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Pascual vs Sec of Public Works (1960)

Facts:
-

Pet, Wenceslao Pascual is the Prov Gov of Rizal, appealed the decision of a Rizal CFI
Said Rizal CFI dismissed the abovementioned entitled case and dissolved the writ of

prelim injunction issued


Pet Pascual instituted an action for declaratory relief with injunction, 1to declare null
and void RA No. 920 "An Act Appropriating Funds for Public Works" and 2the deed of
donation made by Jose Zulueta unconstitutional, for the following reasons:
o A provision thereof allocates Php85K for the Pasig feeder road terminals when
those feeder roads were only projected and planned subdivision roads
o

that were not yet constructed when the Act was passed
That they were within the Antonio Subdivision which is owned by Jose Zulueta,
a senator when the Act was passed and roads do not connect any

government property or any important premises to the main highway


Zulueta donated said projected feeder roads to the municipality of
Pasig, Rizal, without deed of donation, with the condition that he would

agree to change the names of two of them


the appropriation of P85K therein made, for the construction, reconstruction,
repair, extension and improvement of said projected feeder roads, was
void ab initio
Since projected feeder roads were private property at the time of the

passage and approval of RA 920


Members of Congress because were made to believe that the projected
feeder roads in question were "public roads and not private streets of a

private subdivision"
in order to give a semblance of legality, respondent Zulueta, while still a
senator, executed an alleged deed of donation of his 4 parcels of land for the
feeder roads in favor of the PH govt. This is unconstitutional for violating the
provision of our fundamental law prohibiting members of Congress from being
directly

or

indirectly

financially

interested

in

any

contract

with

the

Government
the construction of said roads, to be undertaken with the aforementioned
appropriation of P85,000.00, would have the effect of relieving respondent
Zulueta of the burden of constructing his subdivision streets or roads at his

own expenses
Respondent moved to dismiss the petition on the ground that pet has no legal
capacity to sue and there was no cause of action:
o Provl Fiscal, not Provl Gov should represent the province of Rizal,
o

pursuant to section 1683 of the Revised Administrative Code


There is no law which makes illegal the appropriation of public funds for

the improvements of . . . private property


A law passed by Congress and approved by the President can never be illegal
because Congress is the source of all laws

the constitutional provision invoked by petitioner is inapplicable to the


donation in question, the same being a pure act of liberality, not a

o
-

contract.
petitioner "has not shown that he has a personal and substantial interest" in

said Act and that its enforcement will cause him injury
CFI of Rizal dismissed the case, saying that the legality of said donation may not be
contested by petitioner herein, because his "interest are not directly affected."
However, the court ruled that:
o Prov. Gov of Rizal and Prov Fiscal both have the requisite personalities since
o

case is of pub interest


Legislature cannot appropriate public revenues for anything but a public

purpose
that the instructions and improvement of the feeder roads in question, if such

roads where private property, would not be a public purpose


The deed of donation is onerous and is a contract and is illegal and forbidden

by the Consti since the purpose and cause are contrary to laws
However, appropriations should be upheld and case dismissed because pet is
not a party thereof and not affected thereof

Issues:
1.
2.
3.
4.

W/N
W/N
W/N
W/N

laws passed by Congress and approved by the Pres can be declared illegal
lawmakers can only appropriate pub funds for public purpose
validity of the donation cures the unconstitutionality of RA No. 920
RA No. 920 cannot be annulled without a declaration of unconstitutionality of the

donation
5. W/N Article 1421 of CC on non-suing of non-parties is absolute, and admits of no
exception.

Ruling:
1. They can be declared illegal, for the reason of the nature of the Government created
by the Consti and because of the principles of checks and balances. SC has refuted
by decisions illegal and unConstitutional laws
2. It is a general rule that the legislature is without power to appropriate public
revenue for anything but a public purpose.
o

It is the essential character of the direct object of the expenditure


which must determine its validity as justifying a tax, and not the
magnitude of the interest to be affected nor the degree to which the
general advantage of the community, and thus the public welfare, may be
ultimately benefited by their promotion.

The test of the constitutionality of a statute requiring the use of public


funds is whether the statute is designed to promote the public interest,

as opposed to the furtherance of the advantage of individuals, although each


advantage to individuals might incidentally serve the public.
o

The State exists primarily for the promotion of the general welfare.

3. No. GR: The validity of a statute depends upon the powers of Congress at
the time of its passage or approval, not upon events occurring, or acts
performed, subsequently thereto, EXC: The latter consists of an amendment of the
organic law, removing, with retrospective operation, the constitutional limitation
infringed by said statute.
o Legality of P85K appropriation depended upon whether said roads were
public or private property when passed by Congress, approved by Pres,
o

and sum disbursed became effective


The donation to the Government after the approval and effectivity of said Act
for the purpose of giving a "semblance of legality", or legalizing, the
appropriation, did not cure its aforementioned basic defect.

4. No. Inasmuch as the land on which the projected feeder roads were to be constructed
belonged then to respondent Zulueta, the result is that said appropriation sought
a private purpose, hence NULL and VOID. A judicial nullification of the donation
need not precede the declaration of unconstitutionality of said appropriation.
5. No. Article 1421 of our Civil Code, like many other statutory enactments, is subject to
exceptions. It is our considered opinion that the circumstances surrounding this case
sufficiently justify petitioners action in contesting the appropriation and donation in
question.
o

It is well-stated that the validity of a statute may be contested only by one


who will sustain a direct injury in consequence of its enforcement but the
Court has nullified laws on disbursements of pub funds at the instance of
taxpayers. The rule recognizing the right of taxpayers to assail the
constitutionality of a legislation appropriating local or state public
funds, which has been upheld by the Federal Supreme Court, has
greater application in the Philippines.

Like the petitioners in the Rodriguez and Barredo cases, petitioner herein is
not merely a taxpayer. He represents the Province of Rizal officially as its
Provincial Governor. Rizal is the most populated political subdivision, and the
taxpayers therein bear a substantial portion of the burden of taxation, in the
Philippines.