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8.) Sarmiento III vs Mison
GR No. 79974
December 17, 1987
Petitioners seek to enjoin respondent Mison from performing the functions of the Office
of Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and respondent Carague as Secretary of
the Dept of Budget from disbursing payments for Misons salaries and emoluments on
the ground that Misons appointment as Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs is
unconstitutional by reason of its not having been confirmed by the Commission on
Appointments (CA). On the other hand, respondents maintain the constitutionality of
Misons appointment without the confirmation of the (CA). It is apparent in Sec 16, Art. 7
of the Constitution that there are four groups of officers whom the president shall
(1) the heads of the exec departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and
consuls, officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain,
and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in the Constitution,
(2) all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise
provided for by law,
(3) those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint and
(4) officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the
President alone.
The 1st group is clearly appointed with the consent of the CA. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th
groups are the present bone of contention.
Whether or not the 2nd, 3rd and 4th groups should be appointed by the president with
or without the consent/confirmation of the CA
The fundamental principle of Constitutional construction is to give effect to the intent of
the framers of the organic law and the people adopting it. The Court will thus construe
the applicable constitutional provisions not in accordance with how the executive or the
legislative may want them construed, but in accordance with what they say and provide.

The 1935 Constitution requires confirmation by the CA of all presidential appointments.

This has resulted in horse-trading and similar malpractices. Under the 1973
Constitution, the president has the absolute power of appointment with hardly any check
on the legislature. Given these two extremes, the 1987 Constitution struck a middleground by requiring the consent of the CA for the 1st group of appointments and
leaving to the President without such confirmation the appointments of the other
officers. The clear and expressed intent of the framers of the1987 Constitution is to
exclude presidential appointments from confirmation on the CA except appointments to
offices expressly mentioned in the first sentence of Sec. 16, Art VII. Therefore, the
confirmation on the appointment of Commissioners of the Bureau of Customs by the CA
is not required.
The appointment of Mison without submitting his nomination the CA is within the
constitutional authority of the President.

G.R. No. 86889. December 4, 1990

On June 10, 1988, the President of the Philippines approved R.A. No.
6657, which includes the raising of livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage
On January 2, 1989, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform promulgated the
Guidelines and Procedures Implementing Production and Profit Sharing as
embodied in Sections 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 .
On January 9, 1989, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform promulgated its Rules
and Regulations implementing Section 11 of R.A. No. 6657 (Commercial Farms).
Luz Farms, is a corporation engaged in the livestock and poultry business
and together with others in the same business allegedly stands to be adversely
affected by the enforcement of Section 3(b), Section 11, Section 13, Section
16(d) and 17 and Section 32 of R.A. No. 6657 otherwise known as
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and of the Guidelines and Procedures
Implementing Production and Profit Sharing under R.A. No. 6657 promulgated on

January 2, 1989 and the Rules and Regulations Implementing Section 11 thereof
as promulgated by the DAR on January 9, 1989 .
Hence, this petition praying that aforesaid laws, guidelines and rules be
declared unconstitutional.
Whether or not R.A. No. 6657 (CARL of 1988) is constitutional.

The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter

assure the realization of the purpose of the framers in the adoption of the
Constitution. Ascertainment of the meaning of the provision of Constitution
begins with the language of the document itself.
The transcripts of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission of 1986
on the meaning of the word "agricultural," clearly show that it was never the
intention of the framers of the Constitution to include livestock and poultry
industry in the coverage of the constitutionally-mandated agrarian reform
program of the Government.
The Committee adopted the definition of "agricultural land" as defined under
Section 166 of R.A. 3844, as laud devoted to any growth, including but not
limited to crop lands, saltbeds, fishponds, idle and abandoned land.
It is evident from their discussion that Section II of R.A. 6657 which includes
"private agricultural lands devoted to commercial livestock, poultry and
swine raising" in the definition of "commercial farms" is invalid, to the extent
that the aforecited agro-industrial activities are made to be covered by the
agrarian reform program of the State. There is simply no reason to include
livestock and poultry lands in the coverage of agrarian reform.
Hence, there is merit in Luz Farms' argument that the requirement in
Sections 13 and 32 of R.A. 6657 directing "corporate farms" which include
livestock and poultry raisers to execute and implement "production-sharing
plans" (pending final redistribution of their landholdings) whereby they are
called upon to distribute from three percent (3%) of their gross sales and ten
percent (10%) of their net profits to their workers as additional compensation
is unreasonable for being confiscatory, and therefore violative of due

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. Sections

3(b), 11, 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 insofar as the inclusion of the raising of
livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage as well as the Implementing
Rules and Guidelines promulgated in accordance therewith, are hereby
DECLARED null and void for being unconstitutional and the writ of
preliminary injunction issued is hereby MADE permanent.
G.R. No. 83896 ; 194 SCRA 317 ; February 22, 1991
FACTS: Consolidated petitions are being resolved jointly as both seek for the
declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 284 (EO No. 284)
issued by former President Corazon C. Aquino on July 25, 1987.
EO No. 284 allows members of the Cabinet, their Undersecretaries and Assistant
Secretaries to hold other than their government positions in addition to their
primary positions.

Section 1: A Cabinet member, Undersecretary or Assistant Secretary or other

appointive officials of the Executive Department may, in addition to his primary
position, hold not more than two (2) positions in the government and government
corporations and receive corresponding compensation thereof.

Section 2: If they hold more than the requisites of Section 1, they must relinquish
the excess position in favor of the subordinate official who is next in rank but in no
case shall any officer hold not more than two (2) positions other than his primary

Section 3: At least 1/3 of the members of the boards of such corporation should
either be a Secretary, Undersecretary or Assistant Secretary.

Petitioners are challenging EO No. 284's unconstitutionality as its provisions are in

direct contrast with Section 13, Article VII of the Constitution. According to the
petitioners, the only exceptions against holding any other office or employment in
government are those provided in the Constitution namely: 1) the Vice President
may be appointed as a Cabinet member under Section 3(2) of Article VII; 2) The
Secretary of Justice is and ex-officio of the Judicial and Bar Council by virtue of
Section 8, Article VIII.

Constitutional provisions:

Section 13, Article VII: The President, Vice-President, the Members of the
Cabinet and their Deputies or Assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided by
the Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They
shall not, directly or indirectly, during their tenure, practice any other profession,
participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in
any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision,
agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled
corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in
the conduct of their office.

Section 8, Article VIII: Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary

functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or
employment in the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality
thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their

ISSUE: Whether or not EO No. 284 is constitutional.

HELD: The Court ruled in the negative.
It has been held that 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 legislative intent of both Constitutional provisions is to prevent government
officials from holding multiple positions in the government for self enrichment
which is a betrayal of public trust.
The provisions of EO No. 284 above-mentioned are in direct contradiction to the
express mandate provided by the Constitutional provisions (Sec 13, Art VII and
Sec 8, Art VIII). The Constitution, the fundamental law of the land, shall reign
supreme over any other statute. When there is conflict, it shall be resolved in
favor of the highest law of the land. Thus, the Court held that EO No. 284 is

UNCONSTITUTIONAL. As a result, DENR Secretary Fulgenio Factoran, Jr., DILF

Secretary Luis Santos, DOH Secretary Alfredo Bengzon and DBM Secretary
Guillermo Carague are ordered to immediately relinquish their offices and
11.) Humberto Basco vs Philippine Amusements and Gaming
197 SCRA 52 ; G.R. No 91649, May 14, 1991
In 1977, the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was
created by Presidential Decree 1067-A. PD 1067-B meanwhile granted PAGCOR the
power to establish, operate and maintain gambling casinos on land or water within the
territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines. PAGCORs operation was a success hence in
1978, PD 1399 was passed which expanded PAGCORs power. In 1983, PAGCORs
charter was updated through PD 1869. PAGCORs charter provides that PAGCOR
shall regulate and centralize all games of chance authorized by existing franchise or
permitted by law. Section 1 of PD 1869 provides :
Section 1.

Declaration of Policy.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to

centralize and integrate all games of chance not heretofore authorized by existing franchises or
permitted by law.

Atty. Humberto Basco and several other lawyers assailed the validity of the law creating
PAGCOR. They claim that PD 1869 is unconstitutional because a) it violates the equal
protection clause and b) it violates the local autonomy clause of the constitution.
Basco et al argued that PD 1869 violates the equal protection clause because it
legalizes PAGCOR-conducted gambling, while most other forms of gambling are
outlawed, together with prostitution, drug trafficking and other vices.
Anent the issue of local autonomy, Basco et al contend that P.D. 1869 forced cities
like Manila to waive its right to impose taxes and legal fees as far as PAGCOR is
concerned; that Section 13 par. (2) of P.D. 1869 which exempts PAGCOR, as the
franchise holder from paying any tax of any kind or form, income or otherwise, as well

as fees, charges or levies of whatever nature, whether National or Local is violative of

the local autonomy principle.
1. Whether or not PD 1869 violates the equal protection clause.
2. Whether or not PD 1869 violates the local autonomy clause.
1. No. Just how PD 1869 in legalizing gambling conducted by PAGCOR is violative of
the equal protection is not clearly explained in Bascos petition. The mere fact that some
gambling activities like cockfighting (PD 449) horse racing (RA 306 as amended by RA
983), sweepstakes, lotteries and races (RA 1169 as amended by BP 42) are legalized
under certain conditions, while others are prohibited, does not render the applicable
laws, PD. 1869 for one, unconstitutional.
Bascos posture ignores the well-accepted meaning of the clause equal protection of
the laws. The clause does not preclude classification of individuals who may be
accorded different treatment under the law as long as the classification is not
unreasonable or arbitrary. A law does not have to operate in equal force on all persons
or things to be conformable to Article III, Sec 1 of the Constitution. The equal protection
clause does not prohibit the Legislature from establishing classes of individuals or
objects upon which different rules shall operate. The Constitution does not require
situations which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were
the same.
2. No. Section 5, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own source of revenue
and to levy taxes, fees, and other charges subject to such guidelines and limitation as
the congress may provide, consistent with the basic policy on local autonomy. Such
taxes, fees and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local government.

A close reading of the above provision does not violate local autonomy (particularly on
taxing powers) as it was clearly stated that the taxing power of LGUs are subject to
such guidelines and limitation as Congress may provide.
Further, the City of Manila, being a mere Municipal corporation has no inherent right to
impose taxes. The Charter of the City of Manila is subject to control by Congress. It
should be stressed that municipal corporations are mere creatures of Congress which
has the power to create and abolish municipal corporations due to its general
legislative powers. Congress, therefore, has the power of control over Local
governments. And if Congress can grant the City of Manila the power to tax certain
matters, it can also provide for exemptions or even take back the power.
Further still, local governments have no power to tax instrumentalities of the National
Government. PAGCOR is a government owned or controlled corporation with an original
charter, PD 1869. All of its shares of stocks are owned by the National Government.
Otherwise, its operation might be burdened, impeded or subjected to control by a mere
Local government.
This doctrine emanates from the supremacy of the National Government over local


G.R. No. 119976 ; September 18, 1995

Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS

G.R. No. 122156, February 3, 1997, 267 SCRA 408
The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), pursuant to the privatization
program of the Philippine Government under Proclamation 50 dated 8 December 1986,
decided to sell through public bidding 30% to 51% of the issued and outstanding shares
of the Manila Hotel (MHC). In a close bidding held on 18 September 1995 only two
bidders participated: Manila Prince Hotel Corporation, a Filipino corporation, which
offered to buy 51% of the MHC or 15,300,000 shares at P41.58 per share, and Renong

Berhad, a Malaysian firm, with ITT-Sheraton as its hotel operator, which bid for the
same number of shares at P44.00 per share, or P2.42 more than the bid of petitioner.
Pending the declaration of Renong Berhard as the winning bidder/strategic partner and
the execution of the necessary contracts, the Manila Prince Hotel matched the bid price
of P44.00 per share tendered by Renong Berhad in a letter to GSIS dated 28
September 1995. Manila Prince Hotel sent a managers check to the GSIS in a
subsequent letter, but which GSIS refused to accept. On 17 October 1995, perhaps
apprehensive that GSIS has disregarded the tender of the matching bid and that the
sale of 51% of the MHC may be hastened by GSIS and consummated with Renong
Berhad, Manila Prince Hotel came to the Court on prohibition and mandamus.
(1) Whether the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article XII Section 10, are
(2) Whether the 51% share is part of the national patrimony.
A provision which lays down a general principle, such as those found in Article II of the
1987 Constitution, is usually not self-executing. But a provision which is complete in
itself and becomes operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling legislation, or
that which supplies sufficient rule by means of which the right it grants may be enjoyed
or protected, is self-executing. Thus a constitutional provision is self-executing if the
nature and extent of the right conferred and the liability imposed are fixed by the
constitution itself, so that they can be determined by an examination and construction of
its terms, and there is no language indicating that the subject is referred to the
legislature for action. In self-executing constitutional provisions, the legislature may still
enact legislation to facilitate the exercise of powers directly granted by the constitution,
further the operation of such a provision, prescribe a practice to be used for its
enforcement, provide a convenient remedy for the protection of the rights secured or the
determination thereof, or place reasonable safeguards around the exercise of the right.
The mere fact that legislation may supplement and add to or prescribe a penalty for the
violation of a self-executing constitutional provision does not render such a provision
ineffective in the absence of such legislation. The omission from a constitution of any
express provision for a remedy for enforcing a right or liability is not necessarily an
indication that it was not intended to be self-executing. The rule is that a self-executing
provision of the constitution does not necessarily exhaust legislative power on the
subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with the constitution, further the exercise
of constitutional right and make it more available. Subsequent legislation however does

not necessarily mean that the subject constitutional provision is not, by itself, fully
enforceable. As against constitutions of the past, modern constitutions have been
generally drafted upon a different principle and have often become in effect extensive
codes of laws intended to operate directly upon the people in a manner similar to that of
statutory enactments, and the function of constitutional conventions has evolved into
one more like that of a legislative body. Hence, unless it is expressly provided that a
legislative act is necessary to enforce a constitutional mandate, the presumption now is
that all provisions of the constitution are self-executing. If the constitutional provisions
are treated as requiring legislation instead of self-executing, the legislature would have
the power to ignore and practically nullify the mandate of the fundamental law. In fine,
Section 10, second paragraph, Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive
command which is complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or
implementing laws or rules for its enforcement. From its very words the provision does
not require any legislation to put it in operation.
In its plain and ordinary meaning, the term patrimony pertains to heritage. When the
Constitution speaks of national patrimony, it refers not only to the natural resources of
the Philippines, as the Constitution could have very well used the term natural
resources, but also to the cultural heritage of the Filipinos. It also refers to Filipinos
intelligence in arts, sciences and letters. In the present case, Manila Hotel has become
a landmark, a living testimonial of Philippine heritage. While it was restrictively an
American hotel when it first opened in 1912, a concourse for the elite, it has since then
become the venue of various significant events which have shaped Philippine history. In
the granting of economic rights, privileges, and concessions, especially on matters
involving national patrimony, when a choice has to be made between a qualified
foreigner and a qualified Filipino, the latter shall be chosen over the former.
The Supreme Court directed the GSIS, the Manila Hotel Corporation, the Committee on
Privatization and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel to cease and desist
from selling 51% of the Share of the MHC to Renong Berhad, and to accept the
matching bid of Manila Prince Hotel at P44 per shere and thereafter execute the
necessary agreements and document to effect the sale, to issue the necessary
clearances and to do such other acts and deeds as may be necessary for the purpose.
G.R. No. 109406, September 11, 1998

On Feb. 21, 1992, then Pres. Aquino issued AO 268 which granted each



incentive benefits in












employees one month basic salary but which amount not be less than P2,
000.00. Said AO provided that the productivity incentive benefits shall be
granted only for the year 1991. Accordingly, all heads of agencies, including
government boards of government-owned or controlled corporations and
financial institutions, are strictly prohibited from granting productivity
incentive benefits for the year 1992 and future years pending the result of a
comprehensive study being undertaken by the Office of the President.
The petitioners, who are officials and employees of several government
departments and agencies, were paid incentive benefits for the year 1992.
Then, on Jan. 19, 1993, then Pres. Ramos issued AO 29 authorizing the
grant of productivity incentive benefits for the year 1992 in the maximum
amount of P1,000.00 and reiterating the prohibition under Sec. 7 of AO 268,
enjoining the grant of productivity incentive benefits without prior approval
of the President. Sec. 4 of AO 29 directed all departments, offices
and agencies which authorized payment of productivity incentive bonus for
the year 1992 in excess of P1, 000.00 to immediately cause the refund of
the excess. In compliance therewith, the heads of the departments or
agencies of








petitioners salaries or allowances of the amounts needed to cover the

alleged overpayments.
Whether or not AO 29 and AO 268 were issued in the valid exercise of
presidential control over the executive departments

The Pres. is the head of the government. Governmental power and authority
are exercised and implemented through him. His power includes the control
of executive departments as provided under Sec. 17, Art. VII of the
Control means the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside what a
subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to
substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter. The Pres. can, by
virtue of his power of control, review, modify, alter or nullify any action or
decision of his subordinate in the executive departments, bureau or offices
under him.
When the Pres. issued AO 29 limiting the amount of incentive benefits,
enjoining heads of government agencies from granting incentive benefits
without approval from him and directing the refund of the excess over the
prescribed amount, the Pres. was just exercising his power of control over
executive departments.
The Pres. issued subject AOs to regulate the grant of productivity incentive
benefits and to prevent discontent, dissatisfaction and demoralization among
government personnel by committing limited resources of government for
the equal payment of incentives and awards. The Pres. was only exercising




government agencies who


modifying the

acts of


granted incentive benefits to





without appropriate clearance from the Office of the Pres., thereby resulting
in the uneven distribution of government resources.
The Presidents duty to execute the law is of constitutional origin. So, too, is
his control of executive departments.


G.R. No. 138570, October 10, 2000


The Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America entered
into an agreement called the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). The agreement
was treated as a treaty by the Philippine government and was ratified by thenPresident Joseph Estrada with the concurrence of 2/3 of the total membership of
the Philippine Senate.
The VFA defines the treatment of U.S. troops and personnel visiting the
Philippines. It provides for the guidelines to govern such visits, and further
defines the rights of the U.S. and the Philippine governments in the matter of
criminal jurisdiction, movement of vessel and aircraft, importation and exportation
of equipment, materials and supplies.
Petitioners argued, inter alia, that the VFA violates 25, Article XVIII of the
1987 Constitution, which provides that foreign military bases, troops, or facilities
shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by
the Senate . . . and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.
Was the VFA unconstitutional?
NO, the VFA is not unconstitutional.
Section 25, Article XVIII disallows foreign military bases, troops, or facilities
in the country, unless the following conditions are sufficiently met, viz: (a) it must
be under a treaty; (b) the treaty must be duly concurred in by the Senate and,
when so required by congress, ratified by a majority of the votes 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 the VFA. The concurrence handed by the Senate through Resolution No. 18 is
in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution . . . the provision in [in 25,
Article XVIII] requiring ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a national
referendum being unnecessary since Congress has not required it.



This Court is of the firm view that the phrase recognized as a

treaty means that the other contracting party accepts or acknowledges the
agreement as a treaty. To require the other contracting state, the United States of
America in this case, to submit the VFA to the United States Senate for

concurrence pursuant to its Constitution, is to accord strict meaning to the

Well-entrenched is the principle that the words used in the Constitution are
to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed,
in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails. Its language
should be understood in the sense they have in common use.
Moreover, 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. To be sure, as long as the VFA possesses
the elements of an agreement under international law, the said agreement is to
be taken equally as a treaty.



The records reveal that the United States Government, through

Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard, has stated that the United States government
has fully committed to living up to the terms of the VFA. For as long as the United
States of America accepts or acknowledges the VFA as a treaty, and binds itself
further to comply with its obligations under the treaty, there is indeed marked
compliance with the mandate of the Constitution.
15.) Ang Bagong Bayani- OFW Labor Party vs.
Ang Bagong Bayani- OFW LABOR PARTY Go! Go! Philippines
G.R. No. 147589 June 26, 2001
Panganiban, J.:

Herein case involves two Petitions under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
challenging Omnibus Resolution No. 3785 issued by the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC) on March 26, 2001. This Resolution approved the
participation of 154 organizations and parties, including those herein impleaded,
in the 2001 party-list elections. Petitioners seek the disqualification of private
respondents, arguing mainly that the party-list system was intended to benefit
the marginalized and underrepresented; not the mainstream political parties, the
non-marginalized or overrepresented.

1.Whether or not political parties may participate in the party-list elections.
2.Whether or not the party-list system is exclusive to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors and organizations.
3.Whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in
promulgating Omnibus Resolution No. 3785.
1. Yes. Under the Constitution and RA 7941, private respondents cannot be
disqualified from the party-list elections, merely on the ground that they are
political parties. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution provides that members
of the House of Representatives may be elected through a party-list system of
registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
2. Yes. The requisite character of these parties or organizations must be
consistent with the purpose of the party-list system, as laid down in the
Constitution and RA 7941. (e.g. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution)
While the enumeration of marginalized and underrepresented sectors is not
exclusive, it demonstrates the clear intent of the law that not all sectors can be
represented under the party-list system. It is a fundamental principle of statutory
construction that words employed in a statute are interpreted in connection with,
and their meaning is ascertained by reference to, the words and the phrases with
which they are associated or related. Thus, the meaning of a term in a statute may
be limited, qualified or specialized by those in immediate association.



July 10, 2003


G.R. No. 160261. November 10, 2003.

On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution,
sponsored by Representative Felix William D. Fuentebella, which directed the
Committee on Justice "to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the
manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)." On June 2, 2003, former
President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint against Chief
Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices of this Court for
"culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other high
crimes." The complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico,
Ronaldo B. Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen, and was referred to the
House Committee. The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003
that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form," but voted to dismiss
the same on October 22, 2003 for being insufficient in substance. To date, the
Committee Report to this effect has not yet been sent to the House in plenary in
accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. Four
months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or
on October 23, 2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to
dismiss it, the second impeachment complaint was filed with the Secretary
General of the House by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix
William B. Fuentebella against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on
the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House
Resolution. This second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a
"Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of
all the Members of the House of Representatives.

1. Whether or not 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.

2. Whether the resolution thereof is a political question has resulted in a

political crisis.
1. Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the
impeachment complaint and referral to the House Committee on Justice, the
initial action taken thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes
clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing
manner, another may not be filed against the same official within a one year
period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution. In fine, considering
that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of
this Court, on June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on
August 5, 2003, the second impeachment complaint filed by Representatives
Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella against the Chief Justice
on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation of
impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a oneyear period.
2. 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.

Political questions are 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.

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.

The Court held that it has no jurisdiction over the issue that goes into the merits of the second
impeachment complaint. More importantly, any discussion of this 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.

Randolf S. David v. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

G.R. No. 171396, May 3, 2006 (and other consolidated

On February 24, 2006, as the Filipino nation celebrated the 20th
Anniversary of the EDSA People Power I, President Arroyo issued PP 1017,
implemented by G.O. No. 5, declaring a state of national emergency, thus:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by
Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: The President. . . whenever it
becomes necessary, . . . may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress. . .rebellion. . ., and in
my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to
maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as
well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees,
orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section
17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

In their presentation of the factual bases of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5,

respondents stated that the proximate cause behind the executive issuances was

the conspiracy among some military officers, leftist insurgents of the New
Peoples Army, and some members of the political opposition in a plot to unseat
or assassinate President Arroyo.They considered the aim to oust or assassinate
the President and take-over the reins of government as a clear and present
Petitioners David and Llamas were arrested without warrants on February
24, 2006 on their way to EDSA. Meanwhile, the offices of the newspaper Daily
Tribune, which was perceived to be anti-Arroyo, was searched without warrant at
about 1:00 A.M. on February 25, 2006. Seized from the premises in the
absence of any official of the Daily Tribune except the security guard of the
building were several materials for publication. The law enforcers, a composite
team of PNP and AFP officers, cited as basis of the warrantless arrests and the
warrantless search and seizure was Presidential Proclamation 1017 issued by
then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the exercise of her constitutional
power to call out the Armed Forces of the Philippines to prevent or suppress
lawless violence.

1. Were the warrantless arrests of petitioners David, et al., made pursuant to PP
1017, valid?
2. Was the warrantless search and seizure on the Daily Tribunes offices conducted
pursuant to PP 1017 valid?
1. NO, the warrantless arrests of petitioners David, et al., made
pursuant to PP 1017, were NOT valid.
[S]earches, seizures and arrests are normally unreasonable unless
authorized by a validly issued search warrant or warrant of arrest. Section 5,
Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides [for the following
circumstances of valid warrantless arrests]:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without
a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting
to commit an offense.
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
x x x.

Neither of the [provisions on in flagrante nor hot pursuit warrantless

arrests] justifies petitioner Davids warrantless arrest. During the inquest for the
charges of inciting to sedition and violation of BP 880, all that the arresting
officers could invoke was their observation that some rallyists were wearing tshirts with the invective Oust Gloria Now and their erroneous assumption that
petitioner David was the leader of the rally. Consequently, the Inquest Prosecutor
ordered his immediate release on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. He
noted that petitioner David was not wearing the subject t-shirt and even if he was
wearing it, such fact is insufficient to charge him with inciting to sedition.
2. NO, the warrantless search and seizure on
Tribunes offices conducted pursuant to PP 1017 was NOT valid.

the Daily

[T]he search [and seizure in the Daily Tribune premises] is illegal. Rule 126
of The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure lays down the steps in the conduct
of search and seizure. Section 4 requires that a search warrant be issued upon
probable cause in connection with one specific offence to be determined
personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce. Section 8 mandates that the
search of a house, room, or any other premise be made in the presence of the
lawful occupant thereof or any member of his family or in the absence of the
latter, in the presence of two (2) witnesses of sufficient age and discretion
residing in the same locality. And Section 9 states that the warrant must direct
that it be served in the daytime, unless the property is on the person or in the
place ordered to be searched, in which case a direction may be inserted that it be
served at any time of the day or night. All these rules were violated by the CIDG
18.) Macalintal v. Presidential Electoral Tribunal
G.R. No. 191618 ; November 23, 2010

Nachura, J.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal questions the constitutionality of the Presidential Electoral
Tribunal (PET) on the grounds that it violates Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution.
The petitioner chafes the creation of the separate tribunal which was complemented
by a budget allocation, a seal, a set of personnel and confidential employees, to effect
the constitutional mandate.
ISSUE: Whether the petitioner has locus standi to file the instant petition.
NO. The petitioner does not possess the locus standi in filing the instant petition as he
was unmistakably estopped in assailing the jurisdiction of the PET before which tribunal
he had ubiquitously appeared and had acknowledge its jurisdiction in 2004 therefore
making the petitioners standing still imperiled by thee white elephant in the petition.
Judicial inquiry requires that the constitutional question be raised at the earliest possible
opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of the Tribunals constitution. The 1987
Constitution introduces an innovation about the Supreme Courts independence as cited
in Section 4, Article VII. The judicial power expanded, but it remained absolute.



G.R. No. 193459 : February 15, 2011

On July 22, 2010, private respondents Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel,

(Baraquel group) filed an impeachment complaint against petitioner. On August
3, 2010, private respondents Renato Reyes (Reyes group) filed another
impeachment complaint. Both impeachment complaints were endorsed by
different Party-List Representatives.
On August 10, 2010, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, as chairperson
of the Committee on Rules, instructed the Deputy Secretary General for

Operations to include the two complaints in the Order of Business, which was
complied with by their inclusion in the Order of Business for the following day.
On August 11, 2010 at 4:47 p.m., during its plenary session, the House of
Representatives simultaneously referred both complaints to public respondent.
After hearing, public respondent, by Resolution of September 1, 2010, found both
complaints sufficient in form, which complaints it considered to have been
referred to it at exactly the same time.
Meanwhile, the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings of the 15th
Congress was published on September 2, 2010. On September 6, 2010, petitioner
tried to file a motion to reconsider the September 1, 2010 Resolution of public
respondent. Public respondent refused to accept the motion, however, for
prematurity; instead, it advised petitioner to await the notice for her to file an
answer to the complaints, drawing petitioner to furnish copies of her motion to
each of the 55 members of public respondent.
After hearing, public respondent, by Resolution of September 7, 2010, found the
two complaints, which both allege culpable violation of the Constitution and
betrayal of public trust, sufficient in substance. The determination of the
sufficiency of substance of the complaints by public respondent, which assumed
hypothetically the truth of their allegations, hinged on the issue of whether valid
judgment to impeach could be rendered thereon. Petitioner was served also on
September 7, 2010 a notice directing her to file an answer to the complaints
within 10 days.
Issue: When is impeachment deemed initiated? (Does the present
impeachment complaint violate the one-year bar rule under the Constitution?)

Held: The one-year bar rule. Article XI, Section 3, paragraph (5) of the
Constitution reads: No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the
same official more than once within a period of one year.
Petitioner reckons the start of the one-year bar from the filing of the first
impeachment complaint against her on July 22, 2010 or four days before the
opening on July 26, 2010 of the 15th Congress. She posits that within one year
from July 22, 2010, no second impeachment complaint may be accepted and
referred to public respondent.
Following petitioners line of reasoning, the verification of the complaint or the
endorsement by a member of the House steps done prior to the filing would
already initiate the impeachment proceedings. Contrary to petitioners emphasis
on impeachment complaint, what the Constitution mentions is impeachment
proceedings. Her reliance on the singular tense of the word complaint to
denote the limit prescribed by the Constitution goes against the basic rule of
statutory construction that a word covers its enlarged and plural sense.
The Court, of course, does not downplay the importance of an impeachment
complaint, for it is the matchstick that kindles the candle of impeachment
proceedings. The filing of an impeachment complaint is like the lighting of a
matchstick. Lighting the matchstick alone, however, cannot light up the candle,
unless the lighted matchstick reaches or torches the candle wick. Referring the
complaint to the proper committee ignites the impeachment proceeding. With a
simultaneous referral of multiple complaints filed, more than one lighted
matchsticks light the candle at the same time. What is important is that there
should only be ONE CANDLE that is kindled in a year, such that once the candle
starts burning, subsequent matchsticks can no longer rekindle the candle.
Under the Rules of the House, a motion to refer is not among those motions that
shall be decided without debate, but any debate thereon is only made subject to
the five-minute rule. Moreover, it is common parliamentary practice that a

motion to refer a matter or question to a committee may be debated upon, not as

to the merits thereof, but only as to the propriety of the referral. With respect to
complaints for impeachment, the House has the discretion not to refer a
subsequent impeachment complaint to the Committee on Justice where official
records and further debate show that an impeachment complaint filed against the
same impeachable officer has already been referred to the said committee and the
one year period has not yet expired, lest it becomes instrumental in perpetrating
a constitutionally prohibited second impeachment proceeding. Far from being
mechanical, before the referral stage, a period of deliberation is afforded the
House, as the Constitution, in fact, grants a maximum of three session days
within which to make the proper referral.
As mentioned, one limitation imposed on the House in initiating an
impeachment proceeding deals with deadlines. The Constitution states that [a]
verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of
Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution or 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
x x x We ought to be guided by the doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere.
As pointed out in Francisco, the impeachment proceeding is not 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.

Allowing an expansive construction of the term initiate beyond the act of

referral allows the unmitigated influx of successive complaints, each having their
own respective 60-session-day period of disposition from referral. Worse, the
Committee shall conduct overlapping hearings until and unless the disposition of
one of the complaints ends with the affirmance of a resolution for impeachment
or the overriding[ of a contrary resolution (as espoused by public respondent), or
the House transmits the Articles of Impeachment (as advocated by the Reyes
group), or the Committee on Justice concludes its first report to the House
plenary regardless of the recommendation (as posited by respondent-intervenor).
Each of these scenarios runs roughshod the very purpose behind the
constitutionally imposed one-year bar. Opening the floodgates too loosely would
disrupt the series of steps operating in unison under one proceeding.
20.) Wilson P. Gamboa v. Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, et al.,
G.R. No. 176579, June 28, 2011

This is a petition to nullify the sale of shares of stock of Philippine
Telecommunications Investment Corporation (PTIC) by the government of the
Republic of the Philippines, acting through the Inter-Agency Privatization Council
(IPC), to Metro Pacific Assets Holdings, Inc. (MPAH), an affiliate of First Pacific
Company Limited (First Pacific), a Hong Kong-based investment management
and holding company and a shareholder of the Philippine Long Distance
Telephone Company (PLDT).
The petitioner questioned the sale on the ground that it also involved an
indirect sale of 12 million shares (or about 6.3 percent of the outstanding
common shares) of PLDT owned by PTIC to First Pacific. With the this sale, First
Pacifics common shareholdings in PLDT increased from 30.7 percent to 37
percent, thereby increasing the total common shareholdings of foreigners in
PLDT to about 81.47%. This, according to the petitioner, violates Section 11,

Article XII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which limits foreign ownership of
the capital of a public utility to not more than 40%, thus:
Section 11. No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of
a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or
associations organized under the laws of the Philippines, at least sixty per centum of whose
capital is owned by such citizens; nor shall such franchise, certificate, or authorization be exclusive in
character or for a longer period than fifty years. Neither shall any such franchise or right be granted
except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress
when the common good so requires. The State shall encourage equity participation in public utilities by
the general public. The participation of foreign investors in the governing body of any public utility
enterprise shall be limited to their proportionate share in its capital, and all the executive and managing
officers of such corporation or association must be citizens of the Philippines. (Emphasis supplied)

Does the term capital in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution refer to
the total common shares only, or to the total outstanding capital stock (combined
total of common and non-voting preferred shares) of PLDT, a public utility?
Considering that common shares have voting rights which translate to
control, as opposed to preferred shares which usually have no voting rights, the
term capital in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution refers only to common
shares. However, if the preferred shares also have the right to vote in the election
of directors, then the term capital shall include such preferred shares because
the right to participate in the control or management of the corporation is
exercised through the right to vote in the election of directors. In short, the term
capital in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution refers only to shares
of stock that can vote in the election of directors.
To construe broadly the term capital as the total outstanding capital stock,
including both common and non-voting preferred shares, grossly contravenes the
intent and letter of the Constitution that the State shall develop a self-reliant and
independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos. A broad

definition unjustifiably disregards who owns the all-important voting stock, which
necessarily equates to control of the public utility.
Holders of PLDT preferred shares are explicitly denied of the right to vote
in the election of directors. PLDTs Articles of Incorporation expressly state that
the holders of Serial Preferred Stock shall not be entitled to vote at any
meeting of the stockholders for the election of directors or for any other
purpose or otherwise participate in any action taken by the corporation or its
stockholders, or to receive notice of any meeting of stockholders. On the other
hand, holders of common shares are granted the exclusive right to vote in the
election of directors. PLDTs Articles of Incorporation state that each holder of
Common Capital Stock shall have one vote in respect of each share of such
stock held by him on all matters voted upon by the stockholders, and the
holders of Common Capital Stock shall have the exclusive right to vote for
the election of directors and for all other purposes.
It must be stressed, and respondents do not dispute, that foreigners hold a
majority of the common shares of PLDT. In fact, based on PLDTs 2010 General
Information Sheet (GIS), which is a document required to be submitted annually
to the Securities and Exchange Commission, foreigners hold 64.27% of the total
number of PLDTs common shares, while Filipinos hold only 35.73%. Since
holding a majority of the common shares equates to control, it is clear that
foreigners exercise control over PLDT. Such amount of control unmistakably
exceeds the allowable 40 percent limit on foreign ownership of public utilities
expressly mandated in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution.
Filipinos hold less than 60 percent of the voting stock, and earn less than
60 percent of the dividends, of PLDT. This directly contravenes the express
command in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution that [n]o franchise,
certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility
shall be granted except to x x x corporations x x x organized under the laws of
the Philippines, at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such
citizens x x x.

To repeat, (1) foreigners own 64.27% of the common shares of PLDT,

which class of shares exercises the sole right to vote in the election of directors,
and thus exercise control over PLDT; (2) Filipinos own only 35.73% of PLDTs
common shares, constituting a minority of the voting stock, and thus do not
exercise control over PLDT; (3) preferred shares, 99.44% owned by Filipinos,
have no voting rights; (4) preferred shares earn only 1/70 of the dividends that
common shares earn; (5) preferred shares have twice the par value of common
shares; and (6) preferred shares constitute 77.85% of the authorized capital
stock of PLDT and common shares only 22.15%. This kind of ownership and
control of a public utility is a mockery of the Constitution.


G.R. No. 192791, April 24, 2012
Funa challenges the constitutionality of the appointment of Reynaldo A. Villar as
Chairman of the COA.
Following the retirement of Carague on February 2, 2008 and during the fourth year of
Villar as COA Commissioner, Villar was designated as Acting Chairman of COA from
February 4, 2008 to April 14, 2008. Subsequently, on April 18, 2008, Villar was
nominated and appointed as Chairman of the COA. Shortly thereafter, on June 11, 2008,
the Commission on Appointments confirmed his appointment. He was to serve as
Chairman of COA, as expressly indicated in the appointment papers, until the expiration
of the original term of his office as COA Commissioner or on February 2, 2011.
Challenged in this recourse, Villar, in an obvious bid to lend color of title to his hold on
the chairmanship, insists that his appointment as COA Chairman accorded him a fresh
term of 7 years which is yet to lapse. He would argue, in fine, that his term of office, as
such chairman, is up to February 2, 2015, or 7 years reckoned from February 2, 2008
when he was appointed to that position.
Before the Court could resolve this petition, Villar, via a letter dated February 22, 2011
addressed to President Benigno S. Aquino III, signified his intention to step down from
office upon the appointment of his replacement. True to his word, Villar vacated his
position when President Benigno Simeon Aquino III named Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan
(Chairman Tan) COA Chairman. This development has rendered this petition and the
main issue tendered therein moot and academic.

Although deemed moot due to the intervening appointment of Chairman Tan and the
resignation of Villar, We consider the instant case as falling within the requirements for
review of a moot and academic case, since it asserts at least four exceptions to the
mootness rule discussed in David vs Macapagal Arroyo namely:
a. There is a grave violation of the Constitution;
b. The case involves a situation of exceptional character and is of paramount public
c. The constitutional issue raised requires the formulation of controlling principles to
guide the bench, the bar and the public;
d. The case is capable of repetition yet evading review.
The procedural aspect comes down to the question of whether or not the following
requisites for the exercise of judicial review of an executive act obtain in this petition,
a. There must be an actual case or justiciable controversy before the court
b. The question before it must be ripe for adjudication;
c. The person challenging the act must be a proper party; and
d. The issue of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity and must be
the very litis mota of the case
a. WON the petitioner has Locus Standi to bring the case to court
b. WON Villars appointment as COA Chairman, while sitting in that body and after
having served for four (4) years of his seven (7) year term as COA commissioner, is valid
in light of the term limitations imposed under, and the circumscribing concepts tucked
in, Sec. 1 (2), Art. IX(D) of the Constitution
Issue of Locus Standi: This case before us is of transcendental importance, since it
obviously has far-reaching implications, and there is a need to promulgate rules that
will guide the bench, bar, and the public in future analogous cases. We, thus, assume a
liberal stance and allow petitioner to institute the instant petition.
In David vs Macapagal Arroyo, the Court laid out the bare minimum norm before the
so-called non-traditional suitors may be extended standing to sue, thusly:
a. For taxpayers, there must be a claim of illegal disbursement of public funds or that
the tax measure is unconstitutional;
b. For voters, there must be a showing of obvious interest in the validity of the election
law in question
c. For concerned citizens, there must be a showing that the issues raised are of
transcendental importance which must be settled early; and
d. For legislators, there must be a claim that the official action complained of infringes
their prerogatives as legislators.

On the substantive issue:

Sec. 1 (2), Art. IX(D) of the Constitution provides that:
(2) The Chairman and Commissioners [on Audit] shall be appointed by the President
with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without
reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for seven years,
one commissioner for five years, and the other commissioner for three years, without
reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired portion of
the term of the predecessor. In no case shall any member be appointed or designated in
a temporary or acting capacity.
Petitioner now asseverates the view that Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D) of the 1987 Constitution
proscribes reappointment of any kind within the commission, the point being that a
second appointment, be it for the same position (commissioner to another position of
commissioner) or upgraded position (commissioner to chairperson) is a prohibited
reappointment and is a nullity ab initio.
The Court finds petitioners position bereft of merit. The flaw lies in regarding the word
reappointment as, in context, embracing any and all species of appointment. The rule
is that if a statute or constitutional provision is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it
must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation.
The first sentence is unequivocal enough. The COA Chairman shall be appointed by the
President for a term of seven years, and if he has served the full term, then he can no
longer be reappointed or extended another appointment. In the same vein, a
Commissioner who was appointed for a term of seven years who likewise served the full
term is barred from being reappointed. In short, once the Chairman or Commissioner
shall have served the full term of seven years, then he can no longer be reappointed to
either the position of Chairman or Commissioner. The obvious intent of the framers is to
prevent the president from dominating the Commission by allowing him to appoint an
additional or two more commissioners.
On the other hand, the provision, on its face, does not prohibit a promotional
appointment from commissioner to chairman as long as the commissioner has not
served the full term of seven years, further qualified by the third sentence of Sec. 1(2),
Article IX (D) that the appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired
portion of the term of the predecessor. In addition, such promotional appointment to
the position of Chairman must conform to the rotational plan or the staggering of terms
in the commission membership such that the aggregate of the service of the
Commissioner in said position and the term to which he will be appointed to the
position of Chairman must not exceed seven years so as not to disrupt the rotational
system in the commission prescribed by Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D).

In conclusion, there is nothing in Sec. 1(2), Article IX(D) that explicitly precludes a
promotional appointment from Commissioner to Chairman, provided it is made under
the aforestated circumstances or conditions.
The Court is likewise unable to sustain Villars proposition that his promotional
appointment as COA Chairman gave him a completely fresh 7- year termfrom
February 2008 to February 2015given his four (4)-year tenure as COA commissioner
devalues all the past pronouncements made by this Court. While there had been
divergence of opinion as to the import of the word reappointment, there has been
unanimity on the dictum that in no case can one be a COA member, either as chairman
or commissioner, or a mix of both positions, for an aggregate term of more than 7 years.
A contrary view would allow a circumvention of the aggregate 7-year service limitation
and would be constitutionally offensive as it would wreak havoc to the spirit of the
rotational system of succession.
In net effect, then President Macapagal-Arroyo could not have had, under any
circumstance, validly appointed Villar as COA Chairman, for a full 7- year appointment,
as the Constitution decrees, was not legally feasible in light of the 7-year aggregate rule.
Villar had already served 4 years of his 7-year term as COA Commissioner. A shorter
term, however, to comply with said rule would also be invalid as the corresponding
appointment would effectively breach the clear purpose of the Constitution of giving to
every appointee so appointed subsequent to the first set of commissioners, a fixed term
of office of 7 years. To recapitulate, a COA commissioner like respondent Villar who
serves for a period less than seven (7) years cannot be appointed as chairman when such
position became vacant as a result of the expiration of the 7-year term of the predecessor
(Carague). Such appointment to a full term is not valid and constitutional, as the
appointee will be allowed to serve more than seven (7) years under the constitutional
To sum up, the Court restates its ruling on Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D) of the Constitution, viz:
1. The appointment of members of any of the three constitutional commissions, after the
expiration of the uneven terms of office of the first set of commissioners, shall always be
for a fixed term of seven (7) years; an appointment for a lesser period is void and
unconstitutional. The appointing authority cannot validly shorten the full term of seven
(7) years in case of the expiration of the term as this will result in the distortion of the
rotational system prescribed by the Constitution.
2. Appointments to vacancies resulting from certain causes (death, resignation,
disability or impeachment) shall only be for the unexpired portion of the term of the
predecessor, but such appointments cannot be less than the unexpired portion as this
will likewise disrupt the staggering of terms laid down under Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D).

3. Members of the Commission, e.g. COA, COMELEC or CSC, who were appointed for a
full term of seven years and who served the entire period, are barred from
reappointment to any position in the Commission. Corollarily, the first appointees in the
Commission under the Constitution are also covered by the prohibition against
4. A commissioner who resigns after serving in the Commission for less than seven years
is eligible for an appointment to the position of Chairman for the unexpired portion of
the term of the departing chairman. Such appointment is not covered by the ban on
reappointment, provided that the aggregate period of the length of service as
commissioner and the unexpired period of the term of the predecessor will not exceed
seven (7) years and provided further that the vacancy in the position of Chairman
resulted from death, resignation, disability or removal by impeachment. The Court
clarifies that reappointment found in Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D) means a movement to one
and the same office (Commissioner to Commissioner or Chairman to Chairman). On the
other hand, an appointment involving a movement to a different position or office
(Commissioner to Chairman) would constitute a new appointment and, hence, not, in
the strict legal sense, a reappointment barred under the Constitution.
5. Any member of the Commission cannot be appointed or designated in a temporary or
acting capacity.


G.R. No. 202242 July 17, 2012
The case is in relation to the process of selecting the nominees for the vacant
seat of Supreme Court Chief Justice following Renato Coronas departure.
Originally, the members of the Constitutional Commission saw the need to create
a separate, competent and independent body to recommend nominees to the
President. Thus, it conceived of a body representative of all the stakeholders in
the judicial appointment process and called it the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
In particular, Paragraph 1 Section 8, Article VIII of the Constitution states that (1)
A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the
Supreme Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman, the

Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress as ex officio

Members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired
Member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector. In
compliance therewith, Congress, from the moment of the creation of the JBC,
designated one representative from the Congress to sit in the JBC to act as one
of the ex officio members.
In 1994 however, the composition of the JBC was substantially altered. Instead of
having only seven (7) members, an eighth (8th) member was added to the JBC
as two (2) representatives from Congress began sitting in the JBC one from the
House of Representatives and one from the Senate, with each having one-half
(1/2) of a vote. During the existence of the case, Senator Francis Joseph G.
Escudero and Congressman Niel C. Tupas, Jr. (respondents) simultaneously sat
in JBC as representatives of the legislature.
It is this practice that petitioner has questioned in this petition.
The respondents claimed that when the JBC was established, the framers
originally envisioned a unicameral legislative body, thereby allocating a
representative of the National Assembly to the JBC. The phrase, however, was
not modified to aptly jive with the change to bicameralism which was adopted by
the Constitutional Commission on July 21, 1986. The respondents also contend
that if the Commissioners were made aware of the consequence of having a
bicameral legislature instead of a unicameral one, they would have made the
corresponding adjustment in the representation of Congress in the JBC; that if
only one house of Congress gets to be a member of JBC would deprive the other
house of representation, defeating the principle of balance.
The respondents further argue that the allowance of two (2) representatives of
Congress to be members of the JBC does not render JBCs purpose of providing
balance nugatory; that the presence of two (2) members from Congress will most
likely provide balance as against the other six (6) members who are undeniably
presidential appointees

Supreme Court held that it has the power of review the case herein as it is an
object of concern, not just for a nominee to a judicial post, but for all the citizens
who have the right to seek judicial intervention for rectification of legal blunders.
Whether the practice of the JBC to perform its functions with eight (8) members,
two (2) of whom are members of Congress, defeats the letter and spirit of the
1987 Constitution.
No. The current practice of JBC in admitting two members of the Congress to
perform the functions of the JBC is violative of the 1987 Constitution. As such, it
is unconstitutional.
One of the primary and basic rules in statutory construction is 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. It is a well-settled
principle of constitutional construction that the language employed in the
Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms
are employed. As such, it can be clearly and unambiguously discerned from
Paragraph 1, Section 8, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution that in the phrase, a
representative of Congress, the use of the singular letter a preceding
representative of Congress is unequivocal and leaves no room for any other
construction. It is indicative of what the members of the Constitutional
Commission had in mind, that is, Congress may designate only one (1)
representative to the JBC. Had it been the intention that more than one (1)
representative from the legislature would sit in the JBC, the Framers could have,
in no uncertain terms, so provided.
Moreover, under the maxim noscitur a sociis, where a particular word or phrase
is ambiguous in itself or is equally susceptible of various meanings, its correct
construction may be made clear and specific by considering the company of
words in which it is founded or with which it is associated. Every meaning to be
given to each word or phrase must be ascertained from the context of the body of

the statute since a word or phrase in a statute is always used in association with
other words or phrases and its meaning may be modified or restricted by the
latter. Applying the foregoing principle to this case, it becomes apparent that the
word Congress used in Article VIII, Section 8(1) of the Constitution is used in its
generic sense. No particular allusion whatsoever is made on whether the Senate
or the House of Representatives is being referred to, but that, in either case, only
a singular representative may be allowed to sit in the JBC
Considering that the language of the subject constitutional provision is plain and
unambiguous, there is no need to resort extrinsic aids such as records of the
Constitutional Commission. Nevertheless, even if the Court should proceed to
look into the minds of the members of the Constitutional Commission, it is
undeniable from the records thereof that it was intended that the JBC be
composed of seven (7) members only. The underlying reason leads the Court to
conclude that a single vote may not be divided into half (1/2), between two
representatives of Congress, or among any of the sitting members of the JBC for
that matter.
With the respondents contention that each representative should be admitted
from the Congress and House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, after the
perusal of the records of Constitutional Commission, held that Congress, in the
context of JBC representation, should be considered as one body. While it is true
that there are still differences between the two houses and that an inter-play
between the two houses is necessary in the realization of the legislative powers
conferred to them by the Constitution, the same cannot be applied in the case of
JBC representation because no liaison between the two houses exists in the
workings of the JBC. No mechanism is required between the Senate and the
House of Representatives in the screening and nomination of judicial officers.
Hence, the term Congress must be taken to mean the entire legislative
The framers of Constitution, in creating JBC, hoped that the private sector and
the three branches of government would have an active role and equal voice in
the selection of the members of the Judiciary. Therefore, to allow the Legislature

to have more quantitative influence in the JBC by having more than one voice
speak, whether with one full vote or one-half (1/2) a vote each, would negate the
principle of equality among the three branches of government which is enshrined
in the Constitution.
It is clear, therefore, that the Constitution mandates that the JBC be composed of
seven (7) members only. Thus, any inclusion of another member, whether with
one whole vote or half (1/2) of it, goes against that mandate. Section 8(1), Article
VIII of the Constitution, providing Congress with an equal voice with other
members of the JBC in recommending appointees to the Judiciary is explicit. Any
circumvention of the constitutional mandate should not be countenanced for the
Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution is the basic and
paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to which all persons,
including the highest officials of the land, must defer. Constitutional doctrines
must remain steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time. It cannot be
simply made to sway and accommodate the call of situations and much more
tailor itself to the whims and caprices of the government and the people who run
Notwithstanding its finding of unconstitutionality in the current composition of the
JBC, all its prior official actions are nonetheless valid. In the interest of fair play
under the doctrine of operative facts, actions previous to the declaration of
unconstitutionality are legally recognized. They are not nullified.


G.R. Nos. 204819 and other consolidated cases ; April 8, 2014
Nothing has polarized the nation more in recent years than the issues of population
growth control, abortion and contraception. As in every democratic society,
diametrically opposed views on the subjects and their perceived consequences
freely circulate in various media. From television debates to sticker campaigns, from

rallies by socio-political activists to mass gatherings organized by members of the

clergy -the clash between the seemingly antithetical ideologies of the religious
conservatives and progressive liberals has caused a deep division in every level of
the society. Despite calls to withhold support thereto, however, Republic Act (R.A.)
No. 10354, otherwise known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive
Health Act of 2012 (RH Law), was enacted by Congress on December 21, 2012.
Shortly after the President placed his imprimatur on the said law, challengers from
various sectors of society came knocking on the doors of the Court, beckoning it to
wield the sword that strikes down constitutional disobedience. Aware of the profound
and lasting impact that its decision may produce, the Court now faces the iuris
controversy, as presented in fourteen petitions and 2 petitions-in-intervention.
A perusal of the foregoing petitions shows that the petitioners are assailing the
constitutionality of RH Law on the following grounds: The RH Law violates the right
to life of the unborn, the right to health and the right to protection against hazardous
products, and to religious freedom, equal protection clause, involuntary servitude,
among others.
It is also contended that the RH Law threatens conscientious objectors of criminal
prosecution, imprisonment and other forms of punishment, as it compels medical
practitioners 1] to refer patients who seek advice on reproductive health programs to
other doctors; and 2] to provide full and correct information on reproductive health
programs and service, although it is against their religious beliefs and convictions.
It is also argued that the RH Law providing for the formulation of mandatory sex
education in schools should not be allowed as it is an affront to their religious beliefs.
While the petitioners recognize that the guarantee of religious freedom is not
absolute, they argue that the RH Law fails to satisfy the "clear and present danger
test" and the "compelling state interest test" to justify the regulation of the right to
free exercise of religion and the right to free speech.
In this connection, it is claimed that "Section 7 of the RH Law violates the right to
due process by removing from them (the people) the right to manage their own

affairs and to decide what kind of health facility they shall be and what kind of
services they shall offer." It ignores the management perogative inherent in
corporations for employers to conduct their affairs in accordance with their own
discretion and judgment.
The respondents, aside from traversing the substantive arguments of the petitioners,
pray for the dismissal of the petitions for the principal reasons that 1] there is no
actual case or controversy and, therefore, the issues are not yet ripe for judicial
determination.; 2] some petitioners lack standing to question the RH Law; and 3] the
petitions are essentially petitions for declaratory relief over which the Court has no
original jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, on March 15, 2013, the RH-IRR for the enforcement of the assailed
legislation took effect.
On March 19, 2013, after considering the issues and arguments raised, the Court
issued the Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO), enjoining the effects and implementation
of the assailed legislation for a period of one hundred and twenty (120) days, or until
July 17, 2013.
The petitioners are one in praying that the entire RH Law be declared
unconstitutional. Petitioner ALFI, in particular, argues that the government
sponsored contraception program, the very essence of the RH Law, violates the
right to health of women and the sanctity of life, which the State is mandated to
protect and promote.
1) Whether the Court may exercise its power of judicial review over the
controversy; 2) Whether the RH law is unconstitutional.
1) In this case, the Court is of the view that an actual case or controversy
exists and that the same is ripe for judicial determination.

REMEDIAL LAW: actual case or controversy

Lest it be misunderstood, it bears emphasizing that the Court does not have the
unbridled authority to rule on just any and every claim of constitutional violation.
Jurisprudence is replete with the rule that the power of judicial review is limited by
four exacting requisites, viz : (a) there must be an actual case or controversy; (b) the
petitioners must possess locus standi; (c) the question of constitutionality must be
raised at the earliest opportunity; and ( d) the issue of constitutionality must be the
lis mota of the case.
Proponents of the RH Law submit that the subject petitions do not present any
actual case or controversy because the RH Law has yet to be implemented. They
claim that the questions raised by the petitions are not yet concrete and ripe for
adjudication since no one has been charged with violating any of its provisions and
that there is no showing that any of the petitioners' rights has been adversely
affected by its operation. In short, it is contended that judicial review of the RH Law
is premature.
An actual case or controversy means 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. The rule is that courts 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,
tangible and not merely a 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.
Corollary to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the requirement of
ripeness. A question is ripe for adjudication when the act being challenged has had a
direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it. For a case to be considered
ripe for adjudication, it is a prerequisite that something has then been accomplished

or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture, and the
petitioner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to himself
as a result of the challenged action. He must show that he has sustained or is
immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of the act.
In this case, the Court is of the view that an actual case or controversy exists and
that the same is ripe for judicial determination.
Considering that the RH Law and its implementing rules have already taken effect
and that budgetary measures to carry out the law have already been passed, it is
evident that the subject petitions present a justiciable controversy. As stated earlier,
when an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the
Constitution, it not only becomes a right, but also a duty of the Judiciary to settle the
Moreover, the petitioners have shown that the case is so because medical
practitioners or medical providers are in danger of being criminally prosecuted under
the RH Law for vague violations thereof, particularly public health officers who are
threatened to be dismissed from the service with forfeiture of retirement and other
benefits. They must, at least, be heard on the matter NOW.
REMEDIAL LAW: facial challenge
The OSG also assails the propriety of the facial challenge lodged by the subject
petitions, contending that the RH Law cannot be challenged "on its face" as it is not
a speech regulating measure.
The Court is not persuaded.
In United States (US) constitutional law, a facial challenge, also known as a First
Amendment Challenge, is one that is launched to assail the validity of statutes
concerning not only protected speech, but also all other rights in the First
Amendment. These include religious freedom, freedom of the press, and the right of
the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of
grievances. After all, the fundamental right to religious freedom, freedom of the

press and peaceful assembly are but component rights of the right to one's freedom
of expression, as they are modes which one's thoughts are externalized.
In this jurisdiction, the application of doctrines originating from the U.S. has been
generally maintained, albeit with some modifications. While this Court has withheld
the application of facial challenges to strictly penal statutes, it has expanded its
scope to cover statutes not only regulating free speech, but also those involving
religious freedom, and other fundamental rights. The underlying reason for this
modification is simple. For unlike its counterpart in the U.S., this Court, under its
expanded jurisdiction, is mandated by the Fundamental Law not only to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, but
also 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. Verily, the framers of Our Constitution envisioned
a proactive Judiciary, ever vigilant with its duty to maintain the supremacy of the
Consequently, considering that the foregoing petitions have seriously alleged that
the constitutional human rights to life, speech and religion and other fundamental
rights mentioned above have been violated by the assailed legislation, the Court has
authority to take cognizance of these kindred petitions and to determine if the RH
Law can indeed pass constitutional scrutiny. To dismiss these petitions on the simple
expedient that there exist no actual case or controversy, would diminish this Court
as a reactive branch of government, acting only when the Fundamental Law has
been transgressed, to the detriment of the Filipino people.
REMEDIAL LAW: locus standi
The OSG also attacks the legal personality of the petitioners to file their respective
petitions. It contends that the "as applied challenge" lodged by the petitioners cannot
prosper as the assailed law has yet to be enforced and applied against them, and
the government has yet to distribute reproductive health devices that are abortive.
The petitioners, for their part, invariably invoke the "transcendental importance"
doctrine and their status as citizens and taxpayers in establishing the requisite locus

Locus standi or legal standing is defined as a personal and substantial interest in a
case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the
challenged governmental act. It requires a personal stake in the outcome of the
controversy as to assure the concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation
of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult
constitutional questions.
In relation to locus standi, the "as applied challenge" embodies the rule that one can
challenge the constitutionality of a statute only if he asserts a violation of his own
rights. The rule prohibits one from challenging the constitutionality of the statute
grounded on a violation of the rights of third persons not before the court. This rule is
also known as the prohibition against third-party standing.
REMEDIAL LAW: transcendental importance
Notwithstanding, the Court leans on the doctrine that "the rule on standing is a
matter of procedure, hence, can be relaxed for non-traditional 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."
In Coconut Oil Refiners Association, Inc. v. Torres, the Court held that in cases of
paramount importance where serious constitutional questions are involved, the
standing requirement may be relaxed and a suit may be allowed to prosper even
where there is no direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review. In the
first Emergency Powers Cases, ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to
question the constitutionality of several executive orders although they had only an
indirect and general interest shared in common with the public.
With these said, even if the constitutionality of the RH Law may not be assailed
through an "as-applied challenge, still, the Court has time and again acted liberally
on the locus standi requirement. It has accorded certain individuals standing to sue,
not otherwise directly injured or with material interest affected by a Government act,

provided a constitutional issue of transcendental importance is invoked. The rule on

locus standi is, after all, a procedural technicality which the Court has, on more than
one occasion, waived or relaxed, thus allowing non-traditional plaintiffs, such as
concerned citizens, taxpayers, voters or legislators, to sue in the public interest,
albeit they may not have been directly injured by the operation of a law or any other
government act.
In view of the seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents, not only to the public,
but also to the bench and bar, the issues raised must be resolved for the guidance of
all. After all, the RH Law drastically affects the constitutional provisions on the right
to life and health, the freedom of religion and expression and other constitutional
rights. Mindful of all these and the fact that the issues of contraception and
reproductive health have already caused deep division among a broad spectrum of
society, the Court entertains no doubt that the petitions raise issues of
transcendental importance warranting immediate court adjudication. More
importantly, considering that it is the right to life of the mother and the unborn which
is primarily at issue, the Court need not wait for a life to be taken away before taking
The Court cannot, and should not, exercise judicial restraint at this time when rights
enshrined in the Constitution are being imperilled to be violated. To do so, when the
life of either the mother or her child is at stake, would lead to irreparable
REMEDIAL LAW: declaratory relief
The respondents also assail the petitions because they are essentially petitions for
declaratory relief over which the Court has no original jurisdiction. Suffice it to state
that most of the petitions are praying for injunctive reliefs and so the Court would just
consider them as petitions for prohibition under Rule 65, over which it has original
jurisdiction. Where the case has far-reaching implications and prays for injunctive
reliefs, the Court may consider them as petitions for prohibition under Rule 65.
POLITICAL LAW: one subject-one title

The petitioners also question the constitutionality of the RH Law, claiming that it
violates Section 26(1 ), Article VI of the Constitution, prescribing the one subject-one
title rule. According to them, being one for reproductive health with responsible
parenthood, the assailed legislation violates the constitutional standards of due
process by concealing its true intent- to act as a population control measure.
To belittle the challenge, the respondents insist that the RH Law is not a birth or
population control measure, and that the concepts of "responsible parenthood" and
"reproductive health" are both interrelated as they are separate.
Despite efforts to push the RH Law as a reproductive health law, the Court sees it as
principally a population control measure. The corpus of the RH Law is geared
towards the reduction of the country's population. While it claims to save lives and
keep our women and children healthy, it also promotes pregnancy-preventing
products. As stated earlier, the RH Law emphasizes the need to provide Filipinos,
especially the poor and the marginalized, with access to information on the full range
of modem family planning products and methods. These family planning methods,
natural or modern, however, are clearly geared towards the prevention of pregnancy.
For said reason, the manifest underlying objective of the RH Law is to reduce the
number of births in the country.
It cannot be denied that the measure also seeks to provide pre-natal and post-natal
care as well. A large portion of the law, however, covers the dissemination of
information and provisions on access to medically-safe, non-abortificient, effective,
legal, affordable, and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices,
and supplies, which are all intended to prevent pregnancy.
The Court, thus, agrees with the petitioners' contention that the whole idea of
contraception pervades the entire RH Law. It is, in fact, the central idea of the RH
Law. Indeed, remove the provisions that refer to contraception or are related to it
and the RH Law loses its very foundation. As earlier explained, "the other positive
provisions such as skilled birth attendance, maternal care including pre-and postnatal services, prevention and management of reproductive tract infections including
HIV/AIDS are already provided for in the Magna Carta for Women."

Be that as it may, the RH Law does not violate the one subject/one bill rule.
POLITICAL LAW: right to life
It is a universally accepted principle that every human being enjoys the right to life.
Even if not formally established, the right to life, being grounded on natural law, is
inherent and, therefore, not a creation of, or dependent upon a particular law,
custom, or belief. It precedes and transcends any authority or the laws of men.
In this jurisdiction, the right to life is given more than ample protection. Section 1,
Article III of the Constitution provides: Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the
equal protection of the laws.
As expounded earlier, the use of contraceptives and family planning methods in the
Philippines is not of recent vintage. From the enactment of R.A. No. 4729, entitled
"An Act To Regulate The Sale, Dispensation, and/or Distribution of Contraceptive
Drugs and Devices "on June 18, 1966, prescribing rules on contraceptive drugs and
devices which prevent fertilization, to the promotion of male vasectomy and tubal
ligation, and the ratification of numerous international agreements, the country has
long recognized the need to promote population control through the use of
contraceptives in order to achieve long-term economic development.
Through the years, however, the use of contraceptives and other family planning
methods evolved from being a component of demographic management, to one
centered on the promotion of public health, particularly, reproductive health.
This has resulted in the enactment of various measures promoting women's rights
and health and the overall promotion of the family's wellbeing.
Thus, aside from R.A. No. 4729, R.A. No. 6365 or "The Population Act of the
Philippines" and R.A. No. 9710, otherwise known as the "The Magna Carta of

Women" were legislated. Notwithstanding this paradigm shift, the Philippine national
population program has always been grounded two cornerstone principles: "principle
of no-abortion" and the "principle of non-coercion." As will be discussed later, these
principles are not merely grounded on administrative policy, but rather, originates
from the constitutional protection expressly provided to afford protection to life and
guarantee religious freedom.
POLITICAL LAW: when life begins
Majority of the Members of the Court are of the position that the question of when
life begins is a scientific and medical issue that should not be decided, at this stage,
without proper hearing and evidence. During the deliberation, however, it was
agreed upon that the individual members of the Court could express their own views
on this matter.
In this regard, the ponente, is of the strong view that life begins at fertilization.
In answering the question of when life begins, focus should be made on the
particular phrase of Section 12 which reads:
Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and
strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect
the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and
primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and
the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.
Textually, the Constitution affords protection to the unborn from conception. This is
undisputable because before conception, there is no unborn to speak of. For said
reason, it is no surprise that the Constitution is mute as to any proscription prior to
conception or when life begins. The problem has arisen because, amazingly, there
are quarters who have conveniently disregarded the scientific fact that conception is
reckoned from fertilization. They are waving the view that life begins at implantation.
Hence, the issue of when life begins.
In a nutshell, those opposing the RH Law contend that conception is synonymous

with "fertilization" of the female ovum by the male sperm. On the other side of the
spectrum are those who assert that conception refers to the "implantation" of the
fertilized ovum in the uterus.
STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION: plain and legal meaning
It is a canon in statutory construction that the words of the Constitution should be
interpreted in their plain and ordinary meaning. As held in the recent case of Chavez
v. Judicial Bar Council:
One of the primary and basic rules in statutory construction is 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. It is a well-settled principle of
constitutional construction that the language employed in the Constitution must be
given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. As much
as possible, the words of the Constitution 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. Verba legis
non est recedendum -from the words of a statute there should be no departure.
The raison d' etre for the rule is essentially two-fold: First, because it is assumed that
the words in which constitutional provisions are couched express the objective
sought to be attained; and second, because the Constitution is not primarily a
lawyer's document but essentially that of the people, in whose consciousness it
should ever be present as an important condition for the rule of law to prevail.
In conformity with the above principle, the traditional meaning of the word
"conception" which, as described and defined by all reliable and reputable sources,
means that life begins at fertilization.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary describes it as the act of becoming
pregnant, formation of a viable zygote; the fertilization that results in a new entity
capable of developing into a being like its parents.

Black's Law Dictionary gives legal meaning to the term "conception" as the
fecundation of the female ovum by the male spermatozoon resulting in human life
capable of survival and maturation under normal conditions.
Even in jurisprudence, an unborn child has already a legal personality.
STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION: intent of the framers
Records of the Constitutional Convention also shed light on the intention of the
Framers regarding the term "conception" used in Section 12, Article II of the
Constitution. From their deliberations, it clearly refers to the moment of "fertilization."
From the deliberations, it is apparent that the Framers of the Constitution
emphasized that the State shall provide equal protection to both the mother and the
unborn child from the earliest opportunity of life, that is, upon fertilization or upon the
union of the male sperm and the female ovum. It is also apparent is that the Framers
of the Constitution intended that to prohibit Congress from enacting measures that
would allow it determine when life begins.
Equally apparent, however, is that the Framers of the Constitution did not intend to
ban all contraceptives for being unconstitutional. In fact, Commissioner Bernardo
Villegas, spearheading the need to have a constitutional provision on the right to life,
recognized that the determination of whether a contraceptive device is an
abortifacient is a question of fact which should be left to the courts to decide on
based on established evidence. From the discussions above, contraceptives that kill
or destroy the fertilized ovum should be deemed an abortive and thus prohibited.
Conversely, contraceptives that actually prevent the union of the male sperm and
the female ovum, and those that similarly take action prior to fertilization should be
deemed non-abortive, and thus, constitutionally permissible.
In all, whether it be taken from a plain meaning, or understood under medical
parlance, and more importantly, following the intention of the Framers of the
Constitution, the undeniable conclusion is that a zygote is a human organism and
that the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well-defined

moment of conception, that is, upon fertilization.

For the above reasons, the Court cannot subscribe to the theory advocated by Hon.
Lagman that life begins at implantation. According to him, "fertilization and
conception are two distinct and successive stages in the reproductive process. They
are not identical and synonymous." Citing a letter of the WHO, he wrote that
"medical authorities confirm that the implantation of the fertilized ovum is the
commencement of conception and it is only after implantation that pregnancy can be
medically detected."
This theory of implantation as the beginning of life is devoid of any legal or scientific
mooring. It does not pertain to the beginning of life but to the viability of the fetus.
The fertilized ovum/zygote is not an inanimate object -it is a living human being
complete with DNA and chromosomes. Implantation has been conceptualized only
for convenience by those who had population control in mind. To adopt it would
constitute textual infidelity not only to the RH Law but also to the Constitution.
POLITICAL LAW: the right to health
A component to the right to life is the constitutional right to health. In this regard, the
Constitution is replete with provisions protecting and promoting the right to health.
Section 15, Article II of the Constitution provides:
Section 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and
instill health consciousness among them.
A portion of Article XIII also specifically provides for the States' duty to provide for
the health of the people, viz:
Section 11. The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to
health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other
social services available to all the people at affordable cost. There shall be priority
for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children.
The State shall endeavor to provide free medical care to paupers.

Section 12. The State shall establish and maintain an effective food and drug
regulatory system and undertake appropriate health, manpower development, and
research, responsive to the country's health needs and problems.
Section 13. The State shall establish a special agency for disabled person for their
rehabilitation, self-development, and selfreliance, and their integration into the
mainstream of society.
Finally, Section 9, Article XVI provides:
Section 9. The State shall protect consumers from trade malpractices and from
substandard or hazardous products.
Contrary to the respondent's notion, however, these provisions are self-executing.
Unless the provisions clearly express the contrary, the provisions of the Constitution
should be considered self-executory. There is no need for legislation to implement
these self-executing provisions.
It bears mentioning that the petitioners, particularly ALFI, do not question
contraception and contraceptives per se. In fact, ALFI prays that the status quo
-under R.A. No. 5921 and R.A. No. 4729, the sale and distribution of contraceptives
are not prohibited when they are dispensed by a prescription of a duly licensed by a
physician -be maintained.
The legislative intent in the enactment of the RH Law in this regard is to leave intact
the provisions of R.A. No. 4729. There is no intention at all to do away with it. It is
still a good law and its requirements are still in to be complied with. Thus, the Court
agrees with the observation of respondent Lagman that the effectivity of the RH Law
will not lead to the unmitigated proliferation of contraceptives since the sale,
distribution and dispensation of contraceptive drugs and devices will still require the
prescription of a licensed physician. With R.A. No. 4729 in place, there exists
adequate safeguards to ensure the public that only contraceptives that are safe are
made available to the public.
Thus, in the distribution by the DOH of contraceptive drugs and devices, it must

consider the provisions of R.A. No. 4729, which is still in effect, and ensure that the
contraceptives that it will procure shall be from a duly licensed drug store or
pharmaceutical company and that the actual dispensation of these contraceptive
drugs and devices will done following a prescription of a qualified medical
practitioner. The distribution of contraceptive drugs and devices must not be
indiscriminately done. The public health must be protected by all possible means. As
pointed out by Justice De Castro, a heavy responsibility and burden are assumed by
the government in supplying contraceptive drugs and devices, for it may be held
accountable for any injury, illness or loss of life resulting from or incidental to their
At any rate, it bears pointing out that not a single contraceptive has yet been
submitted to the FDA pursuant to the RH Law. It behooves the Court to await its
determination which drugs or devices are declared by the FDA as safe, it being the
agency tasked to ensure that food and medicines available to the public are safe for
public consumption. Consequently, the Court finds that, at this point, the attack on
the RH Law on this ground is premature. Indeed, the various kinds of contraceptives
must first be measured up to the constitutional yardstick as expounded herein, to be
determined as the case presents itself.
At this point, the Court is of the strong view that Congress cannot legislate that
hormonal contraceptives and intra-uterine devices are safe and non-abortifacient.
The first sentence of Section 9 that ordains their inclusion by the National Drug
Formulary in the EDL by using the mandatory "shall" is to be construed as operative
only after they have been tested, evaluated, and approved by the FDA. The FDA,
not Congress, has the expertise to determine whether a particular hormonal
contraceptive or intrauterine device is safe and non-abortifacient. The provision of
the third sentence concerning the requirements for the inclusion or removal of a
particular family planning supply from the EDL supports this construction.
Stated differently, the provision in Section 9 covering the inclusion of hormonal
contraceptives, intra-uterine devices, injectables, and other safe, legal, nonabortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies by the National
Drug Formulary in the EDL is not mandatory. There must first be a determination by
the FDA that they are in fact safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective family

planning products and supplies. There can be no predetermination by Congress that

the gamut of contraceptives are "safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective" without
the proper scientific examination.
POLITICAL LAW: freedom of religion and the right to free speech
At the outset, it cannot be denied that we all live in a heterogeneous society. It is
made up of people of diverse ethnic, cultural and religious beliefs and backgrounds.
History has shown us that our government, in law and in practice, has allowed these
various religious, cultural, social and racial groups to thrive in a single society
together. It has embraced minority groups and is tolerant towards all -the religious
people of different sects and the non-believers. The undisputed fact is that our
people generally believe in a deity, whatever they conceived Him to be, and to whom
they call for guidance and enlightenment in crafting our fundamental law. Thus, the
preamble of the present Constitution.
The Filipino people in "imploring the aid of Almighty God" manifested their spirituality
innate in our nature and consciousness as a people, shaped by tradition and
historical experience. As this is embodied in the preamble, it means that the State
recognizes with respect the influence of religion in so far as it instills into the mind
the purest principles of morality. Moreover, in recognition of the contributions of
religion to society, the 1935, 1973 and 1987 constitutions contain benevolent and
accommodating provisions towards religions such as tax exemption of church
property, salary of religious officers in government institutions, and optional religious
instructions in public schools.
The Framers, however, felt the need to put up a strong barrier so that the State
would not encroach into the affairs of the church, and vice-versa.
The principle of separation of Church and State was, thus, enshrined in Article II,
Section 6 ofthe 1987 Constitution, viz:
Section 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.
Verily, the principle of separation of Church and State is based on mutual respect.

Generally, the State cannot meddle in the internal affairs of the church, much less
question its faith and dogmas or dictate upon it. It cannot favor one religion and
discriminate against another. On the other hand, the church cannot impose its
beliefs and convictions on the State and the rest of the citizenry. It cannot demand
that the nation follow its beliefs, even if it sincerely believes that they are good for
the country.
Consistent with the principle that not any one religion should ever be preferred over
another, the Constitution in the above-cited provision utilizes the term "church" in its
generic sense, which refers to a temple, a mosque, an iglesia, or any other house of
God which metaphorically symbolizes a religious organization. Thus, the "Church"
means the religious congregations collectively.
Balancing the benefits that religion affords and the need to provide an ample barrier
to protect the State from the pursuit of its secular objectives, the Constitution lays
down the following mandate in Article III, Section 5 and Article VI, Section 29 (2), of
the 1987 Constitution.
In short, the constitutional assurance of religious freedom provides two guarantees:
the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause.
The establishment clause "principally prohibits the State from sponsoring any
religion or favoring any religion as against other religions. It mandates a strict
neutrality in affairs among religious groups." Essentially, it prohibits the
establishment of a state religion and the use of public resources for the support or
prohibition ofa religion.
On the other hand, the basis of the free exercise clause is the respect for the
inviolability of the human conscience. Under this part of religious freedom
guarantee, the State is prohibited from unduly interfering with the outside
manifestations of one's belief and faith.
The establishment and free exercise clauses were not designed to serve
contradictory purposes. They have a single goal to promote freedom of individual
religious beliefs and practices. In simplest terms, the free exercise clause prohibits

government from inhibiting religious beliefs with penalties for religious beliefs and
practice, while the establishment clause prohibits government from inhibiting
religious belief with rewards for religious beliefs and practices. In other words, the
two religion clauses were intended to deny government the power to use either the
carrot or the stick to influence individual religious beliefs and practices.
Corollary to the guarantee of free exercise of one's religion is the principle that the
guarantee of religious freedom is comprised of two parts: the freedom to believe,
and the freedom to act on one's belief. The first part is absolute.
The second part however, is limited and subject to the awesome power of the State
and can be enjoyed only with proper regard to the rights of others. It is "subject to
regulation where the belief is translated into external acts that affect the public
POLITICAL LAW: legislative acts and the free exercise clause
In the case at bench, it is not within the province of the Court to determine whether
the use of contraceptives or one's participation in the support of modem reproductive
health measures is moral from a religious standpoint or whether the same is right or
wrong according to one's dogma or belief. For the Court has declared that matters
dealing with "faith, practice, doctrine, form of worship, ecclesiastical law, custom and
rule of a church...are unquestionably ecclesiastical matters which are outside the
province of the civil courts." The jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and
secular morality. Whatever pronouncement the Court makes in the case at bench
should be understood only in this realm where it has authority. Stated otherwise,
while the Court stands without authority to rule on ecclesiastical matters, as
vanguard of the Constitution, it does have authority to determine whether the RH
Law contravenes the guarantee of eligious freedom.
While the Constitution prohibits abortion, laws were enacted allowing the use of
contraceptives. To some medical practitioners, however, the whole idea of using
contraceptives is an anathema. Consistent with the principle of benevolent neutrality,
their beliefs should be respected.

Resultantly, the Court finds no compelling state interest which would limit the free
exercise clause of the conscientious objectors, however few in number. Only the
prevention of an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the
community can justify the infringement of religious freedom. If the government fails
to show the seriousness and immediacy of the threat, State intrusion is
constitutionally unacceptable.
Freedom of religion means more than just the freedom to believe. It also means the
freedom to act or not to act according to what one believes. And this freedom is
violated when one is compelled to act against one's belief or is prevented from
acting according to one's belief.
Apparently, in these cases, there is no immediate danger to the life or health of an
individual in the perceived scenario of the subject provisions. After all, a couple who
plans the timing, number and spacing of the birth of their children refers to a future
event that is contingent on whether or not the mother decides to adopt or use the
information, product, method or supply given to her or whether she even decides to
become pregnant at all. On the other hand, the burden placed upon those who
object to contraceptive use is immediate and occurs the moment a patient seeks
consultation on reproductive health matters.
Moreover, granting that a compelling interest exists to justify the infringement of the
conscientious objector's religious freedom, the respondents have failed to
demonstrate "the gravest abuses, endangering paramount interests" which could
limit or override a person's fundamental right to religious freedom. Also, the
respondents have not presented any government effort exerted to show that the
means it takes to achieve its legitimate state objective is the least intrusive means.
Other than the assertion that the act of referring would only be momentary,
considering that the act of referral by a conscientious objector is the very action
being contested as violative of religious freedom, it behooves the respondents to
demonstrate that no other means can be undertaken by the State to achieve its
objective without violating the rights of the conscientious objector. The health
concerns of women may still be addressed by other practitioners who may perform
reproductive health-related procedures with open willingness and motivation. Suffice
it to say, a person who is forced to perform an act in utter reluctance deserves the

protection of the Court as the last vanguard of constitutional freedoms.

At any rate, there are other secular steps already taken by the Legislature to ensure
that the right to health is protected. Considering other legislations as they stand now,
R.A. No. 4 729 or the Contraceptive Act, R.A. No. 6365 or "The Population Act of the
Philippines" and R.A. No. 9710, otherwise known as "The Magna Carta of Women,"
amply cater to the needs of women in relation to health services and programs.
Granting that there are still deficiencies and flaws in the delivery of social healthcare
programs for Filipino women, they could not be solved by a measure that puts an
unwarrantable stranglehold on religious beliefs m exchange for blind conformity.
POLITICAL LAW: exception; life threatening cases
All this notwithstanding, the Court properly recognizes a valid exception set forth in
the law. While generally healthcare service providers cannot be forced to render
reproductive health care procedures if doing it would contravene their religious
beliefs, an exception must be made in life threatening cases that require the
performance of emergency procedures. In these situations, the right to life of the
mother should be given preference, considering that a referral by a medical
practitioner would amount to a denial of service, resulting to unnecessarily placing
the life of a mother in grave danger.
POLITICAL LAW: academic freedom
The Court declines to rule on its constitutionality or validity.
At any rate, Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that the natural
and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency
and development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.
Like the 1973 Constitution and the 1935 Constitution, the 1987 Constitution affirms
the State recognition of the invaluable role of parents in preparing the youth to
become productive members of society. Notably, it places more importance on the
role of parents in the development of their children by recognizing that said role shall
be "primary," that is, that the right of parents in upbringing the youth is superior to

that of the State.

It is also the inherent right of the State to act as parens patriae to aid parents in the
moral development of the youth. Indeed, the Constitution makes mention of the
importance of developing the youth and their important role in nation building.
Furthermore, as Section 14 also mandates that the mandatory reproductive health
education program shall be developed in conjunction with parent-teacher-community
associations, school officials and other interest groups, it could very well be said that
it will be in line with the religious beliefs of the petitioners. By imposing such a
condition, it becomes apparent that the petitioners' contention that Section 14
violates Article XV, Section 3(1) of the Constitution is without merit.
POLITICAL LAW: due process
A statute or act suffers from the defect of vagueness when it lacks comprehensible
standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess its meaning and
differ as to its application. It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it
violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by
it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled
discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the
Government muscle.
Moreover, in determining whether the words used in a statute are vague, words
must not only be taken in accordance with their plain meaning alone, but also in
relation to other parts of the statute. It is a rule that every part of the statute must be
interpreted with reference to the context, that is, every part of it must be construed
together with the other parts and kept subservient to the general intent of the whole
The Court need not belabor the issue of whether the right to be exempt from being
obligated to render reproductive health service and modem family planning
methods, includes exemption from being obligated to give reproductive health
information and to render reproductive health procedures. Clearly, subject to the
qualifications and exemptions earlier discussed, the right to be exempt from being

obligated to render reproductive health service and modem family planning

methods, necessarily includes exemption from being obligated to give reproductive
health information and to render reproductive health procedures. The terms "service"
and "methods" are broad enough to include the providing of information and the
rendering of medical procedures.
POLITICAL LAW: equal protection
The petitioners also claim that the RH Law violates the equal protection clause
under the Constitution as it discriminates against the poor because it makes them
the primary target of the government program that promotes contraceptive use.
They argue that, rather than promoting reproductive health among the poor, the RH
Law introduces contraceptives that would effectively reduce the number of the poor.
Their bases are the various provisions in the RH Law dealing with the poor,
especially those mentioned in the guiding principles and definition of terms of the
"According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that all
persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights
conferred and responsibilities imposed." It "requires public bodies and institutions to
treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner." "The purpose of the equal
protection clause is to secure every person within a state's jurisdiction against
intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of
a statue or by its improper execution through the state's duly constituted authorities."
"In other words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the state to
govern impartially, and it may not draw distinctions between individuals solely on
differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective."
The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just those of the
legislature. Its inhibitions cover all the departments of the government including the
political and executive departments, and extend to all actions of a state denying
equal protection of the laws, through whatever agency or whatever guise is taken.
It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or
things without distinction. What it simply requires is equality among equals as

determined according to a valid classification. Indeed, the equal protection clause

permits classification. Such classification, however, to be valid must pass the test of
reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on
substantial distinctions; (2) It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not
limited to existing conditions only; and (4) It applies equally to all members of the
same class.
"Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification."
For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or
embrace all persons who naturally belong to the class. "The classification will be
regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are not similarly treated, both as
to rights conferred and obligations imposed. It is not necessary that the classification
be made with absolute symmetry, in the sense that the members of the class should
possess the same characteristics in equal degree. Substantial similarity will suffice;
and as long as this is achieved, all those covered by the classification are to be
treated equally. The mere fact that an individual belonging to a class differs from the
other members, as long as that class is substantially distinguishable from all others,
does not justify the non-application of the law to him."
The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so
constituted as to preclude addition to the number included in the class. It must be of
such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in similar
circumstances and conditions. It must not leave out or "under include" those that
should otherwise fall into a certain classification.
POLITICAL LAW: involuntary servitude
The OSG counters that the rendition of pro bono services envisioned in Section 17
can hardly be considered as forced labor analogous to slavery, as reproductive
health care service providers have the discretion as to the manner and time of giving
pro bono services. Moreover, the OSG points out that the imposition is within the
powers of the government, the accreditation of medical practitioners with Phil Health
being a privilege and not a right.

The point ofthe OSG is well-taken.

It should first be mentioned that the practice of medicine is undeniably imbued with
public interest that it is both a power and a duty of the State to control and regulate it
in order to protect and promote the public welfare. Like the legal profession, the
practice of medicine is not a right but a privileged burdened with conditions as it
directly involves the very lives of the people. A fortiori, this power includes the power
of Congress to prescribe the qualifications for the practice of professions or trades
which affect the public welfare, the public health, the public morals, and the public
safety; and to regulate or control such professions or trades, even to the point of
revoking such right altogether.
Moreover, as some petitioners put it, the notion of involuntary servitude connotes the
presence of force, threats, intimidation or other similar means of coercion and
compulsion. A reading of the assailed provision, however, reveals that it only
encourages private and non-government reproductive healthcare service providers
to render pro bona service. Other than non-accreditation with Phil Health, no penalty
is imposed should they choose to do otherwise. Private and non-government
reproductive healthcare service providers also enjoy the liberty to choose which kind
of health service they wish to provide, when, where and how to provide it or whether
to provide it all. Clearly, therefore, no compulsion, force or threat is made upon them
to render pro bono service against their will. While the rendering of such service was
made a prerequisite to accreditation with PhilHealth, the Court does not consider the
same to be an unreasonable burden, but rather, a necessary incentive imposed by
Congress in the furtherance of a perceived legitimate state interest.
Consistent with what the Court had earlier discussed, however, it should be
emphasized that conscientious objectors are exempt from this provision as long as
their religious beliefs and convictions do not allow them to render reproductive
health service, pro bona or otherwise.
With respect to the argument that the RH Law violates natural law, suffice it to say
that the Court does not duly recognize it as a legal basis for upholding or invalidating

a law. Our only guidepost is the Constitution.

While every law enacted by man emanated from what is perceived as natural law,
the Court is not obliged to see if a statute, executive issuance or ordinance is in
conformity to it. To begin with, it is not enacted by an acceptable legitimate body.
Moreover, natural laws are mere thoughts and notions on inherent rights espoused
by theorists, philosophers and theologists. The jurists of the philosophical school are
interested in the law as an abstraction, rather than in the actual law of the past or
present. Unless, a natural right has been transformed into a written law, it cannot
serve as a basis to strike down a law. In Republic v. Sandiganbayan, the very case
cited by the petitioners, it was explained that the Court is not duty bound to examine
every law or action and whether it conforms with both the Constitution and natural
law. Rather, natural law is to be used sparingly only in the most peculiar of
circumstances involving rights inherent to man where no law is applicable.
At any rate, as earlier expounded, the RH Law does not sanction the taking away of
life. It does not allow abortion in any shape or form. It only seeks to enhance the
population control program of the government by providing information and making
non-abortifacient contraceptives more readily available to the public, especially to
the poor.
POLITICAL LAW: constitutionality of the RH law
In general, the Court does not find the RH Law as unconstitutional insofar as it
seeks to provide access to medically-safe, non-abortifacient, effective, legal,
affordable, and quality reproductive healthcare services, methods, devices, and
supplies. As earlier pointed out, however, the religious freedom of some sectors of
society cannot be trampled upon in pursuit of what the law hopes to achieve. After
all, the Constitutional safeguard to religious freedom is a recognition that man
stands accountable to an authority higher than the State.
In conformity with the principle of separation of Church and State, one religious
group cannot be allowed to impose its beliefs on the rest of the society. Philippine
modem society leaves enough room for diversity and pluralism. As such, everyone
should be tolerant and open-minded so that peace and harmony may continue to

reign as we exist alongside each other.

As healthful as the intention of the RH Law may be, the idea does not escape the
Court that what it seeks to address is the problem of rising poverty and
unemployment in the country. Let it be said that the cause of these perennial issues
is not the large population but the unequal distribution of wealth. Even if population
growth is controlled, poverty will remain as long as the country's wealth remains in
the hands of the very few.
At any rate, population control may not be beneficial for the country in the long run.
The European and Asian countries, which embarked on such a program generations
ago, are now burdened with ageing populations. The number of their young workers
is dwindling with adverse effects on their economy. These young workers represent
a significant human capital which could have helped them invigorate, innovate and
fuel their economy. These countries are now trying to reverse their programs, but
they are still struggling. For one, Singapore, even with incentives, is failing.
Indeed, at the present, the country has a population problem, but the State should
not use coercive measures (like the penal provisions of the RH Law against
conscientious objectors) to solve it. Nonetheless, the policy of the Court is noninterference in the wisdom of a law.
WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTIALLY GRANTED. Accordingly, the Court
declares R.A. No. 10354 as NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL except with respect to
the following provisions which are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL:
1] Section 7 and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they: a)
require private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals
owned and operated by a religious group to refer patients, not in an emergency or
life-threatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344, to another health
facility which is conveniently accessible; and b) allow minor-parents or minors who
have suffered a miscarriage access to modem methods of family planning without
written consent from their parents or guardian/s;
2) Section 23(a)(l) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly

Section 5 .24 thereof, insofar as they punish any healthcare service provider who
fails and or refuses to disseminate information regarding programs and services on
reproductive health regardless of his or her religious beliefs.
3) Section 23(a)(2)(i) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they
allow a married individual, not in an emergency or lifethreatening case, as defined
under Republic Act No. 8344, to undergo reproductive health procedures without the
consent of the spouse;
4) Section 23(a)(2)(ii) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they
limit the requirement of parental consent only to elective surgical procedures.
5] Section 23(a)(3) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly
Section 5.24 thereof, insofar as they punish any healthcare service provider who
fails and/or refuses to refer a patient not in an emergency or life-threatening case, as
defined under Republic Act No. 8344, to another health care service provider within
the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible regardless ofhis or her
religious beliefs;
6] Section 23(b) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly Section
5 .24 thereof, insofar as they punish any public officer who refuses to support
reproductive health programs or shall do any act that hinders the full implementation
of a reproductive health program, regardless of his or her religious beliefs;
7] Section 17 and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR regarding the
rendering of pro bona reproductive health service in so far as they affect the
conscientious objector in securing PhilHealth accreditation;
8] Section 3.0l(a) and Section 3.01 G) of the RH-IRR, which added the qualifier
"primarily" in defining abortifacients and contraceptives, as they are ultra vires and,
therefore, null and void for contravening Section 4(a) of the RH Law and violating
Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.

The Status Quo Ante Order issued by the Court on March 19, 2013 as extended by
its Order, dated July 16, 2013, is hereby LIFTED, insofar as the provisions of R.A.
No. 10354 which have been herein declared as constitutional.



G.R. No. 209287

July 1, 2014

When President Benigno Aquino III took office, his administration noticed the
sluggish growth of the economy. The World Bank advised that the economy
needed a stimulus plan. Budget Secretary Florencio Butch Abad then came
up with a program called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The DAP was seen as a remedy to speed up the funding of government
projects. DAP enables the Executive to realign funds from slow moving
projects to priority projects instead of waiting for next years appropriation. So
what happens under the DAP was that if a certain government project is being
undertaken slowly by a certain executive agency, the funds allotted therefor
will be withdrawn by the Executive. Once withdrawn, these funds are declared
as savings by the Executive and said funds will then be reallotted to other
priority projects. The DAP program did work to stimulate the economy as
economic growth was in fact reported and portion of such growth was
attributed to the DAP (as noted by the Supreme Court).
Other sources of the DAP include the unprogrammed funds from the General
Appropriations Act (GAA). Unprogrammed funds are standby appropriations
made by Congress in the GAA.
Meanwhile, in September 2013, Senator Jinggoy Estrada made an expos
claiming that he, and other Senators, received Php50M from the President as
an incentive for voting in favor of the impeachment of then Chief Justice
Renato Corona. Secretary Abad claimed that the money was taken from the
DAP but was disbursed upon the request of the Senators.

This apparently opened a can of worms as it turns out that the DAP does not
only realign funds within the Executive. It turns out that some non-Executive
projects were also funded; to name a few: Php1.5B for the CPLA (Cordillera
Peoples Liberation Army), Php1.8B for the MNLF (Moro National Liberation
Front), P700M for the Quezon Province, P50-P100M for certain Senators
each, P10B for Relocation Projects, etc.
This prompted Maria Carolina Araullo, Chairperson of the Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan, and several other concerned citizens to file various petitions with
the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the DAP. Among their
contentions was:
DAP is unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional rule which
provides that no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance
of an appropriation made by law.
Secretary Abad argued that the DAP is based on certain laws particularly the
GAA (savings and augmentation provisions thereof), Sec. 25(5), Art. VI of the
Constitution (power of the President to augment), Secs. 38 and 49 of
Executive Order 292 (power of the President to suspend expenditures and
authority to use savings, respectively).
I. Whether or not the DAP violates the principle no money shall be paid out of
the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law (Sec.
29(1), Art. VI, Constitution).
II. Whether or not the DAP realignments can be considered as impoundments
by the executive.
III. Whether or not the DAP realignments/transfers are constitutional.
IV. Whether or not the sourcing of unprogrammed funds to the DAP is
V. Whether or not the Doctrine of Operative Fact is applicable.

I. No, the DAP did not violate Section 29(1), Art. VI of the Constitution. DAP
was merely a program by the Executive and is not a fund nor is it an
appropriation. It is a program for prioritizing government spending. As such, it
did not violate the Constitutional provision cited in Section 29(1), Art. VI of the
Constitution. In DAP no additional funds were withdrawn from the Treasury
otherwise, an appropriation made by law would have been required. Funds,
which were already appropriated for by the GAA, were merely being realigned
via the DAP.
II. No, there is no executive impoundment in the DAP. Impoundment of funds
refers to the Presidents power to refuse to spend appropriations or to retain or
deduct appropriations for whatever reason. Impoundment is actually
prohibited by the GAA unless there will be an unmanageable national
government budget deficit (which did not happen). Nevertheless, theres no
impoundment in the case at bar because whats involved in the DAP was the
transfer of funds.
III. No, the transfers made through the DAP were unconstitutional. It is true
that the President (and even the heads of the other branches of the
government) are allowed by the Constitution to make realignment of funds,
however, such transfer or realignment should only be made within their
respective offices. Thus, no cross-border transfers/augmentations may be
allowed. But under the DAP, this was violated because funds appropriated by
the GAA for the Executive were being transferred to the Legislative and other
non-Executive agencies.
Further, transfers within their respective offices also contemplate realignment
of funds to an existing project in the GAA. Under the DAP, even though some
projects were within the Executive, these projects are non-existent insofar as
the GAA is concerned because no funds were appropriated to them in the
GAA. Although some of these projects may be legitimate, they are still non-

existent under the GAA because they were not provided for by the GAA. As
such, transfer to such projects is unconstitutional and is without legal basis.
On the issue of what are savings
These DAP transfers are not savings contrary to what was being declared by
the Executive. Under the definition of savings in the GAA, savings only
occur, among other instances, when there is an excess in the funding of a
certain project once it is completed, finally discontinued, or finally abandoned.
The GAA does not refer to savings as funds withdrawn from a slow moving
project. Thus, since the statutory definition of savings was not complied with
under the DAP, there is no basis at all for the transfers. Further, savings
should only be declared at the end of the fiscal year. But under the DAP, funds
are already being withdrawn from certain projects in the middle of the year
and then being declared as savings by the Executive particularly by the
IV. No. Unprogrammed funds from the GAA cannot be used as money source
for the DAP because under the law, such funds may only be used if there is a
certification from the National Treasurer to the effect that the revenue
collections have exceeded the revenue targets. In this case, no such
certification was secured before unprogrammed funds were used.
V. Yes. The Doctrine of Operative Fact, which recognizes the legal effects of
an act prior to it being declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, is
applicable. The DAP has definitely helped stimulate the economy. It has
funded numerous projects. If the Executive is ordered to reverse all actions
under the DAP, then it may cause more harm than good. The DAP effects can
no longer be undone. The beneficiaries of the DAP cannot be asked to return
what they received especially so that they relied on the validity of the DAP.
However, the Doctrine of Operative Fact may not be applicable to the authors,
implementers, and proponents of the DAP if it is so found in the appropriate
tribunals (civil, criminal, or administrative) that they have not acted in good