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DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS

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ABUEVA vs WOOD G.R. No. L-21327 January 14, 1924
JOHNSON, J

The parties:

Petitioners are members of the Independence Commission. The creation of the
commission was ratified and adopted by the Philippine Legislature on the 8th day of
March, 1919. Twenty six of the petitioners are members of the House of
Representatives and four are members of the Senate of the Philippine Islands and
they all belong to the democratic party;

Respondents are Leonard Wood, the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands,
Manuel L. Quezon and Manuel Roxas, Presidents of the Independence Commission.
Sued as well are the Acting Auditor, the Executive Secretary and the Secretary of
the Independence Commission.

This is an original action commenced in the Supreme Court by the petitioners for
the writ of mandamus to compel the respondents to exhibit to the petitioners and to
permit them to examine all the vouchers and other documentary proofs in their
possession, showing the disbursements and expenditures made out of the funds of
the Independence Commission.

FACTS:

By Act No. 2933 the Legislature of the Philippine Islands provided for a standing
appropriation of one million pesos(P1,000,000) per annum, payable out of any funds

Petitioners have verbally and by writing requested the respondents to permit them to examine the vouchers and other documentary proofs relating to the expenditures and payments made out of the funds appropriated for the use of the Independence Commission.000 for each house. at the rate of P500. including publicity and all other expenses in connection with the performance of its duties. although the appropriation act hereafter approved may not make any specific appropriation for said purpose. to defray the expenses of the Independence Commission. not otherwise appropriated. with the proviso that no part of said sum shall be set upon the books of the Insular Auditor until it shall be necessary to make the payment or payments authorized by said act Petitioners averred that as members of the Independence Commission they are legally obliged to prevent the funds from being squandered.in the Insular Treasury. that said appropriation shall be considered as included in the annual appropriation for the Senate and the House of Representatives. ISSUE: Can the Court compel the respondents to address the claims of the petitioners HELD: . and to prevent any investments and illicit expenses in open contravention of the purposes of the law. Respondents have denied and continue denying to permit the petitioners from examining said vouchers and documentary proofs.

The United States vs. Leonard Wood. Formosa carried 677 heads of cattle without providing appropriate shelter and proper suitable means for securing the animals which resulted for most of the animals to get hurt and others to have died while in transit. It was found that said vessel from Ampieng.N. as Governor-General of the Philippine Islands and head of the executive department of the Philippine Government. like the ship involved. 3. 1910 Facts: On the 2nd of December 1908. is not subject to the control or supervision of the courts. 55 and No. Manuel L. Philippines. and all vouchers and records pertaining thereto. shall be exclusive” The determination of whether the accounts of the expenses of the Commission of Independence should be shown to the plaintiffs or not is a question of policy and administrative discretion. As for the auditor. a steamship vessel engaged in the transport of animals named Standard commanded by H. whether of funds or property. 275 of the Philippine Constitution.N. nor did it say about ships not licensed under Philippine laws. the court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the action because section 24 of the Jones Law provides that: “The administrative jurisdiction of the Auditor over accounts. 2. Bull GR L-5270Jan 15. are mere agents of the Philippine Legislature and cannot be controlled or interfered with by the courts. H. It is however contended that cases cannot be filed because neither was it said that the court sitting where the animals were disembarked would take jurisdiction. This cruelty to animals is said to be contrary to Acts No.1. as Chairman of the Independence Commission. Bull docked in the port of Manila. and is therefore not justiciable. Issue: . Quezon and Manuel Roxas.

CONSTITUTIONAL SUPREMACY Marbury v. which the Philippines would have no jurisdiction. Every state has complete control and jurisdiction over its territorial waters. The Supreme Court of the United States has recently said that merchant vessels of one country visiting the ports of another for the purpose of trade would subject themselves to the laws which govern the ports they visit. . so long as they remain. The Organic Act was an attempt by the Federalists to take control of the federal judiciary before Thomas Jefferson took office.S. 60 (1803).Whether or not the court had jurisdiction over an offense committed on board a foreign ship while inside the territorial waters of the Philippines. 1 Cranch 137. Facts On his last day in office. Defendant is thereby found guilty. and to pay the costs. and sentenced to pay a fine with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. assuming that it originated in Formosa. Madison. Held: Yes. but the moment it entered into territorial waters. Ed. 2 L. continued until it reached Philippine territory which is already under jurisdiction of the Philippines. President John Adams named forty-two justices of the peace and sixteen new circuit court justices for the District of Columbia under the Organic Act. 137. it automatically would be subject to the jurisdiction of the country. 5 U. No court of the Philippines has jurisdiction over any crimes committed in a foreign ship on the high seas. The offense.

” Issues: Does Marbury have a right to the commission? Does the law grant Marbury a remedy? Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void? Can Congress expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the Constitution? Does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus? Holding and Rule (Marshall) Yes. to deliver the commissions.The commissions were signed by President Adams and sealed by acting Secretary of State John Marshall (who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of this opinion). Thomas Jefferson refused to honor the commissions. Marbury applied directly to the Supreme Court of the United States for a writ of mandamus to compel Jefferson’s Secretary of State. or persons holding office. James Madison (D). Marbury has a right to the commission. under the authority of the United States. William Marbury (P) was an intended recipient of an appointment as justice of the peace. The Judiciary Act of 1789 had granted the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus “…to any courts appointed. but they were not delivered before the expiration of Adams’s term as president. . claiming that they were invalid because they had not been delivered by the end of Adams’s term.

and the power has been exercised when the last act required from the person possessing the power has been performed. The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void. and the Constitution is superior to any . expound and interpret the rule. The President. a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right for which the laws of the country afford him a remedy. The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury. Having this legal right to the office. The seal of the United States. of necessity. he has a consequent right to the commission. by signing the commission. Yes. Where a specific duty is assigned by law. The grant of the commission to Marbury became effective when signed by President Adams.The order granting the commission takes effect when the Executive’s constitutional power of appointment has been exercised. affixed thereto by the Secretary of State. One of the first duties of government is to afford that protection. and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty. Yes. If courts are to regard the Constitution. If two laws conflict with each other. the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the law for a remedy. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must. appointed Marbury a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. the Court must decide on the operation of each. and of the completion of the appointment. The law grants Marbury a remedy. It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature.

or to be necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction. The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus. Congress cannot expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the Constitution. the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction. must govern the case to which they both apply. No. and does not create that case. and original jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be appellate. No. other public ministers and consuls. this section is mere surplusage and is entirely without meaning.ordinary act of the legislature. In all other cases. Although. To enable this court then to issue a mandamus. The Constitution states that “the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors. and not such ordinary act. If Congress remains at liberty to give this court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared their jurisdiction shall be original. and those in which a state shall be a party.” If it had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the Legislature to apportion the judicial power between the Supreme and inferior courts according to the will of that body. . It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already instituted. the distribution of jurisdiction made in the Constitution. the Constitution. is form without substance. it must be shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction.

President John Adams named forty-two justices of the peace and sixteen new circuit court justices for the District of Columbia under the Organic Act. Disposition: Application for writ of mandamus denied. a mandamus may be directed to courts.] A writ or order that is issued from a court of superior jurisdiction that commands an inferior tribunal. a particular act. yet to issue such a writ to an officer for the delivery of a paper is. 5 U. or individual to perform. and is therefore a matter of original jurisdiction. in effect. or refrain from performing. corporation. 2 L. the same as to sustain an original action for that paper. claiming that they were invalid because they had not been delivered by the end of Adams’s term. Municipal Corporation. 137. the performance or omission of which is required by law as an obligation.therefore. Madison. 1 Cranch 137. 60 (1803). Marbury v. We comand. but they were not delivered before the expiration of Adams’s term as president. Thomas Jefferson refused to honor the commissions. Marbury doesn’t get the commission. Facts On his last day in office. . Ed. The Organic Act was an attempt by the Federalists to take control of the federal judiciary before Thomas Jefferson took office.S. The commissions were signed by President Adams and sealed by acting Secretary of State John Marshall (who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of this opinion). WRIT OF MANDAMUS [Latin.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 had granted the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus “…to any courts appointed. James Madison (D).William Marbury (P) was an intended recipient of an appointment as justice of the peace. under the authority of the United States. . and the power has been exercised when the last act required from the person possessing the power has been performed. The order granting the commission takes effect when the Executive’s constitutional power of appointment has been exercised. to deliver the commissions. Marbury has a right to the commission.” Issues Does Marbury have a right to the commission? Does the law grant Marbury a remedy? Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void? Can Congress expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the Constitution? Does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus? Holding and Rule (Marshall) Yes. or persons holding office. Marbury applied directly to the Supreme Court of the United States for a writ of mandamus to compel Jefferson’s Secretary of State.

It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. affixed thereto by the Secretary of State. and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature. appointed Marbury a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the law for a remedy. the Constitution. Where a specific duty is assigned by law. The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void. If two laws conflict with each other. The President. must govern the case to which they both apply. the Court must decide on the operation of each. If courts are to regard the Constitution. expound and interpret the rule. and not such ordinary act. Having this legal right to the office. and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty. Yes. The law grants Marbury a remedy. and of the completion of the appointment. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must. . of necessity. by signing the commission. Yes. is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature. a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right for which the laws of the country afford him a remedy. The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury. The seal of the United States.The grant of the commission to Marbury became effective when signed by President Adams. he has a consequent right to the commission. One of the first duties of government is to afford that protection.

” If it had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the Legislature to apportion the judicial power between the Supreme and inferior courts according to the will of that body. The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus. If Congress remains at liberty to give this court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared their jurisdiction shall be original. the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction. . Congress cannot expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the Constitution. is form without substance. In all other cases. and original jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be appellate. No. and does not create that case. it must be shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction. a mandamus may be directed to courts. or to be necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction. and is therefore a matter of original jurisdiction. other public ministers and consuls. in effect. and those in which a state shall be a party. It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already instituted. To enable this court then to issue a mandamus.No. the same as to sustain an original action for that paper. yet to issue such a writ to an officer for the delivery of a paper is. therefore. this section is mere surplusage and is entirely without meaning. the distribution of jurisdiction made in the Constitution. The Constitution states that “the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors. Although.

a particular act.8 confirming the election of the members of the National Assembly against whom no protest had thus far been filedo. Pedro Ynsua. were candidates voted for the position of member of the National Assembly for the first district of the Province of Tayabas. Angara. No. the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua filed before the Electoral Commission a “Motion of Protest” against the election of the herein petitioner.R.Disposition: Application for writ of mandamus denied. the performance or omission of which is required by law as an obligation. WRIT OF MANDAMUS [Latin. 1935. JOSE A. J. 1935. or refrain from performing. Jose A. that said respondent . for having received the most number of votes. being the only protest filed after the passage of Resolutions N0. On October 7. L-45081. the provincial board of canvassers. Jose A. 1936 LAUREL. We comand. among other-things. 1935. Miguel Castillo and Dionisio Mayor. Praying. Marbury doesn’t get the commission. the petitioner.] A writ or order that is issued from a court of superior jurisdiction that commands an inferior tribunal. July 15. or individual to perform.: Facts: In the elections of September 17. ANGARA vs THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION G. corporation. Angara. and the respondents. Municipal Corporation. On December 8. proclaimed the petitioner as member-elect of the National Assembly for the said district.

It obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. the Chief Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on the legislative power that this assent is required in the enactment of laws. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. and is supreme within its own sphere. Furthermore. the National Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the sense that its consent through its Commission on Appointments is necessary in the appointments of certain officers. however. On the other hand. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. The President has also the right to convene the Assembly in special session whenever he chooses. as the case may be. in its power to . or that the election of said position be nullified Issue: Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the controversy upon the foregoing related facts.be declared elected member of the National Assembly for the first district of Tayabas. For example. and the concurrence of a majority of all its members is essential to the conclusion of treaties. by a vote of two-thirds or three-fourths. This. of the National Assembly. is subject to the further check that a bill may become a law notwithstanding the refusal of the President to approve it. and in the affirmative? HELD: The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government.

And the judiciary in turn. effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law. with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter. is the only constitutional mechanism devised finally to resolve the conflict and allocate constitutional boundaries. and is the power and duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution. which is the source of all authority. Conclusion: (a) That the government established by the Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of separation of power into the legislative. (c) That in cases of conflict between the several departments and among the agencies thereof. (d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in actual and appropriate cases and controversies. The Assembly also exercises the judicial power of trying impeachments. the judiciary. to define their jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for their support. the executive and the judicial. with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter. (b) That the system of checks and balances and the overlapping of functions and duties often makes difficult the delimitation of the powers granted. and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution. the National Assembly controls the judicial department to a certain extent. (e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent constitutional creation with specific powers and functions to execute and perform. closer for purposes of .determine what courts other than the Supreme Court shall be established.

and qualifications of their elective members.classification to the legislative than to any of the other two departments of the governments. which object would be frustrated if the National Assembly were to retain the power to prescribe rules and regulations regarding the manner of conducting said contests. returns and qualifications of its members. (k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed not only section 18 of the Jones Law making each house of the Philippine Legislature respectively the sole . (g) That under the organic law prevailing before the present Constitution went into effect. returns. and carried with it ex necesitate rei the implied power inter alia to prescribe the rules and regulations as to the time and manner of filing protests. (i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the Electoral Commission was full. devoid of partisan influence or consideration. clear and complete. (f ) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election. to the Electoral Commission. each house of the legislature was respectively the sole judge of the elections. (h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the powers previously exercised by the legislature with respect to contests relating to the elections. ( j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral Commission was to have an independent constitutional organ pass upon all contests relating to the election. returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly. returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly.

We hold. returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly. 103 Phil. the time and manner of notifying the adverse party. does not and cannot deprive the Electoral Commission of its incidental power to prescribe the time within which protests against the election of any member of the National Assembly should be filed. 3387 empowering each house to prescribe by resolution the time and manner of filing contests against the election of its members.judge of the elections. Angara. nor prevent the filing of a protest within such time as the rules of the Electoral Commission might prescribe. 1935 can not in any manner toll the time for filing protests against the elections. The lone opposition senator was . Tanada vs Cuenco. (m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any member against whom no protest had been filed prior to said confirmation. 1051 After the 1955 national elections. (l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election is contested or not. and bond or bonds. therefore. returns and qualifications of its elective members. to be required. the membership in the Senate was overwhelmingly occupied by the Nacionalista Party. that the Electoral Commission was acting within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the election of the herein petitioner Jose A. and to fix the costs and expenses of contest. but also section 478 of Act No. and that the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3. if any. is not essential before such member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.

It is provided that the SET should be composed of 9 members comprised of the following: 3 justices of the Supreme Court. Tañada assailed this process before the Supreme Court. Senator Mariano Cuenco et al (members of the NP) averred that the Supreme Court cannot take cognizance of the issue because it is a political question. Cuenco argued that the power to choose the members of the SET is vested in the Senate alone and the remedy for Tañada and Macapagal was not to raise the issue before judicial courts but rather to leave it before the bar of public opinion. as a member of the Liberalista Party will not have any chance in his election contest. not legality. or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government. are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity. namely. under the Constitution. a question of policy. Diosdado Macapagal on the other hand was a senatorial candidate who lost the bid but was contesting it before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET). It refers to those questions which. So did Macapagal because he deemed that if the SET would be dominated by NP senators then he. But prior to a decision the SET would have to choose its members. The SC took cognizance of the case and ruled that the issue is a justiciable question. of a particular measure. ISSUE: Whether or not the issue is a political question. But since there is only one minority senator the other two SET members supposed to come from the minority were filled in by the NP. . The term Political Question connotes what it means in ordinary parlance. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom.Lorenzo Tañada who belonged to the Citizen’s Party. HELD: No. 3 senators from the majority party and 3 senators from the minority party.

Besides. apparently already appointed members that would fill in the minority seats (even though those will come from the majority party). the issue at bar is not a political question. But how should the gridlock be resolved? The nomination of the last two members (who would fill in the supposed seat of the minority members) must not come from the majority party. the Chairman of the SET. This is still valid provided the majority members of the SET (referring to those legally sitting) concurred with the Chairman. Note that the SET is a separate and independent body from the Senate which does not perform legislative acts. The issue being raised by Tañada was whether or not the elections of the 5 NP members to the SET are valid – which is a judicial question. IMMUNITIES . In this case. the SET may set its own rules in situations like this provided such rules comply with the Constitution.In this case. The Supreme Court is not being asked by Tañada to decide upon the official acts of Senate.