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AMPATUAN v PUNO

Facts:
On 24 November 2009, the day after the Maguindanao Massacre, then Pres.
Arroyo issued Proclamation 1946, placing the Provinces of Maguindanao
and Sultan Kudarat and the City of Cotabato under a state of emergency.
She directed the AFP and the PNP to undertake such measures as may be
allowed by the Constitution and by law to prevent and suppress all incidents
of lawless violence in the named places. Three days later, she also issued
AO 273 transferring supervision of the ARMM from the Office of the
President to the DILG. She subsequently issued AO 273-A, which amended
the former AO (the term transfer used in AO 273 was amended to
delegate, referring to the supervision of the ARMM by the DILG).
Claiming that the Presidents issuances encroached on the ARMMs
autonomy, petitioners Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, Ansaruddin Adiong, and
Regie Sahali-Generale, all ARMM officials, filed this petition for prohibition
under Rule 65. They alleged that the Presidents proclamation and orders
encroached on the ARMMs autonomy as these issuances empowered the
DILG Secretary to take over ARMMs operations and to seize the regional
governments powers. They also claimed that the President had no factual
basis for declaring a state of emergency, especially in the Province of Sultan
Kudarat and the City of Cotabato, where no critical violent incidents
occurred and that the deployment of troops and the taking over of the ARMM
constitutes an invalid exercise of the Presidents emergency powers.
Petitioners asked that Proclamation 1946 as well as AOs 273 and 273-A be
declared unconstitutional.
Issues:
1. Whether Proclamation 1946 and AOs 273 and 273-A violate the principle
of local autonomy under the Constitution and The Expanded ARMM Act
2. Whether or not President Arroyo invalidly exercised emergency powers
when she called out the AFP and the PNP to prevent and suppress all
incidents of lawless violence in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato
City
3. Whether or not the President had factual bases for her actions
Held:

1. The principle of local autonomy was not violated. DILG Secretary did not
take over control of the powers of the ARMM. After law enforcement agents
took the respondent Governor of ARMM into custody for alleged complicity
in the Maguindanao Massacre, the ARMM ViceGovernor, petitioner
Adiong, assumed the vacated post on 10 Dec. 2009 pursuant to the rule on
succession found in Sec. 12 Art.VII of RA 9054. In turn, Acting Governor
Adiong named the then Speaker of the ARMM Regional Assembly, petitioner
SahaliGenerale, Acting ARMM Vice-Governor. The DILG Secretary
therefore did not take over the administration or the operations of the
ARMM.
2. The deployment is not by itself an exercise of emergency powers as
understood under Section 23 (2), Article VI of the Constitution, which
provides:
SECTION 23. x x x (2) In times of war or other national emergency, the
Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and
subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary
and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn
by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next
adjournment thereof.
The President did not proclaim a national emergency, only a state of
emergency in the three places mentioned. And she did not act pursuant to any
law enacted by Congress that authorized her to exercise extraordinary
powers. The calling out of the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless
violence in such places is a power that the Constitution directly vests in the
President. She did not need a congressional authority to exercise the same.
3. The Presidents call on the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless
violence springs from the power vested in her under Section 18, Article VII
of the Constitution, which provides:
Section 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed
forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out
such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or
rebellion. x x x
1

While it is true that the Court may inquire into the factual bases for the
Presidents exercise of the above power, it would generally defer to her
judgment on the matter. As the Court acknowledged in Integrated Bar of the
Philippines v. Hon. Zamora, it is clearly to the President that the Constitution
entrusts the determination of the need for calling out the armed forces to
prevent and suppress lawless violence. Unless it is shown that such
determination was attended by grave abuse of discretion, the Court will
accord respect to the Presidents judgment. Thus, the Court said:
If the petitioner fails, by way of proof, to support the assertion that the
President acted without factual basis, then this Court cannot undertake an
independent investigation beyond the pleadings. The factual necessity of
calling out the armed forces is not easily quantifiable and cannot be
objectively established since matters considered for satisfying the same is a
combination of several factors which are not always accessible to the courts.
Besides the absence of textual standards that the court may use to judge
necessity, information necessary to arrive at such judgment might also prove
unmanageable for the courts. Certain pertinent information might be difficult
to verify, or wholly unavailable to the courts. In many instances, the evidence
upon which the President might decide that there is a need to call out the
armed forces may be of a nature not constituting technical proof.
On the other hand, the President, as Commander-in-Chief has a vast
intelligence network to gather information, some of which may be classified
as highly confidential or affecting the security of the state. In the exercise of
the power to call, on-the-spot decisions may be imperatively necessary in
G.R. No. 197291 April 3, 2013 AMPATUAN JR. vs. SEC. LEILA DE
LIMA
G.R. No. 197291
April 3, 2013
DATU ANDAL AMPATUAN JR., Petitioner,
vs.
SEC. LEILA DE LIMA, as Secretary of the Department of Justice,
et.al , Respondents.
BERSAMIN, J.:
NATURE:
This is a direct appeal by petition for review on certiorari assailing the the
final order issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 26, in Manila,
dismissing petitioners petition for mandamus.2
FACTS:

emergency situations to avert great loss of human lives and mass destruction
of property. Indeed, the decision to call out the military to prevent or
suppress lawless violence must be done swiftly and decisively if it were to
have any effect at all. x x x.
Here, petitioners failed to show that the declaration of a state of emergency
in the Provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City, as well
as the Presidents exercise of the calling out power had no factual basis.
They simply alleged that, since not all areas under the ARMM were placed
under a state of emergency, it follows that the takeover of the entire ARMM
by the DILG Secretary had no basis too.
The imminence of violence and anarchy at the time the President issued
Proclamation 1946 was too grave to ignore and she had to act to prevent
further bloodshed and hostilities in the places mentioned. Progress reports
also indicated that there was movement in these places of both high-powered
firearms and armed men sympathetic to the two clans. Thus, to pacify the
peoples fears and stabilize the situation, the President had to take preventive
action. She called out the armed forces to control the proliferation of loose
firearms and dismantle the armed groups that continuously threatened the
peace and security in the affected places.
Since petitioners are not able to demonstrate that the proclamation of state of
emergency in the subject places and the calling out of the armed forces to
prevent or suppress lawless violence there have clearly no factual bases, the
Court must respect the Presidents actions.
In the joint resolution issued on February 5, 2010, the Panel of Prosecutors
charged 196 individuals with multiple murder in relation to the Maguindanao
massacre. One Kenny Dalandag, was admitted into the Witness Protection
Program of the DOJ and was later on listed as one of the prosecution witness.
On October 14, 2010, petitioner, through counsel request the inclusion of
Dalandag in the information for murder considering that Dalandag had
already confessed his participation in the massacre through his two sworn
declarations. Petitioner reiterated the request twice more on October 22,
201019 and November 2, 2010. But Secretary De Lima denied petitioners
request.
Accordingly, on December 7, 2010, petitioner brought a petition for
mandamus in the RTC in Manila seeking to compel respondents to charge
Dalandag as another accused in the various murder cases undergoing trial in
the QC RTC. The RTC in Manila set a pre-trial conference and issued a pre2

trial order. The respondents questioned the propriety of the conduct of a trial
in a proceeding for mandamus. Petitioner opposed.
On June 27, 2011,33 the RTC of Manila issued the assailed order in Civil Case
No. 10-124777 dismissing the petition for mandamus. Hence, this appeal by
petition for review on certiorari.
ISSUES:
Whether respondents may be compelled by writ of mandamus to charge
Dalandag as an accused for multiple murder in relation to the Maguindanao
massacre despite his admission to the Witness Protection Program of the
DOJ.
HELD:
No. The prosecution of crimes pertains to the Executive Department of the
Government whose principal power and responsibility are to see to it that our
laws are faithfully executed. A necessary component of the power to execute
our laws is the right to prosecute their violators. The right to prosecute vests
JAMAR KULAYAN,
et al.
v
. GOV. ABDUSAKUR TAN,
in his capacity as Governor of Sulu,
et al.
G.R. No. 187298, 03 July 2012,
EN BANC
(Sereno,
J
.)
The calling-out powers contemplated under the Constitution is
exclusive
to the President.
An
exercise
by
another
official,
even
if
he
is
the
local

the public prosecutors with a wide range of discretion the discretion of


what and whom to charge, the exercise of which depends on a smorgasbord
of factors that are best appreciated by the public prosecutors.
In matters involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, mandamus may
only be resorted to in order to compel respondent tribunal, corporation,
board, officer or person to take action, but it cannot be used to direct the
manner or the particular way discretion is to be exercised, 48or to compel the
retraction or reversal of an action already taken in the exercise of judgment
or discretion.49
As such, respondent Secretary of Justice may be compelled to act on the
letter-request of petitioner, but may not be compelled to act in a certain way
such as to grant or deny such letter-request.
FALLO:
Petition is denied
chief
executive
,
is
ultra
vires
,
and
may
not
be
justified
by
the
invocation
of
Section
465
of
the
Local
Gover
nment
Code.
Three members from the International Committee of the Red Cross
3

(ICRC) were kidnapped in the vicinity of the Provincial Capitol in Patikul,


Sulu.
Andres Notter, Eugenio Vagni, and Marie Jean Lacaba, were purportedly
inspecting
a water sanitation project for the Sulu Provincial Jail when they were seized
by
three armed men who were later confirmed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf
Group (ASG). A Local Crisis Committee, later renamed Sulu Crisis
Management
HELD
:
The Senate Committees power of inquiry relative to PSR No. 455 has
been passed upon and upheld in the consolidated cases of
In the Matter of the
Petition for Habeas Corpus of Camilo L. Sabio
which cited Article VI, Section 21 of
the Constitution, as follows:
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 Court explained that such conferral of the legislative power of
inquiry upon any committee of Congress, in this case, the respondents Senate
Committees, must carry with it all powers necessary and proper for its
effective
discharge. On this score, the Senate Committee cannot be said to have acted
with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when
it
submitted Committee Resolution No. 312, given its constitutional mandate to
conduct legislative inquiries. Nor can the Senate Committee be faulted for
doing
so on the very same day that the assailed resolution was submitted. The wide
latitude given to Congress with respect to these legislative inquiries has long
been
settled, otherwise, Article VI, Section 21 would be rendered pointless.
political law
127
ust law law review, vol lvii, no. 1, november 2012

Committee (Committee) was then formed to investigate the kidnapping


incident.
The Committee convened under the leadership of respondent Abdusakur
Mahail
Tan, the Provincial Governor of Sulu.
Governor Tan issued Proclamation No. 1, Series of 2009, declaring a state
of emergency in the province of Sulu. The Proclamation cited the kidnapping
incident as a ground for the said declaration, describing it as a terrorist act
pursuant
to the Human Security Act (R.A. 9372). It also invoked Section 465 of the
Local
Government Code of 1991 (R.A. 7160), which bestows on the Provincial
Governor
the power to carry out emergency measures during man-made and natural
disasters
and calamities, and to call upon the appropriate national law enforcement
agencies
to suppress disorder and lawless violence. In the Proclamation, Tan called
upon
the PNP and the Civilian Emergency Force (CEF) to set up checkpoints and
chokepoints, conduct general search and seizures including arrests, and other
actions necessary to ensure public safety.
Petitioners, Jamar Kulayan,
et al.
claimed that Proclamation No. 1-09 was
issued
ultra vires
, and thus null and void, for violating Sections 1 and 18, Article
VII of the Constitution, which grants the President sole authority to exercise
emergency powers and calling-out powers as the chief executive of the
Republic
and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
ISSUE:
Whether or not a governor can exercise the calling-out powers of a
President
HELD:
It has already been established that there is one repository of executive
powers, and that is the President of the Republic. This means that when
Section
4

1, Article VII of the Constitution speaks of executive power, it is granted to


the
President and no one else. Corollarily, it is only the President, as Executive,
who
is authorized to exercise emergency powers as provided under Section 23,
Article
VI, of the Constitution, as well as what became known as the calling-out
powers
under Section 7, Article VII thereof.
While the President is still a civilian, Article II, Section 3
of the
Constitution mandates that civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the
military, making the civilian president the nations supreme military leader.
The
net effect of Article II, Section 3, when read with Article VII, Section 18, is
that
recent jurisprudence
128
ust law law review, vol lvii, no. 1, november 2012
a civilian President is the ceremonial, legal and administrative head of the
armed
forces. The Constitution does not require that the President must be
possessed
RISOS-VIDAL
vs
COMELEC and JOSEPH
EJERCITO ESTRADA
, G.R. No. 206666, January 21, 2015
FACTS:
On September 12, 2007, the Sandiganbayan convicted former President
Estrada, a former President of the Republic of the Philippines, for the crime
of plunder in Criminal Case No. 26558, entitled

People of the
Philippines v. Joseph Ejercito Estrada, et al.
On October 25, 2007, however, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
(former President Arroyo) extended executive clemency, by way of pardon,

of military training and talents, but as Commander-in-Chief, he has the


power to
direct military operations and to determine military strategy. Normally, he
would
be expected to delegate the actual command of the armed forces to military
experts; but the ultimate power is his.
Given the foregoing, Governor Tan is
not
endowed with the power to call
upon the armed forces at his own bidding. In issuing the assailed
proclamation,
Governor Tan exceeded his authority when he declared a state of emergency
and
called upon the Armed Forces, the police, and his own Civilian Emergency
Force.
The calling-out powers contemplated under the Constitution is
exclusive
to the
President. An exercise by another official, even if he is the local chief
executive,
is
ultra vires
, and may not be justified by the invocation of Section 465 of the Local
Government Code
to former President Estrada. On October 26, 2007, at 3:35 p.m., former
President
Estrada received
and accepted6 the pardon by affixing his signature beside his handwritten
notation thereon. On October 2, 2012, former President Estrada filed a
Certificate of Candidacy for local elective post of Mayor of the City of
Manila. On January 24, 2013, Risos-Vidal filed a Petition for
Disqualification against former President Estrada before the COMELEC.).
RisosVidal anchored her petition on the theory that [Former President Estrada] is
Disqualified to Run for Public Office because of his Conviction for Plunder
by the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Cas
e No. 26558 entitled People of
the
Philippines vs. Joseph Ejercito Estrada Sentencing Him to Suffer the
5

Penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with Perpetual Absolute Disqualification.


She relied on Section 40 of the Local Government Code (LGC), in relation to
Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC). The COMELEC, S
econd Division, opined that h
aving taken judicial cognizance of the consolidated resolution for SPA No.
09-028 (DC) and SPA No. 09-104 (DC) and the 10 May 2010 En Banc
resolution affirming it, this Commission will not belabor the controversy
further. Moreso, [Risos-Vidal] failed to present cogent proof sufficient to
reverse the standing pronouncement of this Commission declaring
categorically that
[former President Estradas] right to seek pub
lic office has been effectively restored by the pardon vested upon him by
former President Gloria M. Arroyo. Since this Commission has already
spoken, it will no longer engage in disquisitions of a settled matter lest
indulged in wastage of government resour
ces.
On April 30, 2013, RisosVidal invoked the Courts jurisdiction by
filing the present petition.
ISSUES:
Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that former President
Estrada is qualified to vote and be voted for in public office as a result of the
pardon granted to him by former President Arroyo.
HELD:
The petition for certiorari lacks merit. Former President Estrada was granted
an absolute pardon that fully restored all his civil and political rights, which
naturally includes the right to seek public elective office, the focal point of
this controversy. The wording of the pardon extended to former President
Estrada is complete, unambiguous, and unqualified. It is likewise unfettered
by Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code. The only reasonable,
objective, and constitutional interpretation of the language of the pardon is
that the same in fact conforms to Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal
Code. Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code should be construed in a
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 206666
January 21, 2015

way that will give full effect to the executive clemency granted by the
President, instead of indulging in an overly strict interpretation that may
serve to impair or diminish the import of the pardon which emanated from
the Office of the President and duly signed by the Chief Executive
himself/herself. The said codal provisions must be construed to harmonize
the power of Congress to define crimes and
prescribe the penalties for such crimes and the power of the President to
grant executive clemency. All that the said provisions impart is that the
pardon of the principal penalty does not carry with it the remission of the
accessory penalties unless the President expressly includes said accessory
penalties in the pardon. It still recognizes the Presidential prerogative to grant
executive clemency and, specifically, to decide to pardon the principal
penalty while excluding its accessory penalties or to pardon both. Thus,
Articles 36 and 41 only clarify the effect of the pardon so decided upon by
the President on the penalties imposed in accordance with law. A close
scrutiny of the text of the pardon extended to former President Estrada shows
that both the principal penalty of
reclusion perpetua
and its accessory penalties are included in the pardon. The first sentence
refers to the executive clemency extended to former President Estrada who
was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of
reclusion perpetua
. The latter is the principal penalty pardoned which relieved him of
imprisonment. The sentence that followed, which states that
(h)e is hereby restored to his civil and
political rights, expressly remitted
the accessory penalties that attached to the principal penalty of
reclusion
perpetua
. Hence, even if we apply Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, it is
indubitable from the text of the pardon that the accessory
ATTY. ALICIA RISOS-VIDAL, Petitioner,
ALFREDO S. LIM Petitioner-Intervenor,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOSEPH EJERCITO
ESTRADA, Respondents.
DECISION
6

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


Before the Court are (1) a Petition for Certiorari filed under Rule 64, in
relation to Rule 65, both of the Revised Rules of Court, by Atty. Alicia RisosVidal (Risos-Vidal), which essentially prays for the issuance of the writ of
certiorari annulling and setting aside the April 1, 20131 and April 23, 20132
Resolutions of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Second Division
and En bane, respectively, in SPA No. 13-211 (DC), entitled "Atty. Alicia
Risos-Vidal v. Joseph Ejercito Estrada" for having been rendered with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (2) a
Petition-in-Intervention3 filed by Alfredo S. Lim (Lim), wherein he prays to
be declared the 2013 winning candidate for Mayor of the City of Manila in
view of private respondent former President Joseph Ejercito Estradas
(former President Estrada) disqualification to run for and hold public office.
The Facts
The salient facts of the case are as follows:
On September 12, 2007, the Sandiganbayan convicted former President
Estrada, a former President of the Republic of the Philippines, for the crime
of plunder in Criminal Case No. 26558, entitled "People of the Philippines v.
Joseph Ejercito Estrada, et al." The dispositive part of the graft courts
decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in
Criminal Case No. 26558 finding the accused, Former President Joseph
Ejercito Estrada, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
PLUNDER, defined in and penalized by Republic Act No. 7080, as amended.
On the other hand, for failure of the prosecution to prove and establish their
guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the Court finds the accused Jose "Jinggoy"
Estrada and Atty. Edward S. Serapio NOT GUILTY of the crime of plunder,
and accordingly, the Court hereby orders their ACQUITTAL.
The penalty imposable for the crime of plunder under Republic Act No.
7080, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, is Reclusion Perpetua to Death.
There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances, however, the lesser
penalty shall be applied in accordance with Article 63 of the Revised Penal
Code. Accordingly, the accused Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and the
accessory penalties of civil interdiction during the period of sentence and
perpetual absolute disqualification.
The period within which accused Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada
has been under detention shall be credited to him in full as long as he agrees
voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon
convicted prisoners.

Moreover, in accordance with Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7080, as


amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the Court hereby declares the forfeiture
in favor of the government of the following:
(1) The total amount of Five Hundred Forty[-]Two Million Seven Hundred
Ninety[-]One Thousand Pesos (P545,291,000.00), with interest and income
earned, inclusive of the amount of Two Hundred Million Pesos
(P200,000,000.00), deposited in the name and account of the Erap Muslim
Youth Foundation.
(2) The amount of One Hundred Eighty[-]Nine Million Pesos
(P189,000,000.00), inclusive of interests and income earned, deposited in the
Jose Velarde account.
(3) The real property consisting of a house and lot dubbed as "Boracay
Mansion" located at #100 11th Street, New Manila, Quezon City.
The cash bonds posted by accused Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Atty. Edward
S. Serapio are hereby ordered cancelled and released to the said accused or
their duly authorized representatives upon presentation of the original receipt
evidencing payment thereof and subject to the usual accounting and auditing
procedures. Likewise, the hold-departure orders issued against the said
accused are hereby recalled and declared functus oficio.4
On October 25, 2007, however, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
(former President Arroyo) extended executive clemency, by way of pardon,
to former President Estrada. The full text of said pardon states:
MALACAAN PALACE
MANILA
By the President of the Philippines
PARDON
WHEREAS, this Administration has a policy of releasing inmates who have
reached the age of seventy (70),
WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has been under detention for six and a
half years,
WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer
seek any elective position or office,
IN VIEW HEREOF and pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by the
Constitution, I hereby grant executive clemency to JOSEPH EJERCITO
ESTRADA, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of Plunder and imposed a
penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political
rights.
The forfeitures imposed by the Sandiganbayan remain in force and in full,
including all writs and processes issued by the Sandiganbayan in pursuance
7

hereof, except for the bank account(s) he owned before his tenure as
President.
Upon acceptance of this pardon by JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, this
pardon shall take effect.
Given under my hand at the City of Manila, this 25th Day of October, in the
year of Our Lord, two thousand and seven.
Gloria M. Arroyo (sgd.)
By the President:
IGNACIO R. BUNYE (sgd.)
Acting Executive Secretary5
On October 26, 2007, at 3:35 p.m., former President Estrada "received and
accepted"6 the pardon by affixing his signature beside his handwritten
notation thereon.
On November 30, 2009, former President Estrada filed a Certificate of
Candidacy7 for the position of President. During that time, his candidacy
earned three oppositions in the COMELEC: (1) SPA No. 09-024 (DC), a
"Petition to Deny Due Course and Cancel Certificate of Candidacy" filed by
Rev. Elly Velez B. Lao Pamatong, ESQ; (2) SPA No. 09-028 (DC), a petition
for "Disqualification as Presidential Candidate" filed by Evilio C. Pormento
(Pormento); and (3) SPA No. 09-104 (DC), a "Petition to Disqualify Estrada
Ejercito, Joseph M.from Running as President due to Constitutional
Disqualification and Creating Confusion to the Prejudice of Estrada, Mary
Lou B" filed by Mary Lou Estrada. In separate Resolutions8 dated January
20, 2010 by the COMELEC, Second Division, however, all three petitions
were effectively dismissed on the uniform grounds that (i) the Constitutional
proscription on reelection applies to a sitting president; and (ii) the pardon
granted to former President Estrada by former President Arroyo restored the
formers right to vote and be voted for a public office. The subsequent
motions for reconsideration thereto were denied by the COMELEC En banc.
After the conduct of the May 10, 2010 synchronized elections, however,
former President Estrada only managed to garner the second highest number
of votes.
Of the three petitioners above-mentioned, only Pormento sought recourse to
this Court and filed a petition for certiorari, which was docketed as G.R. No.
191988, entitled "Atty. Evilio C. Pormento v. Joseph ERAP Ejercito
Estrada and Commission on Elections." But in a Resolution9 dated August
31, 2010, the Court dismissed the aforementioned petition on the ground of
mootness considering that former President Estrada lost his presidential bid.

On October 2, 2012, former President Estrada once more ventured into the
political arena, and filed a Certificate of Candidacy,10 this time vying for a
local elective post, that ofthe Mayor of the City of Manila.
On January 24, 2013, Risos-Vidal, the petitioner in this case, filed a Petition
for Disqualification against former President Estrada before the COMELEC.
The petition was docketed as SPA No. 13-211 (DC). Risos Vidal anchored
her petition on the theory that "[Former President Estrada] is Disqualified to
Run for Public Office because of his Conviction for Plunder by the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 26558 entitled People of the
Philippines vs. Joseph Ejercito Estrada Sentencing Him to Suffer the Penalty
of Reclusion Perpetuawith Perpetual Absolute Disqualification."11 She relied
on Section 40 of the Local Government Code (LGC), in relation to Section
12 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), which state respectively, that:
Sec. 40, Local Government Code:
SECTION 40. Disqualifications.- The following persons are disqualified
from running for any elective local position:
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral
turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of
imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence; (b) Those
removed from office as a result of an administrative case;
(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to
the Republic;
(d) Those with dual citizenship;
(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;
(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the
right to reside abroad and continue to avail of the same right after the
effectivity of this Code; and
(g) The insane or feeble minded. (Emphasis supplied.)
Sec. 12, Omnibus Election Code:
Section 12. Disqualifications. - Any person who has been declared by
competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final
judgmentfor subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which
he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a
crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to
hold any public office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted
amnesty. (Emphases supplied.)
In a Resolution dated April 1, 2013,the COMELEC, Second Division,
dismissed the petition for disqualification, the fallo of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby
DISMISSED for utter lack of merit.12
8

The COMELEC, Second Division, opined that "[h]aving taken judicial


cognizance of the consolidated resolution for SPA No. 09-028 (DC) and SPA
No. 09-104 (DC) and the 10 May 2010 En Banc resolution affirming it, this
Commission will not be labor the controversy further. Moreso, [Risos-Vidal]
failed to present cogent proof sufficient to reverse the standing
pronouncement of this Commission declaring categorically that [former
President Estradas] right to seek public office has been effectively restored
by the pardon vested upon him by former President Gloria M. Arroyo. Since
this Commission has already spoken, it will no longer engage in disquisitions
of a settled matter lest indulged in wastage of government resources."13
The subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by Risos-Vidal was denied
in a Resolution dated April 23, 2013.
On April 30, 2013, Risos-Vidal invoked the Courts jurisdiction by filing the
present petition. She presented five issues for the Courts resolution, to wit:
I. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION
IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT ESTRADAS PARDON WAS NOT
CONDITIONAL;
II. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION
IN NOT FINDING THAT RESPONDENT ESTRADA IS DISQUALIFIED
TO RUN AS MAYOR OF MANILA UNDER SEC. 40 OF THE LOCAL
GOVERNMENTCODE OF 1991 FOR HAVING BEEN CONVICTED OF
PLUNDER, AN OFFENSE INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE;
III. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION
IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR DISQUALIFICATION ON THE
GROUND THAT THE CASE INVOLVES THE SAME OR SIMILAR
ISSUES IT ALREADY RESOLVED IN THE CASES OF "PORMENTO VS.
ESTRADA", SPA NO. 09-028 (DC) AND IN "RE: PETITION TO
DISQUALIFY ESTRADA EJERCITO, JOSEPH M. FROM RUNNING AS
PRESIDENT, ETC.," SPA NO. 09-104 (DC);
IV. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION
IN NOT RULING THAT RESPONDENT ESTRADAS PARDON
NEITHER RESTORED HIS RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE NOR REMITTED
HIS PERPETUAL ABSOLUTE DISQUALIFICATION FROM SEEKING
PUBLIC OFFICE; and
V. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION

IN NOT HAVING EXERCISED ITS POWER TO MOTU PROPRIO


DISQUALIFY RESPONDENT ESTRADA IN THE FACE OF HIS PATENT
DISQUALIFICATION TO RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE BECAUSE OF HIS
PERPETUAL AND ABSOLUTE DISQUALIFICATION TO SEEK PUBLIC
OFFICE AND TO VOTE RESULTING FROM HIS CRIMINAL
CONVICTION FOR PLUNDER.14
While this case was pending beforethe Court, or on May 13, 2013, the
elections were conducted as scheduled and former President Estrada was
voted into office with 349,770 votes cast in his favor. The next day, the local
board of canvassers proclaimed him as the duly elected Mayor of the City of
Manila.
On June 7, 2013, Lim, one of former President Estradas opponents for the
position of Mayor, moved for leave to intervene in this case. His motion was
granted by the Court in a Resolution15 dated June 25, 2013. Lim subscribed
to Risos-Vidals theory that former President Estrada is disqualified to run for
and hold public office as the pardon granted to the latter failed to expressly
remit his perpetual disqualification. Further, given that former President
Estrada is disqualified to run for and hold public office, all the votes obtained
by the latter should be declared stray, and, being the second placer with
313,764 votes to his name, he (Lim) should be declared the rightful winning
candidate for the position of Mayor of the City of Manila.
The Issue
Though raising five seemingly separate issues for resolution, the petition
filed by Risos-Vidal actually presents only one essential question for
resolution by the Court, that is, whether or not the COMELEC committed
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling
that former President Estrada is qualified to vote and be voted for in public
office as a result of the pardon granted to him by former President Arroyo.
In her petition, Risos-Vidal starts her discussion by pointing out that the
pardon granted to former President Estrada was conditional as evidenced by
the latters express acceptance thereof. The "acceptance," she claims, is an
indication of the conditional natureof the pardon, with the condition being
embodied in the third Whereas Clause of the pardon, i.e., "WHEREAS,
Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any
elective position or office." She explains that the aforementioned
commitment was what impelled former President Arroyo to pardon former
President Estrada, without it, the clemency would not have been extended.
And any breach thereof, that is, whenformer President Estrada filed his
Certificate of Candidacy for President and Mayor of the City of Manila, he
breached the condition of the pardon; hence, "he ought to be recommitted to
9

prison to serve the unexpired portion of his sentence x x x and disqualifies


him as a candidate for the mayoralty [position] of Manila."16
Nonetheless, Risos-Vidal clarifies that the fundamental basis upon which
former President Estrada mustbe disqualified from running for and holding
public elective office is actually the proscription found in Section 40 of the
LGC, in relation to Section 12 ofthe OEC. She argues that the crime of
plunder is both an offense punishable by imprisonment of one year or more
and involving moral turpitude; such that former President Estrada must be
disqualified to run for and hold public elective office.
Even with the pardon granted to former President Estrada, however, RisosVidal insists that the same did not operate to make available to former
President Estrada the exception provided under Section 12 of the OEC, the
pardon being merely conditional and not absolute or plenary. Moreover,
Risos-Vidal puts a premium on the ostensible requirements provided under
Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
ART. 36. Pardon; its effects. A pardon shall not work the restoration of the
right to hold publicoffice, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be
expressly restored by the terms of the pardon.
A pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from the payment of the civil
indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence.
xxxx
ART. 41. Reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal Their accessory
penalties. The penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal shall
carry with them that of civil interdiction for life or during the period of the
sentence as the case may be, and that of perpetual absolute disqualification
which the offender shall suffer even though pardoned as to the principal
penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon.
(Emphases supplied.)
She avers that in view of the foregoing provisions of law, it is not enough
that a pardon makes a general statement that such pardon carries with it the
restoration of civil and political rights. By virtue of Articles 36 and 41, a
pardon restoring civil and political rights without categorically making
mention what specific civil and political rights are restored "shall not work to
restore the right to hold public office, or the right of suffrage; nor shall it
remit the accessory penalties of civil interdiction and perpetual absolute
disqualification for the principal penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion
temporal."17 In other words, she considers the above constraints as
mandatory requirements that shun a general or implied restoration of civil
and political rights in pardons.

Risos-Vidal cites the concurring opinions of Associate Justices Teodoro R.


Padilla and Florentino P. Feliciano in Monsanto v. Factoran, Jr.18 to endorse
her position that "[t]he restoration of the right to hold public office to one
who has lost such right by reason of conviction in a criminal case, but
subsequently pardoned, cannot be left to inference, no matter how intensely
arguable, but must be statedin express, explicit, positive and specific
language."
Applying Monsantoto former President Estradas case, Risos-Vidal reckons
that "such express restoration is further demanded by the existence of the
condition in the [third] [W]hereas [C]lause of the pardon x x x indubitably
indicating that the privilege to hold public office was not restored to him."19
On the other hand, the Office ofthe Solicitor General (OSG) for public
respondent COMELEC, maintains that "the issue of whether or not the
pardon extended to [former President Estrada] restored his right to run for
public office had already been passed upon by public respondent COMELEC
way back in 2010 via its rulings in SPA Nos. 09-024, 09-028 and 09-104,
there is no cogent reason for it to reverse its standing pronouncement and
declare [former President Estrada] disqualified to run and be voted as mayor
of the City of Manila in the absence of any new argument that would warrant
its reversal. To be sure, public respondent COMELEC correctly exercised its
discretion in taking judicial cognizance of the aforesaid rulings which are
known toit and which can be verified from its own records, in accordance
with Section 2, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court on the courts discretionary
power to take judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge, orare
capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be known to them
because of their judicial functions."20
Further, the OSG contends that "[w]hile at first glance, it is apparent that
[former President Estradas] conviction for plunder disqualifies him from
running as mayor of Manila under Section 40 of the [LGC], the subsequent
grant of pardon to him, however, effectively restored his right to run for any
public office."21 The restoration of his right to run for any public office is
the exception to the prohibition under Section 40 of the LGC, as provided
under Section 12 of the OEC. As to the seeming requirement of Articles 36
and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, i.e., the express restoration/remission of a
particular right to be stated in the pardon, the OSG asserts that "an airtight
and rigid interpretation of Article 36 and Article 41 of the [RPC] x x x would
be stretching too much the clear and plain meaning of the aforesaid
provisions."22 Lastly, taking into consideration the third Whereas Clause of
the pardon granted to former President Estrada, the OSG supports the
10

position that it "is not an integral part of the decree of the pardon and cannot
therefore serve to restrict its effectivity."23
Thus, the OSG concludes that the "COMELEC did not commit grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the
assailed Resolutions."24
For his part, former President Estrada presents the following significant
arguments to defend his stay in office: that "the factual findings of public
respondent COMELEC, the Constitutional body mandated to administer and
enforce all laws relative to the conduct of the elections, [relative to the
absoluteness of the pardon, the effects thereof, and the eligibility of former
President Estrada to seek public elective office] are binding [and conclusive]
on this Honorable Supreme Court;" that he "was granted an absolute pardon
and thereby restored to his full civil and political rights, including the right to
seek public elective office such as the mayoral (sic) position in the City of
Manila;" that "the majority decision in the case of Salvacion A. Monsanto v.
Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr.,which was erroneously cited by both Vidal and
Lim as authority for their respective claims, x x x reveal that there was no
discussion whatsoever in the ratio decidendi of the Monsanto case as to the
alleged necessity for an expressed restoration of the right to hold public
office in the pardon as a legal prerequisite to remove the subject perpetual
special disqualification;" that moreover, the "principal question raised in this
Monsanto case is whether or not a public officer, who has been granted an
absolute pardon by the Chief Executive, is entitled to reinstatement toher
former position without need of a new appointment;" that his "expressed
acceptance [of the pardon] is not proof that the pardon extended to [him] is
conditional and not absolute;" that this case is a mere rehash of the casesfiled
against him during his candidacy for President back in 2009-2010; that
Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code "cannot abridge or diminish
the pardoning power of the President expressly granted by the Constitution;"
that the text of the pardon granted to him substantially, if not fully, complied
with the requirement posed by Article 36 of the Revised Penal Code as it was
categorically stated in the said document that he was "restored to his civil
and political rights;" that since pardon is an act of grace, it must be construed
favorably in favor of the grantee;25 and that his disqualification will result in
massive disenfranchisement of the hundreds of thousands of Manileos who
voted for him.26
The Court's Ruling
The petition for certiorari lacks merit.
Former President Estrada was granted an absolute pardon that fully restored
allhis civil and political rights, which naturally includes the right to seek

public elective office, the focal point of this controversy. The wording of the
pardon extended to former President Estrada is complete, unambiguous, and
unqualified. It is likewise unfettered by Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised
Penal Code. The only reasonable, objective, and constitutional interpretation
of the language of the pardon is that the same in fact conforms to Articles 36
and 41 of the Revised Penal Code. Recall that the petition for disqualification
filed by Risos-Vidal against former President Estrada, docketed as SPA No.
13-211 (DC), was anchored on Section 40 of the LGC, in relation to Section
12 of the OEC, that is, having been convicted of a crime punishable by
imprisonment of one year or more, and involving moral turpitude, former
President Estrada must be disqualified to run for and hold public elective
office notwithstanding the fact that he is a grantee of a pardon that includes a
statement expressing "[h]e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights."
Risos-Vidal theorizes that former President Estrada is disqualified from
running for Mayor of Manila inthe May 13, 2013 Elections, and remains
disqualified to hold any local elective post despite the presidential pardon
extended to him in 2007 by former President Arroyo for the reason that it
(pardon) did not expressly provide for the remission of the penalty of
perpetual absolute disqualification, particularly the restoration of his (former
President Estrada) right to vote and bevoted upon for public office. She
invokes Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code as the foundations of
her theory.
It is insisted that, since a textual examination of the pardon given to and
accepted by former President Estrada does not actually specify which
political right is restored, it could be inferred that former President Arroyo
did not deliberately intend to restore former President Estradas rights of
suffrage and to hold public office, orto otherwise remit the penalty of
perpetual absolute disqualification. Even if her intention was the contrary, the
same cannot be upheld based on the pardons text.
The pardoning power of the President cannot be limited by legislative action.
The 1987 Constitution, specifically Section 19 of Article VII and Section 5 of
Article IX-C, provides that the President of the Philippines possesses the
power to grant pardons, along with other acts of executive clemency, to wit:
Section 19. Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this
Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons,
and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment.
He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a
majority of all the Members of the Congress.
xxxx
11

Section 5. No pardon, amnesty, parole, or suspension of sentence for


violation of election laws, rules, and regulations shall be granted by the
President without the favorable recommendation of the Commission.
It is apparent from the foregoing constitutional provisions that the only
instances in which the President may not extend pardon remain to be in: (1)
impeachment cases; (2) cases that have not yet resulted in a final conviction;
and (3) cases involving violations of election laws, rules and regulations in
which there was no favorable recommendation coming from the COMELEC.
Therefore, it can be argued that any act of Congress by way of statute cannot
operate to delimit the pardoning power of the President.
In Cristobal v. Labrador27 and Pelobello v. Palatino,28 which were decided
under the 1935 Constitution,wherein the provision granting pardoning power
to the President shared similar phraseology with what is found in the present
1987 Constitution, the Court then unequivocally declared that "subject to the
limitations imposed by the Constitution, the pardoning power cannot be
restricted or controlled by legislative action." The Court reiterated this
pronouncement in Monsanto v. Factoran, Jr.29 thereby establishing that,
under the present Constitution, "a pardon, being a presidential prerogative,
should not be circumscribed by legislative action." Thus, it is unmistakably
the long-standing position of this Court that the exercise of the pardoning
power is discretionary in the President and may not be interfered with by
Congress or the Court, except only when it exceeds the limits provided for by
the Constitution.
This doctrine of non-diminution or non-impairment of the Presidents power
of pardon by acts of Congress, specifically through legislation, was strongly
adhered to by an overwhelming majority of the framers of the 1987
Constitution when they flatly rejected a proposal to carve out an exception
from the pardoning power of the President in the form of "offenses involving
graft and corruption" that would be enumerated and defined by Congress
through the enactment of a law. The following is the pertinent portion lifted
from the Record of the Commission (Vol. II):
MR. ROMULO. I ask that Commissioner Tan be recognized to introduce an
amendment on the same section.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Tan is recognized.
SR. TAN. Madam President, lines 7 to 9 state:
However, the power to grant executive clemency for violations of corrupt
practices laws may be limited by legislation.
I suggest that this be deletedon the grounds that, first, violations of corrupt
practices may include a very little offense like stealing P10; second, which I
think is more important, I get the impression, rightly or wrongly, that

subconsciously we are drafting a constitution on the premise that all our


future Presidents will bebad and dishonest and, consequently, their acts will
be lacking in wisdom. Therefore, this Article seems to contribute towards the
creation of an anti-President Constitution or a President with vast
responsibilities but no corresponding power except to declare martial law.
Therefore, I request that these lines be deleted.
MR. REGALADO. Madam President,may the Committee react to that?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, please.
MR. REGALADO. This was inserted here on the resolution of
Commissioner Davide because of the fact that similar to the provisions on
the Commission on Elections, the recommendation of that Commission is
required before executive clemency isgranted because violations of the
election laws go into the very political life of the country.
With respect to violations of our Corrupt Practices Law, we felt that it is also
necessary to have that subjected to the same condition because violation of
our Corrupt Practices Law may be of such magnitude as to affect the very
economic systemof the country. Nevertheless, as a compromise, we provided
here that it will be the Congress that will provide for the classification as to
which convictions will still require prior recommendation; after all, the
Congress could take into account whether or not the violation of the Corrupt
Practices Law is of such magnitude as to affect the economic life of the
country, if it is in the millions or billions of dollars. But I assume the
Congress in its collective wisdom will exclude those petty crimes of
corruption as not to require any further stricture on the exercise of executive
clemency because, of course, there is a whale of a difference if we consider a
lowly clerk committing malversation of government property or funds
involving one hundred pesos. But then, we also anticipate the possibility that
the corrupt practice of a public officer is of such magnitude as to have
virtually drained a substantial portion of the treasury, and then he goes
through all the judicial processes and later on, a President who may have
close connections with him or out of improvident compassion may grant
clemency under such conditions. That is why we left it to Congress to
provide and make a classification based on substantial distinctions between a
minor act of corruption or an act of substantial proportions. SR. TAN. So,
why do we not just insert the word GROSS or GRAVE before the word
"violations"?
MR. REGALADO. We feel that Congress can make a better distinction
because "GRAVE" or "GROSS" can be misconstrued by putting it purely as a
policy.
MR. RODRIGO. Madam President.
12

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized.


MR. RODRIGO. May I speak in favor of the proposed amendment?
THE PRESIDENT. Please proceed.
MR. RODRIGO. The power to grant executive clemency is essentially an
executive power, and that is precisely why it is called executive clemency. In
this sentence, which the amendment seeks to delete, an exception is being
made. Congress, which is the legislative arm, is allowed to intrude into this
prerogative of the executive. Then it limits the power of Congress to subtract
from this prerogative of the President to grant executive clemency by
limiting the power of Congress to only corrupt practices laws. There are
many other crimes more serious than these. Under this amendment, Congress
cannot limit the power of executive clemency in cases of drug addiction and
drug pushing which are very, very serious crimes that can endanger the State;
also, rape with murder, kidnapping and treason. Aside from the fact that it is
a derogation of the power of the President to grant executive clemency, it is
also defective in that it singles out just one kind of crime. There are far more
serious crimes which are not included.
MR. REGALADO. I will just make one observation on that. We admit that
the pardoning power is anexecutive power. But even in the provisions on the
COMELEC, one will notice that constitutionally, it is required that there be a
favorable recommendation by the Commission on Elections for any violation
of election laws.
At any rate, Commissioner Davide, as the principal proponent of that and as
a member of the Committee, has explained in the committee meetings we
had why he sought the inclusion of this particular provision. May we call on
Commissioner Davide to state his position.
MR. DAVIDE. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is recognized.
MR. DAVIDE. I am constrained to rise to object to the proposal. We have
just approved the Article on Accountability of Public Officers. Under it, it is
mandated that a public office is a public trust, and all government officers are
under obligation to observe the utmost of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and
efficiency, to lead modest lives and to act with patriotism and justice.
In all cases, therefore, which would go into the verycore of the concept that a
public office is a public trust, the violation is itself a violation not only of the
economy but the moral fabric of public officials. And that is the reason we
now want that if there is any conviction for the violation of the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act, which, in effect, is a violation of the public trust
character of the public office, no pardon shall be extended to the offender,
unless some limitations are imposed.

Originally, my limitation was, it should be with the concurrence of the


convicting court, but the Committee left it entirely to the legislature to
formulate the mechanics at trying, probably, to distinguish between grave
and less grave or serious cases of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act. Perhaps this is now the best time, since we have strengthened
the Article on Accountability of Public Officers, to accompany it with a
mandate that the Presidents right to grant executive clemency for offenders
or violators of laws relating to the concept of a public office may be limited
by Congress itself.
MR. SARMIENTO. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Sarmiento is recognized.
MR. SARMIENTO. May I briefly speak in favor of the amendment by
deletion.
Madam President, over and over again, we have been saying and arguing
before this Constitutional Commission that we are emasculating the powers
of the presidency, and this provision to me is another clear example of that.
So, I speak against this provision. Even the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions
do not provide for this kind of provision.
I am supporting the amendment by deletion of Commissioner Tan.
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Tingson would like to be recognized.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Tingson is recognized.
MR. TINGSON. Madam President, I am also in favor of the amendment by
deletion because I am in sympathy with the stand of Commissioner Francisco
"Soc" Rodrigo. I do believe and we should remember that above all the
elected or appointed officers of our Republic, the leader is the President. I
believe that the country will be as the President is, and if we systematically
emasculate the power of this presidency, the time may come whenhe will be
also handcuffed that he will no longer be able to act like he should be acting.
So, Madam President, I am in favor of the deletion of this particular line.
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Colayco would like to be recognized.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Colayco is recognized.
MR. COLAYCO. Thank you very much, Madam President.
I seldom rise here to object to or to commend or to recommend the approval
of proposals, but now I find that the proposal of Commissioner Tan is worthy
of approval of this body.
Why are we singling out this particular offense? There are other crimes
which cast a bigger blot on the moral character of the public officials.
Finally, this body should not be the first one to limit the almost absolute
power of our Chief Executive in deciding whether to pardon, to reprieve or to
commute the sentence rendered by the court.
13

I thank you.
THE PRESIDENT. Are we ready to vote now?
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Padilla would like to be recognized, and
after him will be Commissioner Natividad.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Padilla is recognized.
MR. PADILLA. Only one sentence, Madam President. The Sandiganbayan
has been called the Anti-Graft Court, so if this is allowed to stay, it would
mean that the Presidents power togrant pardon or reprieve will be limited to
the cases decided by the Anti-Graft Court, when as already stated, there are
many provisions inthe Revised Penal Code that penalize more serious
offenses.
Moreover, when there is a judgment of conviction and the case merits the
consideration of the exercise of executive clemency, usually under Article V
of the Revised Penal Code the judge will recommend such exercise of
clemency. And so, I am in favor of the amendment proposed by
Commissioner Tan for the deletion of this last sentence in Section 17.
THE PRESIDENT. Are we ready to vote now, Mr. Floor Leader?
MR. NATIVIDAD. Just one more.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Natividad is recognized.
MR. NATIVIDAD. I am also against this provision which will again chip
more powers from the President. In case of other criminals convicted in our
society, we extend probation to them while in this case, they have already
been convicted and we offer mercy. The only way we can offer mercy to
them is through this executive clemency extended to them by the President.
If we still close this avenue to them, they would be prejudiced even worse
than the murderers and the more vicious killers in our society. I do not think
they deserve this opprobrium and punishment under the new Constitution.
I am in favor of the proposed amendment of Commissioner Tan.
MR. ROMULO. We are ready tovote, Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Is this accepted by the Committee?
MR. REGALADO. The Committee, Madam President, prefers to submit this
to the floor and also because of the objection of the main proponent,
Commissioner Davide. So we feel that the Commissioners should vote on
this question.
VOTING
THE PRESIDENT. As many as are in favor of the proposed amendment of
Commissioner Tan to delete the last sentence of Section 17 appearing on
lines 7, 8 and 9, please raise their hand. (Several Members raised their hand.)
As many as are against, please raise their hand. (Few Members raised their
hand.)

The results show 34 votes in favor and 4 votes against; the amendment is
approved.30 (Emphases supplied.)
The proper interpretation of Articles
36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.
The foregoing pronouncements solidify the thesis that Articles 36 and 41 of
the Revised Penal Code cannot, in any way, serve to abridge or diminish the
exclusive power and prerogative of the President to pardon persons convicted
of violating penal statutes.
The Court cannot subscribe to Risos-Vidals interpretation that the said
Articles contain specific textual commands which must be strictly followed
in order to free the beneficiary of presidential grace from the
disqualifications specifically prescribed by them.
Again, Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
ART. 36. Pardon; its effects. A pardon shall not work the restoration of the
right to hold publicoffice, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be
expressly restored by the terms of the pardon.
A pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from the payment of the civil
indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence.
xxxx
ART. 41. Reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal Their accessory
penalties. The penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal shall
carry with them that of civil interdiction for life or during the period of the
sentence as the case may be, and that of perpetual absolute disqualification
which the offender shall suffer even though pardoned as to the principal
penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon.
(Emphases supplied.)
A rigid and inflexible reading of the above provisions of law, as proposed by
Risos-Vidal, is unwarranted, especially so if it will defeat or unduly restrict
the power of the President to grant executive clemency.
It is well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that where the words of a statute are
clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and
applied without attempted interpretation. Verba legis non est recedendum.
From the words of a statute there should be no departure.31 It is this Courts
firm view that the phrase in the presidential pardon at issue which declares
that former President Estrada "is hereby restored to his civil and political
rights" substantially complies with the requirement of express restoration.
The Dissent of Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen agreed with Risos Vidal that
there was no express remission and/or restoration of the rights of suffrage
and/or to hold public office in the pardon granted to former President
Estrada, as required by Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.
14

Justice Leonen posits in his Dissent that the aforementioned codal provisions
must be followed by the President, as they do not abridge or diminish the
Presidents power to extend clemency. He opines that they do not reduce the
coverage of the Presidents pardoning power. Particularly, he states:
Articles 36 and 41 refer only to requirements of convention or form. They
only provide a procedural prescription. They are not concerned with areas
where or the instances when the President may grant pardon; they are only
concerned with how he or she is to exercise such power so that no other
governmental instrumentality needs to intervene to give it full effect.
All that Articles 36 and 41 do is prescribe that, if the President wishes to
include in the pardon the restoration of the rights of suffrage and to hold
public office, or the remission of the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute
disqualification,he or she should do so expressly. Articles 36 and 41 only ask
that the President state his or her intentions clearly, directly, firmly, precisely,
and unmistakably. To belabor the point, the President retains the power to
make such restoration or remission, subject to a prescription on the manner
by which he or she is to state it.32
With due respect, I disagree with the overbroad statement that Congress may
dictate as to how the President may exercise his/her power of executive
clemency. The form or manner by which the President, or Congress for that
matter, should exercise their respective Constitutional powers or prerogatives
cannot be interfered with unless it is so provided in the Constitution. This is
the essence of the principle of separation of powers deeply ingrained in our
system of government which "ordains that each of the three great branches of
government has exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in matters falling
within its own constitutionally allocated sphere."33 Moreso, this fundamental
principle must be observed if noncompliance with the form imposed by one
branch on a co-equal and coordinate branch will result into the diminution of
an exclusive Constitutional prerogative.
For this reason, Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code should be
construed in a way that will give full effect to the executive clemency
granted by the President, instead of indulging in an overly strict
interpretation that may serve to impair or diminish the import of the pardon
which emanated from the Office of the President and duly signed by the
Chief Executive himself/herself. The said codal provisions must be construed
to harmonize the power of Congress to define crimes and prescribe the
penalties for such crimes and the power of the President to grant executive
clemency. All that the said provisions impart is that the pardon of the
principal penalty does notcarry with it the remission of the accessory
penalties unless the President expressly includes said accessory penalties in

the pardon. It still recognizes the Presidential prerogative to grant executive


clemency and, specifically, to decide to pardon the principal penalty while
excluding its accessory penalties or to pardon both. Thus, Articles 36 and 41
only clarify the effect of the pardon so decided upon by the President on the
penalties imposedin accordance with law.
A close scrutiny of the text of the pardon extended to former President
Estrada shows that both the principal penalty of reclusion perpetua and its
accessory penalties are included in the pardon. The first sentence refers to the
executive clemency extended to former President Estrada who was convicted
by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of reclusion
perpetua. The latter is the principal penalty pardoned which relieved him of
imprisonment. The sentence that followed, which states that "(h)e is hereby
restored to his civil and political rights," expressly remitted the accessory
penalties that attached to the principal penalty of reclusion perpetua. Hence,
even if we apply Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, it is
indubitable from the textof the pardon that the accessory penalties of civil
interdiction and perpetual absolute disqualification were expressly remitted
together with the principal penalty of reclusion perpetua.
In this jurisdiction, the right toseek public elective office is recognized by
law as falling under the whole gamut of civil and political rights.
Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9225,34 otherwise known as the "Citizenship
Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003," reads as follows:
Section 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. Those who retain or
reacquire Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and
political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities
under existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions: (1)
Those intending to exercise their right of suffrage must meet the
requirements under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution, Republic Act
No. 9189, otherwise known as "The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003"
and other existing laws;
(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the
qualifications for holding such public office as required by the Constitution
and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy,
make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship
before any public officer authorized to administer an oath;
(3) Those appointed to any public office shall subscribe and swear an oath of
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and its duly constituted
authorities prior to their assumption of office: Provided, That they renounce
their oath of allegiance to the country where they took that oath; (4) Those
15

intending to practice their profession in the Philippines shall apply with the
proper authority for a license or permit to engage in such practice; and
(5) That right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public office in the
Philippines cannot be exercised by, or extended to, those who:
(a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in the country of
which theyare naturalized citizens; and/or
(b) are in active service as commissioned or non commissioned officers in
the armed forces of the country which they are naturalized citizens.
(Emphases supplied.)
No less than the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to
which the Philippines is a signatory, acknowledges the existence of said
right. Article 25(b) of the Convention states: Article 25
Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the
distinctions mentioned in Article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:
xxxx
(b) To vote and to be electedat genuine periodic elections which shall be by
universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing
the free expression of the will of the electors[.] (Emphasis supplied.)
Recently, in Sobejana-Condon v. Commission on Elections,35 the Court
unequivocally referred to the right to seek public elective office as a political
right, to wit:
Stated differently, it is an additional qualification for elective office specific
only to Filipino citizens who re-acquire their citizenship under Section 3 of
R.A. No. 9225. It is the operative act that restores their right to run for public
office. The petitioners failure to comply there with in accordance with the
exact tenor of the law, rendered ineffectual the Declaration of Renunciation
of Australian Citizenship she executed on September 18, 2006. As such, she
is yet to regain her political right to seek elective office. Unless she executes
a sworn renunciation of her Australian citizenship, she is ineligible to run for
and hold any elective office in the Philippines. (Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, from both law and jurisprudence, the right to seek public elective
office is unequivocally considered as a political right. Hence, the Court
reiterates its earlier statement that the pardon granted to former President
Estrada admits no other interpretation other than to mean that, upon
acceptance of the pardon granted tohim, he regained his FULL civil and
political rights including the right to seek elective office.
On the other hand, the theory of Risos-Vidal goes beyond the plain meaning
of said penal provisions; and prescribes a formal requirement that is not only
unnecessary but, if insisted upon, could be in derogation of the constitutional

prohibition relative to the principle that the exercise of presidential pardon


cannot be affected by legislative action.
Risos-Vidal relied heavily on the separate concurring opinions in Monsanto
v. Factoran, Jr.36 to justify her argument that an absolute pardon must
expressly state that the right to hold public office has been restored, and that
the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification has been remitted.
This is incorrect.
Her reliance on said opinions is utterly misplaced. Although the learned
views of Justices Teodoro R. Padilla and Florentino P. Feliciano are to be
respected, they do not form partof the controlling doctrine nor to be
considered part of the law of the land. On the contrary, a careful reading of
the majority opinion in Monsanto, penned by no less than Chief Justice
Marcelo B. Fernan, reveals no statement that denotes adherence to a stringent
and overly nuanced application of Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal
Code that will in effect require the President to use a statutorily prescribed
language in extending executive clemency, even if the intent of the President
can otherwise be deduced from the text or words used in the pardon.
Furthermore, as explained above, the pardon here is consistent with, and not
contrary to, the provisions of Articles 36 and 41.
The disqualification of former President Estrada under Section 40 of the
LGC in relation to Section 12 of the OEC was removed by his acceptance of
the absolute pardon granted to him.
Section 40 of the LGC identifies who are disqualified from running for any
elective local position. Risos-Vidal argues that former President Estrada is
disqualified under item (a), to wit:
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral
turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of
imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence[.] (Emphasis
supplied.)
Likewise, Section 12 of the OEC provides for similar prohibitions, but it
provides for an exception, to wit:
Section 12. Disqualifications. x x x unless he has been given plenary
pardon or granted amnesty. (Emphasis supplied.)
As earlier stated, Risos-Vidal maintains that former President Estradas
conviction for plunder disqualifies him from running for the elective local
position of Mayor of the City of Manila under Section 40(a) of the LGC.
However, the subsequent absolute pardon granted to former President
Estrada effectively restored his right to seek public elective office. This is
made possible by reading Section 40(a) of the LGC in relation to Section 12
of the OEC.
16

While it may be apparent that the proscription in Section 40(a) of the LGC is
worded in absolute terms, Section 12 of the OEC provides a legal escape
from the prohibition a plenary pardon or amnesty. In other words, the latter
provision allows any person who has been granted plenary pardon or
amnesty after conviction by final judgment of an offense involving moral
turpitude, inter alia, to run for and hold any public office, whether local or
national position.
Take notice that the applicability of Section 12 of the OEC to candidates
running for local elective positions is not unprecedented. In Jalosjos, Jr. v.
Commission on Elections,37 the Court acknowledged the aforementioned
provision as one of the legal remedies that may be availed of to disqualify a
candidate in a local election filed any day after the last day for filing of
certificates of candidacy, but not later than the date of proclamation.38 The
pertinent ruling in the Jalosjos case is quoted as follows:
What is indisputably clear is that false material representation of Jalosjos is a
ground for a petition under Section 78. However, since the false material
representation arises from a crime penalized by prision mayor, a petition
under Section 12 ofthe Omnibus Election Code or Section 40 of the Local
Government Code can also be properly filed. The petitioner has a choice
whether to anchor his petition on Section 12 or Section 78 of the Omnibus
Election Code, or on Section 40 of the Local Government Code. The law
expressly provides multiple remedies and the choice of which remedy to
adopt belongs to petitioner.39 (Emphasis supplied.)
The third preambular clause of the pardon did not operate to make the pardon
conditional.
Contrary to Risos-Vidals declaration, the third preambular clause of the
pardon, i.e., "[w]hereas, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to
no longer seek any elective position or office," neither makes the pardon
conditional, nor militate against the conclusion that former President
Estradas rights to suffrage and to seek public elective office have been
restored.
This is especially true as the pardon itself does not explicitly impose a
condition or limitation, considering the unqualified use of the term "civil and
political rights"as being restored. Jurisprudence educates that a preamble is
not an essential part of an act as it is an introductory or preparatory clause
that explains the reasons for the enactment, usually introduced by the word
"whereas."40 Whereas clauses do not form part of a statute because, strictly
speaking, they are not part of the operative language of the statute.41 In this
case, the whereas clause at issue is not an integral part of the decree of the
pardon, and therefore, does not by itself alone operate to make the pardon

conditional or to make its effectivity contingent upon the fulfilment of the


aforementioned commitment nor to limit the scope of the pardon.
On this matter, the Court quotes with approval a relevant excerpt of
COMELEC Commissioner Maria Gracia Padacas separate concurring
opinion in the assailed April 1, 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC in SPA
No. 13-211 (DC), which captured the essence of the legal effect of
preambular paragraphs/whereas clauses, viz:
The present dispute does not raise anything which the 20 January 2010
Resolution did not conclude upon. Here, Petitioner Risos-Vidal raised the
same argument with respect to the 3rd "whereas clause" or preambular
paragraph of the decree of pardon. It states that "Joseph Ejercito Estrada has
publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office." On this
contention, the undersigned reiterates the ruling of the Commission that the
3rd preambular paragraph does not have any legal or binding effect on the
absolute nature of the pardon extended by former President Arroyo to herein
Respondent. This ruling is consistent with the traditional and customary
usage of preambular paragraphs. In the case of Echegaray v. Secretary of
Justice, the Supreme Court ruled on the legal effect of preambular paragraphs
or whereas clauses on statutes. The Court stated, viz.:
Besides, a preamble is really not an integral part of a law. It is merely an
introduction to show its intent or purposes. It cannot be the origin of rights
and obligations. Where the meaning of a statute is clear and unambiguous,
the preamble can neither expand nor restrict its operation much less prevail
over its text.
If former President Arroyo intended for the pardon to be conditional on
Respondents promise never to seek a public office again, the former ought to
have explicitly stated the same in the text of the pardon itself. Since former
President Arroyo did not make this an integral part of the decree of pardon,
the Commission is constrained to rule that the 3rd preambular clause cannot
be interpreted as a condition to the pardon extended to former President
Estrada.42 (Emphasis supplied.)
Absent any contrary evidence, former President Arroyos silence on former
President Estradas decision torun for President in the May 2010 elections
against, among others, the candidate of the political party of former President
Arroyo, after the latters receipt and acceptance of the pardon speaks volume
of her intention to restore him to his rights to suffrage and to hold public
office.
Where the scope and import of the executive clemency extended by the
President is in issue, the Court must turn to the only evidence available to it,
and that is the pardon itself. From a detailed review ofthe four corners of said
17

document, nothing therein gives an iota of intimation that the third Whereas
Clause is actually a limitation, proviso, stipulation or condition on the grant
of the pardon, such that the breach of the mentioned commitment not to seek
public office will result ina revocation or cancellation of said pardon. To the
Court, what it is simply is a statement of fact or the prevailing situation at the
time the executive clemency was granted. It was not used as a condition to
the efficacy orto delimit the scope of the pardon.
Even if the Court were to subscribe to the view that the third Whereas
Clausewas one of the reasons to grant the pardon, the pardon itself does not
provide for the attendant consequence of the breach thereof. This Court will
be hard put to discern the resultant effect of an eventual infringement. Just
like it will be hard put to determine which civil or political rights were
restored if the Court were to take the road suggested by Risos-Vidal that the
statement "[h]e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights" excludes
the restoration of former President Estradas rights to suffrage and to hold
public office. The aforequoted text ofthe executive clemency granted does
not provide the Court with any guide asto how and where to draw the line
between the included and excluded political rights.
Justice Leonen emphasizes the point that the ultimate issue for resolution is
not whether the pardon is contingent on the condition that former President
Estrada will not seek janother elective public office, but it actually concerns
the coverage of the pardon whether the pardon granted to former President
Estrada was so expansive as to have restored all his political rights, inclusive
of the rights of suffrage and to hold public office. Justice Leonen is of the
view that the pardon in question is not absolute nor plenary in scope despite
the statement that former President Estrada is "hereby restored to his civil
and political rights," that is, the foregoing statement restored to former
President Estrada all his civil and political rights except the rights denied to
him by the unremitted penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification made up
of, among others, the rights of suffrage and to hold public office. He adds
that had the President chosen to be so expansive as to include the rights of
suffrage and to hold public office, she should have been more clear on her
intentions.
However, the statement "[h]e is hereby restored to his civil and political
rights," to the mind of the Court, iscrystal clear the pardon granted to
former President Estrada was absolute, meaning, it was not only
unconditional, it was unrestricted in scope, complete and plenary in
character, as the term "political rights"adverted to has a settled meaning in
law and jurisprudence.

With due respect, I disagree too with Justice Leonen that the omission of the
qualifying word "full" can be construed as excluding the restoration of the
rights of suffrage and to hold public office. There appears to be no distinction
as to the coverage of the term "full political rights" and the term "political
rights" used alone without any qualification. How to ascribe to the latter term
the meaning that it is "partial" and not "full" defies ones understanding.
More so, it will be extremely difficult to identify which of the political rights
are restored by the pardon, when the text of the latter is silent on this matter.
Exceptions to the grant of pardon cannot be presumed from the absence of
the qualifying word "full" when the pardon restored the "political rights" of
former President Estrada without any exclusion or reservation.
Therefore, there can be no other conclusion but to say that the pardon granted
to former President Estrada was absolute in the absence of a clear,
unequivocal and concrete factual basis upon which to anchor or support the
Presidential intent to grant a limited pardon.
To reiterate, insofar as its coverageis concerned, the text of the pardon can
withstand close scrutiny even under the provisions of Articles 36 and 41 of
the Revised Penal Code.
The COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions.
In light of the foregoing, contrary to the assertions of Risos-Vidal, the
COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions.
The Court has consistently held that a petition for certiorariagainst actions of
the COMELEC is confined only to instances of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to patentand substantial denial of due process, because the
COMELEC is presumed to be most competent in matters falling within its
domain.43
As settled in jurisprudence, grave abuse of discretion is the arbitrary exercise
of power due to passion, prejudice or personal hostility; or the whimsical,
arbitrary, or capricious exercise of power that amounts to an evasion or
refusal to perform a positive duty enjoined by law or to act at all in
contemplation of law. For an act to be condemned as having been done with
grave abuse of discretion, such an abuse must be patent and gross.44
The arguments forwarded by Risos-Vidal fail to adequately demonstrate any
factual or legal bases to prove that the assailed COMELEC Resolutions were
issued in a "whimsical, arbitrary or capricious exercise of power that
amounts to an evasion orrefusal to perform a positive duty enjoined by law"
or were so "patent and gross" as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.
18

On the foregoing premises and conclusions, this Court finds it unnecessary to


separately discuss Lim's petition-in-intervention, which substantially
presented the same arguments as Risos-Vidal's petition.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and petition-inintervention are
DISMISSED. The Resolution dated April 1, 2013 of the Commission on
SUPREME COURT
Manila

Elections, Second Division, and the Resolution dated April 23, 2013 of the
Commission on Elections, En bane, both in SPA No. 13-211 (DC), are
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
and said Jimenez decided to submit his case to the Guerrilla Amnesty
Commission presided by the respondents herein, and the other petitioner
Loreto Barrioquinto, who had then been already apprehended, did the same.

EN BANC
January 21, 1949
G.R. No. L-1278
LORETO BARRIOQUINTO and NORBERTO JIMENEZ, petitioners,
vs.
ENRIQUE A. FERNANDEZ, ANTONIO BELMONTE and FELICISIMO
OCAMPO, as Commissioners of the Fourteenth Guerrilla Amnesty
Commission, respondents.
Roseller T. Lim for petitioners.
Antonio Belmonte for respondents.
FERIA, J.:
This is a special action of mandamus instituted by the petitioners against the
respondents who composed the 14th Guerrilla Amnesty Commission, to
compel the latter to act and decide whether or not the petitioners are entitled
to the benefits of amnesty.
Petitioners Norberto Jimenez and Loreto Barrioquinto were charged with the
crime of murder. As the latter had not yet been arrested the case proceeded
against the former, and after trial Court of First Instance of Zamboanga
sentenced Jimenez to life imprisonment. Before the period for perfecting an
appeal had expired, the defendant Jimenez became aware of the Proclamation
No. 8, dated September 7, 1946, which grants amnesty in favor of all persons
who may be charged with an act penalized under the Revised Penal Code in
furtherance of the resistance to the enemy or against persons aiding in the
war efforts of the enemy, and committed during the period from December 8,
1941, to the date when particular area of the Philippines where the offense
was actually committed was liberated from enemy control and occupation,

After a preliminary hearing had started, the Amnesty Commission, prescribed


by the respondents, issued on January 9, 1947, an order returning the cases of
the petitioners to the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga, without deciding
whether or not they are entitled to the benefits of he said Amnesty
Proclamation, on the ground that inasmuch as neither Barrioquinto nor
Jimenez have admitted having committed the offense, because Barrioquinto
alleged that it was Hipolito Tolentino who shot and killed the victim, they
cannot invoke the benefits of amnesty.
The Amnesty Proclamation of September 7, 1946, issued by the President
with the concurrence of Congress of the Philippines, reads in part as follows:
WHEREAS, since the inception of the war until the liberation of the different
areas comprising the territory of the Philippines, volunteer armed forces of
Filipinos and for of other nationalities operated as guerrillas and other
patriotic individuals and groups pursued activities in opposition to the forces
and agents of the Japanese Empire in the invasion and occupation of the
Philippines;
WHEREAS, members of such forces, in their determined efforts to resist the
enemy, and to bring about his ultimate defeat, committed acts penalized
under the Revised Penal Code;
WHEREAS, charges have been presented in the courts against many
members of these resistance forces, for such acts;
WHEREAS, the fact that such acts were committed in furtherance of the
resistance to the enemy is not a valid defense under the laws of the
Philippines;

19

WHEREAS, the persons so accused should not be regarded as criminals but


rather as patriots and heroes who have rendered invaluable service to the
nation; and
WHEREAS, it is desirable that without the least possible delay, these persons
be freed form the indignity and the jeopardy to which they are now being
subjected;
NOW, THEREFORE, I Manuel Roxas, President of the Philippines in
accordance with the provisions of Article VII, section 10, paragraph 6 of the
Constitution, do hereby declare and proclaim an amnesty inn favor of al
persons who committed any act penalized under the Revised Penal Code in
furtherance of the resistance to the enemy or against persons aiding in the
war effort of the enemy, and committed during the period from December 8,
1941 to the date when each particular area of the Philippines was actually
liberated from the enemy control and occupation. This amnesty shall not
apply to crimes against chastity or to acts committed from purely personal
motives.
It is further proclaimed and declared that in order to determine who among
those against whom charges have been filed before the courts of the
Philippines or against whom charges may be filed in the future, come within
the terms of this amnesty, Guerrilla Amnesty Commissions, simultaneously
to be established , shall examine the facts and circumstance surrounding each
case and, if necessary, conduct summary hearings of witnesses both for the
complainant and the accused. These Commissions shall decided each case
and, upon finding that it falls within the terms of this proclamation, the
Commissions shall so declare and this amnesty shall immediately be
effective as to the accused, who shall forthwith be released or discharged.
The theory of the respondents, supported by the dissenting opinion, is
predicated on a wrong conception of the nature or character of an amnesty.
Amnesty must be distinguished from pardon.
Pardon is granted by the Chief Executive and as such it is a private act which
must be pleaded and proved by the person pardoned, because the courts take
no notice thereof; while amnesty by Proclamation of the Chief Executive
with the concurrence of Congress, and it is a public act of which the courts
should take judicial notice. Pardon is granted to one after conviction; while
amnesty is granted to classes of persons or communities who may be guilty

of political offenses, generally before or after the institution of the criminal


prosecution and sometimes after conviction. Pardon looks forward and
relieves the offender from the consequences of an offense of which he has
been convicted, that is, it abolished or forgives the punishment, and for that
reason it does ""nor work the restoration of the rights to hold public office, or
the right of suffrage, unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of
the pardon," and it "in no case exempts the culprit from the payment of the
civil indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence" article 36, Revised Penal
Code). while amnesty looks backward and abolishes and puts into oblivion
the offense itself, it so overlooks and obliterates the offense with which he is
charged that the person released by amnesty stands before the law precisely
as though he had committed no offense. (section 10[6], Article VII,
Philippine Constitution; State vs. Blalock, 62 N.C., 242, 247; In re Briggs,
135 N.C., 118; 47 S.E. 402., 403; Ex parte Law, 35 GA., 285, 296; State ex
rel AnheuserBusch Brewing Ass'n. vs. Eby, 170 Mo., 497; 71 S.W 52, 61;
Burdick vs United States, N.Y., 35 S. Ct., 267; 271; 236 U.S., 79; 59 Law.
ed., 476.)
In view of the foregoing, we are of the opinion and so hold that, in order to
entitle a person to the benefits of the Amnesty Proclamation of September 7,
1946, it is not necessary that he should, as a condition precedent or sine qua
non, admit having committed the criminal act or offense with which he is
charged and allege the amnesty as a defense; it is sufficient that the evidence
either of the complainant or the accused, shows that the offense committed
comes within the terms of said Amnesty Proclamation. Hence, it is not
correct to say that "invocation of the benefits of amnesty is in the nature of a
plea of confession and avoidance." Although the accused does not confess
the imputation against him, he may be declared by the courts or the Amnesty
Commissions entitled to the benefits. For, whether or not he admits or
confesses having committed the offense with which he is charged, the
Commissions should, if necessary or requested by the interested party,
conduct summary hearing of the witnesses both for the complainants and the
accused, on whether he has committed the offense in furtherance of the
resistance to the enemy, or against persons aiding in the war efforts of the
enemy, and decide whether he is entitled to the benefits of amnesty and to be
"regarded as a patriot or hero who have rendered invaluable services to the
nation,," or not, in accordance with the terms of the Amnesty Proclamation.
since the Amnesty Proclamation is a public act, the courts as well as the
Amnesty Commissions created thereby should take notice of the terms of
said Proclamation and apply the benefits granted therein to cases coming
20

within their province or jurisdiction, whether pleaded or claimed by the


person charged with such offenses or not, if the evidence presented show that
the accused is entitled to said benefits.
The right to the benefits of amnesty, once established by the evidence
presented either by the complainant or prosecution, or by the defense, can not
be waived, because it is of public interest that a person who is regarded by
the Amnesty Proclamation which has the force of a law, not only as innocent,
for he stands in the eyes of the law as if he had never committed any
punishable offense because of the amnesty, but as a patriot or hero, can not
be punishment as a criminal. Just as the courts of justice can not convict a
person who, according to the evidence, has committed an act not punishable
by law, although he confesses being guilty thereof, so also and a fortiori they
can not convict a person considered by law not a criminal, but as a patriot
and hero, for having rendered invaluable services to the nation inn
committing such an act.
While it is true that the evidence must show that the offense charged was
against chastity and was committed in furtherance of the resistance against
the enemy, for otherwise, it is to be naturally presumed that is has been
committed for purely personal motive, it is nonetheless true that though the
motive as a mental impulse is state of mind or subjective, it need not be
testified to be the defendant himself at his arraignment or hearing of the case.
Generally the motive for the commission of an offense is established by the
testimony of witnesses on the acts or statements of the accused before or
immediately after the commission of the offense, deeds or words hat may
express it or from which his motive or reason for committing it may be
inferred. The statement of testimony of a defendant at the time of
arraignment or the hearing of the case about said motive, can not generally
be considered and relied on, specially if there is evidence to the contrary, as
the true expression of the reason o motive he had at the time of committing
the offense. Because such statements or testimony may be an afterthought or
colored by the interest he may have to suit his defense or the purpose for
which he intends to achieve with such declaration. Hence it does not stand to
reason and logic to say, as the dissenting opinion avers, that unless the
defendant admits at the investigation or hearing having committed the
offense with which he is charged, and states that he did it in furtherance of
the resistance to the enemy, and not for purely personal motive, it is
impossible for the court of Commission to verify the motive for the
commission of the offense, because only the accused could explain of the

offense, because only the accused could explain his belief and intention or
the motive of committing the offense.
There is no necessity for an accused to admit his responsibility for the
commission of a criminal act before a court of Amnesty Commission may
investigate and extend or not to him the benefits of amnesty. The fact that he
pleads not guilty or that he has not committed the act with which he is
charged, does not necessarily prove that he is not guilty thereof.
Notwithstanding his denial, the evidence for the prosecution or complainant
may show the contrary, as it is generally the case in criminal proceedings,
and what should in such a case be determined is whether or not the offense
committed is of political character. The plea of not having committed the
offense made by an accused simply means that he can not be convicted of the
offense charged because he is not guilty thereof, and, even if the evidence
would show that he is, because he has committed it in furtherance of the
resistance to the enemy or against persons a ding in the war efforts of the
enemy, and not for purely political motives.
According to Administrative Order No. 11 of October 2, 1946, creating the
Amnesty Commissions, issued by the President of the Philippines, cases
pending in the Courts of First Instance of the province in which the accused
claims the benefits of Amnesty Proclamation, and cases already decided by
said courts but not yet elevated on appeal to the appellate courts, shall be
passed upon and decided by the respective Amnesty Commission, and cases
pending appeal shall be passed upon by the Seventh Amnesty Commission.
Under the theory of the respondents and the writer oft he dissenting opinion,
the Commissions should refuse to comply with the directive of said
Administrative Order, because is almost all cases pending in the Court of
First Instance, and all those pending appeal form the sentence of said courts,
the defendants must not have pleaded guilty or admitted having committed
the offense charged for otherwise, they would not or could not have appealed
from the judgment of the Courts of First Instance. To hold that a Amnesty
Commission should not proceed to the investigation and act and decide
whether the offense with which an accused was charged comes within the
Amnesty Proclamation if he does not admit or confess having committed it
would be to defeat the purpose for which the Amnesty Proclamation was
issued and the Amnesty Commission were established. If the courts have to
proceed to the trail or hearing of a case and decide whether the offense
committed by the defendant comes within the terms of the Amnesty
Proclamation although the defendant has plead not guilty, there is no reason
21

why the Amnesty Commissions can not do so. Where a defendant to admit or
confess having committed the offense or being responsible therefor before he
can invoke the benefit of amnesty, as there is no law which makes such
admission or confession not admissible as evidence against him in the courts
of justices in case the Amnesty Commission finds that the offense does not
come within the terms of the Amnesty Proclamation, nobody or few would
take the risk of submitting their case to said Commission.
Besides, in the present case, the allegation of Loreto Barrioquinto that the
offended party or victim was shot and killed by Agapito Hipolito , does not
necessarily bar the respondents from finding, after the summary hearing of
the witnesses for the complaints and the accused, directed in the said
Amnesty Proclamation and Administrative Order No. 11, that the petitioners
are responsible for the killing of the victim, either as principals by
G. R. No. 138570October 10, 2000Bayan vs ZamoraCase Digest by Justine
Mae Sales
Facts:
The United States panel met with the Philippine panel to discussed, among
others, the possibleelements of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). This
resulted to a series of conferences andnegotiations which culminated on
January 12 and 13, 1998. Thereafter, President Fidel Ramosapproved the
VFA, which was respectively signed by Secretary Siazon and United
StatesAmbassador Thomas Hubbard.Pres. Joseph Estrada ratified the VFA on
October 5, 1998 and on May 27, 1999, the senate approvedit by (2/3) votes.
Cause of Action:
Petitioners, among others, assert that Sec. 25, Art XVIII of the 1987
constitution is applicable andnot Section 21, Article VII.Following the
argument of the petitioner, under they provision cited, the foreign military
bases,troops, or facilities may be allowed in the Philippines unless the
following conditions aresufficiently met:a) it must be a treaty, b) it must be
duly concurred in by the senate, ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a
nationalreferendum held for that purpose if so required by congress, andc)
recognized as such by the other contracting state.Respondents, on the other
hand, argue that Section 21 Article VII is applicable so that, what isrequires
for such treaty to be valid and effective is the concurrence in by at least twothirds of allthe members of the senate.
Issue:

cooperation, inducement or conspiration, or as accessories before as well as


after the fact, but that they are entitled to the benefits of amnesty, because
they were members of the same group of guerrilleros who killed the victim in
furtherance of the resistance to the enemy or against persons aiding in the
war efforts of the enemy.
Wherefore, the respondents are hereby ordered to immediately proceed to
hear and decide the application for amnesty of petitioners Barrioquinto and
Jimenez, unless the courts have in the meantime already decided, expressly
and finally, the question whether or not they are entitled to the benefits of the
Amnesty Proclamation No. 8 of September 7, 1946. So ordered.
Moran, C. J., Paras, Bengzon, and Briones, JJ., concur.
Is the VFA governed by the provisions of Section 21, Art VII or of Section
25, Article XVIII of theConstitution?
Held:
Section 25, Article XVIII, which specifically deals with treaties involving
foreign military bases,troops or facilities should apply in the instant case. To
a certain extent and in a limited sense,however, the provisions of section 21,
Article VII will find applicability with regard to the issue andfor the sole
purpose of determining the number of votes required to obtain the valid
concurrence of the senate.The Constitution, makes no distinction between
transient and permanent. We find nothing insection 25, Article XVIII
that requires foreign troops or facilities to be stationed or placed
permanently in the Philippines.It is inconsequential whether the United
States treats the VFA only as an executive agreement because, under
international law, an executive agreement is as binding as a treaty.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Visiting Forces Agreement, for which Senate concurrence was sought
and received on May 27,1999, is the subject of a number of Constitutional
challenges.
Issue 1: Do the Petitioners have legal standing as concerned citizens,
taxpayers, or legislatorsto question the constitutionality of the VFA?
Petitioners Bayan Muna, etc. have no standing. A party bringing a suit
challenging theConstitutionality of a law must show not only that the law is
invalid, but that he has sustained or isin immediate danger of sustaining some
direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merelythat he suffers
thereby in some indefinite way. Petitioners have failed to show that they are
22

in anydanger of direct injury as a result of the VFA.As taxpayers, they have


failed to establish that the VFA involves the exercise by Congress of itstaxing
or spending powers. A taxpayers suit refers to a case where the act
complained of directlyinvolves the illegal disbursement of public funds
derived from taxation. Before he can invoke the power of judicial review, he
must specifically prove that he has sufficient interest in preventing theillegal
expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he will 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 generalinterest common to all members of
the public. Clearly, inasmuch as no public funds raised bytaxation are
involved in this case, and in the absence of any allegation by petitioners that
publicfunds are being misspent or illegally expended, petitioners, as
taxpayers, have no legal standing toassail the legality of the VFA.Similarly,
the petitioner-legislators (Tanada, Arroyo, etc.) do not possess the requisite
locus standi tosue. In the absence of a clear showing of any direct injury to
their person or to the institution towhich they belong, they cannot sue. The
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is also stripped of standing in these
cases. The IBP lacks the legal capacity to bring this suit in the absence of a
boardresolution from its Board of Governors authorizing its National
President to commence the presentaction. Notwithstanding, in view of the
paramount importance and the constitutional significance of theissues raised,
the Court may brush aside the procedural barrier and takes cognizance of
the petitions.
Issue 2: Is the VFA governed by section 21, Art. VII, or section 25, Art.
XVIII of theConstitution?
Section 25, Art XVIII, not section 21, Art. VII, applies, as the VFA involves
the presence of foreignmilitary troops in the Philippines.The Constitution
contains two provisions requiring the concurrence of the Senate on treaties
or international agreements. Section 21, Article VII reads: [n]o treaty or
international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at
least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.Section 25, Article XVIII,
provides:[a]fter the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between
theRepublic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning
Military Bases, foreignmilitary bases, troops, or facilities shall not be
allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty dulyconcurred in by the
Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the
votescast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and
recognized as a treaty by theother contracting State.Section 21, Article VII
deals with treaties or international agreements in general, in which case,

theconcurrence of at least two-thirds (2/3) of all the Members of the Senate is


required to make the
treaty valid and binding to the Philippines. This provision lays down the
general rule on treaties. Alltreaties, regardless of subject matter, coverage, or
particular designation or appellation, requires theconcurrence of the Senate to
be valid and effective.In contrast, Section 25, Article XVIII is a special
provision that applies to treaties which involve the presence of foreign
military bases, troops or facilities in the Philippines. Under this provision,
theconcurrence of the Senate is only one of the requisites to render
compliance with the constitutionalrequirements and to consider the
agreement binding on the Philippines. Sec 25 further requires thatforeign
military bases, troops, or facilities may be allowed in the Philippines only
by virtue of atreaty duly concurred in by the Senate, ratified by a majority of
the votes cast in a nationalreferendum held for that purpose if so required by
Congress, and recognized as such by the other contracting state.On the
whole, the VFA is an agreement which defines the treatment of US troops
visiting thePhilippines. It provides for the guidelines to govern such visits of
military personnel, and further defines the rights of the US and RP
government in the matter of criminal jurisdiction, movement of vessel and
aircraft, import and export of equipment, materials and
supplies.Undoubtedly, Section 25, Article XVIII, which specifically deals
with treaties involving foreignmilitary bases, troops, or facilities, should
apply in the instant case. To a certain extent, however, the provisions of
Section 21, Article VII will find applicability with regard to determining the
number of votes required to obtain the valid concurrence of the Senate.It is
specious to argue that Section 25, Article XVIII is inapplicable to mere
transient agreements for the reason that there is no permanent placing of
structure for the establishment of a military base.The Constitution makes no
distinction between transient and permanent. We find nothing inSection
25, Article XVIII that requires foreign troops or facilities to be stationed or
placed permanently in the Philippines. When no distinction is made by law;
the Court should notdistinguish. We do not subscribe to the argument that
Section 25, Article XVIII is not controllingsince no foreign military bases,
but merely foreign troops and facilities, are involved in the VFA.The
proscription covers foreign military bases, troops, or facilities. Stated
differently, this prohibition is not limited to the entry of troops and facilities
without any foreign bases beingestablished. The clause does not refer to
foreign military bases, troops, or facilities collectively but treats them as
separate and independent subjects, such that three different situations
23

arecontemplated a military treaty the subject of which could be either (a)


foreign bases, (b) foreigntroops, or (c) foreign facilities any of the three
standing alone places it under the coverage of Section 25, Article XVIII.
Issue 3: Was Sec 25 Art XVIIIs requisites satisfied to make the VFA
effective?
Section 25, Article XVIII disallows foreign military bases, troops, or
facilities in the country, unlessthe following conditions are sufficiently met:
(a) it must be under a treaty; (b) the treaty must beduly concurred in by the
Senate and, when so required by Congress, ratified by a majority of thevotes
cast by the people in a national referendum; and (c) recognized as a treaty by
the other contracting state. There is no dispute as to the presence of the first
two requisites in the case of theVFA. The concurrence handed by the Senate
through Resolution No. 18 is in accordance with theConstitution, as there
were at least 16 Senators that concurred.As to condition (c), the Court held
that the phrase recognized as a treaty means that the other contracting party
accepts or acknowledges the agreement as a treaty. To require the US to
submitthe VFA to the US Senate for concurrence pursuant to its Constitution,
is to accord strict meaning tothe phrase. Well-entrenched is the principle that
the words used in the Constitution are to be giventheir ordinary meaning
except where technical terms are employed, in which case the
significancethus attached to them prevails. Its language should be understood
in the sense they have in commonuse.The records reveal that the US
Government, through Ambassador Hubbard, has stated that the UShas fully

committed to living up to the terms of the VFA. For as long as the US


accepts or

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
UDK-15143
January 21, 2015
IN THE MATTER OF: SAVE THE SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL
INDEPENDENCE AND FISCAL AUTONOMY MOVEMENT VS.
ABOLITION OF JUDICIARY DEVELOPMENT FUND (JDF) AND
REDUCTION OF FISCAL AUTONOMY.
RESOLUTION
LEONEN, J.:
This case involves the proposed bills abolishing the Judiciary Development
Fund1 and replacing it with the "Judiciary Support Fund." Funds collected
from the proposed Judiciary Support Fund shall be remitted to the national
treasury and Congress shall determine how the funds will be used.2

Petitioner Rolly Mijares (Mijares) prays for the issuance of a writ of


mandamus in order to compel this court to exercise its judicial independence
and fiscal autonomy against the perceived hostility of Congress.3
This matter was raised to this court through the letter4 dated August 27,
2014, signed by Mijares and addressed to the Chief Justice and the Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court. The letter is captioned:
Petition for Mandamus with Manifestation to invoke the Judicial
Independence and Fiscal Autonomy as mandated under the Constitution5
The letter was referred to the Clerk of Court En Banc for appropriate action.6
It was then docketed as UDK-15143.7
In the letter-petition, Mijares alleges that he is "a Filipino citizen, and a
concerned taxpayer[.]"8 He filed this petition as part of his "continuing
crusade to defend and uphold the Constitution"9 because he believes in the
rule of law.10 He is concerned about the threats against the judiciary after
this court promulgated Priority Development Assistance Fund11 case on

acknowledges the VFA as a treaty, and binds itself further to comply with its
treaty obligations,there is indeed compliance with the mandate of the
Constitution.Worth stressing too, is that the ratification by the President of
the VFA, and the concurrence of theSenate, should be taken as a clear and
unequivocal expression of our nations consent to be bound by said treaty,
with the concomitant duty to uphold the obligations and responsibilities
embodiedthereunder. Ratification is generally held to be an executive act,
undertaken by the head of the state,through which the formal acceptance of
the treaty is proclaimed. A State may provide in itsdomestic legislation the
process of ratification of a treaty. In our jurisdiction, the power to ratify
isvested in the President and not, as commonly believed, in the legislature.
The role of the Senate islimited only to giving or withholding its consent, or
concurrence, to the ratification.With the ratification of the VFA it now
becomes obligatory and incumbent on our part, under principles of
international law (pacta sunt servanda), to be bound by the terms of the
agreement.Thus, no less than Section 2, Article II declares that the
Philippines 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.

24

November 19, 2013 and Disbursement Acceleration Program12 case on July


1, 2014.
The complaint implied that certain acts of members of Congress and the
President after the promulgation of these cases show a threat to judicial
independence.
In the first week of July 2014, Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Farias
filed House Bill No. 4690, which would require this court to remit its
Judiciary Development Fund collections to the national treasury.13
A week later, or on July 14, 2014, Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas, Jr., filed
House Bill No. 4738 entitled "The Act Creating the Judicial Support Fund
(JSF) under the National Treasury, repealing for the purpose Presidential
Decree No. 1949."14
On the same day, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III addressed the
nation:
My message to the Supreme Court: We do not want two equal branches of
government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene.
We find it difficult to understand your decision. You had done something
similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the
opinion that what you attempted to commit was graver, if we were to base it
on your decision. Abiding by the principle of "presumption of regularity," we
assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should
ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the
same mechanismwhich, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our
countrymenwhy is it then that we are wrong?
We believe that the majority of you, like us, want only the best for the
Filipino people. To the honorable justices of the Supreme Court: Help us help
our countrymen. We ask that you review your decision, this time taking into
consideration the points I have raised tonight. The nation hopes for your
careful deliberation and response. And I hope that once youve examined the
arguments I will submit, regarding the law and about our economy, solidarity
will ensuethus strengthening the entire governments capability to push for
the interests of the nation.15
The issue for resolution is whether petitioner Rolly Mijares has sufficiently
shown grounds for this court to grant the petition and issue a writ of
mandamus.
Petitioner argues that Congress "gravely abused its discretion with a blatant
usurpation of judicial independence and fiscal autonomy of the Supreme
Court."16

Petitioner points out that Congress is exercising its power "in an arbitrary and
despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility by abolishing the
Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) of the Supreme Court."17
With regard to his prayer for the issuance of the writ of mandamus, petitioner
avers that Congress should not act as "wreckers of the law"18 by threatening
"to clip the powers of the High Tribunal[.]"19 Congress committed a
"blunder of monumental proportions"20 when it reduced the judiciarys 2015
budget.21
Petitioner prays that this court exercise its powers to
"REVOKE/ABROGATE and EXPUNGE whatever irreconcilable
contravention of existing laws affecting the judicial independence and fiscal
autonomy as mandated under the Constitution to better serve public interest
and general welfare of the people."22
This court resolves to deny the petition.
The power of judicial review, like all powers granted by the Constitution, is
subject to certain limitations. Petitioner must comply with all the requisites
for judicial review before this court may take cognizance of the case. The
requisites are:
(1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of
judicial power;
(2) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the
validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, 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 opportunity;
and
(4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.23
Petitioners failure to comply with the first two requisites warrants the
outright dismissal of this petition.
I
The petition does not comply with the requisites of judicial review
No actual case or controversy
Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution provides that:
ARTICLE VIII
Judicial Department
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
25

amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or


instrumentality of the Government. (Emphasis supplied)
One of the requirements for this court to exercise its power of judicial review
is the existence of an actual controversy. This means that there must be "an
existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, not
conjectural or anticipatory, lest the decision of the court would amount to an
advisory opinion."24 As emphasized by this court in Information Technology
Foundation of the Phils. v. Commission on Elections:25
It is well-established in this jurisdiction that ". . . for a court to exercise its
power of adjudication, there must be an actual case or controversy one
which involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims
susceptible of judicial resolution; the case must not be moot or academic or
based on extra-legal or other similar considerations not cognizable by a court
of justice. . . . [C]ourts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to
satisfy scholarly interest, however intellectually challenging." The
controversy must be justiciable definite and concrete, touching on the
legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. In other words, the
pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion of a legal right, on the
one hand, and a denial thereof on the other; that is, it must concern a real and
not a merely theoretical question or issue. There ought to be an actual and
substantial controversy admitting of specific relief through a decree
conclusive in nature, as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law
would be upon a hypothetical state of facts.26
For this court to rule on constitutional issues, there must first be a justiciable
controversy. Pleadings before this court must show a violation of an existing
legal right or a controversy that is ripe for judicial determination. In the
concurring opinion in Belgica v. Ochoa:
Basic in litigation raising constitutional issues is the requirement that there
must be an actual case or controversy. This Court cannot render an advisory
opinion. We assume that the Constitution binds all other constitutional
departments, instrumentalities, and organs. We are aware that in the exercise
of their various powers, they do interpret the text of the Constitution in the
light of contemporary needs that they should address. A policy that reduces
this Court to an adviser for official acts by the other departments that have
not yet been done would unnecessarily tax our resources. It is inconsistent
with our role as final arbiter and adjudicator and weakens the entire system
of the Rule of Law. Our power of judicial review is a duty to make a final
and binding construction of law. This power should generally be reserved
when the departments have exhausted any and all acts that would remedy any
perceived violation of right. The rationale that defines the extent of our

doctrines laying down exceptions to our rules on justiciability are clear: Not
only should the pleadings show a convincing violation of a right, but the
impact should be shown to be so grave, imminent, and irreparable that any
delayed exercise of judicial review or deference would undermine
fundamental principles that should be enjoyed by the party complaining or
the constituents that they legitimately represent.27 (Emphasis supplied)
The reason for this requirement was explained in Angara v. Electoral
Commission:28
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.29
Petitioners allegations show that he wants this court to strike down the
proposed bills abolishing the Judiciary Development Fund. This court,
however, must act only within its powers granted under the Constitution.
This court is not empowered to review proposed bills because a bill is not a
law.
Montesclaros v. COMELEC30 involved the postponement of the 2002
Sangguniang Kabataan Elections and the lowering of the age requirement in
the Sangguniang Kabataan "to at least 15 but not more than 18 years of
age."31 Montesclaros and other parties filed a petition for certiorari,
prohibition, and mandamus with prayer for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order.32 One of the reliefs prayed for was:
a) To prevent, annul or declare unconstitutional any law, decree, Comelec
resolution/directive and other respondents issuances, orders and actions and
the like in postponing the May 6, 2002 SK elections.33
This court held that:
. . . petitioners instituted this petition to: (1) compel public respondents to
hold the SK elections on May 6, 2002 and should it be postponed, the SK
elections should be held not later than July 15, 2002; (2) prevent public
respondents from passing laws and issuing resolutions and orders that would
lower the membership age in the SK. . . .
....
26

Petitioners prayer to prevent Congress from enacting into law a proposed


bill lowering the membership age in the SK does not present an actual
justiciable controversy. A proposed bill is not subject to judicial review
because it is not a law. A proposed bill creates no right and imposes no duty
legally enforceable by the Court. A proposed bill, having no legal effect,
violates no constitution alright or duty. The Court has no power to declare a
proposed bill constitutional or unconstitutional because that would be in the
nature of rendering an advisory opinion on a proposed act of Congress. The
power of judicial review cannot be exercised in vacuo. . . .
....
Thus, there can be no justiciable controversy involving the constitutionality
of a proposed bill. The Court can exercise its power of judicial review only
after a law is enacted, not before.
Under the separation of powers, the Court cannot restrain Congress from
passing any law, or from setting into motion the legislative mill according to
its internal rules. Thus, the following acts of Congress in the exercise of its
legislative powers are not subject to judicial restraint: the filing of bills by
members of Congress, the approval of bills by each chamber of Congress, the
reconciliation by the Bicameral Committee of approved bills, and the
eventual approval into law of the reconciled bills by each chamber of
Congress. Absent a clear violation of specific constitutional limitations or of
constitutional rights of private parties, the Court cannot exercise its power of
judicial review over the internal processes or procedures of Congress.
....
. . . To do so would destroy the delicate system of checks and balances finely
crafted by the Constitution for the three co-equal, coordinate and independent
branches of government.34 (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted)
Similar to Montesclaros, petitioner is asking this court to stop Congress from
passing laws that will abolish the Judiciary Development Fund. This court
has explained that the filing of bills is within the legislative power of
Congress and is "not subject to judicial restraint[.]"35 A proposed bill
produces no legal effects until it is passed into law. Under the Constitution,
the judiciary is mandated to interpret laws. It cannot speculate on the
constitutionality or unconstitutionality of a bill that Congress may or may not
pass. It cannot rule on mere speculations or issues that are not ripe for
judicial determination.36 The petition, therefore, does not present any actual
case or controversy that is ripe for this courts determination. Petitioner has
no legal standing
Even assuming that there is an actual case or controversy that this court must
resolve, petitioner has no legal standing to question the validity of the

proposed bill. The rule on legal standing has been discussed in David v.
Macapagal-Arroyo:37
Locus standi is defined as "a right of appearance in a court of justice on a
given question." In private suits, standing is governed by the "real-parties-in
interest" rule as contained in Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended. It provides that "every action must be prosecuted or
defended in the name of the real party in interest." Accordingly, the "realparty-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." Succinctly
put, the plaintiffs standing is based on his own right to the relief sought.
The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits.
Here, the plaintiff who asserts a "public right" in assailing an allegedly illegal
official action, does so as a representative of the general public. He may be a
person who is affected no differently from any other person. He could be
suing as a "stranger," or in the category of a "citizen," or taxpayer." In either
case, he has to adequately show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection.
In other words, he has to make out a sufficient interest in the vindication of
the public order and the securing of relief as a "citizen" or "taxpayer."
....
This Court adopted the "direct injury" test in our jurisdiction. In People v.
Vera, it held that the person who impugns 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." The Vera doctrine was upheld in a litany
of cases, such as, Custodio v. President of the Senate, Manila Race Horse
Trainers Association v. De la Fuente, Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works
and Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines v. Felix.38
Petitioner has not shown that he has sustained or will sustain a direct injury if
the proposed bill is passed into law. While his concern for judicial
independence is laudable, it does not, by itself, clothe him with the requisite
standing to question the constitutionality of a proposed bill that may only
affect the judiciary.
This court, however, has occasionally relaxed the rules on standing when the
issues involved are of "transcendental importance" to the public. Specifically,
this court has stated that:
the rule on standing is a matter of procedure, hence, can be relaxed for
nontraditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and legislators
when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter is of
transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of
paramount public interest.39
27

Transcendental importance is not defined in our jurisprudence, thus, in


Francisco v. House of Representatives:40
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.41
A mere invocation of transcendental importance in the pleading is not enough
for this court to set aside procedural rules:
Whether an issue is of transcendental importance is a matter determined by
this court on a case-to-case basis. An allegation of transcendental importance
must be supported by the proper allegations.42
None of the determinants in Francisco are present in this case. The events
feared by petitioner are merely speculative and conjectural.
In addition to the determinants in Francisco, it must also be shown that there
is a clear or imminent threat to fundamental rights. In an opinion in Imbong
v. Ochoa:43
The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 should
not be declared unconstitutional in whole or in any of its parts given the
petitions filed in this case.
None of the petitions properly present an "actual case or controversy," which
deserves the exercise of our awesome power of judicial review. It is our duty
not torule on the abstract and speculative issues barren of actual facts. These
consolidated petitions, which contain bare allegations, do not provide the
proper venue to decide on fundamental issues. The law in question is needed
social legislation.
That we rule on these special civil actions for certiorari and prohibition
which amounts to a pre-enforcement free-wheeling facial review of the
statute and the implementing rules and regulations is very bad precedent.
The issues are far from justiciable. Petitioners claim in their class suits that
they entirely represent a whole religion, the Filipino nation and, worse, all
the unborn. The intervenors also claim the same representation: Filipinos and
Catholics. Many of the petitions also sue the President of the Republic.
We should apply our rules rigorously and dismiss these cases. The
transcendental importance of the issues they want us to decide will be better
served when we wait for the proper cases with the proper parties suffering
real, actual or more imminent injury. There is no showing of an injury so

great and so imminent that we cannot wait for these cases.44 (Emphasis
supplied)
The events feared by petitioner are contingent on the passing of the proposed
bill in Congress. The threat of imminent injury is not yet manifest since there
is no guarantee that the bill will even be passed into law. There is no
transcendental interest in this case to justify the relaxation of technical rules.
II
Requisites for the issuance of a writ of mandamus not shown Rule 65,
Section 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:
Rule 65
CERTIORARI, PROHIBITION AND MANDAMUS
SEC. 3. Petition for mandamus. When any tribunal, corporation, board,
officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the
law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or
unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office
to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby
may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the respondent,
immediately or at some other time to be specified by the court, to do the act
required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the
damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the
respondent.
The petition shall also contain a sworn certification of non-forum shopping
as provided in the third paragraph of section 3, Rule 46.
The writ of mandamus will issue when the act sought to be performed is
ministerial.45 An act is ministerial when it does not require the exercise of
judgment and the act is performed in compliance with a legal mandate.46 In
a petition for mandamus, the burden of proof is on petitioner to show that one
is entitled to the performance of a legal right and that respondent has a
corresponding duty to perform the act.47 Mandamus will not lie "to compel
an official to do anything which is not his duty to do or which it is his duty
not to do, or to give to the applicant anything to which he is not entitled by
law."48
In this case, petitioner has not shown how he is entitled to the relief prayed
for. Hence, this court cannot be compelled to exercise its power of judicial
review since there is no actual case or controversy.
Final note
The judiciary is the weakest branch of government. It is true that courts have
power to declare what law is given a set of facts, but it does not have an army
28

to enforce its writs. Courts do not have the power of the purse. "Except for a
constitutional provision that requires that the budget of the judiciary should
not go below the appropriation for the previous year, it is beholden to the
Congress depending on how low the budget is."49
Despite being the third co-equal branch of the government, the judiciary
enjoys less than 1%50 of the total budget for the national government.
Specifically, it was a mere 0.82% in 2014,51 0.85% in 2013,52 0.83% in
2012,53 and 0.83% in 2011.54
Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses or MOOE "pays for sundry
matters such as utility payments, paper, gasoline and others."55 The MOOE
granted to the lower courts in 2014 was P1,220,905,000.00.56 While this
might seem like a large amount, the amount significantly dwindles when
divided among all lower courts in the country. Per the 2014 General
Appropriations Act (GAA), the approximate monthly MOOE for all courts
are estimated as follows:
Type of Court
Number of
Estimated Monthly
Courts57
MOOE Per Court
Regional Trial Courts

969

P46,408.67

Metropolitan Trial Courts

106

P46,071.89

Municipal Trial Courts in Cities

229

P46,206.01

Municipal Circuit Trial Courts

468

P46,305.69

Municipal Trial Courts

366

P46,423.30

Sharia District Courts

P40,696.83

Sharia Circuit Courts


51
P45,883.68
These amounts were arrived at using the following computation:
Number of Courts
x
MOOE
Total Number of Courts
/ 12
Number of Courts
In comparison, the 2014 MOOE allocation for the House of Representatives
was P3,386,439,000.0058 or about 282.2 million per month for the
maintenance and operation of the House of Representatives compound in
Batasan Hills. Even if this amount was divided equally among the 234

legislative districts, a representatives office space would still have a monthly


MOOE allocation of approximately P1.2 million, which is significantly
higher than the average P46,000.00 allocated monthly to each trial court.
It was only in 2013 that the budget allocated to the judiciary included an item
for the construction, rehabilitation, and repair of the halls of justice in the
capital outlay. The amount allocated was P1 million.59
In 2014, there was no item for the construction, rehabilitation, and repair of
the halls of justice.60 This allocation would have been used to help fund the
repair of existing halls of justice and the construction of new halls of justice
in the entire country, including those courts destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda
and the 2013 earthquake.
The entire budget for the judiciary, however, does not only come from the
national government. The Constitution grants fiscal autonomy to the
judiciary to maintain its independence.61 In Bengzon v. Drilon:62
The Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman must
have the independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of their
constitutional duties. The imposition of restrictions and constraints on the
manner the independent constitutional offices allocate and utilize the funds
appropriated for their operations is anathema to fiscal autonomy and
violative not only of the express mandate of the Constitution but especially
as regards the Supreme Court, of the independence and separation of powers
upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional system is based.63
Courts, therefore, must also be accountable with their own budget. The
Judiciary Development Fund, used to augment the expenses of the judiciary,
is regularly accounted for by this court on a quarterly basis. The financial
reports are readily available at the Supreme Court website.64 These funds,
however, are still not enough to meet the expenses of lower courts and
guarantee credible compensation for their personnel. The reality is that halls
of justice exist because we rely on the generosity of local government units
that provide additional subsidy to our judges.65 If not, the budget for the
construction, repair, and rehabilitation of halls of justice is with the
Department of Justice.66
As a result, our fiscal autonomy and judicial independence are often
undermined by low levels of budgetary outlay, the lack of provision for
maintenance and operating expenses, and the reliance on local government
units and the Department of Justice.
"Courts are not constitutionally built to do political lobbying. By
constitutional design, it is a co-equal department to the Congress and the
Executive. By temperament, our arguments are legal, not political. We are
best when we lay down all our premises in the finding of facts, interpretation
29

of the law and understanding of precedents. We are not trained .to produce a
political statement or a media release."67
"Because of the nature of courts, that is - that it has to decide in favor of one
party, we may not have a political base. Certainly, we should not even
consider building a political base. All we have is an abiding faith that we
should do what we could to ensure that the Rule of Law prevails. It seems
that we have no champions when it comes to ensuring the material basis for
fiscal autonomy or judicial independence."68
For this reason, we appreciate petitioner's concern for the judiciary. It is often
only through the vigilance of private citizens that issues relating to the
judiciary can be discussed in the political sphere. Unfortunately, the remedy
he seeks cannot be granted by this court. But his crusade is not a lost cause.
Considering that what he seeks to be struck down is a proposed bill, it would
be better for him to air his concerns by lobbying in Congress. There, he may
discover the representatives and senators who may have a similar
enthusiastic response to truly making the needed investments in the Rule of
Law.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
KILOSBAYAN V. GUINGONA, JR.
G.R. No. 113375 May 5, 1994
FACTS:
This is a special civil action for prohibition and injunction, with a prayer for
a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, which seeks to
prohibit and restrain the implementation of the "Contract of Lease" executed
by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Philippine
Gaming Management Corporation (PGMC) in connection with the on- line
lottery system, also known as "lotto."
Pursuant to Section 1 of the charter of the PCSO (R.A. No. 1169, as amended
by B.P. Blg. 42) which grants it the authority to hold and conduct "charity
sweepstakes races, lotteries and other similar activities," the PCSO decided
to establish an on- line lottery system for the purpose of increasing its
revenue base and diversifying its sources of funds. Sometime before March
1993, after learning that the PCSO was interested in operating an on-line
lottery system, the Berjaya Group Berhad, "a multinational company and one
of the ten largest public companies in Malaysia,"became interested to offer
its services and resources to PCSO." As an initial step, Berjaya Group Berhad
(through its individual nominees) organized with some Filipino investors in
March 1993 a Philippine corporation known as the Philippine Gaming
Management Corporation (PGMC), which "was intended to be the medium

through which the technical and management services required for the
project would be offered and delivered to PCSO.
The bid of PGMC was later on approved which resulted to the petitioners
objection.
Petitioners Contention:
1 That the PCSO cannot validly enter into the assailed Contract of
Lease with the PGMC because it is an arrangement wherein the
PCSO would hold and conduct the on-line lottery system in
"collaboration" or "association" with the PGMC, in violation of
Section 1(B) of R.A. No. 1169, as amended by B.P. Blg. 42, which
prohibits the PCSO from holding and conducting charity
sweepstakes races, lotteries, and other similar activities "in
collaboration, association or joint venture with any person,
association, company or entity, foreign or domestic." Even granting
arguendo that a lease of facilities is not within the contemplation of
"collaboration" or "association," an analysis, however, of the
Contract of Lease clearly shows that there is a "collaboration,
association, or joint venture between respondents PCSO and PGMC
in the holding of the On-Line Lottery System," and that there are
terms and conditions of the Contract "showing that respondent
PGMC is the actual lotto operator and not respondent PCSO."
2 That paragraph 10 of the Contract of Lease requires or authorizes
PGMC to establish a telecommunications network that will connect
all the municipalities and cities in the territory. However, PGMC
cannot do that because it has no franchise from Congress to
construct, install, establish, or operate the network pursuant to
Section 1 of Act No. 3846, as amended. Moreover, PGMC is a 75%
foreign-owned or controlled corporation and cannot, therefore, be
granted a franchise for that purpose because of Section 11, Article
XII of the 1987 Constitution.
Respondents Contention:
1 It is merely an independent contractor for a piece of work, (i.e., the
building and maintenance of a lottery system to be used by PCSO in
the operation of its lottery franchise); and (2) as such independent
contractor, PGMC is not a co-operator of the lottery franchise with
PCSO, nor is PCSO sharing its franchise, 'in collaboration,
association or joint venture' with PGMC as such statutory
limitation is viewed from the context, intent, and spirit of Republic
Act 1169, as amended by Batas Pambansa 42." It further claims that
as an independent contractor for a piece of work, it is neither
30

engaged in "gambling" nor in "public service" relative to the


telecommunications network, which the petitioners even consider as
an "indispensable requirement" of an on-line lottery system.
2 That the execution and implementation of the contract does not
violate the Constitution and the laws; that the issue on the "morality"
of the lottery franchise granted to the PCSO is political and not
judicial or legal, which should be ventilated in another forum; and
that the "petitioners do not appear to have the legal standing or real
interest in the subject contract and in obtaining the reliefs sought."
ISSUES:
1.) Procedural Whether the petitioners have the locus standi to file the
petition.
2.) Substantial WON the challenged Contract of Lease violate or
contravene the exception in Section 1 of R.A. No. 1169, as amended by B.P.
Blg. 42, which prohibits the PCSO from holding and conducting lotteries "in
collaboration, association or joint venture with" another.
RULING:
1 YES. A party's standing before this Court is a procedural technicality
which it may, in the exercise of its discretion, set aside in view of the
importance of the issues raised. In the landmark Emergency Powers
Cases, this Court brushed aside this technicality because "the
transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that
they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must,
technicalities of procedure. (Avelino vs. Cuenco, G.R. No. L-2821)."
Insofar as taxpayers' suits are concerned, this Court had declared that
it "is not devoid of discretion as to whether or not it should be
entertained," or that it "enjoys an open discretion to entertain the
same or not."
In line with the liberal policy of this Court on locus standi, ordinary
taxpayers, members of Congress, and even association of planters, and nonprofit civic organizations were allowed to initiate and prosecute actions
before this Court to question the constitutionality or validity of laws, acts,
decisions, rulings, or orders of various government agencies or
instrumentalities
We find the instant petition to be of transcendental importance to the public.
The issues it raised are of paramount public interest and of a category even
higher than those involved in many of the aforecited cases. The ramifications
of such issues immeasurably affect the social, economic, and moral wellbeing of the people even in the remotest barangays of the country and the

counter-productive and retrogressive effects of the envisioned on-line lottery


system are as staggering as the billions in pesos it is expected to raise. The
legal standing then of the petitioners deserves recognition and, in the exercise
of its sound discretion, this Court hereby brushes aside the procedural barrier
which the respondents tried to take advantage of.
Section 1 of R.A. No. 1169, as amending by B.P. Blg. 42, prohibits the PCSO
from holding and conducting lotteries "in collaboration, association or joint
venture with any person, association, company or entity, whether domestic or
foreign."
The language of the section is indisputably clear that with respect to its
franchise or privilege "to hold and conduct charity sweepstakes races,
lotteries and other similar activities," the PCSO cannot exercise it "in
collaboration, association or joint venture" with any other party. This is the
unequivocal meaning and import of the phrase "except for the activities
mentioned in the preceding paragraph (A)," namely, "charity sweepstakes
races, lotteries and other similar activities."
2 YES. notwithstanding its denomination or designation as a (Contract
of Lease). We are neither convinced nor moved or fazed by the
insistence and forceful arguments of the PGMC that it does not
because in reality it is only an independent contractor for a piece of
work, i.e., the building and maintenance of a lottery system to be
used by the PCSO in the operation of its lottery franchise. Whether
the contract in question is one of lease or whether the PGMC is
merely an independent contractor should not be decided on the basis
of the title or designation of the contract but by the intent of the
parties, which may be gathered from the provisions of the contract
itself. Animus hominis est anima scripti. The intention of the party is
the soul of the instrument. In order to give life or effect to an
instrument, it is essential to look to the intention of the individual
who executed it. And, pursuant to Article 1371 of the Civil Code,
"to determine the intention of the contracting parties, their
contemporaneous and subsequent acts shall be principally
considered." To put it more bluntly, no one should be deceived by the
title or designation of a contract.
A careful analysis and evaluation of the provisions of the contract and a
consideration of the contemporaneous acts of the PCSO and PGMC
indubitably disclose that the contract is not in reality a contract of lease under
which the PGMC is merely an independent contractor for a piece of work,
but one where the statutorily proscribed collaboration or association, in the
least, or joint venture, at the most, exists between the contracting parties.
31

Collaboration is defined as the acts of working together in a joint project.


Association means the act of a number of persons in uniting together for
some special purpose or business. Joint venture is defined as an association
of persons or companies jointly undertaking some commercial enterprise;
generally all contribute assets and share risks. It requires a community of
G.R. 160261November 10, 2003Francisco, Jr.VNagmamalasakit na mga
Manananggol ng mga Mangagawang Pilipino, Inc.Facts:

On 28 November 2001, The 12


th
congress adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment
Proceedings superceding the rules that wereapproved by the 11
th
congress.

On 22 July 2002, The House of representatives adopted a resolution


whichdirected the Committee on Justice to conduct an investigation in aid
of legislation with regard to the manner of disbursement and expenditures
byChief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund.

On 2 June 2003, Former President Estrada filed the first


impeachmentcomplaint against Chief Justice Hilario Davide and seven
associate justices of the Supreme Court for culpable violation of the
Constitution and betrayal of public trust and other high crimes.

The complaint was endorsed by the House of Representatives.

On 5 August 2003, the complaint was referred to the House Committee


on Justice in accordance with Section 3(2) or Article XI of the

On 13 October 2003, the Committee on Justice ruled that the complaint


wassufficient in form. However

On 22 October 2003, the Committee voted to dismiss for being insufficient


insubstance

On 23 October 2003, a second impeachment complaint was filed with


theSecretary General of the House by the House of Representatives
againstChief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.

interest in the performance of the subject matter, a right to direct and govern
the policy in connection therewith, and duty, which may be altered by
agreement to share both in profit and
losses.
The 2
nd
impeachment complaint was founded on the alleged results of thelegislative
inquiry by above mentioned house resolution

The 2
nd
impeachment complaint was signed by 1/3 of all the members of theHouse of
Representatives

Various petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus were filed with
theSupreme Court against the House of Representatives, et. al., most of
whichpetitions contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint
isunconstitutional as it violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI of
theConstitution that "No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against
thesame official more than once within a period of one year."
Issue:

Whether or not the Supreme Court has the power to exercise judicial
reviewto determine if the second impeachment filed against Chief Justice
Davide isvalid.

On the petitions filed against the second impeachment complaint


againstChief Justice Davide, will it have any merit?
Held:

To determine the merits of the case, The courts must turn to the
constitutionsitself which uses well settled principle of constitutional
construction which isVerba Legis or Letter of the law, the words used in the
constitutions mustbe given their ordinary meaning , Legis est anima or the
reason of the law, the words of the constitution should be interpreted in
accordance with theintent of the framers and last, the constitution should be
read as a whole andone section should not be allowed to defeat another.

32

The Supreme Court may exercise their power of Judicial Review for
theymaintain the idea of Checks and Balances in the Republic
ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner,NAGMAMALASAKIT NA
MGA MANANANGGOL NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO, INC.,
ITSOFFICERS 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, THESENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATE
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, REPRESENTATIVEGILBERTO C.
TEODORO, JR. AND REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B.
FUENTEBELLA,respondents.
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-Intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
Facts:
Impeachment proceedings were filed against Supreme Court Chief Justice
Hilario Davide.The justiciable controversy poised in front of the Court was
the constitutionality of the
subsequent filing of a second complaint to controvert the rules of
impeachment provided for bylaw.
Issue:
Whether or Not the filing of the second impeachment complaint against
Chief JusticeHilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives falls
within the one year bar provided inthe Constitution and whether the
resolution thereof is a political question

has resulted in apolitical crisis.


Held:
In any event, it is with the absolute certainty that our Constitution is
sufficient to addressall the issues which this controversy spawns that this
Court unequivocally pronounces, at the firstinstance, that the feared resort to

extra-constitutional methods of resolving it is neither necessarynor legally


permissible. Both its resolution and protection of the public interest lie in
adherenceto, not departure from, the Constitution.
In passing over the complex issues arising from the controversy, this Court is
ever mindful of theessential truth that the inviolate doctrine of separation of
powers among the legislative, executiveor judicial branches of government
by no means prescribes for absolute autonomy in the dischargeby 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
carefullycalibrated by the Constitution to temper the official acts of each of
these three branches must begiven effect without destroying their
indispensable co-equality. There exists no constitutionalbasis for the
contention that the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings
wouldupset the system of checks and balances. Verily, the Constitution is to
be interpreted as a wholeand "one section is not to be allowed to defeat
another." Both are integral components of thecalibrated system of
independence and interdependence that insures that no branch of government
act beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution.When suing as a
citizen, the interest of the petitioner assailing the constitutionality of a
statutemust be direct and personal. He must be able to show, not only that the
law or any governmentact is invalid, but also that he sustained or is in
imminent danger of sustaining some direct injuryas a result of its
enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way.
Itmust appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be denied
some right or privilegeto which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to
be subjected to some burdens or penaltiesby reason of the statute or act
complained of. In fine, when the proceeding involves the assertionof a public
right, 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 areillegally disbursed, or that public money is being deflected to
any improper purpose, or that thereis a wastage of public funds through the
enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. Beforehe can invoke the
power of judicial review, however, he must specifically prove that he
hassufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by
taxation and that hewould 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.
33

At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a


taxpayer's suit should be
entertained. This Court opts to grant standing to most of the petitioners,
given their allegationthat any impending transmittal to the Senate of the
Articles of Impeachment and the ensuing trialof 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 heclaims
infringes his prerogatives as a legislator. Indeed, a member of the House of
Representativeshas standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers
and privileges vested by theConstitution in his office.
The framers of the Constitution also understood initiation in its ordinary
meaning. Thus when aproposal reached the floor proposing that "A vote of at
least one-third of all the Members of the
House shall be necessary to initiate impeachment proceedings," this was
met by a proposal to
delete the line on the ground that the vote of the House does not initiate
impeachmentproceeding but rather the filing of a complaint does.
To the argument that only the House of Representatives as a body can initiate
impeachmentproceedings because Section 3 (1) says "The House of
Representatives shall have the exclusivepower to initiate all cases of
impeachment," This is a misreading of said provision and is contraryto the
principle of reddendo singula singulis by equating "impeachment cases" with
"impeachmentproceeding."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 onethird of the members of the House of Representatives with the Secretary
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
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

General of the House,the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes


clear. Once an impeachment complaint hasbeen initiated, another
impeachment complaint may not be filed against the same official withina
one year period.The Court in the present petitions subjected to judicial
scrutiny and resolved on the merits onlythe main issue of whether the
impeachment proceedings initiated against the Chief Justicetransgressed the
constitutionally imposed one-year time bar rule. Beyond this, it did not go
aboutassuming 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 judicialdominance over the other two
great branches of the government.No one is above the law or the
Constitution. This is a basic precept in any legal system whichrecognizes
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 othergovernment branch or instrumentality that is most
zealous in protecting that principle of legalequality other than the Supreme
Court which has discerned its real meaning and ramificationsthrough 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 thisCourt. But just because he is the Chief Justice does
not imply that he gets to have less in law thananybody else. The law is
solicitous of every individual's rights irrespective of his station in life.
Thus, the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings which were
approved by the House of
Representatives on November 28, 2001 are unconstitutional. Consequently,
the secondimpeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr
is barred under paragraph 5,section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.
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 RAZONABAD, petitioners,
ATTYS. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL AND PETE QUIRINO QUADRA, petitioners-inintervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC.,

34

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 TALIOSANTOS, 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

35

EDILBERTO GALLOR, petitioners,


WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC.,
petitioner-in-intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY HON. SPEAKER JOSE
C. DE VENECIA, JR., THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY HON. SENATE
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, HON. FELIX FUENTEBELLA, ET AL.,
respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160318 November 10, 2003
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, INC., CRISPIN T. REYES, petitioners,
vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, ALL MEMBERS, HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, AND
ALL MEMBERS, PHILIPPINE SENATE, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160342 November 10, 2003
ATTY. FERNANDO P.R. PERITO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS A MEMBER OF THE
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, MANILA III, AND ENGR. MAXIMO N.
MENEZ JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS A TAXPAYER AND MEMBER OF THE
ENGINEERING PROFESSION, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES REPRESENTED BY THE 83 HONORABLE
MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE LED BY HON. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM
FUENTEBELLA, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160343 November 10, 2003
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING
SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX
WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES THROUGH
ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160360 November 10, 2003
CLARO B. FLORES, petitioner,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE SPEAKER, AND THE
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH THE SENATE PRESIDENT,
respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160365 November 10, 2003
U.P. LAW ALUMNI CEBU FOUNDATION, INC., GOERING G.C. PADERANGA,
DANILO V. ORTIZ, GLORIA C. ESTENZO-RAMOS, LIZA D. CORRO, LUIS V.
DIORES, SR., BENJAMIN S. RALLON, ROLANDO P. NONATO, DANTE T. RAMOS,
ELSA R. DIVINAGRACIA, KAREN B. CAPARROS-ARQUILLANO, SYLVA G.
AGUIRRE-PADERANGA, FOR THEMSELVES AND IN BEHALF OF OTHER
CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners,

vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON,
HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES FELIX FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERTO TEODORO,
BY THEMSELVES AND AS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GROUP OF MORE THAN
80 HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES WHO SIGNED AND FILED THE IMPEACHMENT
COMPLAINT AGAINST SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G.
DAVIDE, JR. respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160370 November 10, 2003
FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE HONORABLE SPEAKER
OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160376 November 10, 2003
NILO A. MALANYAON, petitioner,
vs.
HON. FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERT TEODORO, IN
REPRESENTATION OF THE 86 SIGNATORIES OF THE ARTICLES OF
IMPEACHMENT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. AND THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES,
REPRESENTED BY ITS SPEAKER, HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160392 November 10, 2003
VENICIO S. FLORES AND HECTOR L. 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

36

THE COLLEG EOF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF CEBU, YOUNG LAWYERS


ASSOCAITION OF CEBU, INC. [YLAC], REPRSEENTED BY ATTY. MANUEL
LEGASPI, CONFEDERATION OF ACCREDITED MEDIATORS OF THE
PHILIPPINES, INC. [CAMP, INC], REPRESENTED BY RODERIC R. POCA,
MANDAUE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, [MANLAW], REPRESENTED BY FELIPE
VELASQUEZ, FEDERACION INTERNACIONAL DE ABOGADAS [FIDA],
REPRESENTED BY THELMA L. JORDAN, CARLOS G. CO, PRESIENT OF CEBU
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY AND CEBU LADY LAWYERS
ASSOCIATION, INC. [CELLA, INC.], MARIBELLE NAVARRO AND BERNARDITO
FLORIDO, PAST PRESIDENT CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, CEBU CHAPTER, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, REPRESENTED BY REP. JOSE G. DE
VENECIA, AS HOUSE SPEAKER AND THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY
SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON, AS SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents.
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
There can be no constitutional crisis arising from a conflict, no matter how passionate and
seemingly irreconcilable it may appear to be, over the determination by the independent
branches of government of the nature, scope and extent of their respective constitutional
powers where the Constitution itself provides for the means and bases for its resolution.
Our nation's history is replete with vivid illustrations of the often frictional, at times turbulent,
dynamics of the relationship among these co-equal branches. This Court is confronted with
one such today involving the legislature and the judiciary which has drawn legal luminaries to
chart antipodal courses and not a few of our countrymen to vent cacophonous sentiments
thereon.
There may indeed be some legitimacy to the characterization that the present controversy
subject of the instant petitions whether the filing of the second impeachment complaint
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives falls within the
one year bar provided in the Constitution, and whether the resolution thereof is a political
question has resulted in a political crisis. Perhaps even more truth to the view that it was
brought upon by a political crisis of conscience.
In any event, it is with the absolute certainty that our Constitution is sufficient to address all
the issues which this controversy spawns that this Court unequivocally pronounces, at the first
instance, that the feared resort to extra-constitutional methods of resolving it is neither
necessary nor legally permissible. Both its resolution and protection of the public interest lie in
adherence to, not departure from, the Constitution.
In passing over the complex issues arising from the controversy, this Court is ever mindful of
the essential truth that the inviolate doctrine of separation of powers among the legislative,
executive or judicial branches of government by no means prescribes for absolute autonomy in
the discharge by each of that part of the governmental power assigned to it by the sovereign
people.
At the same time, the corollary doctrine of checks and balances which has been carefully
calibrated by the Constitution to temper the official acts of each of these three branches must
be given effect without destroying their indispensable co-equality.
Taken together, these two fundamental doctrines of republican government, intended as they
are to insure that governmental power is wielded only for the good of the people, mandate a
relationship of interdependence and coordination among these branches where the delicate
functions of enacting, interpreting and enforcing laws are harmonized to achieve a unity of

governance, guided only by what is in the greater interest and well-being of the people. Verily,
salus populi est suprema lex.
Article XI of our present 1987 Constitution provides:
ARTICLE XI
Accountability of Public Officers
SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be
accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.
SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the
Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from
office, on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason,
bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public
officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by
impeachment.
SECTION 3. (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all
cases of impeachment.
(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of
Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof,
which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the
proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a
majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days
from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be
calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.
(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to
affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override
its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.
(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of
all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial
by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once
within a period of one year.
(6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. When
sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the
Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not vote.
No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members of the
Senate.
(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and
disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party
convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment
according to law.
(8) The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the
purpose of this section. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Following the above-quoted Section 8 of Article XI of the Constitution, the 12th Congress of
the House of Representatives adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment
Proceedings (House Impeachment Rules) on November 28, 2001, superseding the previous
House Impeachment Rules1 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

37

and other high crimes."6 The complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico,
RULE V
Ronaldo B. Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen,7 and was referred to the House Committee
BAR AGAINST INITIATION OF
on Justice on August 5, 20038 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution
IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS
which reads:
AGAINST THE SAME OFFICIAL
Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House
Section 16. Impeachment Proceedings
of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof,
Deemed Initiated. In cases where a
which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the
Member of the House files a verified
proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a
complaint of impeachment or a citizen files a
majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days
verified complaint that is endorsed by a
from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be
Member of the House through a resolution of
calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.
endorsement against an impeachable officer,
The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003 that the first impeachment
impeachment proceedings against such
complaint was "sufficient in form,"9 but voted to dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for
official are deemed initiated on the day the
being insufficient in substance.10 To date, the Committee Report to this effect has not yet been
Committee on Justice finds that the verified
sent to the House in plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the
complaint and/or resolution against such
Constitution.
official, as the case may be, is sufficient in
Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on
substance, or on the date the House votes to
October 23, 2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second
overturn or affirm the finding of the said
impeachment complaint11 was filed with the Secretary General of the House 12 by
Committee that the verified complaint and/or
Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. (First District, Tarlac) and Felix William B.
resolution, as the case may be, is not
Fuentebella (Third District, Camarines Sur) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,
sufficient in substance.
founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House
In cases where a verified complaint or a
Resolution. This second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of
resolution of impeachment is filed or
Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the House
endorsed, as the case may be, by at least oneof Representatives.13
third (1/3) of the Members of the House,
Thus arose the instant petitions against the House of Representatives, et. al., most of which
impeachment proceedings are deemed
petitions contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it
initiated at the time of the filing of such
violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment
verified complaint or resolution of
proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one
impeachment with the Secretary General.
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
RULE V
Section 17. Bar Against Initiation Of
unconstitutional impeachment, that the issues raised in his petition for Certiorari, Prohibition
BAR AGAINST IMPEACHMENT
Impeachment Proceedings. Within a
and Mandamus are of transcendental importance, and that he "himself was a victim of the
Section 14. Scope of Bar. No impeachment
period of one (1) year from the date
capricious and arbitrary changes in the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings
proceedings shall be initiated against the same
impeachment proceedings are deemed
introduced by the 12th Congress,"14 posits that his right to bring an impeachment complaint
official more than once within the period of
initiated as provided in Section 16 hereof, no
against then Ombudsman Aniano Desierto had been violated due to the capricious and
one (1) year.
impeachment proceedings, as such, can be
arbitrary changes in the House Impeachment Rules adopted and approved on November 28,
initiated against the same official. (Italics in
2001 by the House of Representatives and prays that (1) Rule V, Sections 16 and 17 and Rule
the original; emphasis and underscoring
III, Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 thereof be declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue a writ of
supplied)
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
On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution, 2 sponsored by
and/or strike it off the records of the House of Representatives, and to promulgate rules which
Representative Felix William D. Fuentebella, which directed the Committee on Justice "to
are consistent with the Constitution; and (3) this Court permanently enjoin respondent House
conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and
of Representatives from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.
expenditures by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund
In G.R. No. 160262, petitioners Sedfrey M. Candelaria, et. al., as citizens and taxpayers,
(JDF)."3
alleging that the issues of the case are of transcendental importance, pray, in their petition for
On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint 4 (first
Certiorari/Prohibition, the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondent House of
impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate
Representatives from filing any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice with the
Justices5 of this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust
RULE II
INITIATING IMPEACHMENT
Section 2. Mode of Initiating Impeachment.
Impeachment shall be initiated only by a
verified complaint for impeachment filed by
any Member of the House of Representatives
or by any citizen upon a resolution of
endorsement by any Member thereof or by a
verified complaint or resolution of
impeachment filed by at least one-third (1/3) of
all the Members of the House.

38

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 co-petitioner Crispin T. Reyes, a citizen, taxpayer and a member of the
Philippine Bar, both allege in their petition, which does not state what its nature is, that the
filing of the second impeachment complaint involves paramount public interest and pray that
Sections 16 and 17 of the House Impeachment Rules and the second impeachment
complaint/Articles of Impeachment be declared null and void.
In G.R. No. 160342, petitioner Atty. Fernando P. R. Perito, as a citizen and a member of the
Philippine Bar Association and of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and petitioner Engr.
Maximo N. Menez, Jr., as a taxpayer, pray in their petition for the issuance of a Temporary
Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction to enjoin the House of Representatives from
proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.
In G.R. No. 160343, petitioner Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that it is mandated
by the Code of Professional Responsibility to uphold the Constitution, prays in its petition for
Certiorari and Prohibition that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Rule
III of the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional and that the House of

Representatives be permanently enjoined from proceeding with the second impeachment


complaint.
In G.R. No. 160360, petitioner-taxpayer Atty. Claro Flores prays in his petition for Certiorari
and Prohibition that the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional.
In G.R. No. 160365, petitioners U.P. Law Alumni Cebu Foundation Inc., et. al., in their
petition for Prohibition and Injunction which they claim is a class suit filed in behalf of all
citizens, citing Oposa v. 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.

39

Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262 and 160263, the first three of the
eighteen which were filed before this Court,18 prayed for the issuance of a Temporary
Restraining Order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the House of Representatives from
transmitting the Articles of Impeachment arising from the second impeachment complaint to
the Senate. Petition bearing docket number G.R. No. 160261 likewise prayed for the
declaration of the November 28, 2001 House Impeachment Rules as null and void for being
unconstitutional.
Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160277, 160292 and 160295, which were filed on
October 28, 2003, sought similar relief. In addition, petition bearing docket number G.R. No.
160292 alleged that House Resolution No. 260 (calling for a legislative inquiry into the
administration by the Chief Justice of the JDF) infringes on the constitutional doctrine of
separation of powers and is a direct violation of the constitutional principle of fiscal autonomy
of the judiciary.
On October 28, 2003, during the plenary session of the House of Representatives, a motion
was put forth that the second impeachment complaint be formally transmitted to the Senate,
but it was not carried because the House of Representatives adjourned for lack of quorum, 19
and as reflected above, to date, the Articles of Impeachment have yet to be forwarded to the
Senate.
Before acting on the petitions with prayers for temporary restraining order and/or writ of
preliminary injunction which were filed on or before October 28, 2003, Justices Puno and
Vitug offered to recuse themselves, but the Court rejected their offer. Justice Panganiban
inhibited himself, but the Court directed him to participate.
Without necessarily giving the petitions due course, this Court in its Resolution of October 28,
2003, resolved to (a) consolidate the petitions; (b) require respondent House of
Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Solicitor General, to comment on the petitions
not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; (c) set the petitions for oral arguments on
November 5, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.; and (d) appointed distinguished legal experts as amici
curiae.20 In addition, this Court called on petitioners and respondents to maintain the status
quo, enjoining all the parties and others acting for and in their behalf to refrain from
committing acts that would render the petitions moot.
Also on October 28, 2003, when respondent House of Representatives through Speaker Jose
C. De Venecia, Jr. and/or its co-respondents, by way of special appearance, submitted a
Manifestation asserting that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear, much less prohibit or enjoin
the House of Representatives, which is an independent and co-equal branch of government
under the Constitution, from the performance of its constitutionally mandated duty to initiate
impeachment cases. On even date, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, filed a
Motion to Intervene (Ex Abudante Cautela)21 and Comment, praying that "the consolidated
petitions be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction of the Court over the issues affecting the
impeachment proceedings and that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate as
the impeachment court to try and decide impeachment cases, including the one where the
Chief Justice is the respondent, be recognized and upheld pursuant to the provisions of Article
XI of the Constitution."22
Acting on the other petitions which were subsequently filed, this Court resolved to (a)
consolidate them with the earlier consolidated petitions; (b) require respondents to file their
comment not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; and (c) include them for oral
arguments on November 5, 2003.
On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the Philippines, through Senate President Franklin M.
Drilon, filed a Manifestation stating that insofar as it is concerned, the petitions are plainly
premature and have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the time of the filing of the

petitions, no justiciable issue was presented before it since (1) its constitutional duty to
constitute itself as an impeachment court commences only upon its receipt of the Articles of
Impeachment, which it had not, and (2) the principal issues raised by the petitions pertain
exclusively to the proceedings in the House of Representatives.
On October 30, 2003, Atty. Jaime Soriano filed a "Petition for Leave to Intervene" in G.R.
Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, and 160295, questioning the status quo
Resolution issued by this Court on October 28, 2003 on the ground that it would unnecessarily
put Congress and this Court in a "constitutional deadlock" and praying for the dismissal of all
the petitions as the matter in question is not yet ripe for judicial determination.
On November 3, 2003, Attorneys Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra filed in G.R.
No. 160262 a "Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and to Admit the Herein Incorporated
Petition in Intervention."
On November 4, 2003, Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang
Pilipino, Inc. filed a Motion for Intervention in G.R. No. 160261. On November 5, 2003,
World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. also filed a "Petition-inIntervention 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.

40

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)

41

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 socalled "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

42

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 welldefined 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

43

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 memberelect 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

44

or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens


or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of. 77 In fine, when the proceeding
involves the assertion of a public right,78 the mere fact that he is a citizen satisfies the
requirement of personal interest.
In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are
illegally disbursed, or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that
there is a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional
law.79 Before he can invoke the power of judicial review, however, he must specifically prove
that he has sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation
and that he would sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned
statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to all
members of the public.80
At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be
entertained.81 This Court opts to grant standing to most of the petitioners, given their allegation
that any impending transmittal to the Senate of the Articles of Impeachment and the ensuing
trial of the Chief Justice will necessarily involve the expenditure of public funds.
As for a legislator, he is allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which he
claims infringes his prerogatives as a legislator.82 Indeed, a member of the House of
Representatives has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges
vested by the Constitution in his office.83
While an association has legal personality to represent its members, 84 especially when it is
composed of substantial taxpayers and the outcome will affect their vital interests, 85 the mere
invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any member of the legal profession of
the duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, although undoubtedly true, does not
suffice to clothe it with standing. Its interest is too general. It is shared by other groups and the
whole citizenry. However, a reading of the petitions shows that it has advanced constitutional
issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and
weight as precedents.86 It, therefore, behooves this Court to relax the rules on standing and to
resolve the issues presented by it.
In the same vein, when dealing with class suits filed in behalf of all citizens, persons
intervening must be sufficiently numerous to fully protect the interests of all concerned 87 to
enable the court to deal properly with all interests involved in the suit, 88 for a judgment in a
class suit, whether favorable or unfavorable to the class, is, under the res 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 additionally allege 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

45

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 curiae former 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 Constitution97 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 Secretary 102
which raised the issue of whether the 1973 Constitution was ratified, hence, in force, this
Court shunted the political question doctrine and took cognizance thereof. Ratification by the
people of a Constitution is a political question, it being a question decided by the people in
their sovereign capacity.
The frequency with which this Court invoked the political question doctrine to refuse to take
jurisdiction over certain cases during the Marcos regime motivated Chief Justice Concepcion,
when he became a Constitutional Commissioner, to clarify this Court's power of judicial
review and its application on issues involving political questions, viz:
MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.
I will speak on the judiciary. Practically, everybody has made, I suppose, the usual comment
that the judiciary is the weakest among the three major branches of the service. Since the
legislature holds the purse and the executive the sword, the judiciary has nothing with which
to enforce its decisions or commands except the power of reason and appeal to conscience
which, after all, reflects the will of God, and is the most powerful of all other powers without
exception. x x x And so, with the body's indulgence, I will proceed to read the provisions
drafted by the Committee on the Judiciary.
The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:
The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be
established by law.
I suppose nobody can question it.
The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.
Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving
rights which are legally demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has
been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part or
instrumentality of the government.
Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during
martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the role of the
judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the circumstance that
in a number of cases against the government, which then had no legal defense at all, the
solicitor general set up the defense of political questions and got away with it. As a
consequence, certain principles concerning particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is,
the authority of courts to order the release of political detainees, and other matters
related to the operation and effect of martial law failed because the government set up
the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is political, we
have no authority to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a
proper solution of the questions involved. It did not merely request an encroachment

46

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?

47

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 nonjudicial 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 the potentiality 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.

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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:

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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 of Abbas 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:

50

Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, particularly a majority of them, is
nothing short of pro 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 quasivalidation, follows." 138
Thus, in Javellana v. Executive Secretary 139 where this Court was split and "in the end there
were not enough votes either to grant the petitions, or to sustain respondent's claims," 140 the
pre-existing constitutional order was disrupted which paved the way for the establishment of
the martial law regime.
Such an argument by respondents and intervenor also presumes that the coordinate branches of
the government would behave in a lawless manner and not do their duty under the law to
uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Yet there is no reason to believe that
any of the branches of government will behave in a precipitate manner and risk social
upheaval, violence, chaos and anarchy by encouraging disrespect for the fundamental law of
the land.
Substituting the word public officers for judges, this Court is well guided by the doctrine in
People v. Veneracion, to wit: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

51

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

52

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 curiae brief, 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 to initiate 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 singulis by 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.

53

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 nonjusticiable. 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

54

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 it must 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 one-year period.
Conclusion
If there is anything constant about this country, it is that there is always a phenomenon that
takes the center stage of our individual and collective consciousness as a people with our
characteristic flair for human drama, conflict or tragedy. Of course this is not to demean the
seriousness of the controversy over the Davide impeachment. For many of us, the past two
weeks have proven to be an exasperating, mentally and emotionally exhausting experience.
Both sides have fought bitterly a dialectical struggle to articulate what they respectively
believe to be the correct position or view on the issues involved. Passions had ran high as
demonstrators, whether for or against the impeachment of the Chief Justice, took to the streets
armed with their familiar slogans and chants to air their voice on the matter. Various sectors of
society - from the business, retired military, to the academe and denominations of faith
offered suggestions for a return to a state of normalcy in the official relations of the

55

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 noninterference was made through what are now the arguments of "lack of jurisdiction," "nonjusticiability," 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

G.R. No. 163193, June 15, 2004


SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., et.al, petitioner, VS. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.

acquire automated counting machines (ACMs), computer equipment, devices


and materials and adopt new electoral forms and printing materials.
The COMELEC initially intended to implement the said automation during
the May 11, 1998 presidential elections, particularly in counting the votes
collected from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
However, the failure of the machines to correctly read a number of
automated ballots discontinued its implementation.

FACTS :
On December 22, 1997, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 8436
authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system (AES) for
the process of voting, counting of votes and canvassing/consolidating the
results of the national and local elections. It also required the COMELEC to

Contributions for the establishment of the AES persisted that even President
56

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 172 on January 24,


2003, allocating the sum of P2,500,000,000 to exclusively fund the AES in
time for the May 10, 2004 elections. On February 10, 2003, upon the request
of the COMELEC, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive
Order No. 175 authorizing the release of a further supplemental P500 million
budget for the AES project of the COMELEC.
The Supreme Court resolved the COMELEC to maintain the old and manual
voting and counting system for the May 10, 2004 elections after contract
negations with companies Mega Pacific Consortium (the supplier of the
computerized voting/counting machines) were discontinued. Despite this
impediment, the COMELEC nevertheless continued the electronic
transmission of advanced unofficial results of the 2004 elections for national,
provincial and municipal positions, also dubbed as an "unofficial quick
count."
ARGUMENTS:
Petitioner contends that the respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse
of discretion amounting to excess of Jurisdiction in the issuance of
Resolution No. 6712. Respondent COMELEC contends that its advancement
in tabulation procedures is allowed within the statutory confines of section 52
(i) of the Omnibus Election Code that:
Prescribe(s) the use or adoption of the latest technological and electronic
devices, taking into account the situation prevailing in the area and the funds
available for the purpose. Provided, That the Commission shall notify the
authorized representatives of accredited political parties and candidates in
areas affected by the use or adoption of technological and electronic devices
not less than thirty days prior to the effectivity of the use of such devices.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Resolution No. 6712 dated April 28, 2004 issued by the
COMELEC in authorizing the use of election funds in consolidating the
election results for the May 10, 2004 elections should be declared VOID, as
it is unconstitutional.
HELD:
YES. For violating section 4 of Article VII. The said Resolution No. 6712
preempts the sole authority of the Congress to canvass the votes of the

election returns for the President and the Vice-President.


REASONS:
Art. VII, Sec. 4 of the 1987: Resolution Preempts the sole and exclusive
authority vested in the Congress to canvass the votes for the election of
President and Vice-President. It is a grave error on the part of the respondent
to have ignored the misapprehensions addressed by Senate President Franklin
M. Drilon to COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos during the 2004 saying
that such act would be in violation of the Constitution (section 4 of Article
VII):
"any quick count to be conducted by the Commission on said positions
would in effect constitute a canvass of the votes of the President and VicePresident, which not only would be pre-emptive of the authority of Congress,
but would also be lacking of any constitutional authority."
The existence of an accredited Citizens arm: Under Section 27 of Rep. Act
No. 7166, as amended by Rep. Act No. 8173, and reiterated in Section 18 of
Rep. Act No. 8436, the accredited citizens arm - in this case, NAMFREL - is
exclusively authorized to use a copy of the election returns in the conduct of
an "unofficial" counting of the votes, whether for the national or the local
elections. No other entity, including the respondent COMELEC itself, is
authorized to use a copy of the election returns for purposes of conducting an
"unofficial" count.
In addition, the second or third copy of the election returns, while required to
be delivered to the COMELEC under the said laws, are not intended for
undertaking an "unofficial" count. The said copies are archived and unsealed
only when needed by to verify election results in connection with resolving
election disputes that may be established.
Inapplicability of Section 52(i) of the Omnibus Election Code: The Court
contends that Section 52(i) of the Omnibus Election Code, which is cited by
the COMELEC as the statutory basis for the assailed resolution, does not
cover the use of the latest technological and election devices for "unofficial"
tabulations of votes. Moreover, the COMELEC failed to notify the
authorized representatives of accredited political parties and all candidates in
areas affected by the use or adoption of technological and electronic devices
not less than thirty days prior to the effectivity of the use of such devices,
after failing to submit any document proving that it had notified all political
parties of the intended adoption of Resolution No. 6712.

57

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 189028
July 16, 2013
NATIONAL ARTIST FOR LITERATURE VIRGILIO ALMARIO,
NATIONAL ARTIST FOR LITERATURE BIENVENIDO LUMBERA,
NATIONAL ARTIST FOR VISUAL ARTS (PAINTING) BENEDICTO
CABRERA, NATIONAL ARTIST FOR VISUAL ARTS (SCULPTURE)
NAPOLEON ABUEVA, NATIONAL ARTIST FOR VISUAL ARTS
(PAINTING AND SCULPTURE) ARTURO LUZ, NATIONAL ARTIST
FOR PRODUCTION DESIGN SALVADOR BERNAL, UNIVERSITY
PROFESSOR EMERITUS GEMINO ABAD, DEAN MARVIC M.V.F.
LEONEN (UP COLLEGE OF LAW), DEAN DANILO SILVESTRE (UP
COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE), DEAN ROLAND TOLENTINO
(UP COLLEGE OF MASS COMMUNICATION), PROF. JOSE
DALISAY, DR. ANTON JUAN, DR. ALEXANDER CORTEZ, DR.
JOSE NEIL GARCIA, DR. PEDRO JUN CRUZ REYES, PROF. JOSE
CLAUDIO GUERRERO, PROF. MICHAEL M. COROZA, PROF.
GERARD LICO, PROF. VERNE DE LA PENA, PROF. MARIAN
ABUAN, PROF. THEODORE O. TE, DR. CRISTINA PANTOJAHIDALGO, PROF. JOSE WENDELL CAPILI, PROF. SIR ANRIAL
TIATCO, PROF. NICOLO DEL CASTILLO, PROF. HORACIO
DUMANLIG, PROF. DANTON REMOTO, PROF. PRISCELINA
PATAJOLEGASTO, PROF. BELEN CALINGACION, PROF. AMIEL
Y. LEONARDIA, PROF. VIM NADERA, PROF. MARILYN CANTA,
PROF. CECILIA DELA PAZ, ROF. CHARLSON ONG, PROF. CLOD
MARLON YAMBAO, PROF. KENNETH JAMANDRE, PROF.
JETHRO JOAQUIN, ATTY. F.D. NICOLAS B. PICHAY, ATTY. ROSE
BEATRIX ANGELES, MR. FERNANDO JOSEF, MS. SUSAN S.
LARA, MR. ALFRED YUSON, MS. JING PANGANIBANMENDOZA,
MR. ROMULO BAQUIRAN, JR., MR. CARLJOE JAVIER, MS.
REBECCA T. ANONUEVO, MR. JP ANTHONY D. CUNADA, MS.
LEAH NAVARRO, MR. MARK MEILLY, MR. VERGEL O. SANTOS,
MR. GIL OLEA MENDOZA, MR. EDGAR C. SAMAR, MS.
CHRISTINE BELLEN, MR. ANGELO R. LACUESTA, MS. ANNA
MARIA KATIGBAKLACUESTA, MR. LEX LEDESMA, MS. KELLY
PERIQUET, MS. CARLA PACIS, MR. J. ALBERT GAMBOA, MR.
CESAR EVANGELISTA BUENDIA, MR. PAOLO ALCAZAREN, MR.
ALWYN C. JAVIER, MR. RAYMOND MAGNO GARLITOS, MS.

GANG BADOY, MR. LESLIE BOCOBO, MS. FRANCES BRETANA,


MS. JUDITH TORRES, MS. JANNETTE PINZON, MS. JUNE
POTICAR-DALISAY, MS. CAMILLE DE LA ROSA, MR. JAMES
LADIORAY, MR. RENATO CONSTANTINO, JR., and CONCERNED
ARTISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (CAP), Petitioners,
vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, THE
CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE NATIONAL
COMMISSION ON CULTURE AND THE ARTS, MS. CECILE
GUIDOTE-ALVAREZ, MR. CARLO MAGNO JOSE CAPARAS,1 MR.
JOSE MORENO, MR. FRANCISCO MANOSA, AND ALL PERSONS,
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, ACTING UNDER THEIR INSTRUCTIONS,
DIRECTION, CONTROL AND SUPERVISION IN RELATION TO
THE CONFERMENT OF THE ORDER OF THE NATIONAL ARTIST
AND THE RELEASE OF FUNDS IN RELATION TO THE
CONFERMENT OF THE HONORS AND PRIVILEGES OF THE
ORDER OF NATIONAL ARTISTS ON RESPONDENTS GUIDOTEALVAREZ, CAPARAS, MORENO AND MANOSA, Respondents.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
Art has traditionally been viewed as the expression of everything that is true,
good and beautiful. As such, it is perceived to evoke and produce a spirit of
harmony. Art is also considered as a civilizing force, a catalyst of nationbuilding. The notion of art and artists as privileged expressions of national
culture helped shape the grand narratives of the nation and shared symbols of
the people. The artist does not simply express his/her own individual
inspiration but articulates the deeper aspirations of history and the soul of the
people.2 The law recognizes this role and views art as something that
"reflects and shapes values, beliefs, aspirations, thereby defining a peoples
national identity."3 If unduly politicized, however, art and artists could stir
controversy and may even cause discord, as what happened in this case.
The Antecedents
History of the Order of National Artists
On April 27, 1972, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued
Proclamation No. 10014 and, upon recommendation of the Board of Trustees
of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), created the category of
Award and Decoration of National Artist to be awarded to Filipinos who have
made distinct contributions to arts and letters. In the same issuance, Fernando
Amorsolo was declared as the first National Artist.
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On May 15, 1973, Proclamation No. 11445 was issued. It amended


Proclamation No. 1001 "by creating a National Artists Awards Committee"
that would "administer the conferment of the category of National Artist"
upon deserving Filipino artists. The Committee, composed of members of the
Board of Trustees of the CCP, was tasked to "draft the rules to guide its
deliberations in the choice of National Artists, to the end that those who have
created a body of work in the arts and letters capable of withstanding the test
of time will be so recognized."
The authority of the National Artists Awards Committee to administer the
conferment of the National Artist Award was again reiterated in Presidential
Decree No. 2086 issued on June 7, 1973.
On April 3, 1992, Republic Act No. 7356, otherwise known as the Law
Creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, was signed into
law. It established the National Commission for Culture and the Arts
(NCCA) and gave it an extensive mandate over the development, promotion
and preservation of the Filipino national culture and arts and the Filipino
cultural heritage. The NCCA was tasked with the following:
Sec. 8. The Commission. A National Commission for Culture and Arts is
hereby created to formulate policies for the development of culture and arts;
implement these policies in coordination with affiliated cultural agencies;
coordinate the implementation of programs of these affiliated agencies;
administer the National Endowment Fund for Culture and Arts (NEFCA);
encourage artistic creation within a climate of artistic freedom; develop and
promote the Filipino national culture and arts; and preserve Filipino cultural
heritage. The Commission shall be an independent agency. It shall render an
annual report of its activities and achievements to the President and to
Congress.
Among the specific mandates of the NCCA under Republic Act No. 7356 is
to "extend recognition of artistic achievement through awards, grants and
services to artists and cultural groups which contribute significantly to the
Filipinos cultural legacy."7 In connection with this mandate, the NCCA is
vested with the power to "advise the President on matters pertaining to
culture and the arts, including the creation of a special decoration or award,
for persons who have significantly contributed to the development and
promotion of Philippine culture and arts."8
As both the CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA have been mandated by
law to promote, develop and protect the Philippine national culture and the
arts, and authorized to give awards to deserving Filipino artists, the two
bodies decided to team up and jointly administer the National Artists Award. 9
Thereafter, they reviewed the guidelines for the nomination, selection and

administration of the National Artists Award. Pursuant to their respective


powers to draft and promulgate rules, regulations and measures to guide
them in their deliberations in the choice of National Artists, the CCP and
NCCA adopted the following revised guidelines in September 200710:
4. ADMINISTRATION OF THE AWARD
4.1. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) shall plan,
organize and implement the Order of National Artists in coordination with
the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
4.2. It shall enlist the support and cooperation of private sector experts from
the various fields of art to ensure that the awards are implemented in a
successful and impartial manner.
4.3. The National Artist Award Secretariat shall commission art experts to
form a Special Research Group who shall verify information submitted on
nominees and provide essential data.
They shall be selected for their specialization and familiarity with the works
and accomplishments of nominated artists.
4.4. The Special Research Group shall be composed of ten (10) to twenty
(20) members who have expertise in one or more fields or disciplines.
4.5. The National Artist Award Council of Experts shall be created before or
during the nomination period. It is tasked to screen nominees and
recommend to the NCCA and CCP Boards the candidates for the Order of
National Artists. It shall be composed of highly regarded peers, scholars,
(including cultural philosophers and historians), academicians, researchers,
art critics, and other knowledgeable individuals. A wider age-range of experts
who would have first-hand knowledge of achievements of nominees shall be
considered.
4.6. The selection of the members of the National Artist Award Council of
Experts shall be based on the following criteria:
(a) should have achieved authority, credibility and track record in his field(s)
of expertise;
(b) should have extensive knowledge in his field(s) and his views on
Philippine art and culture must be national in perspective;
(c) should be a recognized authority in the study or research of Philippine art
and culture;
(d) must be willing to devote sufficient time and effort to the work of the
Council;
(e) must be willing to sign a non-disclosure statement in order to safeguard
the confidentiality of the deliberations;
(f) must not have been convicted with finality of any crime by a court of
justice or dismissed for cause by any organization, whether public or private.
59

4.7. The National Artist Award Council of Experts shall be composed of a


maximum of seven (7) members each of the seven (7) areas/disciplines. The
living National Artists will automatically become members in addition to the
forty-nine (49) selected members. These members will constitute the first
deliberation panel and will be invited to evaluate the nominations and
materials submitted by the Special Research Group.
4.8. Any member of the Council of Experts who is nominated or related to a
nominee up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity shall inhibit
himself/herself from the deliberation process. Likewise, any member may
decline to participate in the deliberation for any reason or may be removed
for just cause upon recommendation to the NCCA Board by at least two
thirds (2/3) of the members; in which case, the National Artist Award
Secretariat shall again select the replacements for those who decline or
resigned until the first deliberation panel is completed.
4.9. The list of nominated members of the National Artist Award Council of
Experts shall be reviewed by the National Artist Award Secretariat as needed,
for purposes of adding new members or replacements.
4.10. The members of the National Artist Award Council of Experts shall
serve for a fixed term of three (3) years.
5. CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
The Order of National Artists shall be given to:
5.1 Living artists who are Filipino citizens at the time of nomination, as well
as those who died after the establishment of the award in 1972 but were
Filipino citizens at the time of their death.
5.2 Artists who through the content and form of their works have contributed
in building a Filipino sense of nationhood.
5.3. Artists who have pioneered in a mode of creative expression or style,
thus, earning distinction and making an impact on succeeding generations of
artists.
5.4. Artists who have created a substantial and significant body of works
and/or consistently displayed excellence in the practice of their art form thus
enriching artistic expression or style.
5.5 Artists who enjoy broad acceptance through:
5.5.1. prestigious national and/or international recognition, such as the
Gawad CCP Para sa Sining, CCP Thirteen Artists Award and NCCA Alab ng
Haraya
5.5.2. critical acclaim and/or reviews of their works
5.5.3. respect and esteem from peers.
6. NOMINATION PROCEDURE

6.1. The National Artist Award Secretariat shall announce the opening of
nominations through media releases and letters to qualified organizations.
6.2. Candidates may be nominated under one or more of the following
categories:
6.2.1. Dance choreography, direction and/or performance.
6.2.2. Music composition, direction, and/or performance.
6.2.3. Theater direction, performance and/or production design.
6.2.4. Visual Arts painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography,
installation art, mixed media works, illustration, comics/komiks, graphic arts,
performance art and/or imaging.
6.2.5. Literature poetry, fiction (short story, novel and play); non-fiction
(essay, journalism, literary criticism and historical literature).
6.2.6. Film and Broadcast Arts direction, writing, production design,
cinematography, editing, camera work, and/or performance.
6.2.7. Architecture, Design and Allied Arts architecture design, interior
design, industrial arts design, landscape architecture and fashion design.
6.3. Nominations for the Order of National Artists may be submitted by
government and non-government cultural organizations and educational
institutions, as well as private foundations and councils.
6.4. Members of the Special Research Group, as well as agencies attached to
the NCCA and CCP shall not submit nominations.
6.5. NCCA and CCP Board members and consultants and NCCA and CCP
officers and staff are automatically disqualified from being nominated.
6.6. Nominations shall be accepted only when these are submitted in writing
and with proper supporting documentation, as follows:
6.6.1. A cover letter signed by the head or designated representative of the
nominating organization.
The cover letter shall be accompanied by a Board Resolution approving the
nominee concerned with the said resolution signed by the organization
President and duly certified by the Board Secretary.
6.6.2. A duly accomplished nomination form;
6.6.3. A detailed curriculum vitae of the nominee;
6.6.4. A list of the nominees significant works categorized according to the
criteria;
6.6.5. The latest photograph (color or black and white) of the nominee, either
5" x 7" or 8" x 11";
6.6.6. Pertinent information materials on the nominees significant works (on
CDs, VCDs and DVDs);
6.6.7. Copies of published reviews;
6.6.8. Any other document that may be required.
60

6.7. Nominations received beyond the announced deadline for the submission
of nominations shall not be considered.
6.8. The National Artist Award Secretariat shall announce the opening of
nominations through media releases.
6.9. All inquiries and nominations shall be submitted to
The NATIONAL ARTIST AWARD SECRETARIAT
Office of the Artistic Director Cultural Center of the Philippines Roxas
Boulevard, 1300 Pasay City or The NATIONAL ARTIST AWARD
SECRETARIAT Office of the Deputy Executive Director National
Commission for Culture and the Arts 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros,
Manila
7. SCREENING AND SELECTION PROCESS
7.1. The National Artist Award Secretariat shall pre-screen the nominees
based on technical guideline items 5.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5 and 6.6. The prescreening shall not be based on the accomplishments and merits of the
nominee.
7.2. The Special Research Group shall accomplish its task within six (6)
months. The main objective is to verify the validity of the data, and evaluate
the quality, true value and significance of works according to the criteria. It
shall come up with the updated and comprehensive profiles of nominees
reflecting their most outstanding achievements.
7.3. The National Artist Award Secretariat will meet to review the list of
nominees for oversights. Consequently, deserving nominees shall be added to
the list.
7.4. The first deliberation panel (Council of Experts) shall be intradisciplinary. The panelists shall be grouped according to their respective
fields of expertise or disciplines to shortlist the nominees in their disciplines
or categories for presentation to the second deliberation panel.
7.5. The second deliberation panel shall be composed of a different set of
experts from the first deliberation panel three (3) experts each of the seven
(7) areas/discipline and may include members from varying backgrounds
such as critics and academicians. The achievements of each shortlisted
nominee shall be presented by one designated member of Council of Experts.
Then panel deliberates and ranks the shortlisted nominees according to the
order of precedence following the set criteria of the Order of National Artists.
In extreme cases, the Second Deliberation may add new names to the lists.
7.6. The second deliberation panel may recommend not to give award in any
category if no nominee is found deserving. The number of awardees shall
also depend on the availability of funds. All decisions and recommendations
shall be in writing.

7.7. The recommendations from the Second Deliberation Panel of the


National Artist Award Council of Experts shall then be presented to the joint
boards of NCCA and CCP for final selection. The presentors shall prepare
their presentation in writing together with an audio-visual presentation or
powerpoint presentation. Written interpellations/opinions will be accepted
from selected critics. The review shall be based on the ranking done by the
Second Deliberation. The voting shall be across disciplines. The National
Artists will be given the option whether to vote on all categories or on his/her
particular discipline.
7.8. Proxy votes will not be allowed in the Selection Process. Designation of
permanent representatives of agencies should be made at the outset to make
them regular Board members of NCCA and thus, may be allowed to cast
votes.
7.9. The list of awardees shall be submitted to the President of the Republic
of the Philippines for confirmation, proclamation and conferral.
8. PRESENTATION OF THE AWARDS
8.1. The Order of National Artists shall not be conferred more frequently
than every three (3) years.
8.2. The Order of National Artists shall be conferred by the President of the
Philippines on June 11 or any appropriate date in fitting ceremonies to be
organized by the National Artist Secretariat.
8.3. The medallion of the Order of National Artists and citation shall be given
to the honoree during the conferment ceremony. The cash award of
P100,000.00 in cheque shall be given immediately after the ceremony or at
another time and place as requested by the honoree.
8.4. A posthumous conferral consisting of the medallion and citation shall be
given to the family or legal heir/s of the honoree. The cash award of
P75,000.00 in cheque shall be given to the honorees legal heir/s or a
representative designated by the family immediately after the ceremony or at
another time and place as requested by the family. (Emphases supplied.)
In 1996, the NCCA and the CCP created a National Artist Award Secretariat
composed of the NCCA Executive Director as Chairperson, the CCP
President as Vice-Chairperson, and the NCCA Deputy Executive Director,
the CCP Vice-President/Artistic Director, the NCCA National Artist Award
Officer and the CCP National Artist Award Officer as members. They also
centralized with the NCCA all financial resources and management for the
administration of the National Artists Award. They added another layer to the
selection process to involve and allow the participation of more members of
the arts and culture sector of the Philippines in the selection of who may be
proclaimed a National Artist.
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On September 19, 2003, Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003, entitled


making the nomination, and that the nominee is in good standing. Should a
Establishing the Honors Code of the Philippines to Create an Order of
nomination meet these criteria, a recommendation to the President for
Precedence of Honors Conferred and for Other Purposes, was issued. The
conferment shall be made.
National Artists Award was renamed the Order of National Artists and raised
The President of the Philippines takes the recommendations of the
to the level of a Cultural Order, fourth in precedence among the orders and
Committee on Honors in the highest consideration when making the final
decorations that comprise the Honors of the Philippines. Executive Order No.
decision on the conferment of awards. (Emphasis supplied.)
236, s. 2003, recognizes the vital role of the NCCA and the CCP in
Executive Order No. 435, s. 2005, entitled Amending Section 5(IV) of
identifying Filipinos who have made distinct contributions to arts and letters
Executive Order No. 236 Entitled "Establishing the Honors Code of the
and states that the National Artist recognition is conferred "upon the
Philippines to Create an Order of Precedence of Honors Conferred and for
recommendation of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National
Other Purposes" was subsequently issued on June 8, 2005. It amended the
Commission for Culture and the Arts."12 Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003,
wording of Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003, on the Order of National
further created a Committee on Honors to "assist the President in evaluating
Artists and clarified that the NCCA and the CCP "shall advise the President
nominations for recipients of Honors,"13 including the Order of National
on the conferment of the Order of National Artists."
Artists, and presidential awards. The Committee on Honors has been allowed
Controversy Surrounding the 2009
to "authorize relevant department or government agencies to maintain
Order of National Artists
Honors and/or Awards Committees to process nominations for Honors and/or
Petitioners alleged that on January 30, 2007, a joint meeting of the NCCA
Presidential Awards."14 In this connection, Section 2.4(A) of the
Board of Commissioners and the CCP Board of Trustees was held to discuss,
Implementing Rules and Regulations15 of Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003,
among others, the evaluation of the 2009 Order of National Artists and the
states:
convening of the National Artist Award Secretariat. The nomination period
2.4: Awards Committees
was set for September 2007 to December 31, 2007, which was later extended
There shall be two types of awards committees: the Committee on Honors
to February 28, 2008. The pre-screening of nominations was held from
and the various awards committees in the various units of the government
January to March 2008.16
service.
On April 3, 2009, the First Deliberation Panel met.17 A total of 87 nominees18
A. The Committee on Honors
were considered during the deliberation and a preliminary shortlist 19 of 32
The Committee on Honors serves as a National Awards Committee. It is
names was compiled.
composed of the following:
On April 23, 2009, the Second Deliberation Panel purportedly composed of
The Executive Secretary, Chairman
an entirely new set of Council of Experts met and shortlisted 13 out of the 32
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Vice-Chairman
names in the preliminary shortlist.20 On May 6, 2009, the final deliberation
Head, Presidential Management Staff, member
was conducted by the 30-member Final Deliberation Panel comprised of the
Presidential Assistant for Historical Affairs, member
CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA Board of Commissioners and the
Chief of Presidential Protocol, member
living National Artists.21 From the 13 names in the second shortlist, a final
Chief of Protocol, DFA, member
list of four names was agreed upon.22 The final list, according to rank,
All nominations from the various awards committees must be submitted to
follows:
the Committee on Honors via the Chancellery of Philippine Orders and State
Name
Art Field/Category
Number of Votes
Decorations. The Chancellery shall process nominations for the consideration
Film and Broadcast Arts (Film)
26
of the Committee on Honors. The Committee on Honors shall screen and Manuel Conde (+)
recommend these nominations to the President.
Ramon Santos
Music
19
The Committee on Honors shall, as a general rule, serve as a screening
committee to ensure that nominations received from the various awards Lazaro Francisco (+)
Literature
15
committees meet two tests: that there has not been an abuse of discretion in
62

63

derico Aguilar-Alcuaz
Visual Arts
15
On May 6, 2009, a letter, signed jointly by the Chairperson of the NCCA,
Undersecretary Vilma Labrador, and the President and Artistic Director of the
CCP, Mr. Nestor Jardin, was sent to the President.23 The letter stated, thus:
May 6, 2009
Her Excellency GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
President of the Philippines
Malacaan Palace, Manila
Subject: 2009 Order of National Artist Awardees
Dear President Arroyo:
We are respectfully submitting a recommendation of the NCCA Board of
Trustees and CCP Board of Trustees for the Proclamation of the following as
2009 Order of National Artists:
1. Mr. MANUEL CONDE+ (Posthumous) Film and Broadcast Arts
2. Dr. RAMON SANTOS Music
3. Mr. LAZARO FRANCISCO+ (Posthumous) Literature
4. Mr. FEDERICO AGUILAR-ALCUAZ Visual Arts
The above persons were identified by experts in the various fields of arts and
culture, including living National Artists. An intensive selection process was
observed following established practice. In the past, awards were presented
by the President at a Ceremony held at the Malacaan Palace followed by a
program called "Parangal" at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. We also
propose to continue with past practice of celebrating the life and works of the
four (4) Order of National Artists through an exhibit that will open and a
commemorative publication that will be released on the day of the
proclamation.
We respectfully suggest, subject to Her Excellencys availability, that the
Proclamation be on June 11, 2009, if possible at the Malacaan Palace.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Very respectfully yours,
(Sgd.)
VILMA L. LABRADOR
Chairman
National Commission for Culture and the Arts
(Sgd.)
NESTOR O. JARDIN
President and Artistic Director
Cultural Center of the Philippines24
According to respondents, the aforementioned letter was referred by the
Office of the President to the Committee on Honors. Meanwhile, the Office

of the President allegedly received nominations from various sectors, cultural


groups and individuals strongly endorsing private respondents Cecile
Guidote-Alvarez, Carlo Magno Jose Caparas, Francisco Maosa and Jose
Moreno. The Committee on Honors purportedly processed these nominations
and invited resource persons to validate the qualifications and credentials of
the nominees.25
The Committee on Honors thereafter submitted a memorandum to then
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recommending the conferment of the
Order of National Artists on the four recommendees of the NCCA and the
CCP Boards, as well as on private respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas,
Maosa and Moreno. Acting on this recommendation, Proclamation No.
1823 declaring Manuel Conde a National Artist was issued on June 30, 2009.
Subsequently, on July 6, 2009, Proclamation Nos. 1824 to 1829 were issued
declaring Lazaro Francisco, Federico AguilarAlcuaz and private respondents
Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno, respectively, as National
Artists. This was subsequently announced to the public by then Executive
Secretary Eduardo Ermita on July 29, 2009.26
Convinced that, by law, it is the exclusive province of the NCCA Board of
Commissioners and the CCP Board of Trustees to select those who will be
conferred the Order of National Artists and to set the standard for entry into
that select group, petitioners instituted this petition for prohibition, certiorari
and injunction (with prayer for restraining order) praying that the Order of
National Artists be conferred on Dr. Santos and that the conferment of the
Order of National Artists on respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa
and Moreno be enjoined and declared to have been rendered in grave abuse
of discretion.27
In a Resolution28 dated August 25, 2009, the Court issued a status quo order29
enjoining "public respondents" "from conferring the rank and title of the
Order of National Artists on private respondents; from releasing the cash
awards that accompany such conferment and recognition; and from holding
the acknowledgment ceremonies for recognition of the private respondents as
National Artists."
What is the nature and scope of the power of the President to confer the
Order of the National Artists and how should it be exercised? This is the
essential issue presented in this case. It will determine whether the
proclamation of respondents as National Artists is valid. Preliminary
procedural issues on the standing of the petitioners and the propriety of the
remedies taken,30 however, call for resolution as a prerequisite to the
discussion of the main question.
Contention of the Parties
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A perusal of the pleadings submitted by the petitioners reveals that they are
an aggrupation of at least three groups, the National Artists, cultural workers
and academics, and the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP). The
National Artists assert an "actual as well as legal interest in maintaining the
reputation of the Order of National Artists."31 In particular, they invoke their
right to due process not to have the honor they have been conferred with
diminished by the irregular and questionable conferment of the award on
respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno. For petitioners,
this would adversely affect their right to live a meaningful life as it detracts
not only from their right to enjoy their honor as a fruit of their lifelong labor
but also from the respect of their peers. 32
The cultural workers, academics and CAP claim to be Filipinos who are
deeply concerned with the preservation of the countrys rich cultural and
artistic heritage. As taxpayers, they are concerned about the use of public
monies for illegal appointments or spurious acts of discretion. 33
All of the petitioners claim that former President Macapagal-Arroyo gravely
abused her discretion in disregarding the results of the rigorous screening and
selection process for the Order of National Artists and in substituting her own
choice for those of the Deliberation Panels. According to petitioners, the
Presidents discretion to name National Artists is not absolute but limited. In
particular, her discretion on the matter cannot be exercised in the absence of
or against the recommendation of the NCCA and the CCP. In adding the
names of respondents Caparas, Guidote-Alvarez, Maosa and Moreno while
dropping Dr. Santos from the list of conferees, the Presidents own choices
constituted the majority of the awardees in utter disregard of the choices of
the NCCA and the CCP and the arts and culture community which were
arrived at after a long and rigorous process of screening and deliberation.
Moreover, the name of Dr. Santos as National Artist for Music was deleted
from the final list submitted by the NCCA and the CCP Boards without
clearly indicating the basis thereof. For petitioners, the Presidents discretion
to name National Artists cannot be exercised to defeat the recommendations
made by the CCP and NCCA Boards after a long and rigorous screening
process and with the benefit of expertise and experience. The addition of four
names to the final list submitted by the Boards of the CCP and the NCCA
and the deletion of one name from the said list constituted a substitution of
judgment by the President and a unilateral reconsideration without clear
justification of the decision of the First, Second and Final Deliberation
Panels composed of experts.34
Petitioners further argue that the choice of respondent GuidoteAlvarez was
illegal and unethical because, as the then Executive Director of the NCCA

and presidential adviser on culture and arts, she was disqualified from even
being nominated.35 Moreover, such action on the part of the former President
constituted grave abuse of discretion as it gave preferential treatment to
respondent Guidote-Alvarez by naming the latter a National Artist despite
her not having been nominated and, thus, not subjected to the screening
process provided by the rules for selection to the Order of National Artists.
Her inclusion in the list by the President represented a clear and manifest
favor given by the President in that she was exempted from the process that
all other artists have to undergo. According to petitioners, it may be said that
the President used a different procedure to qualify respondent GuidoteAlvarez. This was clearly grave abuse of discretion for being manifest and
undue bias violative of the equal protection clause. 36
Respondent Caparas refutes the contention of the petitioning National Artists
and insists that there could be no prejudice to the latter. They remain to be
National Artists and continue to receive the emoluments, benefits and other
privileges pertaining to them by virtue of that honor. On the other hand, all
the other petitioners failed to show any material and personal injury or harm
caused to them by the conferment of the Order of National Artists on
respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno. The rule on
standing may not be relaxed in favor of the petitioners as no question of
constitutionality has been raised and no issue of transcendental importance is
involved.37
Respondent Caparas further argues that the remedies of prohibition and
injunction are improper as the act sought to be enjoined the declaration of
respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno as National
Artists had already been consummated. In particular, respondent Caparas
was already proclaimed National Artist through Proclamation No. 1827
issued on July 6, 2009.38
On the merits, respondent Caparas contends that no grave abuse of discretion
attended his proclamation as National Artist. The former President
considered the respective recommendations of the NCCA and the CCP
Boards and of the Committee on Honors in eventually declaring him
(Caparas) as National Artist. The function of the NCCA and the CCP Boards
is simply to advise the President. The award of the Order of National Artists
is the exclusive prerogative of the President who is not bound in any way by
the recommendation of the NCCA and the CCP Boards. The implementing
rules and regulations or guidelines of the NCCA cannot restrict or limit the
exclusive power of the President to select the recipients of the Order of
National Artists.39
65

For her part, in a letter40 dated March 11, 2010, respondent Guidote-Alvarez
manifested that she was waiving her right to file her comment on the petition
and submitted herself to the Courts discretion and wisdom.
Respondent Maosa manifested that his creations speak for themselves as his
contribution to Filipino cultural heritage and his worthiness to receive the
award. Nonetheless, he expressed his conviction that the Order of National
Artists is not a right but a privilege that he would willingly relinquish should
he be found not worthy of it.41
Respondent Moreno did not file any pleading despite being given several
opportunities to do so. Hence, the Court dispensed with his pleadings. 42
In a Resolution dated July 12, 2011, this Court gave due course to the
petition and required the parties to file their respective memoranda. 43
Respondent Caparas filed his memorandum on September 8, 2011, 44 the CCP
filed its memorandum on September 19, 2011,45 respondent Maosa on
September 20, 2011,46 and the Office of the Solicitor General filed a
manifestation stating that it is adopting its comment as its memorandum on
September 21, 2011.47 Respondent Moreno failed to file a Memorandum,
hence, the Court resolved to dispense with the same.48 Petitioners filed their
Memorandum on May 14, 2012.49
On the other hand, the original position of the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) was similar to that of respondent Caparas. 50 In a subsequent
manifestation,51 however, the OSG stated that the current Board of
Commissioners of the NCCA agree with the petitioners that the President
cannot honor as a National Artist one who was not recommended by the joint
Boards of the NCCA and the CCP. The implementing rules and regulations of
Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003, recognized the binding character of the
recommendation of the NCCA and the CCP Boards and limited the authority
of the Committee on Honors to the determination that (1) there has been no
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NCCA and the CCP Boards in
making the nomination, and (2) the nominee is in good standing. Where a
nomination meets the said two criteria, a recommendation to the President to
confer the award shall be made.52
The OSG further argued that, while the President exercises control over the
NCCA and the CCP, the President has the duty to faithfully execute the laws,
including the NCCA-CCP guidelines for selection of National Artists and the
implementing rules of Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003. Moreover, the laws
recognize the expertise of the NCCA and the CCP in the arts and tasked them
to screen and select the artists to be conferred the Order of National Artists.
Their mandate is clear and exclusive as no other agency possesses such
expertise.53

The OSG also assailed the former Presidents choice of respondent GuidoteAlvarez for being contrary to Republic Act No. 7356.54 Section 11 of the said
law provides:
Sec. 11. Membership Restrictions. During his/her term as member of the
Commission, a Commissioner shall not be eligible for any grant, or such
other financial aid from the Commission as an individual: Provided,
however, That he/she may compete for grants and awards on the same level
as other artists one (1) year after his/her term shall have expired.
The omission of the word "award" in the first portion of the above provision
appears to be unintentional as shown by the proviso which states that a
member may compete for grants and awards only one year after his or her
term shall have expired. As such, respondent Guidote-Alvarez is restricted
and disqualified from being conferred the 2009 Order of National Artists. 55
The Courts Ruling
Standing of the Petitioners
Standing is the determination of whether a specific person is the proper party
to bring a matter to the court for adjudication. 56 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.57
The parties who assail the constitutionality or legality of a statute or an
official act must have a direct and personal interest. They must show not only
that the law or any governmental act is invalid, but also that they sustained or
are in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its
enforcement, and not merely that they suffer thereby in some indefinite way.
They must show that they have been or are about to be denied some right or
privilege to which they are lawfully entitled or that they are about to be
subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act
complained of.58
In this case, we find that the petitioning National Artists will be denied some
right or privilege to which they are entitled as members of the Order of
National Artists as a result of the conferment of the award on respondents
Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno. In particular, they will be
denied the privilege of exclusive membership in the Order of National
Artists.
In accordance with Section 2(a)59 of Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003, the
Order of National Artists is "an exclusive association of honored
individuals." To ensure the exclusivity of the membership in the Order, a
rigid nomination and screening process has been established with different
66

sets of renowned artists and respected art critics invited to sit as the Council
of Experts for the First and Second Deliberation Panels. Moreover, all living
National Artists are given a voice on who should be included in their
exclusive club as they automatically become members of the Final
Deliberation Panel that will vote on who should be included in the final list
to be submitted to the President for conferment of the Order of National
Artists. To allow the untrammeled discretion and authority of the President to
confer the Order of National Artists without regard to the stringent screening
and rigorous selection process established by the NCCA and the CCP will
diminish, if not negate, the exclusive nature of the said Order. It will unduly
subject the selection and conferment of the Order of National Artists to
politics rather than to principles and procedures. It will subvert the
transparent and rigorous process and allow entry to the exclusive Order of
National Artists through a secret backdoor of lobbying, back channeling and
political accommodation.
Among the other petitioners, Prof. Gemino Abad presents a unique valid
personal and substantial interest. Like respondents Caparas, Maosa and
Moreno, he was among the 87 nominees for the 2009 Order of National
Artists. Like respondent Moreno, he made it to the preliminary shortlist. As
he did not make it to the second shortlist, he was not considered by the Final
Deliberation Panel, more so by the former President.
It should be recalled too that respondent Guidote-Alvarez was disqualified to
be nominated for being the Executive Director of the NCCA at that time
while respondents Maosa and Caparas did not make it to the preliminary
shortlist and respondent Moreno was not included in the second shortlist. Yet,
the four of them were treated differently and considered favorably when they
were exempted from the rigorous screening process of the NCCA and the
CCP and conferred the Order of National Artists. The Committee on Honors
and the former President effectively treated respondents Guidote-Alvarez,
Caparas, Maosa and Moreno as a preferred class. The special treatment
accorded to respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno
fails to pass rational scrutiny.60 No real and substantial distinction between
respondents and petitioner Abad has been shown that would justify deviating
from the laws, guidelines and established procedures, and placing
respondents in an exceptional position. The undue classification was not
germane to the purpose of the law. Instead, it contradicted the law and wellestablished guidelines, rules and regulations meant to carry the law into
effect. While petitioner Abad cannot claim entitlement to the Order of
National Artists,61 he is entitled to be given an equal opportunity to vie for
that honor. In view of the foregoing, there was a violation of petitioner

Abads right to equal protection, an interest that is substantial enough to


confer him standing in this case.
As regards the other concerned artists and academics as well as the CAP,
their claim of deep concern for the preservation of the countrys rich cultural
and artistic heritage, while laudable, falls short of the injury in fact
requirement of standing. Their assertion constitutes a generalized grievance
shared in a substantially equal measure by all or a large class of citizens. 62
Nor can they take refuge in their status as taxpayers as the case does not
involve any illegal appropriation or taxation. A taxpayers suit is proper only
when there is an exercise of the spending or taxing power of the Congress. 63
Nonetheless, as a reading of the petition shows that it has advanced an issue
which deserves the attention of this Court in view of its seriousness, novelty
and weight as precedent, it behooves the Court to relax the rules on standing
and to resolve the issue presented before it. 64 Moreover, this issue is of
paramount interest,65 which further justifies a liberal stance on standing.
Propriety of the Remedies
The present action is a petition for prohibition, certiorari, injunction,
restraining order and all other legal, just and equitable reliefs.
It has been held that the remedies of prohibition and injunction are
preventive and, as such, cannot be availed of to restrain an act that is already
fait accompli.66 Where the act sought to be prohibited or enjoined has already
been accomplished or consummated, prohibition or injunction becomes
moot.67
Nevertheless, even if the principal issue is already moot, this Court may still
resolve its merits for the future guidance of both bench and bar. Courts will
decide a question otherwise moot and academic if it is "capable of repetition,
yet evading review."68
It is an opportune time for the Court to assert its role as republican
schoolmaster,69 a teacher in a vital national seminar.70 There are times when
the controversy is of such character that, to prevent its recurrence and to
assure respect for constitutional limitations, this Court must pass on the
merits of a case.71 This is one such case. More than being a teaching moment,
this is not the first time that the Order of National Artists was conferred in the
manner that is being assailed in this case.72 If not addressed here and now,
there is great probability that the central question involved in this case will
haunt us again in the future. Every President may invoke absolute
presidential prerogative and thrust upon us National Artists after his or her
own heart, in total disregard of the advise of the CCP and the NCCA and the
voice of the community of artists, resulting to repeated episodes of
indignation and uproar from the artists and the public.
67

Furthermore, if not corrected, such an act would give rise to mischief and
dangerous precedent whereby those in the corridors of power could avoid
judicial intervention and review by merely speedily and stealthily completing
the commission of an illegality.73
In any event, the present petition is also for certiorari and there is no
procedural bar for the Court to pass upon the question of whether the
proclamations of respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa and
Moreno as National Artists were attended by grave abuse of presidential
discretion.
Limits of the Presidents Discretion
The respective powers of the CCP Board of Trustees and of the NCCA Board
of Commissioners with respect to the conferment of the Order of National
Artists are clear. They jointly administer the said award and, upon their
recommendation or advice, the President confers the Order of National
Artists.
To "recommend" and to "advise" are synonymous. To "recommend" is "to
advise or counsel."74 To "advise" is "to give an opinion or counsel, or
recommend a plan or course of action; also to give notice. To encourage,
inform or acquaint."75 "Advise" imports that it is discretionary or optional
with the person addressed whether he will act on such advice or not. 76 This
has been clearly explained in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Atty. Palma 77:
The "power to recommend" includes the power to give "advice, exhortation
or indorsement, which is essentially persuasive in character, not binding upon
the party to whom it is made." (Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, in the matter of the conferment of the Order of National Artists, the
President may or may not adopt the recommendation or advice of the NCCA
and the CCP Boards. In other words, the advice of the NCCA and the CCP is
subject to the Presidents discretion.
Nevertheless, the Presidents discretion on the matter is not totally unfettered,
nor the role of the NCCA and the CCP Boards meaningless.
Discretion is not a free-spirited stallion that runs and roams wherever it
pleases but is reined in to keep it from straying. In its classic formulation,
"discretion is not unconfined and vagrant" but "canalized within banks that
keep it from overflowing."78
The Presidents power must be exercised in accordance with existing laws.
Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution prescribes faithful execution of the
laws by the President:
Sec. 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments,
bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.
(Emphasis supplied.)

The Presidents discretion in the conferment of the Order of National Artists


should be exercised in accordance with the duty to faithfully execute the
relevant laws. The faithful execution clause is best construed as an obligation
imposed on the President, not a separate grant of power.79 It simply
underscores the rule of law and, corollarily, the cardinal principle that the
President is not above the laws but is obliged to obey and execute them. 80
This is precisely why the law provides that "administrative or executive acts,
orders and regulations shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the
laws or the Constitution."81
In this connection, the powers granted to the NCCA and the CCP Boards in
connection with the conferment of the Order of National Artists by executive
issuances were institutionalized by two laws, namely, Presidential Decree
No. 208 dated June 7, 1973 and Republic Act No. 7356. In particular,
Proclamation No. 1144 dated May 15, 1973 constituted the CCP Board as the
National Artists Awards Committee and tasked it to "administer the
conferment of the category of National Artist" upon deserving Filipino artists
with the mandate to "draft the rules to guide its deliberations in the choice of
National Artists":
Proclamation No. 1001 dated April 27, 1972, creating the Award and
Decoration of National Artist, is hereby amended by creating a National
Artists Awards Committee, hereinafter to administer the conferment of the
category of National Artist upon those deserving thereof. The Committee,
which shall be composed of members of the Board of Trustees of the Cultural
Center of the Philippines, shall organize itself immediately and shall draft the
rules to guide its deliberations in the choice of National Artists, to the end
that those who have created a body of work in the arts and in letters capable
of withstanding the test of time will be so recognized. (Emphases supplied.)
The authority of the CCP Board of Trustees as National Artists Awards
Committee was reiterated in Presidential Decree No. 208 dated June 7, 1973.
The function of the CCP Board of Trustees as National Artists Awards
Committee has been recognized under Republic Act No. 7356:
Sec. 18. The National Cultural Agencies. The [NCCA] shall coordinate
with the national cultural agencies including but not limited to the Cultural
Center of the Philippines, the Institute of Philippine Languages, the National
Historical Institute, the National Library, the National Museum, the Records
Management and Archives Office. However, they shall continue operating
under their respective charters or as provided by law where provisions
therein are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act. They shall serve
as the national repository and/or showcase, as the case may be, of the best of
Philippine culture and arts. For this purpose, these agencies shall submit
68

periodic reports, including recommendations to the [NCCA]. (Emphasis


supplied.)
On the other hand, the NCCA has been given the following mandate in
connection with the conferment of cultural or arts awards:
Sec. 12. Mandate. The Commission is hereby mandated to formulate and
implement policies and plans in accordance with the principles stated in Title
1 of this Act.
(a) To encourage the continuing and balanced development of a pluralistic
culture by the people themselves, it shall:
xxxx
(4) extend recognition of artistic achievement through awards, grants and
services to artists and cultural groups which contribute significantly to the
Filipinos cultural legacy;
xxxx
Sec. 13. Powers and Functions. To carry out its mandate, the Commission
shall exercise the following powers and functions:
xxxx
(j) advise the President on matters pertaining to culture and the arts,
including the creation of a special decoration or award, for persons who have
significantly contributed to the development and promotion of Philippine
culture and arts;
(k) promulgate rules, regulations and undertake any and all measures as may
be necessary to implement this Act. (Emphases supplied.)
By virtue of their respective statutory mandates in connection with the
conferment of the National Artist Award, the NCCA and the CCP decided to
work together and jointly administer the National Artist Award. They
reviewed the guidelines for the nomination, selection and administration of
the National Artist Award, created a National Artist Award Secretariat,
centralized all financial resources and management for the administration of
the National Artist Award, and added another layer to the selection process so
that more members of the arts and culture sector of the Philippines may be
involved and participate in the selection of National Artists.
We have held that an administrative regulation adopted pursuant to law has
the force and effect of law.82 Thus, the rules, guidelines and policies
regarding the Order of National Artists jointly issued by the CCP Board of
Trustees and the NCCA pursuant to their respective statutory mandates have
the force and effect of law. Until set aside, they are binding upon executive
and administrative agencies,83 including the President himself/herself as chief
executor of laws. In this connection, Section 2.5(A) of the Implementing
Rules and Regulations84 of Executive Order No. 236, s. 2003 provides:

2.5: General Guidelines for Awards Committees


A. National Orders of Cultural and Scientific Merit
The existing modalities of the NCCA for selecting recipients for the Order of
National Artists, and the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan, and of the NAST
for selecting recipients of the Order of National Scientists, shall remain in
force. (Emphases supplied.)
Section 2.4(A) of the same implementing rules further states:
2.4: Awards Committees
There shall be two types of awards committees: the Committee on Honors
and the various awards committees in the various units of the government
service.
A. The Committee on Honors
The Committee on Honors serves as a National Awards Committee. It is
composed of the following:
The Executive Secretary, Chairman
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Vice-Chairman
Head, Presidential Management Staff, member
Presidential Assistant for Historical Affairs, member
Chief of Presidential Protocol, member
Chief of Protocol, DFA, member
All nominations from the various awards committees must be submitted to
the Committee on Honors via the Chancellery of Philippine Orders and State
Decorations. The Chancellery shall process nominations for the consideration
of the Committee on Honors. The Committee on Honors shall screen and
recommend these nominations to the President.
The Committee on Honors shall, as a general rule, serve as a screening
committee to ensure that nominations received from the various awards
committees meet two tests: that there has not been an abuse of discretion in
making the nomination, and that the nominee is in good standing. Should a
nomination meet these criteria, a recommendation to the President for
conferment shall be made.
The President of the Philippines takes the recommendations of the
Committee on Honors in the highest consideration when making the final
decision on the conferment of awards. (Emphasis supplied.)
Pursuant to the above provision of the implementing rules of Executive
Order No. 236, s. 2003, the authority of the Committee on Honors is limited
to determining whether the nominations submitted by a particular awards
committee, in this case, the joint NCCA and CCP Boards, have been tainted
by abuse of discretion, and whether the nominees are in good standing.
Should the nominations meet these two criteria, the Committee on Honors
69

shall make a recommendation to the President for conferment of the Order of


National Artists.
In view of the various stages of deliberation in the selection process and as a
consequence of his/her duty to faithfully enforce the relevant laws, the
discretion of the President in the matter of the Order of National Artists is
confined to the names submitted to him/her by the NCCA and the CCP
Boards. This means that the President could not have considered conferment
of the Order of National Artists on any person not considered and
recommended by the NCCA and the CCP Boards. That is the proper import
of the provision of Executive Order No. 435, s. 2005, that the NCCA and the
CCP "shall advise the President on the conferment of the Order of National
Artists." Applying this to the instant case, the former President could not
have properly considered respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa
and Moreno, as their names were not recommended by the NCCA and the
CCP Boards. Otherwise, not only will the stringent selection and meticulous
screening process be rendered futile, the respective mandates of the NCCA
and the CCP Board of Trustees under relevant laws to administer the
conferment of Order of National Artists, draft the rules and regulations to
guide its deliberations, formulate and implement policies and plans, and
undertake any and all necessary measures in that regard will also become
meaningless.
Furthermore, with respect to respondent Guidote-Alvarez who was the
Executive Director of the NCCA at that time, the Guidelines expressly
provides:
6.5 NCCA and CCP Board members and consultants and NCCA and CCP
officers and staff are automatically disqualified from being nominated. 85
Respondent Guidote-Alvarez could not have even been nominated, hence,
she was not qualified to be considered and conferred the Order of National
Artists at that time. The Presidents discretion on the matter does not extend
to removing a legal impediment or overriding a legal restriction.
From the foregoing, the advice or recommendation of the NCCA and the
CCP Boards as to the conferment of the Order of National Artists on Conde,
Dr. Santos, Francisco and Alcuaz was not binding on the former President
but only discretionary or optional for her whether or not to act on such advice
or recommendation. Also, by virtue of the power of control, the President had
the authority to alter or modify or nullify or set aside such recommendation
or advice. It was well within the Presidents power and discretion to proclaim
all, or some or even none of the recommendees of the CCP and the NCCA

Boards, without having to justify his or her action. Thus, the exclusion of
Santos did not constitute grave abuse of discretion on the part of the former
President.
The conferment of the Order of National Artists on respondents GuidoteAlvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno was an entirely different matter.
There is grave abuse of discretion when an act is (1) done contrary to the
Constitution, the law or jurisprudence or (2) executed whimsically,
capriciously or arbitrarily, out of malice, ill will or personal bias. 86
There was a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution 87
when the former President gave preferential treatment to respondents
Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno.1wphi1 The former
Presidents constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws and observe the
rules, guidelines and policies of the NCCA and the CCP as to the selection of
the nominees for conferment of the Order of National Artists proscribed her
from having a free and uninhibited hand in the conferment of the said award.
The manifest disregard of the rules, guidelines and processes of the NCCA
and the CCP was an arbitrary act that unduly favored respondents GuidoteAlvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno. The conferment of the Order of
National Artists on said respondents was therefore made with grave abuse of
discretion and should be set aside.
While the Court invalidates today the proclamation of respondents GuidoteAlvarez, Caparas, Maosa and Moreno as National Artists, such action
should not be taken as a pronouncement on whether they are worthy to be
conferred that honor. Only the President, upon the advise of the NCCA and
the CCP Boards, may determine that. The Court simply declares that, as the
former President committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing
Proclamation Nos. 1826 to 1829 dated July 6, 2009, the said proclamations
are invalid. However, nothing in this Decision should be read as a
disqualification on the part of respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas,
Maosa and Moreno to be considered for the honor of National Artist in the
future, subject to compliance with the laws, rules and regulations governing
said award.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED in PART. Proclamation
Nos. 1826 to 1829 dated July 6, 2009 proclaiming respondents Cecile
Guidote-Alvarez, Carlo Magno Jose Caparas, Francisco Maosa, and Jose
Moreno, respectively, as National Artists are declared INVALID and
SET ASIDE for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 166923, November 26, 2014

THIRD DIVISION
70

PHILIPPINE MIGRANTS RIGHTS WATCH, INC., ON ITS OWN


BEHALF AND ON BEHALF OF ITS MEMBER-OVERSEAS
FILIPINO WORKERS, JESUS REYES AND RODOLFO MACOROL,
Petitioners, v. OVERSEAS WORKERS WELFARE ADMINISTRATION
AND ITS BOARD OF TRUSTEES COMPOSED OF HON. PATRICIA
A. STO. TOMAS, VIRGILIO R. ANGELO, MANUEL G. IMSON, THE
SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, REPRESENTED BY
UNDERSECRETARY JOSE S. BRILLANTES, ROSALINDA
BALDOZ, THE SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT,
REPRESENTED BY ASSISTANT SECRETARY EDUARDO P. OPIDA,
MINA C. FIGUEROA, VICTORINO F. BALAIS, CAROLINE R.
ROGGE, GREGORIO S. OCA, CORAZON P. CARSOLA AND
VIRGINIA J. PASALO, Respondents.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
Before the Court is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
seeking to reverse and set aside the Orders dated August 31, 2004 1 and
January 14, 20052 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City, Branch
CXI (111), in Civil Case No. 04-0077 dismissing the same for lack of
jurisdiction.

Section 7. Clientele. The clients of OWWA are its member-OFWs.


Article III
Organization and Management
xxxx
Section 5. Board Proceedings. The Board proceedings shall be guided by the
following rules:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
xxxx
c.) Attendance of Proxies. The Board members may designate their
permanent alternate in writing subject to the acceptance of the Board. The
designated alternate shall have voting rights. His decision shall be deemed
the decision of his principal.
The Alternate cannot further delegate such representation. However, in the
event that the member and his permanent alternate are absent, any
representative sent shall be on observer status.cralawred

The antecedent facts are as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

xxxx

On September 19, 2003, respondent Overseas Workers Welfare


Administration (OWWA) issued Board Resolution No. 0383 entitled the
OWWA Omnibus Policies to provide guidelines on matters concerning
OWWA membership and its coverage, collection of contributions, and
availment of benefits.

h.) Records Management and Archiving of Board Documents. The Board


Secretary shall ensure a thorough recording of all proceedings during a Board
meeting. The minutes of the previous meeting shall be made available for
approval during the scheduled Board Meeting. The Minutes of the Meeting
shall basically contain the attendance, business arising from the minutes,
major agreements reached, corresponding resolutions, and other items noted
or discussed, and instructions issued by the Board. All minutes, tapes, and
other documents pertaining to the business of the Board shall be kept and
archived pursuant to standard records management systems and procedures.
The minutes, transcripts and tapes are classified confidential and are not
for public circulation unless otherwise authorized by the
Board/Administrator.
Article IV
MEMBERSHIP

On February 18, 2004, petitioners Philippine Migrants Rights Watch, Inc., on


behalf of its member-overseas Filipino workers, together with Jesus P. Reyes
and Rodolfo B. Macorol, returned overseas Filipino workers, filed a
Complaint4 before the RTC of Pasay City seeking to annul the Omnibus
Policies, specifically Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Article II, Sections 5(C) (H)
of Article III, and Articles IV, V, VI, VII,VIII, the pertinent portions of which
provide:
Article II
OWWA Mandate
xxxx

Section 1. Membership. Membership in OWWA may be obtained in two


ways:
71

(a) By enrollment upon processing of contract at the POEA; and


(b) By voluntary registration of OFWs at job-sites overseas.
Section 2. Proof of Membership. All members shall be issued Official
Receipt upon payment of contribution. They shall likewise be issued an
OWWA E-Card.
POEA and OWWA are required to maintain database of member-OFWs
and to update this regularly.
Section 3. Effectivity of Membership. OWWA membership, either through
the compulsory or voluntary coverages, shall be effective upon payment
of membership contribution until expiration of the employment
contract.
In case of voluntary members who register on-site, membership
coverage shall not exceed two (2) years.
Section 4. Renewal of Membership. Membership shall be renewed upon
payment of contribution on contract renewal/issuance of new contract.
In the case of voluntary membership, coverage shall be renewed upon
payment of contribution.
Article V
COLLECTION POLICY
Section 1. Legal Basis for Collection of Membership Contribution. Letter of
Instructions (LOI) No. 537 mandates the compulsory payment of OWWA
membership contribution in the amount of US$25.00 or its equivalent.
xxxx
Section 3. Frequency of Membership Collection. The membership
contribution shall be collected on a per contract basis.
xxxx
Article VIII
BENEFITS AND SERVICES
Section 1. Guiding Principle. In pursuance of its mandate, it shall deliver
social insurance benefits, loan assistance, education and training, social

services and family welfare assistance subject to the qualification


requirements and availability of OWWA funds. All benefits and services shall
be over and above the provisions of the employment contract, offer of
employers, or the laws of the receiving country.
Section 2. Benefits and Services for OWWA Members. For a US$25.00
membership contribution, an OWWA member shall be entitled to the
following benefits and services: x x x5
According to petitioners, respondents acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the Omnibus Policies,
the provisions of which are contrary to the Constitution and its enabling laws.
Petitioners alleged that the OWWA was created by law to provide welfare
services to all Filipino overseas contract workers, without limiting the same
to member-contributors only. However, because of the passage of the
Omnibus Policies, the OWWA benefits shall be available only to those
overseas contract workers who have paid their monetary contribution on a
per contract basis. It imposed on the overseas workers the compulsory
payment of OWWA membership contribution in the amount of US$25.00,
which was originally collected from their employers. This, petitioners
contend, is violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution for it
created a distinction between Filipino overseas workers who contributed to
the OWWA Fund and those who have not. Moreover, petitioners likewise
assailed as invalid the provisions which allow the OWWA Board members to
designate their proxies to vote in their stead in the Board meetings as well as
those which classify the minutes, transcripts, and other documents of the
OWWA as confidential and cannot be publicly circulated without
authorization from the Board.
Respondents countered that the assailed Omnibus Policies do not violate the
equal protection clause for the same is germane to the purpose of the law,
which requires registration and documentation of overseas workers for their
protections from exploitation in foreign countries. Moreover, the prescribed
membership fees chargeable to the employers had long been implemented
pursuant to Letter of Instructions (LOI) No. 537 signed by then President
Ferdinand E. Marcos on May 1, 1977, which was formalized by the issuance
of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1694 on May 1, 1980, as amended by PD
No. 1809 issued on January 16, 1981, creating the Welfare Fund for Overseas
Workers (hereinafter referred to as the Welfund). According to
respondents, these issuances expressly instructed the collection of fees for the
promotion of Filipino overseas workers interests. Hence, there was no undue
72

implementation of the law. Furthermore, the Omnibus Policies do not violate


petitioners right to free access to information as the approved minutes and
official resolutions of the OWWA were made available upon legitimate
request by the public, pursuant to OWWA Resolution No. 006, Series of
2004.
On August 31, 2004, the RTC promulgated its Order dismissing the
complaint for lack of jurisdiction. According to the lower court, the
determination of constitutionality of the assailed resolution rests, not within
its jurisdiction, but within the jurisdiction of this Court. As such, it ruled that
the appropriate remedy to annul and set aside the subject issuance was a
special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Thus,
for reasons of law, comity and convenience, the lower court held that it could
not arrogate unto itself the authority to resolve the constitutionality of the
administrative act.
On February 18, 2005, petitioners filed the instant petition essentially
invoking the following argument:
I.
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR
OF LAW IN DISMISSING CIVIL CASE NO. 04-0077 ON THE GROUND
OF LACK OF JURISDICTION FOR REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS HAVE
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION TO HEAR AND DECIDE CASES
INVOLVING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OR VALIDITY OF
ADMINISTRATIVE RULES AND REGULATIONS.
Petitioners fault the RTC for abruptly dismissing their complaint for lack of
jurisdiction when it is well established in law and jurisprudence that Regional
Trial Courts have jurisdiction over cases involving the constitutionality or
legality of administrative rules and regulations, such as the Omnibus Policies
promulgated by respondents herein. The reliance on our ruling in Fortich v.
Corona, petitioners posit, is misplaced for the same involves a resolution
issued by the Office of the President in the exercise of its quasi-judicial
functions. Hence, the special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court is not the appropriate remedy in the instant case.
In their Comment, respondents counter that petitioners, in filing the instant
action with this Court, committed serious procedural error for violating the
doctrine of judicial hierarchy of courts. According to respondents, petitioners
should have first filed an appeal before the Court of Appeals (CA), pursuant

to Section 2(a), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court.6 Respondents further


reiterated the validity of the subject Omnibus Policies.
We rule in favor of petitioners.
Section 2(c), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court provides that the mode of appeal
in all cases involving only questions of law shall be by petition for review on
certiorari to the Supreme Court in accordance with Rule 45.7chanrobleslaw
Time and again, this Court has distinguished cases involving pure questions
of law from those of pure questions of fact in the following manner:
A question of fact exists when a doubt or difference arises as to the truth or
falsity of alleged facts. If the query requires a re-evaluation of the credibility
of witnesses or the existence or relevance of surrounding circumstances and
their relation to each other, the issue in that query is factual. On the other
hand, there is a question of law when the doubt or difference arises as to
what the law is on certain state of facts and which does not call for an
existence of the probative value of the evidence presented by the partieslitigants. In a case involving a question of law, the resolution of the issue
rests solely on what the law provides on the given set of circumstances. 8
In the present petition, the appeal interposed by petitioners stems from the
Orders of the RTC dismissing their complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The
issue raised herein is one of jurisdiction over the subject matter, specifically,
whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over petitioners complaint
challenging the constitutionality of the Omnibus Policies issued by
respondents.
Jurisdiction is the right to act or the power and authority to hear and
determine a case.9 It is conferred only by the Constitution or by statute. 10 The
question as to whether or not the dismissal by the lower court for lack of
jurisdiction is proper involves the determination of whether, admitting the
facts alleged in the complaint to be true, the trial court has jurisdiction over
the same in light of the laws governing jurisdiction. 11 As such, jurisdiction is
neither a question of fact or of fact and law but a matter of law. For this
reason, We have consistently held that a courts jurisdiction over the subject
matter of a case is a question of law,12 and have, in fact, affirmed dismissals
by the CA of appeals brought to them involving pure questions of law.13
Considering that only questions of law was raised in this petition, direct
resort to this Court is proper.14chanrobleslaw
73

We cannot, therefore, give credence to the lower courts contention that the
appropriate remedy to annul and set aside the issuance subject of this case is
a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
Certiorari, as a special civil action, is available only if: (1) it is directed
against a tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial
functions; (2) the tribunal, board, or officer acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal nor any plain, speedy, and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law.15chanrobleslaw
In this case, respondents did not act in any judicial or quasi-judicial capacity
in issuing the assailed resolution. They were not called upon to adjudicate the
rights of contending parties to exercise, in any manner, discretion of a
judicial nature. Instead, their issuance of the challenged resolution was done
in the exercise of their quasi-legislative and administrative functions within
the confines of the granting law. Hence, contrary to the lower courts
contention, certiorari is not the proper remedy in the instant case.
As to whether the RTC has jurisdiction over the subject matter involved in
this case, it is settled in law and jurisprudence that the RTC has jurisdiction
to resolve the constitutionality of a statute, presidential decree, executive
order, or administrative regulation, as recognized in Section 2(a), Article VIII
of the 1987 Constitution, which provides:
SECTION 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following
powers:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as


the law or the Rules of Court may provide final judgments and orders of
lower courts in:
(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty,
international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation,
order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.16
In view of the foregoing provision, the jurisdiction of regular courts
involving the validity or constitutionality of a rule or regulation cannot be
denied. We have had several occasions wherein We affirmed the power of the
RTC to take cognizance of actions assailing a specific rule or set of rules
promulgated by administrative bodies for the power of judicial review is
vested by the Constitution not only in this Court but in all Regional Trial
Courts.17 It was, therefore, erroneous for the RTC to abruptly dismiss the
complaint filed by petitioners on the basis of lack of jurisdiction since said
court clearly had the power to take cognizance of the same. In so doing, the
lower court failed to ascertain factual issues necessary to determine whether
the subject issuance is, indeed, invalid and violative of the Constitution.
Considering the settled rule that this Court is not a trier of facts, 18 a remand
of this case to the RTC for the proper determination of the merits of the
complaint is just and proper.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED.
The Orders of the Regional Trial Court, dated August 31, 2004 and January
14, 2005, in Civil Case No. 04-0077, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
This case is hereby REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court, Branch CXI
(111), Pasay City, for further proceedings.

xxxx
The Diocese of Bacolod, Represented by the Most Rev. Bishop Vicente
M.Navarra and the Bishop Himself in his Personal Capacity v. Commission
onElections and the Election Officer of Bacolod City, Atty. Mavil
V.Majarucon
GR No. 205728
SUMMARY OF THE PETITION
FACTS:
Petitioner Diocese of Bacolod is a Roman Catholic diocese and is
representedin this petition by its Bishop, the Most Rev. Vicente M. Navarra.
PetitionerBishop Navarra is also filing this petition in his individual and
personalcapacity as the questioned orders are personally directed at him and

SO ORDERED.
also asa concerned citizen, as the issues raised herein are matters of
paramountand transcendental importance to the public which must be settled
earlygiven the far-reaching implications of the unconstitutional acts of
therespondents.Named as respondents are the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) and itsElection Officer of Bacolod City Atty. Mavil V.
Majarucon.On 21 February 2013, the petitioners have caused to be placed on
the frontwall of the Bacolod Cathedral two sets of Tarpaulin, each sized 6x10
feet,with the message
Conscience Vote (Team Buhay/Team Patay
(
Team Patay Tarpaulin
). The
74

Team Patay Tarpaulin


contained the names of both Anti-and Pro-Reproductive Health Law
senatorial candidates.In their special civil action for Certiorari and
Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, petitioners sought the
nullification of the 22 February2013 order issued by respondent Atty.
Majarucon, which orders them toremove the supposed oversized
Team Patay Tarpaulin
of the Diocese of Bacolod. They also sought to nullify the 27 February 2013
order issued bythe COMELEC, through its Law Department, which orders
the immediateremoval of the Team
Patay Tarpaulin
and threatening the petitioner Bishopof Bacolod with the filing of an election
offense if he fails to cause itsimmediate removal.On March 5, 2013, the
Supreme Court
En Banc
issued a temporary restrainingorder enjoining the respondents COMELEC
and Atty. Majarucon fromremoving the
Team Patay Tarpaulin ISSUES/GROUNDS:
1.
Respondents orders directives to remove or cause the removal of the
subject
Team Patay Tarpaulin
are unconstitutional and void for
infringing on petitioners right to freedom of e
xpression on their ownprivate property.2.
Respondents orders/directives to remove or cause the removal of the
subject
Team Patay Tarpaulin
are unconstitutional and void forviolating the principle of separation of
Church and State enshrined inSection 6 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution.
ARGUMENTS/DISCUSSIONS:
1.
The assailed Orders/Directives to remove or cause the removal of thesubject
Team Patay Tarpaulin
are not electoral campaign materialsand that the mention of the candidates in
the infringes on the
petitioners right to freedom of expression on their own private

property:
o
the subject
Team Patay
Tarpaulins are not electoral campaignmaterials, stressing that the
mentioning of candidates name in
the second tarpaulin was merely incidental to the pet
itioners
campaign against the RH Law, which they have firmlycampaigned against
even when it was just a bill beingdeliberated in Congress;
o
subject
Team Patay Tarpaulins
are covered by the broader
constitutional guaranty of freedom of expression and of conscience and not
by the more narrow and limited election
laws, rules, and regulations;
o
petitioners have the constitutional right to communicate their
views and beliefs by posting the subject
Team Patay Tarpaulins
on the Bacolod Cathedral, a private property owned
by the Diocese of Bacolod;
o
the RH Law and the candidates and party-lists running in the2013 National
Elections who supported and who opposed itspassage into a law are matters
of public concern and alegitimate subject of general interest and of
discussion;
o
citing the Supreme Courts jurisprudence in
75

Chavez v. PCGG
(G.
R. No. 130716, December 9, 1998), the petitioners argued thatthat public
concern embraces a broad spectrum of subjectswhich the public may
want to know

76

o
citing the Supreme
Courts jurisprudence in
Adiong v.COMELEC
( G. R. No. 103956, March 31, 1992), the petitionersfurther argued that
debate on public issues should beuninhibited, robust, and wide open.
o
the content and the message of the subject
Team Patay Tarpaulin
p
lainly relates to broad issues of interest to thecommunity especially to the
members of the Catholic
community and that the subject tarpaulin simply conveys the
position of the petitioners on the RH bill and the public officialswho
supported or opposed it as it gains relevance in the exercise
of the peoples right of suffrage in the advent of the 2013
polls;
o
considering the petitioners message, through the
Team Patay Tarpaulin
, was a matter of public concern, the message beingconveyed and the mode
used for its communication andexpression to the public is entitled to
protection under the FreeExpression clause of the Bill of Rights of the 1987
Constitution;
o
not being candidates or political parties, the freedom of expression curtailed
by the questioned prohibition, using thelogic of the Supreme Court in
Adiong v. COMELEC
, is not somuch that of the candidate or the political party;
77

there is no compelling and substantial State interest that isendangered or


which will be endangered by the posting of thesubject
Team Patay Tarpaulin
which would justify theinfringement of the preferred right of freedom of
expression.2.

section 6 of the Article II of the 1987 Constitutionmonumentalizes the


principle of separation of Church and State;
o

The assailed orders/directives to remove or cause the removal of thesubject


Team Patay Tarpaulin
are unconstitutional and void forviolating the principle of separation of
Church and State enshrined inSection 6 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution:
o
petitioners petition against the RH Law is not only a matter of
exercise of its freedom of expression and of conscience but is
also a matter of Catholic faith, morals, belief, and of duty;
o
the Diocese of Bacolod has taken on the issue of the RH Law aspart of her
mission as part of its continued advocacy andobedience
to the Catholic Churchs teachings;
o
in line with what they believe to be their duty in the faith, thepetitioners have
declared the RH Law as being anti-life, anti-morals, anti-family, antimarriage, and contrary to the teachingsof the Catholic Church. Consequently,
petitioners have called onits members and followers not to support any
candidate who isanti-life, and to support those who are pro-life;
considering that the views and position of the petitioners on theRH Bill is
inextricably connected to its Catholic dogma, faith,and moral teachings, the
posting of the subject
Team Patay Tarpaulin
has already gone beyond mere exercise of freedom of expression and of
conscience, but also of the right and privilegeof the Church to propagate and
spread its teachings whichshould be insulated from any form of
encroachment andintrusion on the part of the State, and its agencies and
officials;

at the core of its advocacy against the RH Bill is the Gospel of Life which is
a matter of Catholic doctrine, creed and dogma;
o
the petitioners believe, as a matter of faith, that in these timeswhen there is a
great conflict between a culture of death and aculture of life, the Church
should have the courage to proclaimthe culture of life for the common good
of society;
o
the questioned orders are unpardonable intrusion into the affairsof the
Church and constitute serious violations of the principleof separation of
Church and State which the State and itsofficials, including the herein
respondents, are bound torespect, observe, and hold sacred.
PRAYER:

Petition be given due course;

Issue a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of PreliminaryInjunction


restraining respondents from further proceedings inenforcing their orders for
the removal of the subject
Team Patay Tarpaulin
;

Declare the questioned orders of respondents as unconstitutional andvoid and


permanently restrain the respondents from enforcing them orany other
similar orders; and

Issue other reliefs as may be deemed just and equitable under thepremises.
78

THE ISSUES TO BE ARGUED AS PER ADVISORY OF THE COURT EN


BANCDATED MARCH 12, 2013
1.
Whether or not the 22 February 2013 Notice/Order by Election
OfficerMajarucon and the 27 February 2013 Order by the COMELEC
LawDepartment are considered judgments/final orders/resolutions of the
COMELEC which would warrant a review of this Court via a Rule
65Petition.(a) Whether or not petitioners violated the hierarchy of
courtsdoctrine and jurisprudential rules governing appeals from
COMELECdecisions;(b) Assuming
arguendo
that the aforementioned Orders are notconsidered judgments/final
orders/resolutions of the COMELEC,whether there are exceptional
circumstances which would allow thisCourt to take cognizance of the case.2.
Whether or not it is relevant to determine whether the tarpaulins are
political advertisement or election propaganda considering that
petitioner is not a political candidate.3.
Whether or not the tarpaulins are a form of expression (protectedspeech), or
election propaganda/political advertisement.(a) Assuming
arguendo
that the tarpaulins are a form of expression, whether or not the COMELEC
possesses theauthority to regulate the same.(b) Whether or not this form of
expression may beregulated.4.
Whether or not the 22 February 2013 Notice/Order by Election
OfficerMajarucon and the 27 February 2013 Order by the COMELEC
LawDepartment violate the Constitutional principle of separation of church
and state.5.
Whether or not the action of the petitioners in posting its tarpaulinviolates the
Constitutional principle of separation of church and state.
OSG COMMENT: DIOCESE OF BACOLOD, et al. vs. COMELEC, et al.
ISSUES:
1.
Whether or not petitioners availed of the proper remedy in assailing

respondents notice and letter ordering the removal of the subject


tarpaulin.2.
Whether or not the assailed order and notice issued by respondentsare valid
and constitutional considering that the same allegedly
violate the petitioners right to freedom of expression and the
principle of separation of Church and State enshrined in the
1987Constitution.
ARGUMENTS/DISCUSSION:
1.
A petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
filed before this Honorable Court is not the proper remedy toquestion the
subject notice and letter of respondents.
o
Petitioners filed the petition before the Honorable Court,claiming that they
have no other plain, speedy and adequateremedy to assail the notice and
letter issued by the respondents.Contrary to their claim, prior resort to the
COMELEC constitutesa plain, speedy and adequate remedy that bars the
petitionersfrom directly asking relief from the Honorable Court from
thealleged injurious effects of the subject letter and notice.
o
In filing the instant suit, the petitioners violated the rule onexhaustion of
administrative remedies. Before a party is allowedto seek intervention of the
court, it is a pre-condition that heshould have availed of all the means of
administrative processesafforded him. Petitioners should have first brought
the matter tothe COMELEC En Banc or to any of its Divisions before
goingdirectly to the Supreme Court via petition for certiorari andprohibition.
o
The letter and notice issued by the respondents are not subjectto review by
the Supreme Court, as the power of the Court toreview the decisions of the
COMELEC is limited only to finaldecisions, rulings and orders of the
COMELEC en banc renderedin the exercise of its adjudicatory or quasijudicial power(citing
Ambil Jr. vs. COMELEC
, G.R. No. 143398 October 25,2000). Considering that the assailed letter and
notice are notfinal orders of the COMELEC En Banc rendered in the exercise
79

of its adjudicatory and quasi-judicial functions but mere issuancesof Atty.


Marjucom and the COMELEC Law Department, the sameare not reviewable
by the Honorable Court but by the COMELECitself.
o
Granting that the assailed notice and letter are subject toreview by the
Honorable Court, petitioners must be able to showthat respondents
committed grave abuse of discretionamounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in issuing the same.Petitioners have not shown facts essential to
prove that the
assailed notice and letter were issued in a whimsical, arbitrary
or capricious manner or the abuse of discretion is so patentand gross to
amount to grave abuse of discretion. The
respondents issued the notice andletter pursuant to the
COMELECs mandate to regulate and supervise the use of mass
media during election period as embodied in the 1987Constitution.2.
The subject tarpaulin is an election propaganda subject to regulationby
respondent COMELEC pursuant to its mandate under Section 4,Article IXC of the 1987 Constitution. Hence, respondents notice and
letter ordering its removal for being oversized are valid andconstitutional.
o
In furtherance of COMELECs mandate to supervise and regulate
elections, Congress enacted RA 9006 (the Fair Elections Act),giving the
COMELEC power to promulgate its own rules andregulations. Pursuant to
this, COMELEC promulgated Resolution9615 (Rules and Regulations
Implementing RA 9006, inconnection to the 13 May 2013 National and
Local Elections, andSubsequent Elections). Resolution 9615 defines the
followingterms:
Election Campaign or Partisan Political Activityan act
designed to promote the election of defeat of a particularcandidate or
candidates to a public office, and shallinclude, among others, the act of
directly or indirectlysoliciting votes, pledges of support for or against
anycand
idate

Political Advertisement or Election Propaganda any


matter broadcasted, published, printed, displayed orexhibited, in any
medium, which contain the name, image,logo, brand, insignia, motif,
initials,and other symbol orrepresentation, that is capable of being associated
with acandidate or a party, and is intended to draw theattention of thepublic
or a segment thereof to promote oroppose, directly or indirectly, the election
of the said
candidate or candidates to a public office
From the definitions, the subject tarpaulin is a form of electionpropaganda
subject to regulation by the COMELEC pursuant toits mandate under Section
4, Article IX-C of the 1987Constitution.

The subject tarpaulin contains the message CONSCIENCE VOTE


and classifies
the candidates into two groups, Team Buhay(with a check mark) and
Team Patay (with a cross mark). Thecheck mark on Team Buhay and the
cross mark on TeamPatay convey to the public that those belonging to the
TeamBuhay should be voted while those under Team Patay should
be rejected. On its face, it is obvious that the tarpaulin is
petitioners way of endorsing those candidates who voted
against the RH Law and rejecting those who voted for the saidlaw. Petitioner
also admitted in their petitio
n that they have
called on its members and followers not to support anycandidate who is antilife, and to support those who are prolife. These declarationsconfirm that they put up the tarpaulinnot merely to
promote the Churchs position on the RH Law
butto express their support for or against the candidates listedtherein,
depending on who they voted on the RH Law.
o
Section 6 of Resolution 9615 sets the size limit for campaignposters to two
feet by three feet. This is also embodied insection 82 of the Omnibus
Election Code. The subject tarpaulinhas the estimated size of six feet by ten
feet, which is beyondthe maximum allowable size for campaign posters for
privateproperties. In ordering the removal of the tarpaulin, Atty.Marjucom, in
80

her capacity as election officer, merelyenforcedsection 6 of Resolution 9615


and section 82 of theOmnibus Election Code. Similarly, in issuing the
assailed letter,the COMELEC Law Department only acted pursuant to
COMELECs regulatory and supervisory functions under
the 1987Constitution.

supervisory and regulatory powers of the COMELEC under theConstitution


set to some extent a limit on the right to freespeech during the election
period. By ordering the petitioners tocomply with the size requirement, the
COMELEC was exercisingits supervisory and regulatory authority for the
purpose of ensuring equal opportunity for candidates for political office.

Petitioners cannot claim that their right to freedom of expression has been
violated. Petitioners are completely free toexpress their support for or against
any candidate through theuse of campaign posters and other forms of
propaganda,provided they comply with the limitations provided by law
asregards their size.

The assailed notice and letter do not intrude into purelyreligious and
ecclesiastical matters. They do not seek toregulate the content the subject
tarpaulin, but only the size,which respondents found to be in violation of
Resolution 9615and the Omnibus Election Code. On its face, the
subjecttarpaulin does not convey any religious doctrine of the
CatholicChurch. Rather, it is an election propaganda. The fact that
thetarpaulin did not comply with Resolution 9615 and the OmnibusElection
Code gave respondents reason to order its removal,
consistent with COMELECs mandate to regulate and supervise
all form of media communication and information duringelection period.
Thus, respondents did not violate the principleof separation of Church and
State provided in the Constitution.
PRAYER
: The Petition should be dismissed for lack of merit

The assailed notice and letter are not forms of censorship. Theonly reason
that the respondents sought the removal of thetarpaulin is that it failed to
comply with the maximum allowablesize provided by law.
Assuming that the assailed notice and letter amount to
infringement of the petitioners right to freedom of expression,
such encroachment is authorized by the Constitution itself. The
Taada v. Angara G.R. No. 118295 | May 2, 1997
Petitioners: Wigberto Tanada, et al.
Respondents: Edgardo Angara, et al.
Summary: Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the Philippines acceding to the World
Trade Organization for being violative of provisions which are supposed to give preference to
Filipino workers and economy and on the ground that it infringes legislative and judicial
power. The WTO, through it provisions on most favored nation and national treatment,
require that nationals and other member countries are placed in the same footing in terms of
products and services. However, the Court brushed off these contentions and ruled that the
WTO is constitutional. Sections 10 and 12 of Article XII (National Economy and Patrimony)
should be read in relation to Sections 1 and 13 (promoting the general welfare). Also, Section
10 is self-executing only to rights, privileges, and concessions covering national economy
and patrimony but not every aspect of trade and commerce. There are balancing provisions in
the Constitution allowing the Senate to ratify the WTO agreement. Also, the Constitution
doesnt rule out foreign competition. States waive certain amount of sovereignty when
entering into treaties.
Facts:

This case questions the constitutionality of the Philippines being part of the World
Trade Organization, particularly when President Fidel Ramos signed the Instrument
of Ratification and the Senate concurring in the said treaty.
Following World War 2, global financial leaders held a conference in Bretton Woods
to discuss global economy. This led to the establishment of three great institutions:

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), International


Monetary Fund and International Trade Organization.
However, the ITO failed to materialized. Instead, there was the General Agreement
on Trades and Tariffs. It was on the Uruguay Round of the GATT that the WTO was
then established.
The WTO is an institution regulating trade among nations, including the reduction of
tariff and barriers.
Petitioners filed a case assailing the WTO Agreement for violating the mandate of
the 1987 Constitution to develop a self-reliant and independent national economy
effectively controlled by Filipinos, to give preference to qualified Filipinos and to
promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally
produced goods.
It is petitioners position that the national treatment and parity provisions of the
WTO Agreement place nationals and products of member countries on the same
footing as Filipinos and local products, in contravention of the Filipino First
policy of the Constitution. They allegedly render meaningless the phrase
effectively controlled by Filipinos.

Issue 1: Does the petition present a justiciable controversy? YES!


In seeking to nullify the Senates act as being unconstitutional, the petition no doubt raises a
justiciable controversy. It becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to
settle the dispute

81

Issue 2: Do the provisions of the WTO Agreement contravene Section 19, Article II and
Section 10 & 12, Artilce XII of the 1987 Constitution? NO!
Petitioners Contentions:

Petitioners argue that the letter, spirit and intent of the Constitution mandating
economic nationalism are violated by the so-called parity provisions and
national treatment clauses scattered in parts of WTO Agreement
o This is in view of the most-favored nation clause (MFN) of the TRIMS
(trade-related investment measures), TRIPS (Trade Related aspects of
intellectual property rights), Trade in Services, and par. 4 of Article III of
GATT 1994.
o shall be accorded treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like
products of national origin

Sec. 19, Art II:The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national
economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.

Sec. 10, Art XII: Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the formation
and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos. In the grant
of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony,
the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos.

Sec. 12, Art XII: The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor,
domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt measures that help make
them competitive.
Ruling:

These provisions are not self-executing


o Merely guides in the exercise of judicial review and in making laws.

Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII should be read and understood in relation to the other
sections in said article, especially Sec. 1 and 13:
o A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth;
o A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services
o An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life

The issue here is not whether this paragraph of Sec. 10 of Art. XII is self-executing
or not. Rather, the issue is whether, as a rule, there are enough balancing provisions
in the Constitution to allow the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the
WTO Agreement. And we hold that there are.

WTO Recognizes Need to Protect Weak Economies


o Unlike in the UN where major states have permanent seats and veto
powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made on the
basis of sovereign equality, with each members vote equal in weight.

Specific WTO Provisos Protect Developing Countries


o Tariff reduction developed countries must reduce at rate of 36% in 6
years, developing 24% in 10 years
o Domestic subsidy developed countries must reduce 20% over six (6)
years, developing countries at 13% in 10 years
o Export subsidy developed countries, 36% in 6 years; developing
countries, 3/4ths of 36% in 10 years

Constitution Does Not Rule Out Foreign Competition

Encourages industries that are competitive in both domestic and foreign


markets
The Court will not pass upon the advantages and disadvantages of trade
liberalization as an economic policy. It will only perform its constitutional duty of
determining whether the Senate committed grave abuse of discretion
o

Issue 3: Does the text of the WTO and its Annexes limit, restrict or impair the exercise of
legislative power by Congress? NO!

A portion of sovereignty may be waived without violating the Constitution.

While sovereignty has traditionally been deemed absolute and all-encompassing on


the domestic level, it is however subject to restrictions and limitations voluntarily
agreed to by the Philippines, expressly or impliedly, as a member of the family of
nations.

The sovereignty of a state therefore cannot in fact and in reality be considered


absolute. Certain restrictions enter into the picture: limitations imposed by the
nature of membership in the family of nations & limitations imposed by treaty
stipulations.
TANADA, ET.AL VS. ANGARA, ET.AL
GR NO.118295 MAY 2, 1997
FACTS:
Sen. Wigberto Tanada, together with other lawmakers, taxpayers, and various
NGOs , as petitioners, filed a petition before the Supreme Court, to decide the validity of the
action of the President of the Philippines, Fidel V. Ramos, and the Senate in ratifying the
World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement and its three (3) annexes, due to grave abuse of
discretion on the part therein. The petitioners believe that this will be detrimental to the
growth of our National Economy and against to the Filipino First policy.
ISSUES:
1.
Does the petition present a justiciable controversy? Otherwise stated, does the
petition involved a political question over which the court has no jurisdiction?
2.
Do the provisions of the WTO agreement and its three (3) annexes contravene
section 19, Article II, and sections 10 and 12, Article XII, of the Philippine Constitution?
3.
Do the provisions of the said agreement and its annexes limit, restrict, or impair the
exercise of legislative power by congress?
4.
Do said provisions unduly impair or interfere with the exxercise of judicial power by
this court in promulgating rules of evidence?
5.
Was the concurrence of the senate in the WTO Agreement and its annexes sufficient
and/or valid, considering that it did not include the Final Act, Ministerial Declarations and
Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services?
RULING:
1.
The petition raises justiciable controversy in seeking to nullify the act of the
Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the constitution. The question thus posed is
judicial rather than political. Its the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute.

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2.
The WTO provisions do not contravene with our Constitution. The charter
provisions in the Constitution are not self-executing, rather, just declaration of principles
which are not ready for enforcement through the courts and only serve as guides by the
judiciary in their exercise of judicial review, and as an aid by the legislatures in its enactment
of laws. Constitution does not rule out foreign competition. It also favors consumers, and not
industries or enterprises. Lastly, Constitution was designed to meet future events and
contingencies.
3.
International treaties and agreements like this, by their inherent nature really limit or
restrict the absoluteness of sovereignty. Nations by their voluntary act, may surrender some
aspects of their state power in exchange for greater benefits derived from that treaty or
agreement.
4.
WTO Agreement provisions in article 34 of TRIPS, does not contain an
unreasonable burden, consistent as it is with due process and the concept of adversarial
dispute settlement inherent in our judicial system.

5.
A Final Act, sometimes called protocol de cloture, is a summary of the proceedings
over several years, therefore, need not to be ratified. The assailed Senate resolution no.97
expressed concurrence in exactly what the Final Act required from its signatories namely,
concurrence of the senate in the WTO Agreement. The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions
were deemed adopted without need for ratification.
This court will not review the wisdom of the President and the Senate in enlisting the country
into the WTO. Hence, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

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