, is one or the determinative powers of
an administrative body which better enables it to exercise its quasi-judicial authority (Cruz, Phil. Administrative Law,
1996 ed., p. 26). This power allows the administrative body to inspect the records and premises, and investigate the
activities, of persons or entities coming under its jurisdiction (Ibid., p. 27), or to require disclosure of information by
means or accounts, records, reports, testimony of witnesses, production of documents, or otherwise (De Leon, op.
cit., p. 64).
The power of investigation consists in gathering, organizing, and analyzing evidence, which is a useful aid or tool in
an administrative agency's performance of its rule-making or quasi-judicial functions. Notably, investigation is
indispensable to prosecution.

In Ruperto v. Torres (100 Phil. 1098 [1957], unreported), the Court had occasion to rule on the functions of an
investigatory body with the sole power of investigation. It does not exercise judicial functions and its power is limited
to investigating the facts and making findings in respect thereto. The Court laid down the test of determining whether
an administrative body is exercising judicial functions or merely investigatory functions: Adjudication signifies the
exercise of power and authority to adjudicate upon the rights and obligations of the parties before it. Hence, if the
only purpose for investigation is to evaluate evidence submitted before it based on the facts and circumstances
presented to it, and if the agency is not authorized to make a final pronouncement affecting the parties, then there is
an absence of judicial discretion and judgment.
The above description in Ruperto applies to an administrative body authorized to evaluate extradition documents.
The body has no power to adjudicate in regard to the rights and obligations of both the Requesting State and the
prospective extraditee. Its only power is to determine whether the papers comply with the requirements of the law
and the treaty and, therefore, sufficient to be the basis of an extradition petition. Such finding is thus merely initial
and not final. The body has no power to determine whether or not the extradition should be effected. That is the role
of the court. The body's power is limited to an initial finding of whether or not the extradition petition can be filed in
court.
It is to be noted, however, that in contrast to ordinary investigations, the evaluation procedure is characterized by
certain peculiarities. Primarily, it sets into motion the wheels of the extradition process. Ultimately, it may result in the
deprivation of liberty of the prospective extraditee. This deprivation can be effected at two stages: First, the
provisional arrest of the prospective extraditee pending the submission of the request. This is so because the Treaty
provides that in case of urgency, a contracting party may request the provisional arrest of the person sought pending
presentation of the request (Paragraph [1], Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty), but he shall be automatically
discharged after 60 days if no request is submitted (Paragraph 4). Presidential Decree No. 1069 provides for a
shorter period of 20 days after which the arrested person could be discharged (Section 20[d]). Logically, although
the Extradition Law is silent on this respect, the provisions only mean that once a request is forwarded to the
Requested State, the prospective extraditee may be continuously detained, or if not, subsequently rearrested
(Paragraph [5], Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty), for he will only be discharged if no request is submitted.
Practically, the purpose of this detention is to prevent his possible flight from the Requested State. Second, the
temporary arrest of the prospective extraditee during the pendency of the extradition petition in court (Section 6,
Presidential Decree No. 1069).
Clearly, there is an impending threat to a prospective extraditee's liberty as early as during the evaluation stage. It is
not only an imagined threat to his liberty, but a very imminent one.
Because of these possible consequences, we conclude that the evaluation process is akin to an administrative
agency conducting an investigative proceeding, the consequences of which are essentially criminal since such
technical assessment sets off or commences the procedure for, and ultimately, the deprivation of liberty of a
prospective extraditee. As described by petitioner himself, this is a "tool" for criminal law enforcement (p. 78,Rollo).
In essence, therefore, the evaluation process partakes of the nature of a criminal investigation. In a number of
cases, we had occasion to make available to a respondent in an administrative case or investigation certain
constitutional rights that are ordinarily available only in criminal prosecutions. Further, as pointed out by Mr. Justice
Mendoza during the oral arguments, there are rights formerly available only at the trial stage that had been
advanced to an earlier stage in the proceedings, such as the right to counsel and the right against self-incrimination
(tsn, August 31, 1999, p. 135; Escobedo vs. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478; Gideon vs. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335; Miranda
vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436).
In Pascual v. Board of Medical Examiners (28 SCRA 344 [1969]), we held that the right against self-incrimination
under Section 17, Article III of the 1987 Constitution which is ordinarily available only in criminal prosecutions,
extends to administrative proceedings which possess a criminal or penal aspect, such as an administrative
investigation of a licensed physician who is charged with immorality, which could result in his loss of the privilege to
practice medicine if found guilty. The Court, citing the earlier case of Cabal vs. Kapunan (6 SCRA 1059 [1962]),
pointed out that the revocation of one's license as a medical practitioner, is an even greater deprivation than
forfeiture of property.
Cabal vs. Kapunan (supra) involved an administrative charge of unexplained wealth against a respondent which
was filed under Republic Act No. 1379, or the Anti-Graft Law. Again, we therein ruled that since the investigation
may result in forfeiture of property, the administrative proceedings are deemed criminal or penal, and such forfeiture

partakes the nature of a penalty. There is also the earlier case of Almeda, Sr. vs. Perez (5 SCRA 970 [1962]), where
the Court, citing American jurisprudence, laid down the test to determine whether a proceeding is civil or criminal: If
the proceeding is under a statute such that if an indictment is presented the forfeiture can be included in the criminal
case, such proceeding is criminal in nature, although it may be civil in form; and where it must be gathered from the
statute that the action is meant to be criminal in its nature, it cannot be considered as civil. If, however, the
proceeding does not involve the conviction of the wrongdoer for the offense charged, the proceeding is civil in
nature.
The cases mentioned above refer to an impending threat of deprivation of one's property or property right. No less is
this true, but even more so in the case before us, involving as it does the possible deprivation of liberty, which,
based on the hierarchy of constitutionally protected rights, is placed second only to life itself and enjoys precedence
over property, for while forfeited property can be returned or replaced, the time spent in incarceration is irretrievable
and beyond recompense.
By comparison, a favorable action in an extradition request exposes a person to eventual extradition to a foreign
country, thus saliently exhibiting the criminal or penal aspect of the process. In this sense, the evaluation procedure
is akin to a preliminary investigation since both procedures may have the same result the arrest and
imprisonment of the respondent or the person charged. Similar to the evaluation stage of extradition proceedings, a
preliminary investigation, which may result in the filing of an information against the respondent, can possibly lead to
his arrest, and to the deprivation of his liberty.
Petitioner's reliance on Wright vs. Court of Appeals (235 SCRA 241 [1992]) (p. 8, petitioner's Memorandum) that the
extradition treaty is neither a piece of criminal legislation nor a criminal procedural statute is not well-taken.Wright is
not authority for petitioner's conclusion that his preliminary processing is not akin to a preliminary investigation. The
characterization of a treaty in Wright was in reference to the applicability of the prohibition against an ex post
facto law. It had nothing to do with the denial of the right to notice, information, and hearing.
As early as 1884, the United States Supreme Court ruled that "any legal proceeding enforced by public authority,
whether sanctioned by age or custom, or newly devised in the discretion of the legislative power, in furtherance of
the general public good, which regards and preserved these principles of liberty and justice, must be held to be due
process of law" (Hurtado vs. California, 110 U.S. 516). Compliance with due process requirements cannot be
deemed non-compliance with treaty commitments.
The United States and the Philippines share a mutual concern about the suppression and punishment of crime in
their respective jurisdictions. At the same time, both States accord common due process protection to their
respective citizens.
The due process clauses in the American and Philippine Constitutions are not only worded in exactly identical
language and terminology, but more importantly, they are alike in what their respective Supreme Courts have
expounded as the spirit with which the provisions are informed and impressed, the elasticity in their interpretation,
their dynamic and resilient character which make them capable of meeting every modern problem, and their having
been designed from earliest time to the present to meet the exigencies of an undefined and expanding future. The
requirements of due process are interpreted in both the United States and the Philippines as not denying to the law
the capacity for progress and improvement. Toward this effect and in order to avoid the confines of a legal
straitjacket, the courts instead prefer to have the meaning of the due process clause "gradually ascertained by the
process of inclusion and exclusion in the course of the decisions of cases as they arise" (Twining vs. New Jersey,
211 U.S. 78). Capsulized, it refers to "the embodiment of the sporting idea of fair play" (Ermita-Malate Hotel and
Motel Owner's Association vs. City Mayor of Manila, 20 SCRA 849 [1967]). It relates to certain immutable principles
of justice which inhere in the very idea of free government (Holden vs. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366).
Due process is comprised of two components substantive due process which requires the intrinsic validity of the
law in interfering with the rights of the person to his life, liberty, or property, and procedural due process which
consists of the two basic rights of notice and hearing, as well as the guarantee of being heard by an impartial and
competent tribunal (Cruz, Constitutional Law, 1993 Ed., pp. 102-106).
True to the mandate of the due process clause, the basic rights of notice and hearing pervade not only in criminal
and civil proceedings, but in administrative proceedings as well. Non-observance of these rights will invalidate the
proceedings. Individuals are entitled to be notified of any pending case affecting their interests, and upon notice,

they may claim the right to appear therein and present their side and to refute the position of the opposing parties
(Cruz, Phil. Administrative Law, 1996 ed., p. 64).
In a preliminary investigation which is an administrative investigatory proceeding, Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of
Court guarantees the respondent's basic due process rights, granting him the right to be furnished a copy of the
complaint, the affidavits, and other supporting documents, and the right to submit counter-affidavits and other
supporting documents within ten days from receipt thereof. Moreover, the respondent shall have the right to
examine all other evidence submitted by the complainant.
These twin rights may, however, be considered dispensable in certain instances, such as:
1. In proceeding where there is an urgent need for immediate action, like the summary abatement of a
nuisance per se (Article 704, Civil Code), the preventive suspension of a public servant facing administrative
charges (Section 63, Local Government Code, B.P. Blg. 337), the padlocking of filthy restaurants or theaters
showing obscene movies or like establishments which are immediate threats to public health and decency,
and the cancellation of a passport of a person sought for criminal prosecution;
2. Where there is tentativeness of administrative action, that is, where the respondent is not precluded from
enjoying the right to notice and hearing at a later time without prejudice to the person affected, such as the
summary distraint and levy of the property of a delinquent taxpayer, and the replacement of a temporary
appointee; and
3. Where the twin rights have previously been offered but the right to exercise them had not been claimed.
Applying the above principles to the case at bar, the query may be asked: Does the evaluation stage of the
extradition proceedings fall under any of the described situations mentioned above?
Let us take a brief look at the nature of American extradition proceedings which are quite noteworthy considering
that the subject treaty involves the U.S. Government.
American jurisprudence distinguishes between interstate rendition or extradition which is based on the Extradition
Clause in the U.S. Constitution (Art. IV, 2 cl 2), and international extradition proceedings. In interstate rendition or
extradition, the governor of the asylum state has the duty to deliver the fugitive to the demanding state. The
Extradition Clause and the implementing statute are given a liberal construction to carry out their manifest purpose,
which is to effect the return as swiftly as possible of persons for trial to the state in which they have been charged
with crime (31A Am Jur 2d 754-755). In order to achieve extradition of an alleged fugitive, the requisition papers or
the demand must be in proper form, and all the elements or jurisdictional facts essential to the extradition must
appear on the face of the papers, such as the allegation that the person demanded was in the demanding state at
the time the offense charged was committed, and that the person demanded is charged with the commission of the
crime or that prosecution has been begun in the demanding state before some court or magistrate (35 C.J.S. 406407). The extradition documents are then filed with the governor of the asylum state, and must contain such papers
and documents prescribed by statute, which essentially include a copy of the instrument charging the person
demanded with a crime, such as an indictment or an affidavit made before a magistrate. Statutory requirements with
respect to said charging instrument or papers are mandatory since said papers are necessary in order to confer
jurisdiction on the government of the asylum state to effect extradition (35 C.J.S. 408-410). A statutory provision
requiring duplicate copies of the indictment, information, affidavit, or judgment of conviction or sentence and other
instruments accompanying the demand or requisitions be furnished and delivered to the fugitive or his attorney is
directory. However, the right being such a basic one has been held to be a right mandatory on demand (Ibid., p.
410, citing Ex parte Moore, 256 S.W. 2d 103, 158 Tex. Cr. 407 andEx parte Tucker, Cr., 324, S.W.2d 853).
In international proceedings, extradition treaties generally provide for the presentation to the executive authority of
the Requested State of a requisition or demand for the return of the alleged offender, and the designation of the
particular officer having authority to act in behalf of the demanding nation (31A Am Jur 2d 815).
In petitioner's memorandum filed on September 15, 1999, he attached thereto a letter dated September 13, 1999
from the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, summarizing the U.S. extradition procedures and

principles, which are basically governed by a combination of treaties (with special reference to the RP-US
Extradition Treaty), federal statutes, and judicial decisions, to wit:
1. All requests for extradition are transmitted through the diplomatic channel. In urgent cases, requests for
the provincial arrest of an individual may be made directly by the Philippine Department of Justice to the
U.S. Department of Justice, and vice-versa. In the event of a provisional arrest, a formal request for
extradition is transmitted subsequently through the diplomatic channel.
2. The Department of State forwards the incoming Philippine extradition request to the Department of
Justice. Before doing so, the Department of State prepares a declaration confirming that a formal request
has been made, that the treaty is in full force and effect, that under Article 17 thereof the parties provide
reciprocal legal representation in extradition proceedings, that the offenses are covered as extraditable
offenses under Article 2 thereof, and that the documents have been authenticated in accordance with the
federal statute that ensures admissibility at any subsequent extradition hearing.
3. A judge or magistrate judge is authorized to issue a warrant for the arrest of the prospective extraditee (18
U.S.C. 3184). Said judge or magistrate is authorized to hold a hearing to consider the evidence offered in
support of the extradition request (Ibid.)
4. At the hearing, the court must determine whether the person arrested is extraditable to the foreign
country. The court must also determine that (a) it has jurisdiction over the defendant and jurisdiction to
conduct the hearing; (b) the defendant is being sought for offenses for which the applicable treaty permits
extradition; and (c) there is probable cause to believe that the defendant is the person sought and that he
committed the offenses charged (Ibid.)
5. The judge or magistrate judge is vested with jurisdiction to certify extraditability after having received a
"complaint made under oath, charging any person found within his jurisdiction" with having committed any of
the crimes provided for by the governing treaty in the country requesting extradition (Ibid.) [In this regard, it
is noted that a long line of American decisions pronounce that international extradition proceedings partake
of the character of a preliminary examination before a committing magistrate, rather than a trial of the guilt or
innocence of the alleged fugitive (31A Am Jur 2d 826).]
6. If the court decides that the elements necessary for extradition are present, it incorporates its
determinations in factual findings and conclusions of law and certifies the person's extraditability. The court
then forwards this certification of extraditability to the Department of State for disposition by the Secretary of
State. The ultimate decision whether to surrender an individual rests with the Secretary of State (18 U.S.C.
3186).
7. The subject of an extradition request may not litigate questions concerning the motives of the requesting
government in seeking his extradition. However, a person facing extradition may present whatever
information he deems relevant to the Secretary of State, who makes the final determination whether to
surrender an individual to the foreign government concerned.
From the foregoing, it may be observed that in the United States, extradition begins and ends with one entity the
Department of State which has the power to evaluate the request and the extradition documents in the beginning,
and, in the person of the Secretary of State, the power to act or not to act on the court's determination of
extraditability. In the Philippine setting, it is the Department of Foreign Affairs which should make the initial
evaluation of the request, and having satisfied itself on the points earlier mentioned (see pp. 10-12), then forwards
the request to the Department of Justice for the preparation and filing of the petition for extradition. Sadly, however,
the Department of Foreign Affairs, in the instant case, perfunctorily turned over the request to the Department of
Justice which has taken over the task of evaluating the request as well as thereafter, if so warranted, preparing,
filing, and prosecuting the petition for extradition.
Private respondent asks what prejudice will be caused to the U.S. Government should the person sought to be
extradited be given due process rights by the Philippines in the evaluation stage. He emphasizes that petitioner's
primary concern is the possible delay in the evaluation process.

We agree with private respondent's citation of an American Supreme Court ruling:


The establishment of prompt efficacious procedures to achieve legitimate state ends is a proper state
interest worthy of cognizance in constitutional adjudication. But the Constitution recognizes higher values
than speed and efficiency. Indeed, one might fairly say of the Bill of Rights in general, and the Due Process
Clause, in particular, that they were designed to protect the fragile values of a vulnerable citizenry from the
overbearing concern for efficiency and efficacy that may characterize praiseworthy government officials no
less, and perhaps more, than mediocre ones.
(Stanley vs. Illinois, 404 U.S. 645, 656)
The United States, no doubt, shares the same interest as the Philippine Government that no right that of liberty
secured not only by the Bills of Rights of the Philippines Constitution but of the United States as well, is sacrificed
at the altar of expediency.
(pp. 40-41, Private Respondent's Memorandum.)
In the Philippine context, this Court's ruling is invoked:
One of the basic principles of the democratic system is that where the rights of the individual are concerned,
the end does not justify the means. It is not enough that there be a valid objective; it is also necessary that
the means employed to pursue it be in keeping with the Constitution. Mere expediency will not excuse
constitutional shortcuts. There is no question that not even the strongest moral conviction or the most urgent
public need, subject only to a few notable exceptions, will excuse the bypassing of an individual's rights. It is
no exaggeration to say that a person invoking a right guaranteed under Article III of the Constitution is a
majority of one even as against the rest of the nation who would deny him that right (Association of Small
Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. vs. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343, 375-376 [1989]).
There can be no dispute over petitioner's argument that extradition is a tool of criminal law enforcement. To be
effective, requests for extradition or the surrender of accused or convicted persons must be processed
expeditiously. Nevertheless, accelerated or fast-tracked proceedings and adherence to fair procedures are,
however, not always incompatible. They do not always clash in discord. Summary does not mean precipitous haste.
It does not carry a disregard of the basic principles inherent in "ordered liberty."
Is there really an urgent need for immediate action at the evaluation stage? At that point, there is no extraditee yet in
the strict sense of the word. Extradition may or may not occur. In interstate extradition, the governor of the asylum
state may not, in the absence of mandatory statute, be compelled to act favorably (37 C.J.S. 387) since after a close
evaluation of the extradition papers, he may hold that federal and statutory requirements, which are significantly
jurisdictional, have not been met (31 Am Jur 2d 819). Similarly, under an extradition treaty, the executive authority of
the requested state has the power to deny the behest from the requesting state. Accordingly, if after a careful
examination of the extradition documents the Secretary of Foreign Affairs finds that the request fails to meet the
requirements of the law and the treaty, he shall not forward the request to the Department of Justice for the filing of
the extradition petition since non-compliance with the aforesaid requirements will not vest our government with
jurisdiction to effect the extradition.
In this light, it should be observed that the Department of Justice exerted notable efforts in assuring compliance with
the requirements of the law and the treaty since it even informed the U.S. Government of certain problems in the
extradition papers (such as those that are in Spanish and without the official English translation, and those that are
not properly authenticated). In fact, petitioner even admits that consultation meetings are still supposed to take
place between the lawyers in his Department and those from the U.S. Justice Department. With the meticulous
nature of the evaluation, which cannot just be completed in an abbreviated period of time due to its intricacies, how
then can we say that it is a proceeding that urgently necessitates immediate and prompt action where notice and
hearing can be dispensed with?
Worthy of inquiry is the issue of whether or not there is tentativeness of administrative action. Is private respondent
precluded from enjoying the right to notice and hearing at a later time without prejudice to him? Here lies the
peculiarity and deviant characteristic of the evaluation procedure. On one hand there is yet no extraditee, but

ironically on the other, it results in an administrative if adverse to the person involved, may cause his immediate
incarceration. The grant of the request shall lead to the filing of the extradition petition in court. The "accused" (as
Section 2[c] of Presidential Decree No. 1069 calls him), faces the threat of arrest, not only after the extradition
petition is filed in court, but even during the evaluation proceeding itself by virtue of the provisional arrest allowed
under the treaty and the implementing law. The prejudice to the "accused" is thus blatant and manifest.
Plainly, the notice and hearing requirements of administrative due process cannot be dispensed with and shelved
aside.
Apart from the due process clause of the Constitution, private respondent likewise invokes Section 7 of Article III
which reads:
Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to
official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as
to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to
such limitations as may be provided by law.
The above provision guarantees political rights which are available to citizens of the Philippines, namely: (1) the
right to information on matters of public concern, and (2) the corollary right of access to official records documents.
The general right guaranteed by said provision is the right to information on matters of public concern. In its
implementation, the right of access to official records is likewise conferred. These cognate or related rights are
"subject to limitations as may be provided by law" (Bernas, The 1987 Phil. Constitution A Reviewer-Primer, 1997 ed.,
p. 104) and rely on the premise that ultimately it is an informed and critical public opinion which alone can protect
the values of democratic government (Ibid.).
Petitioner argues that the matters covered by private respondent's letter-request dated July 1, 1999 do not fall under
the guarantee of the foregoing provision since the matters contained in the documents requested are not of public
concern. On the other hand, private respondent argues that the distinction between matters vested with public
interest and matters which are of purely private interest only becomes material when a third person, who is not
directly affected by the matters requested, invokes the right to information. However, if the person invoking the right
is the one directly affected thereby, his right to information becomes absolute.
The concept of matters of public concerns escapes exact definition. Strictly speaking, every act of a public officer in
the conduct of the governmental process is a matter of public concern (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the
Republic of the Philippines, 1996 ed., p. 336). This concept embraces a broad spectrum of subjects which the public
may want to know, either because these directly affect their lives or simply because such matters arouse the interest
of an ordinary citizen (Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, 150 SCRA 530 [1987]). Hence, the real party in interest
is the people and any citizen has "standing".
When the individual himself is involved in official government action because said action has a direct bearing on his
life, and may either cause him some kind of deprivation or injury, he actually invokes the basic right to be notified
under Section 1 of the Bill of Rights and not exactly the right to information on matters of public concern. As to an
accused in a criminal proceeding, he invokes Section 14, particularly the right to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him.
The right to information is implemented by the right of access to information within the control of the government
(Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, 1996 ed., p. 337). Such information may be
contained in official records, and in documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions.
In the case at bar, the papers requested by private respondent pertain to official government action from the U.S.
Government. No official action from our country has yet been taken. Moreover, the papers have some relation to
matters of foreign relations with the U.S. Government. Consequently, if a third party invokes this constitutional
provision, stating that the extradition papers are matters of public concern since they may result in the extradition of
a Filipino, we are afraid that the balance must be tilted, at such particular time, in favor of the interests necessary for
the proper functioning of the government. During the evaluation procedure, no official governmental action of our
own government has as yet been done; hence the invocation of the right is premature. Later, and in contrast,
records of the extradition hearing would already fall under matters of public concern, because our government by

then shall have already made an official decision to grant the extradition request. The extradition of a fellow Filipino
would be forthcoming.
We now pass upon the final issue pertinent to the subject matter of the instant controversy: Would private
respondent's entitlement to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the proceedings constitute a breach of
the legal duties of the Philippine Government under the RP-Extradition Treaty? Assuming the answer is in the
affirmative, is there really a conflict between the treaty and the due process clause in the Constitution?
First and foremost, let us categorically say that this is not the proper time to pass upon the constitutionality of the
provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty nor the Extradition Law implementing the same. We limit ourselves only
to the effect of the grant of the basic rights of notice and hearing to private respondent on foreign relations.
The rule of pacta sunt servanda, one of the oldest and most fundamental maxims of international law, requires the
parties to a treaty to keep their agreement therein in good faith. The observance of our country's legal duties under
a treaty is also compelled by Section 2, Article II of the Constitution which provides that "[t]he 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 nations."
Under the doctrine of incorporation, rules of international law form part of the law of the and land no further
legislative action is needed to make such rules applicable in the domestic sphere (Salonga & Yap, Public
International Law, 1992 ed., p. 12).
The doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever municipal tribunals (or local courts) are confronted with situations
in which there appears to be a conflict between a rule of international law and the provisions of the constitution or
statute of the local state. Efforts should first be exerted to harmonize them, so as to give effect to both since it is to
be presumed that municipal law was enacted with proper regard for the generally accepted principles of
international law in observance of the observance of the Incorporation Clause in the above-cited constitutional
provision (Cruz, Philippine Political Law, 1996 ed., p. 55). In a situation, however, where the conflict is irreconcilable
and a choice has to be made between a rule of international law and municipal law, jurisprudence dictates that
municipal law should be upheld by the municipal courts (Ichong vs. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155 [1957]; Gonzales vs.
Hechanova, 9 SCRA 230 [1963]; In re: Garcia, 2 SCRA 984 [1961]) for the reason that such courts are organs of
municipal law and are accordingly bound by it in all circumstances (Salonga & Yap, op. cit., p. 13). The fact that
international law has been made part of the law of the land does not pertain to or imply the primacy of international
law over national or municipal law in the municipal sphere. The doctrine of incorporation, as applied in most
countries, decrees that rules of international law are given equal standing with, but are not superior to, national
legislative enactments. Accordingly, the principle lex posterior derogat priori takes effect a treaty may repeal a
statute and a statute may repeal a treaty. In states where the constitution is the highest law of the land, such as the
Republic of the Philippines, both statutes and treaties may be invalidated if they are in conflict with the constitution
(Ibid.).
In the case at bar, is there really a conflict between international law and municipal or national law? En contrario,
these two components of the law of the land are not pined against each other. There is no occasion to choose which
of the two should be upheld. Instead, we see a void in the provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty, as
implemented by Presidential Decree No. 1069, as regards the basic due process rights of a prospective extraditee
at the evaluation stage of extradition proceedings. From the procedures earlier abstracted, after the filing of the
extradition petition and during the judicial determination of the propriety of extradition, the rights of notice and
hearing are clearly granted to the prospective extraditee. However, prior thereto, the law is silent as to these rights.
Reference to the U.S. extradition procedures also manifests this silence.
Petitioner interprets this silence as unavailability of these rights. Consequently, he describes the evaluation
procedure as an "ex parte technical assessment" of the sufficiency of the extradition request and the supporting
documents.
We disagree.
In the absence of a law or principle of law, we must apply the rules of fair play. An application of the basic twin due
process rights of notice and hearing will not go against the treaty or the implementing law. Neither the Treaty nor the
Extradition Law precludes these rights from a prospective extraditee. Similarly, American jurisprudence and
procedures on extradition pose no proscription. In fact, in interstate extradition proceedings as explained above, the

prospective extraditee may even request for copies of the extradition documents from the governor of the asylum
state, and if he does, his right to be supplied the same becomes a demandable right (35 C.J.S. 410).
Petitioner contends that the United States requested the Philippine Government to prevent unauthorized disclosure
of confidential information. Hence, the secrecy surrounding the action of the Department of Justice Panel of
Attorneys. The confidentiality argument is, however, overturned by petitioner's revelation that everything it refuses to
make available at this stage would be obtainable during trial. The Department of Justice states that the U.S. District
Court concerned has authorized the disclosure of certain grand jury information. If the information is truly
confidential, the veil of secrecy cannot be lifted at any stage of the extradition proceedings. Not even during trial.
A libertarian approach is thus called for under the premises.
One will search in vain the RP-US Extradition Treaty, the Extradition Law, as well as American jurisprudence and
procedures on extradition, for any prohibition against the conferment of the two basic due process rights of notice
and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings. We have to consider similar situations in
jurisprudence for an application by analogy.
Earlier, we stated that there are similarities between the evaluation process and a preliminary investigation since
both procedures may result in the arrest of the respondent or the prospective extraditee. In the evaluation process,
a provisional arrest is even allowed by the Treaty and the Extradition Law (Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty; Sec.
20, Presidential Decree No. 1069). Following petitioner's theory, because there is no provision of its availability, does
this imply that for a period of time, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, despite Section 15,
Article III of the Constitution which states that "[t]he privilege of the writ or habeas corpus shall not be suspended
except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it"? Petitioner's theory would also infer that
bail is not available during the arrest of the prospective extraditee when the extradition petition has already been
filed in court since Presidential Decree No. 1069 does not provide therefor, notwithstanding Section 13, Article III of
the Constitution which provides that "[a]ll persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released
on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus is suspended. . ." Can petitioner validly argue that since these contraventions are by virtue of
a treaty and hence affecting foreign relations, the aforestated guarantees in the Bill of Rights could thus be
subservient thereto?
The basic principles of administrative law instruct us that "the essence of due process in administrative proceeding
is an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the actions or ruling complained
of (Mirano vs. NLRC, 270 SCRA 96 [1997]; Padilla vs. NLRC, 273 SCRA 457 [1997]; PLDT vs. NLRC, 276 SCRA 1
[1997]; Helpmate, Inc. vs. NLRC, 276 SCRA 315 [1997]; Aquinas School vs. Magnaye, 278 SCRA 602 [1997];
Jamer vs. NLRC, 278 SCRA 632 [1997]). In essence, procedural due process refers to the method or manner by
which the law is enforced (Corona vs. United Harbor Pilots Association of the Phils., 283 SCRA 31 [1997]). This
Court will not tolerate the least disregard of constitutional guarantees in the enforcement of a law or treaty.
Petitioner's fears that the Requesting State may have valid objections to the Requested State's non-performance of
its commitments under the Extradition Treaty are insubstantial and should not be given paramount consideration.
How then do we implement the RP-US Extradition Treaty? Do we limit ourselves to the four corners of Presidential
Decree No. 1069?
Of analogous application are the rulings in Government Service Insurance System vs. Court of Appeals (201 SCRA
661 [1991]) and Go vs. National Police Commission (271 SCRA 447 [1997]) where we ruled that in summary
proceedings under Presidential Decree No. 807 (Providing for the Organization of the Civil Service Commission in
Accordance with Provisions of the Constitution, Prescribing its Powers and Functions and for Other Purposes), and
Presidential Decree No. 971 (Providing Legal Assistance for Members of the Integrated National Police who may be
charged for Service-Connected Offenses and Improving the Disciplinary System in the Integrated National Police,
Appropriating Funds Therefor and for other purposes), as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1707, although
summary dismissals may be effected without the necessity of a formal investigation, the minimum requirements of
due process still operate. As held in GSIS vs. Court of Appeals:
. . . [I]t is clear to us that what the opening sentence of Section 40 is saying is that an employee may be
removed or dismissed even without formal investigation, in certain instances. It is equally clear to us that an

employee must be informed of the charges preferred against him, and that the normal way by which the
employee is so informed is by furnishing him with a copy of the charges against him. This is a basic
procedural requirement that a statute cannot dispense with and still remain consistent with the constitutional
provision on due process. The second minimum requirement is that the employee charged with some
misfeasance or malfeasance must have a reasonable opportunity to present his side of the matter, that is to
say, his defenses against the charges levelled against him and to present evidence in support of his
defenses. . . .
(at p. 671)
Said summary dismissal proceedings are also non-litigious in nature, yet we upheld the due process rights of the
respondent.
In the case at bar, private respondent does not only face a clear and present danger of loss of property or
employment, but of liberty itself, which may eventually lead to his forcible banishment to a foreign land. The
convergence of petitioner's favorable action on the extradition request and the deprivation of private respondent's
liberty is easily comprehensible.
We have ruled time and again that this Court's equity jurisdiction, which is aptly described as "justice outside
legality," may be availed of only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law or judicial pronouncements
(Smith Bell & Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 267 SCRA 530 [1997]; David-Chan vs. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA
677 [1997]). The constitutional issue in the case at bar does not even call for "justice outside legality," since private
respondent's due process rights, although not guaranteed by statute or by treaty, are protected by constitutional
guarantees. We would not be true to the organic law of the land if we choose strict construction over guarantees
against the deprivation of liberty. That would not be in keeping with the principles of democracy on which our
Constitution is premised.
Verily, as one traverses treacherous waters of conflicting and opposing currents of liberty and government authority,
he must ever hold the oar of freedom in the stronger arm, lest an errant and wayward course be laid.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Petitioner is ordered to furnish private respondent copies of the extradition request and its supporting papers, and to
grant him a reasonable period within which to file his comment with supporting evidence. The incidents in Civil Case
No. 99-94684 having been rendered moot and academic by this decision, the same is hereby ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Purisima, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., I join Mr. Justice Puno in his dissent.
Puno, J., please see dissent.
Vitug, J., see separate opinion.
Kapunan, J., see separate concurring opinion.
Panganiban, J., please see my dissenting opinion.
Mendoza, J., I join the dissents of Puno and Panganiban, JJ.
Quisumbing, J., with concurring opinion.
Pardo, J., I join J. Puno & J. Panganiban.
Gonzaga-Reyes, J., I join the dissent of Justices Puno & Panganiban.
Ynares-Santiago, J., please see separate concurring opinion.

Separate Opinions
VITUG, J., separate opinion;

The only real issue before the Court, I would take it, is whether or not private respondent can validly ask for copies
of pertinent documents while the application for extradition against him is still undergoing process by the Executive
Department.
There is, I agree with the majority, a right of access to such extradition documents conformably with the provisions
of Article III, Section 7, of the Philippine Constitution. 1 The constitutional right to free access to information of public
concern is circumscribed only by the fact that the desired information is not among the species exempted by law
from the operation of the constitutional guaranty and that the exercise of the right conforms with such reasonable
conditions as may be prescribed by law.
There is no hornbook rule to determine whether or not an information is of public concern. The term "public concern"
eludes exactitude, and it can easily embrace a broad spectrum of matters which the public may want to know either
because the subject thereof can affect their lives or simply because it arouses concern. 2
I am not convinced that there is something so viciously wrong with, as to deny, the request of private respondent to
be furnished with copies of the extradition documents.
I add. The constitutional right to due process secures to everyone an opportunity to be heard, presupposing
foreknowledge of what he may be up against, and to submit any evidence that he may wish to proffer in an effort to
clear himself. This right is two-pronged substantive and procedural due process founded, in the first instance,
on Constitutional or statutory provisions, and in the second instance, on accepted rules of procedure. 3Substantive
due process looks into the extrinsic and intrinsic validity of the law that figures to interfere with the right of a person
to his life, liberty and property. Procedural due process the more litigated of the two focuses on the rules that
are established in order to ensure meaningful adjudication in the enforcement and implementation of the law. Like
"public concern," the term due process does not admit of any restrictive definition. Justice Frankfurter has viewed
this flexible concept, aptly I believe, as being ". . . compounded by history, reason, the past course of decisions, and
stout confidence in the democratic faith."4 The framers of our own Constitution, it would seem, have deliberately
intended, to make it malleable to the ever-changing milieu of society. Hitherto, it is dynamic and resilient, adaptable
to every situation calling for its application that makes it appropriate to accept an enlarged concept of the term as
and when there is a possibility that the right of an individual to life, liberty and property might be diffused. 5 Verily,
whenever there is an imminent threat to the life, liberty or property of any person in any proceeding conducted by or
under the auspices of the State, his right to due process of law, when demanded, must not be ignored.
A danger to the liberty of the extraditee, the private respondent, is real. Article 9 of the Extradition Treaty between
the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America provides
that in case of urgency, a Contracting Party may request the provisional arrest of the person prior to the
presentation of the request for extradition. I see implicit in this provision that even after the request for extradition is
made and before a petition for extradition is filed with the courts, the possibility of an arrest being made on the basis
of a mere evaluation by the Executive on the request for extradition by the foreign State cannot totally be
discounted.
The conclusion reached by the majority, I hasten to add, does not mean that the Executive Department should be
impeded in its evaluation of the extradition request. The right of the extraditee to be furnished, upon request, with a
copy of the relevant documents and to file his comment thereon is not necessarily anathema to the proceedings
duly mandated by the treaty to be made.
I vote to deny the petition.

KAPUNAN, J., separate concurring opinion;


I vote to dismiss the petition, both on technical and substantial grounds.

The petition in the case at bar raises one and only issue, which is the validity of the Temporary Restraining Order
(TRO) issued by respondent Judge Ralph C. Lantion on August 9, 1999 in Civil Case No. 99-94684. The TRO
directed respondents in said case to:
. . . maintain the status quo by refraining from committing the acts complained of; from conducting further
proceedings in connection with the request of the United States Government for the extradition of the
petitioner; from filing the corresponding Petition with the Regional Trial Court; and from performing any act
directed to the extradition of the petitioner to the United States, for a period of twenty days from the service
on respondents of this Order, pursuant to Section 5, Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Court. 1 (Emphasis ours.)
The petition itself categorically states that "(t)he issue sought to be presented and litigated here is solely-the validity
of the TRO."2
Notably, there is no allegation in the petition that respondent Judge is without jurisdiction to hear the case below or
that he has exceeded his jurisdiction in hearing the same. Nor is there any other act, ruling, order, or decision, apart
from the TRO already mentioned, of respondent Judge that is being challenged in the petition before us.
Since, as alleged in the petition, a copy of the TRO was served on respondents below on August 10, 1999, the TRO
ceased to be effective on August 30, 1999; consequently, the instant petition has become moot and academic. This
Court does not exercise jurisdiction over cases which are moot and academic or those not ripe for judicial
consideration.3
Assuming that the present case has not become moot and academic, still, it should be dismissed for lack of merit.
The substantive issues raised in this case are: (a) whether a person whose extradition is sought by a foreign state
has due process rights under Section 2, Article III of the 1997 Constitution before the Department of Justice as the
request for extradition is being evaluated, or whether due process rights maybe invoked only upon the filing of a
petition for extradition before a regional trial court; and (b) whether or not private respondent has a right of access to
extradition documents under Section 7, Article III of the 1997 Constitution.
Petitioner contends that due process rights such as the right to be informed of the basis of the request for extradition
and to have an opportunity to controvert are not provided in the extradition treaty or in P.D. 1069 and therefore does
not exist in this stage of the proceedings. Further, he argues that the documents sought to be furnished to private
respondent only involve private concerns, and not matters of public concern to which the people have a
constitutional right to access.
While the evaluation process conducted by the Department of Justice is not exactly a preliminary investigation of
criminal cases, it is akin to a preliminary investigation because it involves the basic constitutional rights of the
person sought to be extradited. A person ordered extradited is arrested, forcibly taken from his house, separated
from his family and delivered to a foreign state. His rights of abode, to privacy, liberty and pursuit of happiness are
taken away from him a fate as harsh and cruel as a conviction of a criminal offense. For this reason, he is entitled
to have access to the evidence against him and the right to controvert them.
While the extradition treaty and P.D. 1069 do not provide for a preliminary investigation, neither does either prohibit
it. The right to due process is a universal basic right which is deemed written into our laws and treaties with foreign
countries.
Like a preliminary investigation, the evaluation by the Department of Justice of the extradition request and its
accompanying documents is to establish probable cause and to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and
oppressive prosecution.
In this connection, it should be stressed that the evaluation procedure of the extradition request and its
accompanying documents by the Department of Justice cannot be characterized as a mere "ex-parte technical
assessment of the sufficiency" thereof. The function and responsibilities of the Department of Justice in evaluating
the extradition papers involve the exercise of judgment. They involve a determination whether the request for
extradition conforms fully to the requirements of the extradition treaty and whether the offense is extraditable. These
include, among others, whether the offense for which extradition is requested is a political or military offense (Article

3); whether the documents and other informations required under Article 7(2) have been provided (Article 7); and
whether the extraditable offense is punishable under the laws of both contracting parties by deprivation of liberty for
a period of more than one year (Article 2). Consequently, to arrive at a correct judgment, the parties involved are
entitled to be heard if the requirements of due process and equal protection are to be observed.
With respect to petitioner's claim that private respondent has no right to demand access to the documents relating to
the request for extradition, suffice it to say, that any document used in a proceeding that would jeopardize a person's
constitutional rights is matter of public concern. As Martin Luther King said, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice
everywhere," so any violation of one's rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights is everybody's concern because they,
one way or another, directly or indirectly, affect the rights of life and liberty of all the citizens as a whole.
Due process rights in a preliminary investigation is now an established principle. The respondent has a right of
access to all of the evidence. He has the right to submit controverting evidence. The prosecuting official who
conducts the preliminary investigation is required to be neutral, objective, and impartial in resolving the issue of
probable cause. I see no reason why the same rights may not be accorded a person sought to be extradited at the
stage where the Department of Justice evaluates whether a petition for extradition would be filed before a regional
trial court. If denied such rights, not only denial of due process rights but of equal protection may be raised.
It is suggested that after a petition for extradition is filed with a regional trial court, the person sought to be extradited
may exercise all due process rights. He may then have access to all the records on the basis of which the request
for extradition has been made. He may controvert that evidence and raise all defenses he may consider
appropriate. That, it is urged, meets the due process requirement.
But why must he wait until the petition for extradition is filed? As succinctly expressed, if the right to notice and
hearing is to serve its full purpose, then, it is clear that it must be granted at a time when the deprivation can still be
prevented.4 Like the filing of an information in a criminal case, the mere filing of a petition for extradition causes
immediate impairment of the liberty of the person sought to be extradited and a substantial curtailment of other
rights. His arrest may be immediately ordered by the regional trial court. He would be compelled to face an open
and public trial. He will be constrained to seek the assistance of counsel and incur other expenses of litigation. The
public eye would be directed at him with all the concomitant intrusions to his right to privacy. Where the liberty of a
person is at risk, and extradition strikes at the very core of liberty, invocation of due process rights can never be too
early.

QUISUMBING, J., concurring opinion;


As I concur in the result reached by the ponencia of Justice Melo, may I just add my modest observations.
The human rights of person, whether citizen or alien, and the rights of the accused guaranteed in our Constitution
should take precedence over treaty rights claimed by a contracting state. Stated otherwise, the constitutionally
mandated duties of our government to the individual deserve preferential consideration when they collide with its
treaty obligations to the government of another state. This is so although we recognize treaties as a source of
binding obligations under generally accepted principles of international law incorporated in our Constitution as part
of the law of the land.
For this primordial reason, I vote to DENY the petition.
Moreover, considering that the Extradition Treaty between the USA and Philippines appears mute on the specific
issue before us, the Court in the exercise of its judicial power to find and state what the law is has this rare
opportunity of setting a precedent that enhances respect for human rights and strengthens due process of law.
As both majority and dissenting colleagues in the Court will recognize, American authorities follow two tracks in
extradition proceedings: (1) the interstate practice where, pursuant to statute, the state Executive upon demand
furnishes the would be extraditee or counsel copies of pertinent documents as well as the request for extradition;
and (2) the international practice where the Executive department need not initially grant notice and hearing at all.

Rules of reciprocity and comity, however, should not bar us from applying internationally now what appears the more
reasonable and humane procedure, that is, the interstate practice among Americans themselves. For in this case
the American people should be among the most interested parties.
Truly, what private respondent is asking our Executive department (notice, copies of documents, and the opportunity
to protect himself at the earliest time against probable peril) does not, in my view, violate our Extradition Treaty with
the USA. His request if granted augurs well for transparency in interstate or intergovernmental relations rather than
secrecy which smacks of medieval diplomacy and the inquisition discredited long ago.
That private respondent is a Filipino citizen is not decisive of the issue here, although it is obviously pertinent. Even
if he were a resident alien (other than American perhaps), he is, in my view, entitled to our full protection against the
hazards of extradition (or deportation, similarly) from the very start. More so because, looking at the facts adduced
at the hearing and on the record of this case, the charges against him involve or are co-mingled with, if not rooted
in, certain offenses of a political nature or motivation such as the ones involving alleged financial contributions to a
major American political party. If so, long established is the principle that extradition could not be utilized for political
offenses or politically motivated charges.
There may, of course, be other charges against private respondent in the USA. But then they are, in my view,
already tainted there with political color due to the highly charged partisan campaign atmosphere now prevailing.
That private respondent's cases will be exploited as political fodder there is not far-fetched, hence the need here for
cautious but comprehensive deliberation on the matter at bar. For, above all, it is not only a Treaty provision we are
construing; it is about constitutional and human rights we are most concerned.

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J., concurring opinion;


I concur in the ponencia of Mr. Justice Jose A.R. Melo with its conceptive analysis of a citizen's right to be given
what is due to him. I join in his exposition of this Court's constitutional duty to strike the correct balance between
overwhelming Government power and the protection of individual rights where only one person is involved.
However, I am constrained to write this short concurrence if only to pose the question of why there should be any
debate at all on a plea for protection of one's liberty which, if granted, will not result in any meaningful impediment of
thwarting any state policy and objectives.
I see no reason why respondent Mark Jimenez, or other citizens not as controversial or talked about, should first be
exposed to the indignity, expense, and anxiety of a public denunciation in court before he may be informed of what
the contracting states in an extradition treaty have against him. There is no question that everything which
respondent Jimenez now requests will be given to him during trial. Mr. Jimenez is only petitioning that, at this stage,
he should be informed why he may be deported from his own country.
I see no ill effects which would arise if the extradition request and supporting documents are shown to him now,
instead of later.
Petitioner Secretary of Justice states that his action on the extradition request and its supporting documents will
merely determine whether or not the Philippines is complying with its treaty obligations. He adds that, therefore, the
constitutional rights of an accused in all criminal prosecutions are not available to the private respondent.
The July 13, 1999 reply-letter from petitioner states the reasons why he is denying respondent Jimenez's requests.
In short, the reasons are:
1. In evaluating the documents, the Department merely determines whether the procedures and
requirements under the relevant law and treaty have been complied with by the Requesting Government.
The constitutional rights of the accused in all criminal prosecutions are, therefore, not available.

2. The United States Government has requested the Philippine Government to prevent unauthorized
disclosure of certain grand jury information.
3. The petitioner cannot hold in abeyance proceedings in connection with an extradition request. For
extradition to be an effective tool of criminal law enforcement, requests for surrender of accused or
convicted persons must be processed expeditiously.
I respectfully submit that any apprehensions in the Court arising from a denial of the petition "breach of an
international obligation, rupture of states relations, forfeiture of confidence, national embarrassment, and a plethora
of other equally undesirable consequences" are more illusory than real. Our country is not denying the extradition
of a person who must be extradited. Not one provision of the extradition treaty is violated. I cannot imagine the
United States taking issue over what, to it, would be a minor concession, perhaps a slight delay, accorded in the
name of human rights. On the other hand, the issue is fundamental in the Philippines. A citizen is invoking the
protection, in the context of a treaty obligation, of rights expressly guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution.
Until proved to be a valid subject for extradition, a person is presumed innocent or not covered by the sanctions of
either criminal law or international treaty. At any stage where a still prospective extraditee only seeks to know so that
he can prepare and prove that he should not be extradited, there should be no conflict over the extension to him of
constitutional protections guaranteed to aliens and citizens alike.
Petitioner cites as a reason for the denial of respondent's requests, Article 7 of the Treaty. Article 7 enumerates the
required documents and establishes the procedures under which the documents shall be submitted and admitted as
evidence. There is no specific provision on how that Secretary of Foreign Affairs should conduct his evaluation. The
Secretary of Justice is not even in the picture at this stage. Under petitioner's theory, silence in the treaty over a
citizen's rights during the evaluation stage is interpreted as deliberate exclusion by the contracting states of the right
to know. Silence is interpreted as the exclusion of the right to a preliminary examination or preliminary investigation
provided by the laws of either one of the two states.
The right to be informed of charges which may lead to court proceedings and result in a deprivation of liberty is
ordinarily routine. It is readily available to one against whom the state's coercive power has already been focused. I
fail to see how silence can be interpreted as exclusion. The treaty is silent because at this stage, the preliminary
procedure is still an internal matter. And when a law or treaty is silent, it means a right or privilege may be granted. It
is not the other way around.
The second reason alleging the need for secrecy and confidentiality is even less convincing. The explanation of
petitioner is self-contradictory. On one hand, petitioner asserts that the United States Government requested the
Philippine Government to prevent unauthorized disclosure of certain information. On the other hand, petitioner
declares that the United States has already secured orders from concerned District Courts authorizing the
disclosure of the same grand jury information to the Philippine Government and its law enforcement personnel.
Official permission has been given. The United States has no cause to complain about the disclosure of information
furnished to the Philippines.
Moreover, how can grand jury information and documents be considered confidential if they are going to be
introduced as evidence in adversely proceedings before a trial court? The only issue is whether or not Mr. Jimenez
should be extradited. His innocence or guilt of any crime will be determined in an American court. It is there where
prosecution strategies will be essential. If the Contracting States believed in a total non-divulging of information prior
to court hearings, they would have so provided in the extradition treaty. A positive provision making certain rights
unavailable cannot be implied from silence.
I cannot believe that the United States and the Philippines with identical constitutional provisions on due process
and basic rights should sustain such a myopic view in a situation where the grant of a right would not result in any
serious setbacks to criminal law enforcement.
It is obvious that any prospective extraditee wants to know if his identity as the person indicated has been
established. Considering the penchant of Asians to adopt American names when in America, the issue of whether or
not the prospective extraditee truly is the person charged in the United States becomes a valid question. It is not

only identity of the person which is involved. The crimes must also be unmistakably identified and their essential
elements clearly stated.
There are other preliminary matters in which respondent is interested. I see nothing in our laws or in the Treaty
which prohibits the prospective extraditee from knowing until after the start of trial whether or not the extradition
treaty applies to him.
Paraphrasing Hasmin vs. Boncan, 71 Phil. 216; Trocio vs. Manta, 118 SCRA 241 (1941); and Salonga vs. Hon.
Pao, 134 SCRA 438 (1985), the purpose of a preliminary evaluation is to secure an innocent person against hasty,
faulty and, therefore, oppressive proceedings; to protect him from an open and extensively publicized accusation of
crimes; to spare him the trouble, expense, and anxiety of a public trial; and also to protect the state from useless
and expensive trails. Even if the purpose is only to determine whether or not the respondent is a proper subject for
extradition, he is nonetheless entitled to the guarantees of fairness and freedom accorded to those charged with
ordinary crimes in the Philippines.
The third reason given by petitioner is the avoidance of delay. Petitioner views the request to be informed as part of
undesirable delaying tactics. This is most unfortunate. Any request for extradition must be viewed objectively and
impartially without any predisposition to granting it and, therefore, hastening the extradition process.
In the first place, any assistance which the evaluating official may get from the participation of respondent may well
point out deficiencies and insufficiencies in the extradition documents. It would incur greater delays if these are
discovered only during court trial. On the other hand, if, from respondent's participation, the evaluating official
discovers a case of mistaken identity, insufficient pleadings, inadequate complaints, or any ruinous shortcoming,
there would be no delays during trial. An unnecessary trial with all its complications would be avoided.
The right to be informed is related to the constitutional right to a speedy trial. The constitutional guarantee extends
to the speedy disposition of cases before all quasi-judicial and administrative bodies (Constitution, Art. III, Sec. 16).
Speedy disposition, however, does not mean the deliberate exclusion of the defendant or respondent from the
proceedings. As this Court rules in Acebedo vs. Sarmiento, 36 SCRA 247 (1970), "the right to a speedy trial, means
one free from vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays, its salutary objective being to assure that an innocent
person may be free from the anxiety and expense of a court litigation or, if otherwise, of having his guilt (in this case,
his being extradited) determined within the shortest possible time compatible with the presentation and
consideration of whatsoever legitimate defense he may interpose."
The right to be informed and the right to a preliminary hearing are not merely for respondent. They also serve the
interests of the State.
1wphi1.nt

In closing, I maintain that the paramount consideration of guaranteeing the constitutional rights of individual
respondent override the concerns of petitioner. There should be no hurried or indifferent effort to routinely comply
with all requests for extradition. I understand that this is truer in the United States than in other countries. Proposed
extraditees are given every legal protection available from the American justice system before they are extradited.
We serve under a government of limited powers and inalienable rights. Hence, this concurrence.

PUNO, J., dissenting opinion;


If the case at bar was strictly a criminal case which involves alone the right of an accused to due process, I would
have co-signed the ponencia of our esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Jose A.R. Melo, without taking half a
pause.But the case at bar does not involve the guilt or innocence of an accused but the interpretation of an
extradition treaty where at stake is our government's international obligation to surrender to a foreign state a citizen
of its own so he can be tried for an alleged offense committed within that jurisdiction. The issues are of first
impression and the majority opinion dangerously takes us to unknown shoals in constitutional and international
laws, hence this dissenting opinion.
Extradition is a well-defined concept and is more a problem in international law. It is the "process by which persons
charged with or convicted of crime against the law of a State and found in a foreign State are returned by the latter

to the former for trial or punishment. It applies to those who are merely charged with an offense but have not been
brought to trial; to those who have been tried and convicted and have subsequently escaped from custody; and
those who have been convicted in absentia. It does not apply to persons merely suspected of having committed an
offense but against who no charge has been laid or to a person whose presence is desired as a witness or for
obtaining or enforcing a civil judgment."1 The definition covers the private respondent who is charged with two (2)
counts of conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States, four (4) counts of attempt to evade or defeat
tax, two (2) counts of fraud by wire, radio or television, six (6) counts of false statements or entries and thirty-three
(33) counts of election contributions in the name of another. There is an outstanding warrant of arrest against the
private respondent issued by the US District Court, Southern District of Florida.
A brief review of the history of extradition law will illumine our labor. Possibly the most authoritative commentator on
extradition today, M. Cherif Bassiouni, divides the history of extradition into four (4) periods: "(1) ancient times to
seventeenth century a period revealing almost exclusive concern for political and religious offenders; (2) the
eighteenth century and half of the nineteenth century a period of treaty-making chiefly concerned with military
offenders characterizing the condition of Europe during that period; (3) from 1833 to 1948 a period of collective
concern in suppressing common criminality; and (4) post-1948 developments which ushered in a greater concern
for protecting the human rights of persons and revealed an awareness of the need to have international due process
of law regulate international relations."2
It is also rewarding to have a good grip on the changing slopes in the landscape of extradition during these different
periods. Extradition was first practiced by the Egyptians, Chinese, Chaldeans and Assyro-Babylonians but their
basis for allowing extradition was unclear. Sometimes, it was granted due to pacts; at other times, due to plain good
will.3 The classical commentators on international law thus focused their early views on the nature of the dutyto
surrender an extraditee whether the duty is legal or moral in character. Grotius and de Vattel led the school of
thought that international law imposed a legal duty called civitas maxima to extradite criminals.4 In sharp contrast,
Puffendorf and Billot led the school of thought that the so-called duty was but an "imperfect obligationwhich could
become enforceable only by a contract or agreement between states.5
Modern nations tilted towards the view of Puffendorf and Billot that under international law there is no duty to
extradite in the absence of treaty, whether bilateral or multilateral. Thus, the US Supreme Court in US
v.Rauscher,6 held: ". . . . it is only in modern times that the nations of the earth have imposed upon themselves the
obligation of delivering up these fugitives from justice to the states where their crimes were committed, for trial and
punishment. This has been done generally by treaties . . . Prior to these treaties, and apart from them there was no
well-defined obligation on one country to deliver up such fugitives to another; and though such delivery was often
made it was upon the principle of comity . . ."
Then came the long and still ongoing debate on what should be the subject of international law. The 20th century
saw the dramatic rise and fall of different types and hues of authoritarianism the fascism of Italy's Mussolini and
Germany's Hitler, the militarism of Japan's Hirohito and the communism of Russia's Stalin, etc. The sinking of these
isms led to the elevation of the rights of the individual against the state. Indeed, some species of human rights have
already been accorded universal recognition.7 Today, the drive to internationalize rights of women and children is
also on high gear.8 The higher rating given to human rights in the hierarchy of values necessarily led to the reexamination of rightful place of the individual in international law. Given the harshest eye is the moss-covered
doctrine that international law deals only with States and that individuals are not its subject. For its undesirable
corrally is the sub-doctrine that an individual's right in international law is a near cipher. Translated in extradition law,
the view that once commanded a consensus is that since a fugitive is a mere object and not a subject of
international law, he is bereft of rights. An extraditee, so it was held, is a mere "object transported from one state to
the other as an exercise of the sovereign will of the two states involved." 9 The re-examination consigned this
pernicious doctrine to the museum of ideas.10 The new thinkers of international law then gave a significant shape to
the role and rights of the individual in state-concluded treaties and other international agreements. So it was
declared by then US Ambassador Philip C. Jessup in audible italics: "A very large part of international affairs and,
thus, of the process of international accommodation, concerns the relations between legal persons known as states.
This is necessarily so. But it is no longer novel for the particular interest of the human being to break through the
mass of interstate relationship."11 The clarion call to re-engineer a new world order whose dominant interest would
transcend the parochial confines of national states was not unheeded. Among the world class scholars who joined
the search for the elusive ideological underpinnings of a new world order were Yale Professor Myres McDougal and
Mr. Justice Florentino Feliciano. In their seminal work. Law and Minimum World Public Order, they suggested that
the object of the new world should be "to obtain in particular situations and in the aggregate flow of situations the

outcome of a higher degree of conformity with the security goals of preservation, deterrence, restoration,
rehabilitation and reconstruction of all societies comprising the world community." 12 Needless to stress, all these
prescient theses accelerated the move to recognize certain rights of the individual in international law.
We have yet to see the final and irrevocable place of individual rights, especially the rights of an extraditee, in the
realm of international law. In careful language, Bassiouni observes that today, "institutionalized conflicts between
states are still rationalized in terms of sovereignty, national interest, and national security, while human interests
continue to have limited, though growing impact on the decision-making processes which translate national values
and goals into specific national and international policy." 13
I belabor the international law aspect of extradition as the majority opinion hardly gives it a sideglance. It is my
humble submission that the first consideration that should guide us in the case at bar is that a bilateral treaty the
RP-US Extradition Treaty is the subject matter of the litigation. In our constitutional scheme, the making of a
treaty belongs to the executive and legislative departments of our government. Between these two departments,the
executive has a greater say in the making of a treaty. Under Section 21, Article VII of our Constitution, thePresident
has the sole power to negotiate treaties and international agreements although to be effective, they must be
concurred in by at least two thirds of all the members of the Senate. Section 20 of the same Article empowers the
President to contract or guarantee foreign loans with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board. Section 16 of the
same Article gives the President the power to appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls subject to
confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. In addition, the President has the power to deport undesirable
aliens. The concentration of these powers in the person of the President is not without a compelling consideration.
The conduct of foreign relations is full of complexities and consequences, sometimes with life and death significance
to the nation especially in times of war. It can only be entrusted to that department of government which can act on
the basis of the best available information and can decide with decisiveness. Beyond debate, the President is the
single most powerful official in our land for Section 1 of Article VII provides that "the executive power shall be vested
in the President of the Philippines," whereas Section 1 of Article VI states that "the legislative power shall be vested
in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives . . . except to the
extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum," while Section 1 of Article VIII provides
that "judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by
law." Thus, we can see that executive power is vested in the President alone whereas legislative and judicial
powers are shared and scattered. It is also the President who possesses the most comprehensive and the most
confidential information about foreign countries for our diplomatic and consular officials regularly brief him on
meaningful events all over the world. He has also unlimited access to ultra-sensitive military intelligence data. 14 In
fine, the presidential role in foreign affairs is dominant andthe President is traditionally accorded a wider degree of
discretion in the conduct of foreign affairs. The regularity, nay, validity of his actions are adjudged under less
stringent standards, lest their judicial repudiation lead to breach of an international obligation, rupture of state
relations, forfeiture of confidence, national embarrassment and a plethora of other problems with equally
undesirable consequences.
These are some of the dominant policy considerations in international law that the Court must balance against the
claim of the private respondent that he has a right to be given the extradition documents against him and to
comment thereon even while they are still at the evaluation stage by the petitioner Secretary of Justice, an alter ego
of the President. The delicate questions of what constitutional rights and to what degree they can be claimed by an
extraditee do not admit of easy answers and have resulted in discrete approaches the world over.15 On one end of
the pole is the more liberal European approach. The European Court of Human Rights embraces the view that an
extraditee is entitled to the benefit of all relevant provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It has held that ". . . in so far as a measure of the extradition has consequences
adversely affecting the enjoyment of a convention right, it may, assuming that the consequences are not too remote,
attract the obligations of a Contracting State under the relevant convention guarantee." 16 At the other end of the pole
is the more cautious approach of the various Courts of Appeal in the United States. These courts have been more
conservative in light of the principle of separation of powers and their faith in the presumptive validity of executive
decisions. By and large, they adhere to the rule of non-inquiry under which theextraditing court refuses to examine
the requesting country's criminal justice system or consider allegations that the extraditee will be mistreated or
denied a fair trial in that country.17
The case at bar, I respectfully submit, does not involve an irreconcilable conflict between the RP-US Extradition
Treaty and our Constitution where we have to choose one over the other. Rather, it calls for
a harmonizationbetween said treaty and our Constitution. To achieve this desirable objective, the Court should

consider whether the constitutional rights invoked by the private respondent have truly been violated and even
assuming so, whether he will be denied fundamental fairness. It is only when their violation will destroy the
respondent's right to fundamental fairness that his constitutional claims should be given primacy.
Given this balancing approach, it is my humble submission that considering all the facts and facets of the case, the
private respondent has not proved entitlement to the right he is claiming. The majority holds that the Constitution,
the RP-US extradition and P.D. No. 1069 do not prohibit respondent's claims, hence, it should be allowed. This is
too simplistic an approach. Rights do not necessarily arise from a vacuum. Silence of the law can even mean an
implied denial of a right. Also, constitutional litigations do not always involve a clear cut choice between right and
wrong. Sometimes, they involve a difficult choice between right against right. In these situations, there is need to
balance the contending rights and primacy is given to the right that will serve the interest of the nation at that
particular time. In such instances, the less compelling right is subjected to soft restraint but without smothering its
essence. Proceeding from this premise of relativism of rights, I venture the view that even
assuming arguendorespondent's weak claim, still, the degree of denial of private respondent's rights to due process
and to information is too slight to warrant the interposition of judicial power. As admitted in the ponencia itself, an
extradition proceeding is sui generis. It is, thus, futile to determine what it is. What is certain is that it is not a criminal
proceeding where there is an accused who claim the entire array of rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Let it be
stressed that in an extradition proceeding, there is no accused and the guilt or innocence of the extraditee will not
be passed upon by our executive officials nor by the extradition judge. Hence, constitutional rights that are only
relevant do determine the guilt or innocence of an accused cannot be invoked by an extraditee. Indeed, an
extradition proceeding is summary in nature which is untrue of criminal proceedings.18 Even the rules of evidence
are different in an extradition proceeding. Admission of evidence is less stringent, again because the guilt of the
extraditee is not under litigation.19 It is not only the quality but even the quantum of evidence in extradition
proceeding is different. In a criminal case, an accused can only be convicted by proof beyond reasonable doubt.20In
an extradition proceeding, an extraditee can be ordered extradited "upon showing of the existed of a prima
faciecase."21 If more need be said, the nature of an extradition decision is different from a judicial decision whose
finality cannot be changed by executive fiat. Our courts22 may hold an individual extraditable but the ultimate
decision to extradite the individual lies in the hands of the Executive. Section 3, Article 3 of the RP-US Extradition
Treaty specifically provides that "extradition shall not be granted if the executive authority of the Requested State
determined that the request was politically motivated, or that the offense is a military offense which is not punishable
under non-military penal legislation." In the United States, the Secretary of State exercises this ultimate power and
is conceded considerable discretion. He balances the equities of the case and the demands of the nation's foreign
relations.23 In sum, he is not straitjacketed by strict legal considerations like an ordinary court.
The type of issue litigated in extradition proceedings which does not touch on the guilt or innocence of the
extraditee, the limited nature of the extradition proceeding, the availability of adequate remedies in favor of the
extraditee, and the traditional leeway given to the Executive in the conduct of foreign affairs have compelled courts
to put a high threshold before considering claims of individuals that enforcement of an extradition treaty will violate
their constitutional rights. Exemplifying such approach is the Supreme Court of Canada which has adopted ahighly
deferential standard that emphasizes international comity and the executive's experience in international matters.24 It
continues to deny Canada's charter protection to extraditees unless the violation can be considered shocking to the
conscience.
In the case, at bar and with due respect, the ponencia inflates with too much significance the threat to liberty of the
private respondent to prop us its thesis that his constitutional rights to due process and access to information must
immediately be vindicated. Allegedly, respondent Jimenez stands in danger of provisional arrest, hence, the need for
him to be immediately furnished copies of documents accompanying the request for his extradition.Respondent's
fear of provisional arrest is not real. It is a self-imagined fear for the realities on the ground show that the United
States authorities have not manifested any desire to request for his arrest. On the contrary, they filed the extradition
request through the regular channel and, even with the pendency of the case at bar, they have not moved for
respondent's arrest on the ground of probable delay in the proceedings. To be sure, the issue of whether
respondent Jimenez will be provisionally arrested is now moot. Under Section 1 of Article 9 of the RP-US Extradition
Treaty, in relation to Section 20(a) of PD No. 1069, the general principle is enunciated that a request for provisional
arrest must be made pending receipt of the request for extradition. By filing the request for extradition, the US
authorities have implicitly decided not to move for respondent's provisional arrest. But more important, a request for
respondent's arrest does not mean he will be the victim of an arbitrary arrest. He will be given due process before
he can be arrested. Article 9 of the treaty provides:

PROVISIONAL ARREST
1. In case of urgency, a Contracting Party may request the provisional arrest of the person sought pending
presentation of the request for extradition. A request for provisional arrest may be transmitted through the
diplomatic channel or directly between the Philippine Department of Justice and the United States
Department of Justice.
2. The application for provisional arrest shall contain:
a) a description of the person sought;
b) the location of the person sought, if known;
c) a brief statements of the facts of the case, including, if possible, the time and location of the
offense;
d) a description of the laws violated;
e) a statement of the existence of a warrant of a warrant of arrest or finding of guilt or judgment of
conviction against the person sought; and
f) a statement that a request for extradition for the person sought will follow.
3. The Requesting State shall be notified without delay of the disposition of its application and the reasons
for any denial.
4. A person who is provisionally arrested may be discharged from custody upon the expiration of sixty (60)
days from the date of arrest pursuant to this Treaty if the executive authority of the Requested State has not
received the formal request for extradition and the supporting documents required in Article 7.
In relation to the above, Section 20 of P.D. No. 1069 provides:
Sec. 20. Provisional Arrest. (a) In case of urgency, the requesting state may, pursuant to the relevant
treaty or convention and while the same remains in force, request for the provisional arrest of the accused,
pending receipt of the request for extradition made in accordance with Section 4 of this Decree.
(b) A request for provisional arrest shall be sent to the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation,
Manila, either through the diplomatic channels or direct by post or telegraph.
(c) The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation or any official acting on his behalf shall upon receipt
of the request immediately secure a warrant for the provisional arrest of the accused from the presiding
judge of the Court of First Instance of the province or city having jurisdiction of the place, who shall issue the
warrant for the provisional arrest of the accused. The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation
through the Secretary of Foreign Affairs shall inform the requesting state of the result of its request.
(d) If within a period of 20 days after the provisional arrest, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs has not received
the request for extradition and the documents mentioned in Section 4 of this Decree, the accused shall be
released from custody.
The due process protection of the private-respondent against arbitrary arrest is written in cyrillic letters in these two
(2) related provisions. It is self-evident under these provisions that a request for provisional arrest does not mean it
will be granted ipso facto. The request must comply with certain requirements. It must be based on an "urgent"
factor. This is subject to verification and evaluation by our executive authorities. The request can be denied if not
based on a real exigency of if the supporting documents are insufficient. The protection of the respondent against
arbitrary provisional arrest does not stop on the administrative level. For even if the Director of the National Bureau
of Investigation agrees with the request for the provisional arrest of the respondent, still he has to apply for a judicial

warrant from the "presiding judge of the Court of First Instance (now RTC) of the province of city having jurisdiction
of the place. . . . ." It is a judge who will issue a warrant for the provisional arrest of the respondent. The judge has
comply with Section 2, Article III of the Constitution which provides that "no . . . warrant of arrest shall issue except
upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the . . . persons or things to be
seized." The message that leaps to the eye is that compliance with this requirements precludes any arbitrary arrest.
In light of all these considerations, I respectfully submit that denying respondent's constitutional claim to be
furnished all documents relating to the request for his extradition by the US authorities during their evaluation
stage will not subvert his right to fundamental fairness. It should be stressed that this is not a case where the
respondent will not be given an opportunity to know the basis of the request for his extradition. In truth, and contrary
to the impression of the majority, P.D. No. 1069 fixes the specific time when he will be given the papers constituting
the basis for his extradition. The time is when he is summoned by the extradition court and required to answer the
petition for extradition. Thus, Section 6 of P.D. No. 1069 provides:
Sec. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing, Service of Notices. (1) Immediately upon
receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as practicable, summon the accused to
appear and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order. He may issue a warrant for the
immediate arrest of the accused which may be served anywhere within the Philippines if it appears to the
presiding judge that the immediate arrest and temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of
justice. Upon receipt of the answer within the time fixed, the presiding judge shall hear the case or set
another date for the hearing thereof.
(2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be promptly served each
upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case.
Upon receipt of the summons and the petition, respondent is free to foist all defense available to him. Such an
opportunity does not deny him fairness which is the essence of due process of law.
Thus, with due respect, I submit that the ponencia failed to accord due importance to the international law aspect of
an extradition treaty as it unduly stressed its constitutional law dimension. This goes against the familiar learning
that in balancing the clashing interests involved in extradition treaty, national interest is more equal than the others.
While lately, humanitarian considerations are being factored in the equation, still the concept of extradition as a
national act is the guiding idea. Requesting and granting extradition remains a power and prerogative of the national
government of a State. The process still involves relations between international personalities. 25Needless to state, a
more deferential treatment should be given to national interest than to individual interest. Our national interest in
extraditing persons who have committed crimes in a foreign country are succinctly expressed in the whereas
clauses of P.D. No. 1069, viz:
WHEREAS, the Constitution of the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law
as part of law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and
amity with all nations;
WHEREAS, the suppression of crime is the concern not only of the state where it is committed but also of
any other state to which the criminal may have escaped, because it saps the foundation of social life and is
an outrage upon humanity at large, and it is in the interest of civilized communities that crimes should not go
unpunished. . . . .
The increasing incidence of international and transnational crimes, the development of new technologies of
death,and the speed and scale of improvement of communication are factors which have virtually annihilated time
and distance. They make more compelling the vindication of national interest to insure that the punishment of
criminals should not be frustrated by the frontiers of territorial sovereignty. This overriding national interest must be
upheld as against respondent's weak constitutional claims which in no way amount to denial of fundamental
fairness.
At bottom, this case involves the respect that courts should accord to the Executive that concluded the RP-US
Extradition Treaty in the conduct of our foreign affairs. As early as 1800, the legendary John Marshall, then a
congressman, has opined that the power to extradite pursuant to a treaty rests in the executive branch as part of its

power to conduct foreign affairs.26 Courts have validated this forward-looking opinion in a catena of unbroken cases.
They defer to the judgment of the Executive on the necessities of our foreign affairs and on its view of the
requirements of international comity. The deferential attitude is dictated by the robust reality that of the three great
branches of our government, it is the Executive that is most qualified to guide the ship of the state on the known and
unknown continents of foreign relations. It is also compelled by considerations of the principle of separation of
powers for the Constitution has clearly allocated the power to conduct our foreign affairs to the Executive. I
respectfully submit that the majority decision has weakened the Executive by allowing nothing less than an
unconstitutional headbutt on the power of the Executive to conduct our foreign affairs. The majority should be
cautions in involving this Court in the conduct of the nation's foreign relations where the inviolable rule dictated by
necessity is that the nation should speak with one voice. We should not overlook the reality that courts by their
nature, are ill-equipped to fully comprehend the foreign policy dimension of a treaty, some of which are hidden in
shadows and silhouettes.
I vote to grant the petition.

PANGANIBAN, J., dissenting opinion;


With due respect, I dissent.
The main issue before us is whether Private Respondent Mark B. Jimenez is entitled to the due process rights of
notice and hearing during the preliminary or evaluation stage of the extradition proceeding against him.
Two Staged in Extradition
There are essentially two stages in extradition proceedings: (1) the preliminary or evaluation stage, whereby the
executive authority of the requested state ascertains whether the extradition request is supported by the documents
and information required under the Extradition Treaty; and (2) the extradition hearing, whereby the petition for
extradition is heard before a court of justice, which determines whether the accused should be extradited.
The instant petition refers only to the first stage. Private respondent claims that he has a right to be notified and to
be heard at this early stage. However, even the ponencia admits that neither the RP-US Extradition Treaty nor PD
1069 (the Philippine Extradition Law) expressly requires the Philippine government, upon receipt of the request for
extradition, to give copies thereof and its supporting documents to the prospective extraditee, much less to give him
an opportunity to be heard prior to the filing of the petition in court.
Notably, international extradition proceedings in the United States do not include the grant by the executive authority
of notice and hearing to the prospective extraditee at this initial stage. It is the judge or magistrate who is authorized
to issue a warrant of arrest and to hold a hearing to consider the evidence submitted in support of the extradition
request. In contrast, in interstate rendition, the governor must, upon demand, furnish the fugitive or his attorney
copies of the request and its accompanying documents, pursuant to statutory provisions. 1 In the Philippines, there is
no similar statutory provision.
Evaluation Stage Essentially Ministerial
The evaluation stage simply involves the ascertainment by the foreign affairs secretary of whether the extradition
request is accompanied by the documents stated in paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 7 of the Treaty, relating to the
identity and the probable location of the fugitive; the facts of the offense and the procedural history of the case;
provisions of the law describing the essential elements of the offense charged and the punishment therefor; its
prescriptive period; such evidence as would provide probable cause for the arrest and the committal for trial of the
fugitive; and copies of the warrant or order of arrest and charging document. The foreign affairs secretary also sees
to it that these accompanying documents have been certified by the principal diplomatic or consular officer of the
Philippines in the United States, and that they are in English language or have English translations. Pursuant to
Article 3 of the Treaty, he also determines whether the request is politically motivated, and whether the offense
charged is a military offense not punishable under non-military penal legislation. 2

Upon a finding of the secretary of foreign affairs that the extradition request and its supporting documents are
sufficient and complete in form and substance, he shall deliver the same to the justice secretary, who shall
immediately designate and authorize an attorney in his office to take charge of the case. The lawyer designated
shall then file a written petition with the proper regional trial court, with a prayer that the court take the extradition
request under consideration. 3
When the Right to Notice and Hearing Becomes Available
According to private Respondent Jimenez, his right to due process during the preliminary stage emanates from our
Constitution, particularly Section 1, Article III thereof, which provides:
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
He claims that this right arises immediately, because of the possibility that he may be provisionally arrested pursuant
to Article 9 of the RP-US Treaty, which reads:
In case of urgency, a Contracting Party may request the provisional arrest of the person sought pending
presentation of the request for extradition. A request for provisional arrest may be transmitted through the
diplomatic channel or directly between the Philippine Department of Justice and the United States
Department of Justice.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Justice Melo's ponencia supports private respondent's contention. It states that there are two occasions wherein the
prospective extraditee may be deprived of liberty: (1) in case of a provisional arrest pending the submission of the
extradition request and (2) his temporary arrest during the pendency of the extradition petition in court. 4 The second
instance is not in issue here, because no petition has yet been filed in court.
However, the above-quoted Article 9 on provisional arrest is not automatically operative at all times, and in
enforcement does not depend solely on the discretion of the requested state. From the wordings of the provision
itself, there are at least three requisites: (1) there must be an urgency, and (2) there is a corresponding request (3)
which must be made prior to the presentation of the request for extradition.
In the instant case, there appears to be no urgency characterizing the nature of the extradition of private
respondent. Petitioner does not claim any such urgency. There is no request from the United States for the
provisional arrest of Mark Jimenez either. And the secretary of justice states during the Oral Argument that he had
no intention of applying for the provisional arrest of private respondent. 5 Finally, the formal request for extradition
has already been made; therefore, provisional arrest is not likely, as it should really come before the extradition
request.6
Mark Jimenez Not in Jeopardy of Arrest
Under the outlined facts of this case, there is no open door for the application of Article 9, contrary to the
apprehension of private respondent. In other words, there is no actual danger that Jimenez will be provisionally
arrested or deprived of his liberty. There is as yet no threat that his rights would be trampled upon, pending the filing
in court of the petition for his extradition. Hence, there is no substantial gain to be achieved in requiring the foreign
affairs (or justice) secretary to notify and hear him during the preliminary stage, which basically involves only the
exercise of the ministerial power of checking the sufficiency of the documents attached to the extradition request.
It must be borne in mind that during the preliminary stage, the foreign affairs secretary's determination of whether
the offense charged is extraditable or politically motivated is merely preliminary. The same issue will be resolved by
the trial court.7 Moreover, it is also the power and the duty of the court, not the executive authority, to determine
whether there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that the extraditee committed the crimes
charged.8 The sufficiency of the evidence of criminality is to be determined based on the laws of the requested
state.9 Private Respondent Jimenez will, therefore, definitely have his full opportunity before the court, in case an
extradition petition will indeed be filed, to be heard on all issues including the sufficiency of the documents
supporting the extradition request.10

Private respondent insists that the United States may still request his provisional arrest at any time. That is purely
speculative. It is elementary that this Court does not declare judgments or grant reliefs based on speculations,
surmises or conjectures.
In any event, even granting that the arrest of Jimenez is sought at any time despite the assurance of the justice
secretary that no such measure will be undertaken, our local laws and rules of procedure respecting the issuance of
a warrant of arrest will govern, there being no specific provision under the Extradition Treaty by which such warrant
should issue. Therefore, Jimenez will be entitled to all the rights accorded by the Constitution and the laws to any
person whose arrest is being sought.
1wphi1.nt

The right of one state to demand from another the return of an alleged fugitive from justice and the correlative duty
to surrender the fugitive to the demanding country exist only when created by a treaty between the two countries.
International law does not require the voluntary surrender of a fugitive to a foreign government, absent any treaty
stipulation requiring it.11 When such a treaty does exist, as between the Philippines and the United States, it must be
presumed that the contracting states perform their obligations under it with uberrimae fidei, treaty obligations being
essentially characterized internationally by comity and mutual respect.
The Need for Respondent Jimenez to Face Charges in the US
One final point. Private respondent also claims that from the time the secretary of foreign affairs gave due course to
the request for his extradition, incalculable prejudice has been brought upon him. And because of the moral injury
caused, he should be given the opportunity at the earliest possible time to stop his extradition. I believe that any
moral injury suffered by private respondent had not been caused by the mere processing of the extradition request.
And it will not cease merely by granting him the opportunity to be heard by the executive authority. The concrete
charges that he has allegedly committed certain offenses already exist. These charges have been filed in the United
States and are part of public and official records there. Assuming the existence of moral injury, the only means by
which he can restore his good reputation is to prove before the proper judicial authorities in the US that the charges
against him are unfounded. Such restoration cannot be accomplished by simply contending that the documents
supporting the request for his extradition are insufficient.
Conclusion
In the context of the factual milieu of private respondent, there is really no threat of any deprivation of his liberty at
the present stage of the extradition process. Hence, the constitutional right to due process particularly the right to
be heard finds no application. To grant private respondent's request for copies of the extradition documents and
for an opportunity to comment thereon will constitute "over-due process" and unnecessarily delay the proceedings.
WHEREFORE, I vote to grant the Petition.

Footnotes
VITUG, J., separate opinion;
Sec. 7. The right of the people to information of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official
records, and to documents, and papers a pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to
government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to
such limitations as may be provided by law.
1

Legaspi vs. Civil Service Commission, 150 SCRA 530; Valmonte vs. Belmonte, Jr., 170 SCRA 256.

Aniag, Jr. vs. Commission on Elections, 237 SCRA 424; Tupas vs. Court of Appeals, 193 SCRA 597.

Abraham, Henry J., Some Basic Guidelines of "Due Process of Law." The Lawyers Review, Vol. IX, 30 April
1995, p. 1.
4

Cruz, Isagani A. Constitutional Law. 1995 Ed. pp. 94-95.

KAPUNAN, J., separate concurring opinion;


1

Annex "L," petition.

Petition, p. 4.

Edillon vs. Fernandos, 114 SCRA 153 (1982); Pangilinan vs. Zapata, 69 SCRA 334 (1976).

Stanley v. Illinois, 1405 U.S. 645, 647.

PUNO, J., dissenting opinion;


1

Weston, Falk, D'Amato, International Law and World Order, 2nd ed., p. 630 (1990).

International Extradition, United States Law and Practice, 2nd ed., p. 7 (1987).

The Practice of Extradition from Antiquity to Modern France and the United States: A Brief History, 4 B.C.
Int'l. & Comp. L. Rev. 39 (1981).
3

They were supported by scholars like Heineccuis, Burlamaqui, Rutherford, Schmelzing and
Kent. SeeSheareer, Extradition in Internal Law, p. 24 (1971).
4

They were supported by scholars like Voet, Martons, Kuber, Leyser, Lint, Seafied, Schmaltz, Mittermaier
and Heffter. See Shearer, supra, p. 24.
5

119 US 407, 411, 7 S. Ct. 234, 236, 30 L. ed. 425 (1886).

See Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), The International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights (1966) and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).
7

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) otherwise
known as "Bill of Rights for Women" was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1979. As of
November 1999, one hundred sixty seven (167) states including the Philippines have ratified or acceded to
it. See Statement of Angela King, Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the UN on Gender Issues and
Advancement of Women, Judicial Colloquium on the Application of International Human Rights Law at the
Domestic Level, Vienna, Austria, October 27, 1999.
8

Blakesley and Lagodny, Finding armony Amidst Disagreement Over Extradition, Jurisdiction, The Role of
Human Rights and Issues of Extraterritoriality Under International Criminal Law, Vanderbilt Journal of
Transnational Law, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 44 (1991).
9

See generally Kelsen, Principles of International Law, 2nd ed., (1966); Korowicz, The Problem of the
International Personality of Individuals, 50 Am. J., Int'l. Law 553 (1966).
10

The Conquering March of an Idea, Speech before the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Bar
Association, St. Louis, Mo., September 6, 1949.
11

See also R. Falk and S. Mendlovitz, Strategy of World Order, etc. (1996); G. Clark and L. Sohn, World
Peace Through World Law (1966); Bassiouni, International Extradition in American Practice and World
Public Order, 36 Tenn. L. Rev. 1 (1968).
12

13

Bassiouni, supra, p. 625.

14

US v. Curtiss-Wright Expert Corp., 299 US 304, 57 S Ct. 216, 81 L. ed. 255 (1936).

Spencer, The Role of the Charter in Extradition Cases, University of Toronto L. Rev., vol. 51, pp. 62-63,
(Winter, 1993).
15

16

Spencer, op cit., citing the decision in Soering, 11 E.H.R.R. 439 (1989).

Semmelman, Federal Courts, The Constitution and the Rule of Non-Inquiry in International Extradition
Proceedings, Cornell Law Rev., vol. 76, No. 5, p. 1198 (July 1991).
17

18

Sec. 9, P.D. No. 1069.

19

Ibid.

20

Sec. 2, Rule 133, Revised Rules of Court.

21

Sec. 10, P.D. No. 1069.

Referring to the Regional Trial Courts and the Court of Appeals whose decisions are deemed final and
executory. See Section 12, P.D. No. 1069.
22

23

Note, Executive Discretion in Extradition, 62 Col. Law Rev., pp. 1314-1329.

24

Spencer, op cit., citing decided cases.

25

Weston, Falk and Amato, International Law and World Order, 2nd ed., p. 630 (1990).

26

Semmelman. op cit., p. 1206.

PANGANIBAN, J., dissenting opinion;


1

35 CJS 14(1) Extradition 410. See also ponencia, p. 25.

See ponencia, pp. 11-12.

Ibid., Section 5, pars. (1) & (2), PD 1069.

Ponencia, p. 18.

TSN, p. 76.

See also TSN, p. 30.

5 (2) & (3) in rel. to 10, PD 1069. See also last par., p. 13 of ponencia.

18 USCS 3184, n 58 Criminal Procedure 456; 31A Am Jur 2d 109 Extradition 828.

18 USCS 3184, n 64 Criminal Procedure 458.

10

See Wright v. Court of Appeals, 235 SCRA 341, August 15, 1994.

11

31A Am Jur 2d Extradition 14.

G.R. No. 128845

June 1, 2000

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ALLIANCE OF EDUCATORS (ISAE), petitioner,


vs.
HON. LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING in his capacity as the Secretary of Labor and Employment; HON.
CRESENCIANO B. TRAJANO in his capacity as the Acting Secretary of Labor and Employment; DR. BRIAN
MACCAULEY in his capacity as the Superintendent of International School-Manila; and INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL, INC., respondents.
KAPUNAN, J.:
Receiving salaries less than their counterparts hired abroad, the local-hires of private respondent School, mostly
Filipinos, cry discrimination. We agree. That the local-hires are paid more than their colleagues in other schools is,
of course, beside the point. The point is that employees should be given equal pay for work of equal value. That is a
principle long honored in this jurisdiction. That is a principle that rests on fundamental notions of justice. That is the
principle we uphold today.
1wphi1.nt

Private respondent International School, Inc. (the School, for short), pursuant to Presidential Decree 732, is a
domestic educational institution established primarily for dependents of foreign diplomatic personnel and other
temporary residents.1 To enable the School to continue carrying out its educational program and improve its
standard of instruction, Section 2(c) of the same decree authorizes the School to employ its own teaching and
management personnel selected by it either locally or abroad, from Philippine or other nationalities, such personnel
being exempt from otherwise applicable laws and regulations attending their employment, except laws that have
been or will be enacted for the protection of employees.
Accordingly, the School hires both foreign and local teachers as members of its faculty, classifying the same into
two: (1) foreign-hires and (2) local-hires. The School employs four tests to determine whether a faculty member
should be classified as a foreign-hire or a local hire:
a. What is one's domicile?
b. Where is one's home economy?
c. To which country does one owe economic allegiance?
d. Was the individual hired abroad specifically to work in the School and was the School responsible for
bringing that individual to the Philippines?2
Should the answer to any of these queries point to the Philippines, the faculty member is classified as a local hire;
otherwise, he or she is deemed a foreign-hire.
The School grants foreign-hires certain benefits not accorded local-hires. These include housing, transportation,
shipping costs, taxes, and home leave travel allowance. Foreign-hires are also paid a salary rate twenty-five percent
(25%) more than local-hires. The School justifies the difference on two "significant economic disadvantages"
foreign-hires have to endure, namely: (a) the "dislocation factor" and (b) limited tenure. The School explains:
1avvphi1

A foreign-hire would necessarily have to uproot himself from his home country, leave his family and friends,
and take the risk of deviating from a promising career path all for the purpose of pursuing his profession
as an educator, but this time in a foreign land. The new foreign hire is faced with economic realities: decent
abode for oneself and/or for one's family, effective means of transportation, allowance for the education of
one's children, adequate insurance against illness and death, and of course the primary benefit of a basic
salary/retirement compensation.

Because of a limited tenure, the foreign hire is confronted again with the same economic reality after his
term: that he will eventually and inevitably return to his home country where he will have to confront the
uncertainty of obtaining suitable employment after along period in a foreign land.
The compensation scheme is simply the School's adaptive measure to remain competitive on an
international level in terms of attracting competent professionals in the field of international education. 3
When negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement were held on June 1995, petitioner International
School Alliance of Educators, "a legitimate labor union and the collective bargaining representative of all faculty
members"4 of the School, contested the difference in salary rates between foreign and local-hires. This issue, as
well as the question of whether foreign-hires should be included in the appropriate bargaining unit, eventually
caused a deadlock between the parties.
On September 7, 1995, petitioner filed a notice of strike. The failure of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board
to bring the parties to a compromise prompted the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to assume
jurisdiction over the dispute. On June 10, 1996, the DOLE Acting Secretary, Crescenciano B. Trajano, issued an
Order resolving the parity and representation issues in favor of the School. Then DOLE Secretary Leonardo A.
Quisumbing subsequently denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration in an Order dated March 19, 1997.
Petitioner now seeks relief in this Court.
Petitioner claims that the point-of-hire classification employed by the School is discriminatory to Filipinos and that
the grant of higher salaries to foreign-hires constitutes racial discrimination.
The School disputes these claims and gives a breakdown of its faculty members, numbering 38 in all, with
nationalities other than Filipino, who have been hired locally and classified as local hires. 5 The Acting Secretary of
Labor found that these non-Filipino local-hires received the same benefits as the Filipino local-hires.
The compensation package given to local-hires has been shown to apply to all, regardless of race. Truth to
tell, there are foreigners who have been hired locally and who are paid equally as Filipino local hires. 6
The Acting secretary upheld the point-of-hire classification for the distinction in salary rates:
The Principle "equal pay for equal work" does not find applications in the present case. The international
character of the School requires the hiring of foreign personnel to deal with different nationalities and
different cultures, among the student population.
We also take cognizance of the existence of a system of salaries and benefits accorded to foreign hired
personnel which system is universally recognized. We agree that certain amenities have to be provided to
these people in order to entice them to render their services in the Philippines and in the process remain
competitive in the international market.
Furthermore, we took note of the fact that foreign hires have limited contract of employment unlike the local
hires who enjoy security of tenure. To apply parity therefore, in wages and other benefits would also require
parity in other terms and conditions of employment which include the employment which include the
employment contract.
A perusal of the parties' 1992-1995 CBA points us to the conditions and provisions for salary and
professional compensation wherein the parties agree as follows:
All members of the bargaining unit shall be compensated only in accordance with Appendix C hereof
provided that the Superintendent of the School has the discretion to recruit and hire expatriate
teachers from abroad, under terms and conditions that are consistent with accepted international
practice.
Appendix C of said CBA further provides:

The new salary schedule is deemed at equity with the Overseas Recruited Staff (OSRS) salary
schedule. The 25% differential is reflective of the agreed value of system displacement and
contracted status of the OSRS as differentiated from the tenured status of Locally Recruited Staff
(LRS).
To our mind, these provisions demonstrate the parties' recognition of the difference in the status of two types
of employees, hence, the difference in their salaries.
The Union cannot also invoke the equal protection clause to justify its claim of parity. It is an established
principle of constitutional law that the guarantee of equal protection of the laws is not violated by legislation
or private covenants based on reasonable classification. A classification is reasonable if it is based on
substantial distinctions and apply to all members of the same class. Verily, there is a substantial distinction
between foreign hires and local hires, the former enjoying only a limited tenure, having no amenities of their
own in the Philippines and have to be given a good compensation package in order to attract them to join
the teaching faculty of the School. 7
We cannot agree.
That public policy abhors inequality and discrimination is beyond contention. Our Constitution and laws reflect the
policy against these evils. The Constitution8 in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights exhorts Congress to
"give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity,
reduce social, economic, and political inequalities." The very broad Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every
person, "in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice, give everyone his due,
and observe honesty and good faith.
International law, which springs from general principles of law,9 likewise proscribes discrimination. General principles
of law include principles of equity, 10 i.e., the general principles of fairness and justice, based on the test of what is
reasonable. 11 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 12 the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and
Cultural Rights, 13 the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 14 the
Convention against Discrimination in Education, 15 the Convention (No. 111) Concerning Discrimination in Respect of
Employment and Occupation 16 all embody the general principle against discrimination, the very antithesis of
fairness and justice. The Philippines, through its Constitution, has incorporated this principle as part of its national
laws.
In the workplace, where the relations between capital and labor are often skewed in favor of capital, inequality and
discrimination by the employer are all the more reprehensible.
The Constitution 17 specifically provides that labor is entitled to "humane conditions of work." These conditions are
not restricted to the physical workplace the factory, the office or the field but include as well the manner by
which employers treat their employees.
The Constitution 18 also directs the State to promote "equality of employment opportunities for all." Similarly, the
Labor Code 19 provides that the State shall "ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed." It
would be an affront to both the spirit and letter of these provisions if the State, in spite of its primordial obligation to
promote and ensure equal employment opportunities, closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory terms and
conditions of employment. 20
Discrimination, particularly in terms of wages, is frowned upon by the Labor Code. Article 135, for example, prohibits
and penalizes 21 the payment of lesser compensation to a female employee as against a male employee for work of
equal value. Article 248 declares it an unfair labor practice for an employer to discriminate in regard to wages in
order to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization.
Notably, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, supra, in Article 7 thereof, provides:
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and
favourable conditions of work, which ensure, in particular:

a. Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:


(i) Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind,
in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by
men, with equal pay for equal work;
xxx

xxx

xxx

The foregoing provisions impregnably institutionalize in this jurisdiction the long honored legal truism of "equal pay
for equal work." Persons who work with substantially equal qualifications, skill, effort and responsibility, under similar
conditions, should be paid similar salaries. 22 This rule applies to the School, its "international character"
notwithstanding.
The School contends that petitioner has not adduced evidence that local-hires perform work equal to that of foreignhires. 23 The Court finds this argument a little cavalier. If an employer accords employees the same position and
rank, the presumption is that these employees perform equal work. This presumption is borne by logic and human
experience. If the employer pays one employee less than the rest, it is not for that employee to explain why he
receives less or why the others receive more. That would be adding insult to injury. The employer has discriminated
against that employee; it is for the employer to explain why the employee is treated unfairly.
The employer in this case has failed to discharge this burden. There is no evidence here that foreign-hires perform
25% more efficiently or effectively than the local-hires. Both groups have similar functions and responsibilities, which
they perform under similar working conditions.
The School cannot invoke the need to entice foreign-hires to leave their domicile to rationalize the distinction in
salary rates without violating the principle of equal work for equal pay.
"Salary" is defined in Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed.) as "a reward or recompense for services performed." Similarly,
the Philippine Legal Encyclopedia states that "salary" is the "[c]onsideration paid at regular intervals for the
rendering of services." In Songco v. National Labor Relations Commission, 24 we said that:
"salary" means a recompense or consideration made to a person for his pains or industry in another man's
business. Whether it be derived from "salarium," or more fancifully from "sal," the pay of the Roman soldier,
it carries with it the fundamental idea of compensation for services rendered. (Emphasis supplied.)
While we recognize the need of the School to attract foreign-hires, salaries should not be used as an enticement to
the prejudice of local-hires. The local-hires perform the same services as foreign-hires and they ought to be paid the
same salaries as the latter. For the same reason, the "dislocation factor" and the foreign-hires' limited tenure also
cannot serve as valid bases for the distinction in salary rates. The dislocation factor and limited tenure affecting
foreign-hires are adequately compensated by certain benefits accorded them which are not enjoyed by local-hires,
such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes and home leave travel allowances.
The Constitution enjoins the State to "protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare," 25 "to afford labor full
protection." 26 The State, therefore, has the right and duty to regulate the relations between labor and
capital.27 These relations are not merely contractual but are so impressed with public interest that labor contracts,
collective bargaining agreements included, must yield to the common good. 28 Should such contracts contain
stipulations that are contrary to public policy, courts will not hesitate to strike down these stipulations.
In this case, we find the point-of-hire classification employed by respondent School to justify the distinction in the
salary rates of foreign-hires and local hires to be an invalid classification. There is no reasonable distinction between
the services rendered by foreign-hires and local-hires. The practice of the School of according higher salaries to
foreign-hires contravenes public policy and, certainly, does not deserve the sympathy of this Court.
1avvphi1

We agree, however, that foreign-hires do not belong to the same bargaining unit as the local-hires.
A bargaining unit is "a group of employees of a given employer, comprised of all or less than all of the entire body of
employees, consistent with equity to the employer, indicate to be the best suited to serve the reciprocal rights and

duties of the parties under the collective bargaining provisions of the law." 29 The factors in determining the
appropriate collective bargaining unit are (1) the will of the employees (Globe Doctrine); (2) affinity and unity of the
employees' interest, such as substantial similarity of work and duties, or similarity of compensation and working
conditions (Substantial Mutual Interests Rule); (3) prior collective bargaining history; and (4) similarity of
employment status. 30 The basic test of an asserted bargaining unit's acceptability is whether or not it is
fundamentally the combination which will best assure to all employees the exercise of their collective bargaining
rights. 31
It does not appear that foreign-hires have indicated their intention to be grouped together with local-hires for
purposes of collective bargaining. The collective bargaining history in the School also shows that these groups were
always treated separately. Foreign-hires have limited tenure; local-hires enjoy security of tenure. Although foreignhires perform similar functions under the same working conditions as the local-hires, foreign-hires are accorded
certain benefits not granted to local-hires. These benefits, such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes,
and home leave travel allowance, are reasonably related to their status as foreign-hires, and justify the exclusion of
the former from the latter. To include foreign-hires in a bargaining unit with local-hires would not assure either group
the exercise of their respective collective bargaining rights.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GIVEN DUE COURSE. The petition is hereby GRANTED IN PART. The Orders of the
Secretary of Labor and Employment dated June 10, 1996 and March 19, 1997, are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE insofar as they uphold the practice of respondent School of according foreign-hires higher salaries than
local-hires.
SO ORDERED.
Puno and Pardo, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., on official leave.
Ynares-Santiago, J., is on leave.

Footnotes
Issued on June 19, 1975 (Authorizing International School, Inc. to Donate Its Real Properties to the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines and Granting It Certain Rights.)
1

Rollo, p. 328.

Id., at 324.

Id., at 8.

Id., at 325. The breakdown is as follows:


Americans

17

Australian

Belgian

British

Burmese

Canadian

Chinese

French

German

Indian

Japanese

Malaysian

New Zealander

Spanish

Id., at 39.

Id., at 38-39.

In Section 1, Article XII thereof.

Statute of the International Court of Justice, art. 38.

M. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO, International Law 75 (1999), citing Judge Hudson in River Meuse Case,
(1937) Ser. A/B No. 70.
10

11

Ibid., citing Rann of Kutch Arbitration (India vs. Pakistan), 50 ILR 2 (1968).

Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948. Article 1 thereof states:
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Article 2 provides, "1. Everyone is entitled to
all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour,
sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
12

Adopted by the General of the United Nations in Resolution 2200 (XXI) of 16 December 1966. Article 2
provides: "2. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated
in the present Covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
13

Adopted by the General assembly of the United Nations in Resolution 2106 (XX) 21 December 1965.
Article 2 of the Convention states: "States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by
all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and
promoting understanding among all races . . . ."
14

Adopted at Paris, December 14, 1960. Under Article 3, the States Parties undertake, among others, "to
abrogate any statutory provisions and any administrative instructions and to discontinue any administrative
practices which involve discrimination in education." Under Article 4, "The States Parties to this Convention
undertake further more to formulate, develop and apply a national policy which, by methods appropriate to
the circumstances and to national usage, will tend to promote equality of opportunity and of treatment in the
matter of education . . . ."
15

Adopted by the General Conference of the International Labor Organization at Geneva, June 25, 1958.
Article 2 provides that, "Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes to declare and pursue
a national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national condition and practice, equality of
opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation, with a view to eliminating any
discrimination in respect thereof.
16

17

In Article XIII, Section 3 thereof.

18

Id.

19

In Article 3 thereof.

E.g., Article 135 of the Labor Code declares it unlawful for the employer to require, not only as a condition
of employment, but also as a condition for the continuation of employment, that a woman shall not get
married.
20

21

In relation to Articles 288 and 289 of the same Code.

Indeed, the government employs this rule in fixing the compensation of government employees. Thus,
Republic Act No. 6758 (An Act Prescribing a Revised Compensation and Position Classification System in
the Government and for Other Purposes) declares it "the policy of the State to provide equal pay for
substantially equal work and to base differences in pay upon substantive differences in duties and
responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the positions. See also the Preamble of Presidential
Decree No. 985 (A Decree Revising the Position Classification and Compensation Systems in the National
Government, and Integrating the same).
22

1wphi1.nt

23

Rollo, p. 491.

24

183 SCRA 610 (1990).

25

In Section 18, Article II thereof.

26

In Section 3, Article XIII thereof. See also Article 3 of the Labor Code.

27

See Sec. 3, Article XIII, Constitution. Article 3 of the Labor Code.

28

Art. 1700, Civil Code.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation vs. Toyota Motor Philippines Federation Labor Union and the
Secretary of Labor and Employment, 268 SCRA 573 (1997); San Miguel Corporation vs. Laguesma, 236
SCRA 595 (1994).
29

30

San Miguel Corporation vs. Laguesma, supra.

31

Belyca Corporation vs. Ferrer-Calleja, 188 SCRA 184 (1988).

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SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


AMERICAN INSURANCE ASSOCIATION et al. v.
GARAMENDI, INSURANCE COMMISSIONER,
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
No. 02722. Argued April 23, 2003Decided June 23, 2003
The Nazi Government of Germany confiscated the
value or proceeds of many Jewish life insurance
policies issued before and during the Second
World War. After the war, even a policy that had
escaped confiscation was likely to be dishonored,
whether because insurers denied its existence or
claimed it had lapsed from unpaid premiums, or
because the German Government would not
provide heirs with documentation of the
policyholders death. Responsibility as between
the government and insurance companies is
disputed, but the fact is that the proceeds of

many insurance policies issued to Jews before


and during the war were paid to the Third Reich
or never paid at all. These confiscations and
frustrations of claims fell within the subject of
reparations, which became a principal object of
Allied diplomacy after the war. Ultimately, the
western allies placed the obligation to provide
restitution to victims of Nazi persecution on the
new West German Government, which enacted
restitution laws and signed agreements with other
countries for the compensation of their nationals.
Despite a payout of more than 100 billion deutsch
marks as of 2000, however, these measures left
out many claimants and certain types of claims.
After German reunification, class actions for
restitution poured into United States courts
against companies doing business in Germany
during the Nazi era. Protests by defendant
companies and their governments prompted the
United States Government to take action to try to
resolve the matter. Negotiations at the national
level produced the German Foundation
Agreement, in which Germany agreed to establish
a foundation funded with 10 billion deutsch marks
contributed equally by the German Government
and German companies to compensate the
companies victims during the Nazi era. The
President agreed that whenever a German
company was sued on a Holocaust-era claim in an
American court, the Government would (1)
submit a statement that it would be in this
countrys foreign policy interests for the
foundation to be the exclusive forum and remedy
for such claims, and (2) try to get state and local
governments to respect the foundation as the
exclusive mechanism. As for insurance claims in
particular, both countries agreed that the German
Foundation would work with the International
Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims
(ICHEIC), a voluntary organization whose mission
is to negotiate with European insurers to provide
information about and settlement of unpaid
insurance policies, and which has set up
procedures to that end. The German agreement

has served as a model for similar agreements with


Austria and France.
Meanwhile, California began its own enquiry
into the issue, prompting state legislation
designed to force payment by defaulting insurers.
Among other laws, Californias Holocaust Victim
Insurance Relief Act of 1999 (HVIRA) requires any
insurer doing business in the State to disclose
information about all policies sold in Europe
between 1920 and 1945 by the company or any
one related to it upon penalty of loss of its
state business license. After HVIRA was enacted,
the State issued administrative subpoenas against
several subsidiaries of European insurance
companies participating in the ICHEIC.
Immediately, the Federal Government informed
California officials that HVIRA would damage the
ICHEIC, the only effective means to process
quickly and completely unpaid Holocaust era
insurance claims, and that HVIRA would possibly
derail the German Foundation Agreement.
Nevertheless, the state insurance commissioner
announced that he would enforce HVIRA to its
fullest. Petitioner insurance entities then filed
this suit challenging HVIRAs constitutionality. The
District Court issued a preliminary injunction
against enforcing HVIRA and later granted
petitioners summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit
reversed, holding, inter alia, that HVIRA did not
violate the federal foreign affairs power.
Held: Californias HVIRA interferes with the
Presidents conduct of the Nations foreign policy
and is therefore preempted. Pp. 1431.
(a) There is no question that at some point an
exercise of state power that touches on foreign
relations must yield to the National Governments
policy or that generally there is executive
authority to decide what that policy should be. In
foreign policymaking, the President, not
Congress, has the lead role. First Nat. City
Bank v. Banco Nacional de Cuba, 406 U.S. 759,
767. Specifically, the President has authority to
make executive agreements with other

countries, requiring no ratification by the Senate


or approval by Congress. See, e.g., Dames &
Moore v. Regan, 453 U.S. 654, 679, 682683.
Making such agreements to settle claims of
American nationals against foreign governments is
a particularly longstanding practice. Although the
executive agreements with Germany, Austria, and
France at issue differ from past agreements in
that they address claims associated with formerly
belligerent states, but against corporations, not
the foreign governments, the distinction does not
matter. Insisting on a sharp line between public
and private acts in defining the legitimate scope
of the Executives international negotiations
would hamstring the President in settling
international controversies. Generally, then, valid
executive agreements are fit to preempt state
law, and if the agreements here had expressly
preempted laws like HVIRA, the issue would be
straightforward. But since these agreements
include no preemption clause, petitioners
preemption claim rests on the asserted
interference with Presidential foreign policy that
the agreements embody. The principal support for
this claim of preemption
is Zschernig v. Miller, 389 U.S. 429. In invalidating
an Oregon statute, theZschernig majority relied
on statements in previous cases that are open to
the reading that state action with more than
incidental effect on foreign affairs is preempted,
even absent any affirmative federal activity in
the subject area of the state law, and hence
without any showing of conflict. See, e.g., id., at
432. Justice Harlan, concurring in the result,
disagreed on this point, arguing that its
implication of preemption of the entire foreign
affairs field was at odds with other cases
suggesting that, absent positive federal action,
States may legislate in areas of their traditional
competence even though their statutes may have
an incidental effect on foreign relations. Id., at
459. Whether respect for the executive foreign
relations power requires a categorical choice
between the contrasting theories of field and
conflict preemption evident inZschernig requires

no answer here, for even on Justice Harlans


view, shared by the majority, the likelihood that
state legislation will produce something more
than incidental effect in conflict with the
National Governments express foreign policy
would require preemption of the state law. See
also United States v. Pink, 315 U.S. 203, 230231.
And since on his view it is legislation within
areas of traditional competence that gives a
State any claim to prevail, 389 U.S., at 459, it is
reasonable to consider the strength of the state
interest, judged by standards of traditional
practice, when deciding how serious a conflict
must be shown before declaring the state law
preempted. Pp. 1421.
(b) There is a sufficiently clear conflict
between HVIRA and the Presidents foreign policy,
as expressed both in the executive agreements
with Germany, Austria, and France, and in
statements by high-level Executive Branch
officials, to require preemption here even
without any consideration of the States interest.
The account of negotiations toward those
agreements shows that the consistent Presidential
foreign policy has been to encourage European
governments and companies to volunteer
settlement funds and disclosure of policy
information, in preference to litigation or
coercive sanctions. California has taken a
different tack: HVIRAs economic compulsion to
make public disclosure, of far more information
about far more policies than ICHEIC rules require,
employs a different, state system of economic
pressure, and in doing so undercuts the
Presidents diplomatic discretion and the choice
he has made exercising it. Crosby v. National
Foreign Trade Council, 530 U.S. 363, 376.
Whereas the Presidents authority to provide for
settling claims in winding up international
hostilities requires flexibility in wielding the
coercive power of the national economy as a
tool of diplomacy, id., at 377, HVIRA denies this,
by making exclusion from a large sector of the
American insurance market the automatic

sanction for noncompliance with the States own


disclosure policies. HVIRA thus compromises the
Presidents very capacity to speak for the Nation
with one voice in dealing with other governments
to resolve claims arising out of World War II.
Although the HVIRA disclosure requirements goal
of obtaining compensation for Holocaust victims
is also espoused by the National Government, the
fact of a common end hardly neutralizes
conflicting means. The express federal policy and
the clear conflict raised by the state statute are
alone enough to require state law to yield. Pp. 21
26.
(c) If any doubt about the clarity of the
conflict remained, it would have to be resolved in
the National Governments favor, given the
weakness of the States interest, when evaluated
in terms of traditional state legislative subject
matter, in regulating disclosure of European
Holocaust-era insurance policies in the manner of
HVIRA. Even if Californias underlying concern for
its several thousand Holocaust survivors is
recognized as a powerful one, the same objective
dignifies the National Governments interest in
devising its chosen mechanism for voluntary
settlements, there being approximately 100,000
survivors in the country, only a small fraction of
them in California. As against the federal
responsibility, the humanity underlying the state
statute could not give the State the benefit of
any doubt in resolving the conflict with national
policy. Pp. 2728.
(d) California seeks to use an iron fist where
the President has consistently chosen kid gloves.
The efficacy of the one approach versus the other
is beside the point, since preemption turns not on
the wisdom of the National Governments policy
but on the evidence of conflict. Here, the
evidence is more than sufficient to demonstrate
that HVIRA stands in the way of the Presidents
diplomatic objectives. P. 28.
(e) The Court rejects the States submission
that even if HVIRA does interfere with Executive

Branch foreign policy, Congress authorized state


law of this sort in the McCarran-Ferguson Act and
the U.S. Holocaust Assets Commission Act of
1998. To begin with, the effect of any
congressional authorization on the preemption
enquiry is far from clear, but in any event neither
statute does the job the State ascribes to it.
McCarran-Fergusons purpose was to limit
congressional preemption of state insurance laws
under the commerce power, whether dormant or
exercised, see, e.g., Department of
Treasury v. Fabe, 508 U.S. 491, 499500, and it
cannot plausibly be read to address preemption
by executive conduct in foreign affairs. Nor is
HVIRA authorized by the Holocaust Commission
Act, which set up a Presidential Commission to
study Holocaust-era assets that came into the
Governments control, 3(a)(1), and directed the
Commission to encourage state insurance
commissioners to prepare a report on the
Holocaust-related claims practices of all
insurance companies doing business in this
country after January 30, 1933, 3(a)(4)(A). The
Commissions focus was limited to assets held by
the Government, and the Acts reference to the
state insurance commissioners report was
expressly limited to the degree the information
is available, 3(a)(4)(B), which can hardly be
read to condone state sanctions interfering with
federal efforts to resolve claims. Finally, Congress
has done nothing to express disapproval of the
Presidents policy. Given the Presidents
considerable independent authority in this area,
Congresss silence cannot be equated with
disapproval. Pp. 2931.
296 F.3d 832, reversed.
Souter, J., delivered the opinion of the Court,
in which Rehnquist, C. J., and OConnor,
Kennedy, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Ginsburg, J.,
filed a dissenting opinion, in which Stevens,
Scalia, and Thomas, JJ., joined.
In Re : Cunanan 94 Phil 534

EN BANC

G.R. No. 96681 December 2, 1991


HON. ISIDRO CARIO, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture & Sports, DR.
ERLINDA LOLARGA, in her capacity as Superintendent of City Schools of Manila, petitioners,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, GRACIANO BUDOY, JULIETA BABARAN, ELSA IBABAO, HELEN
LUPO, AMPARO GONZALES, LUZ DEL CASTILLO, ELSA REYES and APOLINARIO ESBER, respondents.

NARVASA, J.:p
The issue raised in the special civil action of certiorari and prohibition at bar, instituted by the Solicitor General, may
be formulated as follows: where the relief sought from the Commission on Human Rights by a party in a case
consists of the review and reversal or modification of a decision or order issued by a court of justice or government
agency or official exercising quasi-judicial functions, may the Commission take cognizance of the case and grant
that relief? Stated otherwise, where a particular subject-matter is placed by law within the jurisdiction of a court or
other government agency or official for purposes of trial and adjudgment, may the Commission on Human Rights
take cognizance of the same subject-matter for the same purposes of hearing and adjudication?
The facts narrated in the petition are not denied by the respondents and are hence taken as substantially correct for
purposes of ruling on the legal questions posed in the present action. These facts, 1 together with others involved in related cases
recently resolved by this Court 2 or otherwise undisputed on the record, are hereunder set forth.

1. On September 17, 1990, a Monday and a class day, some 800 public school teachers, among them members of
the Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) undertook what
they described as "mass concerted actions" to "dramatize and highlight" their plight resulting from the alleged failure
of the public authorities to act upon grievances that had time and again been brought to the latter's attention.
According to them they had decided to undertake said "mass concerted actions" after the protest rally staged at the
DECS premises on September 14, 1990 without disrupting classes as a last call for the government to negotiate the
granting of demands had elicited no response from the Secretary of Education. The "mass actions" consisted in
staying away from their classes, converging at the Liwasang Bonifacio, gathering in peaceable assemblies, etc.
Through their representatives, the teachers participating in the mass actions were served with an order of the
Secretary of Education to return to work in 24 hours or face dismissal, and a memorandum directing the DECS
officials concerned to initiate dismissal proceedings against those who did not comply and to hire their
replacements. Those directives notwithstanding, the mass actions continued into the week, with more teachers
joining in the days that followed. 3
Among those who took part in the "concerted mass actions" were the eight (8) private respondents herein, teachers
at the Ramon Magsaysay High School, Manila, who had agreed to support the non-political demands of the
MPSTA. 4
2. For failure to heed the return-to-work order, the CHR complainants (private respondents) were administratively
charged on the basis of the principal's report and given five (5) days to answer the charges. They were also
preventively suspended for ninety (90) days "pursuant to Section 41 of P.D. 807" and temporarily replaced
(unmarked CHR Exhibits, Annexes F, G, H). An investigation committee was consequently formed to hear the
charges in accordance with P.D. 807. 5
3. In the administrative case docketed as Case No. DECS 90-082 in which CHR complainants Graciano Budoy, Jr.,
Julieta Babaran, Luz del Castillo, Apolinario Esber were, among others, named respondents, 6 the latter filed separate
answers, opted for a formal investigation, and also moved "for suspension of the administrative proceedings pending resolution by . . (the Supreme) Court of their
application for issuance of an injunctive writ/temporary restraining order." But when their motion for suspension was denied by Order dated November 8, 1990 of
the Investigating Committee, which later also denied their motion for reconsideration orally made at the hearing of November 14, 1990, "the respondents led by
their counsel staged a walkout signifying their intent to boycott the entire proceedings." 7 The case eventually resulted in a Decision of Secretary Cario dated

December 17, 1990, rendered after evaluation of the evidence as well as the answers, affidavits and documents submitted by the respondents, decreeing
dismissal from the service of Apolinario Esber and the suspension for nine (9) months of Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo. 8

4. In the meantime, the "MPSTA filed a petition for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court of Manila against
petitioner (Cario), which was dismissed (unmarked CHR Exhibit, Annex I). Later, the MPSTA went to the Supreme
Court (on certiorari, in an attempt to nullify said dismissal, grounded on the) alleged violation of the striking
teachers" right to due process and peaceable assembly docketed as G.R. No. 95445, supra. The ACT also filed a
similar petition before the Supreme Court . . . docketed as G.R. No. 95590." 9 Both petitions in this Court were filed in behalf of the
teacher associations, a few named individuals, and "other teacher-members so numerous similarly situated" or "other similarly situated public school teachers too
numerous to be impleaded."

5. In the meantime, too, the respondent teachers submitted sworn statements dated September 27, 1990 to the
Commission on Human Rights to complain that while they were participating in peaceful mass actions, they
suddenly learned of their replacements as teachers, allegedly without notice and consequently for reasons
completely unknown to them. 10
6. Their complaints and those of other teachers also "ordered suspended by the . . . (DECS)," all numbering fortytwo (42) were docketed as "Striking Teachers CHR Case No. 90775." In connection therewith the Commission
scheduled a "dialogue" on October 11, 1990, and sent a subpoena to Secretary Cario requiring his attendance
therein. 11
On the day of the "dialogue," although it said that it was "not certain whether he (Sec. Cario) received the
subpoena which was served at his office, . . . (the) Commission, with the Chairman presiding, and Commissioners
Hesiquio R. Mallilin and Narciso C. Monteiro, proceeded to hear the case;" it heard the complainants' counsel (a)
explain that his clients had been "denied due process and suspended without formal notice, and unjustly, since they
did not join the mass leave," and (b) expatiate on the grievances which were "the cause of the mass leave of
MPSTA teachers, (and) with which causes they (CHR complainants) sympathize." 12 The Commission thereafter issued an
Order 13 reciting these facts and making the following disposition:

To be properly apprised of the real facts of the case and be accordingly guided in its investigation
and resolution of the matter, considering that these forty two teachers are now suspended and
deprived of their wages, which they need very badly, Secretary Isidro Cario, of the Department of
Education, Culture and Sports, Dr. Erlinda Lolarga, school superintendent of Manila and the
Principal of Ramon Magsaysay High School, Manila, are hereby enjoined to appear and enlighten
the Commission en banc on October 19, 1990 at 11:00 A.M. and to bring with them any and all
documents relevant to the allegations aforestated herein to assist the Commission in this matter.
Otherwise, the Commission will resolve the complaint on the basis of complainants' evidence.
xxx xxx xxx
7. Through the Office of the Solicitor General, Secretary Cario sought and was granted leave to file a motion to
dismiss the case. His motion to dismiss was submitted on November 14, 1990 alleging as grounds therefor, "that the
complaint states no cause of action and that the CHR has no jurisdiction over the case." 14
8. Pending determination by the Commission of the motion to dismiss, judgments affecting the "striking teachers"
were promulgated in two (2) cases, as aforestated, viz.:
a) The Decision dated December l7, 1990 of Education Secretary Cario in Case No. DECS 90-082,
decreeing dismissal from the service of Apolinario Esber and the suspension for nine (9) months of
Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo; 15 and
b) The joint Resolution of this Court dated August 6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590 dismissing
the petitions "without prejudice to any appeals, if still timely, that the individual petitioners may take
to the Civil Service Commission on the matters complained of," 16 and inter alia "ruling that it was prima
facie lawful for petitioner Cario to issue return-to-work orders, file administrative charges against recalcitrants, preventively suspend them,
and issue decision on those charges." 17

9. In an Order dated December 28, 1990, respondent Commission denied Sec. Cario's motion to dismiss and
required him and Superintendent Lolarga "to submit their counter-affidavits within ten (10) days . . . (after which) the

Commission shall proceed to hear and resolve the case on the merits with or without respondents counter
affidavit." 18 It held that the "striking teachers" "were denied due process of law; . . . they should not have been replaced without a chance to reply to the
administrative charges;" there had been a violation of their civil and political rights which the Commission was empowered to investigate; and while expressing its
"utmost respect to the Supreme Court . . . the facts before . . . (it) are different from those in the case decided by the Supreme Court" (the reference being
unmistakably to this Court's joint Resolution of August 6, 1991 in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, supra).

It is to invalidate and set aside this Order of December 28, 1990 that the Solicitor General, in behalf of petitioner
Cario, has commenced the present action of certiorari and prohibition.
The Commission on Human Rights has made clear its position that it does not feel bound by this Court's joint
Resolution in G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, supra. It has also made plain its intention "to hear and resolve the case
(i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on the merits." It intends, in other words, to try and decide or hear
and determine, i.e., exercise jurisdiction over the following general issues:
1) whether or not the striking teachers were denied due process, and just cause exists for the imposition of
administrative disciplinary sanctions on them by their superiors; and
2) whether or not the grievances which were "the cause of the mass leave of MPSTA teachers, (and) with which
causes they (CHR complainants) sympathize," justify their mass action or strike.
The Commission evidently intends to itself adjudicate, that is to say, determine with character of finality and
definiteness, the same issues which have been passed upon and decided by the Secretary of Education, Culture &
Sports, subject to appeal to the Civil Service Commission, this Court having in fact, as aforementioned, declared
that the teachers affected may take appeals to the Civil Service Commission on said matters, if still timely.
The threshold question is whether or not the Commission on Human Rights has the power under the Constitution to
do so; whether or not, like a court of justice, 19 or even a quasi-judicial agency, 20 it has jurisdiction or adjudicatory powers over, or the power to
try and decide, or hear and determine, certain specific type of cases, like alleged human rights violations involving civil or political rights.

The Court declares the Commission on Human Rights to have no such power; and that it was not meant by the
fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much less take over the
functions of the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may investigate, i.e.,
receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights violations involving civil and political
rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even
a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a
controversy is not a judicial function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence
and making factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those
factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and
definitively, subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. 21 This function, to repeat, the Commission
does not have. 22

The proposition is made clear by the constitutional provisions specifying the powers of the Commission on Human
Rights.
The Commission was created by the 1987 Constitution as an independent office.

23 Upon its constitution, it succeeded and


superseded the Presidential Committee on Human Rights existing at the time of the effectivity of the Constitution. 24 Its powers and functions are the following 25

(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving
civil and political rights;
(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations
thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;
(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the
Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal aid
services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection;

(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;


(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to enhance respect for
the primacy of human rights;
(6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide for
compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;
(7) Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty obligations on human
rights;
(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession of
documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the truth in any investigation
conducted by it or under its authority;
(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its
functions;
(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and
(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.
As should at once be observed, only the first of the enumerated powers and functions bears any resemblance to
adjudication or adjudgment. The Constitution clearly and categorically grants to the Commission the power
toinvestigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights. It can exercise that power on its
own initiative or on complaint of any person. It may exercise that power pursuant to such rules of procedure as it
may adopt and, in cases of violations of said rules, cite for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court. In the
course of any investigation conducted by it or under its authority, it may grant immunity from prosecution to any
person whose testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to
determine the truth. It may also request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the
performance of its functions, in the conduct of its investigation or in extending such remedy as may be required by
its findings. 26
But it cannot try and decide cases (or hear and determine causes) as courts of justice, or even quasi-judicial bodies
do. To investigate is not to adjudicate or adjudge. Whether in the popular or the technical sense, these terms have
well understood and quite distinct meanings.
"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into, research on, study.
The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire into systematically. "to search or
inquire into: . . . to subject to an official probe . . .: to conduct an official inquiry." 27 The purpose of investigation, of course, is to
discover, to find out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a controversy involved in the facts
inquired into by application of the law to the facts established by the inquiry.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient inquiry or
observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and accuracy; to find out by
careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" 28 "to inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being
in turn describe as "(a)n administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; . . . an inquiry, judicial or
otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter or matters." 29

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide, determine, resolve,
rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and duties of the parties to a court
case) on the merits of issues raised: . . . to pass judgment on: settle judicially: . . . act as judge." 30 And "adjudge" means "to
decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: . . . to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy . . . ." 31

In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine finally.
Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially, to decide, settle or
decree, or to sentence or condemn. . . . Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment." 32

Hence it is that the Commission on Human Rights, having merely the power "to investigate," cannot and should not
"try and resolve on the merits" (adjudicate) the matters involved in Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775, as it
has announced it means to do; and it cannot do so even if there be a claim that in the administrative disciplinary
proceedings against the teachers in question, initiated and conducted by the DECS, their human rights, or civil or
political rights had been transgressed. More particularly, the Commission has no power to "resolve on the merits"
the question of (a) whether or not the mass concerted actions engaged in by the teachers constitute and are
prohibited or otherwise restricted by law; (b) whether or not the act of carrying on and taking part in those actions,
and the failure of the teachers to discontinue those actions, and return to their classes despite the order to this effect
by the Secretary of Education, constitute infractions of relevant rules and regulations warranting administrative
disciplinary sanctions, or are justified by the grievances complained of by them; and (c) what where the particular
acts done by each individual teacher and what sanctions, if any, may properly be imposed for said acts or
omissions.
These are matters undoubtedly and clearly within the original jurisdiction of the Secretary of Education, being within
the scope of the disciplinary powers granted to him under the Civil Service Law, and also, within the appellate
jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.
Indeed, the Secretary of Education has, as above narrated, already taken cognizance of the issues and resolved
them, 33 and it appears that appeals have been seasonably taken by the aggrieved parties to the Civil Service Commission; and even this Court itself has had
occasion to pass upon said issues. 34

Now, it is quite obvious that whether or not the conclusions reached by the Secretary of Education in disciplinary
cases are correct and are adequately based on substantial evidence; whether or not the proceedings themselves
are void or defective in not having accorded the respondents due process; and whether or not the Secretary of
Education had in truth committed "human rights violations involving civil and political rights," are matters which may
be passed upon and determined through a motion for reconsideration addressed to the Secretary Education
himself, and in the event of an adverse verdict, may be reviewed by the Civil Service Commission and eventually
the Supreme Court.
The Commission on Human Rights simply has no place in this scheme of things. It has no business intruding into
the jurisdiction and functions of the Education Secretary or the Civil Service Commission. It has no business going
over the same ground traversed by the latter and making its own judgment on the questions involved. This would
accord success to what may well have been the complaining teachers' strategy to abort, frustrate or negate the
judgment of the Education Secretary in the administrative cases against them which they anticipated would be
adverse to them.
This cannot be done. It will not be permitted to be done.
In any event, the investigation by the Commission on Human Rights would serve no useful purpose. If its
investigation should result in conclusions contrary to those reached by Secretary Cario, it would have no power
anyway to reverse the Secretary's conclusions. Reversal thereof can only by done by the Civil Service Commission
and lastly by this Court. The only thing the Commission can do, if it concludes that Secretary Cario was in error, is
to refer the matter to the appropriate Government agency or tribunal for assistance; that would be the Civil Service
Commission. 35 It cannot arrogate unto itself the appellate jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission.
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted; the Order of December 29, 1990 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE, and the
respondent Commission on Human Rights and the Chairman and Members thereof are prohibited "to hear and
resolve the case (i.e., Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775) on the merits."
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr. and Romero, JJ, concur.

Separate Opinions

GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:


I concur in the result. The teachers are not to be blamed for exhausting all means to overcome the Secretary's
arbitrary act of not reinstating them.
PARAS, J., concurring:
I concur with the brilliant and enlightening decision of Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa
I wish to add however that the Commission on Human Rights should concern itself in this case and in many other
similar cases:
(1) not only with the human rights of striking teachers but also the human rights of students and their
parents;
(2) not only with the human rights of the accused but also the human rights of the victims and the
latter's families;
(3) not only with the human rights of those who rise against the government but also those who
defend the same;
(4) not only the human rights of striking laborers but also those who as a consequence of strikes
may be laid off because of financial repercussions.
The defense of human rights is not a monopoly of a government agency (such as the Commission on
Human Rights) nor the monopoly of a group of lawyers defending so-called "human rights' but the
responsibility of ALL AGENCIES (governmental or private) and of ALL LAWYERS, JUDGES, and
JUSTICES.
Finally, the Commission should realize that while there are "human rights", there are also corresponding "human
obligations."

PADILLA, J., dissenting:


I vote to dismiss the petition for the same reasons stated in my earlier separate opinion filed in this case.

# Separate Opinions
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:
I concur in the result. The teachers are not to be blamed for exhausting all means to overcome the Secretary's
arbitrary act of not reinstating them.

PARAS, J., concurring:


I concur with the brilliant and enlightening decision of Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa
I wish to add however that the Commission on Human Rights should concern itself in this case and in many other
similar cases:
(1) not only with the human rights of striking teachers but also the human rights of students and their
parents;
(2) not only with the human rights of the accused but also the human rights of the victims and the
latter's families;
(3) not only with the human rights of those who rise against the government but also those who
defend the same;
(4) not only the human rights of striking laborers but also those who as a consequence of strikes
may be laid off because of financial repercussions.
The defense of human rights is not a monopoly of a government agency (such as the Commission on
Human Rights) nor the monopoly of a group of lawyers defending so-called "human rights' but the
responsibility of ALL AGENCIES (governmental or private) and of ALL LAWYERS, JUDGES, and
JUSTICES.
Finally, the Commission should realize that while there are "human rights", there are also corresponding "human
obligations."

PADILLA, J., dissenting:


I vote to dismiss the petition for the same reasons stated in my earlier separate opinion filed in this case.

# Footnotes
1 Rollo, pp. 6-13.
2 G.R. No. 95445 (Manila Public School Teachers Association, et al. v. Hon. Perfecto Laguio, Jr.,
etc., et al) and G.R. No. 95590 (Alliance of Concerned Teachers [ACT], et al. v. Hon. Isidro Cario,
etc., et al.).
3 (Joint) Resolution, G.R. Nos. 95445 and 95590, prom. Aug. 6, 1991, pp. 3-4.
4 Rollo, p. 7.
5 Id., p. 7.
6 Also impleaded as respondents were other teachers, Adelaida dela Cruz, Ma. Teresa Rizardo, Rita
Atabelo and Digna Operiano (Rollo, p. 77).
7 Rollo, pp. 77-78.
8 Id., pp. 77-81.

9 Id., pp. 7-8, and 47-50 (Annex "I," petition: Decision of Judge Perfecto A.S. Laguio in Civil Case
No. 90-54468 of the RTC of Manila [Branch 18] entitled Manila Public School Teachers Association,
et al. v. Hon. Isidro Cario and Hon. Erlinda Lolarga).
10 Id., pp. 8; 51-52 (Annex J, Petition: Pinagsamang Sinumpaang Salaysay of 7 affiants including
respondents Budoy, Babaran, and del Castillo), and 53-54 (Annex K, petition: sworn statement given
by Apolinario Esber under questioning by Nicanor S. Agustin, CHR).
11 Id., p. 56: Order in Striking Teachers CHR Case No. 90-775, 1st par., p. 1.
12 Id., 1st and 2nd pars., p. 1.
13 Id., pp, 56-57.
14 Id., pp, 11-58-76 (Annex M, petition).
15 SEE footnote 8 and related text, supra.
16 SEE footnote 3, supra.
17 Rollo, p. 11.
18 Id., pp. 12-13.
19 Including Regional Trial Courts designated and acting as Special Agrarian Courts, and the Court
of Tax Appeals. SEE Supreme Court Circular No. 1-91 eff. April 1, 1991.
20 Vested with judicial authority or quasi-judicial powers are such agencies, boards or officers like
the Securities & Exchange Commission, Land Registration Authority, Social Security Commission,
Civil Aeronautics Board, Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer, National
Electrification Administration, Energy Regulatory Board, National Telecommunications Commission,
Department of Agrarian Reform, Government Service Insurance System, Employees' Compensation
Commission, Philippine Atomic Energy Commission. SEE Circular No. 1-91, supra. Also possessed
of quasi-judicial authorities are department heads and heads of office under the Civil Service Law,
and the Ombudsman.
21 The nature of a "judicial function" was inter alia described in Republic of the Philippines (PCGG)
v. Sandiganbayan, et al., G.R. No. 90478 as follows: "The resolution of controversies is, as everyone
knows, the raison d'etre of courts. This essential function is accomplished by first, the ascertainment
of all the material and relevant facts from the pleadings and from the evidence adduced by the
parties, and second after that determination of the facts has been completed, by the application of
the law thereto to the end that the controversy may be settled authoritatively, definitively and finally."
. . . "It may be said generally that the exercise of judicial functions is to determine what the law is,
and what the legal rights of parties are, with respect to a matter in controversy; and whenever an
officer is clothed with that authority, and undertakes to determine those questions, he acts
judicially." . . . Mun. Council of Lemery v. Prov. Board of Batangas, 56 Phil. 260, 270, citing State ex
rel. Boards of Commrs. v. Dunn, 86 Minn. 301, 304.
It has been held that a special civil action of certiorari "would not lie to challenge action of the
"Integrity Board" set up by Executive
Order No. 318 of May 25, 1950, because that board, like the later Presidential Complaints and
Action Commission, was not invested with judicial functions but only with power to investigate
charges of graft and corruption in office and to submit the record, together with findings and
recommendations, to the President." Ruperto v. Torres G.R. No. L-8785, Feb. 25, 1957 (Unrep., 100
Phil. 1098) (Rep. of the Phil. Digest, Vol. 1, Certiorari, Sec. 22, p. 430).

Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed., treating of "jurisdiction" in relation to a criminal case, states it to
be "the power of a court to inquire into the fact, to apply the law, and to declare the punishment, in a
regular course of judicial proceeding . . ." In Black's Law Dictionary 5th Ed., "adjudge" is defined as:
"To pass on judicially, to decide, settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. . . . Implies a judicial
determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment (emphasis supplied).
22 A distinguished Member of the Constitutional Commission that drew up the 1987 Constitution, Fr.
Joaquin Bernas, S.J., citing the Commission's official records, states that the "principal function of
the Commission (on Human Rights) is investigatory. In fact, in terms of law enforcement, this pretty
much is the limit of its function. Beyond investigation, it will have to rely on the Justice Department
which has full control over prosecutions. Thus, under Section 18 (9) it can only request assistance
from executive offices." (Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, a
Commentary, 1988 ed., Vol. II p. 503/).
23 Art. XIII, Sec. 17. (1).
24 Id., Sec. 17. (3).
25 Id., Sec. 18.
26 E.g.: the prosecution of persons guilty of crimes, or institution of civil or administrative
proceedings; exercise of visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities; the submission of
recommendations to the Congress of measures to promote human rights provide for compensation
to victims of violations thereof, etc.
27 Webster's Third New International Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary (2d ed., 1961)
definition is: "To search or inquire into; to examine (a matter) systematically or in detail; to make an
inquiry or examination into." The American College Encyclopedic Dictionary (1959 ed.) defines (a)
"investigate" as "to search or examine into the particulars of; examine in detail;" and (b)
"investigation," an act or process of investigating; a searching inquiry in order to ascertain facts; a
detailed or careful examination.
28 Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed.
29 Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed.
30 Webster's Third New International Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary (2d ed., 1961)
definition is "To adjudge; to award; "to give something controverted to one of the litigants, by a
sentence or decision. . . . To try and determine judicially; to pronounce by sentence of court. . . . To
sit in judgment and pronounce sentence; to act as a judge, or court of judgment."
31 Id., the Oxford English Dictionary (2d ed., 1961) definition is "To settle, determine, or decide
judicially; to adjudicate upon; . . . To pronounce or decree by judicial sentence . . . To award
judicially; to grant, bestow, or impose by judicial sentence . . . ."
32 Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed.; in Ballentine's Law Dictionary, "adjudicate" is defined as: "To give
judgment; to render or award judgment," and "adjudge" as: "To give judgment; to decide, to
sentence." In Bouvier's Law Dictionary Third Revision (8th Ed.), "adjudication" is defined as "A
judgment; giving or pronouncing judgment in a case. Determination in the exercise of judicial power."
33 SEE footnotes 6 to 8, and 15, and related text, supra.
34 SEE footnotes 16 and 17 related text, supra.
35 SEE footnote 26, supra.

EN BANC
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 TALIO-SANTOS, DOUGLAS CAGAS, SHERWIN
GATCHALIAN, LUIS BERSAMIN, JR., NERISSA SOON-RUIZ, ERNESTO NIEVA, EDGAR ERICE, ISMAEL
MATHAY, SAMUEL DANGWA, ALFREDO MARAON, 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. AGUIRREPADERANGA, 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. HOFILEA, 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 extraconstitutional 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

RULE V
BAR AGAINST INITIATION OF

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 onethird (1/3) of all the Members of the
House.

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 House12 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. PCGG15 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 copetitioner 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. Factoran17 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. Hofilea, 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 coequal 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.
Judicial 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 Commission23 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 courts25 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. Madison27 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:
xxx
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
xxx

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 Secretary38 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 Revenue40 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 cases48 (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. Yniguez58 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 Judicial 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
interest70 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 procedure73 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. Morato75 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."
xxx
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. 86It, 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.
Justiciability
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 Secretary102 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
Malacaang. 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 Malacaang 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.
xxx
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.
xxx

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.
xxx

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. Carr111 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.
Judicial 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 Senatorselect, 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. TVA135 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 Secretary139 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.
xxx
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.
xxx

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.
xxx
(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. Avelino147 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 Osmea 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
xxx
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--vis
the Executive and the Legislative departments of government. 155
xxx
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
xxx
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--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
xxx
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. US158 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 oneyear 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.

Footnotes

Rollo, G.R. No. 160261 at 180-182; Annex "H."

Per Special Appearance with Manifestation of House Speaker Jose C. De Venecia, Jr. (Rollo, G.R. No.
160261 at 325-363) the pertinent House Resolution is HR No. 260, but no copy of the same was submitted
before this Court.
2

Id. at 329. Created through PD No. 1949 (July 18, 1984), the JDF was established "to help ensure and
guarantee the independence of the Judiciary as mandated by the Constitution and public policy and required
by the impartial administration of justice" by creating a special fund to augment the allowances of the
members and personnel of the Judiciary and to finance the acquisition, maintenance and repair of office
equipment and facilities."
3

Rollo, G.R. No. 160261 at 120-139; Annex "E."

The initial complaint impleaded only Justices Artemio V. Panganiban, Josue N. Bellosillo, Reynato S. Puno,
Antonio T. Carpio and Renato C. Corona, and was later amended to include Justices Jose C. Vitug, and
Leonardo A. Quisumbing.
5

Supra note 4 at 123-124.

Rollo, G.R. No. 160403 at 48-53; Annex "A."

http://www.congress.gov.ph/search/bills/hist_show.php?bill_no=RPT9999

Rollo, G.R. No. 160262 at 8.

10

Rollo, G.R. No. 160295 at 11.

11

Rollo, G.R. No. 160262 at 43-84; Annex "B."

12

Supra note 2.

A perusal of the attachments submitted by the various petitioners reveals the following signatories to the
second impeachment complaint and the accompanying Resolution/Endorsement. 1. Gilbert Teodoro, Jr.,
NPC, Tarlac (principal complainant) 2. Felix Fuentebella, NPC, Camarines Sur (second principal
complainant) 3. Julio Ledesma, IV, NPC, Negros Occidental 4. Henry Lanot, NPC, Lone District of Pasig City
5. Kim Bernardo-Lokin, Party List-CIBAC 6. Marcelino Libanan, NPC, Lone District of Eastern Samar,
(Chairman, House Committee on Justice) 7. Emmylou Talino-Santos, Independent, 1st District, North
Cotobato 8. Douglas RA. Cagas, NPC, 1st District, Davao del Sur 9. Sherwin Gatchalian, NPC, 1st District,
Valenzuela City 10. Luis Bersamin, Jr., PDSP-PPC, Lone District of Abra 11. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz Alayon, 6th
District, Cebu 12. Ernesto Nieva, Lakas, 1st District, Manila 13. Edgar R. Erice, Lakas, 2nd District,
Kalookan City 14. Ismael Mathay III, Independent, 2nd District, Quezon City 15. Samuel Dangwa, Reporma,
Lone District of Benguet 16. Alfredo Maraon, Jr., NPC, 2nd District, Negros Occidental 17. Cecilia JalosjosCarreon, Reporma, 1st District, Zamboanga del Norte 18. Agapito A. Aquino, LDP, 2nd District, Makati City
19. Fausto L. Seachon, Jr., NPC, 3rd District, Masbate 20. Georgilu Yumul-Hermida, Pwersa ng Masa, 4th
District, Quezon 21. Jose Carlos Lacson, Lakas, 3rd District, Negros Occidental 22. Manuel C. Ortega, NPC,
1st District, La Union 23. Uliran Joaquin, NPC, 1st District, Laguna 24. Soraya C. Jaafar, Lakas, Lone
District of Tawi-Tawi 25. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Lakas, 1st District, Bulacan 26. Claude P. Bautista, NPC,
2nd District, Davao Del Sur 27. Del De Guzman, Lakas, Lone District of Marikina City 28. Zeneida CruzDucut, NPC, 2nd District, Pampanga 29. Augusto Baculio, Independent-LDP, 2nd District, Misamis Oriental
30. Faustino Dy III, NPC-Lakas, 3rd District, Isabela 31. Agusto Boboy Syjuco, Lakas, 2nd District, Iloilo 32.
Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon, LDP, Lone District of Muntinlupa City 33. Leovigildo B. Banaag, NPC-Lakas, 1st
District, Agusan del Norte 34. Eric Singson, LP, 2nd District, Ilocos Sur 35. Jacinto Paras, Lakas, 1st District,
Negros Oriental 36. Jose Solis, Independent, 2nd District, Sorsogon 37. Renato B. Magtubo, Party ListPartido ng Manggagawa 38. Herminio G. Teves, Lakas, 3rd District, Negros Oriental 39. Amado T. Espino,
Jr., Lakas, 2nd District, Pangasinan 40. Emilio Macias, NPC, 2nd District, Negros Oriental 41. Arthur Y.
Pingoy, Jr., NPC, 2nd District, South Cotobato 42. Francis Nepomuceno, NPC, 1st District, Pampanga 43.
13

Conrado M. Estrella III, NPC, 6th District, Pangasinan 44. Elias Bulut, Jr., NPC, Lone District of Apayao 45.
Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo, NPC, Lone District of Camiguin 46. Juan Pablo Bondoc, NPC, 4th District,
Pampanga 47. Generoso DC. Tulagan, NPC, 3rd District, Pangasinan 48. Perpetuo Ylagan, Lakas, Lone
District of Romblon 49. Michael Duavit, NPC, 1st District, Rizal 50. Joseph Ace H. Durano, NPC, 5th District,
Cebu 51. Jesli Lapus, NPC, 3rd District, Tarlac 52. Carlos Q. Cojuangco, NPC, 4th District, Negros
Occidental 53. Georgidi B. Aggabao, NPC, 4th District, Santiago, Isabela 54. Francis Escudero, NPC, 1st
District, Sorsogon 55. Rene M. Velarde, Party List-Buhay 56. Celso L. Lobregat, LDP, Lone District of
Zamboanga City 57. Alipio Cirilo V. Badelles, NPC, 1st District, Lanao del Norte 58. Didagen P. Dilangalen,
Pwersa ng Masa, Lone District of Maguindanao 59. Abraham B. Mitra, LDP, 2nd District, Palawan 60.
Joseph Santiago, NPC, Lone District of Catanduanes 61. Darlene Antonino-Custodio, NPC, 1st District of
South Cotobato & General Santos City 62. Aleta C. Suarez, LP, 3rd District, Quezon 63. Rodolfo G. Plaza,
NPC, Lone District of Agusan del Sur 64. JV Bautista, Party List-Sanlakas 65. Gregorio Ipong, NPC, 2nd
District, North Cotabato 66. Gilbert C. Remulla, LDP, 2nd District, Cavite 67. Rolex T. Suplico, LDP, 5th
District, Iloilo 68. Celia Layus, NPC, Cagayan 69. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Lakas, 3rd District, Bukidnon 70.
Benasing Macarambon Jr,. NPC, 2nd District, Lanao del Sur 71. Josefina Joson, NPC, Lone District of
Nueva Ecija 72. Mark Cojuangco, NPC, 5th District, Pangasinan 73. Mauricio Domogan, Lakas, Lone
District of Baguio City 74. Ronaldo B. Zamora, Pwersa ng Masa, Lone District of San Juan 75. Angelo O.
Montilla, NPC, Lone District of Sultan Kudarat 76. Roseller L. Barinaga, NPC, 2nd District, Zamboanga del
Norte 77. Jesnar R. Falcon, NPC, 2nd District, Surigao del Sur 78. Ruy Elias Lopez, NPC, 3rd District,
Davao City.
Rollo, G.R. No. 160261 at 5. Petitioner had previously filed two separate impeachment complaints before
the House of Representatives against Ombudsman Aniano Desierto.
14

299 SCRA 744 (1998). In Chavez v. PCGG, petitioner Chavez argued that as a taxpayer and a citizen, he
had the legal personality to file a petition demanding that the PCGG make public any and all negotiations
and agreements pertaining to the PCGG's task of recovering the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth. Petitioner
Chavez further argued that the matter of recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses is an issue of
transcendental importance to the public. The Supreme Court, citing Taada v. Tuvera, 136 SCRA 27
(1985), Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, 150 SCRA 530 (1987) and Albano v. Reyes, 175 SCRA 264
(1989) ruled that petitioner had standing. The Court, however, went on to elaborate that in any event, the
question on the standing of petitioner Chavez was rendered moot by the intervention of the Jopsons who are
among the legitimate claimants to the Marcos wealth.
15

384 SCRA 152 (2002). In Chavez v. PEA-Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation, wherein the
petition sought to compel the Public Estates Authority (PEA) to disclose all facts on its then on-going
negotiations with Amari Coastal Development Corporation to reclaim portions of Manila Bay, the Supreme
Court said that petitioner Chavez had the standing to bring a taxpayer's suit because the petition sought to
compel PEA to comply with its constitutional duties.
16

17

224 SCRA 792 (1993).

Subsequent petitions were filed before this Court seeking similar relief. Other than the petitions, this Court
also received Motions for Intervention from among others, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., and Special
Appearances by House Speaker Jose C. de Venecia, Jr., and Senate President Franklin Drilon.
18

19

Supra note 2 at 10.

Justice Florenz D. Regalado, Former Constitutional Commissioners Justice Regalado E. Maambong and
Father Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ, Justice Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., Former Minister of Justice and Solicitor
General Estelito P. Mendoza, Deans Pacifico Agabin and Raul C. Pangalangan, and Former Senate
President Jovito R. Salonga,.
20

21

Rollo, G.R. No. 160261 at 275-292.

22

Id. at 292.

23

63 Phil 139 (1936).

24

Id. at 157-159.

Vide Alejandrino v. Quezon, 46 Phil 83 (1924); Taada v. Cuenco, 103 Phil 1051 (1957); Ynot v.
Intermediate Appellate Court, 148 SCRA 659, 665 (1987).
25

26

Const., art. VIII, sec. 1.

27

5 US 137 (1803).

28

Id. at 180.

In In re Prautch, 1 Phil 132 (1902), this Court held that a statute allowing for imprisonment for nonpayment of a debt was invalid. In Casanovas v. Hord, 8 Phil 125 (1907), this Court invalidated a statute
imposing a tax on mining claims on the ground that a government grant stipulating that the payment of
certain taxes by the grantee would be in lieu of other taxes was a contractual obligation which could not be
impaired by subsequent legislation. In Concepcion v. Paredes, 42 Phil 599 (1921), Section 148 (2) of the
Administrative Code, as amended, which provided that judges of the first instance with the same salaries
would, by lot, exchange judicial districts every five years, was declared invalid for being a usurpation of the
power of appointment vested in the Governor General. In McDaniel v. Apacible, 42 Phil 749 (1922), Act No.
2932, in so far as it declares open to lease lands containing petroleum which have been validly located and
held, was declared invalid for being a depravation of property without due process of law. In U.S. v. Ang
Tang Ho, 43 Phil 1 (1922), Act No. 2868, in so far as it authorized the Governor-General to fix the price of
rice by proclamation and to make the sale of rice in violation of such a proclamation a crime, was declared
an invalid delegation of legislative power.
29

30

Vicente V. Mendoza, Sharing The Passion and Action of our Time 62-53 (2003).

31

Supra note 23.

32

Id. at 156-157.

Florentino P. Feliciano, The Application of Law: Some Recurring Aspects Of The Process Of Judicial
Review And Decision Making, 37 AMJJUR 17, 24 (1992).
33

34

Ibid.

35

I Record of the Constitutional Commission 434-436 (1986).

36

31 SCRA 413 (1970)

Id. at 422-423; Vide Baranda v. Gustilo, 165 SCRA 757, 770 (1988); Luz Farms v. Secretary of the
Department of Agrarian Reform, 192 SCRA 51 (1990); Ordillo v. Commission on Elections, 192 SCRA 100
(1990).
37

38

194 SCRA 317 (1991).

39

Id. at 325 citing Maxwell v. Dow, 176 US 581.

40

152 SCRA 284 (1987).

Id. at 291 citing Gold Creek Mining v. Rodriguez, 66 Phil 259 (1938), J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc v. Land
Tenure Administration, supra note 36, and I Taada and Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines 21
( Fourth Ed. ).
41

42

82 Phil 771 (1949).

43

Id. at 775.

44

Supra note 38.

45

Id. at 330-331.

Id. at 337-338 citing 16 CJS 2.31; Commonwealth v. Ralph, 111 Pa. 365, 3 Atl. 220 and Household
Finance Corporation v. Shaffner, 203, SW 2d, 734, 356 Mo. 808.
46

47

Supra note 2.

48

Citing Section 3 (6), Article VIII of the Constitution provides:


(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.

49

Supra note 21.

50

506 U.S. 224 (1993).

Supra note 2 at 349-350 citing Gerhardt, Michael J. The Federal Impeachment Process: A Constitutional
and Historical Analysis, 1996, p. 119.
51

52

227 SCRA 100 (1993).

53

Id. at 112.

54

US Constititon. Section 2. x x x The House of Representatives shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

1987 Constitution, Article XI, Section 3 (1). The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power
to initiate all cases of impeachment.
55

56

Supra note 2 at 355 citing Agresto, The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy, 1984, pp. 112-113.

57

369 U.S. 186 (1962).

58

141 SCRA 263 (1986).

59

Supra note 25.

60

298 SCRA 756 (1998).

61

272 SCRA 18 (1997).

62

201 SCRA 792 (1991).

63

187 SCRA 377 (1990).

64

180 SCRA 496 (1989).

65

Supra note 25.

66

Supra note 23.

67

Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, supra note 38 at 330-331.

68

Id. at 158-159.

IBP v. Zamora, 338 SCRA 81 (2000) citing Joya v. PCGG, 225 SCRA 568 (1993); House International
Building Tenants Association, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 151 SCRA 703 (1987); Baker v. Carr,
supra note 57.
69

70

Citing Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, 250 SCRA 130 (1995).

71

Citing Tatad v. Secretary of the Department of Energy, 281 SCRA 330 (1997).

72

Citing Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, 163 SCRA 371, 378 (1988).

Rule 3, Section 2. Parties in interest. A real party in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or
injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless otherwise authorized
by law or these Rules, every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest.
73

74

JG Summit Holdings, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 345 SCRA 143, 152 (2000).

75

246 SCRA 540 (1995).

76

Id. at 562-564.

Agan v. PIATCO, G.R. No. 155001, May 5, 2003 citing BAYAN v. Zamora, 342 SCRA 449, 562-563 (2000)
and Baker v. Carr, supra note 57; Vide Gonzales v. Narvasa, 337 SCRA 733 (2000); TELEBAP v.
COMELEC, 289 SCRA 337 (1998).
77

78

Chavez v. PCGG, supra note 15.

Del Mar v. PAGCOR 346 SCRA 485, 501 (2000) citing Kilosbayan, Inc., et.al. v. Morato, supra note
70;Dumlao v. COMELEC, 95 SCRA 392 (1980); Sanidad v. Comelec, 73 SCRA 333 (1976); Philconsa v.
Mathay, 18 SCRA 300 (1966); Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works, 110 Phil 331 (1960); Vide Gonzales v.
Narvasa, supra note 77; Pelaez v. Auditor General, 15 SCRA 569 (1965); Philconsa v. Gimenez, 15 SCRA
479 (1965); Iloilo Palay & Corn Planters Association v. Feliciano, 13 SCRA 377 (1965).
79

BAYAN v. Zamora, supra note 77 citing Bugnay v. Laron, 176 SCRA 240, 251-252 (1989); Vide Del Mar v.
PAGCOR, supra note 79; Gonzales v. Narvasa, supra note 77; TELEBAP v. COMELEC, supra note
77;Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, supra note 70; Joya v. PCGG, supra note 69; Dumlao v. COMELEC,
supra note 79; Sanidad v. COMELEC, supra note 79; Philconsa v. Mathay, supra note 79; Pelaez v. Auditor
General, supra note 79; Philconsa v. Gimenez, supra note 79; Iloilo Palay & Corn Planters Association v.
Feliciano, supra note 79; Pascual v. Sec. of Public Works, supra note 79.
80

Gonzales v. Narvasa, supra note 77 citing Dumlao v. COMELEC, supra note 79; Sanidad v. COMELEC,
supra note 79; Tan v. Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677 (1972).
81

Tatad v. Garcia, Jr., 243 SCRA 436 (1995); Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, supra note 70 at 140-141 citing
Philconsa v. Enriquez, 235 SCRA 506 (1994); Guingona v. PCGG, 207 SCRA 659 (1992); Gonzales v.
Macaraig, 191 SCRA 452 (1990); Tolentino v. COMELEC, 41 SCRA 702 (1971).
82

83

Del Mar v. PAGCOR, supra note 79 at 502-503 citing Philconsa v. Mathay, supra note 79.

Chinese Flour Importers Association v. Price Stabilization Board, 89 Phil 439, 461 (1951) citing Gallego et
al. vs. Kapisanan Timbulan ng mga Manggagawa, 46 Off. Gaz, 4245.
84

Philippine Constitution Association v. Gimenez, supra note 79 citing Gonzales v. Hechanova, 118 Phil.
1065 (1963); Pascual v. Secretary, supra note 79.
85

86

Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora, 338 SCRA 81 (2000).

MVRS Publications, Inc. v. Islamic Da'wah Council of the Philippines, G.R. No. 135306, January 28,
2003,citing Industrial Generating Co. v. Jenkins 410 SW 2d 658; Los Angeles County Winans, 109 P
640;Weberpals v. Jenny, 133 NE 62.
87

Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, 58 SCRA 559, 570-571 (1974), citing Moore's Federal
Practice 2d ed., Vol. III, pages 3423-3424; 4 Federal Rules Service, pages 454-455; Johnson, et al., vs.
Riverland Levee Dist., et al., 117 2d 711, 715; Borlasa v. Polistico, 47 Phil. 345, 348 (1925).
88

MVRS Publications, Inc. v. Islamic Da'wah Council of the Philippines, supra note 87, dissenting opinion of
Justice Carpio; Bulig-bulig Kita Kamag-Anak Assoc. v. Sulpicio Lines, 173 SCRA 514, 514-515 (1989); Re:
Request of the Heirs of the Passengers of Doa Paz, 159 SCRA 623, 627 (1988) citing Moore, Federal
Practice, 2d ed., Vol. 3B, 23-257, 23-258; Board of Optometry v. Colet, 260 SCRA 88 (1996), citing Section
12, Rule 3, Rules of Court; Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust Co., supra note 88; Oposa v. Factoran,
supra note 17.
89

90

Kilosbayan v. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 (1994).

Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, supra note 70 citing Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, supra note
38; Philconsa v. Gimnez, supra note 79; Iloilo Palay and Corn Planters Association v. Feliciano, supra note
79; Araneta v. Dinglasan, 84 Phil. 368 (1949); vide Tatad v. Secretary of the Department of Energy, 281
SCRA 330 (1997); Santiago v. COMELEC, 270 SCRA 106 (1997); KMU v. Garcia, Jr., 239 SCRA 386
(1994); Joya v. PCGG, 225 SCRA 368 (1993); Carpio v. Executive Secretary, 206 SCRA 290
(1992);Osmea v. COMELEC, 199 SCRA 750 (1991); Basco v. PAGCOR, 197 SCRA 52 (1991); Guingona
v. Carague, 196 SCRA 221 (1991); Daza v. Singson, supra note 64; Dumlao v. COMELEC, supra note 79.
91

Firestone Ceramics, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 313 SCRA 522, 531 (1999) citing Gibson vs. Revilla, 92
SCRA 219; Magsaysay-Labrador v. Court of Appeals, 180 SCRA 266, 271 (1989).
92

93

Supra note 79.

94

Id. at 403.

95

Supra note 81.

96

Id. at 681.

97

SECTION 3. 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 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.

98

Supra note 25.

99

Id. at 1067.

Vide Barcelon v. Baker, 5 Phil. 87 (1905); Montenegro v. Castaeda, 91 Phil. 882 (1952); De la Llana v.
COMELEC, 80 SCRA 525 (1977).
100

Vide Avelino v. Cuenco, 83 Phil. 17 (1949); Macias v. COMELEC, 3 SCRA 1 (1961); Cunanan v. Tan,
Jr., 5 SCRA 1 (1962); Gonzales v. COMELEC, 21 SCRA 774 (1967); Lansang v. Garcia, 42 SCRA 448
(1971); Tolentino v. COMELEC, supra note 82.
101

102

50 SCRA 30 (1973).

103

Record of the Constitution Commission, Vol. 1, July 10, 1986 at 434-436.

104

Id. at 439-443.

105

177 SCRA 668 (1989).

106

Id. at 695.

107

203 SCRA 767 (1991).

108

Id. at 776 citing Gonzales v. Macaraig, 191 SCRA 452, 463 (1990).

109

Supra note 64.

110

Id. at 501.

111

Supra note 57.

112

Id. at 217.

113

2 Record of the Constitutional Commission at 286.

114

Id. at 278, 316, 272, 283-284, 286.

115

76 Phil 516 (1946).

116

Id. at 522.

117

Supra note 37.

Id. at 58 citing Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian
Reform,175 SCRA 343 (1989).
118

Vide concurring opinion of Justice Vicente Mendoza in Estrada v.Desierto, 353 SCRA 452, 550
(2001);Demetria v. Alba, 148 SCRA 208, 210-211 (1987) citing Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288 (1936).
119

As adverted to earlier, neither a copy the Resolution nor a record of the hearings conducted by the House
Committee on Justice pursuant to said Resolution was submitted to the Court by any of the parties.
120

121

Rollo, G.R. No. 160310 at 38.

122

Supra note 107.

123

Id. at 777 (citations omitted).

124

Rollo, G.R. No. 160262 at 73.

125

Supra note 2 at 342.

126

Perfecto v. Meer, 85 Phil 552, 553 (1950).

Estrada v. Desierto, 356 SCRA 108, 155-156 (2001); Vide Abbas v. Senate Electoral Tribunal, 166 SCRA
651 (1988); Vargas v. Rilloraza, et al., 80 Phil. 297, 315-316 (1948); Planas v. COMELEC, 49 SCRA 105
(1973), concurring opinion of J. Concepcion.
127

128

Philippine Judges Association v. Prado, 227 SCRA 703, 705 (1993).

129

Ibid.

130

Ramirez v. Corpuz-Macandog, 144 SCRA 462, 477 (1986).

131

Supra note 127.

132

Estrada v. Desierto, supra note 127.

Id. at 155-156 citing Abbas, et al. v. Senate Electoral Tribunal, supra note 127; Vargas v. Rilloraza, et al.,
supra note 127.
133

134

Supra note 119 at 210-211.

135

Supra note 119.

Board of Optometry v. Colet, 260 SCRA 88, 103 (1996); Joya v. PCGG, supra note 69 at 575;Macasiano
v. National Housing Authority, 224 SCRA 236, 242 (1993); Santos III v. Northwestern Airlines,210 SCRA 256,
261-262 (1992), National Economic Protectionism Association v. Ongpin, 171 SCRA 657, 665 (1989).
136

137

Supra note 2 at 353.

138

Supra note 33 at 32.

139

Supra note 102.

140

Supra note 33.

141

249 SCRA 244, 251 (1995).

142

Id. at 251.

143

2 Records of the Constitutional Commission at 342-416.

144

Id. at 416.

145

Commissioner Maambong's Amicus Curiae Brief at 15.

146

2 Record of the Constitutional Commission at 375-376, 416

147

77 Phil. 192 (1946).

148

Justice Hugo Guiterrez's Amicus Curiae Brief at 7.

149

109 Phil. 863 (1960).

150

40 SCRA 58, 68 (1971).

151

286 U.S. 6, 33 (1932).

152

277 SCRA 268, 286 (1997).

153

144 U.S. 1 (1862).

154

Supra note 152 at 304-306.

155

Id. at 311.

156

Id. at 313.

157

Supra note 152 at 314-315.

158

Supra note 50.

EN BANC

[A.M. No. 98-5-01-SC. November 9, 1998]

In Re Appointments dated March 30, 1998 of Hon. Mateo A. Valenzuela and Hon. Placido
B. Vallarta as Judges of the Regional Trial Court of Branch 62, Bago City and of
Branch 24, Cabanatuan City, respectively.
DECISION
NARVASA, CJ.:

The question presented for resolution in the administrative matter at bar is whether, during the period of the
ban on appointments imposed by Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution, the President is nonetheless
required to fill vacancies in the judiciary, in view of Sections 4(1) and 9 of Article VIII. A corollary question is
whether he can make appointments to the judiciary during the period of the ban in the interest of public service.
Resolution of the issues is needful; it will preclude a recurrence of any conflict in the matter of nominations
and appointments to the Judiciary - as that here involved - between the Chief Executive, on the one hand, and
on the other, the Supreme Court and the Judicial and Bar Council over which the Court exercises general
supervision and wields specific powers including the assignment to it of other functions and duties in addition
to its principal one of recommending appointees to the Judiciary, and the determination of its Members'
emoluments.[1]
I The Relevant Facts
The Resolution of the Court En Banc, handed down on May 14, 1998, sets out the relevant facts and is for
that reason hereunder reproduce in full.

Referred to the Court En Banc by the Chief Justice are the appointments signed by His
Excellency the President under the date of March 30, 1998 of Hon. Mateo A. Valenzuela
and Hon. Placido B. Vallarta as Judges of the Regional Trial Court of Branch 62, Bago
City and of Branch 24, Cabanatuan City, respectively. The appointments were received at
the Chief Justice's chambers on May 12, 1998. The referral was made in view of the
serious constitutional issue concerning said appointments arising from the pertinent
antecedents.
The issue was first ventilated at the meeting of the Judicial and Bar Council on March 9,
1998. The meeting had been called, according to the Chief Justice as Ex
Officio Chairman, to discuss the question raised by some sectors about the
"constitutionality of *** appointments" to the Court of Appeals, specifically, in light of the
forthcoming presidential elections. Attention was drawn to Section 15, Article VII of the
Constitution reading as follows:
"SEC 15. Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end
of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except
temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will
prejudice public service or endanger public safety."
On the other hand, appointments to fill vacancies in the Supreme court during the period
mentioned in the provision just quoted could seemingly be justified by another provision of
the same Constitution. Section 4(1) of Article VIIIwhich states:
"SEC 4 (1) The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen
Associate Justices. ***. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence
thereof."
Also pertinent although not specifically discussed is Section 9 of the same Article VIII
which provides that for the lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments - from
a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Council for every vacancy - within ninety
days from the submission of the list.
The view was then expressed by Senior associate Justice Florenz D. Regalado,
Consultant of the Council, who had been a member of the Committee of the Executive
Department and of the Committee on the Judicial Department of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission, that on the basis of the Commission's records, the election ban had no
application to appointments to the Court of Appeals. Without any extended discussion or
any prior research and study on the part of the other Members of the JBC, this hypothesis
was accepted, and was then submitted to the President for consideration, together with
the Council's nominations for eight (8) vacancies in the Court of Appeals.
On April 6, 1998 the Chief Justice received an official communication from the Executive
Secretary transmitting the appointments of eight (8) Associate Justices of the Court of
Appeals all of which had been duly signed on March 11, 1998 by His Excellency, the
President. In view of the fact that all the appointments had been signed on March 11,
1998 - the day immediately before the commencement of the ban on appointments

imposed by Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution - which impliedly but no less clearly
indicated that the President's Office did not agree with the hypothesis that appointments to
the Judiciary were not covered by said ban, the Chief Justice resolved to defer
consideration of nominations for the vacancy in the Supreme Court created by the
retirement of Associate Justice Ricardo J. Francisco, specially considering that the Court
had scheduled sessions in Baguio City in April, 1998, that the legislature's representatives
to the JBC were occupied with the forthcoming elections, and that a member of the
Council was going on a trip out of the country.
On May 4, 1998, the Chief Justice received a letter from the President, addressed to the
JBC requesting transmission of the "list of final nominees" for the vacancy "no later than
Wednesday, May 6, 1998," in view of the duty imposed on him by the Constitution "to fill
up the vacancy *** within ninety (90) days from February 13, 1998, the date the present
vacancy occurred."
On May 5, 1998, Secretary of Justice Silvestre Bello III requested the Chief Justice for
"guidance" respecting the expressed desire of the "regular members" of the JBC to hold a
meeting immediately to fill up the vacancy in the Court in line with the President's letter of
May 4. The Chief Justice advised Secretary Bello to await the reply that he was drafting to
the President's communication, a copy of which he would give to the Secretary the
following day.
On May 6, 1998 the Chief Justice sent his reply to the President. He began by stating that
no sessions had been scheduled for the Council after the May elections for the reason
that apparently the President's Office did not share the view posited by the JBC that
Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution had no application to JBC-recommended
appointments - the appointments to the Court of Appeals having been all uniformly dated
March 11, 1998, before the commencement of the prohibition in said provision - thus
giving rise to the "need to undertake further study of the matter," prescinding from "the
desire to avoid any constitutional issue regarding the appointment to the mentioned
vacancy" and the further fact that "certain senior members of the Court of Appeals ***
(had) asked the Council to reopen the question of their exclusion on account of age from
such (final) list." He closed with the assurance that the JBC expected to deliberate on the
nominations "forthwith upon the completion of the coming elections." The letter was
delivered to Malacaang at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon of May 6, 1998, and a copy
given to the Office of Justice Secretary Bello shortly before that hour.
It would appear, however, that the Justice Secretary and the regular members of the
Council had already taken action without awaiting the Chief Justice's promised response
to the President's letter of May 4, 1998. On that day, May 6, 1998, they met at some
undisclosed place, deliberated, and came to an agreement on a resolution which they
caused to be reduced to writing and thereafter signed. In that two-page Resolution they
drew attention to Section 4 (1), Article VIII of the Constitution (omitting any mention of
Section 15, Article VII) as well as to the President's letter of May 4 in which he
"emphatically requested that the required list of final nominee be submitted to him;" and
pointing out that the "Council would be remiss in its duties" should it fail to submit the

nominations, closed with an appeal that the Chief Justice convene the Council for the
purpose "on May 7, 1998, at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon." This Resolution they
transmitted to the Chief Justice together with their letter, also dated May 6, in which they
emphasized that "we are pressed for time" again drawing attention to Section 4 (1). In
Article VIII of the Constitution (and again omitting any reference to Section 15, Article
VII). They ended their letter with the following intriguing paragraph:
"Should the Chief Justice be not disposed to call for the meeting aforesaid, the
undersigned members constituting the majority will be constrained to convene the Council
for the purpose of complying with its Constitutional mandate."
It seems evident, as just intimated, that the resolution and the covering letter were
deliberated on, prepared and signed hours before delivery of the Chief Justice's letter to
the President and the Justice Secretary.
Since the Members of the Council appeared determined to hold a meeting regardless of
the Chief Justice's wishes, the latter convoked the Council to a meeting at 3 o'clock in the
afternoon of May 7, 1998. Present at the meeting were Chief Justice, Secretary Bello, ex
officio member and the regular members of the Council; Justice Regino Hermosisima,
Atty. Teresita Cruz Sison, Judge Cesar C. Peralejo. Also present on the invitation of the
Chief Justice, were Justices Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Flerida Ruth P. Romero, Josue N.
Bellosillo, Reynato S. Puno, Jose C. Vitug, Vicente V. Mendoza, Artemio V. Panganiban,
Antonio M. Martinez, Leonardo A. Quisumbing and Fidel P. Purisima. The Chief Justice
reviewed the events leading to the session, and after discussion, the body agreed to give
the President time to answer the Chief Justice's letter of May 6, 1998.
On May 7, 1998, the Chief Justice received a letter from His Excellency the President in
reply to his letter of May 6 (which the President said had been "received early this
morning"). The President expressed the view that "the election-ban provision (Article VII,
Sec. 15) *** applies only to executive appointments or appointments in the executive
branch of government," the whole article being "entitled 'EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT.'" He
also observed that further proof of his theory "is the fact that appointments to the judiciary
have special, specific provisions applicable to them" (citing Article VIII, Sec. 4 [1] and
Article VIII, Section 9. In view thereof, he "firmly and respectfully reiterate(d) *** (his)
request for the Judicial and Bar Council to transmit *** the final list of nominees for the
lone Supreme Court vacancy."
The Chief Justice replied to the letter the following day, May 8, 1998. Since the Chief
Justice's letter explains the issue quite plainly, it is here quoted in full.
"Thank you for your letter of May 7, 1998, responding to my own communication of May 6,
1998 which, I would like to say, reflects the collective sentiments of my colleagues in the
Supreme Court. Knowing how busy you are, I will deal straightaway with the points set out
in your letter.
The dating of the latest appointments to the Court of Appeals was adverted to merely to
explain how we in the Court and the JBC came to have the impression that you did not

share the view expressed in the JBC minutes of March 9, 1998 'that there is no election
ban with regard to the JBC appointments.' Be this as it may, the Court feels that there is a
serious question concerning the matter in light of the seemingly inconsistent provisions of
the Constitution. The first of these is Section 15, Article VII, which reads:
'SEC. 15. Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the
end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except
temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will
prejudice public service or endanger public safety.'
The second is Section 4(1) of Article VIII which states:
'SEC 4(1) The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen
Associate Justices. ***. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence
thereof.'
As you can see, Your Excellency, Section 15 of Article VII imposes a direct prohibition on
the President: he "shall not make appointments" within the period mentioned, and since
there is no specification of which appointments are proscribed, the same may be
considered as applying to all appointments of any kind and nature. This is the general rule
then, the only exception being only as regards "executive positions" as to which
"temporary appointments" may be made within the interdicted period "when continued
vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety." As the exception
makes reference only to "executive" positions, it would seem that "judicial" positions are
covered by the general rule.
On the other hand, Section 4 (1) of Article VIII, requires that any vacancy in the Supreme
Court "shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof." Unlike Section 15,
Article VII, the duty of filling the vacancy is not specifically imposed on the President;
hence, it may be inferred that it is a duty shared by the Judicial and Bar council and the
President.
Now, in view of the general prohibition in the first-quoted provision, how is the requirement
of filling vacancies in the Court within ninety days to be construed? One interpretation that
immediately suggests itself is that Section 4(1), Article VIII is a general provision while
Section 15, Article VII is a particular one; that is to say, normally, when there are no
presidential elections - which after all occur only every six years - Section 4(1), Article VIII
shall apply: vacancies in the Supreme Court shall be filled within 90 days; but when (as
now) there are presidential elections, the prohibition in Section 15, Article VII comes into
play: the President shall not make any appointments. The reason for said prohibition,
according to Fr. J. Bernas, S.J., an authority on Constitutional Law and himself a member
of the Constitutional Commission, is "(I)n order not to tie the hands of the incoming
President through midnight appointments." Another interpretation is that put forth in the
Minutes of the JBC Meeting of March 9, 1998.
I must emphasize that the validity of any appointment to the Supreme Court at this time
hinges on the correct interpretation of the foregoing sections of the Constitution. On

account of the importance of the question, I consulted the Court about it but, as I stated in
my letter of May 6, 1998, "it declined to take any position, since obviously there had not
been enough time to deliberate on the same *** (although it) did agree that further study
was necessary ***."
Since the question has actually come up, and its importance cannot be gainsaid, and it is
the Court that is empowered under the Constitution to make an authoritative interpretation
of its (provisions) or of those of any other law. I believe that the Court may now perhaps
consider the issue ripe for determination and come to grips with it, to avoid any possible
polemics concerning the matter. However the Court resolves the issue, no serious
prejudice will be done. Should the Court rule that the President is indeed prohibited to
make appointments in a presidential election year, then any appointment attempted within
the proscribed period would be void anyway. If the Court should adjudge that the ban has
no application to appointments to the Supreme Court, the JBC may submit nominations
and the President may make the appointment forthwith upon such adjudgment.
The matter is a delicate one, quite obviously, and must thus be dealt with with utmost
circumspection, to avoid any question regarding the validity of an appointment to the Court
at this time, or any accusation of "midnight" appointments or rash, hasty action on the part
of the JBC or the President.
In view thereof, and upon the advice and consent of the Members of the Court, I am
requesting the regular Members of the Judicial and Bar Council to defer action on the
matter until further advice by the Court. I earnestly make the same request of you, Your
Excellency, I assure you, however, that as befits a matter in which the Chief Executive has
evinced much interest, my colleagues and I will give it preferential and expeditious
attention and consideration.To this end, I intend to convene the Court by next week, at the
latest."
On May 8, 1998, again on the insistence of the regular Members of the JBC, another
meeting was held at which were present the Chief Justice, the Secretary of Justice and
the three regular Members above mentioned, as well as Justices Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,
Flerida Ruth P. Romero, Josue N. Bellosillo, Reynato S. Puno, Jose C. Vitug, Santiago M.
Kapunan, Vicente V. Mendoza, Artemio V. Panganiban, Antonio M. Martinez, Leonardo A.
Quisumbing and Fidel P. Purisima. The meeting closed with a resolution that "the
constitutional provisions *** (in question) be referred to the Supreme Court En Banc for
appropriate action, together with the request that the Supreme Court consider that the
ninety-day period stated in Section 4 (1), Article VIII be suspended or interrupted in view of
the peculiar circumstances ***."
On May 12, 1998, the Chief Justice received from Malacaang the appointments of two (2)
Judges of the Regional Trial Court mentioned above. This places on the Chief Justice the
obligation of acting thereon; i.e., transmitting the appointments to the appointees so that
they might take their oaths and assume their duties of their office. The trouble is that in
doing so, the Chief Justice runs the risk of acting in a manner inconsistent with the
Constitution, for these appointments appear prima facie, at least, to be expressly

prohibited by Section 15, Article VII of the charter. This circumstance, and the referral of
the constitutional question to the Court in virtue of the Resolution of May 8, 1998, supra,
operate to raise a justiciable issue before the Court, an issue of sufficient importance to
warrant consideration and adjudication on the merits.
Accordingly, the Court Resolved to (1) CONSIDER the case at bar an administrative
matter and cause it to be appropriately docketed; (2) to DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
immediately serve copies of this Resolution on (a) the Office of the President, (b) the
Office of the Solicitor General, (c) Hon. Mateo A. Valenzuela, and (d) Hon. Placido B.
Vallarta (at their addresses recorded in the Judicial and Bar Council); and (3) to REQUIRE
the Office of the President, the Office of the Solicitor General, Hon. Mateo A. Valenzuela,
and Hon. Placido B. Vallarta to file their comments on this Resolution within fifteen (15)
days from notice thereof.
The Court further Resolved that (1) pending the foregoing proceedings and the
deliberation by the Court on the matter, and until further orders, no action be taken on the
appointments of Hon. Valenzuela and Hon. Vallarta which in the meantime shall be held in
abeyance and not given any effect and said appointees shall refrain from taking their oath
of office; and that (2) exercising its power of supervision over the Judicial and Bar Council,
said Council and its ex officio and regular Members herein mentioned be INSTRUCTED,
as they are hereby INSTRUCTED, to defer all action on the matter of nominations to fill up
the lone vacancy in the Supreme Court or any other vacancy until further orders.
SO ORDERED.
II The Relevant Pleadings
In compliance with the foregoing Resolution, the following pleadings and other documents were filed, to
wit:
1) the manifestation dated May 28, 1998 of Hon. Mateo A. Velenzuela in compliance with the Resolution of
May 14, 1998;
2) the letter dated June 1, 1998 of Hon. Placido B. Vallarta in compliance with the same Resolution;
3) the "Comments" of Hon. Valenzuela dated May 25, 1998;
4) his "Addendum to Comments" dated June 8, 1998;
5) his "Explanation" dated June 8, 1998;
6) the letter of Hon. Vallarta dated June 8, 1998;
7) his letter dated June 16, 1998;
8) the "Explanation" of Hon. Valenzuela dated July 17, 1998; and
9) the "Comment" of the Office of the Solicitor General dated August 5, 1998.

A. Valenzuela's Assumption of Duty as Judge on May 14, 1998


In his Manifestation dated May 28, 1998, Judge Valenzuela alleged inter alia:

"***that on May 14, 1998, he took his Oath of Office as Judge, RTC Branch 62, Bago City,
before Hon. Anastacio C. Rufon, Judge RTC, Branch 52, Bacolod City, pursuant to

Appointment dated March 30, 1998, (and) he also reported for duty as such before said
RTC Branch 62, Bago City *** (and that he did so) "faultlessly," *** without knowledge of
the on-going deliberations on the matter."
At that time, the originals of the appointments of Messrs. Valenzuela and Vallarta, dated March 30, 1998 addressed to them "Thru: the Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines, Manila." and which had been
sent to and received by the Chief Justice on May 12, 1998 [2] -- were still in the latter's Office, and had not been
transmitted to them precisely because of the serious issue concerning the validity of their appointments. Indeed,
one of the directives in the Resolution of May 14, 1998 was that "pending *** deliberation by the Court on the
matter, and until further orders, no action be taken on the appointments *** which in the meantime shall be held
in abeyance and not given any effect ***." For this reason, by Resolution dated June 23, 1998, the Court
required Valenzuela to EXPLAIN by what authority he had taken his oath on May 14, 1998 as Judge of Branch
62 of the RTC at Bago City. In his "Explanation" dated July 17, 1998. Valenzuela stated that he did so because
on May 7, 1998 he "received from Malacaang copy of his appointment ***" which contained the following
direction: "By virtue hereof, you may qualify and enter upon the performance of the duties of the office***."
The Court then deliberated on the pleadings and documents above mentioned, in relation to the facts and
circumstances on record, and thereafter Resolved to promulgate the following opinion.
III The Relevant Constitutional Provisions
The provision of the Constitution material to the inquiry at bar read as follows:[3]
Section 15, Article VII:

"Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his
term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary
appointments to execute positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public
service or endanger public safety."
Section 4 (1), Article VIII:

"The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate
Justices. It may sit en banc or in its discretion, in divisions of three, five, or seven
Members. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof."
Section 9, Article VIII:

"The Members of the Supreme Court and judges in lower courts shall be appointed by the
President from the list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council
for every vacancy. Such appointments need no confirmation.
For the lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within ninety days from
the submission of the list."
IV The Court's View
The Court's view is that during the period stated in Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution - "(t)wo
months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term" - the President is
neither required to make appointments to the courts nor allowed to do so; and that Sections 4(1) and 9 of Article
VIII simply mean that the President is required to fill vacancies in the courts within the time frames provided

therein unless prohibited by Section 15 of Article VII. It is noteworthy that the prohibition on appointments
comes into effect only once every six years.
V Intent of the Constitutional Commission
The journal of the Commission which drew up the present Constitution discloses that the original proposal
was to have an eleven-member Supreme Court. Commissioner Eulogio Lerum wanted to increase the number of
Justices to fifteen. He also wished to ensure that that number would not be reduced for any appreciable length of
time (even only temporarily), and to this end proposed that any vacancy "must be filled within two months from
the date that the vacancy occurs." His proposal to have a 15-member Court was not initially adopted. Persisting
however in his desire to make certain that the size of the Court would not be decreased for any substantial
period as a result of vacancies, Lerum proposed the insertion in the provision (anent the Court's membership) of
the same mandate that "IN CASE OF ANY VACANCY, THE SAME SHALL BE FILLED WITHIN TWO
MONTHS FROM OCCURRENCE THEREOF." He later agreed to suggestions to make the period three,
instead of two, months. As thus amended, the proposal was approved.[4] As it turned out, however, the
Commission ultimately agreed on a fifteen-member Court.[5] Thus it was that the section fixing the composition
of the Supreme Court came to include a command to fill up any vacancy therein within 90 days from its
occurrence.
In this connection, it may be pointed out that that instruction that any "vacancy shall be filled within ninety
days" (in the last sentence of Section 4 (1) of Article VIII) contrasts with the prohibition in Section 15, Article
VII, which is couched in stronger negative language - that "a President or Acting President shall not make
appointments"
The commission later approved a proposal of Commissioner Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (now a Member of this
Court) to add to what is now Section 9 of Article VIII, the following paragraph: "WITH RESPECT TO LOWER
COURTS, THE PRESIDENT SHALL ISSUE THE APPOINTMENT WITHIN NINETY DAYS FROM THE
SUBMISSION OF THE LIST" (of nominees by the Judicial and Bar Council to the President). [6] Davide stated
that his purpose was to provide a "uniform rule" for lower courts.According to him, the 90-day period should be
counted from submission of the list of nominees to the President in view of the possibility that the President
might reject the list submitted to him and the JBC thus need more time to submit a new one.[7]
On the other hand, Section 15, Article VII - which in effect deprives the President of his appointing power
"two months immediately before the next presidential elections up to the end of his term" - was approved
without discussion.
VI. Analysis of Provisions
Now, it appears that Section 15, Article VII is directed against two types of appointments: (1) those made
for buying votes and (2) those made for partisan considerations. The first refers to those appointments made
within the two months preceding a Presidential election and are similar to those which are declared election
offenses in the Omnibus Election Code, viz.:[8]

SEC. 261. Prohibited Acts. - The following shall be guilty of an election offense:
(a) Vote buying and vote selling - (1) Any person who gives, offers or promises money or
anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise or grant, public
or private, or makes or offers to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or cause an
expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in
order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or
withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination of
choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.
.

(g) Appointment of new employees, creation of new position, promotion, or giving salary
increases. - During the period of forty five days before a regular election and thirty days
before a special election, (1) any head, official or appointing officer of a government office,
agency or instrumentality whether national or local, including government-owned or
controlled corporations, who appoints or hires any new employee, whether provisional,
temporary, or casual, or creates and fills any new position, except upon prior authority of
the Commission. The Commission shall not grant the authority sought unless, it is
satisfied that the position to be filled is essential to the proper functioning of the office or
agency concerned, and that the position shall not be filled in a manner that may influence
the election.
The second type of appointments prohibited by Section 15, Article VII consists of the so-called "midnight"
appointments. In Aytona v. Castillo,[9] it was held that after the proclamation of Diosdado Macapagal as duly
elected President, President Carlos P. Garcia, who was defeated in his bid for reelection, became no more than a
"caretaker" administrator whose duty was to "prepare for the orderly transfer of authority to the incoming
President." Said the Court:

"The filling up of vacancies in important positions, if few, and so spaced as to afford some
assurance of deliberate action and careful consideration of the need for the appointment
and appointee's qualifications may undoubtedly be permitted. But the issuance of 350
appointments in one night and the planned induction of almost all of them in a few hours
before the inauguration of the new President may, with some reason, be regarded by the
latter as an abuse of Presidential prerogatives, the steps taken being apparently a mere
partisan effort to fill all vacant positions irrespective of fitness and other conditions, and
thereby to deprive the new administration of an opportunity to make the corresponding
appointments."
As indicated, the Court recognized that there may well be appointments to important positions which have
to be made even after the proclamation of the new President. Such appointments, so long as they are "few and
so spaced as to afford some assurance of deliberate action and careful consideration of the need for the
appointment and the appointee's qualifications,"[10] can be made by the outgoing President. Accordingly, several
appointments made by President Garcia, which were shown to have been well considered, were upheld.[11]
Section 15, Article VII has a broader scope than the Aytona ruling. It may not unreasonably be deemed to
contemplate not only "midnight" appointments - those made obviously for partisan reasons as shown by their
number and the time of their making - but also appointments presumed made for the purpose of influencing the
outcome of the Presidential election.
On the other hand, the exception in the same Section 15 of Article VII - allowing appointments to be made
during the period of the ban therein provided - is much narrower than that recognized in Aytona. The exception
allows only the making oftemporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies
will prejudice public service or endanger public safety. Obviously, the article greatly restricts the appointing
power of the President during the period of the ban.
Considering the respective reasons for the time frames for filling vacancies in the courts and the restriction
on the President's power of appointment, it is this Court's view that, as a general proposition, in case of conflict,
the former should yield to the latter.Surely, the prevention of vote-buying and similar evils outweighs the need
for avoiding delays in filling up of court vacancies or the disposition of some cases. Temporary vacancies can
abide the period of the ban which, incidentally and as earlier pointed out, comes to exist only once in every six
years. Moreover, those occurring in the lower courts can be filled temporarily by designation. But prohibited

appointments are long-lasting and permanent in their effects. They may, as earlier pointed out, in fact influence
the results of elections and, for that reason, their making is considered an election offense.
To the contention that may perhaps be asserted, that Sections 4 (1) and 9 of Article VIII should prevail over
Section 15 of Article VII, because they may be considered later expressions of the people when they
adopted the Constitution, it suffices to point out that the Constitution must be construed in its entirety as one,
single, instrument.
To be sure, instances may be conceived of the imperative need for an appointment, during the period of the
ban, not only in the executive but also in the Supreme Court. This may be the case should the membership of
the court be so reduced that it will have no quorum or should the voting on a particularly important question
requiring expeditious resolution be evenly divided. Such a case, however, is covered by neither Section 15 of
Article VII nor Section 4 (1) and 9 of Article VIII.[12]
VII. A Last Word
A final word, concerning Valenzuela's oath-taking and "reporting for duty" as Presiding Judge of RTC
Branch 62, Bago City, on May 14, 1998.[13] Standing practice is for the originals of all appointments to the
Judiciary - from the highest to the lowest courts - to be sent by the Office of the President to the Office of the
Chief Justice, the appointments being addressed to the appointees "Thru: the Chief Justice, Supreme Court,
Manila." It is a Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, in the Chief Justice's behalf, who thereafter advises the
individual appointees of their appointments and also of the date of commencement of the pre-requisite
orientation seminar, to be conducted by the Philippine Judicial Academy for new Judges. The rationale of this
procedure is salutary and readily perceived. The procedure ensures the authenticity of the appointments, enables
the Court, particularly of the Office of the Court Administrator, to enter in the appropriate records all
appointments to the Judiciary as well as other relevant data such as the dates of qualification, the completion by
the appointees of their pre-requisite orientation seminars, their assumption of duty, etc.
The procedure also precludes the possibility, however remote, of Judges acting on spurious or otherwise
defective appointments. It is obviously not advisable, to say the least, for a Judge to take his oath of office and
enter upon the performance of his duties on the basis alone of a document purporting to be a copy of his
appointment coming from Malacaang, the authenticity of which has not been verified from the latter of the
Office of the Court Administrator; or otherwise to begin performing his duties as Judge without the Court
Administrator knowing of that fact. The undesirability of such a situation is illustrated by the case of Judge
Valenzuela who acted, with no little impatience or rashness, on a mere copy of his supposed appointment,
without having received any formal notice from this Court, and without verifying the authenticity of the
appointment or the propriety of taking oath on the basis thereof. Had he bothered to inquire about his
appointment from the Court Administrator's Office, he would have been informed of the question concerning it
and the Court's injunction.
VIII. Conclusion
The appointments of Messrs. Valenzuela and Vallarta on March 30, 1998 (transmitted to the Office of the
Chief Justice on May 14, 1998) were unquestionably made during the period of the ban. Consequently, they
come within the operation of the first prohibition relating to appointments which are considered to be for the
purpose of buying votes or influencing the election. While the filling of vacancies in the judiciary is
undoubtedly in the public interest, there is no showing in this case of any compelling reason to justify the
making of the appointments during the period of the ban. On the other hand, as already discussed, there is a
strong public policy for the prohibition against appointments made within the period of the ban.
In view of the foregoing considerations, the Court Resolved to DECLARE VOID the appointments signed
by His Excellency the President under date of March 30, 1998 of Hon. Mateo A. Valenzuela and Hon. Placido
B. Vallarta as Judges of the Regional Trial Court of Branch 62, Bago City and of Branch 24, Cabanatuan City,
respectively, and to order them, forthwith on being served with notice of this decision, to forthwith CEASE
AND DESIST from discharging the office of Judge of the Courts to which they were respectively appointed on

March 30, 1998. This, without prejudice to their being considered anew by the Judicial and Bar Council for renomination to the same positions.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing,
Purisima and Pardo, JJ., concur.
Martinez, J., on official leave.

[1]

Section 8, Article VIII, Constitution.

[2]

N.B. The letter of the JBC dated March 3, 1998 containing the nomination of Judge Valenzuela and two (2) others to RTC Branch
62, Bago City, together with nominations of other persons to four (4) other courts, was received by the Office of the President on
March 20, 1998. The JBC's nominations of Judge Vallarta and three others to RTC Branch 24, Cabanatuan City, and of others to
MeTC Branch 56, Malabon, are contained in its letter dated February 24, 1998, also received on March 20, 1998 at
Malacaang. Of those thus nominated, only Messrs. Valenzuela and Vallarta were appointed by the President.
[3]

Emphasis supplied.

[4]

RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (hereafter cited as RECORD) pp. 479-482 (Session of July 14, 1986).

[5]

RECORD, pp. 632-634 (Session of Oct. 8, 1986).

[6]

1 RECORD, pp. 489-490 (Session of July 14, 1986).

[7]

Id. at p. 445.

[8]

Emphasis supplied.

[9]

114 Phil. vii (1962).

[10]

Id at x-xi.

[11]

See Merrera v. Liwag, 18 Phil. 1038 (1963); Jorge v. Mayor, 119 Phil. 595 (1964); Quimsing v. Tajanglangit, 119 Phil. 729 (1964).

[12]

SEE Sec. 9, second paragraph, of R.A. No. 296 (The Judiciary Act of 1948), in relation to Sec. 47 of B.P. No. 129 (The Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980): cf: Rilloraza v. Vargas 80 Phil. 297 (1948).
[13]

SEE footnote 2, supra.

EN BANC
ARTURO M. DE CASTRO,
Petitioner,

G. R. No. 191002

- versus JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL


(JBC) and PRESIDENT GLORIA
MACAPAGAL ARROYO,
Respondents.
x-----------------------x
JAIME N. SORIANO,
Petitioner,
- versus -

G.R. No. 191032

JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL


(JBC),
Respondent.
x-----------------------x
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION
ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA),
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 191057

- versus JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL


(JBC),
Respondent.
x-----------------------x
IN RE APPLICABILITY OF
SECTION 15, ARTICLE VII OF
THE CONSTITUTION TO
APPOINTMENTS TO THE
JUDICIARY,
ESTELITO P. MENDOZA,
Petitioner,
x-----------------------x
JOHN G. PERALTA,
Petitioner,
- versus JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL
(JBC).
Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
PETER IRVING CORVERA;
CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM;
ALFONSO V. TAN, JR.;
NATIONAL UNION OF PEOPLES
LAWYERS;
MARLOU B. UBANO;
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE
PHILIPPINES-DAVAO DEL SUR

A.M. No. 10-2-5-SC

G.R. No. 191149

CHAPTER, represented by its


Immediate Past President, ATTY.
ISRAELITO P. TORREON, and
the latter in his own personal
capacity as a MEMBER of the
PHILIPPINE BAR;
MITCHELL JOHN L. BOISER;
BAGONG ALYANSANG BAYAN
(BAYAN) CHAIRMAN DR.
CAROLINA P. ARAULLO;
BAYAN SECRETARY GENERAL
RENATO M. REYES, JR.;
CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY,
RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES (COURAGE)
CHAIRMAN FERDINAND
GAITE; KALIPUNAN NG
DAMAYANG MAHIHIRAP
(KADAMAY) SECRETARY
GENERAL GLORIA ARELLANO;
ALYANSA NG NAGKAKAISANG
KABATAAN NG SAMBAYANAN
PARA SA KAUNLARAN
(ANAKBAYAN) CHAIRMAN
KEN LEONARD RAMOS; TAYO
ANG PAG-ASA CONVENOR
ALVIN PETERS; LEAGUE OF
FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS)
CHAIRMAN JAMES MARK
TERRY LACUANAN RIDON;
NATIONAL UNION OF
STUDENTS OF THE
PHILIPPINES (NUSP)
CHAIRMAN EINSTEIN
RECEDES; COLLEGE EDITORS
GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
(CEGP) CHAIRMAN VIJAE
ALQUISOLA; and STUDENT
CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT OF
THE PHILIPPINES (SCMP)
CHAIRMAN MA. CRISTINA

ANGELA GUEVARRA;
WALDEN F. BELLO and
LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES;
WOMEN TRIAL LAWYERS
ORGANIZATION OF THE
PHILIPPINES, represented by
YOLANDA QUISUMBINGJAVELLANA; BELLEZA
ALOJADO DEMAISIP;
TERESITA GANDIONCOOLEDAN; MA. VERENA
KASILAG-VILLANUEVA;
MARILYN STA. ROMANA;
LEONILA DE JESUS; and
GUINEVERE DE LEON.
Intervenors.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
ATTY. AMADOR Z.
TOLENTINO, JR., (IBP
GovernorSouthern Luzon), and
ATTY. ROLAND B. INTING
(IBP GovernorEastern Visayas),
Petitioners,

G.R. No. 191342

- versus JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL G.R. No. 191420


(JBC),
Present:
Respondent.
x-----------------------x
PUNO, C.J.,
PHILIPPINE BAR
CARPIO,
ASSOCIATION, INC.,
CORONA,
Petitioner,
CARPIO MORALES,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BRION,
PERALTA,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO,
- versus -

ABAD,
VILLARAMA, JR.,
PEREZ, and
MENDOZA, JJ.
JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL
Promulgated:
and HER EXCELLENCY
March 17, 2010
GLORIA MACAPAGALARROYO,
Respondents.
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
The compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno by May 17, 2010 occurs just days
after the coming presidential elections on May 10, 2010. Even before the event actually
happens, it is giving rise to many legal dilemmas. May the incumbent President appoint his
successor, considering that Section 15, Article VII (Executive Department) of the Constitution
prohibits the President or Acting President from making appointments within two months
immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, except
temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice
public service or endanger public safety? What is the relevance of Section 4 (1), Article VIII
(Judicial Department) of the Constitution, which provides that any vacancy in the Supreme
Court shall be filled within 90 days from the occurrence thereof, to the matter of the
appointment of his successor? May the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) resume the process of
screening the candidates nominated or being considered to succeed Chief Justice Puno, and
submit the list of nominees to the incumbent President even during the period of the prohibition
under Section 15, Article VII? Does mandamus lie to compel the submission of the shortlist of
nominees by the JBC?
Precs of the Consolidated Cases
Petitioners Arturo M. De Castro and John G. Peralta respectively commenced G.R. No.
191002[1] and G.R. No. 191149[2] as special civil actions for certiorari and mandamus, praying
that the JBC be compelled to submit to the incumbent President the list of at least three
nominees for the position of the next Chief Justice.

In G.R. No. 191032,[3] Jaime N. Soriano, via his petition for prohibition, proposes to
prevent the JBC from conducting its search, selection and nomination proceedings for the
position of Chief Justice.
In G.R. No. 191057, a special civil action for mandamus,[4] the Philippine Constitution
Association (PHILCONSA) wants the JBC to submit its list of nominees for the position of
Chief Justice to be vacated by Chief Justice Puno upon his retirement on May 17, 2010, because
the incumbent President is not covered by the prohibition that applies only to appointments in
the Executive Department.
In Administrative Matter No. 10-2-5-SC,[5] petitioner Estelito M. Mendoza, a former Solicitor
General, seeks a ruling from the Court for the guidance of the JBC on whether Section 15,
Article VII applies to appointments to the Judiciary.
In G.R. No. 191342,[6] which the Court consolidated on March 9, 2010 with the petitions earlier
filed, petitioners Amador Z. Tolentino, Jr. and Roland B. Inting, Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) Governors for Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas, respectively, want to
enjoin and restrain the JBC from submitting a list of nominees for the position of Chief Justice
to the President for appointment during the period provided for in Section 15, Article VII.
All the petitions now before the Court pose as the principal legal question whether the
incumbent President can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno upon his retirement. That
question is undoubtedly impressed with transcendental importance to the Nation, because the
appointment of the Chief Justice is any Presidents most important appointment.
A precedent frequently cited is In Re Appointments Dated March 30, 1998 of Hon. Mateo
A. Valenzuela and Hon. Placido B. Vallarta as Judges of the Regional Trial Court of Branch 62,
Bago City and of Branch 24, Cabanatuan City, respectively (Valenzuela),[7] by which the Court
held that Section 15, Article VII prohibited the exercise by the President of the power to appoint
to judicial positions during the period therein fixed.
In G.R. No. 191002, De Castro submits that the conflicting opinions on the issue
expressed by legal luminaries one side holds that the incumbent President is prohibited from
making appointments within two months immediately before the coming presidential elections
and until the end of her term of office as President on June 30, 2010, while the other insists that
the prohibition applies only to appointments to executive positions that may influence the
election and, anyway, paramount national interest justifies the appointment of a Chief Justice
during the election ban has impelled the JBC to defer the decision to whom to send its list of at
least three nominees, whether to the incumbent President or to her successor.[8] He opines that
the JBC is thereby arrogating unto itself the judicial function that is not conferred upon it by the

Constitution, which has limited it to the task of recommending appointees to the Judiciary, but
has not empowered it to finally resolve constitutional questions, which is the power vested only
in the Supreme Court under the Constitution. As such, he contends that the JBC acted with
grave abuse of discretion in deferring the submission of the list of nominees to the President;
and that a final and definitive resolution of the constitutional questions raised above would
diffuse (sic) the tension in the legal community that would go a long way to keep and maintain
stability in the judiciary and the political system.[9]
In G.R. No. 191032, Soriano offers the view that the JBC committed a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of its jurisdiction when it resolved unanimously on
January 18, 2010 to open the search, nomination, and selection process for the position of Chief
Justice to succeed Chief Justice Puno, because the appointing authority for the position of Chief
Justice is the Supreme Court itself, the Presidents authority being limited to the appointment of
the Members of the Supreme Court. Hence, the JBC should not intervene in the process, unless
a nominee is not yet a Member of the Supreme Court.[10]

For its part, PHILCONSA observes in its petition in G.R. No. 191057 that unorthodox
and exceptional circumstances spawned by the discordant interpretations, due perhaps to a
perfunctory understanding, of Sec. 15, Art. VII in relation to Secs. 4(1), 8(5) and 9, Art. VIII of
the Constitution have bred a frenzied inflammatory legal debate on the constitutional provisions
mentioned that has divided the bench and the bar and the general public as well, because of its
dimensional impact to the nation and the people, thereby fashioning transcendental questions or
issues affecting the JBCs proper exercise of its principal function of recommending appointees
to the Judiciary by submitting only to the President (not to the next President) a list of at least
three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy from which the
members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts may be appointed.
[11]
PHILCONSA further believes and submits that now is the time to revisit and
review Valenzuela,the strange and exotic Decision of the Court en banc.[12]
Peralta states in his petition in G.R. No. 191149 that mandamus can compel the JBC to
immediately transmit to the President, within a reasonable time, its nomination list for the
position of chief justice upon the mandatory retirement of Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in
compliance with its mandated duty under the Constitution in the event that the Court resolves
that the President can appoint a Chief Justice even during the election ban under Section 15,
Article VII of the Constitution.[13]
The petitioners in G.R. No. 191342 insist that there is an actual controversy, considering
that the JBC has initiated the process of receiving applications for the position of Chief Justice
and has in fact begun the evaluation process for the applications to the position, and is

perilously near completing the nomination process and coming up with a list of nominees for
submission to the President, entering into the period of the ban on midnight appointments on
March 10, 2010, which only highlights the pressing and compelling need for a writ of
prohibition to enjoin such alleged ministerial function of submitting the list, especially if it will
be cone within the period of the ban on midnight appointments.[14]
Antecedents
These cases trace their genesis to the controversy that has arisen from the forthcoming
compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Puno on May 17, 2010, or seven days after the
presidential election. Under Section 4(1), in relation to Section 9, Article VIII, that vacancy
shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof from a list of at least three
nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy.
On December 22, 2009, Congressman Matias V. Defensor, an ex officio member of the
JBC, addressed a letter to the JBC, requesting that the process for nominations to the office of
the Chief Justice be commenced immediately.
In its January 18, 2010 meeting en banc, therefore, the JBC passed a resolution,[15] which
reads:
The JBC, in its en banc meeting of January 18, 2010, unanimously agreed to start the
process of filling up the position of Chief Justice to be vacated on May 17, 2010 upon the
retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice Honorable Reynato S. Puno.
It will publish the opening of the position for applications or recommendations; deliberate
on the list of candidates; publish the names of candidates; accept comments on or opposition to
the applications; conduct public interviews of candidates; and prepare the shortlist of candidates.
As to the time to submit this shortlist to the proper appointing authority, in the light of the
Constitution, existing laws and jurisprudence, the JBC welcomes and will consider all views on
the matter.
18 January 2010.

(sgd.)
MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA
Clerk of Court &
Ex-Officio Secretary
Judicial and Bar Council

As a result, the JBC opened the position of Chief Justice for application or recommendation,
and published for that purpose its announcement dated January 20, 2010,[16] viz:

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) announces the opening for application or
recommendation, of the position of CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT, which will
be vacated on 17 May 2010 upon the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice, HON.
REYNATO S. PUNO.
Applications or recommendations for this position must be submitted not later than 4
February 2010 (Thursday) to the JBC Secretariat xxx:

The announcement was published


Inquirer and The Philippine Star.[17]

on January

20,

2010 in

the Philippine

Daily

Conformably with its existing practice, the JBC automatically considered for the position of
Chief Justice the five most senior of the Associate Justices of the Court, namely: Associate
Justice Antonio T. Carpio; Associate Justice Renato C. Corona; Associate Justice Conchita
Carpio Morales; Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.; and Associate Justice Antonio
Eduardo B. Nachura. However, the last two declined their nomination through letters
dated January 18, 2010 and January 25, 2010, respectively.[18]
Others either applied or were nominated. Victor Fernandez, the retired Deputy Ombudsman
for Luzon, applied, but later formally withdrew his name from consideration through his letter
dated February 8, 2010. Candidates who accepted their nominations without conditions were
Associate Justice Renato C. Corona; Associate Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro;
Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion; and Associate Justice Edilberto G. Sandoval
(Sandiganbayan). Candidates who accepted their nominations with conditions were Associate
Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales. [19]Declining their
nominations were Atty. Henry Villarica (via telephone conversation with the Executive Officer
of the JBC on February 5, 2010) and Atty. Gregorio M. Batiller, Jr. (via telephone conversation
with the Executive Officer of the JBC on February 8, 2010).[20]
The JBC excluded from consideration former RTC Judge Florentino Floro (for failure to meet
the standards set by the JBC rules); and Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio of the Office of
the Ombudsman (due to cases pending in the Office of the Ombudsman).[21]
In its meeting of February 8, 2010, the JBC resolved to proceed to the next step of announcing
the names of the following candidates to invite the public to file their sworn complaint, written
report, or opposition, if any, not later than February 22, 2010, to wit: Associate Justice Carpio,
Associate Justice Corona, Associate Justice Carpio Morales, Associate Justice Leonardo-De
Castro, Associate Justice Brion, and Associate Justice Sandoval. The announcement came out in
the Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Philippine Star issues of February 13, 2010.[22]

Issues
Although it has already begun the process for the filling of the position of Chief Justice
Puno in accordance with its rules, the JBC is not yet decided on when to submit to the President
its list of nominees for the position due to the controversy now before us being yet unresolved.
In the meanwhile, time is marching in quick step towards May 17, 2010 when the vacancy
occurs upon the retirement of Chief Justice Puno.
The actions of the JBC have sparked a vigorous debate not only among legal luminaries,
but also among non-legal quarters, and brought out highly disparate opinions on whether the
incumbent President can appoint the next Chief Justice or not. Petitioner Mendoza notes that
in Valenzuela, which involved the appointments of two judges of the Regional Trial Court, the
Court addressed this issue now before us as an administrative matter to avoid any possible
polemics concerning the matter, but he opines that the polemics leading to Valenzuela would be
miniscule [sic] compared to the polemics that have now erupted in regard to the current
controversy, and that unless put to a halt, and this may only be achieved by a ruling from the
Court, the integrity of the process and the credibility of whoever is appointed to the position of
Chief Justice, may irreparably be impaired.[23]
Accordingly, we reframe the issues as submitted by each petitioner in the order of the
chronological filing of their petitions.

G.R. No. 191002


a. Does the JBC have the power and authority to resolve the constitutional question
of whether the incumbent President can appoint a Chief Justice during the
election ban period?
b. Does the incumbent President have the power and authority to appoint during
the election ban the successor of Chief Justice Puno when he vacates the
position of Chief Justice on his retirement on May 17, 2010?
G.R. No. 191032
a. Is the power to appoint the Chief Justice vested in the Supreme Court en banc?
G.R. No. 191057

a. Is the constitutional prohibition against appointment under Section 15, Article


VII of the Constitution applicable only to positions in the Executive
Department?
b. Assuming that the prohibition under Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution
also applies to members of the Judiciary, may such appointments be excepted
because they are impressed with public interest or are demanded by the
exigencies of public service, thereby justifying these appointments during the
period of prohibition?
c. Does the JBC have the authority to decide whether or not to include and submit
the names of nominees who manifested interest to be nominated for the position
of Chief Justice on the understanding that his/her nomination will be submitted
to the next President in view of the prohibition against presidential
appointments from March 11, 2010 until June 30, 2010?
A. M. No. 10-2-5-SC
a. Does Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution apply to appointments to
positions in the Judiciary under Section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution?
b. May President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo make appointments to the Judiciary
after March 10, 2010, including that for the position of Chief Justice after Chief
Justice Puno retires on May 17, 2010?
G.R. No. 191149
a. Does the JBC have the discretion to withhold the submission of the short list to
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
G.R. No. 191342
a. Does the JBC have the authority to submit the list of nominees to the incumbent
President without committing a grave violation of the Constitution and
jurisprudence
prohibiting
the
incumbent
President
from
making midnight appointments two months immediately preceding the next
presidential elections until the end of her term?
b. Is any act performed by the JBC, including the vetting of the candidates for the
position of Chief Justice, constitutionally invalid in view of the JBCs illegal
composition allowing each member from the Senate and the House of
Representatives to have one vote each?

On February 16, 2010, the Court directed the JBC and the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) to comment on the consolidated petitions, except that filed in G.R. No. 191342.
On February 26, 2010, the JBC submitted its comment, reporting therein that the next
stage of the process for the selection of the nominees for the position of Chief Justice would be
the public interview of the candidates and the preparation of the short list of candidates,
including the interview of the constitutional experts, as may be needed.[24] It stated:[25]
Likewise, the JBC has yet to take a position on when to submit the shortlist to the
proper appointing authority, in light of Section 4 (1), Article VIII of the Constitution,
which provides that vacancy in the Supreme Court shall be filled within ninety (90)
days from the occurrence thereof, Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution concerning
the ban on Presidential appointments two (2) months immediately before the next
presidential elections and up to the end of his term and Section 261 (g), Article XXII of
the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.
12. Since the Honorable Supreme Court is the final interpreter of the Constitution, the JBC will
be guided by its decision in these consolidated Petitions and Administrative Matter.

On February 26, 2010, the OSG also submitted its comment, essentially stating that the
incumbent President can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno upon his retirement
by May 17, 2010.
The OSG insists that: (a) a writ of prohibition cannot issue to prevent the JBC from
performing its principal function under the Constitution to recommend appointees in the
Judiciary; (b) the JBCs function to recommend is a continuing process, which does not begin
with each vacancy or end with each nomination, because the goal is to submit the list of
nominees to Malacaang on the very day the vacancy arises; [26] the JBC was thus acting within
its jurisdiction when it commenced and set in motion the process of selecting the nominees to
be submitted to the President for the position of Chief Justice to be vacated by Chief Justice
Puno;[27] (c) petitioner Sorianos theory that it is the Supreme Court, not the President, who has
the power to appoint the Chief Justice, is incorrect, and proceeds from his misinterpretation of
the phrase members of the Supreme Court found in Section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution as
referring only to the Associate Justices, to the exclusion of the Chief Justice; [28] (d) a writ
of mandamus can issue to compel the JBC to submit the list of nominees to the President,
considering that its duty to prepare the list of at least three nominees is unqualified, and the
submission of the list is a ministerial act that the JBC is mandated to perform under the
Constitution; as such, the JBC, the nature of whose principal function is executive, is not vested
with the power to resolve who has the authority to appoint the next Chief Justice and, therefore,
has no discretion to withhold the list from the President; [29] and (e) a writ of mandamus cannot

issue to compel the JBC to include or exclude particular candidates as nominees, considering
that there is no imperative duty on its part to include in or exclude from the list particular
individuals, but, on the contrary, the JBCs determination of who it nominates to the President is
an exercise of a discretionary duty.[30]
The OSG contends that the incumbent President may appoint the next Chief Justice,
because the prohibition under Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution does not apply to
appointments in the Supreme Court. It argues that any vacancy in the Supreme Court must be
filled within 90 days from its occurrence, pursuant to Section 4(1), Article VIII of the
Constitution; [31] that in their deliberations on the mandatory period for the appointment of
Supreme Court Justices, the framers neither mentioned nor referred to the ban against midnight
appointments, or its effects on such period, or vice versa; [32] that had the framers intended the
prohibition to apply to Supreme Court appointments, they could have easily expressly stated so
in the Constitution, which explains why the prohibition found in Article VII (Executive
Department) was not written in Article VIII (Judicial Department); and that the framers also
incorporated in Article VIII ample restrictions or limitations on the Presidents power to appoint
members of the Supreme Court to ensure its independence from political vicissitudes and its
insulation from political pressures,[33] such as stringent qualifications for the positions, the
establishment of the JBC, the specified period within which the President shall appoint a
Supreme Court Justice.
The OSG posits that although Valenzuela involved the appointment of RTC Judges, the
situation now refers to the appointment of the next Chief Justice to which the prohibition does
not apply; that, at any rate, Valenzuela even recognized that there might be the imperative need
for an appointment during the period of the ban, like when the membership of the Supreme
Court should be so reduced that it will have no quorum, or should the voting on a particular
important question requiring expeditious resolution be divided; [34] and that Valenzuela also
recognized that the filling of vacancies in the Judiciary is undoubtedly in the public interest,
most especially if there is any compelling reason to justify the making of the appointments
during the period of the prohibition.[35]
Lastly, the OSG urges that there are now undeniably compelling reasons for the
incumbent President to appoint the next Chief Justice, to wit: (a) a deluge of cases involving
sensitive political issues is quite expected;[36] (b) the Court acts as the Presidential Electoral
Tribunal (PET), which, sitting en banc, is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns, and qualifications of the President and Vice President and, as such, has the power to
correct manifest errors on the statement of votes (SOV) and certificates of canvass (COC);[37] (c)
if history has shown that during ordinary times the Chief Justice was appointed immediately
upon the occurrence of the vacancy, from the time of the effectivity of the Constitution, there is
now even more reason to appoint the next Chief Justice immediately upon the retirement of

Chief Justice Puno;[38] and (d) should the next Chief Justice come from among the incumbent
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, thereby causing a vacancy, it also becomes incumbent
upon the JBC to start the selection process for the filling up of the vacancy in accordance with
the constitutional mandate.[39]
On March 9, 2010, the Court admitted the following comments/oppositions-inintervention, to wit:

(a) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 22, 2010 of Atty. Peter Irving
Corvera (Corvera);[40]
(b) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 22, 2010 of Atty. Christian
Robert S. Lim (Lim);
(c) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 23, 2010 of Atty. Alfonso V. Tan,
Jr. (Tan);
(d) The comment/opposition-in-intervention dated March 1, 2010 of the National
Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL);
(e) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 25, 2010 of Atty. Marlou B.
Ubano (Ubano);
(f) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 25, 2010 of Integrated Bar of the
Philippines-Davao del Sur Chapter and its Immediate Past President, Atty.
Israelito P. Torreon (IBP- Davao del Sur);
(g) The opposition-in-intervention dated February 26, 2010 of Atty. Mitchell John
L. Boiser (Boiser);
(h)The consolidated comment/opposition-in-intervention dated February 26, 2010
of BAYAN Chairman Dr. Carolina P. Araullo; BAYAN Secretary General
Renato M. Reyes, Jr.; Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement
of Government Employees (COURAGE) Chairman Ferdinand Gaite; Kalipunan
ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) Secretary General Gloria Arellano;
Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Kabataan ng Samayanan Para sa Kaunlaran
(ANAKBAYAN) Chairman Ken Leonard Ramos; Tayo ang Pag-asa Convenor
Alvin Peters; League of Filipino Students (LFS) Chairman James Mark Terry
Lacuanan Ridon; National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP)
Chairman Einstein Recedes, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP)

Chairman Vijae Alquisola; and Student Christian Movement of the Philippines


(SCMP) Chairman Ma. Cristina Angela Guevarra (BAYAN et al.);
(i) The opposition-in-intervention dated March 3, 2010 of Walden F. Bello and
Loretta Ann P. Rosales (Bello et al.); and
(j) The consolidated comment/opposition-in-intervention dated March 4, 2010 of
the Women Trial Lawyers Organization of the Philippines (WTLOP),
represented by Atty. Yolanda Quisumbing-Javellana; Atty. Belleza Alojado
Demaisip; Atty. Teresita Gandionco-Oledan; Atty. Ma. Verena KasilagVillanueva; Atty. Marilyn Sta. Romana; Atty. Leonila de Jesus; and Atty.
Guinevere de Leon (WTLOP).

Intervenors Tan, WTLOP, BAYAN et al., Corvera, IBP Davao del Sur, and NUPL take the
position that De Castros petition was bereft of any basis, because under Section 15, Article VII,
the outgoing President is constitutionally banned from making any appointments from March
10, 2010 until June 30, 2010, including the appointment of the successor of Chief Justice Puno.
Hence, mandamus does not lie to compel the JBC to submit the list of nominees to the outgoing
President if the constitutional prohibition is already in effect. Tan adds that the prohibition
against midnight appointments was applied by the Court to the appointments to the Judiciary
made by then President Ramos, with the Court holding that the duty of the President to fill the
vacancies within 90 days from occurrence of the vacancies (for the Supreme Court) or from the
submission of the list (for all other courts) was not an excuse to violate the constitutional
prohibition.
Intervenors Tan, Ubano, Boiser, Corvera, NULP, BAYAN et al., and Bello et al. oppose
the insistence that Valenzuela recognizes the possibility that the President may appoint the next
Chief Justice if exigent circumstances warrant the appointment, because that recognition
is obiter dictum; and aver that the absence of a Chief Justice or even an Associate Justice does
not cause epic damage or absolute disruption or paralysis in the operations of the Judiciary.
They insist that even without the successor of Chief Justice Puno being appointed by the
incumbent President, the Court is allowed to sit and adjudge en banc or in divisions of three,
five or seven members at its discretion; that a full membership of the Court is not necessary;
that petitioner De Castros fears are unfounded and baseless, being based on a mere possibility,
the occurrence of which is entirely unsure; that it is not in the national interest to have a Chief
Justice whose appointment is unconstitutional and, therefore, void; and that such a situation will
create a crisis in the judicial system and will worsen an already vulnerable political situation.
ice is imperative for the stability of the judicial system and the political situation in the
country when the election-related questions reach the Court as false, because there is an

existing law on filling the void brought about by a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice;
that the law is Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, which has not been repealed
by Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 or any other law; that a temporary or an acting Chief Justice
is not anathema to judicial independence; that the designation of an acting Chief Justice is
not only provided for by law, but is also dictated by practical necessity; that the
practice was intended to be enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, but the Commissioners
decided not to write it in the Constitution on account of the settled practice; that the
practice was followed under the 1987 Constitution, when, in 1992, at the end of the term
of Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan, Associate Justice Andres Narvasa assumed the
position as Acting Chief Justice prior to his official appointment as Chief Justice; that said
filling up of a vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice was acknowledged and even used
by analogy in the case of the vacancy of the Chairman of the Commission on Elections,
per Brillantes v. Yorac, 192 SCRA 358; and that the history of the Supreme Court has
shown that this rule of succession has been repeatedly observed and has become a part
of its tradition.

Intervenors Ubano, Boiser, NUPL, Corvera, and Lim maintain that the Omnibus Election
Code penalizes as an election offense the act of any government official who appoints,
promotes, or gives any increase in salary or remuneration or privilege to any government
official or employee during the period of 45 days before a regular election; that the provision
covers all appointing heads, officials, and officers of a government office, agency or
instrumentality, including the President; that for the incumbent President to appoint the next
Chief Justice upon the retirement of Chief Justice Puno, or during the period of the ban under
the Omnibus Election Code, constitutes an election offense; that even an appointment of the
next Chief Justice prior to the election ban is fundamentally invalid and without effect because
there can be no appointment until a vacancy occurs; and that the vacancy for the position can
occur only by May 17, 2010.
Intervenor Boiser adds that De Castros prayer to compel the submission of nominees by
the JBC to the incumbent President is off-tangent because the position of Chief Justice is still
not vacant; that to speak of a list, much more a submission of such list, before a vacancy occurs
is glaringly premature; that the proposed advance appointment by the incumbent President of
the next Chief Justice will be unconstitutional; and that no list of nominees can be submitted by
the JBC if there is no vacancy.
All the intervenors-oppositors submit that Section 15, Article VII makes no distinction between
the kinds of appointments made by the President; and that the Court, in Valenzuela, ruled that
the appointments by the President of the two judges during the prohibition period were void.

Intervenor WTLOP posits that Section 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution does not
apply only to the appointments in the Executive Department, but also to judicial appointments,
contrary to the submission of PHILCONSA; that Section 15 does not distinguish; and
that Valenzuela already interpreted the prohibition as applicable to judicial appointments.
Intervenor WTLOP further posits that petitioner Sorianos contention that the power to
appoint the Chief Justice is vested, not in the President, but in the Supreme Court, is utterly
baseless, because the Chief Justice is also a Member of the Supreme Court as contemplated
under Section 9, Article VIII; and that, at any rate, the term members was interpreted in Vargas
v. Rillaroza (G.R. No. L-1612, February 26, 1948) to refer to the Chief Justice and the Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court; that PHILCONSAs prayer that the Court pass a resolution
declaring that persons who manifest their interest as nominees, but with conditions, shall not be
considered nominees by the JBC is diametrically opposed to the arguments in the body of its
petition; that such glaring inconsistency between the allegations in the body and the relief
prayed for highlights the lack of merit of PHILCONSAs petition; that the role of the JBC
cannot be separated from the constitutional prohibition on the President; and that the Court must
direct the JBC to follow the rule of law, that is, to submit the list of nominees only to the next
duly elected President after the period of the constitutional ban against midnight appointments
has expired.
Oppositor IBP Davao del Sur opines that the JBC because it is neither a judicial nor a
quasi-judicial body has no duty under the Constitution to resolve the question of whether the
incumbent President can appoint a Chief Justice during the period of prohibition; that even if
the JBC has already come up with a short list, it still has to bow to the strict limitations under
Section 15, Article VII; that should the JBC defer submission of the list, it is not arrogating unto
itself a judicial function, but simply respecting the clear mandate of the Constitution; and that
the application of the general rule in Section 15, Article VII to the Judiciary does not violate the
principle of separation of powers, because said provision is an exception.
Oppositors NUPL, Corvera, Lim and BAYAN et al. state that the JBCs act of nominating
appointees to the Supreme Court is purely ministerial and does not involve the exercise of
judgment; that there can be no default on the part of the JBC in submitting the list of nominees
to the President, considering that the call for applications only begins from the occurrence of the
vacancy in the Supreme Court; and that the commencement of the process of screening of
applicants to fill the vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice only begins from the retirement
on May 17, 2010, for, prior to this date, there is no definite legal basis for any party to claim
that the submission or non-submission of the list of nominees to the President by the JBC is a
matter of right under law.
The main question presented in all the filings herein because it involves two seemingly
conflicting provisions of the Constitution imperatively demands the attention and resolution of

this Court, the only authority that can resolve the question definitively and finally. The
imperative demand rests on the ever-present need, first, to safeguard the independence,
reputation, and integrity of the entire Judiciary, particularly this Court, an institution that has
been unnecessarily dragged into the harsh polemics brought on by the controversy; second, to
settle once and for all the doubt about an outgoing Presidents power to appoint to the Judiciary
within the long period starting two months before the presidential elections until the end of the
presidential term; and third, to set a definite guideline for the JBC to follow in the discharge of
its primary office of screening and nominating qualified persons for appointment to the
Judiciary.
Thus, we resolve.
Ruling of the Court
Locus Standi of Petitioners
The preliminary issue to be settled is whether or not the petitioners have locus standi.
Black defines locus standi as a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given
question.[41] In public or constitutional litigations, the Court is often burdened with the
determination of the locus standiof the petitioners due to the ever-present need to regulate the
invocation of the intervention of the Court to correct any official action or policy in order to
avoid obstructing the efficient functioning of public officials and offices involved in public
service. It is required, therefore, that the petitioner must have a personal stake in the outcome of
the controversy, for, as indicated in Agan, Jr. v. Philippine International Air Terminals Co., Inc.:
[42]

The question on legal 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. [43] Accordingly, it has been held that the
interest of a person 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.[44]

It is true that as early as in 1937, in People v. Vera,[45] the Court adopted the direct injury
test for determining whether a petitioner in a public action had locus standi. There, the Court
held that the person who would assail the validity of a statute must have a personal and

substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a
result. Vera was followed in Custodio v. President of the Senate,[46] Manila Race Horse Trainers
Association v. De la Fuente,[47] Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines v. Felix,[48] and Pascual
v. Secretary of Public Works.[49]
Yet, the Court has also held that the requirement of locus standi, being a mere procedural
technicality, can be waived by the Court in the exercise of its discretion. For instance, in 1949,
in Araneta v. Dinglasan,[50] the Court liberalized the approach when the cases
had transcendental importance. Some notable controversies whose petitioners did not pass
the direct injury test were allowed to be treated in the same way as in Araneta v. Dinglasan.[51]
In the 1975 decision in Aquino v. Commission on Elections,[52] this Court decided to resolve the
issues raised by the petition due to their far-reaching implications, even if the petitioner had no
personality to file the suit. The liberal approach of Aquino v. Commission on Elections has been
adopted in several notable cases, permitting ordinary citizens, legislators, and civic
organizations to bring their suits involving the constitutionality or validity of laws, regulations,
and rulings.[53]
However, the assertion of a public right as a predicate for challenging a supposedly
illegal or unconstitutional executive or legislative action rests on the theory that the petitioner
represents the public in general. Although such petitioner may not be as adversely affected by
the action complained against as are others, it is enough that he sufficiently demonstrates in his
petition that he is entitled to protection or relief from the Court in the vindication of a public
right.
Quite often, as here, the petitioner in a public action sues as a citizen or taxpayer to
gain locus standi. That is not surprising, for even if the issue may appear to concern only the
public in general, such capacities nonetheless equip the petitioner with adequate interest to
sue. In David v. Macapagal-Arroyo,[54] the Court aptly explains why:
Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both citizen and taxpayer standing in public
actions. The distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk,[55] where it was held that the
plaintiff in a taxpayers suit is in a different category from the plaintiff in a citizens suit. In the
former, the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in the latter, he is
but the mere instrument of the public concern. As held by the New York Supreme Court
in People ex rel Case v. Collins:[56] In matter of mere public right, howeverthe people are the
real partiesIt is at least the right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a
public offence be properly pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be remedied.
With respect to taxpayers suits, Terr v. Jordan[57] held that the right of a citizen and a taxpayer
to maintain an action in courts to restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury
cannot be denied.[58]

Petitioners De Castro (G.R. No. 191002), Soriano (G.R. No. 191032) and Peralta (G.R.
No. 191149) all assert their right as citizens filing their petitions on behalf of the public who are
directly affected by the issue of the appointment of the next Chief Justice. De Castro and
Soriano further claim standing as taxpayers, with Soriano averring that he is affected by the
continuing proceedings in the JBC, which involve unnecessary, if not, illegal disbursement of
public funds.[59]
PHILCONSA alleges itself to be a non-stock, non-profit organization existing under the
law for the purpose of defending, protecting, and preserving the Constitution and promoting its
growth and flowering. It also alleges that the Court has recognized its legal standing to file
cases on constitutional issues in several cases.[60]
In A.M. No. 10-2-5-SC, Mendoza states that he is a citizen of the Philippines, a member
of the Philippine Bar engaged in the active practice of law, and a former Solicitor General,
former Minister of Justice, former Member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa and the Regular
Batasang Pambansa, and former member of the Faculty of the College of Law of the University
of the Philippines.
The petitioners in G.R. No. 191342 are the Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) for Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas. They allege that they have the legal
standing to enjoin the submission of the list of nominees by the JBC to the President, for [a]n
adjudication of the proper interpretation and application of the constitutional ban on midnight
appointments with regard to respondent JBCs function in submitting the list of nominees is well
within the concern of petitioners, who are duty bound to ensure that obedience and respect for
the Constitution is upheld, most especially by government offices, such as respondent JBC, who
are specifically tasked to perform crucial functions in the whole scheme of our democratic
institution. They further allege that, reposed in them as members of the Bar, is a clear legal
interest in the process of selecting the members of the Supreme Court, and in the selection of
the Chief Justice, considering that the person appointed becomes a member of the body that has
constitutional supervision and authority over them and other members of the legal profession.[61]
The Court rules that the petitioners have each demonstrated adequate interest in the
outcome of the controversy as to vest them with the requisite locus standi. The issues before us
are of transcendental importance to the people as a whole, and to the petitioners in particular.
Indeed, the issues affect everyone (including the petitioners), regardless of ones personal
interest in life, because they concern that great doubt about the authority of the incumbent
President to appoint not only the successor of the retiring incumbent Chief Justice, but also
others who may serve in the Judiciary, which already suffers from a far too great number of
vacancies in the ranks of trial judges throughout the country.

In any event, the Court retains the broad discretion to waive the requirement of legal
standing in favor of any petitioner when the matter involved has transcendental importance, or
otherwise requires a liberalization of the requirement.[62]
Yet, if any doubt still lingers about the locus standi of any petitioner, we dispel the doubt
now in order to remove any obstacle or obstruction to the resolution of the essential issue
squarely presented herein. We are not to shirk from discharging our solemn duty by reason
alone of an obstacle more technical than otherwise. In Agan, Jr. v. Philippine International Air
Terminals Co., Inc.,[63] we pointed out: Standing is a peculiar concept in constitutional law
because in some cases, suits are not brought by parties who have been personally injured by the
operation of a law or any other government act but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters
who actually sue in the public interest. But even if, strictly speaking, the petitioners are not
covered by the definition, it is still within the wide discretion of the Court to waive the
requirement and so remove the impediment to its addressing and resolving the serious
constitutional questions raised.[64]
Justiciability
Intervenor NUPL maintains that there is no actual case or controversy that is appropriate
or ripe for adjudication, considering that although the selection process commenced by the JBC
is going on, there is yet no final list of nominees; hence, there is no imminent controversy as to
whether such list must be submitted to the incumbent President, or reserved for submission to
the incoming President.
Intervenor Tan raises the lack of any actual justiciable controversy that is ripe for judicial
determination, pointing out that petitioner De Castro has not even shown that the JBC has
already completed its selection process and is now ready to submit the list to the incumbent
President; and that petitioner De Castro is merely presenting a hypothetical scenario that is
clearly not sufficient for the Court to exercise its power of judicial review.
Intervenors Corvera and Lim separately opine that De Castros petition rests on an
overbroad and vague allegation of political tension, which is insufficient basis for the Court to
exercise its power of judicial review.
Intervenor BAYAN et al. contend that the petitioners are seeking a mere advisory opinion
on what the JBC and the President should do, and are not invoking any issues that are
justiciable in nature.
Intervenors Bello et al. submit that there exist no conflict of legal rights and no assertion
of opposite legal claims in any of the petitions; that PHILCONSA does not allege any action

taken by the JBC, but simply avers that the conditional manifestations of two Members of the
Court, accented by the divided opinions and interpretations of legal experts, or associations of
lawyers and law students on the issues published in the daily newspapers are matters of
paramount and transcendental importance to the bench, bar and general public; that
PHILCONSA fails not only to cite any legal duty or allege any failure to perform the duty, but
also to indicate what specific action should be done by the JBC; that Mendoza does not even
attempt to portray the matter as a controversy or conflict of rights, but, instead, prays that the
Court should rule for the guidance of the JBC; that the fact that the Court supervises the JBC
does not automatically imply that the Court can rule on the issues presented in the Mendoza
petition, because supervision involves oversight, which means that the subordinate officer or
body must first act, and if such action is not in accordance with prescribed rules, then, and only
then, may the person exercising oversight order the action to be redone to conform to the
prescribed rules; that the Mendoza petition does not allege that the JBC has performed a
specific act susceptible to correction for being illegal or unconstitutional; and that the Mendoza
petition asks the Court to issue an advisory ruling, not to exercise its power of supervision to
correct a wrong act by the JBC, but to declare the state of the law in the absence of an actual
case or controversy.
We hold that the petitions set forth an actual case or controversy that is ripe for judicial
determination. The reality is that the JBC already commenced the proceedings for the selection
of the nominees to be included in a short list to be submitted to the President for consideration
of which of them will succeed Chief Justice Puno as the next Chief Justice. Although the
position is not yet vacant, the fact that the JBC began the process of nomination pursuant to its
rules and practices, although it has yet to decide whether to submit the list of nominees to the
incumbent outgoing President or to the next President, makes the situation ripe for judicial
determination, because the next steps are the public interview of the candidates, the preparation
of the short list of candidates, and the interview of constitutional experts, as may be needed.
A part of the question to be reviewed by the Court is whether the JBC properly initiated
the process, there being an insistence from some of the oppositors-intervenors that the JBC
could only do so once the vacancy has occurred (that is, after May 17, 2010). Another part is, of
course, whether the JBC may resume its process until the short list is prepared, in view of the
provision of Section 4(1), Article VIII, which unqualifiedly requires the President to appoint
one from the short list to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court (be it the Chief Justice or an
Associate Justice) within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy.
The ripeness of the controversy for judicial determination may not be doubted. The
challenges to the authority of the JBC to open the process of nomination and to continue the
process until the submission of the list of nominees; the insistence of some of the petitioners to
compel the JBC through mandamus to submit the short list to the incumbent President; the

counter-insistence of the intervenors to prohibit the JBC from submitting the short list to the
incumbent President on the ground that said list should be submitted instead to the next
President; the strong position that the incumbent President is already prohibited under Section
15, Article VII from making any appointments, including those to the Judiciary, starting on May
10, 2010 until June 30, 2010; and the contrary position that the incumbent President is not so
prohibited are only some of the real issues for determination. All such issues establish the
ripeness of the controversy, considering that for some the short list must be submitted before the
vacancy actually occurs by May 17, 2010. The outcome will not be an abstraction, or a merely
hypothetical exercise. The resolution of the controversy will surely settle with finality the
nagging questions that are preventing the JBC from moving on with the process that it already
began, or that are reasons persuading the JBC to desist from the rest of the process.
We need not await the occurrence of the vacancy by May 17, 2010 in order for the
principal issue to ripe for judicial determination by the Court. It is enough that one alleges
conduct arguably affected with a constitutional interest, but seemingly proscribed by the
Constitution. A reasonable certainty of the occurrence of the perceived threat to a constitutional
interest is sufficient to afford a basis for bringing a challenge, provided the Court has sufficient
facts before it to enable it to intelligently adjudicate the issues. [65] Herein, the facts are not in
doubt, for only legal issues remain.
Substantive Merits
I
Prohibition under Section 15, Article VII does not apply
to appointments to fill a vacancy in the Supreme Court
or to other appointments to the Judiciary

Two constitutional provisions are seemingly in conflict.


The first, Section 15, Article VII (Executive Department), provides:
Section 15. Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the
end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary
appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public
service or endanger public safety.

The other, Section 4 (1), Article VIII (Judicial Department), states:

Section 4. (1). The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen
Associate Justices. It may sit en banc or in its discretion, in division of three, five, or seven
Members. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof.

In the consolidated petitions, the petitioners, with the exception of Soriano, Tolentino and
Inting, submit that the incumbent President can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno
upon his retirement on May 17, 2010, on the ground that the prohibition against presidential
appointments under Section 15, Article VII does not extend to appointments in the Judiciary.
The Court agrees with the submission.
First. The records of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission reveal that the
framers devoted time to meticulously drafting, styling, and arranging the Constitution. Such
meticulousness indicates that the organization and arrangement of the provisions of the
Constitution were not arbitrarily or whimsically done by the framers, but purposely made to
reflect their intention and manifest their vision of what the Constitution should contain.
The Constitution consists of 18 Articles, three of which embody the allocation of the
awesome powers of government among the three great departments, the Legislative (Article
VI), the Executive (Article VII), and the Judicial Departments (Article VIII). The arrangement
was a true recognition of the principle of separation of powers that underlies the political
structure, as Constitutional Commissioner Adolfo S. Azcuna (later a worthy member of the
Court) explained in his sponsorship speech:
We have in the political part of this Constitution opted for the separation of powers in
government because we believe that the only way to protect freedom and liberty is to separate
and divide the awesome powers of government. Hence, we return to the separation of powers
doctrine and the legislative, executive and judicial departments.[66]

As can be seen, Article VII is devoted to the Executive Department, and, among others, it
lists the powers vested by the Constitution in the President. The presidential power of
appointment is dealt with in Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the Article.
Article VIII is dedicated to the Judicial Department and defines the duties and
qualifications of Members of the Supreme Court, among others. Section 4(1) and Section 9 of
this Article are the provisions specifically providing for the appointment of Supreme Court
Justices. In particular, Section 9 states that the appointment of Supreme Court Justices can only
be made by the President upon the submission of a list of at least three nominees by the JBC;

Section 4(1) of the Article mandates the President to fill the vacancy within 90 days from the
occurrence of the vacancy.
Had the framers intended to extend the prohibition contained in Section 15, Article VII to
the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court, they could have explicitly done so. They
could not have ignored the meticulous ordering of the provisions. They would
have easily and surely written the prohibition made explicit in Section 15, Article VII as being
equally applicable to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court in Article VIII itself,
most likely in Section 4 (1), Article VIII. That such specification was not done only reveals that
the prohibition against the President or Acting President making appointments within two
months before the next presidential elections and up to the end of the Presidents or Acting
Presidents term does not refer to the Members of the Supreme Court.

Although Valenzuela[67] came to hold that the prohibition covered even judicial
appointments, it cannot be disputed that the Valenzuela dictum did not firmly rest on the
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. Thereby, the confirmation made to the JBC by
then Senior Associate Justice Florenz D. Regalado of this Court, a former member of the
Constitutional Commission, about the prohibition not being intended to apply to the
appointments to the Judiciary, which confirmation Valenzuela even expressly mentioned, should
prevail.
Relevantly, Valenzuela adverted to the intent of the framers in the genesis of Section 4 (1),
Article VIII, viz:
V . Intent of the Constitutional Commission
The journal of the Commission which drew up the present Constitution discloses that the
original proposal was to have an eleven-member Supreme Court. Commissioner Eulogio Lerum
wanted to increase the number of Justices to fifteen. He also wished to ensure that that number
would not be reduced for any appreciable length of time (even only temporarily), and to this end
proposed that any vacancy must be filled within two months from the date that the vacancy
occurs. His proposal to have a 15-member Court was not initially adopted. Persisting however in
his desire to make certain that the size of the Court would not be decreased for any substantial
period as a result of vacancies, Lerum proposed the insertion in the provision (anent the Courts
membership) of the same mandate that IN CASE OF ANY VACANCY, THE SAME SHALL BE
FILLED WITHIN TWO MONTHS FROM OCCURRENCE THEREOF. He later agreed to
suggestions to make the period three, instead of two, months. As thus amended, the proposal was
approved. As it turned out, however, the Commission ultimately agreed on a fifteen-member
Court. Thus it was that the section fixing the composition of the Supreme Court came to
include a command to fill up any vacancy therein within 90 days from its occurrence.

In this connection, it may be pointed out that that instruction that any vacancy shall
be filled within ninety days (in the last sentence of Section 4 (1) of Article VIII) contrasts with
the prohibition in Section 15, Article VII, which is couched in stronger negative language - that a
President or Acting President shall not make appointments
The commission later approved a proposal of Commissioner Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (now a
Member of this Court) to add to what is now Section 9 of Article VIII, the following paragraph:
WITH RESPECT TO LOWER COURTS, THE PRESIDENT SHALL ISSUE THE
APPOINTMENT WITHIN NINETY DAYS FROM THE SUBMISSION OF THE LIST (of
nominees by the Judicial and Bar Council to the President). Davide stated that his purpose was to
provide a uniform rule for lower courts. According to him, the 90-day period should be counted
from submission of the list of nominees to the President in view of the possibility that the
President might reject the list submitted to him and the JBC thus need more time to submit a new
one.
On the other hand, Section 15, Article VII - which in effect deprives the President of his
appointing power two months immediately before the next presidential elections up to the end
of his term - was approved without discussion.[68]

However, the reference to the records of the Constitutional Commission did not advance or
support the result in Valenzuela. Far to the contrary, the records disclosed the express intent of
the framers to enshrine in the Constitution, upon the initiative of Commissioner Eulogio Lerum,
a command [to the President] to fill up any vacancy therein within 90 days from its occurrence,
which even Valenzuelaconceded.[69] The exchanges during deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission on October 8, 1986 further show that the filling of a vacancy in the Supreme Court
within the 90-day period was a truemandate for the President, viz:
MR. DE CASTRO. I understand that our justices now in the Supreme Court, together with
the Chief Justice, are only 11.
MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.
MR. DE CASTRO. And the second sentence of this subsection reads: Any vacancy shall
be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof.
MR. CONCEPCION. That is right.
MR. DE CASTRO. Is this now a mandate to the executive to fill the vacancy?
MR. CONCEPCION. That is right. That is borne out of the fact that in the past 30 years,
seldom has the Court had a complete complement.[70]

Moreover, the usage in Section 4(1), Article VIII of the word shall an imperative,
operating to impose a duty that may be enforced [71] should not be disregarded. Thereby, Sections
4(1) imposes on the President the imperative duty to make an appointment of a Member of the
Supreme Court within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy. The failure by the President
to do so will be a clear disobedience to the Constitution.

The 90-day limitation fixed in Section 4(1), Article VIII for the President to fill the
vacancy in the Supreme Court was undoubtedly a special provision to establish a definite
mandate for the President as the appointing power, and cannot be defeated by mere judicial
interpretation in Valenzuela to the effect that Section 15, Article VII prevailed because it was
couched in stronger negative language. Such interpretation even turned out to be conjectural, in
light of the records of the Constitutional Commissions deliberations on Section 4 (1), Article
VIII.
How Valenzuela justified its pronouncement and result is hardly warranted. According to
an authority on statutory construction:[72]
xxx the court should seek to avoid any conflict in the provisions of the statute by
endeavoring to harmonize and reconcile every part so that each shall be effective. It is not easy to
draft a statute, or any other writing for that matter, which may not in some manner contain
conflicting provisions. But what appears to the reader to be a conflict may not have seemed so to
the drafter. Undoubtedly, each provision was inserted for a definite reason. Often by considering
the enactment in its entirety, what appears to be on its face a conflict may be cleared up and the
provisions reconciled.
Consequently, that construction which will leave every word operative will be favored over
one which leaves some word or provision meaningless because of inconsistency. But a word
should not be given effect, if to do so gives the statute a meaning contrary to the intent of the
legislature. On the other hand, if full effect cannot be given to the words of a statute, they must
be made effective as far as possible. Nor should the provisions of a statute which are inconsistent
be harmonized at a sacrifice of the legislative intention. It may be that two provisions are
irreconcilable; if so, the one which expresses the intent of the law-makers should control. And
the arbitrary rule has been frequently announced that where there is an irreconcilable conflict
between the different provisions of a statute, the provision last in order of position will prevail,
since it is the latest expression of the legislative will. Obviously, the rule is subject to deserved
criticism. It is seldom applied, and probably then only where an irreconcilable conflict exists
between different sections of the same act, and after all other means of ascertaining the meaning
of the legislature have been exhausted. Where the conflict is between two statutes, more may be
said in favor of the rules application, largely because of the principle of implied repeal.

In this connection, PHILCONSAs urging of a revisit and a review of Valenzuela is timely


and appropriate. Valenzuela arbitrarily ignored the express intent of the Constitutional
Commission to have Section 4 (1), Article VIII stand independently of any other provision, least
of all one found in Article VII. It further ignored that the two provisions had no irreconcilable
conflict, regardless of Section 15, Article VII being couched in the negative. As judges, we are
not to unduly interpret, and should not accept an interpretation that defeats the intent of the
framers.[73]
Consequently, prohibiting the incumbent President from appointing a Chief Justice on the
premise that Section 15, Article VII extends to appointments in the Judiciary cannot be

sustained. A misinterpretation likeValenzuela should not be allowed to last after its false
premises have been exposed.[74] It will not do to merely distinguish Valenzuela from these cases,
for
the
result
to
be
reached
herein
is
entirely
incompatible
with
what Valenzuela decreed. Consequently, Valenzuela now deserves to be quickly sent to the
dustbin of the unworthy and forgettable.
We reverse Valenzuela.
Second. Section 15, Article VII does not apply as well to all other appointments in the
Judiciary.
There is no question that one of the reasons underlying the adoption of Section 15 as part
of Article VII was to eliminate midnight appointments from being made by an outgoing Chief
Executive in the mold of the appointments dealt with in the leading case of Aytona v. Castillo.
[75]
In fact, in Valenzuela, the Court so observed, stating that:
xxx it appears that Section 15, Article VII is directed against two types of appointments: (1)
those made for buying votes and (2) those made for partisan considerations . The first refers to
those appointments made within the two months preceding a Presidential election and are similar
to those which are declared election offenses in the Omnibus Election Code, viz.:
xxx
The second type of appointments prohibited by Section 15, Article VII consists of the socalled midnight appointments. In Aytona v. Castillo, it was held that after the proclamation of
Diosdado Macapagal as duly elected President, President Carlos P. Garcia, who was defeated in
his bid for reelection, became no more than a caretaker administrator whose duty was to prepare
for the orderly transfer of authority to the incoming President. Said the Court:
The filling up of vacancies in important positions, if few, and so spaced as to afford
some assurance of deliberate action and careful consideration of the need for the
appointment and appointee's qualifications may undoubtedly be permitted. But the
issuance of 350 appointments in one night and the planned induction of almost all of them
in a few hours before the inauguration of the new President may, with some reason, be
regarded by the latter as an abuse of Presidential prerogatives, the steps taken being
apparently a mere partisan effort to fill all vacant positions irrespective of fitness and
other conditions, and thereby to deprive the new administration of an opportunity to
make the corresponding appointments.

As indicated, the Court recognized that there may well be appointments to important
positions which have to be made even after the proclamation of the new President. Such
appointments, so long as they are few and so spaced as to afford some assurance of
deliberate action and careful consideration of the need for the appointment and the
appointees qualifications, can be made by the outgoing President. Accordingly, several
appointments made by President Garcia, which were shown to have been well considered, were
upheld.

Section 15, Article VII has a broader scope than the Aytona ruling. It may not
unreasonably be deemed to contemplate not only midnight appointments those made
obviously for partisan reasons as shown by their number and the time of their making but
also appointments presumed made for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the
Presidential election.
On the other hand, the exception in the same Section 15 of Article VII allowing
appointments to be made during the period of the ban therein provided is much narrower than
that recognized in Aytona. The exception allows only the making of temporary appointments
to executive positions when continued vacancies will prejudice public service or endanger public
safety. Obviously, the article greatly restricts the appointing power of the President during the
period of the ban.
Considering the respective reasons for the time frames for filling vacancies in the courts
and the restriction on the President's power of appointment, it is this Courts view that, as a
general proposition, in case of conflict, the former should yield to the latter. Surely, the
prevention of vote-buying and similar evils outweighs the need for avoiding delays in filling up
of court vacancies or the disposition of some cases. Temporary vacancies can abide the period of
the ban which, incidentally and as earlier pointed out, comes to exist only once in every six
years. Moreover, those occurring in the lower courts can be filled temporarily by
designation. But prohibited appointments are long-lasting and permanent in their effects.They
may, as earlier pointed out, in fact influence the results of elections and, for that reason, their
making is considered an election offense.[76]

Given the background and rationale for the prohibition in Section 15, Article VII, we
have no doubt that the Constitutional Commission confined the prohibition to appointments
made in the Executive Department. The framers did not need to extend the prohibition to
appointments in the Judiciary, because their establishment of the JBC and their subjecting the
nomination and screening of candidates for judicial positions to the unhurried and
deliberate prior process of the JBC ensured that there would no longer
be midnight appointments to the Judiciary. If midnight appointments in the mold of Aytona were
made in haste and with irregularities, or made by an outgoing Chief Executive in the last days
of his administration out of a desire to subvert the policies of the incoming President or for
partisanship,[77] the appointments to the Judiciary made after the establishment of the JBC
would not be suffering from such defects because of the JBCs prior processing of candidates.
Indeed, it is axiomatic in statutory construction that the ascertainment of the purpose of the
enactment is a step in the process of ascertaining the intent or meaning of the enactment,
because the reason for the enactment must necessarily shed considerable light on the law of the
statute, i.e., the intent; hence, the enactment should be construed with reference to its intended
scope and purpose, and the court should seek to carry out this purpose rather than to defeat it.[78]
Also, the intervention of the JBC eliminates the danger that appointments to the Judiciary
can be made for the purpose of buying votes in a coming presidential election, or of satisfying
partisan considerations. The experience from the time of the establishment of the JBC shows

that even candidates for judicial positions at any level backed by people influential with the
President could not always be assured of being recommended for the consideration of the
President, because they first had to undergo the vetting of the JBC and pass muster
there. Indeed, the creation of the JBC was precisely intended tode-politicize the Judiciary by
doing away with the intervention of the Commission on Appointments. This insulating process
was absent from the Aytona midnight appointment.
Third. As earlier stated, the non-applicability of Section 15, Article VII to appointments
in the Judiciary was confirmed by then Senior Associate Justice Regalado to the JBC itself
when it met on March 9, 1998 to discuss the question raised by some sectors about the
constitutionality of xxx appointments to the Court of Appeals in light of the forthcoming
presidential elections. He assured that on the basis of the (Constitutional) Commissions records,
the election ban had no application to appointments to the Court of Appeals. [79] This
confirmation was accepted by the JBC, which then submitted to the President for consideration
the nominations for the eight vacancies in the Court of Appeals.[80]
The fault of Valenzuela was that it accorded no weight and due consideration to the
confirmation of Justice Regalado. Valenzuela was weak, because it relied on interpretation to
determine the intent of the framers rather than on the deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission. Much of the unfounded doubt about the Presidents power to appoint during the
period of prohibition in Section 15, Article VII could have been dispelled since its promulgation
on November 9, 1998, had Valenzuela properly acknowledged and relied on the confirmation of
a distinguished member of the Constitutional Commission like Justice Regalado.
Fourth. Of the 23 sections in Article VII, three (i.e., Section 14, Section15, and Section
16) concern the appointing powers of the President.
Section 14 speaks of the power of the succeeding President to revoke appointments made
by an Acting President,[81] and evidently refers only to appointments in the Executive
Department.
It
has
no
application
to
appointments
in
the
Judiciary,
because temporary or acting appointments can only undermine the independence of the
Judiciary due to their being revocable at will. [82] The letter and spirit of the Constitution
safeguard that independence. Also, there is no law in the books that authorizes the revocation of
appointments in the Judiciary. Prior to their mandatory retirement or resignation, judges of the
first and second level courts and the Justices of the third level courts may only be removed for
cause, but the Members of the Supreme Court may be removed only by impeachment.
Section 16 covers only the presidential appointments that require confirmation by the
Commission on Appointments. Thereby, the Constitutional Commission restored the
requirement of confirmation by the Commission on Appointments after the requirement was

removed from the 1973 Constitution. Yet, because of Section 9 of Article VIII, the restored
requirement did not include appointments to the Judiciary.[83]
Section 14, Section 15, and Section 16 are obviously of the same character, in that they
affect the power of the President to appoint. The fact that Section 14 and Section 16 refer only
to appointments within the Executive Department renders conclusive that Section 15 also
applies only to the Executive Department. This conclusion is consistent with the rule that every
part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context, i.e. that every part must be
considered together with the other parts, and kept subservient to the general intent of the whole
enactment.[84] It is absurd to assume that the framers deliberately situated Section
15 between Section 14 and Section 16, if they intended Section 15 to cover all kinds of
presidential appointments. If that was their intention in respect of appointments to the Judiciary,
the framers, if only to be clear, would have easily and surely inserted a similar prohibition in
Article VIII, most likely within Section 4 (1) thereof.
Fifth. To hold like the Court did in Valenzuela that Section 15 extends to appointments to
the Judiciary further undermines the intent of the Constitution of ensuring the independence of
the Judicial Department from the Executive and Legislative Departments. Such a holding will
tie the Judiciary and the Supreme Court to the fortunes or misfortunes of political leaders vying
for the Presidency in a presidential election. Consequently, the wisdom of having the new
President, instead of the current incumbent President, appoint the next Chief Justice is itself
suspect, and cannot ensure judicial independence, because the appointee can also become
beholden to the appointing authority. In contrast, the appointment by the incumbent President
does not run the same risk of compromising judicial independence, precisely because her term
will end by June 30, 2010.
Sixth. The argument has been raised to the effect that there will be no need for the
incumbent President to appoint during the prohibition period the successor of Chief Justice
Puno within the context of Section 4 (1), Article VIII, because anyway there will still be about
45 days of the 90 days mandated in Section 4(1), Article VIII remaining.
The argument is flawed, because it is focused only on the coming vacancy occurring
from Chief Justice Punos retirement by May 17, 2010. It ignores the need to apply Section 4(1)
to every situation of a vacancy in the Supreme Court.
The argument also rests on the fallacious assumption that there will still be time
remaining in the 90-day period under Section 4(1), Article VIII. The fallacy is easily
demonstrable, as the OSG has shown in its comment.

Section 4 (3), Article VII requires the regular elections to be held on the second Monday
of May, letting the elections fall on May 8, at the earliest, or May 14, at the latest. If the regular
presidential elections are held on May 8, the period of the prohibition is 115 days. If such
elections are held on May 14, the period of the prohibition is 109 days. Either period of the
prohibition is longer than the full mandatory 90-day period to fill the vacancy in the Supreme
Court. The result is that there are at least 19 occasions (i.e., the difference between the shortest
possible period of the ban of 109 days and the 90-day mandatory period for appointments) in
which the outgoing President would be in no position to comply with the constitutional duty to
fill up a vacancy in the Supreme Court. It is safe to assume that the framers of the Constitution
could not have intended such an absurdity. In fact, in their deliberations on the mandatory
period for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices under Section 4 (1), Article VIII, the
framers neither discussed, nor mentioned, nor referred to the ban against midnight appointments
under Section 15, Article VII, or its effects on the 90-day period, or vice versa. They did not
need to, because they never intended Section 15, Article VII to apply to a vacancy in the
Supreme Court, or in any of the lower courts.
Seventh. As a matter of fact, in an extreme case, we can even raise a doubt on whether a
JBC list is necessary at all for the President any President to appoint a Chief Justice if the
appointee is to come from the ranks of the sitting justices of the Supreme Court.
Sec. 9, Article VIII says:
xxx. The Members of the Supreme Court xxx shall be appointed by the President from a
list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for any vacancy. Such
appointments need no confirmation.
xxx

The provision clearly refers to an appointee coming into the Supreme Court from the
outside, that is, a non-member of the Court aspiring to become one. It speaks of candidates for
the Supreme Court, not of those who are already members or sitting justices of the Court, all of
whom have previously been vetted by the JBC.
Can the President, therefore, appoint any of the incumbent Justices of the Court as Chief
Justice?
The question is not squarely before us at the moment, but it should lend itself to a deeper
analysis if and when circumstances permit. It should be a good issue for the proposed
Constitutional Convention to consider in the light of Senate President Juan Ponce Enriles
statement that the President can appoint the Chief Justice from among the sitting justices of the
Court even without a JBC list.

II
The Judiciary Act of 1948
The posture has been taken that no urgency exists for the President to appoint the successor of
Chief Justice Puno, considering that the Judiciary Act of 1948 can still address the situation of
having the next President appoint the successor.

Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 states:


Section 12. Vacancy in Office of Chief Justice. In case of a vacancy in the office of Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court or of his inability to perform the duties and powers of his office,
they shall devolve upon the Associate Justice who is first in precedence, until such disability is
removed, or another Chief Justice is appointed and duly qualified. This provision shall apply to
every Associate Justice who succeeds to the office of Chief Justice.

The provision calls for an Acting Chief Justice in the event of a vacancy in the office of
the Chief Justice, or in the event that the Chief Justice is unable to perform his duties and
powers. In either of such circumstances, the duties and powers of the office of the Chief Justice
shall devolve upon the Associate Justice who is first in precedence until a new Chief Justice is
appointed or until the disability is removed.
Notwithstanding that there is no pressing need to dwell on this peripheral matter after the Court
has hereby resolved the question of consequence, we do not find it amiss to confront the matter
now.
We cannot agree with the posture.
A review of Sections 4(1) and 9 of Article VIII shows that the Supreme Court is composed of a
Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices, who all shall be appointed by the President from a list
of at least three nominees prepared by the JBC for every vacancy, which appointments require
no confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. With reference to the Chief Justice, he or
she is appointed by the President as Chief Justice, and the appointment is never in an acting
capacity. The express reference to a Chief Justice abhors the idea that the framers contemplated
an Acting Chief Justice to head the membership of the Supreme Court. Otherwise, they would
have simply written so in the Constitution. Consequently, to rely on Section 12 of the Judiciary
Act of 1948 in order to forestall the imperative need to appoint the next Chief Justice soonest is
to defy the plain intent of the Constitution.

For sure, the framers intended the position of Chief Justice to be permanent, not one to be
occupied in an acting or temporary capacity. In relation to the scheme of things under the
present Constitution, Section 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 only responds to a rare situation in
which the new Chief Justice is not yet appointed, or in which the incumbent Chief Justice is
unable to perform the duties and powers of the office. It ought to be remembered, however, that
it was enacted because the Chief Justice appointed under the 1935 Constitution was subject to
the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments, and the confirmation process might take
longer than expected.
The appointment of the next Chief Justice by the incumbent President is preferable to
having the Associate Justice who is first in precedence take over. Under the Constitution, the
heads of the Legislative and Executive Departments are popularly elected, and whoever are
elected and proclaimed at once become the leaders of their respective Departments. However,
the lack of any appointed occupant of the office of Chief Justice harms the independence of the
Judiciary, because the Chief Justice is the head of the entire Judiciary. The Chief Justice
performs functions absolutely significant to the life of the nation. With the entire Supreme
Court being the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the Chief Justice is the Chairman of the
Tribunal. There being no obstacle to the appointment of the next Chief Justice, aside from its
being mandatory for the incumbent President to make within the 90-day period from May 17,
2010, there is no justification to insist that the successor of Chief Justice Puno be appointed by
the next President.
Historically, under the present Constitution, there has been no wide gap between the
retirement and the resignation of an incumbent Chief Justice, on one hand, and the appointment
to and assumption of office of his successor, on the other hand. As summarized in the comment
of the OSG, the chronology of succession is as follows:
1. When Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee retired on April 18, 1988, Chief Justice
Pedro Yap was appointed on the same day;
2. When Chief Justice Yap retired on July 1, 1988, Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan
was appointed on the same day;
3. When Chief Justice Fernan resigned on December 7, 1991, Chief Justice
Andres Narvasa was appointed the following day, December 8, 1991;
4. When Chief Justice Narvasa retired on November 29, 1998, Chief Justice
Hilario Davide, Jr. was sworn into office the following early morning
of November 30, 1998;

5. When Chief Justice Davide retired on December 19, 2005, Chief Justice
Artemio Panganiban was appointed the next day, December 20, 2005; and
6. When Chief Justice Panganiban retired on December 6, 2006, Chief Justice
Reynato S. Puno took his oath as Chief Justice at midnight of December 6,
2006.[85]
III
Writ of mandamus does not lie against the JBC
May the JBC be compelled to submit the list of nominees to the President?
Mandamus shall issue when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully
neglects the performance of an act that the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an
office, trust, or station.[86] It is proper when the act against which it is directed is one addressed
to the discretion of the tribunal or officer. Mandamus is not available to direct the exercise of a
judgment or discretion in a particular way.[87]
For mandamus to lie, the following requisites must be complied with: (a) the plaintiff has a
clear legal right to the act demanded; (b) it must be the duty of the defendant to perform the act,
because it is mandated by law; (c) the defendant unlawfully neglects the performance of the
duty enjoined by law; (d) the act to be performed is ministerial, not discretionary; and (e) there
is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
Section 8(5) and Section 9, Article VIII, mandate the JBC to submit a list of at least three
nominees to the President for every vacancy in the Judiciary:
Section 8. xxx
(5) The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the
Judiciary. xxx
Section 9. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be
appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and
Bar Council for every vacancy. Such appointments need no confirmation.
For the lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within ninety days
from the submission of the list.

However, Section 4(1) and Section 9, Article VIII, mandate the President to fill the
vacancy in the Supreme Court within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy, and within 90
days from the submission of the list, in the case of the lower courts. The 90-day period is

directed at the President, not at the JBC. Thus, the JBC should start the process of selecting the
candidates to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court before the occurrence of the vacancy.
Under the Constitution, it is mandatory for the JBC to submit to the President the list of
nominees to fill a vacancy in the Supreme Court in order to enable the President to appoint one
of them within the 90-day period from the occurrence of the vacancy. The JBC has no discretion
to submit the list to the President after the vacancy occurs, because that shortens the 90-day
period allowed by the Constitution for the President to make the appointment. For the JBC to do
so
will
be
unconscionable
on
its
part,
considering
that
it
will
thereby effectively and illegally deprive the President of the ample time granted under the
Constitution to reflect on the qualifications of the nominees named in the list of the JBC before
making the appointment.
The duty of the JBC to submit a list of nominees before the start of the Presidents
mandatory 90-day period to appoint is ministerial, but its selection of the candidates whose
names will be in the list to be submitted to the President lies within the discretion of the JBC.
The object of the petitions for mandamus herein should only refer to the duty to submit to the
President the list of nominees for every vacancy in the Judiciary, because in order to constitute
unlawful neglect of duty, there must be an unjustified delay in performing that duty.
[88]
For mandamus to lie against the JBC, therefore, there should be an unexplained delay on its
part in recommending nominees to the Judiciary, that is, in submitting the list to the President.
The distinction between a ministerial act and a discretionary one has been delineated in
the following manner:
The distinction between a ministerial and discretionary act is well delineated. A purely
ministerial act or duty is one which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts,
in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal authority, without regard to
or the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. If
the law imposes a duty upon a public officer and gives him the right to decide how or when
the duty shall be performed, such duty is discretionary and not ministerial. The duty is
ministerial only when the discharge of the same requires neither the exercise of official
discretion or judgment.[89]

Accordingly, we find no sufficient grounds to grant the petitions for mandamus and to issue a
writ of mandamus against the JBC. The actions for that purpose are premature, because it is
clear that the JBC still has until May 17, 2010, at the latest, within which to submit the list of
nominees to the President to fill the vacancy created by the compulsory retirement of Chief
Justice Puno.

IV
Writ of prohibition does not lie against the JBC
In light of the foregoing disquisitions, the conclusion is ineluctable that only the
President can appoint the Chief Justice. Hence, Sorianos petition for prohibition in G.R. No.
191032, which proposes to prevent the JBC from intervening in the process of nominating the
successor of Chief Justice Puno, lacks merit.
On the other hand, the petition for prohibition in G.R. No. 191342 is similarly devoid of
merit. The challenge mounted against the composition of the JBC based on the allegedly
unconstitutional allocation of a vote each to the ex officio members from the Senate and the
House of Representatives, thereby prejudicing the chances of some candidates for nomination
by raising the minimum number of votes required in accordance with the rules of the JBC, is
not based on the petitioners actual interest, because they have not alleged in their petition that
they were nominated to the JBC to fill some vacancies in the Judiciary. Thus, the petitioners
lack locus standi on that issue.
WHEREFORE, the Court:
1. Dismisses the petitions for certiorari and mandamus in G.R. No. 191002 and G.R.
No. 191149, and the petition for mandamus in G.R. No. 191057 for being premature;
2. Dismisses the petitions for prohibition in G.R. No. 191032 and G.R. No. 191342 for
lack of merit; and
3. Grants the petition in A.M. No. 10-2-5-SC and, accordingly, directs the Judicial and
Bar Council:
(a) To resume its proceedings for the nomination of candidates to fill the vacancy
to be created by the compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno
by May 17, 2010;
(b) To prepare the short list of nominees for the position of Chief Justice;
(c) To submit to the incumbent President the short list of nominees for the position
of Chief Justice on or before May 17, 2010; and

(d) To continue its proceedings for the nomination of candidates to fill other
vacancies in the Judiciary and submit to the President the short list of nominees
corresponding thereto in accordance with this decision.
SO ORDERED.

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

ANTONIO T. CARPIO RENATO C. CORONA


Associate Justice Associate Justice

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice Associate Justice

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION DIOSDADO M. PERALTA


Associate Justice Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO ROBERTO A. ABAD


Associate Justice Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR. JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice

C E R T I F I C AT I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the
conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.

REYNATO S. PUNO

Chief Justice

[1]

Filed on February 9, 2010.


Begun on February 23, 2010.
[3]
Initiated on February 10, 2010.
[4]
Commenced on February 11, 2010.
[5]
Dated February 15, 2010.
[6]
Filed on March 8, 2010.
[7]
A.M. No. 98-5-01-SC, November 9, 1998, 298 SCRA 408.
[8]
Petition in G.R. No. 191002, pp. 3-4.
[9]
Id., p. 5.
[10]
Petition in G.R. No. 191032, pp. 4-8.
[11]
Petition in G.R. No. 191057, pp. 1-2.
[12]
Id., p. 11.
[13]
Petition in G.R. No. 191149.
[14]
Petition in G.R. No. 191342.
[15]
http://jbc.judiciary.gov.ph/announcements/JBCreCJ.pdf
[16]
http://jbc.judiciary.gov.ph/announcements/jbc_announce_2009/jan22%20%2710.pdf
[17]
Comment of the JBC, p. 3.
[18]
Id.
[19]
Id., pp. 4-5.
[20]
Id., p. 5.
[21]
Id.
[22]
Id., p. 6.
[23]
Petition in A.M. No. 10-2-5-SC, pp. 5-6.
[24]
Comment of the JBC, p. 6.
[25]
Id., p. 7; bold emphasis is in the original text.
[26]
Comment of the OSG, pp. 13-14.
[27]
Id., p. 14.
[28]
Id., p. 15.
[29]
Id., pp. 20-24.
[30]
Id., pp. 25-27.
[31]
Id., pp. 29-30.
[32]
Id.
[33]
Id., pp. 32-33.
[34]
Id., pp. 34-35.
[35]
Id.
[36]
Id., pp. 35-36. The OSG posits:
National interest compels the President to make such appointment for it is particularly during this crucial period when
national leaders are seeking fresh mandates from the people that the Supreme Court, more than at any other time, represents
stability. Hence, a full court is ideal to ensure not only due deliberation on and careful consideration of issues but also
expeditious disposition of cases.
Indeed, such function becomes especially significant in view of the fact that this is the first time that the whole country will
experience automated elections.
[37]
Id., pp. 36-37. The OSG stresses:
The possible fallouts or serious aftermath of allowing a vacuum in the position of the Chief Justice may be greater and
riskier than the consequences or repercussions of inaction. Needless to state, the appointment of the Chief Justice of this
Honorable Court (sic) is the most important appointment vested by the 1987 Constitution to (sic) the President.
[38]
Id., p. 37.
[39]
Id., p. 38.
[40]
Filed by Atty. Pitero M. Reig.
[41]
Blacks Law Dictionary, 941 (6th Ed. 1991).
[42]
G.R. No. 155001, May 5, 2003, 402 SCRA 612.
[43]
Citing Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, G.R. No. 118910, July 17, 1995, 246 SCRA 540, 562-563, citing Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 7
L. Ed. 633 (1962).
[44]
Citing Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato, supra; Bayan v. Zamora, G.R. No. 138570, October 10, 2000; 342 SCRA 449, 478.
[45]
65 Phil. 56.
[2]

[46]

G.R. No. 117, November 7, 1945 (Unreported).


G.R. No. 2947, January 11, 1959 (Unreported).
[48]
77 Phil. 1012 (1947).
[49]
110 Phil. 331 (1960).
[50]
84 Phil. 368 (1949)
[51]
E.g., Chavez v. Public Estates Authority, G.R. No. 133250, July 9, 2002, 384 SCRA 152 (in which the Court ruled that the
enforcement of the constitutional right to information and the equitable diffusion of natural resources are matters of transcendental
importance which clothe the petitioner with locus standi); Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v. Zamora, G.R. Nos. 138570, 138572,
138587, 138680, 138698, October 10, 2000, 342 SCRA 449 (in which the Court held that given the transcendental importance of the
issues involved, the Court may relax the standing requirements and allow the suit to prosper despite the lack of direct injury to the
parties seeking judicial review of the Visiting Forces Agreement); Lim v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 151445, April 11, 2002, 380
SCRA 739 (in which the Court, albeit conceding that the petitioners might not file suit in their capacity as taxpayers without a
showing that Balikatan 02-01 involved the exercise of Congress taxing or spending powers, reiterated Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
v. Zamora, declaring that cases of transcendental importance must be settled promptly and definitely and the standing requirements
may be relaxed); and Osmea v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 100318, 100308, 100417,100420, July 30, 1991, 199 SCRA 750
(in which the Court held that where serious constitutional questions were involved, the transcendental importance to the public of the
cases demanded that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside technicalities of procedure).
[52]
L-No. 40004, January 31, 1975, 62 SCRA 275.
[53]
E.g., Taada v. Tuvera, G.R. No. 63915, April 24, 1985, 136 SCRA 27 (in which the Court held that it is sufficient that the petitioner
is a citizen interested in the execution of the law, because the question is one of public duty and the enforcement of a public right, and
the people are the real party-in-interest); Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, G.R. No. 72119, May 29, 1987, 150 SCRA 530 (in
which the Court declared that where an assertion of a public right is involved, the requirement of personal interest is satisfied by the
mere fact that the petitioner is a citizen and is part of the general public which possesses the right); Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa
Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan, L. No. 81311, June 30, 1988, 163 SCRA 371 (in which the Court disregarded objections to
taxpayers lack of personality to sue in determining the validity of the VAT Law);Albano v. Reyes, G.R. No. 83551, July 11, 1989, 175
SCRA 264 (in which the Court pronounced that although no expenditure of public funds was involved in the questioned contract, the
petitioner was nonetheless clothed with the legal personality under the disclosure provision of the Constitution to question it,
considering its important role in the economic development of the country and the magnitude of the financial consideration involved,
indicating that public interest was definitely involved); and Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Sec. of
Agrarian Reform, G.R. No. 78742, July 14, 1989, 175 SCRA 343 (in which the Court ruled that it had the discretion to waive the
requirement of locus standi in determining the validity of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program,
although the petitioners were not, strictly speaking, covered by the definition of proper party).
[54]
David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, G.R. No. 171396, May 3, 2006, 489 SCRA 160.
[55]
275 Ky 91, 120 SW2d 765 (1938).
[56]
19 Wend. 56 (1837).
[57]
232 NC 48, 59 SE2d 359 (1950).
[58]
Bold emphasis is in the original text.
[59]
Petition in G.R. No. 191032, p. 2.
[60]
Petition in G.R. No. 191057, pp. 3-4; citing the cases of PHILCONSA v. Gimenez, 15 SCRA 479; PHILCONSA v. Mathay, 18
SCRA 300; PHILCONSA v. Enriquez, 235 SCRA 506; and Lambino v. COMELEC, 505 SCRA 160.
[61]
Petition in G.R. No. 191342, pp. 2-3.
[62]
See, for instance, Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora, G.R. No. 141284, August 15, 2000, 338 SCRA 81 (where the
petitioner questioned the validity of the deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in law enforcement, asserting that
IBP was the official organization of Filipino lawyers tasked with the bounden duty to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution, but
the Court held that the IBP had not shown that it was so tasked: In this case, a reading of the petition shows that the IBP has advanced
constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as
precedents. Moreover, because peace and order are under constant threat and lawless violence occurs in increasing tempo,
undoubtedly aggravated by the Mindanao insurgency problem, the legal controversy raised in the petition almost certainly will not go
away. It will stare us in the face again. It, therefore, behooves the Court to relax the rules on standing and to resolve the issue now,
rather than later, and went on to resolve the issues because the petitioner advanced constitutional issues that deserved the attention of
the Court in view of their seriousness, novelty, and weight as precedents).
[63]
Supra, note 42, p. 645.
[64]
Id.
[65]
See Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 113-118 (1976); Regional Rail Reoganization Act Cases, 419 U.S. 102, 138-148 (1974).
[66]
Record of Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. V., p. 912, October 12, 1998.
[67]
Supra, note 6, p. 426-427, stating:
Considering the respective reasons for the time frames for filling vacancies in the courts and the restriction on the
Presidents power of appointment, it is this Courts view that, as a general proposition, in case of conflict, the former should yield
to the latter. Surely, the prevention of vote-buying and similar evils outweighs the need for avoiding delays in filling up of court
vacancies or the disposition of some cases. Temporary vacancies can abide the period of the ban which, incidentally and as
earlier pointed out, comes to exist only once in every six years. Moreover, those occurring in the lower courts can be filled
[47]

temporarily by designation. But prohibited appointments are long-lasting and permanent in their effects. They may, as earlier
pointed out, in fact influence the results of elections and, for that reason, their making is considered an election offense.
To the contention that may perhaps be asserted, that Sections 4 (1) and 9 of Article VIII should prevail over Section 15 of
Article VII, because they may be considered later expressions of the people when they adopted the Constitution, it suffices to
point out that the Constitution must be construed in its entirety as one, single, instrument.
To be sure, instances may be conceived of the imperative need for an appointment, during the period of the ban, not only in
the executive but also in the Supreme Court. This may be the case should the membership of the court be so reduced that it will
have no quorum or should the voting on a particularly important question requiring expeditious resolution be evenly
divided. Such a case, however, is covered by neither Section 15 of Article VII nor Section 4 (1) and 9 of Article VIII.
[68]
Id., pp. 422-423.
[69]
Id., p. 423.
[70]
Record of Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. V., pp. 632-633.
[71]
Dizon v. Encarnacion, G.R. No. L-18615, December 24, 1963, 9 SCRA 714.
[72]
Crawford, Earl. T., The Construction of Statutes, Thomas Law Book Company, St. Louis, Missouri, 262-264 (1940).
[73]
Garcia v. Social Security Commission Legal and Collection, G.R. No. 170735, December 17, 2007, 540 SCRA 456, 472;
citing Escosura v. San Miguel Brewery, Inc., 4 SCRA 285, (1962).
[74]
According to Arizona v. Rumsey, 467 U. S. 203, 212 (1984): Although adherence to precedent is not rigidly required in
constitutional cases, any departure from the doctrine of stare decisis demands special justification. The special justification for the
reversal ofValenzuela lies in its intrinsic unsoundness.
[75]
No. L-19313, January 19, 1962, 4 SCRA 1.
[76]
Supra, note 6, pp. 424-426; bold underscoring supplied for emphasis.
[77]
Aytona v. Castillo, supra, note 74, pp. 8-10 (N.B. - In the time material to Aytona, there were judges of the Court of First Instance
who were appointed to districts that had no vacancies, because the incumbents had not qualified for other districts to which they had
been supposedly transferred or promoted; at any rate, the appointments still required confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments).
[78]
Crawford, op. cit., supra, note 72, pp. 248-249.
[79]
Supra, note 6, p. 413.
[80]
Id.
[81]
Section 14. Appointments extended by an Acting President shall remain effective, unless revoked by the elected President within
ninety days from his assumption or reassumption of office.
[82]
Cruz, I., Philippine Political Law, 253 (2002); also Rilloraza v. Vargas, 80 Phil. 297 (1948).
[83]
Record of Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. V., p. 908, which indicates that in his sponsorship
speech delivered on October 12, 1986 on the floor of the Constitutional Commission, Commissioner Teofisto Guingona explained that
[a]ppointments to the judiciary shall not be subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.
[84]
Rodriguez, Statutory Construction, 171 (1999).
[85]
Comment of the OSG, p. 37.
[86]
Section 3, Rule 65, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
[87]
JG Summit Holdings, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124293, November 20, 2000, 345 SCRA 143.
[88]
Nery v. Gamolo, A.M. No. P-01-1508, February 7, 2003, 397 SCRA 110, citing Musni v. Morales, 315 SCRA 85, 86 (1999).
[89]
Espiridion v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 146933, June 8, 2006, 490 SCRA 273.

. No. 146933, June 8, 2006, 490 SCRA 273.


EN BANC
G.R. No. L-49112 February 2, 1979
LEOVILLO C. AGUSTIN, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ROMEO F. EDU, in his capacity as Land Transportation Commissioner; HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, in
his capacity as Minister of National Defense; HON. ALFREDO L. JUINIO, in his capacity as Minister Of Public
Works, Transportation and Communications; and HON: BALTAZAR AQUINO, in his capacity as Minister of
Public Highways, respondents.
Leovillo C. Agustin Law Office for petitioner.
Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Ruben E. Agpalo and Solicitor Amado D. Aquino
for respondents.

FERNANDO, J.:
The validity of a letter of Instruction 1 providing for an early seaming device for motor vehicles is assailed in this
prohibition proceeding as being violative of the constitutional guarantee of due process and, insofar as the rules and
regulations for its implementation are concerned, for transgressing the fundamental principle of non- delegation of
legislative power. The Letter of Instruction is stigmatized by petitioner who is possessed of the requisite standing, as being
arbitrary and oppressive. A temporary restraining order as issued and respondents Romeo F. Edu, Land Transportation
Commissioner Juan Ponce Enrile, Minister of National Defense; Alfredo L. Juinio, Minister of Public Works, Transportation
and Communications; and Baltazar Aquino, Minister of Public Highways; were to answer. That they did in a pleading
submitted by Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza. 2 Impressed with a highly persuasive quality, it makes devoid clear
that the imputation of a constitutional infirmity is devoid of justification The Letter of Instruction on is a valid police power
measure. Nor could the implementing rules and regulations issued by respondent Edu be considered as amounting to an
exercise of legislative power. Accordingly, the petition must be dismissed.
The facts are undisputed. The assailed Letter of Instruction No. 229 of President Marcos, issued on December 2,
1974, reads in full: "[Whereas], statistics show that one of the major causes of fatal or serious accidents in land
transportation is the presence of disabled, stalled or parked motor vehicles along streets or highways without any
appropriate early warning device to signal approaching motorists of their presence; [Whereas], the hazards posed
by such obstructions to traffic have been recognized by international bodies concerned with traffic safety, the 1968
Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals and the United Nations Organization (U.N.); [Whereas], the said
Vienna Convention which was ratified by the Philippine Government under P.D. No. 207, recommended the
enactment of local legislation for the installation of road safety signs and devices; [Now, therefore, I, Ferdinand E.
Marcos], President of the Philippines, in the interest of safety on all streets and highways, including expressways or
limited access roads, do hereby direct: 1. That all owners, users or drivers of motor vehicles shall have at all times in
their motor vehicles at least one (1) pair of early warning device consisting of triangular, collapsible reflectorized
plates in red and yellow colors at least 15 cms. at the base and 40 cms. at the sides. 2. Whenever any motor vehicle
is stalled or disabled or is parked for thirty (30) minutes or more on any street or highway, including expressways or
limited access roads, the owner, user or driver thereof shall cause the warning device mentioned herein to be
installed at least four meters away to the front and rear of the motor vehicle staged, disabled or parked. 3. The Land
Transportation Commissioner shall cause Reflectorized Triangular Early Warning Devices, as herein described, to
be prepared and issued to registered owners of motor vehicles, except motorcycles and trailers, charging for each
piece not more than 15 % of the acquisition cost. He shall also promulgate such rules and regulations as are
appropriate to effectively implement this order. 4. All hereby concerned shall closely coordinate and take such
measures as are necessary or appropriate to carry into effect then instruction. 3 Thereafter, on November 15, 1976, it
was amended by Letter of Instruction No. 479 in this wise. "Paragraph 3 of Letter of Instruction No. 229 is hereby
amended to read as follows: 3. The Land transportation Commissioner shall require every motor vehicle owner to procure
from any and present at the registration of his vehicle, one pair of a reflectorized early warning device, as d bed of any
brand or make chosen by mid motor vehicle . The Land Transportation Commissioner shall also promulgate such rule and
regulations as are appropriate to effectively implement this order.'" 4There was issued accordingly, by respondent Edu, the
implementing rules and regulations on December 10, 1976. 5 They were not enforced as President Marcos on January 25,
1977, ordered a six-month period of suspension insofar as the installation of early warning device as a pre-registration
requirement for motor vehicle was concerned. 6 Then on June 30, 1978, another Letter of Instruction 7 the lifting of such
suspension and directed the immediate implementation of Letter of Instruction No. 229 as amended. 8 It was not until
August 29, 1978 that respondent Edu issued Memorandum Circular No. 32, worded thus: "In pursuance of Letter of
Instruction No. 716, dated June 30, 1978, the implementation of Letter of Instruction No. 229, as amended by Letter of
Instructions No. 479, requiring the use of Early Warning Devices (EWD) on motor vehicle, the following rules and
regulations are hereby issued: 1. LTC Administrative Order No. 1, dated December 10, 1976; shall now be implemented
provided that the device may come from whatever source and that it shall have substantially complied with the EWD
specifications contained in Section 2 of said administrative order; 2. In order to insure that every motor vehicle , except
motorcycles, is equipped with the device, a pair of serially numbered stickers, to be issued free of charge by this
Commission, shall be attached to each EWD. The EWD. serial number shall be indicated on the registration certificate
and official receipt of payment of current registration fees of the motor vehicle concerned. All Orders, Circulars, and
Memoranda in conflict herewith are hereby superseded, This Order shall take effect immediately. 9 It was for immediate
implementation by respondent Alfredo L. Juinio, as Minister of Public Works, transportation, and Communications. 10
Petitioner, after setting forth that he "is the owner of a Volkswagen Beetle Car, Model 13035, already properly
equipped when it came out from the assembly lines with blinking lights fore and aft, which could very well serve as
an early warning device in case of the emergencies mentioned in Letter of Instructions No. 229, as amended, as
well as the implementing rules and regulations in Administrative Order No. 1 issued by the land transportation
Commission," 11 alleged that said Letter of Instruction No. 229, as amended, "clearly violates the provisions and

delegation of police power, [sic] * * *: " For him they are "oppressive, unreasonable, arbitrary, confiscatory, nay
unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of our compassionate New Society." 12 He contended that they are "infected
with arbitrariness because it is harsh, cruel and unconscionable to the motoring public;" 13 are "one-sided, onerous and
patently illegal and immoral because [they] will make manufacturers and dealers instant millionaires at the expense of car
owners who are compelled to buy a set of the so-called early warning device at the rate of P 56.00 to P72.00 per
set." 14 are unlawful and unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of a compassionate New Society [as being]
compulsory and confiscatory on the part of the motorists who could very well provide a practical alternative road safety
device, or a better substitute to the specified set of EWD's." 15 He therefore prayed for a judgment both the assailed
Letters of Instructions and Memorandum Circular void and unconstitutional and for a restraining order in the meanwhile.

A resolution to this effect was handed down by this Court on October 19, 1978: "L-49112 (Leovillo C. Agustin v. Hon.
Romeo F. Edu, etc., et al.) Considering the allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments adduced
in the petition for prohibition with writ of p prohibitory and/or mandatory injunction, the Court Resolved to (require)
the respondents to file an answer thereto within ton (10) days from notice and not to move to dismiss the petition.
The Court further Resolved to [issue] a [temporary restraining order] effective as of this date and continuing until
otherwise ordered by this Court. 16
Two motions for extension were filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and granted. Then on November 15,
1978, he Answer for respondents was submitted. After admitting the factual allegations and stating that they lacked
knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to petitioner owning a Volkswagen Beetle car," they
"specifically deny the allegations and stating they lacked knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to
petitioner owning a Volkswagen Beetle Car, 17 they specifically deny the allegations in paragraphs X and XI (including its
subparagraphs 1, 2, 3, 4) of Petition to the effect that Letter of Instruction No. 229 as amended by Letters of Instructions
Nos. 479 and 716 as well as Land transportation Commission Administrative Order No. 1 and its Memorandum Circular
No. 32 violates the constitutional provisions on due process of law, equal protection of law and undue delegation of police
power, and that the same are likewise oppressive, arbitrary, confiscatory, one-sided, onerous, immoral unreasonable and
illegal the truth being that said allegations are without legal and factual basis and for the reasons alleged in the Special
and Affirmative Defenses of this Answer." 18 Unlike petitioner who contented himself with a rhetorical recital of his litany of
grievances and merely invoked the sacramental phrases of constitutional litigation, the Answer, in demonstrating that the
assailed Letter of Instruction was a valid exercise of the police power and implementing rules and regulations of
respondent Edu not susceptible to the charge that there was unlawful delegation of legislative power, there was in the
portion captioned Special and Affirmative Defenses, a citation of what respondents believed to be the authoritative
decisions of this Tribunal calling for application. They are Calalang v. Williams, 19 Morfe v. Mutuc, 20 and Edu v.
Ericta. 21 Reference was likewise made to the 1968 Vienna Conventions of the United Nations on road traffic, road signs,
and signals, of which the Philippines was a signatory and which was duly ratified. 22 Solicitor General Mendoza took pains
to refute in detail, in language calm and dispassionate, the vigorous, at times intemperate, accusation of petitioner that the
assailed Letter of Instruction and the implementing rules and regulations cannot survive the test of rigorous scrutiny. To
repeat, its highly-persuasive quality cannot be denied.
This Court thus considered the petition submitted for decision, the issues being clearly joined. As noted at the
outset, it is far from meritorious and must be dismissed.
1. The Letter of Instruction in question was issued in the exercise of the police power. That is conceded by petitioner
and is the main reliance of respondents. It is the submission of the former, however, that while embraced in such a
category, it has offended against the due process and equal protection safeguards of the Constitution, although the
latter point was mentioned only in passing. The broad and expansive scope of the police power which was originally
Identified by Chief Justice Taney of the American Supreme Court in an 1847 decision as "nothing more or less than
the powers of government inherent in every sovereignty" 23 was stressed in the aforementioned case of Edu v.
Ericta thus: "Justice Laurel, in the first leading decision after the Constitution came into force, Calalang v. Williams,
Identified police power with state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order
to promote the general welfare. Persons and property could thus 'be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens in
order to we the general comfort, health and prosperity of the state.' Shortly after independence in 1948, Primicias v.
Fugosoreiterated the doctrine, such a competence being referred to as 'the power to prescribe regulations to promote the
health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of the people. The concept was set forth in
negative terms by Justice Malcolm in a pre-Commonwealth decision as 'that inherent and plenary power in the State
which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society. In that sense it could be hardly
distinguishable as noted by this Court in Morfe v. Mutuc with the totality of legislative power. It is in the above sense the
greatest and most powerful at. tribute of government. It is, to quote Justice Malcolm anew, 'the most essential, insistent,
and at least table powers, I extending as Justice Holmes aptly pointed out 'to all the great public needs.' Its scope, everexpanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough

room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus assuring the greatest benefits. In the
language of Justice Cardozo: 'Needs that were narrow or parochial in the past may be interwoven in the present with the
well-being of the nation. What is critical or urgent changes with the time.' The police power is thus a dynamic agency,
suitably vague and far from precisely defined, rooted in the conception that men in organizing the state and imposing
upon its government limitations to safeguard constitutional rights did not intend thereby to enable an individual citizen or a
group of citizens to obstruct unreasonably the enactment of such salutary measures calculated to communal peace,
safety, good order, and welfare." 24

2. It was thus a heavy burden to be shouldered by petitioner, compounded by the fact that the particular police
power measure challenged was clearly intended to promote public safety. It would be a rare occurrence indeed for
this Court to invalidate a legislative or executive act of that character. None has been called to our attention, an
indication of its being non-existent. The latest decision in point, Edu v. Ericta, sustained the validity of the Reflector
Law, 25 an enactment conceived with the same end in view. Calalang v. Williams found nothing objectionable in a statute,
the purpose of which was: "To promote safe transit upon, and. avoid obstruction on roads and streets designated as
national roads * * *. 26 As a matter of fact, the first law sought to be nullified after the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution,
the National Defense Act, 27 with petitioner failing in his quest, was likewise prompted by the imperative demands of public
safety.
3. The futility of petitioner's effort to nullify both the Letter of Instruction and the implementing rules and regulations
becomes even more apparent considering his failure to lay the necessary factual foundation to rebut the
presumption of validity. So it was held in Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of
Manila. 28 The rationale was clearly set forth in an excerpt from a decision of Justice Branders of the American Supreme
Court, quoted in the opinion: "The statute here questioned deals with a subject clearly within the scope of the police
power. We are asked to declare it void on the ground that the specific method of regulation prescribed is unreasonable
and hence deprives the plaintiff of due process of law. As underlying questions of fact may condition the constitutionality of
legislation of this character, the presumption of constitutionality must prevail in the absence of some factual foundation of
record in overthrowing the statute. 29
4. Nor did the Solicitor General as he very well could, rely solely on such rebutted presumption of validity. As was
pointed out in his Answer "The President certainly had in his possession the necessary statistical information and
data at the time he issued said letter of instructions, and such factual foundation cannot be defeated by petitioner's
naked assertion that early warning devices 'are not too vital to the prevention of nighttime vehicular accidents'
because allegedly only 390 or 1.5 per cent of the supposed 26,000 motor vehicle accidents that in 1976 involved
rear-end collisions (p. 12 of petition). Petitioner's statistics is not backed up by demonstrable data on record. As
aptly stated by this Honorable Court: Further: "It admits of no doubt therefore that there being a presumption of
validity, the necessity for evidence to rebut it is unavoidable, unless the statute or ordinance is void on its face,
which is not the case here"' * * *. But even as g the verity of petitioner's statistics, is that not reason enough to
require the installation of early warning devices to prevent another 390 rear-end collisions that could mean the death
of 390 or more Filipinos and the deaths that could likewise result from head-on or frontal collisions with stalled
vehicles?" 30 It is quite manifest then that the issuance of such Letter of Instruction is encased in the armor of prior, careful
study by the Executive Department. To set it aside for alleged repugnancy to the due process clause is to give sanction to
conjectural claims that exceeded even the broadest permissible limits of a pleader's well known penchant for
exaggeration.
5. The rather wild and fantastic nature of the charge of oppressiveness of this Letter of Instruction was exposed in
the Answer of the Solicitor General thus: "Such early warning device requirement is not an expensive redundancy,
nor oppressive, for car owners whose cars are already equipped with 1) blinking lights in the fore and aft of said
motor vehicles,' 2) "battery-powered blinking lights inside motor vehicles," 3) "built-in reflectorized tapes on front and
rear bumpers of motor vehicles," or 4) "well-lighted two (2) petroleum lamps (the Kinke) * * * because: Being
universal among the signatory countries to the said 1968 Vienna Conventions, and visible even under adverse
conditions at a distance of at least 400 meters, any motorist from this country or from any part of the world, who
sees a reflectorized rectangular early seaming device installed on the roads, highways or expressways, will
conclude, without thinking, that somewhere along the travelled portion of that road, highway, or expressway, there is
a motor vehicle which is stationary, stalled or disabled which obstructs or endangers passing traffic. On the other
hand, a motorist who sees any of the aforementioned other built in warning devices or the petroleum lamps will not
immediately get adequate advance warning because he will still think what that blinking light is all about. Is it an
emergency vehicle? Is it a law enforcement car? Is it an ambulance? Such confusion or uncertainty in the mind of
the motorist will thus increase, rather than decrease, the danger of collision. 31

6. Nor did the other extravagant assertions of constitutional deficiency go unrefuted in the Answer of the Solicitor
General "There is nothing in the questioned Letter of Instruction No. 229, as amended, or in Administrative Order
No. 1, which requires or compels motor vehicle owners to purchase the early warning device prescribed thereby. All
that is required is for motor vehicle owners concerned like petitioner, to equip their motor vehicles with a pair of this
early warning device in question, procuring or obtaining the same from whatever source. In fact, with a little of
industry and practical ingenuity, motor vehicle owners can even personally make or produce this early warning
device so long as the same substantially conforms with the specifications laid down in said letter of instruction and
administrative order. Accordingly the early warning device requirement can neither be oppressive, onerous, immoral,
nor confiscatory, much less does it make manufacturers and dealers of said devices 'instant millionaires at the
expense of car owners' as petitioner so sweepingly concludes * * *. Petitioner's fear that with the early warning
device requirement 'a more subtle racket may be committed by those called upon to enforce it * * * is an unfounded
speculation. Besides, that unscrupulous officials may try to enforce said requirement in an unreasonable manner or
to an unreasonable degree, does not render the same illegal or immoral where, as in the instant case, the
challenged Letter of Instruction No. 229 and implementing order disclose none of the constitutional defects alleged
against it. 32
7 It does appear clearly that petitioner's objection to this Letter of Instruction is not premised on lack of power, the
justification for a finding of unconstitutionality, but on the pessimistic, not to say negative, view he entertains as to its
wisdom. That approach, it put it at its mildest, is distinguished, if that is the appropriate word, by its unorthodoxy. It
bears repeating "that this Court, in the language of Justice Laurel, 'does not pass upon questions of wisdom justice
or expediency of legislation.' As expressed by Justice Tuason: 'It is not the province of the courts to supervise
legislation and keep it within the bounds of propriety and common sense. That is primarily and exclusively a
legislative concern.' There can be no possible objection then to the observation of Justice Montemayor. 'As long as
laws do not violate any Constitutional provision, the Courts merely interpret and apply them regardless of whether or
not they are wise or salutary. For they, according to Justice Labrador, 'are not supposed to override legitimate policy
and * * * never inquire into the wisdom of the law.' It is thus settled, to paraphrase Chief Justice Concepcion in
Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, that only congressional power or competence, not the wisdom of the action
taken, may be the basis for declaring a statute invalid. This is as it ought to be. The principle of separation of powers
has in the main wisely allocated the respective authority of each department and confined its jurisdiction to such a
sphere. There would then be intrusion not allowable under the Constitution if on a matter left to the discretion of a
coordinate branch, the judiciary would substitute its own. If there be adherence to the rule of law, as there ought to
be, the last offender should be courts of justice, to which rightly litigants submit their controversy precisely to
maintain unimpaired the supremacy of legal norms and prescriptions. The attack on the validity of the challenged
provision likewise insofar as there may be objections, even if valid and cogent on is wisdom cannot be sustained. 33
8. The alleged infringement of the fundamental principle of non-delegation of legislative power is equally without any
support well-settled legal doctrines. Had petitioner taken the trouble to acquaint himself with authoritative
pronouncements from this Tribunal, he would not have the temerity to make such an assertion. An exempt from the
aforecited decision of Edu v. Ericta sheds light on the matter: "To avoid the taint of unlawful delegation, there must
be a standard, which implies at the very least that the legislature itself determines matters of principle and lays down
fundamental policy. Otherwise, the charge of complete abdication may be hard to repel A standard thus defines
legislative policy, marks its maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the
circumstances under which the legislative command is to be effected. It is the criterion by which legislative purpose
may be carried out. Thereafter, the executive or administrative office designated may in pursuance of the above
guidelines promulgate supplemental rules and regulations. The standard may be either express or implied. If the
former, the non-delegation objection is easily met. The standard though does not have to be spelled out specifically.
It could be implied from the policy and purpose of the act considered as a whole. In the Reflector Law clearly, the
legislative objective is public safety. What is sought to be attained as in Calalang v. Williams is "safe transit upon the
roads.' This is to adhere to the recognition given expression by Justice Laurel in a decision announced not too long
after the Constitution came into force and effect that the principle of non-delegation "has been made to adapt itself
to the complexities of modern governments, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits, of the principle of
"subordinate legislation" not only in the United States and England but in practically all modern governments.' He
continued: 'Accordingly, with the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of
governmental regulation, and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, there is a constantly growing
tendency toward the delegation of greater powers by the legislature and toward the approval of the practice by the
courts.' Consistency with the conceptual approach requires the reminder that what is delegated is authority nonlegislative in character, the completeness of the statute when it leaves the hands of Congress being assumed." 34

9. The conclusion reached by this Court that this petition must be dismissed is reinforced by this consideration. The
petition itself quoted these two whereas clauses of the assailed Letter of Instruction: "[Whereas], the hazards posed
by such obstructions to traffic have been recognized by international bodies concerned with traffic safety, the 1968
Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals and the United Nations Organization (U.N.); [Whereas], the said
Vionna Convention, which was ratified by the Philippine Government under P.D. No. 207, recommended the
enactment of local legislation for the installation of road safety signs and devices; * * * " 35 It cannot be disputed then
that this Declaration of Principle found in the Constitution possesses relevance: "The Philippines * * * adopts the generally
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land * * *." 36 The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs
and Signals is impressed with such a character. It is not for this country to repudiate a commitment to which it had
pledged its word. The concept of Pacta sunt servanda stands in the way of such an attitude, which is, moreover, at war
with the principle of international morality.
10. That is about all that needs be said. The rather court reference to equal protection did not even elicit any attempt
on the Part of Petitioner to substantiate in a manner clear, positive, and categorical why such a casual observation
should be taken seriously. In no case is there a more appropriate occasion for insistence on what was referred to as
"the general rule" in Santiago v. Far Eastern Broadcasting Co., 37 namely, "that the constitutionality of a law wig not be
considered unless the point is specially pleaded, insisted upon, and adequately argued." 38 "Equal protection" is not a
talismanic formula at the mere invocation of which a party to a lawsuit can rightfully expect that success will crown his
efforts. The law is anything but that.
WHEREFORE, this petition is dismissed. The restraining order is lifted. This decision is immediately executory. No
costs.
Castro, C.J., Barredo, Antonio, Santos, Fernandez, Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro and Melencio-Herrera,
concur.
Makasiar, J, reserves the right to file a separate opinion.
Aquino J., took no part.
Concepcion J., is on leave.
Castro, C.J., certifies that Justice Concepcion concurs in their decision.

Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:


I dissent from the majority's peremptory dismissal of the petition and lifting of the restraining order issued on
October 19, 1978 against the blanket enforcement of the requirement that all motor vehicles be equipped with the
so-called early warning device, without even hearing the parties in oral argument as generally required by the Court
in original cases of far-reaching consequence such as the case at bar.
Lack of time presents my filing an extended dissent. I only wish to state that the petition advances grave and serious
grounds of assailing "the rules and regulations issued by the Land Transportation Commission under Administrative
Order No. 1 and Memorandum Circular No. 32 [which] do not reflect the real intent, noble objectives and spirit of
Letter of Instructions No. 229, as amended by Letter of Instructions Nos. 479 and 716, because it is oppressive,
unreasonable, arbitrary, confiscatory, nay unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of our compassionate New
Society," because of the following considerations, inter alia:

1. It is oppressive, arbitrary and discriminatory to require owners of motor vehicles with built-in and more effective
and efficient E.W.D.'S such as "a) blinking lights in the fore and aft of said motor vehicles, 1)) battery-powered
blinking lights inside motor vehicles, c) built-in reflectorized tapes on front and rear bumpers of motor vehicles....... to
purchase the E.W.D. specified in the challenged administrative order, whose effectivity and utility have yet to be
demonstrated.
2. The public necessity for the challenged order has yet to be shown. No valid refutation has been made of
petitioner's assertion that the "E.W.D.'s are not too vital to the prevention of nighttime vehicular accidents. Statistics
shows that of the 26,000 motor vehicle accidents that occurred in 1976, only 390 or 1.5 per cent involved rear-end
collisions," as to require the purchase and installation of the questioned E.W.D. for almost 900,000 vehicles
throughout the country;
3. The big financial burden to be imposed on all motorists is staggering, and petitioner's assertion that "as of 1975,
there were at least 865,037 motor vehicles all over the country requiring E.W.D.'S and at the minimum price of
1156.00 per set, this would mean a consumer outlay of P 48,451,872.00, or close to P 50 million for the questioned
E.W.D.'S "stands unchallenged;
4. No real effort has been made to show that there can be practical and less burdensome alternative road safety
devices for stalled vehicles than the prescribed E.W.D., such as the common petroleum lamps "kinke" which can be
placed just as effectively in front of stalled vehicles on the highways; and
5. There is no imperative need for imposing such a bet requirement on all vehicles. The respondents have not
shown that they have availed of the powers and prerogatives vested in their offices such as ridding the country of
dilapidated trucks and vehicles which are the main cause of the deplorable -highway accidents due to stoned
vehicles, establishing an honest and foolproof system of examination and licensing of motor vehicle drivers so as to
ban the reckless and irresponsible and a sustained education campaign to instill safe driving habits and attitudes
that can be carried out for much less than the P 50 million burden that would be imposed by the challenged order.
I do feel that a greater "degree of receptivity and sympathy" could be extended to the petitioner for his civic
mindedness in having filed the present petition g as capricious and unreasonable the "all pervading police power" of
the State instead of throwing the case out of court and leaving the wrong impression that the exercise of police
power insofar as it may affect the life, liberty and property of any person is no longer subject to judicial inquiry.

# Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:
I dissent from the majority's peremptory dismissal of the petition and lifting of the restraining order issued on
October 19, 1978 against the blanket enforcement of the requirement that all motor vehicles be equipped with the
so-called early warning device, without even hearing the parties in oral argument as generally required by the Court
in original cases of far-reaching consequence such as the case at bar.
Lack of time presents my filing an extended dissent. I only wish to state that the petition advances grave and serious
grounds of assailing "the rules and regulations issued by the Land Transportation Commission under Administrative
Order No. 1 and Memorandum Circular No. 32 [which] do not reflect the real intent, noble objectives and spirit of
Letter of Instructions No. 229, as amended by Letter of Instructions Nos. 479 and 716, because it is oppressive,
unreasonable, arbitrary, confiscatory, nay unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of our compassionate New
Society," because of the following considerations, inter alia:
1. It is oppressive, arbitrary and discriminatory to require owners of motor vehicles with built-in and more effective
and efficient E.W.D.'S such as "a) blinking lights in the fore and aft of said motor vehicles, 1)) battery-powered
blinking lights inside motor vehicles, c) built-in reflectorized tapes on front and rear bumpers of motor vehicles....... to

purchase the E.W.D. specified in the challenged administrative order, whose effectivity and utility have yet to be
demonstrated.
2. The public necessity for the challenged order has yet to be shown. No valid refutation has been made of
petitioner's assertion that the "E.W.D.'s are not too vital to the prevention of nighttime vehicular accidents. Statistics
shows that of the 26,000 motor vehicle accidents that occurred in 1976, only 390 or 1.5 per cent involved rear-end
collisions," as to require the purchase and installation of the questioned E.W.D. for almost 900,000 vehicles
throughout the country;
3. The big financial burden to be imposed on all motorists is staggering, and petitioner's assertion that "as of 1975,
there were at least 865,037 motor vehicles all over the country requiring E.W.D.'S and at the minimum price of
1156.00 per set, this would mean a consumer outlay of P 48,451,872.00, or close to P 50 million for the questioned
E.W.D.'S "stands unchallenged;
4. No real effort has been made to show that there can be practical and less burdensome alternative road safety
devices for stalled vehicles than the prescribed E.W.D., such as the common petroleum lamps "kinke" which can be
placed just as effectively in front of stalled vehicles on the highways; and
5. There is no imperative need for imposing such a bet requirement on all vehicles. The respondents have not
shown that they have availed of the powers and prerogatives vested in their offices such as ridding the country of
dilapidated trucks and vehicles which are the main cause of the deplorable -highway accidents due to stoned
vehicles, establishing an honest and foolproof system of examination and licensing of motor vehicle drivers so as to
ban the reckless and irresponsible and a sustained education campaign to instill safe driving habits and attitudes
that can be carried out for much less than the P 50 million burden that would be imposed by the challenged order.
I do feel that a greater "degree of receptivity and sympathy" could be extended to the petitioner for his civic
mindedness in having filed the present petition g as capricious and unreasonable the "all pervading police power" of
the State instead of throwing the case out of court and leaving the wrong impression that the exercise of police
power insofar as it may affect the life, liberty and property of any person is no longer subject to judicial inquiry.
#Footnotes
1 Letter of Instruction No. 229 (1974) as amended by Letter of Instruction No. 479 (1976).
2 He was assisted by Assistant Solicitor Ruben E. Agpalo and Solicitor Amado D. Aquino.
3 Petition, par. III.
4 Ibid, par. IV.
5 Ibid, par. V.
6 Ibid, par. VIII.
7 No. 716.
8 Petition, par. VII.
9 Ibid, par. VIII.
10 Ibid.
11 Ibid, par. IX.
12 Ibid, par. X.

13 Ibid, par. XI.


14 Ibid, par. X.
15 Ibid, par. XI.
16 Resolution of the Court dated October 19, 1978.
17 Answer, pars. 1-6.
18 Ibid, par. 8.
19 70 Phil. 726 (1940). The opinion was penned by Justice Laurel.
20 L-20387, January 31, 1968; 22 SCRA 424. The writer of this opinion is the ponente.
21 L-32096, October 24, 1970, 35 SCRA 481. The writer of this opinion was likewise the ponente.
22 Answer, par. 18 (a) and (b).
23 License Cases, 5 How. 504, 583.
24 35 SCRA 481, 487-488. There is no need to repeat where Calalang and Morfe are reported.
Primicias v. Fugoso is reported in 80 Phil. 71; Rubi v. Provincial Board, where the first quotation from
Justice Malcolm came, in 39 Phil. 660, 708 (1919); and Smith Bell and Co. v. Natividad, his other
decision cited, in 40 Phil. 136 (1919); Helvering v. Davis, with Justice Cardozo writing the opinion, in
301 US 619 (1937).
25 Republic Act No. 5715 (1969).
26 Commonwealth Act No. 548 (1940).
27 Cf. People v. Lagman 66 Phil. 13 (1938). Even earlier in United States v. Pompeya, 31 Phil. 245
(1915), this Court, by virtue of the police power, held valid a provision of the then Municipal Code
requiring " able-bodied" males in the vicinity between ages to perform patrol duty not ex one day
each week.
28 L-24693, July 31, 1967, 20 SCRA 849.
29 Ibid. 867. The excerpt came from O'Gorman and Young v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co., 282 US
251, 328 (1931).
30 Answer, par. 18 (a). The excerpt came from Samson v. Mayor of Bacolod City, L-28745; October
23, 1974; 60 SCRA 267; 270.
31 Ibid, par. 18 (c).
32 Ibid, par. 18 (d) and (e),
33 Morfe v. Mutuc, 22 SCRA 424, 450-451. The citation from Justice Laurel may be traced to Angara
v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 160 (1936); from Justice Laurel to People v. Carlos, 78 Phil.
535, 548 (1947); from Justice Montemayor to Quintos v. Lacson, 97 Phil. 290, 293 (1955); and from
Justice Labrador to Ichong v. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155, 1166 (1957). Chief Justice Concepcion's
reiteration of the doctrine, paraphrased in the quoted opinion, was made by him in Gonzales v.
Commission on Elections, L-28196, November 9, 1967, 21 SCRA 774. Cf. Province of Pangasinan v.
Secretary of Public Works, 27861, October 3l,1969, 30 SCRA 134.

34 SCRA 481, 497-498. The following cases were also cited. People v. Exconde, 101 Phil. 1125
(1957), and People v. Jolliffe, 105 Phil. 677 (1959).
35 Petition, par. III.
36 Article 11, Section 3 of the Constitution reads in full "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.
37 73 Phil. 408 (1941).
38 Ibid, 412.

EN BANC
DECISION
July 31, 1974
G.R. No. , ,
vs.
,.
, J.:
p
Petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA ? G.R. No. 37717-R entitled
Leoncia D. Aguirre et al. vs. Vicenta Aguirre et al., in favor of petitioners, but claimed by them to
be short of what they should be entitled to under the law, having in view the findings of fact of the
appellate court itself. .
This litigation started in the Court of First Instance of Batangas as an action for partition and
damages among the surviving descendants of the spouses Gregorio Aguirre and Regina Antolin of
the properties left by said spouses. The trial court rendered judgment for petitioners who were
plaintiffs there but made no award of damages. Upon appeal to the Court of Appeals, mainly
because of the failure of the trial court to award them damages, the appellate court made the
following pertinent findings and conclusions of fact:
With respect to plaintiffs-appellants' claim for damages, the same was denied by the trial court on
the ground of insufficiency of existence. This is an error. Sufficient proofs had been introduced by
them at the trial as shown by the following testimony ?

Q. The properties having originated from the spouses, Gregorio Aguirre and Regina Antolin, how
much share did your children receive annually as their share?
A. More or less P200.00.
Q In the properties left by the spouses, Melencio Aguirre and Fructuosa Perez, how much is the
amount corresponding to your two children?
A More or less P800.00 annually.
Q And the stints of P200.00 and P800.00 respectively were not given to you for your two children
since 1955 up to the up to the present?
A Yes, sir, it was not given to me.
Q By refusal of the defendants to accede to the demands for partition of the properties mentioned in
the complaint, what damages if any did you incur?
A Actual damages P1,000.00 yearly for 1955 up to the present. (Plaintiff's testimony t.s.n. p. 36
June 22, 1961).
The damages of P1,000.00 annually above-mentioned represents the value of the rice, corn,
mangoes, copras, salt and others, to which the plaintiffs-appellants are entitled but were unable to
receive by reason of the unjustified acts of the defendants-appellees as shown by the following
testimony ?
Q. How were you able to get the corresponding share in the produce of the lands mentioned in the
complaint corresponding to your two children?
A. The share regarding palay was given to me by Socorro Aguirre the money coming from San
Juan was given to me by Caridad Aguirre and the copra coming from Lobo was given to me by
Dominador Aguirre. The salt, mangoes, palay and corn in Batangas were given to me by Maura
Aguirre.
Q. How about the share of your two children in the properties in Bilogo, Taysan, Batangas, where
did you get the same?
A. From Maura Aguirre also.

Q. How about the properties located in Rosario, Batangas, where did you get the share
corresponding to your two children?
A. From Tules, Rosario the share was given to me by Socorro Aguirre, in Matamis, Rosario,
Batangas the share was given to me by Dominador Aguirre.
Q. Until when were you receiving the corresponding share of the produce of the lands mentioned in
the complaint for your two children?
A. Up to 1954.
Q. What happened in the year 1955 to the produce corresponding to your two children in the
properties mentioned in the complaint?
A. In 1955, Felipe Aguirre, Dominador Aguirre, Caridad Aguirre and Socorro Aguirre divided the
1/6 share of my children, saying the same will be given to Cristeta Lamahang.
Q. Did you agree to such division of the share corresponding to your two children?
A. I did not agree.
Q. When you did not agree, what happened?
A. The 1/6 share corresponding to my two children was not given to me.
Q. Is that up to the present?
A. Yes, sir. (t.s.n. pp. 33-35 June 22, 1961).
In connection with the above-mentioned claims of P1,000.00 early, it is to be noted that the lands
subject of this suit are unsurveyed lands, which according to the pertinent tax declarations
contained an area of 500 hectares. Portions of these lands in the names of Melecio Aguirre and
Fructuosa Perez are coconut lands. The coconut plantation in Jaybanga, Lobo, Batangas, consists of
around 3,000 fruit bearing coconut trees and the ricelands are cultivated by around 50 families,
residing at the place as permanent tenants. This is shown by the following ?
Q. More or less will you tell this Honorable Court how many coconut trees there are?
A. There are around three thousand (3,000) coconut trees, sir.

Q. Fruit bearing or not?


A. All fruit bearing, sir. (t.s.n. p. 38, April 2, 1964).
Q. All of them are situated at barrio Jaybanga, Lobo, Batangas?
A. Yes, sir. (t.s.n. p. 49, April 2, 1964).
Q. And the lands in Jaybanga, Pinagbayanan, Tulos and Matamis, Rosario, Batangas what can you
say as to that?
A. There are around fifty (50) tenants, sir.
Q. In their testimony these tenants are only transients or temporary, what can you say as to that?
A. That is not true, sir. They have established homes there and many tenants are qualified voters of
that place (t.s.n. p. 39 April 2, 1964).
Due to the wrongful acts of the defendants and intervenors, the plaintiffs were forced to litigate to
protect their rights, incurring additional actual damages in the form of attorney's fees, expert
witness fees and miscellaneous expenses. These are established by the following testimony ?
Q. When the share in the produce of the lands mentioned to the complaint, corresponding to your
two children was not given to you, what did you do?
A. I consulted a lawyer.
Q. What happened after the consultations?
A. This present complaint was filed.
Q. When you engaged the services of your counsel was there any condition regarding attorney's
fees?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What?
A. Our contract was P5,500.00 (t.s.n. p. 35 June 22, 1961).

Q. In your previous direct examination, you stated that you suffered actual damages in the amount
of P1,000.00 yearly, the sums corresponds to the share which ought to received from 1955 to 1956,
is that the only damage you suffered?
A. I sustained other damages in the form of attorney's fees and miscellaneous expenses and also
moral damages.
Q. In the amount of how much?
A. The attorney's fees P5,000.00 miscellaneous expenses P500.00 and moral damages P2,000.00
(t.s.n. p. 6, Oct. 12, 1961).
With respect to the fee for the expert witness which plaintiffs-appellants has incurred, the following
testimony is a good guideline ?
Q. In case where the client has the capacity to pay, especially in civil case, how much do you
usually charge for examination of documents, testimonies given in the Court of First Instance
regarding that examination?
A. I would depend in the nature of the case.
Q. In this case how much did you charge the plaintiff herein?
A. Well, I asked expenses for photostatic materials and for my appearance here.
Q. Usually how much?
A. I charged P500.00 (t.s.n. p. 5, Oct. 28, 1964).
Upon these facts and considerations, the court rendered judgment as follows: .
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby modified in the sense that Parcel No. 7
otherwise known as the property located in Matamis, Rosario, Batangas, as part and parcel of the
mass of property left by the late Gregorio Aguirre, is to be divided between the plaintiffs on one
hand and the defendants on the others, awarding the plaintiffs damages, thus: attorney's fees ?
P5,000.00; actual damages-P1,000,00; moral damages ? P2.000.00; exemplary damages ?
P1,000.00; and fees for expert witness ? P500.00. As thus modified, the judgment appealed from is
affirmed in all other respects, without pronouncement as to costs.

Indeed, as aptly pointed out by petitioners it is evident that whereas the appellate court found as a
fact that the damages suffered by petitioners amounted to P1,000 yearly since 1955, the dispositive
portion of its decision simply says P1,000, without any qualification, which, of course, is a manifest
ambiguity, if not inconsistency, that leaves the parties at a loss as to what exactly should be the
amount of actual damages recoverable by petitioners. Considering, however, the tenor of the
opinion and the ratiocination in the decision in question, there can hardly be any doubt that it was
the intention of the appellate court to allow the recovery of the yearly damages it found to have
been suffered by petitioners. If it went as far as to award attorney's fees of P5,000, moral damages
of P2,000, exemplary damages of P1,000 and even fees for experts of P500, it stands to reason that
it could not have meant to award petitioners actual damages of only P1,000. The absurdity of such a
meager judgment of actual damages in the face of the other special items of damages awarded is
too plain to be ignored. In fact, had the judgment of the Court of Appeals been allowed to become
final and the problem now besetting petitioners were to be raised as an incident in the execution
thereof, the chances are that a construction of said judgment in the manner above-stated might be
sanctionable notwithstanding jurisprudence to the effect that it is the dispositive part of a decision
that controls irrespective of what might appear in the opinion part thereof, for the simple reason
that in this particular subject judgment, the inevitable conclusion from the findings of fact in the
opinion of the Court of Appeals is so indubitable that any argument to the contrary would appear
flimsy and purely technical, apart from being totally illogical. 1 We have no doubt that any other
view would precisely be the kind of reasoning that might convince the people that our courts
sometimes sacrifice substantial justice in the altar of technicalities. What is cause for wonder to Us
in this case, however, is why such a simple matter had to reach the Supreme Court. It is almost
certain that a brief motion for reconsideration calling the appellate court's attention could have
made the instant proceeding unnecessary. Or respondent could have readily yielded to petitioner's
pose, considering the manifest correctness thereof. Be that as it may, We must admit that delays in
the administration of justice could be considerably avoided if greater care were taken in the drafting
of the dispositive portions of decisions which in truth constitute the very essence thereof.
Petitioners also assign as error the failure of the Court of Appeals to sentence defendants to pay
them interests and costs. Again, We find merit in this contention. They are entitled to interest at the
legal rate from the date of the judgment of the trial court. (Section 8, Rule 51; Article 2213, Civil
Code of the Philippines.) And to costs. (Section 1, Rule 142.)
Anent the claim of petitioners that they are entitled to corresponding adjustment of the amounts
granted to them as a result of the rise in the rate of dollar exchange of the peso, We are of the
considered opinion that the facts extant in the record do not provide sufficient legal basis therefor.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed with the modification that the
amount of actual damages awarded petitioners should be P1,000 annually from 1955 and the
respondents shall pay interest on all the amounts adjudged against them at the legal rate from the
date of the judgment of the trial court. Costs in all instances against respondents.
Zaldivar (Chairman), Fernando, Antonio, Fernandez and Aquino JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 See Filipino Legion Corporation vs. CA and Lentija, et al., L-22364, and Lentija, et al. vs.
Filipino Legion Corporation, L-28330, decided jointly on April 30, 1974.