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CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty.

Gabriels Syllabus)
ARTICLE VI LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT
Section 1
*Republic Act No. 6735 (system of Initiative &
Referendum)
Section 5
1. Tobias vs. Abalos
2. Mariano Jr. vs. Comelec
3. Montejo vs. Comelec
4. Aguino vs. Comelec
5. Veteran Federation Party vs. Comelec
6. BANAT vs. Comelec
7. Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party vs.
Comelec
8. Ang Ladlad LGBT Party vs. COmelec
9. Palparan vs. HRET
*Republic Act No. 7941 (Party List System)
Section 6
10. Romualdez-Marcos vs. Comelec
11. Aquino vs. Comelec
12. Co. vs. House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal
Section 7
13. Dimaporo vs. Mitra
Section 11
14. Jimenez vs. Cabangbang
15. Osmea vs. Pendatun
16. Pobre vs. Defensor-Santiago
Section 13
17. Zandueta vs. De la Costa
Section 14
18. Puyat vs. De Guzamn
Section 16
19. Santiago vs. Guingona
20. Avelino vs. Cuenco
21. Arroyo vs. De Venecia
22. Osmea vs. Pendatun
23. Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan
24. Paredes Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan
25. De Venecia vs. Sandiganbayan
26. US vs. Pons
27. Casco Philippine Chemical Co. vs. Gimenez
28. Philippine Judges Association vs. Prado
Section 17
29. Robles vs. House of representatives
Electoral Tribunal
30. Angara vs. Electoral Commission
31. Lazatin vs. House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal
32. Abbas vs. Senate Electoral Tribunal

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

33. Bondoc vs.Pineda


34. Chavez vs. Comelec
35. Pimentel vs. House
Electoral Tribunal
36. Palparan vs. HRET

of

representatives

Section 18
37. Daza vs. Singson
38. Coseteng vs. mitra
39. Guingona vs. Gonzales
Section 21
40. Bengzon
vs.
senate
Blue
Ribbon
Committee
41. Arnault vs. Nazareno
42. Senate vs. Ermita
43. Gudani vs. Senga
44. In re Petition For Issuance of Writ of Habeas
Corpus of Camilo L. Sabio
45. Neri
vs.
Senate
Committee
on
Accountability of Public Officers and
Investigations
46. Garciliiano vs. house of Representatives
Section 22
47. Senate vs. Ermita
Section 24
48. Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance
49. Alvarez vs. Gungona
Section 25
50. Garcia vs. Mata
51. Demetria vs. Alba
52. Philconsa vs. Enriquez
Section 26
53. Philconsa vs. Gimenez
54. Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
55. Philippine Judges Association vs. Prado
56. Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance
57. Tan vs. Del Rosario
58. Tobias vs. Abalos
59. ABAKADA Guro Party List vs. Ermita
Section 27
60. Gonzales vs. Macaraig
61. Bengzon vs. Drilon
62. Philconsa vs. Enriquez
Section 28
63. Kapatiran
ng
mga
Naglilingkod
Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas vs. Tan
64. Lung Center vs. Quezon City
65. Province of Abra vs. Hernando
66. Abra Valley College vs. Aquino

sa

Section 29

25

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


67. Pascual vs. Secretary of Public Works
68. Aglipay vs. Ruiz
69. Huingona vs. Carague
70. Osmena vs. Orbos
71. Philconsa vs. Enriquez

a.1 Initiative on the Constitution which refers


to a petition proposing amendments to the
Constitution;

Section 30
72. First lepanto Ceramics, Inc. vs. Court of
Appeals
73. Diaz vs. Court of Appeals
Section 32
74. Subic Bay
COMELEC

Metropolitan

Authority

vs.

SECTION 1
Republic Act No. 6735
1989

August 4,

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF


INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM AND
APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the Philippines in Congress
assembled::
I. General Provisions
Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as
"The Initiative and Referendum Act."
Section 2. Statement of Policy. The
power of the people under a system of
initiative and referendum to directly propose,
enact, approve or reject, in whole or in part,
the
Constitution,
laws,
ordinances,
or
resolutions passed by any legislative body
upon compliance with the requirements of this
Act is hereby affirmed, recognized and
guaranteed.
Section 3. Definition of Terms. For
purposes of this Act, the following terms shall
mean:
(a) "Initiative" is the power of the people to
propose amendments to the Constitution or to
propose and enact legislations through an
election called for the purpose.

a.2. Initiative on statutes which refers to a


petition proposing to enact a national
legislation; and
a.3. Initiative on local legislation which refers
to a petition proposing to enact a regional,
provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law,
resolution or ordinance.
(b) "Indirect initiative" is exercise of initiative
by the people through a proposition sent to
Congress or the local legislative body for
action.
(c) "Referendum" is the power of the
electorate to approve or reject a legislation
through an election called for the purpose. It
may be of two classes, namely:
c.1. Referendum on statutes which refers to a
petition to approve or reject an act or law, or
part thereof, passed by Congress; and
c.2. Referendum on local law which refers to a
petition to approve or reject a law, resolution
or ordinance enacted by regional assemblies
and local legislative bodies.
(d) "Proposition" is the measure proposed by
the voters.
(e) "Plebiscite" is the electoral process by
which an initiative on the Constitution is
approved or rejected by the people.
(f) "Petition" is the written instrument
containing the proposition and the required
number of signatories. It shall be in a form to
be determined by and submitted to the
Commission on Elections, hereinafter referred
to as the Commission.
(g) "Local
provinces,
barangays.

government units" refers to


cities,
municipalities
and

There are three (3) systems of initiative,


namely:

(h) "Local legislative bodies" refers to the


Sangguniang
Panlalawigan,
Sangguniang
Panlungsod,
Sangguniang
Bayan,
and
Sangguniang Nayon.

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CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


(i) "Local executives" refers to the Provincial
Governors, City or Municipal Mayors and
Punong Barangay, as the case may be.
Section 4. Who may exercise. The power
of initiative and referendum may be exercised
by all registered voters of the country,
autonomous
regions,
provinces,
cities,
municipalities and barangays.
Section 5. Requirements. (a) To exercise
the power of initiative or referendum, at least
ten per centum (10%) of the total number of
the registered voters, of which every
legislative district is represented by at least
three per centum (3%) of the registered voters
thereof, shall sign a petition for the purpose
and register the same with the Commission.
(b) A petition for an initiative on the 1987
Constitution must have at least twelve per
centum (12%) of the total number of
registered voters as signatories, of which
every legislative district must be represented
by at least three per centum (3%) of the
registered voters therein. Initiative on the
Constitution may be exercised only after five
(5) years from the ratification of the 1987
Constitution and only once every five (5) years
thereafter.
(c) The petition shall state the following:
c.1. contents or text of the proposed law
sought to be enacted, approved or rejected,
amended or repealed, as the case may be;
c.2. the proposition;
c.3. the reason or reasons therefor;
c.4. that it is not one of the exceptions
provided herein;
c.5. signatures of the petitioners or registered
voters; and

the petition thereof is signed by at least ten


per centum (10%) of the registered voters in
the province or city, of which every legislative
district must be represented by at least three
per centum (3%) of the registered voters
therein; Provided, however, That if the
province or city is composed only of one (1)
legislative district, then at least each
municipality in a province or each barangay in
a city should be represented by at least three
per centum (3%) of the registered voters
therein.
(e) A referendum of initiative on an ordinance
passed in a municipality shall be deemed
validly initiated if the petition therefor is
signed by at least ten per centum (10%) of the
registered voters in the municipality, of which
every barangay is represented by at least
three per centum (3%) of the registered voters
therein.
(f) A referendum or initiative on a barangay
resolution or ordinance is deemed validly
initiated if signed by at least ten per centum
(10%) of the registered voters in said
barangay.
Section 6. Special Registration. The
Commission on Election shall set a special
registration day at least three (3) weeks before
a scheduled initiative or referendum.
Section 7. Verification of Signatures.
The Election Registrar shall verify the
signatures on the basis of the registry list of
voters,
voters'
affidavits
and
voters
identification cards used in the immediately
preceding election.
II. National Initiative and Referendum
SECTION 8. Conduct and Date of Initiative
or Referendum. The Commission shall call
and supervise the conduct of initiative or
referendum.

(d) A referendum or initiative affecting a law,


resolution or ordinance passed by the
legislative assembly of an autonomous region,
province or city is deemed validly initiated if

Within a period of thirty (30) days from receipt


of the petition, the Commission shall, upon
determining the sufficiency of the petition,
publish the same in Filipino and English at
least twice in newspapers of general and local
circulation and set the date of the initiative or
referendum which shall not be earlier than
forty-five (45) days but not later than ninety
(90) days from the determination by the
Commission of the sufficiency of the petition.

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27

c.6. an abstract or summary in not more than


one hundred (100) words which shall be legibly
written or printed at the top of every page of
the petition.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Section 9. Effectivity of Initiative or
Referendum Proposition. (a) The
Proposition of the enactment, approval,
amendment or rejection of a national law shall
be submitted to and approved by a majority of
the votes cast by all the registered voters of
the Philippines.
If, as certified to by the Commission, the
proposition is approved by a majority of the
votes cast, the national law proposed for
enactment, approval, or amendment shall
become effective fifteen (15) days following
completion of its publication in the Official
Gazette or in a newspaper of general
circulation in the Philippines. If, as certified by
the Commission, the proposition to reject a
national law is approved by a majority of the
votes cast, the said national law shall be
deemed repealed and the repeal shall become
effective fifteen (15) days following the
completion of publication of the proposition
and the certification by the Commission in the
Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general
circulation in the Philippines.
However, if the majority vote is not obtained,
the national law sought to be rejected or
amended shall remain in full force and effect.
(b) The proposition in an initiative on the
Constitution approved by a majority of the
votes cast in the plebiscite shall become
effective as to the day of the plebiscite.
(c) A national or local initiative proposition
approved by majority of the votes cast in an
election called for the purpose shall become
effective fifteen (15) days after certification
and proclamation by the Commission.
Section 10. Prohibited Measures. The
following cannot be the subject of an initiative
or referendum petition:
(a) No petition embracing more than one (1)
subject shall be submitted to the electorate;
and
(b) Statutes involving emergency measures,
the enactment of which are specifically vested
in Congress by the Constitution, cannot be
subject to referendum until ninety (90) days
after its effectivity.

law, may file a petition for indirect initiative


with the House of Representatives, and other
legislative bodies. The petition shall contain a
summary of the chief purposes and contents of
the bill that the organization proposes to be
enacted into law by the legislature.
The procedure to be followed on the initiative
bill shall be the same as the enactment of any
legislative measure before the House of
Representatives except that the said initiative
bill shall have precedence over the pending
legislative measures on the committee.
Section 12. Appeal. The decision of the
Commission on the findings of the sufficiency
or insufficiency of the petition for initiative or
referendum may be appealed to the Supreme
Court within thirty (30) days from notice
thereof.
III. Local Initiative and Referendum
SECTION 13. Procedure in Local Initiative.
(a) Not less than two thousand (2,000)
registered voters in case of autonomous
regions, one thousand (1,000) in case of
provinces and cities, one hundred (100) in
case of municipalities, and fifty (50) in case of
barangays, may file a petition with the
Regional Assembly or local legislative body,
respectively,
proposing
the
adoption,
enactment, repeal, or amendment, of any law,
ordinance or resolution.
(b) If no favorable action thereon is made by
local legislative body within (30) days from its
presentation, the proponents through their
duly authorized and registered representative
may invoke their power of initiative, giving
notice thereof to the local legislative body
concerned.
(c) The proposition shall be numbered serially
starting from one (1). The Secretary of Local
Government or his designated representative
shall extend assistance in the formulation of
the proposition.
(d) Two or more propositions may be submitted
in an initiative.

Section 11. Indirect Initiative. Any duly


accredited people's organization, as defined by

(e) Proponents shall have one hundred twenty


(120) days in case of autonomous regions,
ninety (90) days in case of provinces and
cities, sixty (60) days in case of municipalities,
and thirty (30) days in case of barangays, from

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CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


notice mentioned in subsection (b) hereof to
collect the required number of signatures.
(f) The petition shall be signed before the
Election
Registrar,
or
his
designated
representative, in the presence of a
representative of the proponent, and a
representative of the regional assemblies and
local legislative bodies concerned in a public
place in the autonomous region or local
government unit, as the case may be.
Signature stations may be established in as
many places as may be warranted.
(g) Upon the lapse of the period herein
provided, the Commission on Elections,
through its office in the local government unit
concerned shall certify as to whether or not
the required number of signatures has been
obtained. Failure to obtain the required
number is a defeat of the proposition.
(h) If the required number of the signatures is
obtained, the Commission shall then set a date
for the initiative at which the proposition shall
be submitted to the registered voters in the
local government unit concerned for their
approval within ninety (90) days from the date
of certification by the Commission, as provided
in subsection (g) hereof, in case of
autonomous regions, sixty (60) days in case of
the provinces and cities, forty-five (45) days in
case of municipalities, and thirty (30) days in
case of barangays. The initiative shall then be
held on the date set, after which the results
thereof shall be certified and proclaimed by
the Commission on Elections.
Section
14.
Effectivity
of
Local
Propositions. If the proposition is approved
by a majority of the votes cast, it shall take
effect fifteen (15) days after certification by
the Commission as if affirmative action
thereon had been made by the local legislative
body and local executive concerned. If it fails
to obtain said number of votes, the proposition
is considered defeated.
Section
15.
Limitations
on
Local
Initiatives. (a) The power of local initiative
shall not be exercised more than once a year.
(b) Initiative shall extend only to subjects or
matters which are within the legal powers of
the local legislative bodies to enact.

(c) If at any time before the initiative is held,


the local legislative body shall adopt in toto
the proposition presented, the initiative shall
be cancelled. However, those against such
action may, if they so desire, apply for
initiative in the manner herein provided.
Section 16. Limitations Upon Local
Legislative Bodies. Any proposition or
ordinance or resolution approved through the
system of initiative and referendum as herein
provided shall not be repealed, modified or
amended, by the local legislative body
concerned within six (6) months from the date
therefrom, and may be amended, modified or
repealed by the local legislative body within
three (3) years thereafter by a vote of threefourths (3/4) of all its members: Provided,
however, that in case of barangays, the period
shall be one (1) year after the expiration of the
first six (6) months.
Section
17.
Local
Referendum.

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4


hereof, any local legislative body may submit
to the registered voters of autonomous region,
provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays
for the approval or rejection, any ordinance or
resolution duly enacted or approved.
Said referendum shall be held under the
control and direction of the Commission within
sixty (60) days in case of provinces and cities,
forty-five (45) days in case of municipalities
and thirty (30) days in case of barangays.
The Commission shall certify and proclaim the
results of the said referendum.
Section 18. Authority of Courts. Nothing
in this Act shall prevent or preclude the proper
courts from declaring null and void any
proposition approved pursuant to this Act for
violation of the Constitution or want of
capacity of the local legislative body to enact
the said measure.
IV. Final Provisions
SECTION 19. Applicability of the Omnibus
Election Code. The Omnibus Election Code
and other election laws, not inconsistent with
the provisions of this Act, shall apply to all
initiatives and referenda.
Section 20. Rules and Regulations. The
Commission
is
hereby
empowered
to

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CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


promulgate such rules and regulations as may
be necessary to carry out the purposes of this
Act.
Section 21. Appropriations. The amount
necessary to defray the cost of the initial
implementation of this Act shall be charged
against the Contingent Fund in the General
Appropriations Act of the current year.
Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary
for the full implementation of this Act shall be
included in the annual General Appropriations
Act.
Section 22. Separability Clause. If any
part or provision of this Act is held invalid or
unconstitutional, the other parts or provisions
thereof shall remain valid and effective.
Section 23. Effectivity. This Act shall take
effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in a
newspaper of general circulation.
Approved: August 4, 1989
SECTION 5
ROBERT V. TOBIAS, RAMON M. GUZMAN,
TERRY T. LIM, GREGORIO D. GABRIEL, and
ROBERTO R. TOBIAS, JR. vs. HON. CITY
MAYOR BENJAMIN S. ABALOS, CITY
TREASURER WILLIAM MARCELINO, and
THE SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD, all of
the City of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
G.R. No. L-114783 December 8, 1994
J. BIDIN
FACTS: Prior to the enactment of the assailed
statute (RA 7675), the municipalities of
Mandaluyong and San Juan belonged to only
one legislative district. Hon. Ronaldo Zamora,
the incumbent congressional representative of
this legislative district, sponsored the bill
which eventually became R.A. No. 7675.
President Ramos signed R.A. No. 7675 into law
on February 9, 1994.
Pursuant to the Local Government Code
of 1991, a plebiscite was held on April 10,
1994. The people of Mandaluyong were asked
whether they approved of the conversion of
the Municipality of Mandaluyong into a highly
urbanized city as provided under R.A. No.
7675. The turnout at the plebiscite was only
14.41% of the voting population. Nevertheless,
18,621 voted "yes" whereas 7,911 voted "no."
By virtue of these results, R.A. No. 7675 was
deemed ratified and in effect.

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The pertinent provision assailed is the


following
Article VIII, Section 49 of R.A. No. 7675
provides: As a highly-urbanized city, the City of
Mandaluyong shall have its own legislative
district with the first representative to be
elected in the next national elections after the
passage of this Act. The remainder of the
former
legislative
district
of
San
Juan/Mandaluyong shall become the new
legislative district of San Juan with its first
representative to be elected at the same
election.
ISSUE/S: Whether or not Republic Act No.
7675, otherwise known as "An Act Converting
the Municipality of Mandaluyong into a Highly
Urbanized City to be known as the City of
Mandaluyong" is unconstitutional for being
violative of three specific provisions of the
Constitution
HELD: Whether it contravenes the "one
subject-one bill" rule, as enunciated in Article
VI, Section 26(1) of the Constitution
NO. The SC agrees with the observation
of the Solicitor General that the statutory
conversion of Mandaluyong into a highly
urbanized city with a population of not less
than two hundred fifty thousand indubitably
ordains compliance with the "one city-one
representative" proviso in the Constitution:
. . . Each city with a population of at
least two hundred fifty thousand, or each
province,
shall
have
at
least
one
representative" (Article VI, Section 5(3),
Constitution).
Hence, it is in compliance with the
aforestated constitutional mandate that the
creation of a separate congressional district for
the City of Mandaluyong is decreed under
Article VIII, Section 49 of R.A. No. 7675.
Contrary to petitioners' assertion, the
creation of a separate congressional district for
Mandaluyong is not a subject separate and
distinct from the subject of its conversion into
a highly urbanized city but is a natural and
logical consequence of its conversion into a
highly urbanized city. Verily, the title of R.A.
No. 7675, "An Act Converting the Municipality
of Mandaluyong Into a Highly Urbanized City of
Mandaluyong"
necessarily
includes
and
contemplates the subject treated under
Section 49 regarding the creation of a separate
congressional district for Mandaluyong.
Moreover, a liberal construction of the
"one title-one subject" rule has been invariably
adopted by this court so as not to cripple or

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impede legislation. Thus, in Sumulong v.
Comelec (73 Phil. 288 [1941]), we ruled that
the constitutional
requirement as now
expressed in Article VI, Section 26(1) "should
be given a practical rather than a technical
construction. It should be sufficient compliance
with such requirement if the title expresses the
general subject and all the provisions are
germane to that general subject."
The liberal construction of the "one
title-one subject" rule had been further
elucidated in Lidasan v. Comelec (21 SCRA 496
[1967]), to wit:
Of course, the Constitution does not
require Congress to employ in the title of an
enactment, language of such precision as to
mirror, fully index or catalogue all the contents
and the minute details therein. It suffices if the
title should serve the purpose of the
constitutional demand that it inform the
legislators, the persons interested in the
subject of the bill and the public, of the nature,
scope and consequences of the proposed law
and its operation" (emphasis supplied).

Congress itself so mandates through a


legislative enactment. Therefore, the increase
in congressional representation mandated by
R.A. No. 7675 is not unconstitutional.
Thus, in the absence of proof that
Mandaluyong and San Juan do not qualify to
have separate legislative districts, the assailed
Section 49 of R.A.
No. 7675 must be allowed to stand.

Whether it violates Article VI, Sections


5(1) and (4) of the Constitution
NO. Proceeding now to the other
constitutional issues raised by petitioners to
the effect that there is no mention in the
assailed law of any census to show that
Mandaluyong and San Juan had each attained
the
minimum
requirement
of
250,000
inhabitants to justify their separation into two
legislative districts, the same does not suffice
to strike down the validity of R.A. No. 7675.
The said Act enjoys the presumption of having
passed through the regular congressional
processes, including due consideration by the
members of Congress of the minimum
requirements
for the
establishment
of
separate legislative districts. At any rate, it is
not required that all laws emanating from the
legislature must contain all relevant data
considered by Congress in the enactment of
said laws.
As to the contention that the assailed
law violates the present limit on the number of
representatives as set forth in the Constitution,
a reading of the applicable provision, Article VI,
Section 5(1), as aforequoted, shows that the
present limit of 250 members is not absolute.
The Constitution clearly provides that the
House of Representatives shall be composed
of not more than 250 members, "unless
otherwise provided by law." The inescapable
import of the latter clause is that the present
composition of Congress may be increased, if

Whether Section 49 of RA 76756


preempts the power of Congress to
reapportion legislative districts
As to the contention that Section 49 of
R.A. No. 7675 in effect preempts the right of
Congress to reapportion legislative districts,
the said argument borders on the absurd since
petitioners overlook the glaring fact that it was
Congress itself which drafted, deliberated upon
and enacted the assailed law, including
Section 49 thereof. Congress cannot possibly
preempt itself on a right which pertains to
itself.
As to the contention that Section 49 of
R.A. No. 7675 in effect preempts the right of
Congress to reapportion legislative districts,
the said argument borders on the absurd since
petitioners overlook the glaring fact that it was
Congress itself which drafted, deliberated upon
and enacted the assailed law, including
Section 49 thereof. Congress cannot possibly
preempt itself on a right which pertains to
itself.
Aside from the constitutional objections
to R.A. No. 7675, petitioners present further
arguments against the validity thereof.
Petitioners contend that the people of
San Juan should have been made to
participate in the plebiscite on R.A. No. 7675
as the same involved a change in their
legislative district. The contention is bereft of
merit since the principal subject involved in
the plebiscite was the conversion of
Mandaluyong into a highly urbanized city. The
matter of separate district representation was
only ancillary thereto. Thus, the inhabitants of
San Juan were properly excluded from the said
plebiscite as they had nothing to do with the
change of status of neighboring Mandaluyong.
Similarly,
petitioners'
additional
argument that the subject law has resulted in
"gerrymandering," which is the practice of
creating legislative districts to favor a
particular candidate or party, is not worthy of
credence. As correctly observed by the
Solicitor General, it should be noted that Rep.
Ronaldo Zamora, the author of the assailed
law, is the incumbent representative of the

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former San Juan/Mandaluyong district, having
consistently won in both localities. By dividing
San
Juan/Mandaluyong,
Rep.
Zamora's
constituency has in fact been diminished,
which development could hardly be considered
as favorable to him.
JUANITO MARIANO, JR. et al., vs. THE
COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS,
THE
MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, HON. JEJOMAR
BINAY, THE MUNICIPAL TREASURER, AND
SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF MAKATI
G.R. No. 118577 & 118627March 7, 1995
PUNO, J.:

ISSUE/S: Whether or not R.A. No. 7854 is


entitled, "An Act Converting the Municipality of
Makati Into a Highly Urbanized City to be
known as the City of Makati"
is
unconstitutional
HELD: NO. RA 7854 is valid and constitutional

FACTS: In G.R. No. 118577, a petition for


prohibition and declaratory relief was filed by
petitioners Juanito Mariano, Jr., Ligaya S.
Bautista, Teresita Tibay, Camilo Santos, Frankie
Cruz, Ricardo Pascual, Teresita Abang,
Valentina Pitalvero, Rufino Caldoza, Florante
Alba, and Perfecto Alba. Of the petitioners,
only Mariano, Jr., is a resident of Makati. The
others are residents of Ibayo Ususan, Taguig,
Metro Manila. Suing as taxpayers, they assail
as unconstitutional sections 2, 51, and 52 of
R.A. No. 7854 on the following grounds:
1. Section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 did not
properly identify the land area or territorial
jurisdiction of Makati by metes and bounds,
with technical descriptions, in violation of
Section 10, Article X of the Constitution, in
relation to Sections 7 and 450 of the Local
Government Code;
2. Section 51 of R.A. No. 7854 attempts
to alter or restart the "three consecutive term"
limit for local elective officials, in violation of
Section 8, Article X and Section 7, Article VI of
the Constitution.
3. Section 52 of R.A. No. 7854 is
unconstitutional for:
(a) it increased the legislative district of
Makati only by special law (the Charter in
violation of the constitutional provision
requiring a general reapportionment law to be
passed by Congress within three (3) years
following the return of every census;
(b) the increase in legislative district
was not expressed in the title of the bill; and
(c) the addition of another legislative
district in Makati is not in accord with Section 5
(3), Article VI of the Constitution for as of the
latest survey (1990 census), the population of
Makati stands at only 450,000.
G.R. No. 118627 was filed by the
petitioner John H. Osmea as senator,
taxpayer, and concerned citizen on the same
grounds.

Whether RA 7854 violates sections 7 and


450 of the Local Government Code which
require that the area of a local
government unit should be made by
metes
and
bounds
with
technical
descriptions
NO. Section 2, Article I of R.A. No. 7854
delineated the land areas of the proposed city
of Makati, thus:
Sec. 2. The City of Makati.
The Municipality of Makati shall
be converted into a highly
urbanized city to be known as
the City of Makati, hereinafter
referred to as the City, which
shall comprise the present
territory of the Municipality of
Makati in Metropolitan Manila
Area
over
which
it
has
jurisdiction bounded on the
northeast by Pasig River and
beyond
by
the
City
of
Mandaluyong
and
the
Municipality of Pasig; on the
southeast by the municipalities
of Pateros and Taguig; on the
southwest by the City of Pasay
and the Municipality of Taguig;
and, on the northwest, by the
City of Manila.
The foregoing provision shall be without
prejudice to the resolution by the appropriate
agency or forum of existing boundary disputes
or cases involving questions of territorial
jurisdiction between the City of Makati and the
adjoining local government units. (Emphasis
supplied)
The importance of drawing with precise
strokes the territorial boundaries of a local unit
of government cannot be overemphasized. The
boundaries must be clear for they define the
limits of the territorial jurisdiction of a local
government unit. It can legitimately exercise
powers of government only within the limits,
its acts are ultra vires. Needless to state, any
uncertainty in the boundaries of local
government units will sow costly conflicts in
the exercise of governmental powers which
ultimately will prejudice the people's welfare.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

32

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


This is the evil sought to avoided by the Local
Government Code in requiring that the land
area of a local government unit must be
spelled out in metes and bounds, with
technical descriptions.
Given the facts of the cases at bench,
we cannot perceive how this evil can be
brought about by the description made in
section 2 of R.A. No. 7854, Petitioners have not
demonstrated that the delineation of the land
area of the proposed City of Makati will cause
confusion as to its boundaries. We note that
said delineation did not change even by an
inch the land area previously covered by
Makati as a municipality. Section 2 did not add,
subtract, divide, or multiply the established
land area of Makati. In language that cannot
be any clearer, section 2 stated that, the city's
land area "shall comprise the present territory
of the municipality."
The deliberations of Congress will
reveal that there is a legitimate reason why
the land area of the proposed City of Makati
was not defined by metes and bounds, with
technical descriptions. At the time of the
consideration of R.A. No. 7854, the territorial
dispute between the municipalities of Makati
and Taguig over Fort Bonifacio was under court
litigation. Out of a becoming sense of respect
to co-equal department of government,
legislators felt that the dispute should be left
to the courts to decide. They did not want to
foreclose the dispute by making a legislative
finding of fact which could decide the issue.
This would have ensued if they defined the
land area of the proposed city by its exact
metes and bounds, with technical descriptions.
3 We take judicial notice of the fact that
Congress has also refrained from using the
metes and bounds description of land areas of
other local government units with unsettled
boundary disputes.
We hold that the existence of a
boundary dispute does not per se present an
insurmountable difficulty which will prevent
Congress from defining with reasonable
certitude the territorial jurisdiction of a local
government unit. In the cases at bench,
Congress maintained the existing boundaries
of the proposed City of Makati but as an act of
fairness, made them subject to the ultimate
resolution by the courts. Considering these
peculiar circumstances, we are not prepared to
hold that section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 is
unconstitutional. We sustain the submission of
the Solicitor General in this regard, viz.:
Going now to Sections 7 and 450 of the
Local Government Code, it is beyond cavil that

the requirement stated therein, viz.: "the


territorial jurisdiction of newly created or
converted cities should be described by meted
and bounds, with technical descriptions"
was made in order to provide a means by
which the area of said cities may be
reasonably ascertained. In other words, the
requirement on metes and bounds was meant
merely as tool in the establishment of local
government units. It is not an end in itself.
Ergo, so long as the territorial jurisdiction of a
city may be reasonably ascertained, i.e., by
referring
to
common
boundaries
with
neighboring municipalities, as in this case,
then, it may be concluded that the legislative
intent behind the law has been sufficiently
served.
Certainly, Congress did not intends that
laws creating new cities must contain therein
detailed technical descriptions similar to those
appearing in Torrens titles, as petitioners seem
to imply. To require such description in the law
as a condition sine qua non for its validity
would be to defeat the very purpose which the
Local Government Code to seeks to serve. The
manifest intent of the Code is to empower
local government units and to give them their
rightful due. It seeks to make local
governments more responsive to the needs of
their constituents while at the same time
serving as a vital cog in national development.
To invalidate R.A. No. 7854 on the mere ground
that no cadastral type of description was used
in the law would serve the letter but defeat the
spirit of the Code. It then becomes a case of
the master serving the slave, instead of the
other way around. This could not be the
intendment of the law.
Too well settled is the rule that laws
must be enforced when ascertained, although
it may not be consistent with the strict letter of
the statute. Courts will not follow the letter of
the statute when to do so would depart from
the true intent of the legislature or would
otherwise yield conclusions inconsistent with
the general purpose of the act. (Torres v.
Limjap, 56 Phil., 141; Taada v. Cuenco, 103
Phil. 1051; Hidalgo v. Hidalgo, 33 SCRA 1105).
Legislation is an active instrument of
government,
which,
for
purposes
of
interpretation, means that laws have ends to
achieve, and statutes should be so construed
as not to defeat but to carry out such ends and
purposes (Bocolbo v. Estanislao, 72 SCRA 520).
The same rule must indubitably apply to the
case at bar.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

33

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Whether section 51, Article X of R.A. No.
7854 violates section 8, Article X and
section 7, Article VI of the Constitution?
NO.
Petitioners in G.R. No. 118577 also
assail the constitutionality of section 51,
Article X of R.A. No. 7854. Section 51 states:
Sec. 51. Officials of the City of Makati.
The represent elective officials of the
Municipality of Makati shall continue as the
officials of the City of Makati and shall exercise
their powers and functions until such time that
a new election is held and the duly elected
officials shall have already qualified and
assume their offices: Provided, The new city
will acquire a new corporate existence. The
appointive officials and employees of the City
shall likewise continues exercising their
functions and duties and they shall be
automatically
absorbed
by
the
city
government of the City of Makati.
They contend that this section collides
with section 8, Article X and section 7, Article
VI of the Constitution which provide:
Sec. 8. The term of office of elective
local officials, except barangay officials, which
shall be determined by law, shall be three
years and no such official shall serve for more
than three consecutive terms. Voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of
time shall not be considered as an interruption
in the continuity of his service for the full term
for which he was elected.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 7. The Members of the House of
Representatives shall be elected for a term of
three years which shall begin, unless otherwise
provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of
June next following their election.
No
Member
of
the
House
of
Representatives shall serve for more than
three
consecutive
terms.
Voluntary
renunciation of the office for any length of
time shall not be considered as an interruption
in the continuity of his service for the full term
for which he was elected.
Petitioners stress that under these
provisions, elective local officials, including
Members of the House of Representative, have
a term of three (3) years and are prohibited
from serving for more than three (3)
consecutive terms. They argue that by
providing that the new city shall acquire a new
corporate existence, section 51 of R.A. No.
7854 restarts the term of the present
municipal elective officials of Makati and
disregards the terms previously served by
them. In particular, petitioners point that

section 51 favors the incumbent Makati Mayor,


respondent Jejomar Binay, who has already
served for two (2) consecutive terms. They
further argue that should Mayor Binay decide
to run and eventually win as city mayor in the
coming elections, he can still run for the same
position in 1998 and seek another three-year
consecutive term since his previous three-year
consecutive term as municipal mayor would
not be counted. Thus, petitioners conclude
that said section 51 has been conveniently
crafted to suit the political ambitions of
respondent Mayor Binay.
We cannot entertain this challenge to
the constitutionality of section 51. The
requirements before a litigant can challenge
the constitutionality of a law are well
delineated. They are: 1) there must be an
actual case or controversy; (2) the question of
constitutionality must be raised by the proper
party; (3) the constitutional question must be
raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and
(4) the decision on the constitutional question
must be necessary to the determination of the
case itself. 5
Petitioners have far from complied with
these requirements. The petition is premised
on the occurrence of many contingent events,
i.e., that Mayor Binay will run again in this
coming mayoralty elections; that he would be
re-elected in said elections; and that he would
seek re-election for the same position in the
1998 elections. Considering that these
contingencies may or may not happen,
petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue
which has yet to ripen to an actual case or
controversy. Petitioners who are residents of
Taguig (except Mariano) are not also the
proper parties to raise this abstract issue.
Worse, they hoist this futuristic issue in a
petition for declaratory relief over which this
Court has no jurisdiction.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

34

Whether section 52, Article X of R.A. No.


7854 which provides for the addition of
another
legislative
district
is
unconstitutional for: (1) reapportionment
cannot made by a special law, (2) the
addition of a legislative district is not
expressed in the title of the bill and (3)
Makati's population, as per the 1990
census, stands at only four hundred fifty
thousand (450,000).
NO. These issues have been laid to rest
in the recent case of Tobias v. Abalos. 8 In said
case, we ruled that reapportionment of
legislative districts may be made through a
special law, such as in the charter of a new

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


city. The Constitution 9 clearly provides that
Congress shall be composed of not more than
two hundred fifty (250) members, unless
otherwise fixed by law. As thus worded, the
Constitution did not preclude Congress from
increasing its membership by passing a law,
other than a general reapportionment of the
law. This is its exactly what was done by
Congress in enacting R.A. No. 7854 and
providing for an increase in Makati's legislative
district.
Moreover,
to
hold
that
reapportionment can only be made through a
general apportionment law, with a review of all
the legislative districts allotted to each local
government unit nationwide, would create an
inequitable situation where a new city or
province created by Congress will be denied
legislative representation for an indeterminate
period of time. 10 The intolerable situations
will deprive the people of a new city or
province a particle of their sovereignty. 11
Sovereignty cannot admit of any kind of
subtraction. It is indivisible. It must be forever
whole or it is not sovereignty.
Petitioners cannot insist that the
addition of another legislative district in Makati
is not in accord with section 5(3), Article VI 12
of the Constitution for as of the latest survey
(1990 census), the population of Makati stands
at only four hundred fifty thousand (450,000).
13 Said section provides, inter alia, that a city
with a population of at least two hundred fifty
thousand (250,000) shall have at least one
representative. Even granting that the
population of Makati as of the 1990 census
stood at four hundred fifty thousand (450,000),
its legislative district may still be increased
since it has met the minimum population
requirement of two hundred fifty thousand
(250,000). In fact, section 3 of the Ordinance
appended to the Constitution provides that a
city whose population has increased to more
than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000)
shall be entitled to at least one congressional
representative. 14
Finally, we do not find merit in petitioners'
contention that the creation of an additional
legislative district in Makati should have been
expressly stated in the title of the bill. In the
same case of Tobias v. Abalos, op cit., we
reiterated the policy of the Court favoring a
liberal construction of the "one title-one
subject" rule so as not to impede legislation. To
be sure, with Constitution does not command
that the title of a law should exactly mirror,
fully index, or completely catalogue all its
details. Hence, we ruled that "it should be
sufficient compliance if the title expresses the

general subject and all the provisions are


germane to such general subject."

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

35

CIRILO ROY G. MONTEJO, vs. COMMISSION


ON ELECTIONS,
SERGIO A.F. APOSTOL, intervenor.
G.R. No. 118702 March 16, 1995
PUNO, J.:
FACTS: Petitioner Cirilo Roy G. Montejo,
representing the First District of Leyte, pleads
for the annulment of section 1 of Resolution
No. 2736 of the COMELEC, redistricting certain
municipalities in Leyte, on the ground that it
violates
the
principle
of
equality
of
representation.
To remedy the alleged inequity,
petitioner seeks to transfer the municipality of
Tolosa from his district to the Second District of
the province. Intervenor Sergio A.F. Apostol,
representing the Second District, vigorously
opposed the inclusion of Tolosa in his district.
On January 1, 1992, the Local Government
Code took effect. Pursuant to its Section 462,
the sub-province of Biliran became a regular
province. The conversion of Biliran into a
regular province was approved by a majority of
the votes cast in a plebiscite held on May 11,
1992. As a consequence of the conversion,
eight (8) municipalities of the Third District
composed the new province of Biliran, i.e.,
Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba,
Kawayan, Maripipi, and Naval. A further
consequence was to reduce the Third District
to five (5) municipalities with a total
population of 145,067 as per the 1990 census.
To remedy the resulting inequality in the
distribution
of
inhabitants,
voters
and
municipalities in the province of Leyte,
respondent
COMELEC
held
consultation
meetings with the incumbent representatives
of the province and other interested parties.
On December 29, 1994, it promulgated
Resolution No. 2736 where, among others, it
transferred the municipality of Capoocan of
the Second District and the municipality of
Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third
District of Leyte. The composition of the First
District which includes the municipality of
Tolosa and the composition of the Fifth District
were not disturbed. Petitioner Montejo filed a
motion for reconsideration calling the attention
of respondent COMELEC, among others, to the
inequitable distribution of inhabitants and
voters between the First and Second Districts.
He alleged that the First District has 178,688
registered voters while the Second District has
156,462 registered voters or a difference of

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


22,226 registered voters. To diminish the
difference, he proposed that the municipality
of Tolosa with 7,7000 registered voters be
transferred from the First to the Second
District. The motion was opposed by
intervenor, Sergio A.F. Apostol. Respondent
Commission denied the motion ruling that: (1)
its adjustment of municipalities involved the
least disruption of the territorial composition of
each district; and (2) said adjustment complied
with the constitutional requirement that each
legislative district shall comprise, as far as
practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent
territory.
In this petition, petitioner insists that
Section I of Resolution No. 2736 violates the
principle of equality of representation ordained
in the Constitution. Citing Wesberry v.
Sanders, he argues that respondent COMELEC
violated "the constitutional precept that as
much as practicable one man's vote in a
congressional election is to be worth as much
as another's."

HELD: YES. Section I of Resolution No. 2736 is


void.
1. Whether the exercise by the COMELEC
of the legislative power of redistricting
and reapportionment is valid.
NO. The basic powers of respondent
COMELEC, as enforcer and administrator of our
election laws, are spelled out in black and
white in section 2(c), Article IX of the
Constitution. Rightly, respondent COMELEC
does not invoke this provision but relies on the
Ordinance appended to the 1987 Constitution
as the source of its power of redistricting
which is traditionally regarded as part of the
power to make laws. The Ordinance is entitled
"Apportioning the Seats of the House of
Representatives of the Congress of the
Philippines to the Different Legislative Districts
in Provinces and Cities and the Metropolitan
Manila Area." Its substantive sections state:
Sec. 1. For purposes of the election of
Members of the House of Representatives of
the First Congress of the Philippines under the
Constitution
proposed
by
the
1986
Constitutional Commission and subsequent
elections, and until otherwise provided by law,
the Members thereof shall be elected from
legislative districts apportioned among the

provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila


Area as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 2. The Commission on Elections is
hereby
empowered
to
make
minor
adjustments of the reapportionment herein
made.
Sec. 3. Any province that may hereafter
be created, or any city whose population may
hereafter increase to more than two hundred
fifty thousand shall be entitled in the
immediately following election to at least one
Member or such number of Members as it may
be entitled to on the basis of the number of its
inhabitants and according to the standards set
forth in paragraph (3), Section 5 of Article VI of
the Constitution. The number of Members
apportioned to the province out of which such
new province was created or where the city,
whose population has so increased, is
geographically
located
shall
be
correspondingly adjusted by the Commission
on Elections but such adjustment shall not be
made within one hundred and twenty days
before the election. (Emphasis supplied)
The Ordinance was made necessary
because Proclamation No. 3 of President
Corazon C. Aquino, ordaining the Provisional
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines,
abolished the Batasang Pambansa. She then
exercised legislative powers under the
Provisional Constitution.
The Ordinance was the principal
handiwork of then Commissioner Hilario G.
Davide, Jr., 13 now a distinguished member of
this Court. The records reveal that the
Constitutional Commission had to resolve
several prejudicial issues before authorizing
the first congressional elections under the
1987 Constitution. Among the vital issues
were: whether the members of the House of
Representatives would be elected by district or
by province; who shall undertake the
apportionment of the legislative districts; and,
how the apportionment should be made. 14
Commissioner Davide, Jr. offered three (3)
options for the Commission to consider: (1)
allow
President
Aquino
to
do
the
apportionment by law; (2) empower the
COMELEC to make the apportionment; or (3)
let the Commission exercise the power by way
of an Ordinance appended to the Constitution.
Clearly
then,
the
Constitutional
Commission denied to the COMELEC the major
power of legislative apportionment as it itself
exercised the power. Section 2 of the
Ordinance only empowered the COMELEC "to

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

36

ISSUE/S: Whether or not Section I of


Resolution No. 2736 violates the principle of
equality of representation ordained in the
Constitution.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


make
minor
adjustments
of
the
reapportionment herein made."
Consistent with the limits of its power
to make minor adjustments, Section 3 of the
Ordinance did not also give the respondent
COMELEC
any
authority
to
transfer
municipalities from one legislative district to
another district. The power granted by Section
3 to the respondent COMELEC is to adjust the
number of members (not municipalities)
"apportioned to the province out of which such
new province was created. . . ."
Prescinding from these premises, we
hold that respondent COMELEC committed
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction when it promulgated section 1 of
its Resolution No. 2736 transferring the
municipality of Capoocan of the Second
District and the municipality of Palompon of
the Fourth District to the Third District of
Leyte.
It may well be that the conversion of
Biliran from a sub-province to a regular
province brought about an imbalance in the
distribution of voters and inhabitants in the
five (5) legislative districts of the province of
Leyte. This imbalance, depending on its
degree, could devalue a citizen's vote in
violation of the equal protection clause of the
Constitution. Be that as it may, it is not proper
at this time for petitioner to raise this issue
using the case at bench as his legal vehicle.
The
issue
involves
a
problem
of
reapportionment of legislative districts and
petitioner's remedy lies with Congress. Section
5(4), Article VI of the Constitution categorically
gives Congress the power to reapportion, thus:
"Within three (3) years following the return of
every census, the Congress shall make a
reapportionment of legislative districts based
on the standards provided in this section."
In Macias v. COMELEC, 18 we ruled that
the validity of a legislative apportionment is a
justiciable question. But while this Court can
strike
down
an
unconstitutional
reapportionment, it cannot itself make the
reapportionment as petitioner would want us
to do by directing respondent COMELEC to
transfer the municipality of Tolosa from the
First District to the Second District of the
province of Leyte.
Section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 insofar as it
transferred the municipality of Capoocan of
the Second District and the municipality of
Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third
District of the province of Leyte, is annulled
and set aside.

SENATOR BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III


and MAYOR JESSE ROBREDO
vs.
COMMISSIO N ON ELECTIONS represented
by its Chairman JOSE A.R. MELO and its
Commissioners, RENE V. SARMIENTO,
NICODEMO T. FERRER, LUCENITO N.
TAGLE, ARMANDO VELASCO, ELIAS R.
YUSOPH AND GREGORIO LARRAZABAL
G.R. No. 189793 April 7, 2010
PEREZ, J.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

37

FACTS: Petitioners Senator Benigno Simeon C.


Aquino III and Mayor Jesse Robredo, as public
officers, taxpayers and citizens, seek the
nullification as unconstitutional of Republic Act
No. 9716, entitled "An Act Reapportioning the
Composition of the First (1st) and Second (2nd)
Legislative Districts in the Province of
Camarines Sur and Thereby Creating a New
Legislative
District
From
Such
Reapportionment." Petitioners consequently
pray that the respondent Commission on
Elections be restrained from making any
issuances and from taking any steps relative to
the implementation of Republic Act No. 9716.
Prior to Republic Act No. 9716, the Province of
Camarines Sur was estimated to have a
population of 1,693,821,2 distributed among
four (4) legislative districts. Following the
enactment of Republic Act No. 9716, the first
and second districts of Camarines Sur were
reconfigured in order to create an additional
legislative district for the province. Hence, the
first district municipalities of Libmanan,
Minalabac, Pamplona, Pasacao, and San
Fernando were combined with the second
district municipalities of Milaor and Gainza to
form a new second legislative district.
Petitioner Aquino III was one of two
senators who voted against the approval of the
Bill by the Senate. His co-petitioner, Robredo,
is the Mayor of Naga City, which was a part of
the former second district from which the
municipalities of Gainza and Milaor were taken
for inclusion in the new second district. No
other local executive joined the two; neither
did the representatives of the former third and
fourth districts of the province.
Petitioners
contend
that
the
reapportionment introduced by Republic Act
No. 9716, runs afoul of the explicit
constitutional standard that requires a
minimum population of two hundred fifty
thousand (250,000) for the creation of a
legislative district.5 The petitioners claim that
the reconfiguration by Republic Act No. 9716
of the first and second districts of Camarines
Sur is unconstitutional, because the proposed

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


first district will end up with a population of
less than 250,000 or only 176,383.
ISSUE/S: Whether or not a population of
250,000 is an indispensable constitutional
requirement for the creation of a new
legislative district in a province.
HELD: NO. Any law duly enacted by Congress
carries
with
it
the
presumption
of
constitutionality.24 Before a law may be
declared unconstitutional by this Court, there
must be a clear showing that a specific
provision of the fundamental law has been
violated or transgressed. When there is neither
a violation of a specific provision of the
Constitution nor any proof showing that there
is such a violation, the presumption of
constitutionality will prevail and the law must
be upheld. To doubt is to sustain.25
There is no specific provision in the
Constitution that fixes a 250,000 minimum
population that must compose a legislative
district.
As already mentioned, the petitioners
rely on the second sentence of Section 5(3),
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, coupled
with what they perceive to be the intent of the
framers of the Constitution to adopt a
minimum population of 250,000 for each
legislative district.
The second sentence of Section 5(3),
Article VI of the Constitution, succinctly
provides: "Each city with a population of at
least two hundred fifty thousand, or each
province,
shall
have
at
least
one
representative."
The provision draws a plain and clear
distinction between the entitlement of a city to
a district on one hand, and the entitlement of
a province to a district on the other. For while a
province
is
entitled
to
at
least
a
representative, with nothing mentioned about
population, a city must first meet a population
minimum of 250,000 in order to be similarly
entitled.
The use by the subject provision of a comma
to separate the phrase "each city with a
population of at least two hundred fifty
thousand" from the phrase "or each province"
point to no other conclusion than that the
250,000 minimum population is only required
for a city, but not for a province. 26
Plainly read, Section 5(3) of the Constitution
requires a 250,000 minimum population only
for a city to be entitled to a representative, but
not so for a province.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

The 250,000 minimum population


requirement for legislative districts in cities
was, in turn, the subject of interpretation by
this Court in Mariano, Jr. v. COMELEC.27
In Mariano, the issue presented was the
constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7854,
which was the law that converted the
Municipality of Makati into a Highly Urbanized
City. As it happened, Republic Act No. 7854
created an additional legislative district for
Makati, which at that time was a lone district.
The petitioners in that case argued that the
creation of an additional district would violate
Section 5(3), Article VI of the Constitution,
because the resulting districts would be
supported by a population of less than
250,000, considering that Makati had a total
population of only 450,000. The Supreme
Court sustained the constitutionality of the law
and the validity of the newly created district,
explaining the operation of the Constitutional
phrase "each city with a population of at least
two hundred fifty thousand," to wit:
Petitioners cannot insist that the
addition of another legislative district in Makati
is not in accord with section 5(3), Article VI of
the Constitution for as of the latest survey
(1990 census), the population of Makati stands
at only four hundred fifty thousand (450,000).
Said section provides, inter alia, that a city
with a population of at least two hundred fifty
thousand (250,000) shall have at least one
representative. Even granting that the
population of Makati as of the 1990 census
stood at four hundred fifty thousand (450,000),
its legislative district may still be increased
since it has met the minimum population
requirement of two hundred fifty thousand
(250,000). In fact, Section 3 of the Ordinance
appended to the Constitution provides that a
city whose population has increased to more
than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000)
shall be entitled to at least one congressional
representative.28 (Emphasis supplied)
The
Mariano
case
limited
the
application
of
the
250,000
minimum
population requirement for cities only to its
initial legislative district. In other words, while
Section 5(3), Article VI of the Constitution
requires a city to have a minimum population
of 250,000 to be entitled to a representative, it
does not have to increase its population by
another 250,000 to be entitled to an additional
district.
There is no reason why the Mariano
case, which involves the creation of an
additional district within a city, should not be
applied to additional districts in provinces.

38

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Indeed, if an additional legislative district
created within a city is not required to
represent a population of at least 250,000 in
order to be valid, neither should such be
needed for an additional district in a province,
considering moreover that a province is
entitled to an initial seat by the mere fact of its
creation and regardless of its population.
Apropos for discussion is the provision
of the Local Government Code on the creation
of a province which, by virtue of and upon
creation, is entitled to at least a legislative
district. Thus, Section 461 of the Local
Government Code states:
Requisites for Creation. (a) A province
may be created if it has an average annual
income, as certified by the Department of
Finance, of not less than Twenty million pesos
(P20,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant
prices and either of the following requisites:
(i)
a contiguous territory of at
least two thousand (2,000)
square kilometers, as certified
by the Lands Management
Bureau; or
(ii)
a population of not less than
two hundred fifty thousand
(250,000)
inhabitants
as
certified by the National
Statistics Office.
Notably, the requirement of population
is not an indispensable requirement, but is
merely an alternative addition to the
indispensable income requirement.
Mariano, it would turn out, is but a reflection of
the pertinent ideas that ran through the
deliberations on the words and meaning of
Section 5 of Article VI.
The whats, whys, and wherefores of the
population requirement of "at least two
hundred fifty thousand" may be gleaned from
the records of the Constitutional Commission
which, upon framing the provisions of Section
5 of Article VI, proceeded to form an ordinance
that would be appended to the final document.
The Ordinance is captioned "APPORTIONING
THE
SEATS
OF
THE
HOUSE
OF
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CONGRESS OF THE
PHILIPPINES TO THE DIFFERENT LEGISLATIVE
DISTRICTS IN PROVINCES AND CITIES AND THE
METROPOLITAN MANILA AREA." Such records
would show that the 250,000 population
benchmark was used for the 1986 nationwide
apportionment of legislative districts among
provinces, cities and Metropolitan Manila.
Simply put, the population figure was used to
determine how many districts a province, city,
or Metropolitan Manila should have. Simply

discernible too is the fact that, for the purpose,


population had to be the determinant. Even
then, the requirement of 250,000 inhabitants
was not taken as an absolute minimum for one
legislative district. And, closer to the point
herein at issue, in the determination of the
precise district within the province to which,
through the use of the population benchmark,
so many districts have been apportioned,
population as a factor was not the sole, though
it was among, several determinants.
From its journal,29 we can see that the
Constitutional Commission originally divided
the entire country into two hundred (200)
districts, which corresponded to the original
number of district representatives. The 200
seats were distributed by the Constitutional
Commission in this manner: first, one (1) seat
each was given to the seventy-three (73)
provinces and the ten (10) cities with a
population of at least 250,000;30 second, the
remaining seats were then redistributed
among the provinces, cities and the
Metropolitan Area "in accordance with the
number of their inhabitants on the basis of a
uniform
and
progressive
ratio."31
Commissioner Davide, who later became a
Member and then Chief Justice of the Court,
explained this in his sponsorship remark32 for
the Ordinance to be appended to the 1987
Constitution:
Commissioner Davide: The ordinance
fixes at 200 the number of legislative seats
which are, in turn, apportioned among
provinces and cities with a population of at
least 250, 000 and the Metropolitan Area in
accordance with the number of their
respective inhabitants on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio. The population
is based on the 1986 projection, with the 1980
official enumeration as the point of reckoning.
This projection indicates that our population is
more or less 56 million. Taking into account the
mandate that each city with at least 250, 000
inhabitants and each province shall have at
least one representative, we first allotted one
seat for each of the 73 provinces, and each
one for all cities with a population of at least
250, 000, which are the Cities of Manila,
Quezon, Pasay, Caloocan, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod,
Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Zamboanga.
Thereafter, we then proceed[ed] to increase
whenever appropriate the number of seats for
the provinces and cities in accordance with the
number of their inhabitants on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio. (Emphasis
supplied).

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

39

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Thus was the number of seats
computed for each province and city.
Differentiated from this, the determination of
the districts within the province had to
consider "all protests and complaints formally
received" which, the records show, dealt with
determinants other than population as already
mentioned.
VETERANS FEDERATION PARTY ET. AL., vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS ET AL.,
G.R. No. 136781 October 6, 2000
J. PANGANIBAN
FACTS: Our 1987 Constitution introduced the
party-list method of representation. Under this
system, any national, regional or sectoral party
or
organization
registered
with
the
Commission on Elections may participate in
the election of party-list representatives who,
upon their election and proclamation, shall sit
in the House of Representatives as regular
members. In effect, a voter is given two (2)
votes for the House -- one for a district
congressman and another for a party-list
representative.
Specifically,
this
system
of
representation is mandated by Section 5,
Article VI of the Constitution.
Complying with its constitutional duty to
provide by law the "selection or election" of
party-list representatives, Congress enacted
RA 7941 on March 3, 1995.
The requirements for entitlement to a
party-list seat in the House are prescribed by
this law (RA 7941) in this wise:
"Sec.
11.
Number
of
Party-List
Representatives.
-The
party-list
representatives shall constitute twenty per
centum (20%) of the total number of the
members of the House of Representatives
including those under the party-list.
For purposes of the May 1998 elections,
the first five (5) major political parties on the
basis of party representation in the House of
Representatives at the start of the Tenth
Congress of the Philippines shall not be
entitled to participate in the party-list system.
In determining the allocation of seats
for the second vote, the following procedure
shall be observed:
(a) The parties, organizations, and
coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to
the lowest based on the number of votes they
garnered during the elections.
(b) The parties, organizations, and
coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%)
of the total votes cast for the party-list system

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

shall be entitled to one seat each; Provided,


That those garnering more than two percent
(2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional
seats in proportion to their total number of
votes; Provided, finally, That each party,
organization, or coalition shall be entitled to
not more than three (3) seats.
Pursuant to Section 18 of RA 7941, the
Comelec en banc promulgated Resolution No.
2847, prescribing the rules and regulations
governing
the
election
of
party-list
representatives through the party-list system.
On May 11, 1998, the first election for
party-list
representation
was
held
simultaneously with the national elections. A
total of one hundred twenty-three (123)
parties,
organizations
and
coalitions
participated. On June 26, 1998, the Comelec
en banc proclaimed thirteen (13) party-list
representatives from twelve (12) parties and
organizations, which had obtained at least two
percent of the total number of votes cast for
the party-list system. Two of the proclaimed
representatives belonged to Petitioner APEC,
which obtained 5.5 percent of the votes. The
proclaimed winners and the votes cast in their
favor were as follows:
Party/Organi Number of
Percentage
zation/
Votes
Nominees
Total Votes
Coalition
Obtained
1. APEC

503,487

5.5%

Rene M. Silos
Melvyn
D.
Eballe

2. ABA

321,646

3.51%

Leonardo
Q.
Montemayor

3. ALAGAD

312,500

3.41%

Diogenes
Osabel

S.

4.VETERANS
FEDERATION 304,802

Eduardo
Pilapil

P.

3.33%

5. PROMDI

255,184

2.79%

Joy A.G. Young

6. AKO

239,042

2.61%

Ariel A. Zartiga

7. NCSCFO

238,303

2.60%

Gorgonio
Unde

P.

8. ABANSE! 235,548
PINAY

2.57%

Patricia
Sarenas

M.

9. AKBAYAN

232,376

2.54%

Loreta Ann
Rosales

P.

10. BUTIL

215,643

2.36%

Benjamin
Cruz

A.

11.
SANLAKAS

194,617

2.13%

Renato
Magtubo

B.

12.
COOP- 189,802
NATCCO

2.07%

Cresente
Paez

C.

40

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


After passing upon the results of the
special elections held on July 4, 18, and 25,
1998, the Comelec en banc further determined
that COCOFED (Philippine Coconut Planters
Federation, Inc.) was entitled to one party-list
seat for having garnered 186,388 votes, which
were equivalent to 2.04 percent of the total
votes cast for the party-list system. Thus, its
first nominee, Emerito S. Calderon, was
proclaimed on September 8, 1998 as the 14th
party-list representative.
On July 6, 1998, PAG-ASA (Peoples
Progressive Alliance for Peace and Good
Government Towards Alleviation of Poverty and
Social Advancement) filed with the Comelec a
"Petition to Proclaim [the] Full Number of PartyList
Representatives
provided
by
the
Constitution." It alleged that the filling up of
the twenty percent membership of party-list
representatives
in
the
House
of
Representatives, as provided under the
Constitution, was mandatory. It further claimed
that the literal application of the two percent
vote requirement and the three-seat limit
under RA 7941 would defeat this constitutional
provision, for only 25 nominees would be
declared winners, short of the 52 party-list
representatives who should actually sit in the
House.
Thereafter,
nine
other
party-list
organizations filed their respective Motions for
Intervention, seeking the same relief as that
sought by PAG-ASA on substantially the same
grounds. Likewise, PAG-ASAs Petition was
joined by other party-list organizations in a
Manifestation they filed on August 28, 1998.
These organizations were COCOFED, Senior
Citizens, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA,
PRP, AMIN, PCCI, AMMA-KATIPUNAN, OCWUNIFIL, KAMPIL, MAHARLIKA, AFW, Women
Power, Inc., Ang Lakas OCW, FEJODAP, CUP,
Veterans Care, Bantay Bayan, 4L, AWATU, PMP,
ATUCP, ALU and BIGAS.
On October 15, 1998, the Comelec
Second Division promulgated the present
assailed
Resolution
granting
PAG-ASA's
Petition. It also ordered the proclamation of
herein 38 respondents who, in addition to the
14 already sitting, would thus total 52 partylist representatives. It held that "at all times,
the total number of congressional seats must
be filled up by eighty (80%) percent district
representatives and twenty (20%) percent
party-list representatives." In allocating the 52
seats, it disregarded the two percent-vote
requirement prescribed under Section 11 (b) of
RA 7941. Instead, it identified three "elements
of the party-list system," which should

supposedly determine "how the 52 seats


should be filled up."
The Comelec en banc resolved only the
issue concerning the apportionment or
allocation of the remaining seats. The poll
body held that to allocate the remaining seats
only to those who had hurdled the two percent
vote requirement "will mean the concentration
of representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives to
thirteen
organizations
representing
two
political parties, three coalitions and four
sectors: urban poor, veterans, women and
peasantry x x x. Such strict application of the
2% 'threshold' does not serve the essence and
object of the Constitution and the legislature -to develop and guarantee a full, free and open
party system in order to attain the broadest
possible representation of party, sectoral or
group
interests
in
the
House
of
Representatives. Thus, in its Resolution dated
January 7, 1999, the Comelec en banc,
affirmed the Resolution of its Second Division.
Consequently, several petitions for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus, with prayers for
the issuance of temporary restraining orders or
writs of preliminary injunction, were filed
before this Court by the parties and
organizations that had obtained at least two
per cent of the total votes cast for the partylist system.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

41

ISSUE/S:
1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list
representatives mentioned in Section 5 (2),
Article VI of the Constitution, mandatory or is it
merely a ceiling? In other words, should the
twenty percent allocation for party-list solons
be filled up completely and all the time?
2. Are the two percent threshold requirement
and the three-seat limit provided in Section 11
(b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
3. If the answer to Issue 2 is in the affirmative,
how should the additional seats of a qualified
party be determined?
HELD:
The 20% allocation is merely a ceiling.
The pertinent provision15 of the Constitution on
the
composition
of
the
House
of
Representatives reads as follows:
"Sec. 5. (1) The House of
Representatives
shall
be
composed of not more than two
hundred and fifty members,
unless otherwise fixed by law,
who shall be elected from
legislative districts apportioned

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


among the provinces, cities, and
the Metropolitan Manila area in
accordance with the number of
their respective inhabitants, and
on the basis of a uniform and
progressive ratio, and those
who, as provided by law, shall
be elected by a party-list system
of registered national, regional,
and
sectoral
parties
or
organizations.
(2) The party-list representatives
shall constitute twenty per
centum of the total number of
representatives including those
under the party-list. For three
consecutive terms after the
ratification of this Constitution,
one half of the seats allocated to
party-list representatives shall
be filled, as provided by law, by
selection or election from the
labor, peasant, urban poor,
indigenous
cultural
communities, women, youth,
and such other sectors as may
be provided by law, except the
religious sector."
Determination of the Total Number of PartyList Lawmakers
Clearly, the Constitution makes the
number of district representatives the
determinant in arriving at the number of seats
allocated for party-list lawmakers, who shall
comprise "twenty per centum of the total
number of representatives including those
under the party-list." We thus translate this
legal provision into a mathematical formula, as
follows:
No.
of
district
x .20 = No. of
representatives
party-list
representatives
.80
This formulation means that any
increase
in
the
number
of
district
representatives, as may be provided by law,
will necessarily result in a corresponding
increase in the number of party-list seats. To
illustrate, considering that there were 208
district representatives to be elected during
the 1998 national elections, the number of
party-list seats would be 52, computed as
follows:
208
x .20 =
52
.80

The foregoing computation of seat


allocation is easy enough to comprehend. The
problematic question, however, is this:
Does the Constitution require all such
allocated seats to be filled up all the time and
under all circumstances? Our short answer is
"No."
Twenty Percent Allocation a Mere Ceiling
The Constitution simply states that
"[t]he
party-list
representatives
shall
constitute twenty per centum of the total
number of representatives including those
under the party-list."
According to petitioners, this percentage is a
ceiling; the mechanics by which it is to be
filled up has been left to Congress. In the
exercise of its prerogative, the legislature
enacted RA 7941, by which it prescribed that a
party, organization or coalition participating in
the party-list election must obtain at least two
percent of the total votes cast for the system
in order to qualify for a seat in the House of
Representatives.
Petitioners further argue that the
constitutional provision must be construed
together with this legislative requirement. If
there is no sufficient number of participating
parties, organizations or coalitions which could
hurdle the two percent vote threshold and
thereby fill up the twenty percent party-list
allocation in the House, then naturally such
allocation cannot be filled up completely. The
Comelec
cannot
be
faulted
for
the
"incompleteness," for ultimately the voters
themselves are the ones who, in the exercise
of their right of suffrage, determine who and
how many should represent them.
On the other hand, Public Respondent
Comelec, together with the respondent
parties, avers that the twenty percent
allocation
for
party-list
lawmakers
is
mandatory, and that the two percent vote
requirement in RA 7941 is unconstitutional,
because its strict application would make it
mathematically impossible to fill up the House
party-list complement.
We rule that a simple reading of Section
5, Article VI of the Constitution, easily conveys
the equally simple message that Congress was
vested with the broad power to define and
prescribe the mechanics of the party-list
system of representation. The Constitution
explicitly sets down only the percentage of the
total
membership
in
the
House
of
Representatives
reserved
for
party-list
representatives.
In the exercise of its constitutional
prerogative, Congress enacted RA 7941. As

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

42

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


said earlier, Congress declared therein a policy
to promote "proportional representation" in the
election of party-list representatives in order to
enable Filipinos belonging to the marginalized
and underrepresented sectors to contribute
legislation that would benefit them. It however
deemed it necessary to require parties,
organizations and coalitions participating in
the system to obtain at least two percent of
the total votes cast for the party-list system in
order to be entitled to a party-list seat. Those
garnering more than this percentage could
have "additional seats in proportion to their
total number of votes." Furthermore, no
winning party, organization or coalition can
have more than three seats in the House of
Representatives. Thus the relevant portion of
Section 11(b) of the law provides:
"(b) The parties, organizations, and
coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%)
of the total votes cast for the party-list system
shall be entitled to one seat each; Provided,
That those garnering more than two percent
(2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional
seats in proportion to their total number of
votes; Provided, finally, That each party,
organization, or coalition shall be entitled to
not more than three (3) seats."
Considering the foregoing statutory
requirements, it will be shown presently that
Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution is
not mandatory. It merely provides a ceiling for
party-list seats in Congress.
On the contention that a strict
application of the two percent threshold may
result in a "mathematical impossibility," suffice
it to say that the prerogative to determine
whether to adjust or change this percentage
requirement rests in Congress. Our task now,
as should have been the Comelecs, is not to
find fault in the wisdom of the law through
highly unlikely scenarios of clinical extremes,
but to craft an innovative mathematical
formula that can, as far as practicable,
implement it within the context of the actual
election process.

The two percent threshold is consistent


not only with the intent of the framers of the
Constitution and the law, but with the very
essence
of
"representation."
Under
a
republican
or
representative
state,
all
government authority emanates from the
people, but is exercised by representatives
chosen by them. But to have meaningful
representation, the elected persons must have
the mandate of a sufficient number of people.
Otherwise, in a legislature that features the
party-list system, the result might be the
proliferation of small groups which are
incapable
of
contributing
significant
legislation, and which might even pose a
threat to the stability of Congress. Thus, even
legislative districts are apportioned according
to "the number of their respective inhabitants,
and on the basis of a uniform and progressive
ratio"
to
ensure
meaningful
local
representation.
All in all, we hold that the statutory provision
on this two percent requirement is precise and
crystalline. When the law is clear, the function
of
courts
is
simple
application,
not
interpretation or circumvention.

The two percent threshold and three-seat


limit is valid
Second Issue: The Statutory Requirement
and Limitation
The Two Percent Threshold
In imposing a two percent threshold,
Congress wanted to ensure that only those
parties, organizations and coalitions having a
sufficient number of constituents deserving of
representation are actually represented in
Congress.

The Three-Seat-Per-Party Limit


An important consideration in adopting
the party-list system is to promote and
encourage
a
multiparty
system
of
representation. Again, we quote Commissioner
Monsod:
"MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just
want to say that we suggested or proposed the
party list system because we wanted to open
up the political system to a pluralistic society
through a multiparty system. But we also
wanted to avoid the problems of mechanics
and operation in the implementation of a
concept that has very serious shortcomings of
classification and of double or triple votes. We
are for opening up the system, and we would
like very much for the sectors to be there. That
is why one of the ways to do that is to put a
ceiling on the number of representatives from
any single party that can sit within the 50
allocated under the party list system. This
way, we will open it up and enable sectoral
groups, or maybe regional groups, to earn
their seats among the fifty. x x x."24
Consistent with the Constitutional
Commission's pronouncements, Congress set
the seat-limit to three (3) for each qualified
party, organization or coalition. "Qualified"
means having hurdled the two percent vote
threshold. Such three-seat limit ensures the
entry of various interest-representations into

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

43

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


the legislature; thus, no single group, no
matter how large its membership, would
dominate the party-list seats, if not the entire
House.
Third
Issue:
Method
of
Allocating
Additional Seats
Having determined that the twenty
percent seat allocation is merely a ceiling, and
having upheld the constitutionality of the two
percent vote threshold and the three-seat limit
imposed under RA 7941, we now proceed to
the method of determining how many partylist seats the qualified parties, organizations
and coalitions are entitled to. The very first
step - there is no dispute on this - is to rank all
the participating parties, organizations and
coalitions (hereafter collectively referred to as
"parties") according to the votes they each
obtained. The percentage of their respective
votes as against the total number of votes cast
for the party-list system is then determined. All
those that garnered at least two percent of the
total votes cast have an assured or
guaranteed
seat
in
the
House
of
Representatives. Thereafter, "those garnering
more than two percent of the votes shall be
entitled to additional seats in proportion to
their total number of votes." The problem is
how
to
distribute
additional
seats
"proportionally," bearing in mind the threeseat limit further imposed by the law.
One Additional Seat Per Two Percent
Increment
One proposed formula is to allocate one
additional seat for every additional proportion
of the votes obtained equivalent to the two
percent vote requirement for the first seat.25
Translated in figures, a party that wins at least
six percent of the total votes cast will be
entitled to three seats; another party that gets
four percent will be entitled to two seats; and
one that gets two percent will be entitled to
one seat only. This proposal has the advantage
of simplicity and ease of comprehension.
Problems arise, however, when the parties get
very lop-sided votes -- for example, when Party
A receives 20 percent of the total votes cast;
Party B, 10 percent; and Party C, 6 percent.
Under the method just described, Party A
would be entitled to 10 seats; Party B, to 5
seats and Party C, to 3 seats. Considering the
three-seat limit imposed by law, all the parties
will each uniformly have three seats only. We
would then have the spectacle of a party
garnering two or more times the number of
votes obtained by another, yet getting the

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

same number of seats as the other one with


the much lesser votes. In effect, proportional
representation will be contravened and the law
rendered nugatory by this suggested solution.
Hence, the Court discarded it.
The Niemeyer Formula
Another suggestion that the Court
considered was the Niemeyer formula, which
was developed by a German mathematician
and adopted by Germany as its method of
distributing party-list seats in the Bundestag.
Under this formula, the number of additional
seats to which a qualified party would be
entitled is determined by multiplying the
remaining number of seats to be allocated by
the total number of votes obtained by that
party and dividing the product by the total
number of votes garnered by all the qualified
parties. The integer portion of the resulting
product will be the number of additional seats
that the party concerned is entitled to. Thus:
No.
of
remaining
seats
No.
of
No.
of
to
be
additional
votes of
allocated
seats of party
x party
=
concerned
concerne
Total no. of
(Integer.decima
d
votes
of
l)
qualified
parties
The next step is to distribute the extra
seats left among the qualified parties in the
descending order of the decimal portions of
the resulting products. Based on the 1998
election results, the distribution of party-list
seats under the Niemeyer method would be as
follows:
Party
Numbe Guaran Additi Extr Total
r
of teed
onal a
Votes
Seats
Seat
s
1. APEC

503,48
7

5.73

2. ABA

321,64
6

3.66

3. ALAGAD

312,50
0

3.55

4.
VETERANS
FEDERATIO
N

304,80
2

3.47

5. PROMDI

255,18
4

2.90

44

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


6. AKO

239,04
2

2.72

because of essential variances between the


two party-list models.

7. NCSCFO

238,30
3

2.71

8. ABANSE! 235,54
PINAY
8

2.68

9. AKBAYAN 232,37
6

2.64

10. BUTIL

215,64
3

2.45

11.
SANLAKAS

194,61
7

2.21

12. COOP- 189,80


NATCCO
2

2.16

13.
COCOFED

2.12

The Legal and Logical Formula for the


Philippines
It is now obvious that the Philippine
style party-list system is a unique paradigm
which demands an equally unique formula. In
crafting a legally defensible and logical
solution to determine the number of additional
seats that a qualified party is entitled to, we
need to review the parameters of the Filipino
party-list system.
As earlier mentioned in the Prologue,
they are as follows:
First, the twenty percent allocation - the
combined number of all party-list congressmen
shall not exceed twenty percent of the total
membership of the House of Representatives,
including those elected under the party list.
Second, the two percent threshold only those parties garnering a minimum of two
percent of the total valid votes cast for the
party-list system are "qualified" to have a seat
in the House of Representatives;
Third, the three-seat limit - each
qualified party, regardless of the number of
votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a
maximum of three seats; that is, one
"qualifying" and two additional seats.
Fourth, proportional representation the additional seats which a qualified party is
entitled to shall be computed "in proportion to
their total number of votes."
The problem, as already stated, is to
find a way to translate "proportional
representation" into a mathematical formula
that will not contravene, circumvent or amend
the above-mentioned parameters.
After careful deliberation, we now
explain such formula, step by step.
Step One. There is no dispute among
the petitioners, the public and the private
respondents, as well as the members of this
Court, that the initial step is to rank all the
participating
parties,
organizations
and
coalitions from the highest to the lowest based
on the number of votes they each received.
Then the ratio for each party is computed by
dividing its votes by the total votes cast for all
the parties participating in the system. All
parties with at least two percent of the total
votes are guaranteed one seat each. Only
these parties shall be considered in the
computation of additional seats. The party
receiving the highest number of votes shall
thenceforth be referred to as the "first" party.

186,38
8

Total

3,429,3 13
32
7
52
38
However, since Section 11 of RA 7941
sets a limit of three (3) seats for each party,
those obtaining more than the limit will have
to give up their excess seats. Under our
present set of facts, the thirteen qualified
parties will each be entitled to three seats,
resulting in an overall total of 39. Note that like
the previous proposal, the Niemeyer formula
would violate the principle of "proportional
representation," a basic tenet of our party-list
system.
The Niemeyer formula, while no doubt
suitable for Germany, finds no application in
the Philippine setting, because of our threeseat limit and the non-mandatory character of
the twenty percent allocation. True, both our
Congress and the Bundestag have threshold
requirements -- two percent for us and five for
them. There are marked differences between
the two models, however. As ably pointed out
by private respondents,26 one half of the
German Parliament is filled up by party-list
members. More important, there are no seat
limitations, because German law discourages
the proliferation of small parties. In contrast,
RA 7941, as already mentioned, imposes a
three-seat limit to encourage the promotion of
the multiparty system. This major statutory
difference makes the Niemeyer formula
completely inapplicable to the Philippines.
Just as one cannot grow Washington
apples in the Philippines or Guimaras mangoes
in the Arctic because of fundamental
environmental differences, neither can the
Niemeyer formula be transplanted in toto here

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

45

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Step Two. The next step is to determine
the number of seats the first party is entitled
to, in order to be able to compute that for the
other parties. Since the distribution is based
on proportional representation, the number of
seats to be allotted to the other parties cannot
possibly exceed that to which the first party is
entitled by virtue of its obtaining the most
number of votes.
For example, the first party received
1,000,000 votes and is determined to be
entitled to two additional seats. Another
qualified party which received 500,000 votes
cannot be entitled to the same number of
seats, since it garnered only fifty percent of
the votes won by the first party. Depending on
the proportion of its votes relative to that of
the first party whose number of seats has
already been predetermined, the second party
should be given less than that to which the
first one is entitled.
The other qualified parties will always
be allotted less additional seats than the first
party for two reasons: (1) the ratio between
said parties and the first party will always be
less than 1:1, and (2) the formula does not
admit of mathematical rounding off, because
there is no such thing as a fraction of a seat.
Verily, an arbitrary rounding off could result in
a violation of the twenty percent allocation. An
academic mathematical demonstration of such
incipient violation is not necessary because
the present set of facts, given the number of
qualified parties and the voting percentages
obtained, will definitely not end up in such
constitutional contravention.
The Court has previously ruled in
Guingona Jr. v. Gonzales27 that a fractional
membership cannot be converted into a whole
membership of one when it would, in effect,
deprive another party's fractional membership.
It would be a violation of the constitutional
mandate of proportional representation. We
said further that "no party can claim more
than what it is entitled to x x x."
In any case, the decision on whether to
round off the fractions is better left to the
legislature. Since Congress did not provide for
it in the present law, neither will this Court.
The Supreme Court does not make the law; it
merely applies it to a given set of facts.
Formula for Determining Additional Seats
for the First Party
Now, how do we determine the number
of seats the first party is entitled to? The only
basis given by the law is that a party receiving
at least two percent of the total votes shall be

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

entitled to one seat. Proportionally, if the first


party were to receive twice the number of
votes of the second party, it should be entitled
to twice the latter's number of seats and so on.
The formula, therefore, for computing the
number of seats to which the first party is
entitled is as follows:
Number
of
votes
Proportion of votes of
of first party
first
party
relative
to
=
total votes for party-list
Total votes for
system
party-list
system
If the proportion of votes received by
the first party without rounding it off is equal
to at least six percent of the total valid votes
cast for all the party list groups, then the first
party shall be entitled to two additional seats
or a total of three seats overall. If the
proportion of votes without a rounding off is
equal to or greater than four percent, but less
than six percent, then the first party shall have
one additional or a total of two seats. And if
the proportion is less than four percent, then
the first party shall not be entitled to any
additional seat.
We adopted this six percent bench
mark, because the first party is not always
entitled to the maximum number of additional
seats. Likewise, it would prevent the allotment
of more than the total number of available
seats, such as in an extreme case wherein 18
or more parties tie for the highest rank and are
thus entitled to three seats each. In such
scenario, the number of seats to which all the
parties are entitled may exceed the maximum
number of party-list seats reserved in the
House of Representatives.
Applying the above formula, APEC,
which received 5.5% of the total votes cast, is
entitled to one additional seat or a total of two
seats.
Note that the above formula will be
applicable only in determining the number of
additional seats the first party is entitled to. It
cannot be used to determine the number of
additional seats of the other qualified parties.
As explained earlier, the use of the same
formula for all would contravene the
proportional representation parameter. For
example, a second party obtains six percent of
the total number of votes cast. According to
the above formula, the said party would be
entitled to two additional seats or a total of
three seats overall. However, if the first party
received a significantly higher amount of votes

46

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


-- say, twenty percent -- to grant it the same
number of seats as the second party would
violate the statutory mandate of proportional
representation, since a party getting only six
percent of the votes will have an equal number
of representatives as the one obtaining twenty
percent. The proper solution, therefore, is to
grant the first party a total of three seats; and
the party receiving six percent, additional
seats in proportion to those of the first party.
Formula for Additional Seats of Other
Qualified Parties
Step Three The next step is to solve for the
number of additional seats that the other
qualified parties are entitled to, based on
proportional representation. The formula is
encompassed by the following complex
fraction:
No. of votes of
concerned party

Additional
seats
for
concerned
party

Total
No.
of
votes
for
party-list
system

No.
of
additional
seats
=
x allocated
to
No. of votes of
the
first
first party
party

Total
No.
of
for party list
system
In simplified form, it is written as follows:
No.
of
Additional
No. of votes of
additional
seats
concerned party
seats
for
=
x allocated
concerned
No. of votes of
to
party
first party
the
first
party
Thus, in the case of ABA, the additional
number of seats it would be entitled to is
computed as follows:
No. of votes
Additional
of ABA
No.
of
seats
additional
for
= No. of vites x seats
concerned
of
allocated to
party (ABA)
first
party
the first party
(APEC)
Substituting actual values would result in the
following equation:
Additional
= 321,64 x 1 .64 or 0 additional
seats
6
= seat,
since
for
rounding off is not

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

concerned
party (ABA)

503,48
7

to be applied

Applying the above formula, we find the


outcome of the 1998 party-list election to be
as follows:
Organizati Votes
%age
on
Garnered of
Total
Votes

Initial Additional Total


No.
Seats
of
Seats

1. APEC

503,487

5.50%

2. ABA

321,646

3.51%

321,646 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.64

3.
ALAGAD

312,500

3.41%

312,500 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.62

4.
VETERAN
S
FEDERATI
ON

304,802

3.33%

304,802 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.61

5.
PROMDI

255,184

2.79%

255,184 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.51

6. AKO

239,042

2.61%

239,042 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.47

7. NCSFO

238,303

2.60%

238,303 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.47

8.
ABANSE!

235,548

2.57%

321,646 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.47

9.
AKBAYAN!

232,376

2.54%

232,376 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.46

10. BUTIL

215,643

2.36%

215,643 /
503,487 *
1 = 0.43
1

11.
SANLAKA
S

194,617

2.13%

194,617 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.39

12. COOP- 189,802


NATCCO

2.07%

189,802 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.38

13.
COCOFED

2.04%

186,388 / 1
503,487 *
1 = 0.37

PINAY

186,388

Incidentally, if the first party is not


entitled to any additional seat, then the ratio
of the number of votes for the other party to
that for the first one is multiplied by zero. The
end result would be zero additional seat for
each of the other qualified parties as well.
The above formula does not give an
exact mathematical representation of the

47

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


number of additional seats to be awarded
since, in order to be entitled to one additional
seat, an exact whole number is necessary. In
fact, most of the actual mathematical
proportions are not whole numbers and are not
rounded off for the reasons explained earlier.
To repeat, rounding off may result in the
awarding of a number of seats in excess of
that provided by the law. Furthermore,
obtaining absolute proportional representation
is restricted by the three-seat-per-party limit to
a maximum of two additional slots. An
increase in the maximum number of additional
representatives a party may be entitled to
would result in a more accurate proportional
representation. But the law itself has set the
limit: only two additional seats. Hence, we
need to work within such extant parameter.
The net result of the foregoing formula
for determining additional seats happily
coincides with the present number of
incumbents; namely, two for the first party
(APEC) and one each for the twelve other
qualified parties. Hence, we affirm the legality
of the incumbencies of their nominees, albeit
through the use of a different formula and
methodology.
BARANGAY ASSOCIATION FOR NATIONAL
ADVANCEMENT
AND
TRANSPARENCY
(BANAT) vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
(sitting as the National Board of
Canvassers),
G.R. No. 179271 April 21, 2009
J. Carpio

Aside from the thirteen party-list


organizations proclaimed on 9 July 2007, the
COMELEC proclaimed three other party-list
organizations as qualified parties entitled to
one guaranteed seat under the Party-List
System. Petitioner in G.R. No. 179271
Barangay
Association
for
National
Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) in
a petition for certiorari and mandamus assails
the Resolution promulgated on 3 August 2007
by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in
NBC No. 07-041 (PL). The COMELECs
resolution in NBC No. 07-041 (PL) approved the
recommendation of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig,
Head of the National Board of Canvassers
(NBC) Legal Group, to deny the petition of
BANAT for being moot. BANAT filed before the
COMELEC En Banc, acting as NBC, a Petition to
Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List
Representatives Provided by the Constitution.
ISSUES:
1. Is the two percent threshold prescribed in
Section 11(b) of RA 7941 to qualify for one
seat constitutional?
2. How shall the party-list representative seats
be allocated?
3. Does the Constitution prohibit the major
political parties from participating in the partylist elections? If not, can the major political
parties be barred from participating in the
party-list elections?

FACTS: The 14 May 2007 elections included


the elections for the party-list representatives.
The COMELEC counted 15,950,900 votes cast
for 93 parties under the Party-List System. On
9 July 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the NBC,
promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60. NBC
Resolution No. 07-60 proclaimed thirteen (13)
parties as winners in the party-list elections.
Pursuant to NBC Resolution No. 07-60, the
COMELEC, acting as NBC, promulgated NBC
Resolution No. 07-72, which declared the
additional seats allocated to the appropriate
parties. On 9 July 2007, Bayan Muna, Abono,
and A Teacher asked the COMELEC, acting as
NBC, to reconsider its decision to use the
Veterans formula as stated in its NBC
Resolution No. 07-60 because the Veterans
formula is violative of the Constitution and of
Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941). On the
same
day,
the
COMELEC
denied
reconsideration during the proceedings of the
NBC

RULING: The court maintains a Philippinestyle party-list election has at least four
inviolable parameters as clearly stated in
Veterans. For easy reference, these are:
First, the twenty percent allocation
the combined number of all party-list
congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent
of the total membership of the House of
Representatives, including those elected under
the party list;
Second, the two percent threshold
only those parties garnering a minimum of two
percent of the total valid votes cast for the
party-list system are qualified to have a seat
in the House of Representatives;
Third, the three-seat limit each
qualified party, regardless of the number of
votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a
maximum of three seats; that is, one
qualifying and two additional seats;
Fourth, proportional representation
the additional seats which a qualified party is
entitled to shall be computed in proportion to
their total number of votes.
From the first formula in Veterans, thus:

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

48

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Number of seats
available
to x
legislative
=
districts

Number
of
seats
.20 available to
party-list
representatives

.80
This
formula
allows
for
the
corresponding increase in the number of seats
available
for
party-list
representatives
whenever a legislative district is created by
law. Since the 14th Congress of the Philippines
has 220 district representatives, there are 55
seats available to party-list representatives.
220
x .20 = 55
.80
After prescribing the ratio of the
number of party-list representatives to the
total
number
of
representatives,
the
Constitution left the manner of allocating the
seats available to party-list representatives to
the wisdom of the legislature.
Allocation
of
Seats
Representatives:

for

Party-List

The Statutory Limits Presented by the


Two Percent Threshold
and the Three-Seat Cap
All parties agree on the formula to
determine the maximum number of seats
reserved under the Party-List System, as well
as on the formula to determine the guaranteed
seats to party-list candidates garnering at
least two-percent of the total party-list votes.
However, there are numerous interpretations
of the provisions of R.A. No. 7941 on the
allocation of additional seats under the
Party-List System
The Constitution left to Congress the
determination of the manner of allocating the
seats for party-list representatives. Congress
enacted R.A. No. 7941, paragraphs (a) and (b)
of Section 11 and Section 12 of which provide:
Section 11. Number of Party-List
Representatives. x x x
In determining the allocation of seats
for the second vote, the following procedure
shall be observed:
(a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions
shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest
based on the number of votes they garnered
during the elections.
(b)
The
parties,
organizations,
and
coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%)
of the total votes cast for the party-list system
shall be entitled to one seat each: Provided,
That those garnering more than two percent

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

(2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional


seats in proportion to their total number of
votes: Provided, finally, That each party,
organization, or coalition shall be entitled to
not more than three (3) seats.
Section 12. Procedure in Allocating
Seats for Party-List Representatives. The
COMELEC shall tally all the votes for the
parties, organizations, or coalitions on a
nationwide basis, rank them according to the
number of votes received and allocate partylist representatives proportionately according
to the percentage of votes obtained by each
party, organization, or coalition as against the
total nationwide votes cast for the party-list
system. (Emphasis supplied)
In G.R. No. 179271, BANAT presents
two interpretations through three formulas to
allocate party-list representative seats.
The
first
interpretation
allegedly
harmonizes the provisions of Section 11(b) on
the 2% requirement with Section 12 of R.A. No.
7941. BANAT described this procedure as
follows:
(a) The party-list representatives shall
constitute twenty percent (20%) of the total
Members of the House of Representatives
including those from the party-list groups as
prescribed by Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution, Section 11 (1st par.) of RA 7941
and Comelec Resolution No. 2847 dated 25
June 1996. Since there are 220 District
Representatives in the 14th Congress, there
shall be 55 Party-List Representatives. All seats
shall have to be proclaimed.
(b) All party-list groups shall initially be
allotted one (1) seat for every two per centum
(2%) of the total party-list votes they obtained;
provided, that no party-list groups shall have
more than three (3) seats (Section 11, RA
7941).
(c) The remaining seats shall, after
deducting the seats obtained by the party-list
groups under the immediately preceding
paragraph and after deducting from their total
the votes corresponding to those seats, the
remaining
seats
shall
be
allotted
proportionately to all the party-list groups
which have not secured the maximum three
(3) seats under the 2% threshold rule, in
accordance with Section 12 of RA 7941.
Forty-four (44) party-list seats will be
awarded under BANATs first interpretation.
The second interpretation presented by
BANAT assumes that the 2% vote requirement
is declared unconstitutional, and apportions
the seats for party-list representatives by

49

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


following Section 12 of R.A. No. 7941. BANAT
states that the COMELEC:
(a) shall tally all the votes for the
parties, organizations, or coalitions on
a
nationwide basis;
(b) rank them according to the number
of votes received; and,
(c) allocate party-list representatives
proportionately according to the
percentage
of votes obtained by each party, organization
or coalition as against the total nationwide
votes cast for the party-list system.
BANAT used two formulas to obtain the
same results: one is based on the proportional
percentage of the votes received by each
party as against the total nationwide party-list
votes, and the other is by making the votes of
a party-list with a median percentage of votes
as the divisor in computing the allocation of
seats.Thirty-four (34) party-list seats will be
awarded under BANATs second interpretation.
In G.R. No. 179295, Bayan Muna,
Abono, and A Teacher criticize both the
COMELECs original 2-4-6 formula and the
Veterans formula for systematically preventing
all the party-list seats from being filled up.
They claim that both formulas do not factor in
the total number of seats alloted for the entire
Party-List System. Bayan Muna, Abono, and A
Teacher reject the three-seat cap, but accept
the 2% threshold. After determining the
qualified parties, a second percentage is
generated by dividing the votes of a qualified
party by the total votes of all qualified parties
only. The number of seats allocated to a
qualified party is computed by multiplying the
total party-list seats available with the second
percentage. There will be a first round of seat
allocation, limited to using the whole integers
as the equivalent of the number of seats
allocated to the concerned party-list. After all
the qualified parties are given their seats, a
second round of seat allocation is conducted.
The fractions, or remainders, from the whole
integers are ranked from highest to lowest and
the remaining seats on the basis of this
ranking are allocated until all the seats are
filled up.
We examine what R.A. No. 7941
prescribes to allocate seats for party-list
representatives.
Section 11(a) of R.A. No. 7941
prescribes the ranking of the participating
parties from the highest to the lowest based
on the number of votes they garnered during
the elections.

Table 1. Ranking of the participating parties


from the highest to the lowest based on the
number of votes garnered during the elections.
Votes
Votes
Ra
Ra
Party
Garner
Party
Garnere
nk
nk
ed
d

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

50

BUHAY

1,169,
234

48

KALAHI

88,868

BAYAN
MUNA

979,03 49
9

APOI

79,386

CIBAC

755,68 50
6

BP

78,541

GABRIEL 621,17 51
A
1

AHONBA 78,424
YAN

APEC

619,65 52
7

BIGKIS

77,327

A
TEACHE
R

490,37 53
9

PMAP

75,200

AKBAYA
N

466,11 54
2

AKAPIN

74,686

ALAGAD 423,14 55
9

PBA

71,544

COOPNATCCO

409,88 56
3

GRECON

62,220

10

BUTIL

409,16 57
0

BTM

60,993

11

BATAS

385,81 58
0

A SMILE

58,717

12

ARC

374,28 59
8

NELFFI

57,872

13

ANAKPA
WIS

370,26 60
1

AKSA

57,012

14

ABONO

339,99 61
0

BAGO

55,846

15

AMIN

338,18 62
5

BANDILA 54,751

16

AGAP

328,72 63
4

AHON

54,522

17

AN
WARAY

321,50 64
3

ASAHAN
MO

51,722

18

YACAP

310,88 65
9

AGBIAG!

50,837

19

FPJPM

300,92 66
3

SPI

50,478

20

UNI-MAD 245,38 67
2

BAHANDI 46,612

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


21

ABS

235,08 68
6

ADD

45,624

43

ASSALA
M

110,44 90
0

BUKLOD
FILIPINA

8,915

22

KAKUSA

228,99 69
9

AMANG

43,062

44

DIWA

107,02 91
1

LYPAD

8,471

23

KABATAA 228,63 70
N
7

ABAY
PARAK

42,282

45

ANC

99,636 92

AA8,406
KASOSYO

24

ABA-AKO 218,81 71
8

BABAE
KA

36,512

46

SANLAK
AS

97,375 93

KASAPI

6,221

25

ALIF

217,82 72
2

SB

34,835

47

ABC

90,058

TOTAL

15,950,
900

26

SENIOR
CITIZEN
S

213,05 73
8

ASAP

34,098

27

AT

197,87 74
2

PEP

33,938

28

VFP

196,26 75
6

ABA
33,903
ILONGGO

29

ANAD

188,52 76
1

VENDOR
S

33,691

30

BANAT

177,02 77
8

ADDTRIBAL

32,896

31

ANG
170,53 78
KASANG 1
GA

ALMANA

32,255

32

BANTAY

AANGAT
KA
PILIPINO

29,130

33

ABAKAD 166,74 80
A
7

AAPS

26,271

34

1-UTAK

164,98 81
0

HAPI

25,781

35

TUCP

162,64 82
7

AAWAS

22,946

36
37

169,80 79
1

COCOFE 155,92 83
D
0

SM

AGHAM

146,03 84
2

AG

141,81 85
7

AGING
PINOY

16,729

BUHAY

1,169,23 7.33%
4

BAYAN
MUNA

979,039 6.14%

CIBAC

755,686 4.74%

GABRIELA

621,171 3.89%

APEC

619,657 3.88%

A
TEACHER

490,379 3.07%

AKBAYAN

466,112 2.92%

ALAGAD

423,149 2.65%

COOPNATCCO

409,883 2.57%

10

BUTIL

409,160 2.57%

16,916

ANAK

39

ABANSE! 130,35 86
PINAY
6

APO

16,421

40

PM

119,05 87
4

BIYAYAN
G BUKID

16,241

41

AVE

110,76 88
9

ATS

14,161

110,73 89
2

UMDJ

SUARA

1
20,744

38

42

The first clause of Section 11(b) of R.A.


No. 7941 states that parties, organizations,
and coalitions receiving at least two percent
(2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list
system shall be entitled to one seat each.
This clause guarantees a seat to the twopercenters. In Table 2 below, we use the first
20 party-list candidates for illustration
purposes. The percentage of votes garnered
by each party is arrived at by dividing the
number of votes garnered by each party by
15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for
all party-list candidates.
Table 2. The first 20 party-list candidates and
their respective percentage of votes garnered
over the total votes for the party-list.
Votes
Garnere
d over
Votes
Total
Ran
Guarante
Party
Garnere Votes
k
ed Seat
d
for
PartyList, in
%

9,445

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

51

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


11

BATAS

385,810 2.42%

12

ARC

374,288 2.35%

13

ANAKPAWI 370,261 2.32%


S

14

ABONO

339,990 2.13%

15

AMIN

338,185 2.12%

16

AGAP

328,724 2.06%

17

AN WARAY 321,503 2.02%

Total

17

18

YACAP

310,889 1.95%

19

FPJPM

300,923 1.89%

20

UNI-MAD

245,382 1.54%

From Table 2 above, we see that only


17 party-list candidates received at least 2%
from the total number of votes cast for partylist candidates. The 17 qualified party-list
candidates, or the two-percenters, are the
party-list candidates that are entitled to one
seat each, or the guaranteed seat. In this first
round of seat allocation, we distributed 17
guaranteed seats.
The second clause of Section 11(b) of
R.A. No. 7941 provides that those garnering
more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall
be entitled to additional seats in proportion to
their total number of votes. This is where
petitioners and intervenors problem with the
formula in Veterans lies. Veterans interprets
the clause in proportion to their total number
of votes to be in proportion to the votes of the
first party. This interpretation is contrary to the
express language of R.A. No. 7941.
***Whether or not the second clause of
Section
11(b)
of
R.A.
No.
7941
is
unconstitutional.
We rule that, in computing the
allocation of additional seats, the continued
operation of the two percent threshold for the
distribution of the additional seats as found in
the second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No.
7941 is unconstitutional. This Court finds that
the
two
percent
threshold
makes
it
mathematically impossible to achieve the
maximum number of available party list seats
when the number of available party list seats
exceeds 50. The continued operation of the
two percent threshold in the distribution of the
additional seats frustrates the attainment of
the permissive ceiling that 20% of the
members of the House of Representatives shall
consist of party-list representatives.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

To illustrate: There are 55 available


party-list seats. Suppose there are 50 million
votes cast for the 100 participants in the party
list elections. A party that has two percent of
the votes cast, or one million votes, gets a
guaranteed seat. Let us further assume that
the first 50 parties all get one million votes.
Only 50 parties get a seat despite the
availability of 55 seats. Because of the
operation of the two percent threshold, this
situation will repeat itself even if we increase
the available party-list seats to 60 seats and
even if we increase the votes cast to 100
million. Thus, even if the maximum number of
parties get two percent of the votes for every
party, it is always impossible for the number of
occupied party-list seats to exceed 50 seats as
long as the two percent threshold is present.
We therefore strike down the two
percent threshold only in relation to the
distribution of the additional seats as found in
the second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No.
7941. The two percent threshold presents an
unwarranted
obstacle
to
the
full
implementation of Section 5(2), Article VI of
the Constitution and prevents the attainment
of the broadest possible representation of
party, sectoral or group interests in the House
of Representatives.
In determining the allocation of seats
for party-list representatives under Section 11
of R.A. No. 7941, the following procedure shall
be observed:
The
parties,
organizations,
and
coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to
the lowest based on the number of votes they
garnered during the elections.
The
parties,
organizations,
and
coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%)
of the total votes cast for the party-list system
shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each.
Those garnering sufficient number of
votes, according to the ranking in paragraph
1, shall be entitled to additional seats in
proportion to their total number of votes until
all the additional seats are allocated.
Each party, organization, or coalition
shall be entitled to not more than three (3)
seats.
In computing the additional seats, the
guaranteed seats shall no longer be included
because they have already been allocated, at
one seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus,
the remaining available seats for allocation as
additional seats are the maximum seats
reserved under the Party List System less the
guaranteed seats. Fractional seats are
disregarded in the absence of a provision in

52

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


R.A. No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of
fractional seats.
In declaring the two percent threshold
unconstitutional, we do not limit our allocation
of additional seats in Table 3 below to the twopercenters. The percentage of votes garnered
by each party-list candidate is arrived at by
dividing the number of votes garnered by each
party by 15,950,900, the total number of votes
cast for party-list candidates. There are two
steps in the second round of seat allocation.
First, the percentage is multiplied by the
remaining available seats, 38, which is the
difference between the 55 maximum seats
reserved under the Party-List System and the
17 guaranteed seats of the two-percenters.
The whole integer of the product of the
percentage and of the remaining available
seats corresponds to a partys share in the
remaining available seats. Second, we assign
one party-list seat to each of the parties next
in rank until all available seats are completely
distributed. We distributed all of the remaining
38 seats in the second round of seat
allocation. Finally, we apply the three-seat cap
to determine the number of seats each
qualified party-list candidate is entitled. Thus:
Table 3. Distribution of Available Party-List
Seats

Rank

Party

Votes
Garn
ered
over
Total
Votes Votes
Garne for
red
Party
List,
in %
(A)

Guara
nteed
Seat

(First
Round
)
(B)

Additi (B)
onal
plus
Seats (C),
in
whol
e
(Seco inte
nd
gers
Roun
d)
(C)

(D)

Appl
ying
the
thre
e
seat
cap

(E)

AKBAY
AN

466,1 2.92
12
%

1.11

N.A.

ALAGA
D

423,1 2.65
49
%

1.01

N.A.

COOPNATCC
O

409,8 2.57
83
%

N.A.

10

BUTIL

409,1 2.57
60
%

N.A.

11

BATAS

385,8 2.42
10
%

N.A.

12

ARC

374,2 2.35
88
%

N.A.

13

ANAKP
AWIS

370,2 2.32
61
%

N.A.

14

ABONO 339,9 2.13


90
%

N.A.

15

AMIN

338,1 2.12
85
%

N.A.

16

AGAP

328,7 2.06
24
%

N.A.

17

AN
321,5 2.02
WARAY 03
%

N.A.

18

YACAP

310,8 1.95
89
%

N.A.

19

FPJPM

300,9 1.89
23
%

N.A.

20

UNIMAD

245,3 1.54
82
%

N.A.

21

ABS

235,0 1.47
86
%

N.A.

22

KAKUS
A

228,9 1.44
99
%

N.A.

23

KABAT
AAN

228,6 1.43
37
%

N.A.

24

ABAAKO

218,8 1.37
18
%

N.A.

25

ALIF

217,8 1.37
22
%

N.A.

26

SENIO
R
CITIZE
NS

213,0 1.34
58
%

N.A.

91<!-[if

supportFo
otnotes]->[31]<!-[endif]-->

BUHAY

1,169 7.33
,234
%

2.79

N.A.

BAYAN
MUNA

979,0 6.14
39
%

2.33

N.A.

CIBAC

755,6 4.74
86
%

1.80

N.A.

27

AT

197,8 1.24
72
%

N.A.

GABRI
ELA

621,1 3.89
71
%

1.48

N.A.

28

VFP

196,2 1.23
66
%

N.A.

APEC

619,6 3.88
57
%

1.48

N.A.

29

ANAD

188,5 1.18
21
%

N.A.

A
490,3 3.07
Teache 79
%
r

1.17

N.A.

30

BANAT

177,0 1.11
28
%

N.A.

31

ANG

170,5 1.07

N.A.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

53

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)

Applying
the procedure
of seat
allocation as illustrated in Table 3 above, there
are 55 party-list representatives from the 36
winning party-list organizations. All 55
available party-list seats are filled. The
additional seats allocated to the parties with
sufficient number of votes for one whole seat,
in no case to exceed a total of three seats for
each party, are shown in column (D).
Participation of Major Political Parties in PartyList Elections
The Constitutional Commission adopted
a multi-party system that allowed all political
parties to participate in the party-list elections.
The deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission clearly bear this out, thus:
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just
want to say that we suggested or proposed the
party list system because we wanted to open
up the political system to a pluralistic society
through a multiparty system. x x x We are for
opening up the system, and we would like very
much for the sectors to be there. That is why
one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on
the number of representatives from any single
party that can sit within the 50 allocated under
the party list system. x x x.
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the
candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to
political parties. My question is this: Are we
going to classify for example Christian
Democrats and Social Democrats as political
parties? Can they run under the party list
concept or must they be under the district
legislation side of it only?
MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query,
I think these parties that the Commissioner
mentioned can field candidates for the Senate
as well as for the House of Representatives.
Likewise, they can also field sectoral
candidates for the 20 percent or 30 percent,
whichever is adopted, of the seats that we are
allocating under the party list system.

MR. MONSOD. In other words, the


Christian
Democrats
can
field
district
candidates and can also participate in the
party list system?
MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they
come to the party list system, they will be
fielding only sectoral candidates.
MR. MONSOD. May I be clarified on
that? Can UNIDO participate in the party list
system?
MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as
long as they field candidates who come from
the different marginalized sectors that we shall
designate in this Constitution.
MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Taada
wants to run under BAYAN group and says that
he represents the farmers, would he qualify?
MR. VILLACORTA. No, Senator Taada
would not qualify.
MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field
candidates under the party list system and say
Juan dela Cruz is a farmer. Who would pass on
whether he is a farmer or not?
MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod,
gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political parties,
particularly minority political parties, are not
prohibited to participate in the party list
election if they can prove that they are also
organized along sectoral lines.
MR. MONSOD. What the Commissioner
is saying is that all political parties can
participate because it is precisely the
contention of political parties that they
represent the broad base of citizens and that
all sectors are represented in them. Would the
Commissioner agree?
MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin,
pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang
political party, it will dominate the party list at
mawawalang
saysay
din
yung
sector.
Lalamunin mismo ng political parties ang party
list system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin
ang reserve. Hindi ito reserve seat sa
marginalized sectors. Kung titingnan natin
itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa political
parties.
MR. MONSOD. Hindi po reserved iyon
kasi anybody can run there. But my question
to Commissioner Villacorta and probably also
to Commissioner Tadeo is that under this
system, would UNIDO be banned from running
under the party list system?
MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO
may field sectoral candidates. On that
condition alone, UNIDO may be allowed to
register for the party list system.
MR. MONSOD. May I inquire from
Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that answer?

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

54

KASAN
GGA

31

32

BANTA
Y

169,8 1.06
01
%

N.A.

33

ABAKA
DA

166,7 1.05
47
%

N.A.

34

1-UTAK 164,9 1.03


80
%

N.A.

35

TUCP

162,6 1.02
47
%

N.A.

36

COCOF 155,9 0.98


ED
20
%

N.A.

Total

17

55

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


MR. TADEO. The same.
MR. VILLACORTA. Puwede po ang
UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines.
xxxx
MR. OPLE. x x x In my opinion, this will
also create the stimulus for political parties
and mass organizations to seek common
ground. For example, we have the PDP-Laban
and the UNIDO. I see no reason why they
should not be able to make common goals
with mass organizations so that the very
leadership of these parties can be transformed
through
the
participation
of
mass
organizations. And if this is true of the
administration parties, this will be true of
others like the Partido ng Bayan which is now
being formed. There is no question that they
will be attractive to many mass organizations.
In the opposition parties to which we belong,
there will be a stimulus for us to contact mass
organizations so that with their participation,
the policies of such parties can be radically
transformed because this amendment will
create conditions that will challenge both the
mass organizations and the political parties to
come together. And the party list system is
certainly available, although it is open to all
the parties. It is understood that the parties
will enter in the roll of the COMELEC the names
of representatives of mass organizations
affiliated with them. So that we may, in time,
develop this excellent system that they have
in Europe where labor organizations and
cooperatives,
for
example,
distribute
themselves either in the Social Democratic
Party and the Christian Democratic Party in
Germany, and their very presence there has a
transforming effect upon the philosophies and
the leadership of those parties.
It is also a fact well known to all that in
the United States, the AFL-CIO always vote
with
the
Democratic
Party.
But
the
businessmen, most of them, always vote with
the Republican Party, meaning that there is no
reason at all why political parties and mass
organizations should not combine, reenforce,
influence and interact with each other so that
the very objectives that we set in this
Constitution for sectoral representation are
achieved in a wider, more lasting, and more
institutionalized way. Therefore, I support this
[Monsod-Villacorta] amendment. It installs
sectoral representation as a constitutional gift,
but at the same time, it challenges the sector
to rise to the majesty of being elected
representatives later on through a party list
system; and even beyond that, to become
actual political parties capable of contesting

political power in the wider constitutional


arena for major political parties.
x x x (Emphasis supplied)
R.A. No. 7941 provided the details for
the concepts put forward by the Constitutional
Commission. Section 3 of R.A. No. 7941 reads:
Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list
system is a mechanism of proportional
representation
in
the
election
of
representatives
to
the
House
of
Representatives from national, regional and
sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions
thereof registered with the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or
organizations of a coalition may participate
independently provided the coalition of which
they form part does not participate in the
party-list system.
(b) A party means either a political
party or a sectoral party or a coalition of
parties.
(c) A political party refers to an
organized group of citizens advocating an
ideology or platform, principles and policies for
the general conduct of government and which,
as the most immediate means of securing
their adoption, regularly nominates and
supports certain of its leaders and members as
candidates for public office.
It is a national party when its
constituency is spread over the geographical
territory of at least a majority of the regions. It
is a regional party when its constituency is
spread over the geographical territory of at
least a majority of the cities and provinces
comprising the region.
(d) A sectoral party refers to an
organized group of citizens belonging to any of
the sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof
whose principal advocacy pertains to the
special interests and concerns of their sector,
(e) A sectoral organization refers to a
group of citizens or a coalition of groups of
citizens who share similar physical attributes
or characteristics, employment, interests or
concerns.
(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation
of duly registered national, regional, sectoral
parties or organizations for political and/or
election purposes.
Congress, in enacting R.A. No. 7941, put the
three-seat cap to prevent any party from
dominating the party-list elections.
Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No.
7941 prohibits major political parties from
participating in the party-list system. On the
contrary, the framers of the Constitution
clearly intended the major political parties to

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

55

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


participate in party-list elections through their
sectoral wings. In fact, the members of the
Constitutional Commission voted down, 19-22,
any permanent sectoral seats, and in the
alternative the reservation of the party-list
system to the sectoral groups.In defining a
party that participates in party-list elections
as either a political party or a sectoral party,
R.A. No. 7941 also clearly intended that major
political parties will participate in the party-list
elections. Excluding the major political parties
in party-list elections is manifestly against the
Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional
Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court
cannot engage in socio-political engineering
and judicially legislate the exclusion of major
political parties from the party-list elections in
patent violation of the Constitution and the
law.
Read together, R.A. No. 7941 and the
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission
state that major political parties are allowed to
establish, or form coalitions with, sectoral
organizations
for
electoral
or
political
purposes. There should not be a problem if, for
example, the Liberal Party participates in the
party-list election through the Kabataang
Liberal ng Pilipinas (KALIPI), its sectoral youth
wing. The other major political parties can thus
organize, or affiliate with, their chosen sector
or
sectors.
To
further
illustrate,
the
Nacionalista Party can establish a fisherfolk
wing to participate in the party-list election,
and this fisherfolk wing can field its fisherfolk
nominees. Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino
(KAMPI) can do the same for the urban poor.
The qualifications of party-list nominees
are prescribed in Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941:
Qualifications of Party-List Nominees.
No person shall be nominated as party-list
representative unless he is a natural born
citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a
resident of the Philippines for a period of not
less than one (1) year immediately preceding
the day of the elections, able to read and
write, bona fide member of the party or
organization which he seeks to represent for at
least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the
election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years
of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth
sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but
not more than thirty (30) years of age on the
day of the election. Any youth sectoral
representative who attains the age of thirty
(30) during his term shall be allowed to
continue until the expiration of his term.

Under Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941, it is not


necessary that the party-list organizations
nominee wallow in poverty, destitution and
infirmity
as there is no financial status
required in the law. It is enough that the
nominee
of
the
sectoral
party/organization/coalition belongs to the
marginalized
and
underrepresented
sectors,that is, if the nominee represents the
fisherfolk, he or she must be a fisherfolk, or if
the nominee represents the senior citizens, he
or she must be a senior citizen.
Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No.
7941 mandates the filling-up of the entire 20%
allocation of party-list representatives found in
the
Constitution.
The
Constitution,
in
paragraph 1, Section 5 of Article VI, left the
determination of the number of the members
of the House of Representatives to Congress:
The House of Representatives shall be
composed of not more than two hundred and
fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, x
x x. The 20% allocation of party-list
representatives is merely a ceiling; party-list
representatives cannot be more than 20% of
the members of the House of Representatives.
However, we cannot allow the continued
existence of a provision in the law which will
systematically prevent the constitutionally
allocated 20% party-list representatives from
being filled. The three-seat cap, as a limitation
to the number of seats that a qualified partylist organization may occupy, remains a valid
statutory device that prevents any party from
dominating the party-list elections. Seats for
party-list representatives shall thus be
allocated in accordance with the procedure
used in Table 3 above.
However, by a vote of 8-7, the Court
decided to continue the ruling in Veterans
disallowing major political parties from
participating in the party-list elections, directly
or indirectly. Those who voted to continue
disallowing major political parties from the
party-list elections joined Chief Justice Reynato
S. Puno in his separate opinion. On the formula
to allocate party-list seats, the Court is
unanimous in concurring with this ponencia.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

56

ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY


(under the acronym OFW), represented
herein
by
its
secretary-general,
MOHAMMAD OMAR FAJARDO, vs. ANG
BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY GO!
GO! PHILIPPINES; THE TRUE MARCOS
LOYALIST
ASSOCIATION
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES;
PHILIPPINE
LOCAL
AUTONOMY; CITIZENS MOVEMENT FOR

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


JUSTICE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT AND
PEACE; CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE
BUILDERS
ASSOCIATION;
SPORTS
&
HEALTH
ADVANCEMENT
FOUNDATION,
INC.;
ANG
LAKAS
NG
OVERSEAS
CONTRACT WORKERS (OCW); BAGONG
BAYANI ORGANIZATION and others under
"Organizations/Coalitions" of Omnibus
Resolution
No.
3785;
PARTIDO
NG
MASANG PILIPINO; LAKAS NUCD-UMDP;
NATIONALIST
PEOPLE'S
COALITION;
LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO;
AKSYON
DEMOKRATIKO;
PDP-LABAN;
LIBERAL PARTY; NACIONALISTA PARTY;
ANG BUHAY HAYAANG YUMABONG; and
others
under
"Political
Parties"
of
Omnibus Resolution No. 3785.
G.R. No. 147589 June 26, 2001
PANGANIBAN, J.
FACTS: With the onset of the 2001 elections,
the Comelec received several Petitions for
registration
filed
by
sectoral
parties,
organizations and political parties. According
to the Comelec, "[v]erifications were made as
to the status and capacity of these parties and
organizations and hearings were scheduled
day and night until the last party w[as] heard.
With the number of these petitions and the
observance of the legal and procedural
requirements, review of these petitions as well
as deliberations takes a longer process in
order to arrive at a decision and as a result the
two (2) divisions promulgated a separate
Omnibus Resolution and individual resolution
on political parties. These numerous petitions
and processes observed in the disposition of
these petition[s] hinder the early release of the
Omnibus Resolutions of the Divisions which
were promulgated only on 10 February 2001."
Thereafter, before the February 12,
2001 deadline prescribed under Comelec
Resolution No. 3426 dated December 22,
2000, the registered parties and organizations
filed their respective Manifestations, stating
their intention to participate in the party-list
elections. Other sectoral and political parties
and organizations whose registrations were
denied also filed Motions for Reconsideration,
together with Manifestations of their intent to
participate in the party-list elections. Still other
registered parties filed their Manifestations
beyond the deadline.
The Comelec gave due course or
approved
the
Manifestations
(or
accreditations)
of
154
parties
and
organizations, but denied those of several

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

others in its assailed March 26, 2001 Omnibus


Resolution No. 3785.
On April 10, 2001, Akbayan Citizens
Action Party filed before the Comelec a Petition
praying that "the names of [some of herein
respondents] be deleted from the 'Certified
List
of
Political
Parties/Sectoral
Parties/Organizations/Coalitions Participating in
the Party List System for the May 14, 2001
Elections' and that said certified list be
accordingly amended." On April 11, 2001,
Bayan Muna and Bayan Muna-Youth also filed a
Petition for Cancellation of Registration and
Nomination
against
some
of
herein
respondents.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the pace of the
Comelec, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party
filed a Petition before this Court on April 16,
2001. This Petition, docketed as GR No.
147589, assailed Comelec Omnibus Resolution
No. 3785. In its Resolution dated April 17,
2001, the Court directed respondents to
comment on the Petition within a nonextendible period of five days from notice.
On April 17, 2001, Petitioner Bayan Muna also
filed before this Court a Petition, docketed as
GR No. 147613, also challenging Comelec
Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution
dated May 9, 2001, 13 the Court ordered the
consolidation of the two Petitions before it;
directed respondents named in the second
Petition to file their respective Comments on or
before noon of May 15, 2001; and called the
parties to an Oral Argument on May 17, 2001.
It added that the Comelec may proceed with
the counting and canvassing of votes cast for
the party-list elections, but barred the
proclamation of any winner therein, until
further orders of the Court.
Thereafter, Comments on the second Petition
were received by the Court and, on May 17,
2001, the Oral Argument was conducted as
scheduled. In an Order given in open court, the
parties were directed to submit their
respective Memoranda simultaneously within a
non-extendible period of five days.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not recourse under Rule 65 is
proper under the premises. More specifically,
is there no other plain, speedy or adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law?
2. Whether or not political parties may
participate in the party-list elections.
3. Whether or not the party-list system is
exclusive
to
'marginalized
and
underrepresented' sectors and organizations.

57

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


4. Whether or not the Comelec committed
grave abuse of discretion in promulgating
Omnibus Resolution No. 3785.
HELD:
1.YES. under both the Constitution and the
Rules of Court, such challenge may be brought
before this Court in a verified petition for
certiorari under Rule 65.
Moreover,
the
assailed
Omnibus
Resolution was promulgated by Respondent
Commission en banc; hence, no motion for
reconsideration was possible, it being a
prohibited pleading under Section 1 (d), Rule
13 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure.
The Court also notes that Petitioner
Bayan Muna had filed before the Comelec a
Petition for Cancellation of Registration and
Nomination
against
some
of
herein
respondents. The Comelec, however, did not
act on that Petition. In view of the pendency of
the elections, Petitioner Bayan Muna sought
succor from this Court, for there was no other
adequate recourse at the time. Subsequent
events have proven the urgency of petitioner's
action; to this date, the Comelec has not yet
formally resolved the Petition before it. But a
resolution may just be a formality because the
Comelec, through the Office of the Solicitor
General, has made its position on the matter
quite clear.
In any event, this case presents an
exception to the rule that certiorari shall lie
only in the absence of any other plain, speedy
and adequate remedy. It has been held that
certiorari is available, notwithstanding the
presence of other remedies, "where the issue
raised is one purely of law, where public
interest is involved, and in case of urgency."
Indeed, the instant case is indubitably imbued
with public interest and with extreme urgency,
for it potentially involves the composition of 20
percent of the House of Representatives.
Moreover,
this
case
raises
transcendental constitutional issues on the
party-list system, which this Court must
urgently resolve, consistent with its duty to
"formulate
guiding
and
controlling
constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines,
or rules."
Finally, procedural requirements "may
be glossed over to prevent a miscarriage of
justice, when the issue involves the principle of
social justice x x x when the decision sought to
be set aside is a nullity, or when the need for
relief is extremely urgent and certiorari is the
only adequate and speedy remedy available."

2. 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."
Furthermore, under Sections 7 and 8,
Article IX (C) of the Constitution, political
parties may be registered under the party-list
system.
"Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a
political party, organization, or coalition shall
be valid, except for those registered under the
party-list system as provided in this
Constitution.
"Sec.
8.
Political
parties,
or
organizations or coalitions registered under
the party-list system, shall not be represented
in the voters' registration boards, boards of
election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or
other similar bodies. However, they shall be
entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance
with law." 30
During
the
deliberations
in
the
Constitutional Commission, Comm. Christian S.
Monsod pointed out that the participants in the
party-list system may "be a regional party, a
sectoral party, a national party, UNIDO, 31
Magsasaka, or a regional party in Mindanao." 32
This was also clear from the following
exchange between Comms. Jaime Tadeo and
Blas Ople: 33
"MR. TADEO. Naniniwala ba kayo na ang
party list ay pwedeng paghati-hatian ng
UNIDO,
PDP-Laban,
PNP,
Liberal
at
Nacionalista?
MR. OPLE. Maaari yan sapagkat bukas
ang party list system sa lahat ng mga partido."
Indeed, Commissioner Monsod stated
that the purpose of the party-list provision was
to open up the system, in order to give a
chance to parties that consistently place third
or fourth in congressional district elections to
win a seat in Congress. 34 He explained: "The
purpose of this is to open the system. In the
past elections, we found out that there were
certain groups or parties that, if we count their
votes nationwide, have about 1,000,000 or
1,500,000 votes. But they were always third or
fourth place in each of the districts. So, they
have no voice in the Assembly. But this way,
they would have five or six representatives in
the Assembly even if they would not win
individually in legislative districts. So, that is

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

58

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


essentially the mechanics, the purpose and
objectives of the party-list system."
For its part, Section 2 of RA 7941 also
provides for "a party-list system of registered
national, regional and sectoral parties or
organizations or coalitions thereof, x x x."
Section 3 expressly states that a "party" is
"either a political party or a sectoral party or a
coalition of parties." More to the point, the law
defines "political party" as "an organized group
of citizens advocating an ideology or platform,
principles and policies for the general conduct
of government and which, as the most
immediate means of securing their adoption,
regularly nominates and supports certain of its
leaders and members as candidates for public
office."
Furthermore, Section 11 of RA 7941
leaves no doubt as to the participation of
political parties in the party-list system. We
quote the pertinent provision below:
"For purposes of the May 1998
elections, the first five (5) major political
parties on the basis of party representation in
the House of Representatives at the start of
the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall not
be entitled to participate in the party-list
system.
Indubitably, therefore, political parties
even the major ones -- may participate in the
party-list elections.
3. That political parties may participate
in the party-list elections does not mean,
however, that any political party -- or any
organization or group for that matter -- may do
so. 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. Section 5,
Article VI of the Constitution, provides as
follows:
"(1) The House of Representatives shall
be composed of not more than two hundred
and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by
law, who shall be elected from legislative
districts apportioned among the provinces,
cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in
accordance with the number of their
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio, and those who,
as provided by law, shall be elected through a
party-list system of registered national,
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
(2) The party-list representatives shall
constitute twenty per centum of the total
number of representatives including those
under the party list. For three consecutive
terms after the ratification of this Constitution,

one-half of the seats allocated to party-list


representatives shall be filled, as provided by
law, by selection or election from the labor,
peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, women, youth, and such other
sectors as may be provided by law, except the
religious sector." (Emphasis supplied.)
Notwithstanding the sparse language of
the provision, a distinguished member of the
Constitutional Commission declared that the
purpose of the party-list provision was to give
"genuine power to our people" in Congress.
Hence, when the provision was discussed, he
exultantly announced: "On this first day of
August 1986, we shall, hopefully, usher in a
new chapter to our national history, by giving
genuine power to our people in the
legislature." 35
The foregoing provision on the party-list
system is not self-executory. It is, in fact,
interspersed with phrases like "in accordance
with law" or "as may be provided by law"; it
was thus up to Congress to sculpt in granite
the lofty objective of the Constitution. Hence,
RA 7941 was enacted. It laid out the statutory
policy in this wise:
"SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. -- The
State
shall
promote
proportional
representation
in
the
election
of
representatives
to
the
House
of
Representatives through a party-list system of
registered national, regional and sectoral
parties or organizations or coalitions thereof,
which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to
marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties, and who lack welldefined political constituencies but who could
contribute to the formulation and enactment of
appropriate legislation that will benefit the
nation as a whole, to become members of the
House of Representatives. Towards this end,
the State shall develop and guarantee a full,
free and open party system in order to attain
the broadest possible representation of party,
sectoral or group interests in the House of
Representatives by enhancing their chances to
compete for and win seats in the legislature,
and shall provide the simplest scheme
possible."

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

59

The Marginalized and Underrepresented


to Become Lawmakers Themselves
The foregoing provision mandates a
state
policy
of
promoting
proportional
representation by means of the Filipino-style
party-list system, which will "enable" the
election to the House of Representatives of
Filipino citizens,

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


1.who belong to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors, organizations and
parties; and
2. who lack well-defined constituencies;
but
3. who could contribute to the
formulation and enactment of appropriate
legislation that will benefit the nation as a
whole.
The key words in this policy are
"proportional representation," "marginalized
and underrepresented," and "lack of welldefined constituencies."
"Proportional representation" here does
not refer to the number of people in a
particular district, because the party-list
election is national in scope. Neither does it
allude to numerical strength in a distressed or
oppressed group. Rather, it refers to the
representation of the "marginalized and
underrepresented" as exemplified by the
enumeration in Section 5 of the law; namely,
"labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor,
indigenous cultural communities, elderly,
handicapped,
women,
youth,
veterans,
overseas workers, and professionals."
However, it is not enough for the
candidate to claim representation of the
marginalized and underrepresented, because
representation is easy to claim and to feign.
The party-list organization or party must
factually and truly represent the marginalized
and
underrepresented
constituencies
mentioned in Section 5. 36 Concurrently, the
persons nominated by the party-list candidateorganization
must
be
"Filipino
citizens
belonging
to
marginalized
and
underrepresented sectors, organizations and
parties."
Finally,
"lack
of
well-defined
constituenc[y] " refers to the absence of a
traditionally identifiable electoral group, like
voters of a congressional district or territorial
unit of government. Rather, it points again to
those with disparate interests identified with
the "marginalized or underrepresented."
In the end, the role of the Comelec is to
see to it that only those Filipinos who are
"marginalized and underrepresented" become
members of Congress under the party-list
system, Filipino-style.
The intent of the Constitution is clear:
to give genuine power to the people, not only
by giving more law to those who have less in
life, but more so by enabling them to become
veritable lawmakers themselves. Consistent
with this intent, the policy of the implementing
law, we repeat, is likewise clear: "to enable

Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and


underrepresented sectors, organizations and
parties, x x x, to become members of the
House of Representatives." Where the
language of the law is clear, it must be applied
according to its express terms. 37
The marginalized and underrepresented
sectors to be represented under the party-list
system are enumerated in Section 5 of RA
7941, which states:
"SEC. 5. Registration. -- Any organized
group of persons may register as a party,
organization or coalition for purposes of the
party-list system by filing with the COMELEC
not later than ninety (90) days before the
election a petition verified by its president or
secretary stating its desire to participate in the
party-list system as a national, regional or
sectoral party or organization or a coalition of
such parties or organizations, attaching
thereto its constitution, by-laws, platform or
program of government, list of officers,
coalition agreement and other relevant
information as the COMELEC may require:
Provided, that the sector shall include labor,
peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous
cultural communities, elderly, handicapped,
women, youth, veterans, overseas workers,
and professionals."
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
The Party-List System Desecrated by
the OSG Contentions
Notwithstanding
the
unmistakable
statutory policy, the Office of the Solicitor
General submits that RA No. 7941 "does not
limit the participation in the party-list system
to the marginalized and underrepresented
sectors of society." 39 In fact, it contends that
any party or group that is not disqualified
under Section 6 40 of RA 7941 may participate
in the elections. Hence, it admitted during the
Oral Argument that even an organization
representing the super rich of Forbes Park or
Dasmarias Village could participate in the
party-list elections. 41

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

60

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


The declared policy of RA 7941
contravenes the position of the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG). We stress that the
party-list system seeks to enable certain
Filipino citizens specifically those belonging
to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties to be elected to the
House of Representatives. The assertion of the
OSG that the party-list system is not exclusive
to the marginalized and underrepresented
disregards the clear statutory policy. Its claim
that even the super-rich and overrepresented
can participate desecrates the spirit of the
party-list system.
Indeed, the law crafted to address the
peculiar disadvantages of Payatas hovel
dwellers cannot be appropriated by the
mansion owners of Forbes Park. The interests
of these two sectors are manifestly disparate;
hence, the OSG's position to treat them
similarly defies reason and common sense. In
contrast, and with admirable candor, Atty.
Lorna Patajo-Kapunan 42 admitted during the
Oral Argument that a group of bankers,
industrialists and sugar planters could not join
the party-list system as representatives of
their respective sectors. 43
While the business moguls and the
mega-rich are, numerically speaking, a tiny
minority, they are neither marginalized nor
underrepresented, for the stark reality is that
their economic clout engenders political power
more awesome than their numerical limitation.
Traditionally,
political
power
does
not
necessarily emanate from the size of one's
constituency; indeed, it is likely to arise more
directly from the number and amount of one's
bank accounts.
It is ironic, therefore, that the
marginalized and underrepresented in our
midst are the majority who wallow in poverty,
destitution and infirmity. It was for them that
the party-list system was enacted -- to give
them not only genuine hope, but genuine
power; to give them the opportunity to be
elected and to represent the specific concerns
of their constituencies; and simply to give
them a direct voice in Congress and in the
larger affairs of the State. In its noblest sense,
the party-list system truly empowers the
masses and ushers a new hope for genuine
change. Verily, it invites those marginalized
and underrepresented in the past the farm
hands, the fisher folk, the urban poor, even
those in the underground movement to come
out and participate, as indeed many of them
came out and participated during the last
elections. The State cannot now disappoint

and frustrate them by disabling and


desecrating this social justice vehicle.
Because
the
marginalized
and
underrepresented had not been able to win in
the congressional district elections normally
dominated by traditional politicians and vested
groups, 20 percent of the seats in the House of
Representatives were set aside for the partylist system. In arguing that even those sectors
who normally controlled 80 percent of the
seats in the House could participate in the
party-list elections for the remaining 20
percent, the OSG and the Comelec disregard
the fundamental difference between the
congressional district elections and the partylist elections.
As earlier noted, the purpose of the
party-list provision was to open up the system,
44
in order to enhance the chance of sectoral
groups
and
organizations
to
gain
representation in the House of Representatives
through the simplest scheme possible. 45 Logic
shows that the system has been opened to
those who have never gotten a foothold within
it -- those who cannot otherwise win in regular
elections and who therefore need the
"simplest scheme possible" to do so.
Conversely, it would be illogical to open the
system to those who have long been within it
-- those privileged sectors that have long
dominated the congressional district elections.
The import of the open party-list system may
be more vividly understood when compared to
a student dormitory "open house," which by its
nature allows outsiders to enter the facilities.
Obviously, the "open house" is for the benefit
of outsiders only, not the dormers themselves
who can enter the dormitory even without
such special privilege. In the same vein, the
open party-list system is only for the
"outsiders" who cannot get elected through
regular elections otherwise; it is not for the
non-marginalized or overrepresented who
already fill the ranks of Congress.
Verily, allowing the non-marginalized
and overrepresented to vie for the remaining
seats under the party-list system would not
only dilute, but also prejudice the chance of
the
marginalized
and
underrepresented,
contrary to the intention of the law to enhance
it. The party-list system is a tool for the benefit
of the underprivileged; the law could not have
given the same tool to others, to the prejudice
of the intended beneficiaries.
This Court, therefore, cannot allow the
party-list system to be sullied and prostituted
by those who are neither marginalized nor
underrepresented. It cannot let that flicker of

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

61

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


hope be snuffed out. The clear state policy
must permeate every discussion of the
qualification of political parties and other
organizations under the party-list system.
From its assailed Omnibus Resolution, it
is manifest that the Comelec failed to
appreciate fully the clear policy of the law and
the Constitution. On the contrary, it seems to
have ignored the facet of the party-list system
discussed above. The OSG as its counsel
admitted before the Court that any group,
even
the
non-marginalized
and
overrepresented, could field candidates in the
party-list elections.
When a lower court, or a quasi-judicial
agency like the Commission on Elections,
violates or ignores the Constitution or the law,
its action can be struck down by this Court on
the ground of grave abuse of discretion. 49
Indeed, the function of all judicial and quasijudicial instrumentalities is to apply the law as
they find it, not to reinvent or second-guess it.
50

In its Memorandum, Petitioner Bayan


Muna passionately pleads for the outright
disqualification of the major political parties
Respondents Lakas-NUCD, LDP, NPC, LP and
PMP on the ground that under Comelec
Resolution No. 4073, they have been
accredited as the five (six, including PDPLaban) major political parties in the May 14,
2001 elections. It argues that because of this,
they have the "advantage of getting official
Comelec Election Returns, Certificates of
Canvass, preferred poll watchers x x x." We
note, however, that this accreditation does not
refer to the party-list election, but, inter alia, to
the election of district representatives for the
purpose of determining which parties would be
entitled to watchers under Section 26 of
Republic Act No. 7166.
What is needed under the present
circumstances,
however,
is
a
factual
determination of whether respondents herein
and, for that matter, all the 154 previously
approved
groups,
have
the
necessary
qualifications to participate in the party-list
elections, pursuant to the Constitution and the
law.
Bayan Muna also urges us to immediately rule
out Respondent Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga
(MAD), because "it is a government entity
using government resources and privileges."
This Court, however, is not a trier of facts. 51 It
is not equipped to receive evidence and
determine the truth of such factual allegations.
Basic rudiments of due process require
that respondents should first be given an

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

opportunity to show that they qualify under


the guidelines promulgated in this Decision,
before they can be deprived of their right to
participate in and be elected under the partylist system.
Guidelines
for
Screening
Party-List
Participants
The Court, therefore, deems it proper to
remand the case to the Comelec for the latter
to determine, after summary evidentiary
hearings, whether the 154 parties and
organizations allowed to participate in the
party-list
elections
comply
with
the
requirements of the law. In this light, the Court
finds it appropriate to lay down the following
guidelines, culled from the law and the
Constitution, to assist the Comelec in its work.
First, the political party, sector,
organization or coalition must represent the
marginalized and underrepresented groups
identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In other
words, it must show -- through its constitution,
articles of incorporation, bylaws, history,
platform of government and track record -that it represents and seeks to uplift
marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
Verily, majority of its membership should
belong
to
the
marginalized
and
underrepresented. And it must demonstrate
that in a conflict of interests, it has chosen or
is likely to choose the interest of such sectors.
Second, while even major political
parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and
the Constitution to participate in the party-list
system, they must comply with the declared
statutory policy of enabling "Filipino citizens
belonging
to
marginalized
and
underrepresented sectors x x x to be elected
to the House of Representatives." In other
words, while they are not disqualified merely
on the ground that they are political parties,
they must show, however, that they represent
the interests of the marginalized and
underrepresented.
Third, in view of the objections directed
against the registration of Ang Buhay Hayaang
Yumabong, which is allegedly a religious
group,
the
Court
notes
the
express
constitutional provision that the religious
sector may not be represented in the party-list
system.
Fourth, a party or an organization must
not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941,
which
enumerates
the
grounds
for
disqualification as follows:

62

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


"(1) It is a religious sect or
denomination, organization or association
organized for religious purposes;
(2) It advocates violence or unlawful
means to seek its goal;
(3) It is a foreign party or organization;
(4) It is receiving support from any
foreign government, foreign political party,
foundation, organization, whether directly or
through any of its officers or members or
indirectly through third parties for partisan
election purposes;
(5) It violates or fails to comply with
laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;
(6) It declares untruthful statements in
its petition;
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least
one (1) year; or
(8) It fails to participate in the last two
(2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at
least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast
under the party-list system in the two (2)
preceding elections for the constituency in
which it has registered."59
Note should be taken of paragraph 5,
which disqualifies a party or group for violation
of or failure to comply with election laws and
regulations. These laws include Section 2 of RA
7941, which states that the party-list system
seeks to "enable Filipino citizens belonging to
marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties x x x to become
members of the House of Representatives." A
party or an organization, therefore, that does
not comply with this policy must be
disqualified.
Fifth, the party or organization must not
be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an
entity funded or assisted by, the government.
By the very nature of the party-list system, the
party or organization must be a group of
citizens, organized by citizens and operated by
citizens. It must be independent of the
government.
The
participation
of
the
government or its officials in the affairs of a
party-list candidate is not only illegal 60 and
unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to
the objective of the law: to enable citizens
belonging
to
marginalized
and
underrepresented sectors and organizations to
be elected to the House of Representatives.
Sixth, the party must not only comply
with the requirements of the law; its nominees
must likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941
reads as follows:
"SEC. 9. Qualifications of Party-List
Nominees. No person shall be nominated as
party-list representative unless he is a natural-

born citizen of the Philippines, a registered


voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period
of not less than one (1) year immediately
preceding the day of the election, able to read
and write, a bona fide member of the party or
organization which he seeks to represent for at
least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the
election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years
of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth
sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but
not more than thirty (30) years of age on the
day of the election. Any youth sectoral
representative who attains the age of thirty
(30) during his term shall be allowed to
continue in office until the expiration of his
term."
Seventh, not only the candidate party
or organization must represent marginalized
and underrepresented sectors; so also must its
nominees. To repeat, under Section 2 of RA
7941, the nominees must be Filipino citizens
"who
belong
to
marginalized
and
underrepresented sectors, organizations and
parties." Surely, the interests of the youth
cannot be fully represented by a retiree;
neither can those of the urban poor or the
working class, by an industrialist.
To allow otherwise is to betray the State
policy to give genuine representation to the
marginalized and underrepresented.
Eighth, as previously discussed, while
lacking a well-defined political constituency,
the nominee must likewise be able to
contribute to the formulation and enactment of
appropriate legislation that will benefit the
nation as a whole. Senator Jose Lina explained
during the bicameral committee proceedings
that "the nominee of a party, national or
regional, is not going to represent a particular
district x x x."

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

63

ANG LADLAD LGBT PARTY vs. COMELEC


G.R. No. 190582 April 8, 2010
J. DEL CASTILLO
FACTS: Ang Ladlad is an organization composed
of men and women who identify themselves as
lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or trans-gendered
individuals (LGBTs). Incorporated in 2003, Ang
Ladlad first applied for registration with the
COMELEC in 2006. The application for
accreditation was denied on the ground that the
organization had no substantial membership base.
On August 17, 2009, Ang Ladlad again filed a
Petition for registration with the COMELEC.
Before the COMELEC, petitioner argued
that the LGBT community is a marginalized and

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


under-represented sector that is particularly
disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation
and gender identity; that LGBTs are victims of
exclusion, discrimination, and violence; that
because of negative societal attitudes, LGBTs are
constrained to hide their sexual orientation; and
that Ang Ladlad complied with the 8-point
guidelines enunciated by this Court in Ang Bagong
Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on
Elections.
On November 11, 2009, after admitting
the petitioners evidence, the COMELEC (Second
Division) dismissed the Petition on moral grounds
stating that the definition of the LGBT sector
makes it crystal clear that petitioner tolerates
immorality which offends religious beliefs. ANG
LADLAD collides with Article 695 of the Civil Code
which defines nuisance as Any act, omission,
establishment, business, condition of property, or
anything else which x x x (3) shocks, defies; or
disregards decency or morality x x x It
also
collides with Article 1306 of the Civil Code: The
contracting
parties
may
establish
such
stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they
may deem convenient, provided they are not
contrary to law, morals, good customs, public
order or public policy. Art 1409 of the Civil Code
provides that Contracts whose cause, object or
purpose is contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy are inexistent and
void from the beginning. Finally to safeguard the
morality of the Filipino community, the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, penalizes Immoral
doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions
and indecent shows Petitioner should likewise be
denied accreditation not only for advocating
immoral doctrines but likewise for not being
truthful when it said that it or any of its
nominees/party-list representatives have not
violated or failed to comply with laws, rules, or
regulations relating to the elections.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not petitioner does not have a
concrete and genuine national political agenda
to benefit the nation and that the petition was
validly dismissed on moral grounds
2. Whether or not the denial of Ang Ladlads
accreditation by COMELEC violates the
constitutional
guarantee
against
the
establishment of religion.
3. Whether or not the Assailed Resolutions
contravened its constitutional rights to
privacy, freedom of speech and assembly, and
equal protection of laws, as well as constituted
violations of the Philippines international
obligations against discrimination based on
sexual orientation.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

HELD:
1. As we explicitly ruled in Ang Bagong BayaniOFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections, the
enumeration
of marginalized and
underrepresented sectors is not exclusive. The crucial
element is not whether a sector is specifically
enumerated, but whether a particular organization
complies with the requirements of the Constitution
and RA 7941. This argument that petitioner made
untruthful statements in its petition when it
alleged its national existence is a new one;
previously, the COMELEC claimed that petitioner
was not being truthful when it said that it or any
of its nominees/party-list representatives have not
violated or failed to comply with laws, rules, or
regulations relating to the elections. Nowhere was
this ground for denial of petitioners accreditation
mentioned or even alluded to in the Assailed
Resolutions. This, in itself, is quite curious,
considering that the reports of petitioners alleged
non-existence were already available to the
COMELEC prior to the issuance of the First Assailed
Resolution. At best, this is irregular procedure; at
worst, a belated afterthought, a change in
respondents theory, and a serious violation of
petitioners right to procedural due process.
Nonetheless, we find that there has been
no misrepresentation. A cursory perusal of Ang
Ladlads initial petition shows that it never claimed
to exist in each province of the Philippines. Rather,
petitioner alleged that the LGBT community in the
Philippines was estimated to constitute at least
670,000 persons; that it had 16,100 affiliates and
members around the country, and 4,044 members
in its electronic discussion group. Since the
COMELEC only searched for the names ANG
LADLAD LGBT or LADLAD LGBT, it is no surprise
that they found that petitioner had no presence in
any of these regions. In fact, if COMELECs findings
are to be believed, petitioner does not even exist
in Quezon City, which is registered as Ang Ladlads
principal place of business.
Against this backdrop, we find that Ang
Ladlad
has
sufficiently
demonstrated
its
compliance with the legal requirements for
accreditation. Indeed, aside from COMELECs
moral objection and the belated allegation of nonexistence, nowhere in the records has the
respondent ever found/ruled that Ang Ladlad is
not qualified to register as a party-list organization
under any of the requisites under RA 7941 or the
guidelines in Ang Bagong Bayani. The difference,
COMELEC claims, lies in Ang Ladlads morality, or
lack thereof.
2. Our Constitution provides in Article III,
Section 5 that [n]o law shall be made

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respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof. At
bottom, what our non-establishment clause
calls for is government neutrality in religious
matters. Clearly, governmental reliance on
religious justification is inconsistent with this
policy of neutrality. We thus find that it was
grave violation of the non-establishment
clause for the COMELEC to utilize the Bible and
the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang
Ladlad.
Rather than relying on religious belief,
the legitimacy of the Assailed Resolutions
should depend, instead, on whether the
COMELEC is able to advance some justification
for its rulings beyond mere conformity to
religious
doctrine.
Otherwise
stated,
government must act for secular purposes and
in ways that have primarily secular effects.
3. Public Morals as a Ground to Deny Ang
Ladlads Petition for Registration
The Assailed Resolutions have not
identified any specific overt immoral act
performed by Ang Ladlad. Even the OSG
agrees that there should have been a finding
by the COMELEC that the groups members
have committed or are committing immoral
acts. The OSG argues:
x x x A person may be sexually
attracted to a person of the same gender, of a
different gender, or more than one gender, but
mere attraction does not translate to immoral
acts. There is a great divide between thought
and action. Reduction ad absurdum. If immoral
thoughts could be penalized, COMELEC would
have its hands full of disqualification cases
against both the straights and the gays.
Certainly this is not the intendment of the law..
Respondent has failed to explain what societal
ills are sought to be prevented, or why special
protection is required for the youth. Neither
has the COMELEC condescended to justify its
position that petitioners admission into the
party-list system would be so harmful as to
irreparably damage the moral fabric of society.
We, of course, do not suggest that the state is
wholly without authority to regulate matters
concerning morality, sexuality, and sexual
relations, and we recognize that the
government will and should continue to restrict
behavior considered detrimental to society.
Nonetheless,
we
cannot
countenance
advocates who, undoubtedly with the loftiest
of intentions, situate morality on one end of an
argument or another, without bothering to go
through the rigors of legal reasoning and
explanation. In this, the notion of morality is

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

robbed of all value. Clearly then, the bare


invocation of morality will not remove an issue
from our scrutiny.
We also find the COMELECs reference to
purported violations of our penal and civil laws
flimsy, at best; disingenuous, at worst. Article
694 of the Civil Code defines a nuisance as
any act, omission, establishment, condition of
property, or anything else which shocks,
defies, or disregards decency or morality, the
remedies for which are a prosecution under
the Revised Penal Code or any local ordinance,
a civil action, or abatement without judicial
proceedings. A violation of Article 201 of the
Revised Penal Code, on the other hand,
requires proof beyond reasonable doubt to
support a criminal conviction. It hardly needs
to be emphasized that mere allegation of
violation of laws is not proof, and a mere
blanket invocation of public morals cannot
replace the institution of civil or criminal
proceedings and a judicial determination of
liability or culpability.
As
such,
we
hold
that
moral
disapproval, without more, is not a sufficient
governmental interest to justify exclusion of
homosexuals from participation in the partylist system. The denial of Ang Ladlads
registration on purely moral grounds amounts
more to a statement of dislike and disapproval
of homosexuals, rather than a tool to further
any substantial public interest. Respondents
blanket justifications give rise to the inevitable
conclusion
that
the
COMELEC
targets
homosexuals themselves as a class, not
because
of
any
particular
morally
reprehensible act. It is this selective targeting
that implicates our equal protection clause.
Equal Protection
Despite the absolutism of Article III, Section
1 of our Constitution, which provides nor shall
any person be denied equal protection of the
laws, courts have never interpreted the provision
as an absolute prohibition on classification.
Equality, said Aristotle, consists in the same
treatment of similar persons. The equal protection
clause guarantees that no person or class of
persons shall be deprived of the same protection
of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other
classes in the same place and in like
circumstances.
Recent jurisprudence has affirmed that if a
law neither burdens a fundamental right nor
targets a suspect class, we will uphold the
classification as long as it bears a rational
relationship to some legitimate government end.
In Central Bank Employees Association, Inc. v.

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Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, we declared that [i]n
our jurisdiction, the standard of analysis of equal
protection challenges x x x have followed the
rational basis test, coupled with a deferential
attitude to legislative classifications and a
reluctance to invalidate a law unless there is a
showing of a clear and unequivocal breach of the
Constitution.
The COMELEC posits that the majority of
the Philippine population considers homosexual
conduct as immoral and unacceptable, and this
constitutes sufficient reason to disqualify the
petitioner. Unfortunately for the respondent, the
Philippine electorate has expressed no such belief.
No law exists to criminalize homosexual behavior
or expressions or parties about homosexual
behavior. Indeed, even if we were to assume that
public opinion is as the COMELEC describes it, the
asserted state interest here that is, moral
disapproval of an unpopular minority is not a
legitimate state interest that is sufficient to satisfy
rational basis review under the equal protection
clause. The COMELECs differentiation, and its
unsubstantiated claim that Ang Ladlad cannot
contribute to the formulation of legislation that
would benefit the nation, furthers no legitimate
state interest other than disapproval of or dislike
for a disfavored group.
From the standpoint of the political
process, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender have the same interest in
participating in the party-list system on the same
basis as other political parties similarly situated.
State intrusion in this case is equally burdensome.
Hence, laws of general application should apply
with equal force to LGBTs, and they deserve to
participate in the party-list system on the same
basis as other marginalized and under-represented
sectors.
It bears stressing that our finding that
COMELECs act of differentiating LGBTs from
heterosexuals insofar as the party-list system is
concerned does not imply that any other law
distinguishing
between
heterosexuals
and
homosexuals under different circumstances would
similarly fail. We disagree with the OSGs position
that homosexuals are a class in themselves for the
purposes of the equal protection clause. We are
not prepared to single out homosexuals as a
separate class meriting special or differentiated
treatment. We have not received sufficient
evidence to this effect, and it is simply
unnecessary to make such a ruling today.
Petitioner itself has merely demanded that it be
recognized under the same basis as all other
groups similarly situated, and that the COMELEC
made an unwarranted and impermissible

classification not justified by the circumstances of


the case.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

66

Freedom of Expression and Association


Under our system of laws, every group has
the right to promote its agenda and attempt to
persuade society of the validity of its position
through normal democratic means. It is in the
public square that deeply held convictions and
differing opinions should be distilled and
deliberated upon. As we held in Estrada v. Escritor:
In a democracy, this common agreement
on political and moral ideas is distilled in the public
square. Where citizens are free, every opinion,
every prejudice, every aspiration, and every moral
discernment has access to the public square
where people deliberate the order of their life
together. Citizens are the bearers of opinion,
including opinion shaped by, or espousing religious
belief, and these citizens have equal access to the
public square. In this representative democracy,
the state is prohibited from determining which
convictions and moral judgments may be
proposed for public deliberation. Through a
constitutionally designed process, the people
deliberate and decide. Majority rule is a necessary
principle in this democratic governance. Thus,
when public deliberation on moral judgments is
finally crystallized into law, the laws will largely
reflect the beliefs and preferences of the majority,
i.e., the mainstream or median groups.
Nevertheless, in the very act of adopting and
accepting a constitution and the limits it specifies
including protection of religious freedom "not only
for a minority, however small not only for a
majority, however large but for each of us" the
majority imposes upon itself a self-denying
ordinance. It promises not to do what it otherwise
could do: to ride roughshod over the dissenting
minorities.
Freedom of expression constitutes one of the
essential foundations of a democratic society, and
this freedom applies not only to those that are
favorably received but also to those that offend,
shock, or disturb. Any restriction imposed in this
sphere must be proportionate to the legitimate
aim pursued. Absent any compelling state interest,
it is not for the COMELEC or this Court to impose
its views on the populace. Otherwise stated, the
COMELEC is certainly not free to interfere with
speech for no better reason than promoting an
approved message or discouraging a disfavored
one.
This position gains even more force if one
considers that homosexual conduct is not illegal in
this country. It follows that both expressions
concerning ones homosexuality and the activity of

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


forming a political association that supports LGBT
individuals are protected as well.
Other jurisdictions have gone so far as to
categorically rule that even overwhelming public
perception that homosexual conduct violates
public morality does not justify criminalizing samesex conduct. European and United Nations judicial
decisions have ruled in favor of gay rights
claimants on both privacy and equality grounds,
citing general privacy and equal protection
provisions in foreign and international texts. To the
extent that there is much to learn from other
jurisdictions that have reflected on the issues we
face here, such jurisprudence is certainly
illuminating. These foreign authorities, while not
formally binding on Philippine courts, may
nevertheless have persuasive influence on the
Courts analysis.
In the area of freedom of expression, for
instance, United States courts have ruled that
existing free speech doctrines protect gay and
lesbian rights to expressive conduct. In order to
justify the prohibition of a particular expression of
opinion, public institutions must show that their
actions were caused by something more than a
mere desire to avoid the discomfort and
unpleasantness that always accompany an
unpopular viewpoint.
With respect to freedom of association for
the advancement of ideas and beliefs, in Europe,
with its vibrant human rights tradition, the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has
repeatedly stated that a political party may
campaign for a change in the law or the
constitutional structures of a state if it uses legal
and democratic means and the changes it
proposes are consistent with democratic
principles. The ECHR has emphasized that political
ideas that challenge the existing order and whose
realization is advocated by peaceful means must
be afforded a proper opportunity of expression
through the exercise of the right of association,
even if such ideas may seem shocking or
unacceptable to the authorities or the majority of
the population. A political group should not be
hindered solely because it seeks to publicly debate
controversial political issues in order to find
solutions
capable
of
satisfying
everyone
concerned. Only if a political party incites violence
or puts forward policies that are incompatible with
democracy does it fall outside the protection of the
freedom of association guarantee.
We do not doubt that a number of our
citizens may believe that homosexual conduct is
distasteful, offensive, or even defiant. They are
entitled to hold and express that view. On the
other hand, LGBTs and their supporters, in all
likelihood, believe with equal fervor that

relationships between individuals of the same sex


are
morally
equivalent
to
heterosexual
relationships. They, too, are entitled to hold and
express that view. However, as far as this Court is
concerned, our democracy precludes using the
religious or moral views of one part of the
community to exclude from consideration the
values of other members of the community.
Of course, none of this suggests the
impending arrival of a golden age for gay rights
litigants. It well may be that this Decision will only
serve to highlight the discrepancy between the
rigid constitutional analysis of this Court and the
more complex moral sentiments of Filipinos. We do
not suggest that public opinion, even at its most
liberal, reflect a clear-cut strong consensus
favorable to gay rights claims and we neither
attempt nor expect to affect individual perceptions
of homosexuality through this Decision.
The OSG argues that since there has been
neither prior restraint nor subsequent punishment
imposed on Ang Ladlad, and its members have
not been deprived of their right to voluntarily
associate, then there has been no restriction on
their freedom of expression or association. The
OSG argues that:
There was no utterance restricted, no
publication censored, or any assembly denied.
[COMELEC] simply exercised its authority to review
and verify the qualifications of petitioner as a
sectoral party applying to participate in the partylist system. This lawful exercise of duty cannot be
said to be a transgression of Section 4, Article III of
the Constitution.
xxxx
A denial of the petition for registration x x x
does not deprive the members of the petitioner to
freely take part in the conduct of elections. Their
right to vote will not be hampered by said denial.
In fact, the right to vote is a constitutionallyguaranteed right which cannot be limited.
As to its right to be elected in a genuine
periodic election, petitioner contends that the
denial of Ang Ladlads petition has the clear and
immediate effect of limiting, if not outrightly
nullifying the capacity of its members to fully and
equally participate in public life through
engagement in the party list elections.
This argument is puerile. The holding of a public
office is not a right but a privilege subject to
limitations imposed by law. x x x
The OSG fails to recall that petitioner has,
in fact, established its qualifications to participate
in the party-list system, and as advanced by the
OSG itself the moral objection offered by the
COMELEC was not a limitation imposed by law. To
the extent, therefore, that the petitioner has been
precluded, because of COMELECs action, from

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

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publicly expressing its views as a political party
and participating on an equal basis in the political
process with other equally-qualified party-list
candidates, we find that there has, indeed, been a
transgression of petitioners fundamental rights.
Non-Discrimination and International Law
In an age that has seen international law
evolve geometrically in scope and promise,
international human rights law, in particular, has
grown dynamically in its attempt to bring about a
more just and humane world order. For individuals
and groups struggling with inadequate structural
and governmental support, international human
rights norms are particularly significant, and
should be effectively enforced in domestic legal
systems so that such norms may become actual,
rather than ideal, standards of conduct.
Our Decision today is fully in accord with our
international obligations to protect and promote
human rights. In particular, we explicitly recognize
the principle of non-discrimination as it relates to
the right to electoral participation, enunciated in
the UDHR and the ICCPR.
The principle of non-discrimination is laid
out in Article 26 of the ICCPR, as follows:
Article 26
All persons are equal before the law and
are entitled without any discrimination to the equal
protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall
prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all
persons equal and effective protection against
discrimination on any ground such as race, colour,
sex, language, religion, political or other opinion,
national or social origin, property, birth or other
status.
In this context, the principle of nondiscrimination requires that laws of general
application relating to elections be applied equally
to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.
Although sexual orientation is not specifically
enumerated as a status or ratio for discrimination
in Article 26 of the ICCPR, the ICCPR Human Rights
Committee has opined that the reference to sex
in Article 26 should be construed to include
sexual orientation. Additionally, a variety of
United
Nations
bodies
have
declared
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to
be prohibited under various international
agreements.
The UDHR provides:
Article 21.
(1)
Everyone has the right to take part in the
government of his country, directly or through
freely chosen representatives.
Likewise, the ICCPR states:
Article 25

Every citizen shall have the right and the


opportunity, without any of the distinctions
mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable
restrictions:
(a)
To take part in the conduct of public affairs,
directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(b)
To vote and to be elected at genuine
periodic elections which shall be by universal and
equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot,
guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the
electors;
(c)
To have access, on general terms of
equality, to public service in his country.
As stated by the CHR in its Comment-inIntervention, the scope of the right to electoral
participation is elaborated by the Human Rights
Committee in its General Comment No. 25
(Participation in Public Affairs and the Right to
Vote) as follows:
1.
Article 25 of the Covenant recognizes and
protects the right of every citizen to take part in
the conduct of public affairs, the right to vote and
to be elected and the right to have access to
public service. Whatever form of constitution or
government is in force, the Covenant requires
States to adopt such legislative and other
measures as may be necessary to ensure that
citizens have an effective opportunity to enjoy the
rights it protects. Article 25 lies at the core of
democratic government based on the consent of
the people and in conformity with the principles of
the Covenant.
15.
The effective implementation of the right
and the opportunity to stand for elective office
ensures that persons entitled to vote have a free
choice of candidates. Any restrictions on the right
to stand for election, such as minimum age, must
be justifiable on objective and reasonable criteria.
Persons who are otherwise eligible to stand for
election should not be excluded by unreasonable
or discriminatory requirements such as education,
residence or descent, or by reason of political
affiliation. No person should suffer discrimination
or disadvantage of any kind because of that
person's candidacy. States parties should indicate
and explain the legislative provisions which
exclude any group or category of persons from
elective office.
We stress, however, that although this
Court stands willing to assume the responsibility of
giving effect to the Philippines international law
obligations, the blanket invocation of international
law is not the panacea for all social ills. We refer
now to the petitioners invocation of the
Yogyakarta
Principles
(the
Application
of
International Human Rights Law In Relation to
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

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petitioner declares to reflect binding principles of
international law.
At this time, we are not prepared to
declare that these Yogyakarta Principles contain
norms that are obligatory on the Philippines. There
are declarations and obligations outlined in said
Principles which are not reflective of the current
state of international law, and do not find basis in
any of the sources of international law enumerated
under Article 38(1) of the Statute of the
International Court of Justice. Petitioner has not
undertaken any objective and rigorous analysis of
these alleged principles of international law to
ascertain their true status.
We also hasten to add that not everything
that society or a certain segment of society
wants or demands is automatically a human right.
This is not an arbitrary human intervention that
may be added to or subtracted from at will. It is
unfortunate that much of what passes for human
rights today is a much broader context of needs
that identifies many social desires as rights in
order to further claims that international law
obliges states to sanction these innovations. This
has the effect of diluting real human rights, and is
a result of the notion that if wants are couched in
rights language, then they are no longer
controversial.
Using even the most liberal of lenses,
these Yogyakarta Principles, consisting of a
declaration formulated by various international law
professors, are at best de lege ferenda and do
not constitute binding obligations on the
Philippines. Indeed, so much of contemporary
international law is characterized by the soft law
nomenclature, i.e., international law is full of
principles that promote international cooperation,
harmony, and respect for human rights, most of
which amount to no more than well-meaning
desires, without the support of either State
practice or opinio juris.
CONGRESSMAN JOVITO S. PALPARAN, JR.,
vs.
HOUSE
OF
REPRESENTATIVES
ELECTORAL
TRIBUNAL
(HRET),
DR.
REYNALDO
LESACA,
JR.,
CRISTINA
PALABAY, RENATO M. REYES, JR., ERLINDA
CADAPAN,
ANTONIO FLORES and JOSELITO USTAREZ,
G.R. No. 189506 & 189466 February 11,
2010
ABAD, J.
FACTS: In G.R. No. 189506, petitioner Jovito S.
Palparan, Jr. is the first nominee of the Bantay
party-list group that won a seat in the 2007
elections for the members of the House of
Representatives.
Respondents Reynaldo

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

Lesaca, Jr., Cristina Palabay, Renato M. Reyes,


Jr., Erlinda Cadapan, Antonio Flores, and
Joselito Ustarez are members of some other
party-list groups.
Shortly after the elections, respondent
Lesaca and the others with him filed with
respondent HRET a petition for quo warranto
against Bantay and its nominee, petitioner
Palparan, in HRET Case 07-040. Lesaca and
the others alleged that Palparan was ineligible
to sit in the House of Representatives as partylist nominee because he did not belong to the
marginalized and underrepresented sectors
that Bantay represented, namely, the victims
of communist rebels, Civilian Armed Forces
Geographical Units (CAFGUs), former rebels,
and security guards. Lesaca and the others
said that Palparan committed gross human
rights violations against marginalized and
underrepresented sectors and organizations.
On July 23, 2009 respondent HRET issued an
order dismissing the petition against Bantay
for the reason that the issue of the ineligibility
or qualification of the party-list group fell
within the jurisdiction of the COMELEC
pursuant to the Party-List System Act.
In G.R. 189466, petitioner Daryl Grace J.
Abayon is the first nominee of the Aangat Tayo
party-list organization that won a seat in the
House of Representatives during the 2007
elections.
Respondents Perfecto C. Lucaban, Jr.,
Ronyl S. Dela Cruz, and Agustin C. Doroga, all
registered voters, filed a petition for quo
warranto with respondent HRET against
Aangat Tayo and its nominee, petitioner
Abayon, in HRET Case 07-041. They claimed
that Aangat Tayo was not eligible for a partylist seat in the House of Representatives, since
it did not represent the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors.
Respondent Lucaban and the others
with him further pointed out that petitioner
Abayon herself was not qualified to sit in the
House as a party-list nominee since she did
not
belong
to
the
marginalized
and
underrepresented sectors, she being the wife
of an incumbent congressional district
representative.
ISSUE: Whether or not respondent HRET has
jurisdiction over the question of qualifications
of petitioners Abayon and Palparan as
nominees of Aangat Tayo and Bantay party-list
organizations, respectively, who took the seats
at the House of Representatives that such
organizations won in the 2007 elections.

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CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


HELD: Yes. The Court holds that respondent
HRET did not gravely abuse its discretion when
it dismissed the petitions for quo warranto
against Aangat Tayo party-list and Bantay
party-list but upheld its jurisdiction over the
question of the qualifications of petitioners
Abayon and Palparan.
Petitioners Abayon and Palparan have a
common theory: Republic Act (R.A.) 7941, the
Party-List System Act, vests in the COMELEC
the authority to determine which parties or
organizations have the qualifications to seek
party-list seats in the House of Representatives
during the elections. Indeed, the HRET
dismissed the petitions for quo warranto filed
with
it
insofar
as
they
sought
the
disqualifications of Aangat Tayo and Bantay.
Since petitioners Abayon and Palparan were
not elected into office but were chosen by their
respective organizations under their internal
rules, the HRET has no jurisdiction to inquire
into and adjudicate their qualifications as
nominees.
If at all, says petitioner Abayon, such authority
belongs to the COMELEC which already upheld
her qualification as nominee of Aangat Tayo for
the women sector. For Palparan, Bantays
personality is so inseparable and intertwined
with his own person as its nominee so that the
HRET cannot dismiss the quo warranto action
against Bantay without dismissing the action
against him.
But, although it is the party-list
organization that is voted for in the elections,
it is not the organization that sits as and
becomes a member of the House of
Representatives. Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution identifies who the members of
that House are:
Sec.
5.
(1).
The
House
of
Representatives shall be composed of not
more than two hundred and fifty members,
unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be
elected from legislative districts apportioned
among the provinces, cities, and the
Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with
the number of their respective inhabitants,
and on the basis of a uniform and progressive
ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall
be elected through a party -list system of
registered national, regional, and sectoral
parties
or
organizations.
(Underscoring
supplied)
Clearly, the members of the House of
Representatives are of two kinds: members x
x x who shall be elected from legislative
districts and those who x x x shall be elected
through a party-list system of registered

national, regional, and sectoral parties or


organizations. This means that, from the
Constitutions point of view, it is the party-list
representatives who are elected into office,
not their parties or organizations. These
representatives are elected, however, through
that peculiar party-list system that the
Constitution authorized and that Congress by
law established where the voters cast their
votes for the organizations or parties to which
such party-list representatives belong.
Once
elected,
both
the
district
representatives
and
the
party-list
representatives are treated in like manner.
They have the same deliberative rights,
salaries,
and
emoluments.
They
can
participate in the making of laws that will
directly benefit their legislative districts or
sectors. They are also subject to the same
term limitation of three years for a maximum
of three consecutive terms.
It may not be amiss to point out that
the Party-List System Act itself recognizes
party-list nominees as members of the House
of Representatives, thus:
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. - The State
shall promote proportional representation in
the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of
registered national, regional and sectoral
parties or organizations or coalitions thereof,
which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to
the
marginalized
and
underrepresented
sectors, organizations and parties, and who
lack well-defined political constituencies but
who could contribute to the formulation and
enactment of appropriate legislation that will
benefit the nation as a whole, to become
members of the House of Representatives.
Towards this end, the State shall develop and
guarantee a full, free and open party system in
order to attain the broadest possible
representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives by
enhancing their chances to compete for and
win seats in the legislature, and shall provide
the simplest scheme possible. (Underscoring
supplied)
As this Court also held in Bantay
Republic Act or BA-RA 7941 v. Commission on
Elections, a party-list representative is in every
sense an elected member of the House of
Representatives. Although the vote cast in a
party-list election is a vote for a party, such
vote, in the end, would be a vote for its
nominees, who, in appropriate cases, would
eventually sit in the House of Representatives.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

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Both the Constitution and the Party-List
System Act set the qualifications and grounds
for disqualification of party-list nominees.
Section 9 of R.A. 7941, echoing the
Constitution, states:
Sec. 9. Qualification of Party-List
Nominees. No person shall be nominated as
party-list representative unless he is a naturalborn citizen of the Philippines, a registered
voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period
of not less than one (1) year immediately
preceding the day of the election, able to read
and write, bona fide member of the party or
organization which he seeks to represent for at
least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the
election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years
of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth
sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but
not more than thirty (30) years of age on the
day of the election. Any youth sectoral
representative who attains the age of thirty
(30) during his term shall be allowed to
continue until the expiration of his term.
In the cases before the Court, those
who
challenged
the
qualifications
of
petitioners Abayon and Palparan claim that the
two do not belong to the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors that they ought to
represent. The Party-List System Act provides
that a nominee must be a bona fide member
of the party or organization which he seeks to
represent.
It is for the HRET to interpret the
meaning of this particular qualification of a
nomineethe need for him or her to be a bona
fide member or a representative of his partylist organizationin the context of the facts
that characterize petitioners Abayon and
Palparans relation to Aangat Tayo and Bantay,
respectively, and the marginalized and
underrepresented
interests
that
they
presumably embody.
Petitioners Abayon and Palparan of
course point out that the authority to
determine the qualifications of a party-list
nominee belongs to the party or organization
that nominated him. This is true, initially. The
right to examine the fitness of aspiring
nominees and, eventually, to choose five from
among them after all belongs to the party or
organization that nominates them. But where
an allegation is made that the party or
organization had chosen and allowed a
disqualified nominee to become its party-list
representative in the lower House and enjoy
the secured tenure that goes with the position,

the resolution of the dispute is taken out of its


hand.
Parenthetically, although the Party-List
System Act does not so state, the COMELEC
seems to believe, when it resolved the
challenge to petitioner Abayon, that it has the
power to do so as an incident of its authority to
approve
the
registration
of
party-list
organizations. But the Court need not resolve
this question since it is not raised here and has
not been argued by the parties.
What is inevitable is that Section 17,
Article VI of the Constitution provides that the
HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating to, among other things, the
qualifications of the members of the House of
Representatives. Since, as pointed out above,
party-list nominees are elected members of
the House of Representatives no less than the
district representatives are, the HRET has
jurisdiction to hear and pass upon their
qualifications. By analogy with the cases of
district representatives, once the party or
organization of the party-list nominee has
been proclaimed and the nominee has taken
his oath and assumed office as member of the
House of Representatives, the COMELECs
jurisdiction over election contests relating to
his qualifications ends and the HRETs own
jurisdiction begins.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

71

REPUBLIC ACT No. 7941


AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF
PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH
THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND
APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR
Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as
the "Party-List System Act."
Section 2. Declaration of part y. The State
shall promote proportional representation in
the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of
registered national, regional and sectoral
parties or organizations or coalitions thereof,
which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to
marginalized and under-represented sectors,
organizations and parties, and who lack welldefined political constituencies but who could
contribute to the formulation and enactment of
appropriate legislation that will benefit the
nation as a whole, to become members of the
House of Representatives. Towards this end,
the State shall develop and guarantee a full,

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


free and open party system in order to attain
the broadcast possible representation of party,
sectoral or group interests in the House of
Representatives by enhancing their chances to
compete for and win seats in the legislature,
and shall provide the simplest scheme
possible.
Section 3. Definition of Terms. (a) The partylist system is a mechanism of proportional
representation
in
the
election
of
representatives
to
the
House
of
Representatives from national, regional and
sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions
thereof registered with the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or
organizations of a coalition may participate
independently provided the coalition of which
they form part does not participate in the
party-list system.
(b) A party means either a political party or a
sectoral party or a coalition of parties.
(c) A political party refers to an organized
group of citizens advocating an ideology or
platform, principles and policies for the
general conduct of government and which, as
the most immediate means of securing their
adoption, regularly nominates and supports
certain of its leaders and members as
candidates for public office.
It is a national party when its constituency is
spread over the geographical territory of at
least a majority of the regions. It is a regional
party when its constituency is spread over the
geographical territory of at least a majority of
the cities and provinces comprising the region.
(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized
group of citizens belonging to any of the
sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose
principal advocacy pertains to the special
interest and concerns of their sector,
(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of
citizens or a coalition of groups of citizens who
share
similar
physical
attributes
or
characteristics, employment, interests or
concerns.

Section 4. Manifestation to Participate in the


Party-List System. Any party, organization, or
coalition
already
registered
with
the
Commission need not register anew. However,
such party, organization, or coalition shall file
with the Commission, not later than ninety
(90) days before the election, a manifestation
of its desire to participate in the party-list
system.
Section 5. Registration. Any organized group
of persons may register as a party,
organization or coalition for purposes of the
party-list system by filing with the COMELEC
not later than ninety (90) days before the
election a petition verified by its president or
secretary stating its desire to participate in the
party-list system as a national, regional or
sectoral party or organization or a coalition of
such parties or organizations, attaching
thereto its constitution, by-laws, platform or
program of government, list of officers,
coalition agreement and other relevant
information as the COMELEC may require:
Provided, That the sectors shall include labor,
peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous
cultural communities, elderly, handicapped,
women, youth, veterans, overseas workers,
and professionals.
The COMELEC shall publish the petition in at
least two (2) national newspapers of general
circulation.
The COMELEC shall, after due notice and
hearing, resolve the petition within fifteen (15)
days from the date it was submitted for
decision but in no case not later than sixty (60)
days before election.
Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of
Registration. The COMELEC may, motu propio
or upon verified complaint of any interested
party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and
hearing, the registration of any national,
regional or sectoral party, organization or
coalition on any of the following grounds:
(1) It is a religious sect or denomination,
organization or association, organized for
religious purposes;

(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly


registered national, regional, sectoral parties
or organizations for political and/or election
purposes.

(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to


seek its goal;

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

72

(3) It is a foreign party or organization;

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


(4) It is receiving support from any foreign
government,
foreign
political
party,
foundation, organization, whether directly or
through any of its officers or members or
indirectly through third parties for partisan
election purposes;
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules
or regulations relating to elections;
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its
petition;
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1)
year; or
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2)
preceding elections or fails to obtain at least
two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under
the party-list system in the two (2) preceding
elections for the constituency in which it has
registered.
Section 7. Certified List of Registered Parties.
The COMELEC shall, not later than sixty (60)
days before election, prepare a certified list of
national,
regional,
or
sectoral
parties,
organizations or coalitions which have applied
or who have manifested their desire to
participate under the party-list system and
distribute copies thereof to all precincts for
posting in the polling places on election day.
The names of the part y-list nominees shall not
be shown on the certified list.
Section
8.
Nomination
of
Party-List
Representatives.
Each
registered
party,
organization or coalition shall submit to the
COMELEC not later than forty-five (45) days
before the election a list of names, not less
than
five
(5),
from
which
party-list
representatives shall be chosen in case it
obtains the required number of votes.
A person may be nominated in one (1) list only.
Only persons who have given their consent in
writing may be named in the list. The list shall
not include any candidate for any elective
office or a person who has lost his bid for an
elective office in the immediately preceding
election. No change of names or alteration of
the order of nominees shall be allowed after
the same shall have been submitted to the
COMELEC except in cases where the nominee
dies, or withdraws in writing his nomination,
becomes incapacitated in which case the
name of the substitute nominee shall be

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

placed last in the list. Incumbent sectoral


representatives
in
the
House
of
Representatives who are nominated in the
party-list system shall not be considered
resigned.
Section 9. Qualifications of Party-List
Nominees. No person shall be nominated as
party-list representative unless he is a naturalborn citizen of the Philippines, a registered
voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period
of not less than one (1)year immediately
preceding the day of the election, able to read
and write, a bona fide member of the party or
organization which he seeks to represent for at
least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the
election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years
of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he
must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more
than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the
election. Any youth sectoral representative
who attains the age of thirty (30) during his
term shall be allowed to continue in office until
the expiration of his term.
Section 10. Manner of Voting. Every voter
shall be entitled to two (2) votes: the first is a
vote for candidate for member of the House of
Representatives in his legislative district, and
the second, a vote for the party, organizations,
or coalition he wants represented in the house
of Representatives: Provided, That a vote cast
for a party, sectoral organization, or coalition
not entitled to be voted for shall not be
counted: Provided, finally, That the first
election under the party-list system shall be
held in May 1998.
The COMELEC shall undertake the necessary
information
campaign
for
purposes
of
educating the electorate on the matter of the
party-list system.
Section
11.
Number
of
Party-List
Representatives. The party-list representatives
shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of
the total number of the members of the House
of Representatives including those under the
party-list.
For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the
first five (5) major political parties on the basis
of party representation in the House of
Representatives at the start of the Tenth

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Congress of the Philippines shall not be
entitled to participate in the party-list system.
In determining the allocation of seats for the
second vote, the following procedure shall be
observed:
(a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions
shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest
based on the number of votes they garnered
during the elections.
(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions
receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total
votes cast for the party-list system shall be
entitled to one seat each: Provided, That those
garnering more than two percent (2%) of the
votes shall be entitled to additional seats in
proportion to their total number of votes :
Provided, finally, That each party, organization,
or coalition shall be entitled to not more than
three (3) seats.
Section 12. Procedure in Allocating Seats for
Party-List Representatives. The COMELEC shall
tally
all
the
votes
for
the
parties,
organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide
basis, rank them according to the number of
votes
received
and
allocate
party-list
representatives proportionately according to
the percentage of votes obtained by each
party, organization, or coalition as against the
total nationwide votes cast for the party-list
system.
Section 13. How Party-List Representatives
are Chosen. Party-list representatives shall be
proclaimed by the COMELEC based on the list
of names submitted by the respective parties,
organizations, or coalitions to the COMELEC
according to their ranking in said list.
Section 14. Term of Office. Party-list
representatives shall be elected for a term of
three (3) years which shall begin, unless
otherwise provided by law, at noon on the
thirtieth day of June next following their
election. No party-list representatives shall
serve for more than three (3) consecutive
terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for
any length of time shall not be considered as
an interruption in the continuity his service for
the full term for which he was elected.
Section 15. Change of Affiliation; Effect. Any
elected party-list representative who changes
his political party or sectoral affiliation during

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

his term of office shall forfeit his seat:


Provided, That if he changes his political party
or sectoral affiliation within six (6) months
before an election, he shall not be eligible for
nomination as party-list representative under
his new party or organization.
Section 16. Vacancy. In case of vacancy in
the
seats
reserved
for
party-list
representatives,
the
vacancy
shall
be
automatically filled by the next representative
from the list of nominees in the order
submitted to the COMELEC by the same party,
organization, or coalition, who shall serve for
the unexpired term. If the list is exhausted, the
party, organization coalition concerned shall
submit additional nominees.
Section
17.
Rights
of
Party-List
Representatives. Party-List Representatives
shall be entitled to the same salaries and
emoluments as regular members of the House
of Representatives.
Section 18. Rules and Regulations. The
COMELEC shall promulgate the necessary rules
and regulations as may be necessary to carry
out the purposes of this Act.
Section 19. Appropriations. The amount
necessary for the implementation of this Act
shall be provided in the regular appropriations
for the Commission on Elections starting fiscal
year 1996 under the General Appropriations
Act.
Starting 1995, the COMELEC is hereby
authorized to utilize savings and other
available funds for purposes of its information
campaign on the party-list system.
Section 20. Separability Clause. If any part of
this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, the
other parts or provisions thereof shall remain
valid and effective.
Section 21. Repealing Clause. All laws,
decrees,
executive
orders,
rules
and
regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with
the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed.
Section 22. Effectivity. This Act shall take
effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in a
newspaper of general circulation.
Approved, March 3, 1995.

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SECTION 6
IMELDA
ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO
ROY MONTEJO
G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995
KAPUNAN, J.:
FACTS: Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos
filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the
position of Representative of the First District
of Leyte with the Provincial Election Supervisor
on March 8, 1995, providing the following
information in item no. 8: 4
RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY
WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY
PRECEDING THE ELECTION: __________ Years
and seven Months.
On March 23, 1995, private respondent
Cirilo
Roy
Montejo,
the
incumbent
Representative of the First District of Leyte and
a candidate for the same position, filed a
"Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification" 5
with the Commission on Elections alleging that
petitioner did not meet the constitutional
requirement for residency. He contended that
Mrs. Marcos lacked the Constitution's one year
residency requirement for candidates for the
House of Representatives on the evidence of
declarations made by her in Voter Registration
Record 94-No. 3349772 6 and in her Certificate
of Candidacy.
On March 29, 1995, petitioner filed an
Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy,
changing the entry "seven" months to "since
childhood" in item no. 8 of the amended
certificate. 8 On the same day, the Provincial
Election
Supervisor
of
Leyte
informed
petitioner that:
[T]his office cannot receive or accept
the aforementioned Certificate of Candidacy
on the ground that it is filed out of time.
Consequently,
petitioner
filed
the
Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy
with the COMELEC's Head Office in Intramuros,
Manila on March 31, 1995. Her Answer to
private respondent's petition in SPA No. 95-009
was likewise filed with the head office on the
same day. In said Answer, petitioner averred
that the entry of the word "seven" in her
original Certificate of Candidacy was the result
of an "honest misinterpretation" 10 which she
sought to rectify by adding the words "since
childhood"
in
her
Amended/Corrected
Certificate of Candidacy and that "she has
always maintained Tacloban City as her
domicile or residence.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for
election purposes, of the First District of Leyte
for a period of one year at the time of the May
9, 1995 elections.
2. a) Prior to the elections
Whether or not the COMELEC properly
exercised its jurisdiction in disqualifying
petitioner outside the period mandated by the
Omnibus Election Code for disqualification
cases under Article 78 of the said Code.
b) After the Elections
Whether or not the House of Representatives
Electoral
Tribunal
assumed
exclusive
jurisdiction over the question of petitioner's
qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections.
HELD:
While the COMELEC seems to be in
agreement with the general proposition that
for the purposes of election law, residence is
synonymous with domicile, the Resolution
reveals a tendency to substitute or mistake the
concept of domicile for actual residence, a
conception not intended for the purpose of
determining a candidate's qualifications for
election to the House of Representatives as
required by the 1987 Constitution. As it were,
residence, for the purpose of meeting the
qualification for an elective position, has a
settled meaning in our jurisdiction.
Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that
"[f]or the exercise of civil rights and the
fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of
natural persons is their place of habitual
residence." In Ong vs. Republic this court took
the concept of domicile to mean an
individual's "permanent home", "a place to
which, whenever absent for business or for
pleasure, one intends to return, and depends
on facts and circumstances in the sense that
they disclose intent." Based on the foregoing,
domicile includes the twin elements of "the
fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed
place" and animus manendi, or the intention of
returning there permanently.
Residence, in its ordinary conception,
implies the factual relationship of an individual
to a certain place. It is the physical presence of
a person in a given area, community or
country. The essential distinction between
residence and domicile in law is that residence
involves the intent to leave when the purpose
for which the resident has taken up his abode
ends. One may seek a place for purposes such
as pleasure, business, or health. If a person's
intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if

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his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is
established it is residence. It is thus, quite
perfectly normal for an individual to have
different
residences
in
various
places.
However, a person can only have a single
domicile, unless, for various reasons, he
successfully abandons his domicile in favor of
another domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs.
Republic, 23 we laid this distinction quite
clearly:
There is a difference between domicile
and residence. "Residence" is used to indicate
a place of abode, whether permanent or
temporary;
"domicile" denotes a fixed
permanent residence to which, when absent,
one has the intention of returning. A man may
have a residence in one place and a domicile
in another. Residence is not domicile, but
domicile is residence coupled with the
intention to remain for an unlimited time. A
man can have but one domicile for the same
purpose at any time, but he may have
numerous places of residence. His place of
residence is generally his place of domicile,
but it is not by any means necessarily so since
no length of residence without intention of
remaining will constitute domicile.
For political purposes the concepts of
residence and domicile are dictated by the
peculiar criteria of political laws. As these
concepts have evolved in our election law,
what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is
the fact that residence for election purposes is
used synonymously with domicile.
It is the fact of residence, not a
statement in a certificate of candidacy which
ought to be decisive in determining whether or
not
and
individual
has
satisfied
the
constitution's
residency
qualification
requirement. The said statement becomes
material only when there is or appears to be a
deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or
hide a fact which would otherwise render a
candidate ineligible. It would be plainly
ridiculous for a candidate to deliberately and
knowingly make a statement in a certificate of
candidacy which would lead to his or her
disqualification.
It stands to reason therefore, that
petitioner merely committed an honest
mistake in jotting the word "seven" in the
space provided for the residency qualification
requirement. The circumstances leading to her
filing the questioned entry obviously resulted
in the subsequent confusion which prompted
petitioner to write down the period of her
actual stay in Tolosa, Leyte instead of her
period of residence in the First district, which

was "since childhood" in the space provided.


These circumstances and events are amply
detailed in the COMELEC's Second Division's
questioned resolution, albeit with a different
interpretation. For instance, when herein
petitioner announced that she would be
registering in Tacloban City to make her
eligible to run in the First District, private
respondent Montejo opposed the same,
claiming that petitioner was a resident of
Tolosa, not Tacloban City. Petitioner then
registered in her place of actual residence in
the First District, which is Tolosa, Leyte, a fact
which she subsequently noted down in her
Certificate of Candidacy. A close look at said
certificate would reveal the possible source of
the confusion: the entry for residence (Item
No. 7) is followed immediately by the entry for
residence in the constituency where a
candidate seeks election thus:
7. RESIDENCE (complete Address):
Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION
PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY
WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY
PRECEDING THE ELECTION:_________ Years and
Seven Months.
Having
been
forced
by
private
respondent to register in her place of actual
residence in Leyte instead of petitioner's
claimed domicile, it appears that petitioner
had jotted down her period of stay in her legal
residence or domicile. The juxtaposition of
entries in Item 7 and Item 8 the first
requiring actual residence and the second
requiring domicile coupled with the
circumstances
surrounding
petitioner's
registration as a voter in Tolosa obviously led
to her writing down an unintended entry for
which she could be disqualified. This honest
mistake should not, however, be allowed to
negate the fact of residence in the First District
if such fact were established by means more
convincing than a mere entry on a piece of
paper.
We now proceed to the matter of
petitioner's domicile.
In support of its asseveration that
petitioner's domicile could not possibly be in
the First District of Leyte, the Second Division
of the COMELEC, in its assailed Resolution of
April 24,1995 maintains that "except for the
time when (petitioner) studied and worked for
some years after graduation in Tacloban City,
she continuously lived in Manila." The
Resolution additionally cites certain facts as
indicative of the fact that petitioner's domicile

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ought to be any place where she lived in the
last few decades except Tacloban, Leyte. First,
according to the Resolution, petitioner, in
1959, resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where
she was also registered voter. Then, in 1965,
following the election of her husband to the
Philippine presidency, she lived in San Miguel,
Manila where she as a voter. In 1978 and
thereafter, she served as a member of the
Batasang Pambansa and Governor of Metro
Manila. "She could not, have served these
positions if she had not been a resident of
Metro Manila," the COMELEC stressed. Here is
where the confusion lies.
We have stated, many times in the past,
that an individual does not lose his domicile
even if he has lived and maintained residences
in different places. Residence, it bears
repeating, implies a factual relationship to a
given place for various purposes. The absence
from legal residence or domicile to pursue a
profession, to study or to do other things of a
temporary or semi-permanent nature does not
constitute loss of residence. Thus, the
assertion by the COMELEC that "she could not
have been a resident of Tacloban City since
childhood up to the time she filed her
certificate of candidacy because she became a
resident of many places" flies in the face of
settled jurisprudence in which this Court
carefully made distinctions between (actual)
residence and domicile for election law
purposes. In Larena vs. Teves, 33 supra, we
stressed:
[T]his court is of the opinion and so holds
that a person who has his own house wherein
he lives with his family in a municipality
without having ever had the intention of
abandoning it, and without having lived either
alone or with his family in another
municipality, has his residence in the former
municipality, notwithstanding his having
registered as an elector in the other
municipality in question and having been a
candidate for various insular and provincial
positions, stating every time that he is a
resident of the latter municipality.
More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino,
34 We explained that:
A citizen may leave the place of his birth
to look for "greener pastures," as the saying
goes, to improve his lot, and that, of course
includes study in other places, practice of his
avocation, or engaging in business. When an
election is to be held, the citizen who left his
birthplace to improve his lot may desire to
return to his native town to cast his ballot but
for professional or business reasons, or for any

other reason, he may not absent himself from


his professional or business activities; so there
he registers himself as voter as he has the
qualifications to be one and is not willing to
give up or lose the opportunity to choose the
officials who are to run the government
especially in national elections. Despite such
registration, the animus revertendi to his
home, to his domicile or residence of origin
has not forsaken him. This may be the
explanation why the registration of a voter in a
place other than his residence of origin has not
been
deemed
sufficient
to
constitute
abandonment or loss of such residence. It finds
justification in the natural desire and longing
of every person to return to his place of birth.
This strong feeling of attachment to the place
of one's birth must be overcome by positive
proof of abandonment for another.
From the foregoing, it can be concluded
that in its above-cited statements supporting
its proposition that petitioner was ineligible to
run for the position of Representative of the
First District of Leyte, the COMELEC was
obviously referring to petitioner's various
places of (actual) residence, not her domicile.
In doing so, it not only ignored settled
jurisprudence on residence in election law and
the
deliberations
of
the
constitutional
commission but also the provisions of the
Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 881). 35
What is undeniable, however, are the
following set of facts which establish the fact
of petitioner's domicile, which we lift verbatim
from the COMELEC's Second Division's assailed
Resolution: 36
In or about 1938 when respondent was a
little over 8 years old, she established her
domicile in Tacloban, Leyte (Tacloban City).
She studied in the Holy Infant Academy in
Tacloban from 1938 to 1949 when she
graduated from high school. She pursued her
college studies in St. Paul's College, now
Divine Word University in Tacloban, where she
earned her degree in Education. Thereafter,
she taught in the Leyte Chinese School, still in
Tacloban City. In 1952 she went to Manila to
work with her cousin, the late speaker Daniel
Z. Romualdez in his office in the House of
Representatives. In 1954, she married exPresident Ferdinand E. Marcos when he was
still a congressman of Ilocos Norte and
registered there as a voter. When her husband
was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959,
she and her husband lived together in San
Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In
1965, when her husband was elected President
of the Republic of the Philippines, she lived

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with him in Malacanang Palace and registered
as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.
[I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she
and her family were abducted and kidnapped
to Honolulu, Hawaii. In November 1991, she
came home to Manila. In 1992, respondent ran
for election as President of the Philippines and
filed her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she
indicated that she is a resident and registered
voter of San Juan, Metro Manila.
Applying the principles discussed to the
facts found by COMELEC, what is inescapable
is that petitioner held various residences for
different purposes during the last four
decades.
None
of
these
purposes
unequivocally point to an intention to abandon
her domicile of origin in Tacloban, Leyte.
Moreover, while petitioner was born in Manila,
as a minor she naturally followed the domicile
of her parents. She grew up in Tacloban,
reached her adulthood there and eventually
established residence in different parts of the
country for various reasons. Even during her
husband's presidency, at the height of the
Marcos Regime's powers, petitioner kept her
close ties to her domicile of origin by
establishing
residences
in
Tacloban,
celebrating her birthdays and other important
personal milestones in her home province,
instituting well-publicized projects for the
benefit of her province and hometown, and
establishing a political power base where her
siblings and close relatives held positions of
power either through the ballot or by
appointment, always with either her influence
or consent. These well-publicized ties to her
domicile of origin are part of the history and
lore of the quarter century of Marcos power in
our country. Either they were entirely ignored
in the COMELEC'S Resolutions, or the majority
of the COMELEC did not know what the rest of
the country always knew: the fact of
petitioner's domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.
Private respondent in his Comment,
contends that Tacloban was not petitioner's
domicile of origin because she did not live
there until she was eight years old. He avers
that after leaving the place in 1952, she
"abandoned her residency (sic) therein for
many years and . . . (could not) re-establish
her domicile in said place by merely
expressing her intention to live there again."
We do not agree.
First, minor follows the domicile of his
parents. As domicile, once acquired is retained
until a new one is gained, it follows that in
spite of the fact of petitioner's being born in
Manila, Tacloban, Leyte was her domicile of

origin by operation of law. This domicile was


not established only when her father brought
his family back to Leyte contrary to private
respondent's averments.
Second, domicile of origin is not easily
lost. To successfully effect a change of
domicile, one must demonstrate: 37
1. An actual removal or an actual change
of domicile;
2. A bona fide intention of abandoning
the former place of residence and establishing
a new one; and
3. Acts which correspond with the
purpose.
In the absence of clear and positive proof
based on these criteria, the residence of origin
should be deemed to continue. Only with
evidence showing concurrence of all three
requirements
can
the
presumption
of
continuity or residence be rebutted, for a
change of residence requires an actual and
deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have
two legal residences at the same time. 38 In
the case at bench, the evidence adduced by
private respondent plainly lacks the degree of
persuasiveness required to convince this court
that an abandonment of domicile of origin in
favor of a domicile of choice indeed occurred.
To effect an abandonment requires the
voluntary act of relinquishing petitioner's
former domicile with an intent to supplant the
former domicile with one of her own choosing
(domicilium voluntarium).
In this connection, it cannot be correctly
argued that petitioner lost her domicile of
origin by operation of law as a result of her
marriage to the late President Ferdinand E.
Marcos in 1952. For there is a clearly
established distinction between the Civil Code
concepts of "domicile" and "residence." 39 The
presumption that the wife automatically gains
the husband's domicile by operation of law
upon marriage cannot be inferred from the use
of the term "residence" in Article 110 of the
Civil Code because the Civil Code is one area
where the two concepts are well delineated.
Dr. Arturo Tolentino, writing on this specific
area explains:
In the Civil Code, there is an obvious
difference between domicile and residence.
Both terms imply relations between a person
and a place; but in residence, the relation is
one of fact while in domicile it is legal or
juridical, independent of the necessity of
physical presence. 40
Article 110 of the Civil Code provides:
Art. 110. The husband shall fix the
residence of the family. But the court may

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exempt the wife from living with the husband if
he should live abroad unless in the service of
the Republic.
A survey of jurisprudence relating to
Article 110 or to the concepts of domicile or
residence as they affect the female spouse
upon marriage yields nothing which would
suggest that the female spouse automatically
loses her domicile of origin in favor of the
husband's choice of residence upon marriage.
Article 110 is a virtual restatement of
Article 58 of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889
which states:
La mujer esta obligada a seguir a su
marido donde quiera que fije su residencia. Los
Tribunales, sin embargo, podran con justa
causa eximirla de esta obligacion cuando el
marido transende su residencia a ultramar o' a
pais extranjero.
Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera
su fije de residencia" in the aforequoted
article, which means wherever (the husband)
wishes to establish residence. This part of the
article clearly contemplates only actual
residence because it refers to a positive act of
fixing a family home or residence. Moreover,
this interpretation is further strengthened by
the phrase "cuando el marido translade su
residencia" in the same provision which
means, "when the husband shall transfer his
residence," referring to another positive act of
relocating the family to another home or place
of actual residence. The article obviously
cannot be understood to refer to domicile
which is a fixed,fairly-permanent concept when
it
plainly
connotes
the
possibility
of
transferring from one place to another not only
once, but as often as the husband may deem
fit to move his family, a circumstance more
consistent with the concept of actual
residence.
The right of the husband to fix the actual
residence is in harmony with the intention of
the law to strengthen and unify the family,
recognizing the fact that the husband and the
wife bring into the marriage different domiciles
(of origin). This difference could, for the sake
of family unity, be reconciled only by allowing
the husband to fix a single place of actual
residence.
Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil
Code is found under Title V under the heading:
RIGHTS
AND
OBLIGATIONS
BETWEEN
HUSBAND AND WIFE. Immediately preceding
Article 110 is Article 109 which obliges the
husband and wife to live together, thus:
Art. 109. The husband and wife are
obligated to live together, observe mutual

respect and fidelity and render mutual help


and support.
The duty to live together can only be
fulfilled if the husband and wife are physically
together. This takes into account the situations
where the couple has many residences (as in
the case of the petitioner). If the husband has
to stay in or transfer to any one of their
residences, the wife should necessarily be with
him in order that they may "live together."
Hence, it is illogical to conclude that Art. 110
refers to "domicile" and not to "residence."
Otherwise, we shall be faced with a situation
where the wife is left in the domicile while the
husband, for professional or other reasons,
stays in one of their (various) residences. As
Dr. Tolentino further explains:
Residence and Domicile Whether the
word "residence" as used with reference to
particular matters is synonymous with
"domicile" is a question of some difficulty, and
the ultimate decision must be made from a
consideration of the purpose and intent with
which the word is used. Sometimes they are
used synonymously, at other times they are
distinguished from one another.
xxx xxx xxx
Residence in the civil law is a material
fact, referring to the physical presence of a
person in a place. A person can have two or
more residences, such as a country residence
and a city residence. Residence is acquired by
living in place; on the other hand, domicile can
exist without actually living in the place. The
important thing for domicile is that, once
residence has been established in one place,
there be an intention to stay there
permanently, even if residence is also
established in some other place.
In fact, even the matter of a common
residence between the husband and the wife
during the marriage is not an iron-clad
principle; In cases applying the Civil Code on
the question of a common matrimonial
residence, our jurisprudence has recognized
certain situations 42 where the spouses could
not be compelled to live with each other such
that the wife is either allowed to maintain a
residence different from that of her husband
or, for obviously practical reasons, revert to
her original domicile (apart from being allowed
to opt for a new one). In De la Vina vs. Villareal
43 this Court held that "[a] married woman
may acquire a residence or domicile separate
from that of her husband during the existence
of the marriage where the husband has given
cause for divorce." 44 Note that the Court
allowed the wife either to obtain new

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residence or to choose a new domicile in such
an event. In instances where the wife actually
opts, .under the Civil Code, to live separately
from her husband either by taking new
residence or reverting to her domicile of origin,
the Court has held that the wife could not be
compelled to live with her husband on pain of
contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de Arroyo 45
the Court held that:
Upon examination of the authorities, we
are convinced that it is not within the province
of the courts of this country to attempt to
compel one of the spouses to cohabit with,
and render conjugal rights to, the other. Of
course where the property rights of one of the
pair are invaded, an action for restitution of
such rights can be maintained. But we are
disinclined to sanction the doctrine that an
order, enforcible (sic) by process of contempt,
may be entered to compel the restitution of
the purely personal right of consortium. At
best such an order can be effective for no
other purpose than to compel the spouses to
live under the same roof; and he experience of
those countries where the courts of justice
have assumed to compel the cohabitation of
married people shows that the policy of the
practice is extremely questionable. Thus in
England, formerly the Ecclesiastical Court
entertained suits for the restitution of conjugal
rights at the instance of either husband or
wife; and if the facts were found to warrant it,
that court would make a mandatory decree,
enforceable by process of contempt in case of
disobedience, requiring the delinquent party to
live with the other and render conjugal rights.
Yet this practice was sometimes criticized even
by the judges who felt bound to enforce such
orders, and in Weldon v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52),
decided in 1883, Sir James Hannen, President
in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division
of the High Court of Justice, expressed his
regret that the English law on the subject was
not the same as that which prevailed in
Scotland, where a decree of adherence,
equivalent to the decree for the restitution of
conjugal rights in England, could be obtained
by the injured spouse, but could not be
enforced by imprisonment. Accordingly, in
obedience to the growing sentiment against
the practice, the Matrimonial Causes Act
(1884) abolished the remedy of imprisonment;
though a decree for the restitution of conjugal
rights can still be procured, and in case of
disobedience may serve in appropriate cases
as the basis of an order for the periodical
payment of a stipend in the character of
alimony.

In the voluminous jurisprudence of the


United States, only one court, so far as we can
discover, has ever attempted to make a
preemptory order requiring one of the spouses
to live with the other; and that was in a case
where a wife was ordered to follow and live
with her husband, who had changed his
domicile to the City of New Orleans. The
decision referred to (Bahn v. Darby, 36 La.
Ann., 70) was based on a provision of the Civil
Code of Louisiana similar to article 56 of the
Spanish Civil Code. It was decided many years
ago, and the doctrine evidently has not been
fruitful even in the State of Louisiana. In other
states of the American Union the idea of
enforcing cohabitation by process of contempt
is rejected. (21 Cyc., 1148).
In a decision of January 2, 1909, the
Supreme Court of Spain appears to have
affirmed an order of the Audiencia Territorial
de Valladolid requiring a wife to return to the
marital domicile, and in the alternative, upon
her failure to do so, to make a particular
disposition of certain money and effects then
in her possession and to deliver to her
husband, as administrator of the ganancial
property, all income, rents, and interest which
might accrue to her from the property which
she had brought to the marriage. (113 Jur. Civ.,
pp. 1, 11) But it does not appear that this
order for the return of the wife to the marital
domicile was sanctioned by any other penalty
than the consequences that would be visited
upon her in respect to the use and control of
her property; and it does not appear that her
disobedience to that order would necessarily
have been followed by imprisonment for
contempt.
Parenthetically when Petitioner was
married to then Congressman Marcos, in 1954,
petitioner was obliged by virtue of Article
110 of the Civil Code to follow her
husband's actual place of residence fixed by
him. The problem here is that at that time, Mr.
Marcos had several places of residence,
among which were San Juan, Rizal and Batac,
Ilocos Norte. There is no showing which of
these places Mr. Marcos did fix as his family's
residence. But assuming that Mr. Marcos had
fixed any of these places as the conjugal
residence, what petitioner gained upon
marriage was actual residence. She did not
lose her domicile of origin.
On the other hand, the common law
concept of "matrimonial domicile" appears to
have been incorporated, as a result of our
jurisprudential experiences after the drafting
of the Civil Code of 1950, into the New Family

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Code. To underscore the difference between
the intentions of the Civil Code and the Family
Code drafters, the term residence has been
supplanted by the term domicile in an entirely
new provision (Art. 69) distinctly different in
meaning and spirit from that found in Article
110. The provision recognizes revolutionary
changes in the concept of women's rights in
the intervening years by making the choice of
domicile a product of mutual agreement
between the spouses. Without as much
belaboring the point, the term residence may
mean one thing in civil law (or under the Civil
Code) and quite another thing in political law.
What stands clear is that insofar as the Civil
Code is concerned-affecting the rights and
obligations of husband and wife the term
residence should only be interpreted to mean
"actual residence." The inescapable conclusion
derived from this unambiguous civil law
delineation therefore, is that when petitioner
married the former President in 1954, she kept
her domicile of origin and merely gained a new
home, not a domicilium necessarium.
Even assuming for the sake of argument
that petitioner gained a new "domicile" after
her marriage and only acquired a right to
choose a new one after her husband died,
petitioner's acts following her return to the
country clearly indicate that she not only
impliedly but expressly chose her domicile of
origin (assuming this was lost by operation of
law) as her domicile. This "choice" was
unequivocally expressed in her letters to the
Chairman of the PCGG when petitioner sought
the PCGG's permission to "rehabilitate (our)
ancestral house in Tacloban and Farm in Olot,
Leyte. . . to make them livable for the Marcos
family to have a home in our homeland." 47
Furthermore, petitioner obtained her residence
certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte, while
living in her brother's house, an act which
supports the domiciliary intention clearly
manifested in her letters to the PCGG
Chairman. She could not have gone straight to
her home in San Juan, as it was in a state of
disrepair, having been previously looted by
vandals. Her "homes" and "residences"
following her arrival in various parts of Metro
Manila merely qualified as temporary or
"actual residences," not domicile. Moreover,
and proceeding from our discussion pointing
out specific situations where the female
spouse either reverts to her domicile of origin
or chooses a new one during the subsistence
of the marriage, it would be highly illogical for
us to assume that she cannot regain her
original domicile upon the death of her

husband absent a positive act of selecting a


new one where situations exist within the
subsistence of the marriage itself where the
wife gains a domicile different from her
husband.
In the light of all the principles relating to
residence and domicile enunciated by this
court up to this point, we are persuaded that
the facts established by the parties weigh
heavily in favor of a conclusion supporting
petitioner's claim of legal residence or domicile
in the First District of Leyte.

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81

2. It is a settled doctrine that a statute


requiring rendition of judgment within a
specified time is generally construed to be
merely directory, 49 "so that non-compliance
with them does not invalidate the judgment on
the theory that if the statute had intended
such result it would have clearly indicated it."
50 The difference between a mandatory and a
directory provision is often made on grounds of
necessity.
The
mischief
in
petitioner's
contending that the COMELEC should have
abstained from rendering a decision after the
period stated in the Omnibus Election Code
because it lacked jurisdiction, lies in the fact
that our courts and other quasi-judicial bodies
would then refuse to render judgments merely
on the ground of having failed to reach a
decision within a given or prescribed period.
In any event, with the enactment of
Sections 6 and 7 of R.A. 6646 in relation to
Section 78 of B.P. 881, 52 it is evident that the
respondent Commission does not lose
jurisdiction to hear and decide a pending
disqualification case under Section 78 of B.P.
881 even after the elections. As to the House
of
Representatives
Electoral
Tribunal's
supposed assumption of jurisdiction over the
issue of petitioner's qualifications after the
May 8, 1995 elections, suffice it to say that
HRET's jurisdiction as the sole judge of all
contests relating to the elections, returns and
qualifications of members of Congress begins
only after a candidate has become a member
of the House of Representatives. 53 Petitioner
not being a member of the House of
Representatives, it is obvious that the HRET at
this point has no jurisdiction over the question.
It would be an abdication of many of
the ideals enshrined in the 1987 Constitution
for us to either to ignore or deliberately make
distinctions in law solely on the basis of the
personality of a petitioner in a case. Obviously
a distinction was made on such a ground here.
Surely, many established principles of law,
even of election laws were flouted for the sake

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


perpetuating power during the pre-EDSA
regime. We renege on these sacred ideals,
including the meaning and spirit of EDSA
ourselves bending established principles of
principles of law to deny an individual what he
or she justly deserves in law. Moreover, in
doing so, we condemn ourselves to repeat the
mistakes of the past.
AGAPITO A. AQUINO vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS,
MOVE
MAKATI,
MATEO
BEDON and JUANITO ICARO
G.R. No. 120265 September 18, 1995
KAPUNAN, J.
FACTS: On March 20, 1995, petitioner Agapito
A. Aquino filed his Certificate of Candidacy for
the position of Representative for the new
Second Legislative District of Makati City.
Among others, Aquino provided the following
information in his certificate of candidacy, viz:.
(7) RESIDENCE (Complete Address):
284 AMAPOLA COR. ADALLA STS., PALM
VILLAGE, MAKATI.
xxx xxx xxx
(8) RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY
WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY
PRECEDING THE ELECTION: ______ Years and
10 Months.
xxx xxx xxx
THAT I AM ELIGIBLE for said Office; That
I will support and defend the Constitution of
the Republic of the Philippines and will
maintain true faith and allegiance thereto;
That I will obey the law, rules and decrees
promulgated
by
the
duly
constituted
authorities; That the obligation imposed to
such is assumed voluntarily, without mental
reservation or purpose of evasion, and that the
facts therein are true to the best of my
knowledge. 1
On April 24, 1995, Move Makati, a duly
registered political party, and Mateo Bedon,
Chairman of the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP of
Barangay Cembo, Makati City, filed a petition
to disqualify Agapito A. Aquino on the ground
that
the
latter
lacked
the
residence
qualification as a candidate for congressman
which, under Section 6, Art. VI of the 1987 the
Constitution, should be for a period not less
than one (1) year immediately preceding the
May 8, 1995 elections.
On April 25, 1995, a day after said
petition for disqualification was filed, petitioner
filed
another
certificate
of
candidacy
amending the certificate dated March 20,
1995. This time, petitioner stated in Item 8 of
his certificate that he had resided in the

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

constituency where he sought to be elected for


one (l) year and thirteen (13) days.
On May 2, 1995, petitioner filed his
Answer dated April 29, 1995 praying for the
dismissal of the disqualification case. On the
same day, May 2, 1995, a hearing was
conducted by the COMELEC wherein petitioner
testified and presented in evidence, among
others, his Affidavit dated May 2, 1995, lease
contract between petitioner and Leonor
Feliciano dated April 1, 1994, Affidavit of
Leonor Feliciano dated April 28,1995
and
Affidavit of Daniel Galamay dated April 28,
1995.
After hearing of the petition for
disqualification, the Second Division of the
COMELEC promulgated a Resolution dismissing
the instant petition for Disqualification against
respondent AGAPITO AQUINO and declares him
ELIGIBLE
to
run
for
the
Office
of
Representative in the Second Legislative
District of Makati City.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not petitioner has met the
residency requirement to be qualified to run as
Representative for 2nd Legislative District of
Makati
2. Whether or not the COMELEC erred in
issuing it Order instructing the Board of
Canvassers of Makati City to proclaim as
winner the candidate receiving the next higher
number of votes
HELD:

We agree with COMELEC's contention


that in order that petitioner could qualify as a
candidate for Representative of the Second
District of Makati City the latter "must prove
that he has established not just residence but
domicile of choice.
The Constitution requires that a person
seeking
election
to
the
House
of
Representatives should be a resident of the
district in which he seeks election for a period
of not less than one (l) year prior to the
elections.
Residence, for election law purposes,
has a settled meaning in our jurisdiction.
In Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House
of Representatives this Court held that the
term "residence" has always been understood
as synonymous with "domicile" not only under
the previous Constitutions but also under the
1987 Constitution. The Court there held:
The deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission reveal that the meaning of
residence vis-a-vis the qualifications of a

82

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candidate for Congress continues to remain
the same as that of domicile, to wit:
Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I
remember that in the 1971 Constitutional
Convention, there was an attempt to require
residence in the place not less than one year
immediately preceding the day of elections. So
my question is: What is the Committee's
concept of domicile or constructive residence?
Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar
as the regular members of the National
Assembly are concerned, the proposed section
merely provides, among others, and a resident
thereof', that is, in the district, for a period of
not less than one year preceding the day of
the election. This was in effect lifted from the
1973 Constitution, the interpretation given to
it was domicile (emphasis ours) Records of the
1987 Constitutional Convention, Vol. II, July 22,
1986, p. 87).
xxx xxx xxx
Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is
on section 7, page 2. I think Commissioner
Nolledo has raised the same point that
"resident" has been interpreted at times as a
matter of intention rather than actual
residence.
Mr. De Los Reyes: Domicile.
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the
gentlemen consider at the proper time to go
back to actual residence rather than mere
intention to reside?
Mr. De los Reyes: But We might
encounter
some
difficulty
especially
considering that the provision in the
Constitution in the Article on Suffrage says
that Filipinos living abroad may vote as
enacted by law. So, we have to stick to the
original concept that it should be by domicile
and not physical and actual residence.
(Records
of
the
1987
Constitutional
Commission, Vol. II, July 22, 1986, p. 110).
The framers of the Constitution
adhered to the earlier definition given to the
word "residence" which regarded it as having
the same meaning as domicile.
Clearly, the place "where a party
actually or constructively has his permanent
home," 21 where he, no matter where he may
be found at any given time, eventually intends
to return and remain, i.e., his domicile, is that
to which the Constitution refers when it speaks
of residence for the purposes of election law.
The manifest purpose of this deviation from
the usual conceptions of residency in law as
explained in Gallego vs. Vera at 22 is "to
exclude strangers or newcomers unfamiliar
with the conditions and needs of the

community" from taking advantage of


favorable circumstances existing in that
community for electoral gain. While there is
nothing wrong with the practice of establishing
residence in a given area for meeting election
law requirements, this nonetheless defeats the
essence of representation, which is to place
through the assent of voters those most
cognizant and sensitive to the needs of a
particular district, if a candidate falls short of
the period of residency mandated by law for
him to qualify. That purpose could be obviously
best met by individuals who have either had
actual residence in the area for a given period
or who have been domiciled in the same area
either by origin or by choice. It would,
therefore, be imperative for this Court to
inquire into the threshold question as to
whether or not petitioner actually was a
resident for a period of one year in the area
now encompassed by the Second Legislative
District of Makati at the time of his election or
whether or not he was domiciled in the same.
As found by the COMELEC en banc
petitioner in his Certificate of Candidacy for
the May 11, 1992 elections, indicated not only
that he was a resident of San Jose,
Concepcion, Tarlac in 1992 but that he was a
resident of the same for 52 years immediately
preceding that election. 23 At the time, his
certificate indicated that he was also a
registered voter of the same district. 24 His
birth certificate places Concepcion, Tarlac as
the birthplace of both of his parents Benigno
and Aurora. 25 Thus, from data furnished by
petitioner himself to the COMELEC at various
times during his political career, what stands
consistently clear and unassailable is that this
domicile of origin of record up to the time of
filing of his most recent certificate of
candidacy for the 1995 elections was
Concepcion, Tarlac.
Petitioner's alleged connection with the
Second District of Makati City is an alleged
lease agreement of condominium unit in the
area. As the COMELEC, in its disputed
Resolution noted:
The intention not to establish a
permanent home in Makati City is evident in
his leasing a condominium unit instead of
buying one. While a lease contract maybe
indicative of respondent's intention to reside in
Makati City it does not engender the kind of
permanency required to prove abandonment
of one's original domicile especially since, by
its terms, it is only for a period of two (2)
years, and respondent Aquino himself testified
that his intention was really for only one (l)

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

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year because he has other "residences" in
Manila or Quezon City.
While property ownership is not and
should never be an indicia of the right to vote
or to be voted upon, the fact that petitioner
himself claims that he has other residences in
Metro Manila coupled with the short length of
time he claims to be a resident of the
condominium unit in Makati (and the fact, of
his stated domicile in Tarlac) "indicate that the
sole purpose of (petitioner) in transferring his
physical residence" 27 is not to acquire's new
residence or domicile "but only to qualify as a
candidate for Representative of the Second
District of Makati City." 28 The absence of clear
and positive proof showing a successful
abandonment of domicile under the conditions
stated above, the lack of identification
sentimental, actual or otherwise with the
area, and the suspicious circumstances under
which the lease agreement was effected all
belie petitioner's claim of residency for the
period required by the Constitution, in the
Second District of Makati. As the COMELEC en
banc emphatically pointed out:
[T]he lease agreement was executed
mainly to support the one year residence
requirement as a qualification for a candidate
of
Representative,
by
establishing
a
commencement date of his residence. If a
perfectly valid lease agreement cannot, by
itself establish; a domicile of choice, this
particular lease agreement cannot do better. 29
Moreover, his assertion that he has
transferred his domicile from Tarlac to Makati
is a bare assertion which is hardly supported
by the facts in the case at bench. Domicile of
origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a
change of domicile, petitioner must prove an
actual removal or an actual change of
domicile; a bona fide intention of abandoning
the former place of residence and establishing
a new one and definite acts which correspond
with the purpose. 30 These requirements are
hardly met by the evidence adduced in
support of petitioner's claims of a change of
domicile from Tarlac to the Second District of
Makati. In the absence of clear and positive
proof, the domicile of origin be deemed to
continue requirements are hardly met by the
evidence adduced in support of petitioner's
claims of a change of domicile from Tarlac to
the Second District of Makati. In the absence
of clear and positive proof, the domicile of
origin should be deemed to continue.
Finally, petitioner's submission that it
would be legally impossible to impose the one
year residency requirement in a newly created

political district is specious and lacks basis in


logic. A new political district is not created out
of thin air. It is carved out from part of a real
and existing geographic area, in this case the
old Municipality of Makati. That people actually
lived or were domiciled in the area
encompassed by the new Second District
cannot be denied. Modern-day carpetbaggers
cannot be allowed take advantage of the
creation of new political districts by suddenly
transplanting themselves in such new districts,
prejudicing their genuine residents in the
process of taking advantage of existing
conditions in these areas. It will be noted, as
COMELEC did in its assailed resolution, that
petitioner was disqualified from running in the
Senate because of the constitutional two-term
limit, and had to shop around for a place
where he could run for public office. Nothing
wrong with that, but he must first prove with
reasonable certainty that he has effected a
change of residence for election law purposes
for the period required by law. This he has not
effectively done.
2. This, it bears repeating, expresses
the more logical and democratic view. We
cannot, in another shift of the pendulum,
subscribe to the contention that the runner-up
in an election in which the winner has been
disqualified is actually the winner among the
remaining qualified candidates because this
clearly represents a minority view supported
only by a scattered number of obscure
American state and English court decisions.
These decisions neglect the possibility that the
runner-up, though obviously qualified, could
receive votes so measly and insignificant in
number that the votes they receive would be
tantamount to rejection. Theoretically, the
"second placer" could receive just one vote. In
such a case, it is absurd to proclaim the totally
repudiated candidate as the voters' "choice."
Moreover, even in instances where the votes
received by the second placer may not be
considered numerically insignificant, voters
preferences are nonetheless so volatile and
unpredictable that the result among qualified
candidates, should the equation change
because of the disqualification of an ineligible
candidate, would not be self-evident. Absence
of the apparent though ineligible winner
among the choices could lead to a shifting of
votes to candidates other than the second
placer. By any mathematical formulation, the
runner-up in an election cannot be construed
to have obtained a majority or plurality of
votes cast where an "ineligible" candidate has

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garnered either a majority or plurality of the
votes.

HELD:
ON THE ISSUE OF CITIZENSHIP
The
pertinent
portions
of
the
Constitution found in Article IV read:
SECTION 1, the following are citizens of
the Philippines:
1. Those who are citizens of the
Philippines at the time of the adoption of the
Constitution;
2. Those whose fathers or mothers are
citizens of the Philippines;
3. Those born before January 17, 1973,
of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine

citizenship upon reaching the age of majority;


and
4. Those who are naturalized in
accordance with law.
SECTION 2, Natural-born Citizens are
those who are citizens of the Philippines from
birth without having to perform any act to
acquire or perfect their citizenship. Those who
elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with
paragraph 3 hereof shall be deemed naturalborn citizens.
The foregoing significantly reveals the
intent of the framers. To make the provision
prospective from February 3, 1987 is to give a
narrow
interpretation
resulting
in
an
inequitable situation. It must also be
retroactive.
It should be noted that in construing
the law, the Courts are not always to be
hedged in by the literal meaning of its
language. The spirit and intendment thereof,
must prevail over the letter, especially where
adherence to the latter would result in
absurdity and injustice. (Casela v. Court of
Appeals, 35 SCRA 279 [1970])
A Constitutional provision should be
construed so as to give it effective operation
and suppress the mischief at which it is aimed,
hence, it is the spirit of the provision which
should prevail over the letter thereof. (Jarrolt v.
Mabberly, 103 U.S. 580)
In the words of the Court in the case of
J.M. Tuason v. LTA (31 SCRA 413 [1970]:
To that primordial intent, all else is
subordinated.
Our
Constitution,
any
constitution is not to be construed narrowly or
pedantically for the prescriptions therein
contained, to paraphrase Justice Holmes, are
not mathematical formulas having their
essence in their form but are organic living
institutions, the significance of which is vital
not formal. . . .
The provision in question was enacted
to correct the anomalous situation where one
born of a Filipino father and an alien mother
was automatically granted the status of a
natural-born citizen while one born of a Filipino
mother and an alien father would still have to
elect Philippine citizenship. If one so elected,
he was not, under earlier laws, conferred the
status of a natural-born.
Under the 1973 Constitution, those
born of Filipino fathers and those born of
Filipino mothers with an alien father were
placed on equal footing. They were both
considered as natural-born citizens.
Hence, the bestowment of the status of
"natural-born" cannot be made to depend on

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

85

ANTONIO Y. CO vs. ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL


OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
AND JOSE ONG, JR.,
G.R. Nos. 92191-92 July 30, 1991
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
FACTS: The HRET declared that respondent
Jose Ong, Jr. is a natural born Filipino citizen
and a resident of Laoang, Northern Samar for
voting purposes. The sole issue before us is
whether or not, in making that determination,
the HRET acted with grave abuse of discretion.
On May 11, 1987, the congressional
election for the second district of Northern
Samar was held.
Among the candidates who vied for the
position of representative in the second
legislative district of Northern Samar are the
petitioners, Sixto Balinquit and Antonio Co and
the private respondent, Jose Ong, Jr.
Respondent Ong was proclaimed the
duly elected representative of the second
district of Northern Samar.
The petitioners filed election protests
against the private respondent premised on
the following grounds:
1) Jose Ong, Jr. is not a natural born
citizen of the Philippines; and
2) Jose Ong, Jr. is not a resident of the
second district of Northern Samar.
The HRET in its decision dated
November 6, 1989, found for the private
respondent.
A motion for reconsideration was filed
by the petitioners on November 12, 1989. This
was, however, denied by the HRET in its
resolution dated February 22, 1989.
ISSUE: Whether or not private respondent
Ong is a citizen of the Philippines and whether
he has met the residency requirement

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


the fleeting accident of time or result in two
kinds of citizens made up of essentially the
same similarly situated members.
It is for this reason that the
amendments were enacted, that is, in order to
remedy
this
accidental
anomaly,
and,
therefore, treat equally all those born before
the 1973 Constitution and who elected
Philippine citizenship either before or after the
effectivity of that Constitution.
The Constitutional provision in question
is, therefore curative in nature. The enactment
was meant to correct the inequitable and
absurd situation which then prevailed, and
thus, render those acts valid which would have
been nil at the time had it not been for the
curative provisions.
There
is
no
dispute
that
the
respondent's mother was a natural born
Filipina at the time of her marriage. Crucial to
this case is the issue of whether or not the
respondent elected or chose to be a Filipino
citizen.
Election becomes material because
Section 2 of Article IV of the Constitution
accords natural born status to children born of
Filipino mothers before January 17, 1973, if
they elect citizenship upon reaching the age of
majority.
To expect the respondent to have
formally or in writing elected citizenship when
he came of age is to ask for the unnatural and
unnecessary. The reason is obvious. He was
already a citizen. Not only was his mother a
natural born citizen but his father had been
naturalized when the respondent was only
nine (9) years old. He could not have divined
when he came of age that in 1973 and 1987
the Constitution would be amended to require
him to have filed a sworn statement in 1969
electing citizenship inspite of his already
having been a citizen since 1957. In 1969,
election through a sworn statement would
have been an unusual and unnecessary
procedure for one who had been a citizen
since he was nine years old.
We have jurisprudence that defines
"election" as both a formal and an informal
process.
In the case of In Re: Florencio Mallare
(59 SCRA 45 [1974]), the Court held that the
exercise of the right of suffrage and the
participation in election exercises constitute a
positive
act of
election
of Philippine
citizenship. In the exact pronouncement of the
Court, we held:

Esteban's exercise of the right of


suffrage when he came of age, constitutes a
positive act of election of Philippine citizenship
The private respondent did more than
merely exercise his right of suffrage. He has
established his life here in the Philippines. For
those in the peculiar situation of the
respondent who cannot be expected to have
elected citizenship as they were already
citizens, we apply the In Re Mallare rule.
The respondent was born in an outlying
rural town of Samar where there are no alien
enclaves and no racial distinctions. The
respondent has lived the life of a Filipino since
birth. His father applied for naturalization
when the child was still a small boy. He is a
Roman Catholic. He has worked for a sensitive
government agency. His profession requires
citizenship for taking the examinations and
getting a license. He has participated in
political exercises as a Filipino and has always
considered himself a Filipino citizen. There is
nothing in the records to show that he does
not embrace Philippine customs and values,
nothing to indicate any tinge of alien-ness no
acts to show that this country is not his natural
homeland. The mass of voters of Northern
Samar are frilly aware of Mr. Ong's parentage.
They should know him better than any
member of this Court will ever know him. They
voted by overwhelming numbers to have him
represent them in Congress. Because of his
acts since childhood, they have considered
him as a Filipino.
The filing of sworn statement or formal
declaration is a requirement for those who still
have to elect citizenship. For those already
Filipinos when the time to elect came up, there
are acts of deliberate choice which cannot be
less binding. Entering a profession open only
to Filipinos, serving in public office where
citizenship is a qualification, voting during
election time, running for public office, and
other categorical acts of similar nature are
themselves formal manifestations of choice for
these persons.
An election of Philippine citizenship
presupposes that the person electing is an
alien. Or his status is doubtful because he is a
national of two countries. There is no doubt in
this case about Mr. Ong's being a Filipino when
he turned twenty-one (21).
We repeat that any election of
Philippine citizenship on the part of the private
respondent would not only have been
superfluous but it would also have resulted in
an absurdity. How can a Filipino citizen elect
Philippine citizenship?

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The
respondent
HRET
has
an
interesting view as to how Mr. Ong elected
citizenship. It observed that "when protestee
was only nine years of age, his father, Jose
Ong Chuan became a naturalized Filipino.
Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization Act
squarely applies its benefit to him for he was
then a minor residing in this country.
Concededly, it was the law itself that had
already elected Philippine citizenship for
protestee by declaring him as such."
The
petitioners
argue
that
the
respondent's father was not, validly, a
naturalized citizen because of his premature
taking of the oath of citizenship.
The Court cannot go into the collateral
procedure of stripping Mr. Ong's father of his
citizenship after his death and at this very late
date just so we can go after the son.
The petitioners question the citizenship
of the father through a collateral approach.
This can not be done. In our jurisdiction, an
attack on a person's citizenship may only be
done through a direct action for its nullity.
To ask the Court to declare the grant of
Philippine citizenship to Jose Ong Chuan as null
and void would run against the principle of due
process. Jose Ong Chuan has already been laid
to rest. How can he be given a fair opportunity
to defend himself. A dead man cannot speak.
To quote the words of the HRET "Ong Chuan's
lips have long been muted to perpetuity by his
demise and obviously he could not use beyond
where his mortal remains now lie to defend
himself were this matter to be made a central
issue in this case."
The issue before us is not the
nullification of the grant of citizenship to Jose
Ong Chuan. Our function is to determine
whether or not the HRET committed abuse of
authority in the exercise of its powers.
Moreover, the respondent traces his natural
born citizenship through his mother, not
through the citizenship of his father. The
citizenship of the father is relevant only to
determine whether or not the respondent
"chose" to be a Filipino when he came of age.
At that time and up to the present, both
mother and father were Filipinos. Respondent
Ong could not have elected any other
citizenship unless he first formally renounced
Philippine citizenship in favor of a foreign
nationality. Unlike other persons faced with a
problem of election, there was no foreign
nationality of his father which he could
possibly have chosen.

What
was
the
basis
for
the
Constitutional Convention's declaring Emil Ong
a natural born citizen?
Under the Philippine Bill of 1902,
inhabitants of the Philippines who were
Spanish subjects on the 11th day of April 1899
and then residing in said islands and their
children born subsequent thereto were
conferred the status of a Filipino citizen.
Was the grandfather of the private
respondent a Spanish subject?
Article 17 of the Civil Code of Spain
enumerates those who were considered
Spanish Subjects, viz:
ARTICLE 17. The following are Spaniards:
1. Persons born in Spanish territory.
2. Children born of a Spanish father or mother,
even though they were born out of Spain.
3. Foreigners who may have obtained
naturalization papers.
4. Those without such papers, who may have
acquired domicile in any town in the Monarchy.
(Emphasis supplied)
The domicile of a natural person is the
place of his habitual residence. This domicile,
once established is considered to continue and
will not be deemed lost until a new one is
established.
As earlier stated, Ong Te became a
permanent resident of Laoang, Samar around
1895. Correspondingly, a certificate of
residence was then issued to him by virtue of
his being a resident of Laoang, Samar.
The domicile that Ong Te established in
1895 continued until April 11, 1899; it even
went beyond the turn of the 19th century. It is
also in this place were Ong Te set-up his
business and acquired his real property.
As concluded by the Constitutional
Convention, Ong Te falls within the meaning of
sub-paragraph 4 of Article 17 of the Civil Code
of Spain.
Although Ong Te made brief visits to
China, he, nevertheless, always returned to
the Philippines. The fact that he died in China,
during one of his visits in said country, was of
no moment. This will not change the fact that
he already had his domicile fixed in the
Philippines and pursuant to the Civil Code of
Spain, he had become a Spanish subject.
If Ong Te became a Spanish subject by
virtue of having established his domicile in a
town
under
the
Monarchy
of
Spain,
necessarily, Ong Te was also an inhabitant of
the Philippines for an inhabitant has been
defined as one who has actual fixed residence
in a place; one who has a domicile in a place.
(Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Vol. II) A priori, there

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can be no other logical conclusion but to educe
that Ong Te qualified as a Filipino citizen under
the provisions of section 4 of the Philippine Bill
of 1902.
The HRET itself found this fact of
absolute verity in concluding that the private
respondent was a natural-born Filipino.
The
petitioners'
sole
ground
in
disputing this fact is that document presented
to prove it were not in compliance with the
best the evidence rule. The petitioners allege
that the private respondent failed to present
the original of the documentary evidence,
testimonial evidence and of the transcript of
the proceedings of the body which the
aforesaid resolution of the 1971 Constitutional
Convention was predicated.
On the contrary, the documents
presented by the private respondent fall under
the exceptions to the best evidence rule.
It was established in the proceedings
before the HRET that the originals of the
Committee Report No. 12, the minutes of the
plenary session of 1971 Constitutional
Convention held on November 28, 1972
cannot be found.
This was affirmed by Atty. Ricafrente,
Assistant Secretary of the 1971 Constitutional
Convention; by Atty. Nolledo, Delegate to the
1971 Constitutional Convention; and by Atty.
Antonio Santos, Chief Librarian of the U.P Law
Center, in their respective testimonies given
before the HRET to the effect that there is no
governmental agency which is the official
custodian of the records of the 1971
Constitutional Convention.
The execution of the originals was
established by Atty. Ricafrente, who as the
Assistant Secretary of the 1971 Constitutional
Convention was the proper party to testify to
such execution. The inability to produce the
originals before the HRET was also testified to
as aforestated by Atty. Ricafrente, Atty.
Nolledo, and Atty. Santos. In proving the
inability to produce, the law does not require
the degree of proof to be of sufficient
certainty; it is enough that it be shown that
after a bona fide diligent search, the same
cannot be found.
Since the execution of the document
and the inability to produce were adequately
established, the contents of the questioned
documents can be proven by a copy thereof or
by the recollection of witnesses.
Moreover, to erase all doubts as to the
authenticity of the documentary evidence
cited in the Committee Report, the former
member
of
the
1971
Constitutional

Convention, Atty. Nolledo, when he was


presented as a witness in the hearing of the
protest against the private respondent,
categorically stated that he saw the disputed
documents presented during the hearing of
the election protest against the brother of the
private respondent.
In his concurring opinion, Mr. Justice
Sarmiento,
a
vice-president
of
the
Constitutional Convention, states that he was
presiding officer of the plenary session which
deliberated on the report on the election
protest against Delegate Emil Ong. He cites a
long list of names of delegates present. Among
them are Mr. Chief Justice Fernan, and Mr.
Justice Davide, Jr. The petitioners could have
presented any one of the long list of delegates
to refute Mr. Ong's having been declared a
natural-born citizen. They did not do so. Nor
did they demur to the contents of the
documents
presented
by
the
private
respondent. They merely relied on the
procedural
objections
respecting
the
admissibility of the evidence presented.
The Constitutional Convention was the
sole judge of the qualifications of Emil Ong to
be a member of that body. The HRET by
explicit mandate of the Constitution, is the
sole judge of the qualifications of Jose Ong, Jr.
to be a member of Congress. Both bodies
deliberated at length on the controversies over
which they were sole judges. Decisions were
arrived at only after a full presentation of all
relevant factors which the parties wished to
present. Even assuming that we disagree with
their conclusions, we cannot declare their acts
as committed with grave abuse of discretion.
We have to keep clear the line between error
and grave abuse.

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88

ON THE ISSUE OF RESIDENCE


The petitioners question the residence
qualification of respondent Ong.
The petitioners lose sight of the
meaning of "residence" under the Constitution.
The term "residence" has been understood as
synonymous with domicile not only under the
previous Constitutions but also under the 1987
Constitution.
The framers of the Constitution
adhered to the earlier definition given to the
word "residence" which regarded it as having
the same meaning as domicile.
The term "domicile" denotes a fixed
permanent residence to which when absent for
business or pleasure, one intends to return.
(Ong Huan Tin v. Republic, 19 SCRA 966
[1967]) The absence of a person from said

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


permanent residence, no matter how long,
notwithstanding, it continues to be the
domicile of that person. In other words,
domicile is characterized by animus revertendi
(Ujano v. Republic, 17 SCRA 147 [1966])
The domicile of origin of the private
respondent, which was the domicile of his
parents, is fixed at Laoang, Samar. Contrary to
the petitioners' imputation, Jose Ong, Jr. never
abandoned said domicile; it remained fixed
therein even up to the present.
The
private
respondent,
in
the
proceedings before the HRET sufficiently
established that after the fire that gutted their
house in 1961, another one was constructed.
Likewise, after the second fire which
again destroyed their house in 1975, a sixteendoor apartment was built by their family, two
doors of which were reserved as their family
residence.
The petitioners' allegation that since
the private respondent owns no property in
Laoang, Samar, he cannot, therefore, be a
resident of said place is misplaced.
The properties owned by the Ong
Family are in the name of the private
respondent's parents. Upon the demise of his
parents, necessarily, the private respondent,
pursuant to the laws of succession, became
the co-owner thereof (as a co- heir),
notwithstanding the fact that these were still
in the names of his parents.
Even assuming that the private
respondent does not own any property in
Samar, the Supreme Court in the case of De
los Reyes v. Solidum (61 Phil. 893 [1935]) held
that it is not required that a person should
have a house in order to establish his
residence and domicile. It is enough that he
should live in the municipality or in a rented
house or in that of a friend or relative.
(Emphasis supplied)
To require the private respondent to
own property in order to be eligible to run for
Congress would be tantamount to a property
qualification. The Constitution only requires
that the candidate meet the age, citizenship,
voting and residence requirements. Nowhere is
it required by the Constitution that the
candidate should also own property in order to
be qualified to run. (see Maquera v. Borra, 122
Phil. 412 [1965])
It has also been settled that absence
from residence to pursue studies or practice a
profession or registration as a voter other than
in the place where one is elected, does not
constitute loss of residence. (Faypon v. Quirino,
96 Phil. 294 [1954])

As previously stated, the private


respondent stayed in Manila for the purpose of
finishing his studies and later to practice his
profession, There was no intention to abandon
the residence in Laoang, Samar. On the
contrary, the periodical journeys made to his
home province reveal that he always had the
animus revertendi.

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89

SECTION 7
MOHAMMAD ALI DIMAPORO, vs. HON.
RAMON V. MITRA, JR., Speaker, House of
Representatives, and (Hon. QUIRINO D.
ABAD SANTOS, JR.) HON. CAMILO L.
SABIO
Secretary,
House
of
representatives,
G.R. No. 96859 October 15, 1991
DAVIDE, JR., J.
FACTS: Petitioner Mohamad Ali Dimaporo was
elected Representative for the Second
Legislative District of Lanao del Sur during the
1987 congressional elections. He took his oath
of office on 9 January 1987 and thereafter
performed the duties and enjoyed the rights
and privileges pertaining thereto.
On 15 January 1990, petitioner filed
with the Commission on Elections a Certificate
of Candidacy for the position of Regional
Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao. The election was scheduled for 17
February 1990.
Upon
being
informed
of
this
development by the Commission on Elections,
respondents Speaker and Secretary of the
House of Representatives excluded petitioner's
name from the Roll of Members of the House
of Representatives pursuant to Section 67,
Article IX of the Omnibus Election Code.
Having lost in the autonomous region
elections, petitioner, in a letter dated 28 June
1990 and addressed to respondent Speaker,
expressed his intention "to resume performing
my duties and functions as elected Member of
Congress." The record does not indicate what
action was taken on this communication, but it
is apparent that petitioner failed in his bid to
regain his seat in Congress since this petition
praying for such relief was subsequently filed
on 31 January 1991.
In this petition, it is alleged that
following the dropping of his name from the
Roll, petitioner was excluded from all
proceedings of the House of Representatives;
he was not paid the emoluments due his
office; his staff was dismissed and disbanded;
and his office suites were occupied by other

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


persons. In effect, he was virtually barred and
excluded from performing his duties and from
exercising his rights and privileges as the duly
elected and qualified congressman from his
district.
Petitioner admits that he filed a
Certificate of Candidacy for the position of
Regional Governor of Muslim Mindanao. He,
however, maintains that he did not thereby
lose his seat as congressman because Section
67, Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881 is not operative
under the present Constitution, being contrary
thereto, and therefore not applicable to the
present members of Congress.
In support of his contention, petitioner
points out that the term of office of members
of the House of Representatives, as well as the
grounds by which the incumbency of said
members may be shortened, are provided for
in the Constitution. Section 2, Article XVIII
thereof provides that "the Senators, Members
of the House of Representatives and the local
officials first elected under this Constitution
shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992;" while
Section 7, Article VI states: "The Members of
the House of Representatives shall be elected
for a term of three years which shall begin,
unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on
the thirtieth day of June next following their
election." On the other hand, the grounds by
which such term may be shortened may be
summarized as follows:
a) Section 13, Article VI: Forfeiture of
his seat by holding any other office or
employment in the government or any
subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof,
including government-owned or controlled
corporations or subsidiaries;
b) Section 16 (3): Expulsion as a
disciplinary action for disorderly behavior;
c) Section 17: Disqualification as
determined by resolution of the Electoral
Tribunal in an election contest; and,
d) Section 7, par. 2: Voluntary
renunciation of office.
He asserts that under the rule
expressio unius est exclusio alterius, Section
67, Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881 is repugnant to
these constitutional provisions in that it
provides for the shortening of a congressman's
term of office on a ground not provided for in
the Constitution. For if it were the intention of
the framers to include the provisions of
Section 67, Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881 as among
the means by which the term of a
Congressman may be shortened, it would have
been a very simple matter to incorporate it in
the present Constitution. They did not do so.

On
the
contrary,
the
Constitutional
Commission only reaffirmed the grounds
previously found in the 1935 and 1973
Constitutions and deliberately omitted the
ground provided in Section 67, Article IX of B.P.
Blg. 881.
On the premise that the provision of
law relied upon by respondents in excluding
him from the Roll of Members is contrary to
the
present
Constitution,
petitioner
consequently concludes that respondents
acted without authority. He further maintains
that respondents' so-called "administrative
act" of striking out his name is ineffective in
terminating his term as Congressman. Neither
can it be justified as an interpretation of the
Constitutional
provision
on
voluntary
renunciation of office as only the courts may
interpret laws. Moreover, he claims that he
cannot be said to have forfeited his seat as it
is only when a congressman holds another
office or employment that forfeiture is
decreed. Filing a certificate of candidacy is not
equivalent to holding another office or
employment.

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90

ISSUE: Whether or not Section 67, Article IX of


B.P. Blg. 881 is still operative under the
present Constitution
HELD:
Section 67, Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881 reads:
Any elective official whether national or
local running for any office other than the one
which he is holding in a permanent capacity
except for President and Vice-President shall
be considered ipso facto resigned from his
office upon the filing of his certificate of
candidacy.
The precursor of this provision is the
last paragraph of Section 2 of C.A. No. 666,
which reads:
Any elective provincial, municipal, or city
official running for an office, other than the
one for which he has been lastly elected, shall
be considered resigned from his office from the
moment of the filing of his certificate of
candidacy.
Section 27 of Article II of Republic Act
No. 180 reiterated this rule in this wise:
Sec. 27. Candidate holding office.
Any elective provincial, municipal or city
official running for an office, other than the
one which he is actually holding, shall be
considered resigned from office from the
moment of the filing of his certificate of
candidacy.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


The 1971 Election Code imposed a
similar proviso on local elective officials as
follows:
Sec. 24. Candidate holding elective
office. Any elective provincial, subprovincial, city, municipal or municipal district
officer running for an office other than the one
which he is holding in a permanent capacity
shall be considered ipso facto resigned from
his office from the moment of the filing of his
certificate of candidacy.
Every elected official shall take his oath
of office on the day his term of office
commences, or within ten days after his
proclamation if said proclamation takes place
after such day. His failure to take his oath of
office as herein provided shall be considered
forfeiture of his right to the new office to which
he has been elected unless his failure is for a
cause or causes beyond his control.
The 1978 Election Code provided a
different rule, thus:
Sec. 30. Candidates holding political
offices. Governors, mayors, members of
various sanggunians, or barangay officials,
shall, upon filing of a certificate of candidacy,
be considered on forced leave of absence from
office.
It must be noted that only in B.P. Blg.
881 are members of the legislature included in
the enumeration of elective public officials who
are to be considered resigned from office from
the moment of the filing of their certificates of
candidacy for another office, except for
President and Vice-President. The advocates of
Cabinet Bill No. 2 (now Section 67, Article IX of
B.P. Blg. 881) elucidated on the rationale of
this inclusion, thus:
MR. PALMARES: In the old Election
Code, Your Honor, in the 1971 Election Code,
the provision seems to be different I think
this is in Section 24 of Article III.
Any elective provincial, sub-provincial,
city, municipal or municipal district officer
running for an office other than the one which
he is holding in a permanent capacity shall be
considered ipso facto resigned from his office
from the moment of the filing of his certificate
of candidacy.
May I know, Your Honor, what is the
reason of the Committee in departing or
changing these provisions of Section 24 of the
old Election Code and just adopting it en toto?
Why do we have to change it? What could
possibly be the reason behind it, or the
rationale behind it?
MR. PEREZ (L.): I have already stated
the rationale for this, Mr. Speaker, but I don't

mind repeating it. The purpose is that the


people must be given the right to choose any
official who belongs to, let us say, to the
Batasan if he wants to run for another office.
However, because of the practice in the past
where members of the legislature ran for local
offices, but did not assume the office, because
of that spectacle the impression is that these
officials were just trifling with the mandate of
the people. They have already obtained a
mandate to be a member of the legislature,
and they want to run for mayor or for governor
and yet when the people give them that
mandate, they do not comply with that latter
mandate, but still preferred (sic) to remain in
the earlier mandate. So we believe, Mr.
Speaker, that the people's latest mandate
must be the one that will be given due course.
...
Assemblyman Manuel M. Garcia, in
answer to the query of Assemblyman Arturo
Tolentino on the constitutionality of Cabinet Bill
No. 2, said:
MR. GARCIA (M.M.): Thank you, Mr.
Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on the part of the
Committee, we made this proposal based on
constitutional grounds. We did not propose this
amendment mainly on the rationale as stated
by the Gentlemen from Manila that the officials
running for office other than the ones they are
holding will be considered resigned not
because of abuse of facilities of power or the
use of office facilities but primarily because
under our Constitution, we have this new
chapter on accountability of public officers.
Now, this was not in the 1935 Constitution. It
states that (sic) Article XIII, Section 1 Public
office is a public trust. Public officers and
employees shall serve with the highest degree
of
responsibility,
integrity,
loyalty
and
efficiency and shall remain accountable to the
people.
Now, what is the significance of this
new provision on accountability of public
officers? This only means that all elective
public officials should honor the mandate they
have gotten from the people. Thus, under our
Constitution, it says that: 'Members of the
Batasan shall serve for the term of 6 years, in
the case of local officials and 6 years in the
case of barangay officials. Now, Mr. Speaker,
we have precisely included this as part of the
Omnibus Election Code because a Batasan
Member who hold (sic) himself out with the
people and seek (sic) their support and
mandate should not be allowed to deviate or
allow himself to run for any other position
unless he relinquishes or abandons his office.

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Because his mandate to the people is to serve
for 6 years. Now, if you allow a Batasan or a
governor or a mayor who was mandated to
serve for 6 years to file for an office other than
the one he was elected to, then, that clearly
shows that he has not (sic) intention to service
the mandate of the people which was placed
upon him and therefore he should be
considered ipso facto resigned. I think more
than anything that is the accountability that
the Constitution requires of elective public
officials. It is not because of the use or abuse
of powers or facilities of his office, but it is
because of the Constitution itself which I said
under the 1973 Constitution called and
inserted this new chapter on accountability.
Now, argument was said that the mere
filing is not the intention to run. Now, what is it
for? If a Batasan Member files the certificate of
candidacy, that means that he does not want
to serve, otherwise, why should he file for an
office other than the one he was elected to?
The mere fact therefore of filing a certificate
should be considered the overt act of
abandoning or relinquishing his mandate to
the people and that he should therefore resign
if he wants to seek another position which he
feels he could be of better service.
As I said, Mr. Speaker, I disagree with
the statements of the Gentleman from Manila
because the basis of this Section 62 is the
constitutional provision not only of the fact
that Members of the Batasan and local officials
should serve the entire 6-year term for which
we were elected, but because of this new
chapter on the accountability of public officers
not only to the community which voted him to
office, but primarily because under this
commentary on accountability of public
officers, the elective public officers must serve
their principal, the people, not their own
personal ambition. And that is the reason, Mr.
Speaker, why we opted to propose Section 62
where candidates or elective public officers
holding offices other than the one to which
they were elected, should be considered ipso
facto resigned from their office upon the filing
of the certificate of candidacy."
It cannot be gainsaid that the same
constitutional basis for Section 67, Article IX of
B.P. Blg. 881 remains written in the 1987
Constitution. In fact, Section 1 of Article XI on
"Accountability of Public Officers" is more
emphatic in stating:
Sec. 1. Public office is a public trust.
Public officers and employees must at all times
be accountable to the people, serve them with
utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and

efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and


lead modest lives.
Obviously then, petitioner's assumption
that the questioned statutory provision is no
longer operative does not hold water. He failed
to discern that rather than cut short the term
of office of elective public officials, this
statutory provision seeks to ensure that such
officials serve out their entire term of office by
discouraging them from running for another
public office and thereby cutting short their
tenure by making it clear that should they fail
in their candidacy, they cannot go back to
their former position. This is consonant with
the constitutional edict that all public officials
must serve the people with utmost loyalty and
not trifle with the mandate which they have
received from their constituents.
In theorizing that the provision under
consideration cuts short the term of office of a
Member of Congress, petitioner seems to
confuse "term" with "tenure" of office. As
succinctly distinguished by the Solicitor
General:
The term of office prescribed by the
Constitution may not be extended or
shortened by the legislature (22 R.C.L.), but
the period during which an officer actually
holds the office (tenure) may be affected by
circumstances within or beyond the power of
said officer. Tenure may be shorter than the
term or it may not exist at all. These situations
will not change the duration of the term of
office (see Topacio Nueno vs. Angeles, 76 Phil
12).
Under the questioned provision, when
an elective official covered thereby files a
certificate of candidacy for another office, he is
deemed to have voluntarily cut short his
tenure, not his term. The term remains and his
successor, if any, is allowed to serve its
unexpired portion.
That the ground cited in Section 67,
Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881 is not mentioned in
the Constitution itself as a mode of shortening
the tenure of office of members of Congress,
does not preclude its application to present
members of Congress. Section 2 of Article XI
provides that "(t)he President, the VicePresident, the Members of the Supreme Court,
the
Members
of
the
Constitutional
Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be
removed from office, on impeachment for, and
conviction of, culpable violation of the
Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and
corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of
public trust. All other public officers and
employees may be removed from office as

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provided by law, but not by impeachment.
Such
constitutional
expression
clearly
recognizes that the four (4) grounds found in
Article VI of the Constitution by which the
tenure of a Congressman may be shortened
are not exclusive. As held in the case of State
ex rel. Berge vs. Lansing, the expression in the
constitution of the circumstances which shall
bring about a vacancy does not necessarily
exclude all others. Neither does it preclude the
legislature from prescribing other grounds.
Events so enumerated in the constitution or
statutes are merely conditions the occurrence
of any one of which the office shall become
vacant not as a penalty but simply as the legal
effect of any one of the events. And would it
not be preposterous to say that a congressman
cannot die and cut his tenure because death is
not one of the grounds provided for in the
Constitution? The framers of our fundamental
law never intended such absurdity.
The basic principle which underlies the
entire field of legal concepts pertaining to the
validity of legislation is that by enactment of
legislation, a constitutional measure is
presumed to be created. This Court has
enunciated the presumption in favor of
constitutionality of legislative enactment. To
justify the nullification of a law, there must be
a clear and unequivocal breach of the
Constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative
implication. A doubt, even if well-founded,
does not suffice.
The maxim expressio unius est exclusio
alterius is not to be applied with the same
rigor in construing a constitution as a statute
and only those things expressed in such
positive affirmative terms as plainly imply the
negative of what is not mentioned will be
considered as inhibiting the power of
legislature. The maxim is only a rule of
interpretation and not a constitutional
command. This maxim expresses a rule of
construction and serves only as an aid in
discovering legislative intent where such intent
is not otherwise manifest.
Even then, the concept of voluntary
renunciation of office under Section 7, Article
VI of the Constitution is broad enough to
include the situation envisioned in Section 67,
Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881. As discussed by the
Constitutional Commissioners:
MR. MAAMBONG: Could I address the
clarificatory question to the Committee? The
term 'voluntary renunciation' does not only
appear in Section 3; it appears in Section 6.
MR. DAVIDE: Yes.

MR. MAAMBONG: It is also a recurring


phrase all over the constitution. Could the
Committee please enlighten us exactly what
'voluntary renunciation' means? Is this akin to
abandonment?
MR. DAVIDE: Abandonment is voluntary.
In other words, he cannot circumvent the
restriction by merely resigning at any given
time on the second term.
MR. MAAMBONG: Is the Committee
saying that the term voluntary renunciation is
more
general
than
abandonment
and
resignation?
MR. DAVIDE: It is more general, more
embracing.
That the act, contemplated in Section
67, Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881, of filing a
certificate of candidacy for another office
constitutes an overt, concrete act of voluntary
renunciation of the elective office presently
being held is evident from this exchange
between then Members of Parliament Arturo
Tolentino and Jose Rono:
MR. RONO: My reasonable ground is
this: if you will make the person ... my, shall
we say, basis is that in one case the person is
intending to run for an office which is different
from his own, and therefore it should be
considered,
at
least
from
the
legal
significance, an intention to relinquish his
office.
MR. TOLENTINO: Yes ...
MR. RONO: And in the other, because
he is running for the same position, it is
otherwise.
MR. TOLENTINO: Yes, but what I cannot
see is why are you going to compel a person to
quit an office which he is only intending to
leave? A relinquishment of office must be
clear, must be definite.
MR. RONO: Yes, sir. That's precisely, Mr.
Speaker, what I'm saying that while I do not
disagree with the conclusion that the intention
cannot be enough, but I am saying that the
filing of the certificate of candidacy is an over
act of such intention. It's not just an intention;
it's already there.
In Monroy vs. Court of Appeals, a case
involving Section 27 of R.A. No. 180 abovequoted, this Court categorically pronounced
that "forfeiture (is) automatic and permanently
effective upon the filing of the certificate of
candidacy for another office. Only the moment
and act of filing are considered. Once the
certificate is filed, the seat is forever forfeited
and nothing save a new election or
appointment can restore the ousted official.

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Thus, as We had occasion to remark, through
Justice J.B.L. Reyes, in Castro vs. Gatuslao:
... The wording of the law plainly
indicates that only the date of filing of the
certificate of candidacy should be taken into
account. The law does not make the forfeiture
dependent
upon
future
contingencies,
unforeseen and unforeseeable, since the
vacating is expressly made as of the moment
of the filing of the certificate of candidacy. ...
As the mere act of filing the certificate
of candidacy for another office produces
automatically the permanent forfeiture of the
elective position being presently held, it is not
necessary, as petitioner opines, that the other
position be actually held. The ground for
forfeiture in Section 13, Article VI of the 1987
Constitution is different from the forfeiture
decreed in Section 67, Article IX of B.P. Blg.
881, which is actually a mode of voluntary
renunciation of office under Section 7, par. 2 of
Article VI of the Constitution.
The legal effects of filing a certificate of
candidacy for another office having been
spelled out in Section 67, Article IX, B.P. Blg.
881 itself, no statutory interpretation was
indulged in by respondents Speaker and
Secretary of the House of Representatives in
excluding petitioner's name from the Roll of
Members. The Speaker is the administrative
head of the House of Representatives and he
exercises administrative powers and functions
attached to his office. As administrative
officers, both the Speaker and House
Secretary-General
perform
ministerial
functions. It was their duty to remove
petitioner's name from the Roll considering the
unequivocal tenor of Section 67, Article IX, B.P.
Blg. 881. When the Commission on Elections
communicated
to
the
House
of
Representatives that petitioner had filed his
certificate of candidacy for regional governor
of Muslim Mindanao, respondents had no
choice but to abide by the clear and
unmistakable legal effect of Section 67, Article
IX of B.P. Blg. 881. It was their ministerial duty
to do so. These officers cannot refuse to
perform their duty on the ground of an alleged
invalidity of the statute imposing the duty. The
reason for this is obvious. It might seriously
hinder the transaction of public business if
these officers were to be permitted in all cases
to question the constitutionality of statutes
and ordinances imposing duties upon them
and which have not judicially been declared
unconstitutional. Officers of the government
from the highest to the lowest are creatures of
the law and are bound to obey it.

In conclusion, We reiterate the basic


concept that a public office is a public trust. It
is created for the interest and benefit of the
people. As such, the holder thereof is subject
to such regulations and conditions as the law
may impose and he cannot complain of any
restrictions which public policy may dictate on
his office.

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94

SECTION 11
NICANOR T. JIMENEZ, ET AL.,
BARTOLOME CABANGBANG,
G.R. No. L-15905 August 3, 1966
CONCEPCION, C.J.:

vs.

FACTS: This is an ordinary civil action,


originally instituted in the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, for the recovery, by plaintiffs
Nicanor T. Jimenez, Carlos J. Albert and Jose L.
Lukban, of several sums of money, by way of
damages for the publication of an allegedly
libelous letter of defendant Bartolome
Cabangbang. Upon being summoned, the
latter moved to dismiss the complaint upon
the ground that the letter in question is not
libelous, and that, even if were, said letter is a
privileged communication. This motion having
been granted by the lower court, plaintiffs
interposed the present appeal from the
corresponding order of dismissal.
ISSUE:
(1) whether the publication in question is a
privileged communication; and, if not, (2)
whether it is libelous or not entitling plaintiffs
to damages.
HELD:
No. The first issue stems from the fact that, at
the time of said publication, defendant was a
member of the House of Representatives and
Chairman of its Committee on National
Defense,
and
that
pursuant
to
the
Constitution:
The Senators and Members of the
House of Representatives shall in all cases
except treason, felony, and breach of the
peace, be privileged from arrest during their
attendance at the sessions of the Congress,
and in going to and returning from the same;
and for any speech or debate therein, they
shall not be questioned in any other place.
(Article VI, Section 15.)
The determination of the first issue
depends
on
whether
or
not
the
aforementioned publication falls within the
purview of the phrase "speech or debate

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


therein" that is to say, in Congress used
in this provision.
Said expression refers to utterances
made by Congressmen in the performance of
their official functions, such as speeches
delivered, statements made, or votes cast in
the halls of Congress, while the same is in
session, as well as bills introduced in Congress,
whether the same is in session or not, and
other acts performed by Congressmen, either
in Congress or outside the premises housing
its offices, in the official discharge of their
duties as members of Congress and of
Congressional Committees duly authorized to
perform its functions as such, at the time of
the performance of the acts in question.1
The publication involved in this case
does not belong to this category. According to
the complaint herein, it was an open letter to
the President of the Philippines, dated
November
14,
1958,
when
Congress
presumably was not in session, and defendant
caused said letter to be published in several
newspapers of general circulation in the
Philippines, on or about said date. It is obvious
that, in thus causing the communication to be
so published, he was not performing his official
duty, either as a member of Congress or as
officer or any Committee thereof. Hence,
contrary to the finding made by His Honor, the
trial Judge, said communication is not
absolutely privileged.
Was it libelous, insofar as the plaintiffs
herein are concerned? Addressed to the
President, the communication began with the
following paragraph:
In the light of the recent developments
which however unfortunate had nevertheless
involved the Armed Forces of the Philippines
and the unfair attacks against the duly elected
members of Congress of engaging in intriguing
and
rumor-mongering,
allow
me,
Your
Excellency, to address this open letter to focus
public attention to certain vital information
which, under the present circumstances, I feel
it my solemn duty to our people to
expose.1wph1.t
It has come to my attention that there
have been allegedly three operational plans
under serious study by some ambitious AFP
officers, with the aid of some civilian political
strategists.
Then, it describes the "allegedly three
(3) operational plans" referred to in the second
paragraph. The first plan is said to be "an
insidious plan or a massive political build-up"
of then Secretary of National Defense, Jesus
Vargas, by propagandizing and glamorizing

him in such a way as to "be prepared to


become a candidate for President in 1961". To
this end, the "planners" are said to "have
adopted the sales-talk that Secretary Vargas is
'Communists' Public Enemy No. 1 in the
Philippines." Moreover, the P4,000,000.00
"intelligence and psychological warfare funds"
of the Department of National Defense, and
the "Peace and Amelioration Fund" the
letter says are "available to adequately
finance a political campaign". It further adds:
It is reported that the "Planners" have
under their control the following: (1) Col.
Nicanor Jimenez of NICA, (2) Lt. Col. Jose
Lukban of NBI, (3) Capt. Carlos Albert (PN) of
G-2 AFP, (4) Col. Fidel Llamas of MIS (5) Lt. Col.
Jose Regala of the Psychological Warfare
Office, DND, and (6) Major Jose Reyna of the
Public information Office, DND. To insure this
control, the "Planners" purportedly sent Lt. Col.
Job Mayo, Chief of MIS to Europe to study and
while Mayo was in Europe, he was relieved by
Col. Fidel Llamas. They also sent Lt. Col.
Deogracias Caballero, Chief of Psychological
Warfare Office, DND, to USA to study and while
Caballero was in USA, he was relieved by Lt.
Col. Jose Regala. The "Planners" wanted to
relieve Lt. Col. Ramon Galvezon, Chief of CIS
(PC) but failed. Hence, Galvezon is considered
a missing link in the intelligence network. It is,
of course, possible that the offices mentioned
above are unwitting tools of the plan of which
they may have absolutely no knowledge.
(Emphasis ours.)
Among the means said to be used to
carry out the plan the letter lists, under the
heading "other operational technique the
following:
(a) Continuous speaking engagements
all over the Philippines for Secretary Vargas to
talk on "Communism" and Apologetics on
civilian supremacy over the military;
(b) Articles in magazines, news
releases, and hundreds of letters "typed in
two (2) typewriters only" to Editors of
magazines
and
newspapers,
extolling
Secretary Vargas as the "hero of democracy in
1951, 1953, 1955 and 1957 elections";
(c) Radio announcements extolling
Vargas and criticizing the administration;
(d) Virtual assumption by Vargas of the
functions of the Chief of Staff and an attempt
to pack key positions in several branches of
the Armed Forces with men belonging to his
clique;
(e) Insidious propaganda and rumors
spread in such a way as to give the impression
that they reflect the feeling of the people or

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the opposition parties, to undermine the
administration.
Plan No. II is said to be a "coup d'etat",
in connection with which the "planners" had
gone no further than the planning stage,
although the plan "seems to be held in
abeyance
and
subject
to
future
developments".
Plan No. III is characterized as a
modification of Plan No. I, by trying to assuage
the President and the public with a loyalty
parade, in connection with which Gen. Arellano
delivered a speech challenging the authority
and integrity of Congress, in an effort to rally
the officers and men of the AFP behind him,
and gain popular and civilian support.
The letter in question recommended.:
(1) that Secretary Vargas be asked to resign;
(2) that the Armed Forces be divorced
absolutely from politics; (3) that the Secretary
of National Defense be a civilian, not a
professional military man; (4) that no
Congressman be appointed to said office; (5)
that Gen. Arellano be asked to resign or retire;
(6) that the present chiefs of the various
intelligence agencies in the Armed Forces
including the chiefs of the NICA, NBI, and other
intelligence agencies mentioned elsewhere in
the letter, be reassigned, considering that
"they were handpicked by Secretary Vargas
and Gen. Arellano", and that, "most probably,
they belong to the Vargas-Arellano clique"; (7)
that all military personnel now serving civilian
offices be returned to the AFP, except those
holding positions by provision of law; (8) that
the Regular Division of the AFP stationed in
Laur, Nueva Ecija, be dispersed by batallion
strength to the various stand-by or training
divisions throughout the country; and (9) that
Vargas
and
Arellano
should
disqualify
themselves from holding or undertaking an
investigation of the planned coup d'etat".
We are satisfied that the letter in
question is not sufficient to support plaintiffs'
action for damages. Although the letter says
that plaintiffs are under the control of the
unnamed persons therein alluded to as
"planners", and that, having been handpicked
by Secretary Vargas and Gen. Arellano,
plaintiffs "probably belong to the VargasArellano clique", it should be noted that
defendant, likewise, added that "it is of course
possible" that plaintiffs "are unwitting tools of
the plan of which they may have absolutely no
knowledge". In other words, the very
document upon which plaintiffs' action is
based explicitly indicates that they might be
absolutely unaware of the alleged operational

plans, and that they may be merely unwitting


tools of the planners. We do not think that this
statement is derogatory to the plaintiffs, to the
point of entitling them to recover damages,
considering that they are officers of our Armed
Forces, that as such they are by law, under the
control of the Secretary of National Defense
and the Chief of Staff, and that the letter in
question seems to suggest that the group
therein described as "planners" include these
two (2) high ranking officers.
It is true that the complaint alleges that
the open letter in question was written by the
defendant, knowing that it is false and with the
intent to impeach plaintiffs' reputation, to
expose them to public hatred, contempt,
dishonor and ridicule, and to alienate them
from their associates, but these allegations are
mere conclusions which are inconsistent with
the contents of said letter and can not prevail
over the same, it being the very basis of the
complaint. Then too, when plaintiffs allege in
their complaint that said communication is
false, they could not have possibly meant that
they were aware of the alleged plan to stage a
coup d'etat or that they were knowingly tools
of the "planners". Again, the aforementioned
passage in the defendant's letter clearly
implies that plaintiffs were not among the
"planners" of said coup d'etat, for, otherwise,
they could not be "tools", much less,
unwittingly on their part, of said "planners".

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96

SERGIO OSMEA, JR., vs. SALIPADA K.


PENDATUN ET. AL.,
G.R. No. L-17144 October 28, 1960
BENGZON, J.:
FACTS: On July 14, 1960, Congressman Sergio
Osmea, Jr., submitted to this Court a verified
petition for "declaratory relief, certiorari and
prohibition with preliminary injunction" against
Congressman Salapida K. Pendatun and
fourteen other congressmen in their capacity
as members of the Special Committee created
by House Resolution No. 59. He asked for
annulment of such Resolution on the ground of
infringenment of his parliamentary immunity;
he also asked, principally, that said members
of the special committee be enjoined from
proceeding in accordance with it, particularly
the portion authorizing them to require him to
substantiate his charges against the President
with the admonition that if he failed to do so,
he must show cause why the House should not
punish him.
In support of his request, Congressman
Osmea alleged; first, the Resolution violated

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


his constitutional absolute parliamentary
immunity for speeches delivered in the House;
second, his words constituted no actionable
conduct; and third, after his allegedly
objectionable speech and words, the House
took up other business, and Rule XVII, sec. 7 of
the Rules of House provides that if other
business has intervened after the member had
uttered obnoxious words in debate, he shall
not be held to answer therefor nor be subject
to censure by the House.
Although some members of the court
expressed doubts of petitioner's cause of
action and the Court's jurisdiction, the majority
decided to hear the matter further, and
required respondents to answer, without
issuing any preliminary injunction. Evidently
aware of such circumstance with its
implications, and pressed for time in view of
the imminent adjournment of the legislative
session, the special committee continued to
perform its talk, and after giving Congressman
Osmea a chance to defend himself,
submitted its reports on July 18, 1960, finding
said congressman guilty of serious disorderly
behaviour; and acting on such report, the
House approved on the same daybefore
closing its sessionHouse Resolution No. 175,
declaring him guilty as recommended, and
suspending him from office for fifteen months.
Thereafter, on July 19, 1960, the
respondents
(with
the
exception
of
Congressmen De Pio, Abeleda, San Andres
Ziga, Fernandez and Balatao)1 filed their
answer, challenged the jurisdiction of this
Court to entertain the petition, defended the
power of Congress to discipline its members
with suspension, upheld a House Resolution
No. 175 and then invited attention to the fact
that Congress having ended its session on July
18, 1960, the Committeewhose members
are the sole respondentshad thereby ceased
to exist.

HELD:
No. Section 15, Article VI of our
Constitution provides that "for any speech or
debate" in Congress, the Senators or Members
of the House of Representative "shall not be
questioned in any other place." This section
was taken or is a copy of sec. 6, clause 1 of
Art. 1 of the Constitution of the United States.
In that country, the provision has always been

understood to mean that although exempt


from prosecution or civil actions for their words
uttered in Congress, the members of Congress
may, nevertheless, be questioned in Congress
itself. Observe that "they shall not be
questioned in any other place" than Congress.
Furthermore, the Rules of the House
which petitioner himself has invoked (Rule
XVII, sec. 7), recognize the House's power to
hold a member responsible "for words spoken
in debate."
Our
Constitution
enshrines
parliamentary
immunity
which
is
a
fundamental privilege cherished in every
legislative assembly of the democratic world.
As old as the English Parliament, its purpose
"is to enable and encourage a representative
of the public to discharge his public trust with
firmness and success" for "it is indispensably
necessary that he should enjoy the fullest
liberty of speech, and that he should be
protected from the resentment of every one,
however powerful, to whom exercise of that
liberty may occasion offense."2 Such immunity
has come to this country from the practices of
Parliamentary as construed and applied by the
Congress of the United States. Its extent and
application remain no longer in doubt in so far
as related to the question before us. It
guarantees the legislator complete freedom of
expression without fear of being made
responsible in criminal or civil actions before
the courts or any other forum outside of the
Congressional Hall. But is does not protect him
from responsibility before the legislative body
itself whenever his words and conduct are
considered by the latter disorderly or
unbecoming a member thereof. In the United
States Congress, Congressman Fernando Wood
of New York was censured for using the
following language on the floor of the House:
"A monstrosity, a measure the most infamous
of the many infamous acts of the infamous
Congress." (Hinds' Precedents, Vol. 2,. pp. 798799). Two other congressmen were censured
for employing insulting words during debate.
(2 Hinds' Precedents, 799-801). In one case, a
member of Congress was summoned to testify
on a statement made by him in debate, but
invoked his parliamentary privilege. The
Committee rejected his plea. (3 Hinds'
Precedents 123-124.)
For unparliamentary conduct, members
of Parliament or of Congress have been, or
could be censured, committed to prison3, even
expelled by the votes of their colleagues. The
appendix to this decision amply attest to the
consensus of informed opinion regarding the

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97

ISSUE: Whether or not the Constitution gave


petitioner Osmena complete parliamentary
immunity
and so, for words spoken in the House, he
ought not to be questioned

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


practice and the traditional power of legislative
assemblies to take disciplinary action against
its
members,
including
imprisonment,
suspension or expulsion. It mentions one
instance of suspension of a legislator in a
foreign country.
And to cite a local illustration, the
Philippine Senate, in April 1949, suspended a
senator for one year.
Needless to add, the Rules of Philippine
House of Representatives provide that the
parliamentary practices of the Congress of the
United States shall apply in a supplementary
manner to its proceedings.
This brings up the third point of
petitioner: the House may no longer take
action against me, he argues, because after
my speech, and before approving Resolution
No. 59, it had taken up other business.
Respondents answer that Resolution No. 59
was unanimously approved by the House, that
such approval amounted to a suspension of
the House Rules, which according to standard
parliamentary
practice
may
done
by
unanimous consent.
Granted, counters the petitioner, that
the House may suspended the operation of its
Rules, it may not, however, affect past acts or
renew its rights to take action which had
already lapsed.
The situation might thus be compared
to laws4 extending the period of limitation of
actions and making them applicable to actions
that had lapsed. The Supreme Court of the
United States has upheld such laws as against
the contention that they impaired vested
rights
in
violation
of
the
Fourteenth
Amendment (Campbell vs. Holt, 115 U. S.
620). The states hold divergent views. At any
rate, court are subject to revocation
modification or waiver at the pleasure of the
body adopting them."5 And it has been said
that
"Parliamentary
rules
are
merely
procedural, and with their observancem, the
courts have no concern. They may be waived
or disregarded by the legislative body."
Consequently, "mere failure to conform to
parliamentary usage will not invalidate the
action (taken by a deliberative body) when the
requisited number of members have agreed to
a particular measure."
The following is quoted from a reported
decision of the Supreme court of Tennessee:
The rule here invoked is one of
parliamentary procedure, and it is uniformly
held that it is within the power of all
deliberative bodies to abolish, modify, or waive
their own rules of procedure, adopted for the

orderly con duct of business, and as security


against hasty action.
It may be noted in this connection, that
in the case of Congressman Stanbery of Ohio,
who insulted the Speaker, for which Act a
resolution of censure was presented, the
House approved the resolution, despite the
argument that other business had intervened
after the objectionable remarks.
On the question whether delivery of
speeches attacking the Chief Executive
constitutes disorderly conduct for which
Osmea may be discipline, many arguments
pro and con have been advanced. We believe,
however, that the House is the judge of what
constitutes disorderly behaviour, not only
because the Constitution has conferred
jurisdiction upon it, but also because the
matter
depends
mainly
on
factual
circumstances of which the House knows best
but which can not be depicted in black and
white for presentation to, and adjudication by
the Courts. For one thing, if this Court
assumed the power to determine whether
Osmea
conduct
constituted
disorderly
behaviour, it would thereby have assumed
appellate jurisdiction, which the Constitution
never intended to confer upon a coordinate
branch of the Government. The theory of
separation of powers fastidiously observed by
this Court, demands in such situation a
prudent refusal to interfere. Each department,
it has been said, had exclusive cognizance of
matters within its jurisdiction and is supreme
within its own sphere. (Angara vs. Electoral
Commission, 63 Phil., 139.)
SEC. 200. Judicial Interference with
Legislature. The principle is well established
that the courts will not assume a jurisdiction in
any case amount to an interference by the
judicial department with the legislature since
each department is equally independent within
the power conferred upon it by the
Constitution. . . . .
The general rule has been applied in
other cases to cause the courts to refuse to
intervene in what are exclusively legislative
functions. Thus, where the stated Senate is
given the power to example a member, the
court will not review its action or revise even a
most arbitrary or unfair decision. [Emphasis
Ours.].
The above statement of American law
merely abridged the landmark case of Clifford
vs. French.In 1905, several senators who had
been expelled by the State Senate of California
for having taken a bribe, filed mandamus
proceeding to compel reinstatement, alleging

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the Senate had given them no hearing, nor a
chance to make defense, besides falsity of the
charges of bribery. The Supreme Court of
California declined to interfere , explaining in
orthodox juristic language:
Under our form of government, the
judicial department has no power to revise
even the most arbitrary and unfair action of
the legislative department, or of either house
thereof, taking in pursuance of the power
committed exclusively to that department by
the Constitution. It has been held by high
authority that, even in the absence of an
express provision conferring the power, every
legislative body in which is vested the general
legislative power of the state has the implied
power to expel a member for any cause which
it may deem sufficient. In Hiss. vs. Barlett, 3
Gray 473, 63 Am. Dec. 768, the supreme court
of Mass. says, in substance, that this power is
inherent in every legislative body; that it is
necessary to the to enable the body 'to
perform its high functions, and is necessary to
the safety of the state;' 'That it is a power of
self-protection, and that the legislative body
must necessarily be the sole judge of the
exigency which may justify and require its
exercise. '. . . There is no provision authority
courts to control, direct, supervise, or forbid
the exercise by either house of the power to
expel a member. These powers are functions
of the legislative department and therefore, in
the exercise of the power this committed to it,
the senate is supreme. An attempt by this
court to direct or control the legislature, or
either house thereof, in the exercise of the
power, would be an attempt to exercise
legislative functions, which it is expressly
forbidden to do.
We have underscored in the above
quotation those lines which in our opinion
emphasize the principles controlling this
litigation. Although referring to expulsion, they
may as well be applied to other disciplinary
action. Their gist as applied to the case at bar:
the House has exclusive power; the courts
have no jurisdiction to interfere.
Our refusal to intervene might impress
some readers as subconscious hesitation due
to discovery of impermissible course of action
in the legislative chamber. Nothing of that sort:
we merely refuse to disregard the allocation of
constitutional functions which it is our special
duty to maintain. Indeed, in the interest of
comity, we feel bound to state that in a
conscientious survey of governing principles
and/or episodic illustrations, we found the
House of Representatives of the United States

taking the position upon at least two


occasions, that personal attacks upon the
Chief Executive constitute unparliamentary
conduct or breach of orders. And in several
instances, it took action against offenders,
even
after
other
business
had
been
considered.
Petitioner's principal argument against
the House's power to suspend is the
Alejandrino precedent. In 1924, Senator
Alejandrino was, by resolution of Senate,
suspended from office for 12 months because
he had assaulted another member of the that
Body or certain phrases the latter had uttered
in the course of a debate. The Senator applied
to this Court for reinstatement, challenging the
validity of the resolution. Although this Court
held that in view of the separation of powers, it
had no jurisdiction to compel the Senate to
reinstate petitioner, it nevertheless went on to
say the Senate had no power to adopt the
resolution because suspension for 12 months
amounted to removal, and the Jones Law
(under which the Senate was then functioning)
gave the Senate no power to remove an
appointive member, like Senator Alejandrino.
The Jones Law specifically provided that "each
house may punish its members for disorderly
behaviour, and, with the concurrence of twothirds votes, expel an elective member (sec.
18). Note particularly the word "elective."
The Jones Law, it mist be observed,
empowered the Governor General to appoint
"without consent of the Senate and without
restriction as to residence senators . . . who
will, in his opinion, best represent the Twelfth
District." Alejandrino was one appointive
Senator.
It is true, the opinion in that case
contained an obiter dictum that "suspension
deprives the electoral district of representation
without that district being afforded any means
by which to fill that vacancy." But that remark
should be understood to refer particularly to
the appointive senator who was then the
affected party and who was by the same Jones
Law charged with the duty to represent the
Twelfth District and maybe the view of the
Government of the United States or of the
Governor-General, who had appointed him.
It must be observed, however, that at
that time the Legislature had only those power
which were granted to it by the Jones Law;
whereas now the Congress has the full
legislative powers and preprogatives of a
sovereign nation, except as restricted by the
Constitution. In other words, in the Alejandrino
case, the Court reached the conclusion that

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the Jones Law did not give the Senate the
power it then exercisedthe power of
suspension for one year. Whereas now, as we
find, the Congress has the inherent legislative
prerogative
of
suspension
which
the
Constitution did not impair. In fact, as already
pointed out, the Philippine Senate suspended a
Senator for 12 months in 1949.
The Legislative power of the Philippine
Congress is plenary, subject only to such
limitations are found in the Republic's
Constitution. So that any power deemed to be
legislative by usage or tradition, is necessarily
possessed by the Philippine Congress, unless
the Constitution provides otherwise. (Vera vs.
Avelino, 77 Phil., 192, 212 .)
In any event, petitioner's argument as
to
the
deprivation
of
the
district's
representation can not be more weightly in the
matter of suspension than in the case of
imprisonment of a legislator; yet deliberative
bodies have the power in proper cases, to
commit one of their members to jail
Now come questions of procedure and
jurisdiction. the petition intended to prevent
the Special Committee from acting tin
pursuance of House Resolution No. 59.
Because no preliminary injunction had been
issued, the Committee performed its task,
reported to the House, and the latter approved
the suspension order. The House had closed it
session, and the Committee has ceased to
exist as such. It would seem, therefore, the
case should be dismissed for having become
moot or academic.. Of course, there is nothing
to prevent petitioner from filing new pleadings
to include all members of the House as
respondents, ask for reinstatement and
thereby to present a justiciable cause. Most
probable outcome of such reformed suit,
however, will be a pronouncement of lack of
jurisdiction, as in Vera vs. Avelino and
Alejandrino vs. Qeuaon.

And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up


to be living my middle years in a country of
this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face
of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his
cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer
interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I
was to be surrounded by idiots. I would rather
be in another environment but not in the
Supreme Court of idiots x x x.
In her comment on the complaint dated
April 25, 2007, Senator Santiago, through
counsel,
does
not
deny
making
the
aforequoted
statements.
She,
however,
explained that those statements were covered
by
the
constitutional
provision
on
parliamentary immunity, being part of a
speech she delivered in the discharge of her
duty as member of Congress or its committee.
The purpose of her speech, according to her,
was to bring out in the open controversial
anomalies in governance with a view to future
remedial legislation. She averred that she
wanted to expose what she believed to be an
unjust act of the Judicial Bar Council [JBC],
which, after sending out public invitations for
nomination to the soon to-be vacated position
of Chief Justice, would eventually inform
applicants that only incumbent justices of the
Supreme Court would qualify for nomination.
She felt that the JBC should have at least given
an advanced
advisory that
non-sitting
members of the Court, like her, would not be
considered for the position of Chief Justice.
ISSUE: Whether or not Santiagos speech is
covered
by
constitutional
provison
on
parliamentary immunity

FACTS:In his sworn letter/complaint dated


December 22, 2006, with enclosures, Antero J.
Pobre invites the Courts attention to the
following excerpts of Senator Miriam DefensorSantiagos speech delivered on the Senate
floor:
x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am
foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am
suicidal. I am humiliated, debased, degraded.

HELD: No. The immunity Senator Santiago


claims is rooted primarily on the provision of
Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, which
provides: A Senator or Member of the House
of Representative shall, in all offenses
punishable by not more than six years
imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while
the Congress is in session. No member shall
be questioned nor be held liable in any
other place for any speech or debate in
the Congress or in any committee
thereof. Explaining the import of the
underscored portion of the provision, the
Court, in Osmea, Jr. v. Pendatun, said:
Our
Constitution
enshrines
parliamentary
immunity
which
is
a
fundamental privilege cherished in every
legislative assembly of the democratic world.
As old as the English Parliament, its purpose

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100

ANTERO
POBRE
vs.
SEN.
DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO
AC No. 7399 August 25, 2009
J. Velasco Jr

MIRIAM

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


is to enable and encourage a representative
of the public to discharge his public trust with
firmness and success for it is indispensably
necessary that he should enjoy the fullest
liberty of speech and that he should be
protected from resentment of every one,
however, powerful, to whom the exercise of
that liberty may occasion offense.
As American jurisprudence puts it, this
legislative privilege is founded upon long
experience and arises as a means of
perpetuating inviolate the functioning process
of the legislative department. Without
parliamentary immunity, parliament, or its
equivalent, would degenerate into a polite and
ineffective debating forum. Legislators are
immune from deterrents to the uninhibited
discharge of their legislative duties, not for
their private indulgence, but for the public
good. The privilege would be of little value if
they could be subjected to the cost and
inconvenience and distractions of a trial upon
a conclusion of the pleader, or to the hazard of
a judgment against them based upon a judges
speculation as to the motives.
This Court is aware of the need and has
in fact been in the forefront in upholding the
institution of parliamentary immunity and
promotion of free speech. Neither has the
Court lost sight of the importance of the
legislative and oversight functions of the
Congress that enable this representative body
to look diligently into every affair of
government,
investigate
and
denounce
anomalies, and talk about how the country and
its citizens are being served. Courts do not
interfere with the legislature or its members in
the manner they perform their functions in the
legislative floor or in committee rooms. Any
claim of an unworthy purpose or of the falsity
and mala fides of the statement uttered by the
member of the Congress does not destroy the
privilege. The disciplinary authority of the
assembly and the voters, not the courts, can
properly discourage or correct such abuses
committed in the name of parliamentary
immunity.
For the above reasons, the plea of
Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the
complaint for disbarment or disciplinary action
is well taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is
not actionable criminally or in a disciplinary
proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt,
however, that this could not be the last word
on the matter.
The Court wishes to express its deep
concern about the language Senator Santiago,
a member of the Bar, used in her speech and

its effect on the administration of justice. To


the Court, the lady senator has undoubtedly
crossed the limits of decency and good
professional conduct. It is at once apparent
that her statements in question were
intemperate and highly improper in substance.
To reiterate, she was quoted as stating that
she wanted to spit on the face of Chief Justice
Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the
Supreme Court, and calling the Court a
Supreme Court of idiots.
The lady senator alluded to In Re:
Vicente Sotto. We draw her attention to the
ensuing passage in Sotto that she should have
taken to heart in the first place:
x x x [I]f the people lose their
confidence in the honesty and integrity of this
Court and believe that they cannot expect
justice therefrom, they might be driven to take
the law into their own hands, and disorder and
perhaps chaos would be the result.
No lawyer who has taken an oath to
maintain the respect due to the courts should
be allowed to erode the peoples faith in the
judiciary. In this case, the lady senator clearly
violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
respectively provide:
Canon 8, Rule 8.01.A lawyer shall not,
in his professional dealings, use language
which is abusive, offensive or otherwise
improper.
Canon 11.A lawyer shall observe and
maintain the respect due to the courts and to
the judicial officers and should insist on similar
conduct by others.
A careful re-reading of her utterances
would readily show that her statements were
expressions of personal anger and frustration
at not being considered for the post of Chief
Justice. In a sense, therefore, her remarks were
outside the pale of her official parliamentary
functions. Even parliamentary immunity must
not be allowed to be used as a vehicle to
ridicule, demean, and destroy the reputation of
the Court and its magistrates, nor as armor for
personal wrath and disgust. Authorities are
agreed that parliamentary immunity is not an
individual privilege accorded the individual
members of the Parliament or Congress for
their personal benefit, but rather a privilege
for the benefit of the people and the institution
that represents them.
To be sure, Senator Santiago could
have given vent to her anger without indulging
in
insulting
rhetoric
and
offensive
personalities.

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Lest
it
be
overlooked,
Senator
Santiagos outburst was directly traceable to
what she considered as an unjust act the JBC
had taken in connection with her application
for the position of Chief Justice. But while the
JBC functions under the Courts supervision, its
individual members, save perhaps for the
Chief Justice who sits as the JBCs ex-officio
chairperson,have no official duty to nominate
candidates for appointment to the position of
Chief Justice. The Court is, thus, at a loss to
understand Senator Santiagos wholesale and
indiscriminate assault on the members of the
Court and her choice of critical and defamatory
words against all of them.
At any event, equally important as the
speech and debate clause of Art. VI, Sec. 11 of
the Constitution is Sec. 5(5) of Art. VIII of the
Constitution that provides:
Section 5. The Supreme Court shall
have the following powers:
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the
protection and enforcement of constitutional
rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all
courts, the admission to the practice of the
law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance
to the underprivileged. (Emphasis ours.)
The Court, besides being authorized to
promulgate
rules
concerning
pleading,
practice, and procedure in all courts, exercises
specific
authority
to
promulgate
rules
governing the Integrated Bar with the end in
view that the integration of the Bar will, among
other things:
(4)
Shield
the
judiciary,
which
traditionally cannot defend itself except within
its own forum, from the assaults that politics
and self interest may level at it, and assist it to
maintain
its integrity,
impartiality and
independence;
xxxx
(11) Enforce rigid ethical standards x x
x.
In Re: Letter Dated 21 February 2005
of Atty. Noel S. Sorreda, we reiterated our
pronouncement in Rheem of the Philippines v.
Ferrer that the duty of attorneys to the courts
can only be maintained by rendering no
service involving any disrespect to the judicial
office which they are bound to uphold. The
Court wrote in Rheem of the Philippines:
x x x As explicit is the first canon of
legal ethics which pronounces that [i]t is the
duty of a lawyer to maintain towards the
Courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of
the temporary incumbent of the judicial office,
but for the maintenance of its supreme
importance. That same canon, as a corollary,

makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers to


support the courts against unjust criticism
and clamor. And more. The attorneys oath
solemnly binds him to a conduct that should
be with all good fidelity x x x to the courts.
Also, in Sorreda, the Court revisited its
holding in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board
v. Cloribel that:
A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he
is, like the court itself, an instrument or
agency to advance the ends of justice. His
duty is to uphold the dignity and authority of
the courts to which he owes fidelity, not to
promote distrust in the administration of
justice. Faith in the courts, a lawyer should
seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial
edifice is disastrous to the continuity of
government and to the attainment of the
liberties of the people. Thus has it been said
of a lawyer that [a]s an officer of the court, it
is his sworn and moral duty to help build and
not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem
and regard towards the courts so essential to
the proper administration of justice.
The lady senator belongs to the legal
profession bound by the exacting injunction of
a strict Code. Society has entrusted that
profession with the administration of the law
and
dispensation
of
justice.
Generally
speaking, a lawyer holding a government
office may not be disciplined as a member of
the Bar for misconduct committed while in the
discharge of official duties, unless said
misconduct also constitutes a violation of
his/her oath as a lawyer.
Lawyers may be disciplined even for
any conduct committed in their private
capacity, as long as their misconduct reflects
their want of probity or good demeanor, a
good character being an essential qualification
for the admission to the practice of law and for
continuance of such privilege. When the Code
of Professional Responsibility or the Rules of
Court speaks of conduct or misconduct,
the reference is not confined to ones behavior
exhibited in connection with the performance
of lawyers professional duties, but also covers
any misconduct, whichalbeit unrelated to the
actual practice of their professionwould show
them to be unfit for the office and unworthy of
the privileges which their license and the law
invest in them.
This Court, in its unceasing quest to
promote the peoples faith in courts and trust
in the rule of law, has consistently exercised its
disciplinary authority on lawyers who, for
malevolent purpose or personal malice,
attempt to obstruct the orderly administration

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of justice, trifle with the integrity of courts, and
embarrass or, worse, malign the men and
women who compose them. We have done it
in the case of former Senator Vicente Sotto in
Sotto, in the case of Atty. Noel Sorreda in
Sorreda, and in the case of Atty. Francisco B.
Cruz in Tacordan v. Ang who repeatedly
insulted and threatened the Court in a most
insolent manner.
The Court is not hesitant to impose
some form of disciplinary sanctions on
Senator/Atty. Santiago for what otherwise
would have constituted an act of utter
disrespect on her part towards the Court and
its
members.
The
factual
and
legal
circumstances of this case, however, deter the
Court from doing so, even without any sign of
remorse
from her. Basic constitutional
consideration dictates this kind of disposition.
We, however, would be remiss in our
duty if we let the Senators offensive and
disrespectful language that definitely tended
to denigrate the institution pass by. It is
imperative on our part to re-instill in
Senator/Atty. Santiago her duty to respect
courts of justice, especially this Tribunal, and
remind her anew that the parliamentary nonaccountability thus granted to members of
Congress is not to protect them against
prosecutions for their own benefit, but to
enable them, as the peoples representatives,
to perform the functions of their office without
fear of being made responsible before the
courts
or
other
forums
outside
the
congressional hall. It is intended to protect
members of Congress against government
pressure and intimidation aimed at influencing
the decision-making prerogatives of Congress
and its members.
The Rules of the Senate itself contains
a provision on Unparliamentary Acts and
Language that enjoins a Senator from using,
under any circumstance,
offensive or
improper language against another Senator or
against any public institution. But as to
Senator Santiagos unparliamentary remarks,
the Senate President had not apparently called
her to order, let alone referred the matter to
the Senate Ethics Committee for appropriate
disciplinary action, as the Rules dictates under
such circumstance. The lady senator clearly
violated the rules of her own chamber. It is
unfortunate that her peers bent backwards
and avoided imposing their own rules on her.
Finally, the lady senator questions Pobres
motives in filing his complaint, stating that
disciplinary proceedings must be undertaken
solely for the public welfare. We cannot agree

with her more. We cannot overstress that the


senators use of intemperate language to
demean and denigrate the highest court of the
land is a clear violation of the duty of respect
lawyers owe to the courts.

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103

SECTION 13
FRANCISCO ZANDUETA, vs. SIXTO DE LA
COSTA
G.R. No. L-46267 November 28, 1938
VILLA-REAL, J.:
FACTS:
Prior to the promulgation of
Commonwealth Act No. 145, the petitioner, the
Honorable Francisco Zandueta was discharging
the office of judge of first instance, Ninth
Judicial District, comprising solely the City of
Manila, and was presiding over the Fifth
Branch of the Court of First Instance of said
city, by virtue of an ad interim appointment
issued by the President of the Philippines in his
favor on June 2, 1936, and confirmed by the
Commission on Appointments of the National
Assembly on September 8th of the same year.
On November 7, 1936, the date on
which Commonwealth Act No. 145, otherwise
known as the Judicial Reorganization Law, took
effect, the petitioner received from the
President of the Commonwealth a new ad
interim appointment as judge of first instance,
this time of the Fourth Judicial District, with
authority to preside over the Courts of First
Instance of Manila and Palawan, issued in
accordance with said Act. As the National
Assembly adjourned on November 20, 1937,
without its Commission on Appointments
having acted on said ad interim appointment,
another ad interim appointment to the same
office was issued in favor of said petitioner,
pursuant to which he took a new oath on
November 22, 1937, before discharging the
duties thereof. After his appointment and
qualification as judge of first instance of the
Fourth Judicial District, the petitioner, acting as
executive judge, performed several executive
acts, some of which consist in the designation
of the assistant clerk of the Court of First
Instance of Manila, Ladislao Pasicolan, as
administrative officer, under the orders of the
petitioner, as executive judge of said court, to
take charge of all matters pertaining to the
Court of First Instance of Palawan, which are
handled by said execute judge in Manila
(Exhibit 2); in the appointment of attorney
Rufo M. San Juan as notary public for the
Province of Palawan, said appointment to
expire on December 31, 1938 (Exhibit 3); in

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


having authorized justice of the peace Iigo R.
Pea to defend a criminal case the hearing of
which had begun during the past sessions in
Coron, Palawan (Exhibit 5); in having granted a
leave of absence of ten days to justice of the
peace Abordo (of Puerto Princesa), Palawan
(Exhibit 8); and in having granted a leave of
absence of thirteen days to the justice of the
peace of Coron, Palawan (Exhibit 9).
On May 19, 1938, the Commission on
Appointments of the National Assembly
disapproved
the
aforesaid
ad
interim
appointment of said petitioner, who was
advised thereof by the Secretary of Justice on
the 20th of said month and year.
On August 1, 1938, the President of the
Philippines appointed the herein respondent,
Honorable Sixto de la Costa, judge of first
instance of the Fourth Judicial District, with
authority to preside over the Fifth Branch of
the Court of First Instance of Manila and the
Court of First Instance of Palawan, and his
appointment was approved by the Commission
on Appointments of the National Assembly. By
virtue of said appointment, the respondent
took the necessary oath and assumed office.
On the same date, August 1, 1938, the
President of the Philippines, pursuant to said
appointment of judge of first instance of the
Fourth Judicial District and after confirmation
thereof, issued the corresponding final
appointment in favor of the respondent,
Honorable Sixto de la Costa (Exhibit 11).
The respondent, in answer to the
petition, admits some of the facts alleged
therein and denies the rest, and alleges, as
one of his special defenses, that the petitioner
is
estopped
from
attacking
the
constitutionality of Commonwealth Act No.
145, for having accepted his new appointment
as judge of first instance of the Fourth Judicial
District, issued by virtue thereof, to preside
over the Courts of First Instance of Manila and
Palawan, and for having taken the necessary
oath, entering into the discharge of the
functions of his office and performing judicial
as well as administrative acts.

HELD: Yes.
The rule of equity, sanctioned by
jurisprudence, is that when a public official
voluntarily accepts an appointment to an office
newly created or reorganized by law, which
new office is incompatible with the one

formerly occupied by him , qualifies for the


discharge of the functions thereof by taking
the necessary oath, and enters into the
performance of his duties by executing acts
inherent in said newly created or reorganized
office and receiving the corresponding salary,
he will be considered to have abandoned the
office he was occupying by virtue of his former
appointment (46 Corpus Juris, 947, sec. 55),
and he can not question the constitutionality
of the law by virtue of which he was last
appointed (11 American Jurisprudence, 166,
par. 121; id., 767, par. 123). He is excepted
from said rule only when his non-acceptance of
the new appointment may affect public
interest or when he is compelled to accept it
by reason of legal exigencies (11 American
Jurisprudence, 770, par. 124). lawphi1.net
In the case under consideration, the
petitioner was free to accept or not the ad
interim appointment issued by the President of
the Commonwealth in his favor, in accordance
with said Commonwealth Act No. 145. Nothing
or nobody compelled him to do so. While the
office of judge of first instance of public
interest, being one of the means employed by
the Government to carry out one of its
purposes, which is the administration of
justice, considering the organization of the
courts of justice in the Philippines and the
creation of the positions of judges-at-large or
substitutes, the temporary disability of a judge
may be immediately remedied without
detriment to the smooth running of the judicial
machinery. If the petitioner believed, as he
now seems to believe, that Commonwealth Act
No. 145 is unconstitutional, he should have
refused to accept the appointment offered him
or, at least, he should have accepted it with
reservation, had he believed that his duty of
obedience to the laws compelled him to do so,
and afterwards resort to the power entrusted
with the final determination of the question
whether a law is unconstitutional or not. The
petitioner, being aware of his constitutional
and legal rights and obligations, by implied
order of the law (art. 2, Civil Code), accepted
the office of judge of first instance of the
Fourth Judicial District, with authority to
preside over the Fifth Branch of the Court of
First Instance of Manila and the Court of First
Instance of Palawan and entered into the
performance of the duties inherent therein,
after taking the necessary oath, thereby acting
with full knowledge that if he voluntarily
accepted the office to which he was appointed,
he would later be estopped from questioning
the validity of said appointment by alleging

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

104

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner is estopped


to assail the validity of the Commonwealth Act
145

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


that the law, by virtue of which his
appointment was issued, is unconstitutional.
He likewise knew, or at least he should know,
that his ad interim appointment was subject to
the
approval
of
the
Commission
on
Appointments of the National Assembly and
that if said commission were to disapprove the
same, it would become ineffective and he
would cease discharging the office.
It appears from all the foregoing that
the petitioner having voluntarily abandoned
his appointment of June 2, 1936, and,
consequently, the office of judge of first
instance of Manila, Ninth Judicial District,
whose Fifth Branch was being presided over by
him by virtue thereof, upon accepting the ad
interim appointment of November 7, 1936, to
the office of judge of first instance of the
Fourth Judicial District, with authority to
preside over said Fifth Branch of the Court of
First Instance of Manila together with the Court
of First Instance of Palawan, and entering into
the discharge of the functions of said office, he
can not now claim to be entitled to repossess
the office occupied by him under his said
appointment of June 2, 1936 (22 R. C. L., 560,
par. 264), or question the constitutionality of
Commonwealth Act No. 145, by virtue of which
he has been appointed judge of first instance
of the Fourth Judicial District, with authority to
preside over the Fifth Branch of the Court of
First Instance of Manila and the Court of First
Instance of Palawan, which appointment was
disapproved
by
the
Commission
on
Appointments of the National Assembly.
Having arrived at the conclusion that
the petitioner is estopped by his own act from
proceeding to question the constitutionality of
Commonwealth Act No. 145, by virtue of which
he was appointed, by accepting said
appointment
and
entering
into
the
performance of the duties appertaining to the
office conferred therein.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:

EUGENIO J. PUYAT, ERWIN L. CHIONGBIAN,


EDGARDO P. REYES, ANTONIO G. PUYAT,
JAIME R. BLANCO, RAFAEL R. RECTO and
REYNALDO
L.
LARDIZABAL,
vs.
HON. SIXTO T. J. DE GUZMAN, JR., as
Associate Commissioner of the Securities
& Exchange Commission, EUSTAQUIO T. C.
ACERO, R. G. VILDZIUS, ENRIQUE M.
BELO, MANUEL G. ABELLO, SERVILLANO
DOLINA,
JUANITO
MERCADO
and
ESTANISLAO A. FERNANDEZ,
G.R. No. L-51122 March 25, 1982

FACTS:
a) May 14,1979. An election for the
eleven Directors of the International Pipe
Industries
Corporation
(IPI)
a
private
corporation, was held. Those in charge ruled
that the following were elected as Directors:
Eugenio J. Puyat Eustaquio T.C. Acero
Erwin
L.
Chiongbian
R.
G.
Vildzius
Edgardo
P.
Reyes
Enrique
M.
Belo
Antonio
G.
Puyat
Servillano
Dolina
Jaime
R.
Blanco
Juanito
Mercado
Rafael R. Recto
Those named on the left list may be
called the Puyat Group; those on the right, the
Acero Group. Thus, the Puyat Group would be
in control of the Board and of the management
of IPI.
b) May 25, 1979. The Acero Group
instituted at the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) quo warranto proceedings,
docketed as Case No. 1747 (the SEC Case),
questioning the election of May 14, 1979. The
Acero Group claimed that the stockholders'
votes were not properly counted.
c) May 25-31, 1979. The Puyat Group
claims that at conferences of the parties with
respondent SEC Commissioner de Guzman,
Justice Estanislao A. Fernandez, then a
member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa,
orally entered his appearance as counsel for
respondent Acero to which the Puyat Group
objected on Constitutional grounds. Section
11, Article VIII, of the 1973 Constitution, then
in force, provided that no Assemblyman could
"appear
as
counsel
before
...
any
administrative body", and SEC was an
administrative body. Incidentally, the same
prohibition was maintained by the April 7,
1981 plebiscite. The cited Constitutional
prohibition
being
clear,
Assemblyman
Fernandez did not continue his appearance for
respondent Acero.
d) May 31, 1979. When the SEC Case
was called, it turned out that:
(i) On May 15, 1979, Assemblyman
Estanislao A. Fernandez had purchased from
Augusto A. Morales ten (10) shares of stock of
IPI for P200.00 upon request of respondent
Acero to qualify him to run for election as a
Director.
(ii) The deed of sale, however, was
notarized only on May 30, 1979 and was
sought to be registered on said date.
(iii) On May 31, 1979, the day following
the notarization of Assemblyman Fernandez'
purchase, the latter had filed an Urgent Motion

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

105

SECTION 14

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


for Intervention in the SEC Case as the owner
of ten (10) IPI shares alleging legal interest in
the matter in litigation.
e) July 17, 1979. The SEC granted leave
to intervene on the basis of Atty. Fernandez'
ownership of the said ten shares. 1 It is this
Order allowing intervention that precipitated
the instant petition for certiorari and
Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction.
f) July 3, 1979. Edgardo P. Reyes
instituted a case before the Court of First
Instance of Rizal (Pasig), Branch XXI, against
N.V. Verenigde Bueinzenfabrieken Excelsior
De Maas and respondent Eustaquio T. C. Acero
and others, to annul the sale of Excelsior's
shares in the IPI to respondent Acero (CC No.
33739). In that case, Assemblyman Fernandez
appeared as counsel for defendant Excelsior In
L-51928,
we
ruled
that
Assemblyman
Fernandez could not appear as counsel in a
case originally filed with a Court of First
Instance as in such situation the Court would
be one "without appellate jurisdiction."
On September 4, 1979, the Court en
banc issued a temporary Restraining Order
enjoining
respondent
SEC
Associate
Commissioner from allowing the participation
as an intervenor, of respondent Assemblyman
Estanislao Fernandez at the proceedings in the
SEC Case.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Assemblyman
Fernandez, as a then stockholder of IPI may
intervene in the SEC Case without violating
Section 11, Article VIII of the Constitution
HELD: Ordinarily, by virtue of the Motion for
Intervention, Assemblyman Fernandez cannot
be said to be appearing as counsel. Ostensibly,
he is not appearing on behalf of another,
although he is joining the cause of the private
respondents.
His
appearance
could
theoretically be for the protection of his
ownership of ten (10) shares of IPI in respect of
the matter in litigation and not for the
protection of the petitioners nor respondents
who have their respective capable and
respected counsel.
However, certain salient circumstances
militate
against
the
intervention
of
Assemblyman Fernandez in the SEC Case. He
had acquired a mere P200.00 worth of stock in
IPI, representing ten shares out of 262,843
outstanding shares. He acquired them "after
the fact" that is, on May 30, 1979, after the
contested election of Directors on May 14,
1979, after the quo warranto suit had been
filed on May 25, 1979 before SEC and one day

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

before the scheduled hearing of the case


before the SEC on May 31, 1979. And what is
more, before he moved to intervene, he had
signified his intention to appear as counsel for
respondent Eustaquio T. C. Acero, 2 but which
was objected to by petitioners. Realizing,
perhaps, the validity of the objection, he
decided, instead, to "intervene" on the ground
of legal interest in the matter under litigation.
And it maybe noted that in the case filed
before the Rizal Court of First Instance (L51928), he appeared as counsel for defendant
Excelsior, co-defendant of respondent Acero
therein.
Under those facts and circumstances,
we are constrained to find that there has been
an indirect "appearance as counsel before ...
an administrative body" and, in our opinion,
that is a circumvention of the Constitutional
prohibition.
The
"intervention"
was an
afterthought to enable him to appear actively
in the proceedings in some other capacity. To
believe the avowed purpose, that is, to enable
him eventually to vote and to be elected as
Director in the event of an unfavorable
outcome of the SEC Case would be pure
naivete. He would still appear as counsel
indirectly.
A ruling upholding the "intervention"
would make the constitutional provision
ineffective. All an Assemblyman need do, if he
wants to influence an administrative body is to
acquire a minimal participation in the
"interest" of the client and then "intervene" in
the proceedings. That which the Constitution
directly prohibits may not be done by
indirection or by a general legislative act which
is intended to accomplish the objects
specifically or impliedly prohibited.
In brief, we hold that the intervention of
Assemblyman Fernandez in SEC. No. 1747 falls
within the ambit of the prohibition contained in
Section 11, Article VIII of the Constitution.
Our resolution of this case should not
be construed as, absent the question of the
constitutional prohibition against members of
the Batasan, allowing any stockholder, or any
number of stockholders, in a corporation to
intervene in any controversy before the SEC
relating
to
intra-corporate
matters.
A
resolution of that question is not necessary in
this case.
SECTION 16
SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO and
SEN. FRANCISCO S. TATAD vs. SEN.

106

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. and SEN.
MARCELO B. FERNAN,
PANGANIBAN, J.:
G.R. No. 134577 November 18, 1998
FACTS: The Senate of the Philippines, with
Sen. John Henry R. Osmea as presiding
officer, convened on July 27, 1998 for the first
regular session of the eleventh Congress.
On the agenda for the day was the
election of officers. Nominated by Sen. Blas F.
Ople to the position of Senate President was
Sen. Marcelo B. Fernan. Sen. Francisco S. Tatad
was also nominated to the same position by
Sen. Miriam Defenser Santiago. By a vote of 20
to 2, Senator Fernan was declared the duly
elected President of the Senate.
The following were likewise elected:
Senator Ople as president pro tempore, and
Sen. Franklin M. Drilon as majority leader.
Senator Tatad thereafter manifested
that, with the agreement of Senator Santiago,
allegedly the only other member of the
minority, he was assuming the position of
minority leader. He explained that those who
had voted for Senator Fernan comprised the
"majority," while only those who had voted for
him, the losing nominee, belonged to the
"minority."
During the discussion on who should
constitute the Senate "minority," Sen. Juan M.
Flavier manifested that the senators belonging
to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party numbering
seven (7) and, thus, also a minority had
chosen Senator Guingona as the minority
leader. No consensus on the matter was
arrived at. The following session day, the
debate on the question continued, with
Senators Santiago and Tatad delivering
privilege speeches. On the third session day,
the Senate met in caucus, but still failed to
resolve the issue.
On July 30, 1998, the majority leader
informed the body that he was in receipt of a
letter signed by the seven Lakas-NUCD-UMDP
senators, stating that they had elected
Senator Guingona as the minority leader. By
virtue thereof, the Senate President formally
recognized Senator Guingona as the minority
leader of the Senate.
On July 31, 1998, Senators Miriam
Defensor Santiago and Francisco S. Tatad
instituted an original petition for quo warranto
under Rule 66, Section 5, Rules of Court,
seeking the ouster of Senator Teofisto T.
Guingona, Jr. as minority leader of the Senate
and the declaration of Senator Tatad as the
rightful minority leader.

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ISSUES:
(1) Does the Court have jurisdiction over the
petition?
(2) In recognizing Respondent Guingona as the
Senate minority leader, did the Senate or
its officials, particularly Senate President
Fernan, violate the Constitution or the
laws?
(3) Was Respondent Guingona usurping,
unlawfully holding and exercising the
position of Senate minority leader?
(4) Did Respondent Fernan act with grave
abuse
of
discretion
in
recognizing
Respondent Guingona as the minority
leader?
HELD: After a close perusal of the pleadings
and a careful deliberation on the arguments,
pro and con, the Court finds that no
constitutional or legal infirmity or grave abuse
of discretion attended the recognition of and
the assumption into office by Respondent
Guingona as the Senate minority leader.
NOTE: The principle of separation of powers
ordains that each of the three great branches
of government has exclusive cognizance of
and is supreme in matters falling within its
own
constitutionally
allocated
sphere.
Constitutional respect and a becoming regard
for the sovereign acts, of a coequal branch
prevents this Court from prying into the
internal workings of the Senate. Where no
provision of the Constitution or the laws or
even the Rules of the Senate is clearly shown
to have been violated, disregarded or
overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot
be imputed to Senate officials for acts done
within their competence and authority. This
Court will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp;
rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in
upholding the rule and majesty of the law.
(1) Yes.
First Issue: The Court's Jurisdiction
In the regular course, the regional trial
courts and this Court have concurrent
jurisdiction to hear and decide petitions for
quo warranto (as well as certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus), and a basic deference to the
hierarchy of courts impels a filing of such
petitions in the lower tribunals. However, for
special and important reasons or for
exceptional and compelling circumstances, as
in the present case, this Court has allowed
exceptions to this doctrine. In fact, original

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petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus
and quo warranto assailing acts of legislative
officers like the Senate President and the
Speaker of the House have been recognized as
exceptions to this rule.
Petitioners principally invoke Avelino v.
Cuenco
in arguing that this Court has
jurisdiction to settle the issue of who is the
lawful Senate minority leader. They submit
that the definitions of "majority" and
"minority" involve an interpretation of the
Constitution, specifically Section 16 (1), Article
VI thereof, stating that "[t]he Senate shall
elect its President and the House of
Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote
of all its respective Members."
Respondents and the solicitor general,
in their separate Comments, contend in
common that the issue of who is the lawful
Senate minority leader is an internal matter
pertaining exclusively to the domain of the
legislature, over which the Court cannot
exercise jurisdiction without transgressing the
principle of separation of powers. Allegedly, no
constitutional issue is involved, as the
fundamental law does not provide for the
office of a minority leader in the Senate. The
legislature alone has the full discretion to
provide for such office and, in that event, to
determine the procedure of selecting its
occupant.
Respondents also maintain that Avelino
cannot apply, because there exists no question
involving an interpretation or application of the
Constitution, the laws or even the Rules of the
Senate;
neither
are
there
"peculiar
circumstances" impelling the Court to assume
jurisdiction over the petition. The solicitor
general adds that there is not even any
legislative practice to support the petitioners'
theory that a senator who votes for the
winning Senate President is precluded from
becoming the minority leader.
To resolve the issue of jurisdiction, this
Court carefully reviewed and deliberated on
the various important cases involving this very
important and basic question, which it has
ruled upon in the past.
The early case Avelino v. Cuenco
cautiously tackled the scope of the Court's
power of judicial review; that is, questions
involving an interpretation or application of a
provision of the Constitution or the law,
including the rules of either house of Congress.
Within this scope falls the jurisdiction of the
Court over questions on the validity of
legislative or executive acts that are political in
nature,
whenever
the
tribunal
"finds

constitutionally imposed limits on powers or


functions conferred upon political bodies." 12
In the aforementioned case, the Court
initially declined to resolve the question of who
was the rightful Senate President, since it was
deemed
a
political
controversy
falling
exclusively within the domain of the Senate.
Upon a motion for reconsideration, however,
the Court ultimately assumed jurisdiction (1)
"in the light of subsequent events which justify
its intervention;" and (2) because the
resolution of the issue hinged on the
interpretation of the constitutional provision on
the presence of a quorum to hold a session
and therein elect a Senate President.
Justice
Feria
elucidated
in
his
Concurring Opinion: "[I] concur with the
majority that this Court has jurisdiction over
cases like the present . . . so as to establish in
this country the judicial supremacy, with the
Supreme Court as the final arbiter, to see that
no one branch or agency of the government
transcends the Constitution, not only in
justiceable but political questions as well."
In Taada v. Cueno, this Court
endeavored to define political question. And
we said that "it refers to 'those questions
which, under the Constitution, are to be
decided by the people in their sovereign
capacity, or in regard to which full
discretionary authority has been delegated to
the legislative or executive branch of the
government.' It is concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not [the] legality,
of a particular measure."
The Court ruled that the validity of the
selection of members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal by the senators was not a political
question. The choice of these members did not
depend on the Senate's "full discretionary
authority," but was subject to mandatory
constitutional limitations. Thus, the Court held
that not only was it clearly within its
jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the
selection proceedings, but it was also its duty
to consider and determine the issue.
In another landmark case, Lansang v.
Garcia, Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion wrote
that the Court "had authority to and should
inquire into the existence of the factual bases
required by the Constitution for the suspension
of the privilege of the writ [of habeas corpus]."
This ruling was made in spite of the previous
pronouncements in Barcelon v. Baker and
Montenegro v. Castaeda that "the authority
to decide whether the exigency has arisen
requiring suspension (of the privilege . . .)
belongs to the President and his 'decision is

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final and conclusive' upon the courts and upon
all other persons." But the Chief Justice
cautioned: "the function of the Court is merely
to check not to supplant the Executive, or
to ascertain merely whether he has gone
beyond the constitutional limits of his
jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested
in him or to determine the wisdom of his act."
The eminent Chief Justice aptly
explained later in Javellana v. Executive
Secretary:
The reason why the issue
under consideration and other
issues of similar character are
justiciable, not political, is plain
and simple. One of the principal
bases of the non-justiciability of
so-called political questions is
the principle of separation of
powers characteristic of the
presidential
system
of
government the functions of
which are classified or divided,
by reason of their nature, into
three (3) categories, namely, 1)
those involving the making of
laws, which are allocated to the
legislative department; 2) those
concerning mainly with the
enforcement of such laws and of
judicial
decisions
applying
and/or interpreting the same,
which belong to the executive
department;
and
3)
those
dealing with the settlement of
disputes,
controversies
or
conflicts involving rights, duties
or prerogatives that are legally
demandable and enforceable,
which are apportioned to courts
of justice. Within its own sphere
but only within such sphere
each department is supreme
and independent of the others,
and each is devoid of authority
not only to encroach upon the
powers or field of action
assigned to any of the other
departments, but also to inquire
into
or
pass
upon
the
advisability or wisdom of the
acts performed, measures taken
or decisions made by the other
departments provided that
such acts, measures or decisions
are within the area allocated
thereto by the Constitution.

Accordingly, when the


grant of power is qualified,
conditional
or
subject
to
limitations, the issue of whether
or
not
the
prescribed
qualifications or conditions have
been met, or the limitations
respected is justiciable or nonpolitical, the crux of the problem
being one of legality or validity
of the contested act, not its
wisdom.
Otherwise,
said
qualifications,
conditions
or
limitations particularly those
prescribed by the Constitution
would be set at naught. What is
more, the judicial inquiry into
such issue and the settlement
thereof are the main functions of
the courts of justice under the
presidential form of government
adopted
in
our
1935
Constitution, and the system of
checks and balances, one of its
basic
predicates.
As
a
consequence, we have neither
the authority nor the discretion
to decline passing upon said
issue, but are under the
ineluctable obligation made
particularly more exacting and
peremptory by our oath, as
members of the highest Court of
the land, to support and defend
the Constitution to settle it.
This explains why, in Miller v.
Johnson [92 Ky. 589, 18 SW 522,
523], it was held that courts
have a "duty, rather than a
power," to determine whether
another
branch
of
the
government has "kept within
constitutional limits."
Unlike our previous constitutions, the
1987 Constitution is explicit in defining the
scope of judicial power. The present
Constitution now fortifies the authority of the
courts to determine in an appropriate action
the validity of the acts of the political
departments. It speaks of judicial prerogative
in terms of duty, viz.:
Judicial power includes
the duty of the courts of justice
to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable,
and to determine whether or not
there has been a grave abuse of

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discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part
of any branch or instrumentality
of the Government.
This express definition has resulted in
clearer and more resolute pronouncements of
the Court. Daza v. Singson, Coseteng v. Mitra,
Jr. and Guingona Jr. v. Gonzales similarly
resolved issues assailing the acts of the
leaders of both houses of Congress in
apportioning among political parties the seats
to which each chamber was entitled in the
Commission on Appointments. The Court held
that the issue was justiciable, "even if the
question were political in nature," since it
involved "the legality, not the wisdom, of the
manner of filling the Commission on
Appointments as prescribed by [Section 18,
Article VI of] the Constitution."
The same question of jurisdiction was
raised in Taada v. Angara, wherein the
petitioners sought to nullify the Senate's
concurrence in the ratification of the World
Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement. The
Court ruled: "Where an action of the legislative
branch is seriously alleged to have infringed
the Constitution, it becomes not only the right
but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle
the dispute." The Court en banc unanimously
stressed that in taking jurisdiction over
petitions questioning, an act of the political
departments of government, it will not review
the wisdom, merits or propriety of such action,
and will strike it down only on either of two
grounds: (1) unconstitutionality or illegality
and (2) grave abuse of discretion.
Earlier in Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the
House of Representatives (HRET), the Court
refused to reverse a decision of the HRET, in
the absence of a showing that said tribunal
had committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The Court
ruled that full authority had been conferred
upon the electoral tribunals of the House of
Representatives and of the Senate as sole
judges of all contests relating to the election,
the returns, and the qualifications of their
respective members. Such jurisdiction is
original and exclusive. The Court may inquire
into a decision or resolution of said tribunals
only if such "decision or resolution was
rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction, or
with grave abuse of discretion"
Recently, the Court, in Arroyo v. De
Venecia, was asked to reexamine the enrolled
bill doctrine and to look beyond the
certification of the Speaker of the House of
Representatives that the bill, which was later

enacted as Republic Act 8240, was properly


approved by the legislative body. Petitioners
claimed that certain procedural rules of the
House had been breached in the passage of
the bill. They averred further that a violation of
the constitutionally mandated House rules was
a violation of the Constitution itself.
The Court, however, dismissed the
petition, because the matter complained of
concerned the internal procedures of the
House, with which the Court had no concern. It
enucleated: It would-be an unwarranted
invasion of the prerogative of a coequal
department for this Court either to set aside a
legislative action as void because the Court
thinks the House has disregarded its own rules
of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the
political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial
forum when petitioners can find their remedy
in that department itself. The Court has not
been invested with a roving commission to
inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of
legislative skullduggery. It would be acting in
excess of its power and would itself be guilty
of grave abuse of discretion were it to do so. . .
. In the absence of anything to the contrary,
the Court must assume that Congress or any
House thereof acted in the good faith belief
that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and
deference rather than disrespect is due the
judgment of that body.
In
the
instant
controversy,
the
petitioners one of whom is Senator
Santiago, a well-known constitutionalist try
to hew closely to these jurisprudential
parameters. They claim that Section 16 (1),
Article VI of the constitution, has not been
observed in the selection of the Senate
minority leader. They also invoke the Court's
"expanded" judicial power "to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction" on the part of respondents.
Dissenting in part, Mr. Justice Vicente V.
Mendoza submits that the Court has no
jurisdiction over the petition. Well-settled is
the doctrine, however, that jurisdiction over
the subject matter of a case is determined by
the allegations of the complaint or petition,
regardless of whether the plaintiff or petitioner
is entitled to the relief asserted. In light of the
aforesaid allegations of petitioners, it is clear
that this Court has jurisdiction over the
petition. It is well within the power and
jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether
indeed the Senate or its officials committed a
violation of the Constitution or gravely abused

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their discretion in the exercise
functions and prerogatives.

of

their

(2) No.
Second
Issue:
Violation
of
the
Constitution
Petitioners answer the above question
in the affirmative. They contend that the
constitutional provision requiring the election
of the Senate President "by majority vote of all
members" carries with it a judicial duty to
determine the concepts of "majority" and
"minority," as well as who may elect a minority
leader. They argue that "majority" in the
aforequoted constitutional provision refers to
that group of senators who (1) voted for the
winning Senate President and (2) accepted
committee chairmanships. Accordingly, those
who voted for the losing nominee and
accepted no such chairmanships comprise the
minority, to whom the right to determine the
minority leader belongs. As a result,
petitioners assert, Respondent Guingona
cannot be the legitimate minority leader, since
he voted for Respondent Fernan as Senate
President. Furthermore, the members of the
Lakas-NUCD-UMDP cannot choose the minority
leader, because they did not belong to the
minority, having voted for Fernan and
accepted committee chairmanships.
We
believe,
however,
that
the
interpretation proposed by petitioners finds no
clear support from the Constitution, the laws,
the Rules of the Senate or even from practices
of the Upper House.
The term "majority" has been judicially
defined a number of times. When referring to a
certain number out of a total or aggregate, it
simply "means the number greater than half or
more than half of any total." The plain and
unambiguous
words
of
the
subject
constitutional clause simply mean that the
Senate President must obtain the votes of
more than one half of all the senators. Not by
any construal does it thereby delineate who
comprise the "majority," much less the
"minority," in the said body. And there is no
showing that the framers of our Constitution
had in mind other than the usual meanings of
these terms.
In effect, while the Constitution
mandates that the President of the Senate
must be elected by a number constituting
more than one half of all the members thereof,
it does not provide that the members who will
not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the
"minority," who could thereby elect the
minority leader. Verily, no law or regulation

states that the defeated candidate shall


automatically become the minority leader.
The Comment of Respondent Guingona
furnishes some relevant precedents, which
were not contested in petitioners' Reply.
During the eighth Congress, which was the
first to convene after the ratification of the
1987 Constitution, the nomination of Sen.
Jovito R Salonga as Senate President was
seconded by a member of the minority, then
Sen. Joseph E. Estrada. During the ninth
regular session, when Sen. Edgardo J. Angara
assumed the Senate presidency in 1993, a
consensus was reached to assign committee
chairmanships to all senators, including those
belonging to the minority. This practice
continued during the tenth Congress, where
even the minority leader was allowed to chair
a committee. History would also show that the
"majority" in either house of Congress has
referred to the political party to which the
most number of lawmakers belonged, while
the "minority" normally referred to a party with
a lesser number of members.
Let us go back to the definitions of the
terms "majority" and "minority." Majority may
also refer to "the group, party, or faction with
the larger number of votes," not necessarily
more than one half. This is sometimes referred
to as plurality. In contrast, minority is "a group,
party, or faction with a smaller number of
votes or adherents than the majority."
Between two unequal parts or numbers
comprising a whole or totality, the greater
number would obviously be the majority while
the lesser would be the minority. But where
there are more than two unequal groupings, it
is not as easy to say which is the minority
entitled to select the leader representing all
the minorities. In a government with a multiparty system such as in the Philippines (as
pointed out by petitioners themselves), there
could be several minority parties, one of which
has to be indentified by the Comelec as the
"dominant minority party" for purposes of the
general
elections.
In
the
prevailing
composition of the present Senate, members
either belong to different political parties or
are independent. No constitutional or statutory
provision prescribe which of the many minority
groups or the independents or a combination
thereof has the right to select the minority
leader.
While the Constitution is explicit on the
manner of electing a Senate President and a
House Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on
the manner of selecting the other officers in
both chambers of Congress. All that the

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Charter says is that "[e]ach House shall choose
such other officers as it may deem necessary."
To our mind, the method of choosing who will
be such other officers is merely a derivative of
the exercise of the prerogative conferred by
the aforequoted constitutional provision.
Therefore, such method must be prescribed by
the Senate itself, not by this Court.
In this regard, the Constitution vests in
each house of Congress the power "to
determine the rules of its proceedings."
Pursuant thereto, the Senate formulated and
adopted a set of rules to govern its internal
affairs. Pertinent to the instant case are Rules I
and II thereof, which provide:
Rule I
ELECTIVE OFFICERS
Sec 1. The Senate shall
elect, in the manner hereinafter
provided,
a
President,
a
President
Pro
Tempore,
a
Secretary, and a Sergeant-atArms.
These officers shall take
their oath of office before
entering into the discharge of
their duties.
Rule II
ELECTION OF OFFICER
Sec. 2. The officers of the
Senate shall be elected by the
majority vote of all its Members.
Should there be more than one
candidate for the same office, a
nominal vote shall be taken;
otherwise, the elections shall be
by viva voce or by resolution.
Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not
provide for the positions of majority and
minority leaders. Neither is there an open
clause providing specifically for such offices
and prescribing the manner of creating them
or of choosing the holders thereof, At any rate,
such offices, by tradition and long practice, are
actually extant. But, in the absence of
constitutional or statutory guidelines or
specific rules, this Court is devoid of any basis
upon which to determine the legality of the
acts of the Senate relative thereto. On grounds
of respect for the basic concept of separation
of powers, courts may not intervene in the
internal affairs of the legislature; it is not
within the province of courts to direct
Congress how to do its work. Paraphrasing the
words of Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, this
Court is of the opinion that where no specific,
operable norms and standards are shown to
exist, then the legislature must be given a real

and effective opportunity to fashion and


promulgate as well as to implement them,
before the courts may intervene.
Needless to state, legislative rules,
unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints
of permanence and obligatoriness during their
effectivity. In fact, they "are subject to
revocation, modification or waiver at the
pleasure of the body adopting them." Being
merely matters of procedure, their observance
are of no concern to the courts, for said rules
may be waived or disregarded by the
legislative body at will, upon the concurrence
of a majority.
In view of the foregoing, Congress
verily has the power and prerogative to
provide for such officers as it may deem. And
it is certainly within its own jurisdiction and
discretion to prescribe the parameters for the
exercise of this prerogative. This Court has no
authority to interfere and unilaterally intrude
into that exclusive realm, without running
afoul of constitutional principles that it is
bound to protect and uphold the very duty
that justifies the Court's being. Constitutional
respect and a becoming regard for the
sovereign acts of a coequal branch prevents
this Court from prying into the internal
workings of the Senate. To repeat, this Court
will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it
will remain steadfast and judicious in
upholding the rule and majesty of the law.
To accede, then, to the interpretation of
petitioners would practically amount to judicial
legislation, a clear breach of the constitutional
doctrine of separation of powers. If for this
argument alone, the petition would easily fail.
While no provision of the Constitution
or the laws or the rules and even the practice
of the Senate was violated, and while the
judiciary is without power to decide matters
over which full discretionary authority has
been lodged in the legislative department, this
Court may still inquire whether an act of
Congress or its officials has been made with
grave abuse of discretionThis is the plain
implication of Section 1, Article VIII of the
Constitution, which expressly confers upon the
judiciary the power and the duty not only "to
settle actual controversies involving rights
which
are
legally
demandable
and
enforceable," but likewise "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."
Explaining the above-quoted clause,
former Chief Justice Concepcion, who was a

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member
of
the
1986
Constitutional
Commission, said in part:
. . . the powers of
government
are
generally
considered divided into three
branches: the Legislative, the
Executive and the Judiciary. Each
one is supreme within its own
sphere and independent of the
others.
Because
of
that
supremacy[, the] power to
determine whether a given law
is valid or not is vested in courts
of justice.
Briefly stated, courts of
justice determine the limits of
power of the agencies and
offices of the government as
well as those of its officers. In
other words, the judiciary is the
final arbiter on the question
whether or not a branch of
government or any of its officials
has acted without jurisdiction or
in excess of jurisdiction, or so
capriciously as to constitute an
abuse of discretion amounting
to excess of jurisdiction or lack
of jurisdiction. This is not only a
judicial power but a duty to pass
judgment on matters of this
nature.
This is the background of
paragraph 2 of Section 1, which
means that the courts cannot
hereafter evade the duty to
settle matters of this nature, by
claiming that such matters
constitute a political question.
(3) No.
Third Issue: Usurpation of Office
Usurpation
generally
refers
to
unauthorized
arbitrary
assumption
and
exercise of power by one without color of title
or who is not entitled by law thereto. A quo
warranto proceeding is the proper legal
remedy to determine the right or title to the
contested public office and to oust the holder
from its enjoyment. The action may be brought
by the solicitor general or a public prosecutor
or any person claiming to be entitled to the
public office or position usurped or unlawfully
held or exercised by another. The action shall
be brought against the person who allegedly
usurped, intruded into or is unlawfully holding
of exercising such office.

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In order for a quo warranto proceeding


to be successful, the person suing must show
that he or she has a clear right to the
contested office or to use or exercise the
functions of the office allegedly usurped or
unlawfully held by the respondent. In this case,
petitioners present no sufficient proof of a
clear and indubitable franchise to the office of
the Senate minority leader.
As discussed earlier, the specific norms
or standards that may be used in determining
who may lawfully occupy the disputed position
has not been laid down by the Constitution,
the statutes, or the Senate itself in which the
power has been vested. Absent any clear-cut
guideline, in no way can it be said that
illegality or irregularity tainted Respondent
Guingona's assumption and exercise of the
powers of the office of Senate minority leader.
Furthermore, no grave abuse of discretion has
been shown to characterize any of his specific
acts as minority leader.
(4) No.
Fourth Issue: Fernan's Recognition of
Guingona
The all-embracing and plenary power
and duty of the Court "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"
is
restricted only by the definition and confines of
the term "grave abuse of discretion."
By grave abuse of discretion is meant
such capricious or whimsical exercise of
judgment as is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion
of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform
a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in
contemplation of law as where the power is
exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner
by reason of passion and hostility.
By the above standard, we hold that
Respondent Fernan did not gravely abuse his
discretion as Senate President in recognizing
Respondent Guingona as the minority leader.
Let us recall that the latter belongs to one of
the minority parties in the Senate, the LakasNUCD-UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the
members of this party that he be the minority
leader, he was recognized as such by the
Senate President. Such formal recognition by
Respondent Fernan came only after at least
two Senate sessions and a caucus, wherein
both sides were liberally allowed to articulate
their standpoints.

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Under these circumstances, we believe
that the Senate President cannot be accused
of "capricious or whimsical exercise of
judgment" or of "an arbitrary and despotic
manner by reason of passion or hostility."
Where no provision of the Constitution, the
laws or even the rules of the Senate has been
clearly shown to have been violated,
disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of
discretion cannot be imputed to Senate
officials for acts done within their competence
and authority.
WHEREFORE, for the above reasons,
the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

FACTS: In the session of the Senate of


February 18, 1949, Senator Lorenzo M.
Taadare quested that his right to speak on
the next session day, February 21, 1949, to
formulate charges against the then Senate
President Jose Avelino be reserved. His request
was approved.
On February 21, 1949, hours before the
opening of the session Senator Taada and
Senator Taada and Senator Prospero Sanidad
filed with the Secretary of the Senate a
resolution enumerating charges against the
then Senate President and ordering the
investigation thereof.
Although a sufficient number of
senators to constitute a quorum were at the
Senate session hall at the appointed time
(10:00 A.M.), and the petitioner was already in
his office, said petitioner delayed his
appearance at the session hall until about
11:35 A.M. When he finally ascended the
rostrum, he did not immediately open the
session, but instead requested from the
Secretary a copy of the resolution submitted
by Senators Taada and Sanidad and in the
presence of the public he read slowly and
carefully said resolution, after which he called
and conferred with his colleagues Senator
Francisco and Tirona.
Shortly before 12:00 noon, due to the
session be opened, the petitioner finally called
the meeting to order. Except Senator Sotto
who was confined in a hospital and Senator
Confesor who is in the United States, all the
Senator were present.
Senator Sanidad, following a long
established practice, moved that the roll call
be dispensed with, but Senator Tirona opposed
said motion, obviously in pursuance of a
premeditated plan of petitioner and his

partisans to make use of dilatory tactics to


prevent Senator Taada from delivering his
privilege speech. The roll was called.
Senator Sanidad next moved, as is the
usual practice, to dispense with the reading of
the minutes, but this motion was likewise
opposed by Senator Tirona and David,
evidently, again, in pursuance of the abovementioned conspiracy.
Before and after the roll call and before
and after the reading of the minutes, Senator
Taada repeatedly stood up to claim his right
to deliver his one-hour privilege speech but
the petitioner, then presiding, continuosly
ignored him; and when after the reading of the
minutes, Senator Taada instead on being
recognized by the Chair, the petitioner
announced that he would order the arrest of
any senator who would speak without being
previously recognized by him, but all the while,
tolerating the actions of his follower, Senator
Tirona, who was continuously shouting at
Senator Sanidad "Out of order!" everytime the
latter would ask for recognition of Senator
Taada.
At this juncture, some disorderly
conduct broke out in the Senate gallery, as if
by pre-arrangement. At about this same time
Senator Pablo Angeles David, one of the
petitioner's followers, was recognized by
petitioner, and he moved for adjournment of
session, evidently, again, in pursuance of the
above-mentioned
conspiracy
to
muzzle
Senator Taada.
Senator
Sanidad
registered
his
opposition to the adjournment of the session
and this opposition was seconded by herein
respondent who moved that the motion of
adjournment be submitted to a vote. Another
commotion ensued.
Senator David reiterated his motion for
adjournment and herein respondent also
reiterated his opposition to the adjournment
and again moved that the motion of Senator
David be submitted to a vote.
Suddenly, the petitioner banged the
gavel and abandoning the Chair hurriedly
walked out of the session hall followed by
Senator David, Tirona, Francisco, Torres,
Magalona and Clarin, while the rest of the
senators
remained.
Whereupon
Senator
Melencio Arranz, Senate President Protempore, urged by those senators present took
the Chair and proceeded with the session.
Senator Cabili stood up, and asked that
it be made of record it was so made that
the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by
the petitioner, made it incumbent upon Senate

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114

JOSE AVELINO vs. MARIANO J. CUENCO


G.R. No. L-2821 March 4, 1949

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


President
Pro-tempore
Arranz
and
the
remaining members of the Senate to continue
the session in order not to paralyze the
functions of the Senate.
Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz
then suggested that respondent be designated
to preside over the session which suggestion
was carried unanimously. the respondent
thereupon took the Chair.
Upon motion of Senator Arranz, which
was approved Gregorio Abad was appointed
Acting Secretary, because the Assistance
Secretary, who was then acting as Secretary,
had followed the petitioner when the latter
abandoned the session.
Senator Taada, after being recognized
by the Chair, was then finally able to deliver
his privilege speech. Thereafter Senator
Sanidad read aloud the complete text of said
Resolution (No. 68), and submitted his motion
for approval thereof and the same was
unanimously approved.
With Senate President Pro-tempore
Arranz again occupying the Chair, after the
respondent had yielded it to him, Senator
Sanidad introduced Resolution No. 67, entitled
"Resolution declaring vacant the position of
the President of the Senate and designated the
Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco Acting
President of the Senate." Put to a vote, the
said resolution was unanimously approved.
Senator Cuenco took the oath.
The next day the President of the
Philippines recognized the respondent as
acting president of the Philippines Senate.
By his petition in this quo warranto
proceeding petitioners asked the Court to
declare him the rightful President of the
Philippines senate and oust respondent.

alleged affected without any immediate


remedy. A fortiori we should abstain in this
case because the selection of the presiding
officer affect only the Senators themselves
who are at liberty at any time to choose their
officers, change or reinstate them. Anyway, if,
as the petition must imply to be acceptable,
the majority of the Senators want petitioner to
preside, his remedy lies in the Senate Session
Hall not in the Supreme Court.
The Court will not sally into the
legitimate domain of the Senate on the plea
that our refusal to intercede might lead into a
crisis, even a resolution. No state of things has
been proved that might change the temper of
the Filipino people as a peaceful and lawabiding citizens. And we should not allow
ourselves to be stampeded into a rash action
inconsistent with the calm that should
characterized judicial deliberations.
The precedent of Werts vs. Roger does
not apply, because among other reasons, the
situation is not where two sets of senators
have constituted themselves into two senates
actually functioning as such, (as in said Werts
case), there being no question that there is
presently one Philippines Senate only. To their
credit be it recorded that petitioner and his
partisans have not erected themselves into
another Senate. The petitioner's claim is
merely that respondent has not been duly
elected in his place in the same one
Philippines Senate.
It is furthermore believed that the
recognition accorded by the Chief Executive to
the respondent makes it advisable, more than
ever, to adopt the hands-off policy wisely
enunciated by this Court in matters of similar
nature.

ISSUE:
(1) Does the Court have jurisdiction over the
subject-matter?
(2) If it is has, were resolution Nos. 68 and 67
validly approved?
(3) Should the petition be granted?

(2) The second question depends upon these


sub-questions. (1) Was the session of the socalled rump Senate a continuation of the
session validly assembled with twenty two
Senators in the morning of February 21,
1949?; (2) Was there a quorum in that session?
Mr. Justice Montemayor and Mr. Justice Reyes
deem it useless, for the present to pass on
these questions once it is held, as they do,
that the Court has no jurisdiction over the
case. What follows is the opinion of the other
four on those four on those sub-questions.
Supposing
that
the
Court
has
jurisdiction, there is unanimity in the view that
the session under Senator Arranz was a
continuation of the morning session and that a
minority of ten senators may not, by leaving
the Hall, prevent the other twelve senators

HELD:
(1) No, in view of the separation of powers, the
political nature of the controversy (Alejandrino
vs. Quezon, 46 Phil., 83; Vera vs. Avelino, 77
Phil., 192; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil., 1)
and the constitutional grant to the Senate of
the power to elect its own president, which
power should not be interfered with, nor taken
over, by the judiciary. We refused to take
cognizance of the Vera case even if the rights
of the electors of the suspended senators were

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from passing a resolution that met with their
unanimous endorsement. The answer might be
different had the resolution been approved
only by ten or less.
If the rump session was not a
continuation of the morning session, was it
validly constituted? In other words, was there
the majority required by the Constitution for
the transaction of the business of the Senate?
Justice Paras, Feria, Pablo and Bengzon say
there was, firstly because the minute say so,
secondly, because at the beginning of such
session there were at least fourteen senators
including Senators Pendatun and Lopez, and
thirdly because in view of the absence from
the country of Senator Tomas Confesor twelve
senators constitute a majority of the Senate of
twelve three senators. When the Constitution
declares that a majority of "each House" shall
constitute a quorum, "the House: does not
mean "all" the members. Even a majority of all
the members constitute "the House". (Missouri
Pac. vs. Kansas, 63 Law ed. [U. S.], p. 239).
There is a difference between a majority of
"the House", the latter requiring less number
than the first. Therefore an absolute majority
(12) of all the members of the Senate less one
(23), constitutes constitutional majority of the
Senate for the purpose of a quorum. Mr. Justice
Pablo believes furthermore than even if the
twelve did not constitute a quorum, they could
have ordered the arrest of one, at least, of the
absent members; if one had been so arrested,
there would be no doubt Quorum then, and
Senator Cuenco would have been elected just
the same inasmuch as there would be eleven
for Cuenco, one against and one abstained.
In fine, all the four justice agree that
the Court being confronted with the practical
situation that of the twenty three senators who
may participate in the Senate deliberations in
the days immediately after this decision,
twelve senators will support Senator Cuenco
and, at most, eleven will side with Senator
Avelino, it would be most injudicious to declare
the latter as the rightful President of the
Senate, that office being essentially one that
depends exclusively upon the will of the
majority of the senators, the rule of the Senate
about tenure of the President of that body
being amenable at any time by that majority.
And at any session hereafter held with thirteen
or more senators, in order to avoid all
controversy arising from the divergence of
opinion here about quorum and for the benefit
of all concerned,the said twelve senators who
approved the resolutions herein involved could

ratify all their acts and thereby place them


beyond the shadow of a doubt.
As already stated, the six justices
hereinabove mentioned voted to dismiss the
petition. Without costs.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

116

JOKER P. ARROYO ET. AL., vs. JOSE DE


VENECIA ET. AL.,
G.R. No. 127255 August 14, 1997
MENDOZA, J.:
FACTS: This is a petition for certiorari and/or
prohibition challenging the validity of Republic
Act No. 8240, which amends certain provisions
of the National Internal Revenue Code by
imposing so-called "sin taxes" (actually
specific taxes) on the manufacture and sale of
beer and cigarettes.
Petitioners are members of the House
of Representatives. They brought this suit
against respondents Jose de Venecia, Speaker
of the House of Representatives, Deputy
Speaker Raul Daza, Majority Leader Rodolfo
Albano, the Executive Secretary, the Secretary
of Finance, and the Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, charging violation of the rules of the
House
which
petitioners
claim
are
"constitutionally mandated" so that their
violation is tantamount to a violation of the
Constitution.
The law originated in the House of
Representatives as H. No. 7198. This bill was
approved on third reading on September 12,
1996 and transmitted on September 16, 1996
to the Senate which approved it with certain
amendments on third reading on November
17, 1996. A bicameral conference committee
was formed to reconcile the disagreeing
provisions of the House and Senate versions of
the bill.
The bicameral conference committee
submitted its report to the House at 8 a.m. on
November 21, 1996. At 11:48 a.m., after a
recess, Rep. Exequiel Javier, chairman of the
Committee on Ways and Means, proceeded to
deliver his sponsorship speech, after which he
was interpellate. Rep. Rogelio Sarmiento was
first to interpellate. He was interrupted when
Rep. Arroyo moved to adjourn for lack of
quorum. Rep. Antonio Cuenco objected to the
motion and asked for a head count. After a roll
call, the Chair (Deputy Speaker Raul Daza)
declared the presence of a quorum. Rep.
Arroyo appealed the ruling of the Chair, but his
motion was defeated when put to a vote. The
interpellation of the sponsor thereafter
proceeded.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Petitioner Rep. Joker Arroyo registered
to interpellate. He was fourth in the order,
following Rep. Rogelio Sarmiento, Rep. Edcel C.
Lagman and Rep. Enrique Garcia. In the course
of his interpellation, Rep. Arroyo announced
that he was going to raise a question on the
quorum, although until the end of his
interpellation he never did. What happened
thereafter is shown in the following transcript
of the session on November 21, 1996 of the
House of Representatives, as published by
Congress in the newspaper issues of
December 5 and 6, 1996:
MR.
ALBANO.
MR.
Speaker, I move that we now
approved
and
ratify
the
conference committee report.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
(Mr. Daza). Any objection to the
motion?
MR. ARROYO. What is
that, Mr. Speaker?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
(Mr. Daza). There being none,
approved.
(Gavel)
MR. ARROYO. No, no, no,
wait a minute, Mr. Speaker, I
stood up. I want to know what is
the question that the Chair
asked the distinguished sponsor.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
(Mr. Daza). The session is
suspended for one minute.
(It was 3:01 p.m.)
(3:40 p.m., the session
was resumed)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
(Mr. Daza). The session is
resumed.
MR.
ALBANO.
Mr.
Speaker, I move to adjourn until
four o'clock, Wednesday, next
week.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
(Mr. Daza). The session is
adjourned until four o'clock,
Wednesday, next week.
(It was 3:40 p.m.)
On the same day, the bill was signed by
the Speaker of the House of Representatives
and the President of the Senate and certified
by the respective secretaries of both Houses of
Congress as having been finally passed by the
House of Representatives and by the Senate
on November 21, 1996. The enrolled bill was
signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on
November 22, 1996.

Petitioners claim that there are actually


four different version of the transcript of this
portion of Rep. Arroyo's interpellation: (1) the
transcript of audio-sound recording of the
proceedings in the session hall immediately
after the session adjourned at 3:40 p.m. on
November 21, 1996, which petitioner Rep.
Edcel C. Lagman obtained from The operators
of the sound system; (2) the transcript of the
proceedings from 3:00 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. of
November 21, 1996, as certified by the Chief
of the Transcription Division on November 21,
1996, also obtained by Rep. Lagman; (3) the
transcript of the proceedings from 3:00 p.m. to
3:40 p.m. of November 21, 1996 as certified
by the Chief of the Transcription Division on
November 28, 1996, also obtained by Rep.
Lagman; and (4) the published version
abovequoted. According to petitioners, the
four versions differ on three points, to wit: (1)
in the audio-sound recording the word
"approved," which appears on line 13 in the
three other versions, cannot be heard; (2) in
the transcript certified on November 21, 1996
the world "no" on line 17 appears only once,
while in the other versions it is repeated three
times; and (3) the published version does not
contain the sentence "(Y)ou better prepare for
a quorum because I will raise the question of
the quorum," which appears in the other
versions.
Petitioners' allegations are vehemently
denied by respondents. However, there is no
need to discuss this point as petitioners have
announced that, in order to expedite the
resolution of this petition, they admit, without
conceding, the correctness of the transcripts
relied upon by the respondents. Petitioners
agree that for purposes of this proceeding the
word "approved" appears in the transcripts.
Only the proceedings of the House of
Representatives on the conference committee
report on H. No. 7198 are in question.
Petitioners' principal argument is that R.A. No.
8240 is null and void because it was passed in
violation of the rules of the House; that these
rules embody the "constitutional mandate" in
Art. VI, 16(3) that "each House may
determine the rules of its proceedings" and
that, consequently, violation of the House
rules is a violation of the Constitution itself.
They contend that the certification of Speaker
De Venecia that the law was properly passed is
false and spurious.
More specifically, petitioners charge
that (1) in violation of Rule VIII, 35 and Rule
XVII, 103 of the rules of the House, the Chair,
in submitting the conference committee report

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to the House, did not call for the yeas or nays,
but simply asked for its approval by motion in
order to prevent petitioner Arroyo from
questioning the presence of a quorum; (2) in
violation of Rule XIX, 112, the Chair
deliberately ignored Rep. Arroyo's question,
"What is that . . . Mr. Speaker?" and did not
repeat Rep. Albano's motion to approve or
ratify; (3) in violation of Rule XVI, 97, the
Chair refused to recognize Rep. Arroyo and
instead proceeded to act on Rep. Albano's
motion and afterward declared the report
approved; and (4) in violation of Rule XX,
121-122, Rule XXI, 123, and Rule XVIII,
109, the Chair suspended the session without
first ruling on Rep. Arroyo's question which, it
is alleged, is a point of order or a privileged
motion. It is argued that Rep. Arroyo's query
should have been resolved upon the
resumption of the session on November 28,
1996, because the parliamentary situation at
the time of the adjournment remained upon
the resumption of the session.
Petitioners also charge that the session
was hastily adjourned at 3:40 p.m. on
November 21, 1996 and the bill certified by
Speaker Jose De Venecia to prevent petitioner
Rep. Arroyo from formally challenging the
existence of a quorum and asking for a
reconsideration.
Petitioners urge the Court not to feel
bound by the certification of the Speaker of
the House that the law had been properly
passed, considering the Court's power under
Art. VIII, 1 to pass on claims of grave abuse of
discretion by the other departments of the
government, and they ask for a reexamination
of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, which
affirmed the conclusiveness of an enrolled bill,
in view of the changed membership of the
Court.
The Solicitor General filed a comment
in behalf of all respondents. In addition,
respondent De Venecia filed a supplemental
comment. Respondents' defense is anchored
on the principle of separation of powers and
the enrolled bill doctrine. They argue that the
Court is not the proper forum for the
enforcement of the rules of the House and that
there is no justification for reconsidering the
enrolled
bill
doctrine.
Although
the
Constitution provides in Art. VI, 16(3) for the
adoption by each House of its rules of
proceedings, enforcement of the rules cannot
be sought in the courts except insofar as they
implement constitutional requirements such as
that relating to three readings on separate
days before a bill may be passed. At all events,

respondents contend that, in passing the bill


which became R.A. No. 8240, the rules of the
House, as well as parliamentary precedents for
approval of conference committee reports on
mere motion, were faithfully observed.
In
his
supplemental
comment,
respondent De Venecia denies that his
certification of H. No. 7198 is false and
spurious and contends that under the journal
entry rule, the judicial inquiry sought by the
petitioners is barred. Indeed, Journal No. 39 of
the House of Representatives, covering the
sessions of November 20 and 21, 1996, shows
that "On Motion of Mr. Albano, there being no
objection, the Body approved the Conference
Committee Report on House Bill No. 7198."
This Journal was approved on December 2,
1996 over the lone objection of petitioner Rep.
Lagman.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

118

ISSUE: Whether or not the passage of RA


8240 is in violation of the rules of the House,
making it null & void?
HELD: No. After considering the arguments of
the parties, the Court finds no ground for
holding that Congress committed a grave
abuse of discretion in enacting R.A. No. 8240.
This case is therefore dismissed.
(1) First. It is clear from the foregoing
facts that what is alleged to have been
violated in the enactment of R.A. No. 8240 are
merely internal rules of procedure of the House
rather than constitutional requirements for the
enactment of a law, i.e., Art. VI, 26-27.
Petitioners do not claim that there was no
quorum but only that, by some maneuver
allegedly in violation of the rules of the House,
Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from
questioning the presence of a quorum.
Petitioners contend that the House
rules
were
adopted
pursuant
to
the
constitutional provision that "each House may
determine the rules of its proceedings"and
that for this reason they are judicially
enforceable. To begin with, this contention
stands the principle on its head. In the decided
cases, the constitutional provision that "each
House may determine the rules of its
proceedings" was invoked by parties, although
not successfully, precisely to support claims of
autonomy of the legislative branch to conduct
its business free from interference by courts.
Here petitioners cite the provision for the
opposite purpose of invoking judicial review.
But the cases, both here and abroad, in
varying forms of expression, all deny to the
courts the power to inquire into allegations

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


that, in enacting a law, a House of Congress
failed to comply with its own rules, in the
absence of showing that there was a violation
of a constitutional provision or the rights of
private individuals. In Osmea v. Pendatun, it
was held: "At any rate, courts have declared
that 'the rules adopted by deliberative bodies
are subject to revocation, modification or
waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting
them.' And it has been said that 'Parliamentary
rules are merely procedural, and with their
observance, the courts have no concern. They
may be waived or disregarded by the
legislative body.' Consequently, 'mere failure
to conform to parliamentary usage will not
invalidate the action (taken by a deliberative
body) when the requisite number of members
have agreed to a particular measure.'"
In United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co.,
12
the rules was stated thus: "The Constitution
empowers each house to determine its rules of
proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore
constitutional restraints or violate fundamental
rights, and there should be a reasonable
relation between the mode or method of
proceeding established by the rule and the
result which is sought to be attained. But
within these limitations all matters of method
are open to the determination of the House,
and it is no impeachment of the rule to say
that some other way would be better, more
accurate, or even more just. It is no objection
to the validity of a rule that a different one has
been prescribed and in force for a length of
time. The power to make rules is not one
which once exercised is exhausted. It is a
continuous power, always subject to be
exercised by the House, and within the
limitations suggested, absolute and beyond
the challenge of any other body or tribunal."
In Crawford v. Gilchrist, 13 it was held:
"The provision that each House shall
determine the rules of its proceedings does
not restrict the power given to a mere
formulation of standing rules, or to the
proceedings of the body in ordinary legislative
matters; but in the absence of constitutional
restraints, and when exercised by a majority of
a constitutional quorum, such authority
extends to a determination of the propriety
and effect of any action as it is taken by the
body as it proceeds in the exercise of any
power, in the transaction of any business, or in
the performance of any duty conferred upon it
by the Constitution."
In State ex rel. City Loan & Savings Co.
v. Moore, the Supreme Court of Ohio stated:
"The provision for reconsideration is no part of

the Constitution and is therefore entirely within


the control of the General Assembly. Having
made the rule, it should be regarded, but a
failure to regard it is not the subject-matter of
judicial inquiry. It has been decided by the
courts of last resort of many states, and also
by the United States Supreme Court, that a
legislative act will not be declared invalid for
noncompliance with rules."
In State v. Savings Bank, the Supreme
Court of Errors of Connecticut declared itself as
follows: "The Constitution declares that each
house shall determine the rules of its own
proceedings and shall have all powers
necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a
free and independent state. Rules of
proceedings are the servants of the House and
subject to its authority. This authority may be
abused, but when the House has acted in a
matter clearly within its power, it would be an
unwarranted invasion of the independence of
the legislative department for the court to set
aside such action as void because it may think
that the House has misconstrued or departed
from its own rules of procedure."
In McDonald v. State, the Wisconsin
Supreme Court held: "When it appears that an
act was so passed, no inquiry will be permitted
to ascertain whether the two houses have or
have not complied strictly with their own rules
in their procedure upon the bill, intermediate
its introduction and final passage. The
presumption is conclusive that they have done
so. We think no court has ever declared an act
of the legislature void for non-compliance with
the rules of procedure made by itself , or the
respective branches thereof, and which it or
they may change or suspend at will. If there
are any such adjudications, we decline to
follow them."
Schweizer v. Territory 17 is illustrative of
the rule in these cases. The 1893 Statutes of
Oklahoma provided for three readings on
separate days before a bill may be passed by
each house of the legislature, with the proviso
that in case of an emergency the house
concerned may, by two-thirds vote, suspend
the operation of the rule. Plaintiff was
convicted in the district court of violation of a
law
punishing
gambling.
He
appealed
contending that the gambling statute was not
properly passed by the legislature because the
suspension of the rule on three readings had
not been approved by the requisite two-thirds
vote. Dismissing this contention, the State
Supreme Court of Oklahoma held:
We
have
no
constitutional provision requiring

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that the legislature should read
a bill in any particular manner. It
may, then, read or deliberate
upon a bill as it sees fit. either in
accordance with its own rules, or
in violation thereof, or without
making any rules. The provision
of section 17 referred to is
merely a statutory provision for
the direction of the legislature in
its
action
upon
proposed
measures. It receives its entire
force from legislative sanction,
and it exists only at legislative
pleasure. The failure of the
legislature to properly weigh and
consider an act, its passage
through the legislature in a
hasty manner, might be reasons
for the governor withholding his
signature thereto; but this alone,
even though it is shown to be a
violation of a rule which the
legislature had made to govern
its own proceedings, could be no
reason for the court's refusing
its enforcement after it was
actually passed by a majority of
each branch of the legislature,
and duly signed by the governor.
The courts cannot declare an
act of the legislature void on
account of noncompliance with
rules of procedure made by
itself to govern its deliberations.
McDonald v. State, 80 Wis. 407,
50 N.W. 185; In re Ryan, 80 Wis.
414, 50 N.W. 187; State v.
Brown, 33 S.C. 151, 11 S.E. 641;
Railway Co. v. Gill, 54 Ark. 101,
15 S.W. 18.
We conclude this survey with the useful
summary of the rulings by former Chief Justice
Fernando, commenting on the power of each
House of Congress to determine its rules of
proceedings. He wrote:
Rules
are
hardly
permanent in character. The
prevailing view is that they are
subject
to
revocation,
modification or waiver at the
pleasure of the body adopting
them as they are primarily
procedural. Courts ordinary have
no
concern
with
their
observance.
They
may
be
waived or disregarded by the
legislative body. Consequently,

mere failure to conform to them


does not have the effect of
nullifying the act taken if the
requisite number of members
have agreed to a particular
measure. The above principle is
subject,
however,
to
this
qualification.
Where
the
construction to be given to a
rule affects person other than
members of the legislative body
the
question
presented
is
necessarily judicial in character.
Even its validity is open to
question in a case where private
rights are involved.
In this case no rights of private
individuals are involved but only those of a
member who, instead of seeking redress in the
House, chose to transfer the dispute to this
Court. We have no more power to look into the
internal proceedings of a House than members
of that House have to look over our shoulders,
as long as no violation of constitutional
provisions is shown.
Petitioners must realize that each of the
three departments of our government has its
separate sphere which the others may not
invade without upsetting the delicate balance
on which our constitutional order rests. Due
regard for the working of our system of
government, more than mere comity, compels
reluctance on our part to enter upon an inquiry
into an alleged violation of the rules of the
House. We must accordingly decline the
invitation to exercise our power.
(2) Second. Petitioners, quoting former
Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion's sponsorship
in the Constitutional Commission, contend that
under Art. VIII, 1, "nothing involving abuse of
discretion [by the other branches of the
government] amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction is beyond judicial review." Implicit
in this statement of the former Chief Justice,
however, is an acknowledgment that the
jurisdiction of this Court is subject to the case
and controversy requirement of Art. VIII. 5
and, therefore, to the requirement of a
justiciable controversy before courts can
adjudicate constitutional questions such as
those which arise in the field of foreign
relations. For while Art. VIII, 1 has broadened
the scope of judicial inquiry into areas
normally left to the political departments to
decide, such as those relating to national
security, it has not altogether done away with
political questions such as those which arise in
the field of foreign relations. As we have

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already held, under Art. VIII, 1, this Court's
function is merely [to] check whether or not
the governmental branch or agency has gone
beyond the constitutional limits of its
jurisdiction, not that it erred or has a different
view. In the absence of a showing . . . [of]
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court
to exercise its corrective power. . . . It has no
power to look into what it thinks is apparent
error.
If, then, the established rule is that
courts cannot declare an act of the legislature
void on account merely of noncompliance with
rules of procedure made by itself, it follows
that such a case does not present a situation
in which a branch of the government has
"gone beyond the constitutional limits of its
jurisdiction" so as to call for the exercise of our
Art. VIII. 1 power.
(3) Third. Petitioners claim that the
passage of the law in the House was
"railroaded." They claim that Rep. Arroyo was
still making a query to the Chair when the
latter declared Rep. Albano's motion approved.
What happened is that, after Rep.
Arroyo's interpellation of the sponsor of the
committee report, Majority Leader Rodolfo
Albano moved for the approval and ratification
of the conference committee report. The Chair
called out for objections to the motion. Then
the Chair declared: "There being none,
approved." At the same time the Chair was
saying this, however, Rep. Arroyo was asking,
"What is that . . . Mr. Speaker?" The Chair and
Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously. Thus,
although Rep. Arroyo subsequently objected to
the Majority Leader's motion, the approval of
the conference committee report had by then
already been declared by the Chair,
symbolized by its banging of the gavel.
Petitioners argue that, in accordance
with the rules of the House, Rep. Albano's
motion for the approval of the conference
committee report should have been stated by
the Chair and later the individual votes of the
members should have been taken. They say
that the method used in this case is a
legislator's nightmare because it suggests
unanimity when the fact was that one or some
legislators opposed the report.
No rule of the House of Representative
has been cited which specifically requires that
in case such as this involving approval of a
conference committee report, the Chair must
restate the motion and conduct a viva voce or
nominal voting. On the other hand, as the
Solicitor General has pointed out, the manner

in which the conference committee report on


H. No. 7198 was approval was by no means a
unique one. It has basis in legislative practice.
It was the way the conference committee
report on the bills which became the Local
Government Code of 1991 and the conference
committee report on the bills amending the
Tariff and Customs Code were approved.
In 1957, the practice was questioned as
being contrary to the rules of the House. The
point was answered by Majority Leader Arturo
M. Tolentino and his answer became the ruling
of the Chair Mr. Tolentino said:
Mr. TOLENTINO. The fact that
nobody
objects
means
a
unanimous action of the House.
Insofar
as the
matter of
procedure is concerned, this has
been a precedent since I came
here seven years ago, and it has
been the procedure in this
House that if somebody objects,
then a debate follows and after
the debate, then the voting
comes in.
xxx xxx xxx
Mr. Speaker, a point of order was
raised by the gentleman from
Leyte, and I wonder what his
attitude is nor on his point of
order. I should just like to state
that I believe that we have had
a substantial compliance with
the Rules. The Rule invoked is
not one that refers to statutory
or constitutional requirement,
and a substantial compliance, to
my mind, is sufficient. When the
Chair announces the vote by
saying "Is there any objection?"
and nobody objects, then the
Chair announces "The bill is
approved on second reading." If
there was any doubt as to the
vote, any motion to divide would
have been proper. So, if that
motion is not presented, we
assume
that
the
House
approves the measure. So I
believe there is substantial
compliance here, and if anybody
wants a division of the House he
can always ask for it, and the
Chair can announce how many
are in favor and how many are
against.
Indeed, it is no impeachment of the
method to say that some other way would be

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better, more accurate and even more just. The
advantages or disadvantages, the wisdom or
folly of a method do not present any matter for
judicial consideration. In the words of the U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, "this Court cannot
provide a second opinion on what is the best
procedure. Notwithstanding the deference and
esteem that is properly tendered to individual
congressional actors, our deference and
esteem for the institution as a whole and for
the constitutional command that the institution
be allowed to manage its own affairs precludes
us from even attempting a diagnosis of the
problem."
Nor does the Constitution require that
the
yeas
and
the
nays
of
the Members be taken every time a House has
to vote, except only in the following instances;
upon the last and third readings of a bill, at the
request of one-fifth of the Members present,
and in repassing a bill over the veto of the
President. Indeed, considering the fact that in
the approval of the original bill the votes of the
members by yeas and nays had already been
taken, it would have been sheer tedium to
repeat the process.
Petitioners claim that they were
prevented
from
seeking
reconsideration
allegedly as a result of the precipitate
suspension and subsequent adjournment of
the session. It would appear, however, that the
session was suspended to allow the parties to
settle the problem, because when it resumed
at 3:40 p.m. on that day Rep. Arroyo did not
say anything anymore. While it is true that the
Majority Leader moved for adjournment until 4
p.m. of Wednesday of the following week, Rep.
Arroyo could at least have objected if there
was anything he wanted to say. The fact,
however, is that he did not. The Journal of
November 21, 1996 of the House shows. This
Journal was approved on December 3, 1996.
Again, no one objected to its approval except
Rep. Lagman.
It is thus apparent that petitioners'
predicament was largely of their own making.
Instead of submitting the proper motions for
the House to act upon, petitioners insisted on
the pendency of Rep. Arroyo's question as an
obstacle to the passage of the bill. But Rep.
Arroyo's question was not, in form or
substance, a point of order or a question of
privilege entitled to precedence. And even if
Rep. Arroyo's question were so, Rep. Albano's
motion to adjourn would have precedence and
would have put an end to any further
consideration of the question.

Given this fact, it is difficult to see how


it can plausibly be contended that in signing
the bill which became R.A. No. 8240,
respondent Speaker of the House be acted
with grave abuse of his discretion. Indeed, the
phrase "grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction" has a settled
meaning in the jurisprudence of procedure. It
means such capricious and whimsical exercise
of judgment by a tribunal exercising judicial or
quasi judicial power as to amount to lack of
power. As Chief Justice Concepcion himself
said in explaining this provision, the power
granted to the courts by Art. VIII. 1 extends to
cases where "a branch of the government or
any of its officials has acted without
jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so
capriciously as to constitute an abuse of
discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction."
Here, the matter complained of
concerns a matter of internal procedure of the
House with which the Court should not he
concerned. To repeat, the claim is not that
there was no quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo
was effectively prevented from questioning the
presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyo's earlier
motion to adjourn for lack of quorum had
already been defeated, as the roll call
established the existence of a quorum. The
question of quorum cannot be raised
repeatedly especially when the quorum is
obviously present for the purpose of
delaying the business of the House. Rep.
Arroyo waived his objection by his continued
interpellation of the sponsor for in so doing he
in effect acknowledged the presence of a
quorum.
At any rate it is noteworthy that of the
111 members of the House earlier found to be
present on November 21, 1996, only the five,
i.e., petitioners in this case, are questioning
the manner by which the conference
committee report on H. No. 7198 was
approved on that day. No one, except Rep.
Arroyo, appears to have objected to the
manner by which the report was approved.
Rep. John Henry Osmea did not participate in
the
bicameral
conference
committee
proceedings. Rep. Lagman and Rep. Zamora
objected to the report but not to the manner it
was approved; while it is said that, if voting
had been conducted. Rep. Taada would have
voted in favor of the conference committee
report.
(4) Fourth. Under the enrolled bill
doctrine, the signing of H. No. 7198 by the
Speaker of the House and the President of the
Senate and the certification by the secretaries

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of both Houses of Congress that it was passed
on November 21, 1996 are conclusive of its
due enactment. Much energy and learning is
devoted in the separate opinion of Justice
Puno, joined by Justice Davide, to disputing
this doctrine. To be sure, there is no claim
either here or in the decision in the EVAT cases
[Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance] that the
enrolled
bill
embodies
a
conclusive
presumption. In one case we "went behind" an
enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to
determine whether certain provisions of a
statute had been approved by the Senate.
But, where as here there is no evidence
to the contrary, this Court will respect the
certification of the presiding officers of both
Houses that a bill has been duly passed. Under
this rule, this Court has refused to determine
claims that the three-fourths vote needed to
pass a proposed amendment to the
Constitution had not been obtained, because
"a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports
absolute verify and is binding on the courts."
This Court quoted from Wigmore on Evidence
the following excerpt which embodies good, if
old-fashioned, democratic theory:
The truth is that many have been
carried away with the righteous desire to
check at any cost the misdoings of
Legislatures. They have set such store by the
Judiciary for this purpose that they have
almost made them a second and higher
Legislature. But they aim in the wrong
direction. Instead of trusting a faithful Judiciary
to check an inefficient Legislature, they should
turn to improve the Legislature. The sensible
solution is not to patch and mend casual errors
by asking the Judiciary to violate legal principle
and to do impossibilities with the Constitution;
but to represent ourselves with competent,
careful, and honest legislators, the work of
whose hands on the statute-roll may come to
reflect credit upon the name of popular
government.
This Court has refused to even look into
allegations that the enrolled bill sent to the
President contained provisions which had been
"surreptitiously" inserted in the conference
committee:
[W]here
allegations
that
the
constitutional procedures for the passage of
bills have not been observed have no more
basis than another allegation that the
Conference
Committee
"surreptitiously"
inserted provisions into a bill which it had
prepared, we should decline the invitation to
go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To
disregard the "enrolled bill" rule in such cases

would be to disregard the respect due the


other two departments of our government.
It has refused to look into charges that
an amendment was made upon the last
reading of a bill in violation of Art. VI. 26(2) of
the Constitution that "upon the last reading of
a bill, no amendment shall be allowed."
In other cases, this Court has denied
claims that the tenor of a bill was otherwise
than as certified by the presiding officers of
both Houses of Congress.
The enrolled bill doctrine, as a rule of
evidence, is well established. It is cited with
approval by text writers here and abroad. The
enrolled bill rule rests on the following
considerations:
. . . As the President has
no authority to approve a bill not
passed by Congress, an enrolled
Act in the custody of the
Secretary of State, and having
the official attestations of the
Speaker of the House of
Representatives,
of
the
President of the Senate, and of
the President of the United
States, carries, on its face, a
solemn
assurance
by
the
legislative
and
executive
departments of the government,
charged, respectively, with the
duty of enacting and executing
the laws, that it was passed by
Congress. The respect due to
coequal
and
independent
departments
requires
the
judicial department to act upon
that assurance, and to accept,
as having passed Congress, all
bills
authenticated
in
the
manner stated; leaving the court
to determine, when the question
properly arises, whether the Act,
so
authenticated,
is
in
conformity with the Constitution.
To overrule the doctrine now, as the
dissent urges, is to repudiate the massive
teaching of our cases and overthrow an
established rule of evidence.
Indeed, petitioners have advanced no
argument to warrant a departure from the
rule, except to say that, with a change in the
membership of the Court, the three new
members may be assumed to have an open
mind on the question of the enrolled bill rule
Actually, not three but four (Cruz, Feliciano,
Bidin, and Quiason, JJ.) have departed from the
Court since our decision in the EVAT cases and

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their places have since been taken by four new
members
(Francisco,
Hermosisima,
Panganiban, and Torres, JJ.) Petitioners are thus
simply banking on the change in the
membership of the Court.
Moreover, as already noted, the due
enactment of the law in question is confirmed
by the Journal of the House of November 21,
1996 which shows that the conference
committee report on H. No. 7198, which
became R.A. No. 8740, was approved on that
day. The keeping of the Journal is required by
the Constitution, Art. VI, 16(4) provides:
Each House shall keep a
Journal of its proceedings, and
from time to time publish the
same, excepting such parts as
may, in its judgment, affect
national security; and the yeas
and nays on any question shall,
at the request of one-fifth of the
Members present, be entered in
the Journal.
Each House shall also
keep
a
Record
of
its
proceedings.
The Journal is regarded as conclusive
with respect to matters that are required by
the Constitution to be recorded therein. With
respect to other matters, in the absence of
evidence to the contrary, the Journals have
also been accorded conclusive effect. Thus, in
United States v. Pons, this Court spoke of the
imperatives of public policy for regarding the
Journals as "public memorials of the most
permanent character," thus: "They should be
public, because all are required to conform to
them; they should be permanent, that rights
acquired today upon the faith of what has
been declared to be law shall not be destroyed
tomorrow, or at some remote period of time,
by facts resting only in the memory of
individuals." As already noted, the bill which
became R.A. No. 8240 is shown in the Journal.
Hence its due enactment has been duly
proven.
It would be an unwarranted invasion of
the prerogative of a coequal department for
this Court either to set aside a legislative
action as void because the Court thinks the
House has disregarded its own rules of
procedure, or to allow those defeated in the
political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial
forum when petitioners can find their remedy
in that department itself. The Court has not
been invested with a roving commission to
inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of
legislative skullduggery. It would be acting in

excess of its power and would itself be guilty


of grave abuse of its discretion were it to do
so. The suggestion made in a case may
instead
appropriately
be
made
here:
petitioners can seek the enactment of a new
law or the repeal or amendment of R.A. No.
8240. In the absence of anything to the
contrary, the Court must assume that
Congress or any House thereof acted in the
good faith belief that its conduct was
permitted by its rules, and deference rather
than disrespect is due the judgment of that
body.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari
and prohibition is DISMISSED.

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124

SERGIO OSMEA, JR., vs. SALIPADA K.


PENDATUNET. AL.,
G.R. No. L-17144 October 28, 1960
BENGZON, J.:
FACTS: On July 14, 1960, Congressman Sergio
Osmea, Jr., submitted to this Court a verified
petition for "declaratory relief, certiorari and
prohibition with preliminary injunction" against
Congressman Salapida K. Pendatun and
fourteen other congressmen in their capacity
as members of the Special Committee created
by House Resolution No. 59. He asked for
annulment of such Resolution on the ground of
infringenment of his parliamentary immunity;
he also asked, principally, that said members
of the special committee be enjoined from
proceeding in accordance with it, particularly
the portion authorizing them to require him to
substantiate his charges of bribery against the
President GArcia with the admonition that if he
failed to do so, he must show cause why the
House should not punish him.
In support of his request, Congressman
Osmea alleged; first, the Resolution violated
his constitutional absolute parliamentary
immunity for speeches delivered in the House;
second, his words constituted no actionable
conduct; and third, after his allegedly
objectionable speech and words, the House
took up other business, and Rule XVII, sec. 7 of
the Rules of House provides that if other
business has intervened after the member had
uttered obnoxious words in debate, he shall
not be held to answer therefor nor be subject
to censure by the House.
Although some members of the court
expressed doubts of petitioner's cause of
action and the Court's jurisdiction, the majority
decided to hear the matter further, and
required respondents to answer, without
issuing any preliminary injunction. Evidently

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aware of such circumstance with its
implications, and pressed for time in view of
the imminent adjournment of the legislative
session, the special committee continued to
perform its talk, and after giving Congressman
Osmea a chance to defend himself,
submitted its reports on July 18, 1960, finding
said congressman guilty of serious disorderly
behaviour; and acting on such report, the
House approved on the same daybefore
closing its sessionHouse Resolution No. 175,
declaring him guilty as recommended, and
suspending him from office for fifteen months.
Thereafter, on July 19, 1960, the
respondents
(with
the
exception
of
Congressmen De Pio, Abeleda, San Andres
Ziga, Fernandez and Balatao)1 filed their
answer, challenged the jurisdiction of this
Court to entertain the petition, defended the
power of Congress to discipline its members
with suspension, upheld a House Resolution
No. 175 and then invited attention to the fact
that Congress having ended its session on July
18, 1960, the Committeewhose members
are the sole respondentshad thereby ceased
to exist.
There is no question that Congressman
Osmea, in a privilege speech delivered before
the House, made the serious imputations of
bribery against the President which are quoted
in Resolution No. 59 and that he refused to
produce before the House Committee created
for the purpose, evidence to substantiate such
imputations. There is also no question that for
having made the imputations and for failing to
produce evidence in support thereof, he was,
by resolution of the House, suspended from
office for a period of fifteen months for serious
disorderly behaviour.
As
previously
stated,
Osmea
contended in his petition that: (1) the
Constitution gave him complete parliamentary
immunity, and so, for words spoken in the
House, he ought not to be questioned; (2) that
his speech constituted no disorderly behaviour
for which he could be punished; and (3)
supposing he could be questioned and
discipline therefor, the House had lost the
power to do so because it had taken up other
business before approving House Resolution
No. 59. Now, he takes the additional position
(4) that the House has no power, under the
Constitution, to suspend one of its members.
ISSUE:
(1) Whether or not the Constitution gave him
complete parliamentary immunity, and so, for

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words spoken in the House, he ought not to be


questioned?
(2) Supposing he could be questioned and
discipline therefor, whether or not the House
had lost the power to do so because it had
taken up other business before approving
House Resolution No. 59?
(3) Whether or not this Court can assume the
power to determine whether Osmea conduct
constituted disorderly behaviour?
(4) Whether or not the House has no power,
under the Constitution, to suspend one of its
members?
HELD:
(1 & 2) Section 15, Article VI of our
Constitution provides that "for any speech or
debate" in Congress, the Senators or Members
of the House of Representative "shall not be
questioned in any other place." This section
was taken or is a copy of sec. 6, clause 1 of
Art. 1 of the Constitution of the United States.
In that country, the provision has always been
understood to mean that although exempt
from prosecution or civil actions for their words
uttered in Congress, the members of Congress
may, nevertheless, be questioned in Congress
itself. Observe that "they shall not be
questioned in any other place" than Congress.
Furthermore, the Rules of the House
which petitioner himself has invoked (Rule
XVII, sec. 7), recognize the House's power to
hold a member responsible "for words spoken
in debate."
Our
Constitution
enshrines
parliamentary
immunity
which
is
a
fundamental privilege cherished in every
legislative assembly of the democratic world.
As old as the English Parliament, its purpose
"is to enable and encourage a representative
of the public to discharge his public trust with
firmness and success" for "it is indispensably
necessary that he should enjoy the fullest
liberty of speech, and that he should be
protected from the resentment of every one,
however powerful, to whom exercise of that
liberty may occasion offense."2 Such immunity
has come to this country from the practices of
Parliamentary as construed and applied by the
Congress of the United States. Its extent and
application remain no longer in doubt in so far
as related to the question before us. It
guarantees the legislator complete freedom of
expression without fear of being made
responsible in criminal or civil actions before
the courts or any other forum outside of the
Congressional Hall. But is does not protect him
from responsibility before the legislative body

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itself whenever his words and conduct are
considered by the latter disorderly or
unbecoming a member thereof.
In
the
United
States
Congress,
Congressman Fernando Wood of New York was
censured for using the following language on
the floor of the House: "A monstrosity, a
measure the most infamous of the many
infamous acts of the infamous Congress."
(Hinds' Precedents, Vol. 2,. pp. 798-799). Two
other congressmen
were censured
for
employing insulting words during debate. (2
Hinds' Precedents, 799-801). In one case, a
member of Congress was summoned to testify
on a statement made by him in debate, but
invoked his parliamentary privilege. The
Committee rejected his plea. (3 Hinds'
Precedents 123-124.)
For unparliamentary conduct, members
of Parliament or of Congress have been, or
could be censured, committed to prison3, even
expelled by the votes of their colleagues. The
appendix to this decision amply attest to the
consensus of informed opinion regarding the
practice and the traditional power of legislative
assemblies to take disciplinary action against
its
members,
including
imprisonment,
suspension or expulsion. It mentions one
instance of suspension of a legislator in a
foreign country.
And to cite a local illustration, the
Philippine Senate, in April 1949, suspended a
senator for one year.
Needless to add, the Rules of Philippine
House of Representatives provide that the
parliamentary practices of the Congress of the
United States shall apply in a supplementary
manner to its proceedings.
This brings up the third point of
petitioner: the House may no longer take
action against me, he argues, because after
my speech, and before approving Resolution
No. 59, it had taken up other business.
Respondents answer that Resolution No. 59
was unanimously approved by the House, that
such approval amounted to a suspension of
the House Rules, which according to standard
parliamentary
practice
may
done
by
unanimous consent.
Granted, counters the petitioner, that
the House may suspend the operation of its
Rules, it may not, however, affect past acts or
renew its rights to take action which had
already lapsed.
The situation might thus be compared
to laws4 extending the period of limitation of
actions and making them applicable to actions
that had lapsed. The Supreme Court of the

United States has upheld such laws as against


the contention that they impaired vested
rights
in
violation
of
the
Fourteenth
Amendment (Campbell vs. Holt, 115 U. S.
620). The states hold divergent views. At any
rate, court are subject to revocation
modification or waiver at the pleasure of the
body adopting them."5 And it has been said
that
"Parliamentary
rules
are
merely
procedural, and with their observancem, the
courts have no concern. They may be waived
or disregarded by the legislative body."
Consequently, "mere failure to conform to
parliamentary usage will not invalidate the
action (taken by a deliberative body) when the
requisited number of members have agreed to
a particular measure."6
The following is quoted from a reported
decision of the Supreme court of Tennessee:
The rule here invoked is one of parliamentary
procedure, and it is uniformly held that it is
within the power of all deliberative bodies to
abolish, modify, or waive their own rules of
procedure, adopted for the orderly con duct of
business, and as security against hasty action.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

126

(3) No. We believe, however, that the House is


the judge of what constitutes disorderly
behaviour, not only because the Constitution
has conferred jurisdiction upon it, but also
because the matter depends mainly on factual
circumstances of which the House knows best
but which can not be depicted in black and
white for presentation to, and adjudication by
the Courts. For one thing, if this Court
assumed the power to determine whether
Osmea
conduct
constituted
disorderly
behaviour, it would thereby have assumed
appellate jurisdiction, which the Constitution
never intended to confer upon a coordinate
branch of the Government. The theory of
separation of powers fastidiously observed by
this Court, demands in such situation a
prudent refusal to interfere. Each department,
it has been said, had exclusive cognizance of
matters within its jurisdiction and is supreme
within its own sphere. (Angara vs. Electoral
Commission, 63 Phil., 139.)
SEC.
200.
Judicial
Interference with Legislature.
The principle is well established
that the courts will not assume a
jurisdiction in any case amount
to an interference by the judicial
department with the legislature
since
each
department
is
equally independent within the

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


power conferred upon it by the
Constitution. . . .
The general rule has
been applied in other cases to
cause the courts to refuse to
intervene in what are exclusively
legislative
functions.
Thus,
where the stated Senate is given
the power to example a
member, the court will not
review its action or revise even
a most arbitrary or unfair
decision. (11 Am. Jur., Const.
Law, sec. p. 902.) [Emphasis
Ours.].
The above statement of American law merely
abridged the landmark case of Clifford vs.
French.7 In 1905, several senators who had
been expelled by the State Senate of California
for having taken a bribe, filed mandamus
proceeding to compel reinstatement, alleging
the Senate had given them no hearing, nor a
chance to make defense, besides falsity of the
charges of bribery. The Supreme Court of
California declined to interfere , explaining in
orthodox juristic language:
Under
our
form
of
government,
the
judicial
department has no power to
revise even the most arbitrary
and
unfair
action
of
the
legislative department, or of
either house thereof, taking in
pursuance
of
the
power
committed exclusively to that
department by the Constitution.
It has been held by high
authority that, even in the
absence of an express provision
conferring the power, every
legislative body in which is
vested the general legislative
power of the state has the
implied power to expel a
member for any cause which it
may deem sufficient. In Hiss. vs.
Barlett, 3 Gray 473, 63 Am. Dec.
768, the supreme court of Mass.
says, in substance, that this
power is inherent in every
legislative body; that it is
necessary to the to enable the
body 'to perform its high
functions, and is necessary to
the safety of the state;' 'That it
is a power of self-protection, and
that the legislative body must
necessarily be the sole judge of

the exigency which may justify


and require its exercise. '. . .
There is no provision authority
courts
to
control,
direct,
supervise, or forbid the exercise
by either house of the power to
expel a member. These powers
are functions of the legislative
department and therefore, in the
exercise of the power this
committed to it, the senate is
supreme. An attempt by this
court to direct or control the
legislature, or either house
thereof, in the exercise of the
power, would be an attempt to
exercise legislative functions,
which it is expressly forbidden to
do.
We have underscored in the above
quotation those lines which in our opinion
emphasize the principles controlling this
litigation. Although referring to expulsion, they
may as well be applied to other disciplinary
action. Their gist as applied to the case at bar:
the House has exclusive power; the courts
have no jurisdiction to interfere.
Our refusal to intervene might impress
some readers as subconscious hesitation due
to discovery of impermissible course of action
in the legislative chamber. Nothing of that sort:
we merely refuse to disregard the allocation of
constitutional functions which it is our special
duty to maintain. Indeed, in the interest of
comity, we feel bound to state that in a
conscientious survey of governing principles
and/or episodic illustrations, we found the
House of Representatives of the United States
taking the position upon at least two
occasions, that personal attacks upon the
Chief Executive constitute unparliamentary
conduct or breach of orders.8 And in several
instances, it took action against offenders,
even
after
other business
had
been
considered.9

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

127

(4) No. Petitioner's principal argument against


the House's power to suspend is the
Alejandrino precedent. In 1924, Senator
Alejandrino was, by resolution of Senate,
suspended from office for 12 months because
he had assaulted another member of the that
Body or certain phrases the latter had uttered
in the course of a debate. The Senator applied
to this Court for reinstatement, challenging the
validity of the resolution. Although this Court
held that in view of the separation of powers, it
had no jurisdiction to compel the Senate to

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


reinstate petitioner, it nevertheless went on to
say the Senate had no power to adopt the
resolution because suspension for 12 months
amounted to removal, and the Jones Law
(under which the Senate was then functioning)
gave the Senate no power to remove an
appointive member, like Senator Alejandrino.
The Jones Law specifically provided that "each
house may punish its members for disorderly
behaviour, and, with the concurrence of twothirds votes, expel an elective member (sec.
18). Note particularly the word "elective."
The Jones Law, it mist be observed,
empowered the Governor General to appoint
"without consent of the Senate and without
restriction as to residence senators . . . who
will, in his opinion, best represent the Twelfth
District." Alejandrino was one appointive
Senator.
It is true, the opinion in that case
contained an obiter dictum that "suspension
deprives the electoral district of representation
without that district being afforded any means
by which to fill that vacancy." But that remark
should be understood to refer particularly to
the appointive senator who was then the
affected party and who was by the same Jones
Law charged with the duty to represent the
Twelfth District and maybe the view of the
Government of the United States or of the
Governor-General, who had appointed him.
It must be observed, however, that at
that time the Legislature had only those power
which were granted to it by the Jones Law 10;
whereas now the Congress has the full
legislative powers and preprogatives of a
sovereign nation, except as restricted by the
Constitution. In other words, in the Alejandrino
case, the Court reached the conclusion that
the Jones Law did not give the Senate the
power it then exercisedthe power of
suspension for one year. Whereas now, as we
find, the Congress has the inherent legislative
prerogative
of
suspension11
which
the
Constitution did not impair. In fact, as already
pointed out, the Philippine Senate suspended a
Senator for 12 months in 1949.
The Legislative power of the Philippine
Congress is plenary, subject only to such
limitations are found in the Republic's
Constitution. So that any power deemed to be
legislative by usage or tradition, is necessarily
possessed by the Philippine Congress, unless
the Constitution provides otherwise. (Vera vs.
Avelino, 77 Phil., 192, 212 .)
In any event, petitioner's argument as
to
the
deprivation
of
the
district's
representation can not be more weightly in the

matter of suspension than in the case of


imprisonment of a legislator; yet deliberative
bodies have the power in proper cases, to
commit one of their members to jail.12
Now come questions of procedure and
jurisdiction. The petition intended to prevent
the Special Committee from acting tin
pursuance of House Resolution No. 59.
Because no preliminary injunction had been
issued, the Committee performed its task,
reported to the House, and the latter approved
the suspension order. The House had closed it
session, and the Committee has ceased to
exist as such. It would seem, therefore, the
case should be dismissed for having become
moot or academic.13 Of course, there is
nothing to prevent petitioner from filing new
pleadings to include all members of the House
as respondents, ask for reinstatement and
thereby to present a justiciable cause. Most
probable outcome of such reformed suit,
however, will be a pronouncement of lack of
jurisdiction, as in Vera vs. Avelino14 and
Alejandrino vs. Qeuaon.15
At any rate, having perceived suitable
solutions to the important questions of political
law, the Court thought it proper to express at
this time its conclusions on such issues as
were deemed relevant and decisive.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition has to be,
and is hereby dismissed.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

128

MIRIAM
DEFENSOR
SANTIAGO
SANDIGANBAYAN ET. AL.,
G.R. No. 128055 April 18, 2001
VITUG, J.:

vs.

FACTS: The Court is called upon to review the


act of the Sandiganbayan, and how far it can
go, in ordering the preventive suspension of
petitioner, Mme. Senator Miriam DefensorSantiago, in connection with pending in
criminal cases filed against her for alleged
violation of Republic Act No. 3019, as
amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act.
The instant case arose from complaints
filed by a group of employees of the
Commission of Immigration and Deportation
(CID)
against
petitioner,
then
CID
Commissioner, for alleged violation of the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act. The
investigating panel, that took over the case
from investigator Gualberto dela Llana after
having been constituted by the Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon upon petitioner's
request, came up with a resolution which it
referred, for approval, to the Office of the

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Special Prosecutor (OSP) and the Ombudsman.
In his Memorandum, dated 26 April 1991, the
Ombudsman directed the OSP to file the
appropriate informations against petitioner. On
13 May 1991, OSP submitted to the
Ombudsman the informations for clearance;
approved, forthwith, three informations were
filed on even date.
In Criminal Case No. 16698 filed before
the Sandiganbayan, petitioner was indicted for
approving the application for legalization for
the stay of the following aliens who arrived in
the Philippines after January 1, 1984 in
violation of Executive Order No. 324 dated
April 13, 1988 which prohibits the legalization
of said disqualified aliens knowing fully well
that said aliens are disqualified thereby giving
unwarranted benefits to said aliens whose stay
in the Philippines was unlawfully legalized by
said accused."
Two other criminal cases, one for
violation of the provisions of Presidential
Decree No. 46 and the other for libel, were
filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
docketed, respectively, No. 91-94555 and No.
91-94897.
Pursuant to the information filed with
the Sandiganbayan, Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena issued an order for the arrest of
petitioner, fixing the bail at Fifteen Thousand
(P15,000.00) Pesos. Petitioner posted a cash
bail without need for physical appearance as
she was then recuperating from injuries
sustained in a vehicular accident. The
Sandiganbayan granted her provisional liberty
until 05 June 1991 or until her physical
condition
would
warrant
her
physical
appearance in court. Upon manifestation by
the Ombudsman, however, that petitioner was
able to come unaided to his office on 20 May
1991, Sandiganbayan issued an order setting
the arraignment on 27 May 1991.
Meanwhile, petitioner moved for the
cancellation of her cash bond and prayed that
she be allowed provisional liberty upon a
recognizance.
On 24 May 1991, petitioner filed,
concurrently, a Petition for Certiorari with
prohibition and Preliminary Injunction before
the Court, docketed G.R. No. 99289-90,
seeking to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from
proceeding with Criminal Case No. 16698 and
a motion before the Sandiganbayan to
meanwhile defer her arraignment. The Court
taking cognizance of the petition issued a
temporary restraining order.
The Sandiganbayan, thus informed,
issued
an
order
deferring
petitioner's

arraignment and the consideration of her


motion to cancel the cash bond until further
advice from the Court.
On 13 January 1992, the Court
rendered its decision dismissing the petition
and lifting the temporary restraining order. The
subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by
petitioner proved unavailing.
On 06 July 1992, in the wake of media
reports announcing petitioner's intention to
accept a fellowship from the John F. Kennedy
School of Government at Harvard University,
the Sandiganbayan issued an order to enjoin
petitioner from leaving the country.
On 15 October 1992, petitioner moved
to inhibit Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice
Garchitorena from the case and to defer her
arraignment pending action on her motion to
inhibit. On 09 November 1992, her motion was
denied by the Sandiganbayan. The following
day, she filed anew a Petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition with urgent Prayer for Preliminary
Injunction with the Court, docketed G.R. No.
99289-90. At the same time, petitioner filed a
motion for bill of particulars with the
Sandiganbayan asseverating that the names
of the aliens whose applications she
purportedly approved and thereby supposedly
extended
undue
advantage
were
conspicuously omitted in the complaint.
The Court, in its resolution of 12
November 1992, directed the Sandiganbayan
to reset petitioner's arraignment not later than
five days from receipt of notice thereof.
On 07 December 1992, the OSP and the
Ombudsman filed with the Sandiganbayan a
motion
to
admit
thirty-two
amended
informations. Petitioner moved for the
dismissal of the 32 informations. The court, in
its 11th March 1993 resolution, denied her
motion to dismiss the said informations and
directed her to post bail on the criminal cases,
docketed Criminal Case No. 18371-18402, filed
against her.
Unrelenting, petitioner, once again
came to this Court via a Petition for Certiorari,
docketed G.R. No. 109266, assailing the 03rd
March 1993 resolution of the Sandiganbayan
which resolved not to disqualify its Presiding
Justice, as well as its 14th March 1993
resolution
admitting
the
32
Amended
Informations, and seeking the nullification
thereof.
Initially, the Court issued a temporary
restraining order directing Presiding Justice
Garchitorena to cease and desist from sitting
in the case, as well as from enforcing the 11th
March 1993 resolution ordering petitioner to

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

129

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


post bail bonds for the 32 amended
informations, and from proceedings with her
arraignment on 12 April 1993 until the matter
of his disqualification would have been
resolved by the Court.
On 02 December 1993, the Court, in its
decision in G.R. 109266, directed the OSP and
Ombudsman to consolidate the 32 amended
informations. Conformably therewith, all the 32
informations were consolidated into one
information under Criminal Case No. 16698.
Petitioner,
then
filed
with
the
Sandiganbayan a Motion to "Redetermine
Probable Cause" and to dismiss or quash said
information. Pending the resolution of this
incident, the prosecution filed on 31 July 1995
with the Sandiganbayan a motion to issue an
order suspending petitioner.
On 03 August 1995, the Sandiganbayan
resolved to allow the testimony of one Rodolfo
Pedellaga (Pedellaga). The presentation was
scheduled on 15 September 1995.
In the interim, the Sandiganbayan
directed petitioner to file her opposition to the
31st July 1995 motion of the prosecution within
fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof.
On
18
August
1995,
petitioner
submitted to the Sandiganbayan a motion for
reconsideration of its 03rd August 1995 order
which would allow the testimony of Pedellaga.
The
incident,
later
denied
by
the
Sandiganbayan, was elevated to the Court via
a Petition for Review on Certiorari, entitled
"Miriam
Defensor-Santiago
vs.
Sandiganbayan," docketed G.R. No. 123792.
On 22 August 1995, petitioner filed her
opposition to the motion of the prosecution to
suspend her. On 25 January 1996, the
Sandiganbayan granted the motion under
consideration and hereby suspends the
accused Miriam Defensor-Santiago from her
position as Senator and from any other
government position she may be holding at
present or hereafter. Her suspension shall be
for ninety (90) days only and shall take effect
immediately upon notice.
Hence, the instant recourse. The
petition
assails
the
authority
of
the
Sandiganbayan to decree a ninety-day
preventive suspension of Mme. Miriam
Defensor-Santiago, a Senator of the Republic
of the Philippines, from any government
position, and furnishing a copy thereof to the
Senate
of
the
Philippines
for
the
implementation of the suspension order.
ISSUES:

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

(1) Whether or not Republic Act No. 3019


exclude from its coverage the members of
Congress
and
that,
therefore,
the
Sandiganbayan did not err in thus
decreeing
the
assailed
preventive
suspension order? No
(2) Whether or not the order of suspension
prescribed by Republic Act No. 3019 is
distinct from the power of Congress to
discipline its own ranks under the
Constitution? Yes
HELD: The authority of the Sandiganbayan to
order the preventive suspension of an
incumbent public official charged with violation
of the provisions of Republic Act No. 3019 has
both legal and jurisprudential support. Section
13 of the statute provides:
"SECTION 13. Suspension
and loss of benefits. Any
incumbent public officer against
whom any criminal prosecution
under a valid information under
this Act or under Title 7, Book II
of the Revised Penal Code or for
any offense involving fraud upon
government or public funds or
property whether as a simple or
as a complex offense and in
whatever stage of execution and
mode
of
participation,
is
pending in court, shall be
suspended from office. Should
he be convicted by final
judgment, he shall lose all
retirement or gratuity benefits
under any law, but if he is
acquitted, he shall be entitled to
reinstatement
and
to
the
salaries and benefits which he
failed
to
receive
during
suspension,
unless
in
the
meantime
administrative
proceedings have been filed
against him.
"In the event that such
convicted officer, who may have
already been separated from the
service, has already received
such benefits he shall be liable
to restitute the same to the
Government. (As amended by
BP Blg. 195, March 16, 1982)."
In the relatively recent case of Segovia vs.
Sandiganbayan, 3 the Court reiterated:
"The validity of Section
13, R.A. 3019, as amended

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CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


treating of the suspension
pendente lite of an accused
public officer may no longer
be put at issue, having been
repeatedly upheld by this Court.
"xxx
xxx
xxx
"The
provision
of
suspension pendente lite applies
to all persons indicted upon a
valid information under the Act,
whether they be appointive or
elective officials; or permanent
or temporary employees, or
pertaining to the career or noncareer service." 4
It would appear, indeed, to be a
ministerial duty of the court to issue an order
of suspension upon determination of the
validity of the information filed before it. Once
the information is found to be sufficient in form
and substance, the court is bound to issue an
order of suspension as a matter of course, and
there seems to be "no ifs and buts about it." 5
Explaining the nature of the preventive
suspension, the Court in the case of Bayot vs.
Sandiganbayan 6 observed:"x x x . It is not a
penalty because it is not imposed as a result of
judicial proceedings. In fact, if acquitted, the
official concerned shall be entitled to
reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits
which he failed to receive during suspension."
In issuing the preventive suspension of
petitioner, the Sandiganbayan merely adhered
to the clear and unequivocal mandate of the
law, as well as the jurisprudence in which the
Court
has,
more
than
once,
upheld
Sandiganbayan's authority to decree the
suspension of public officials and employees
indicted before it.
Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019
does not state that the public officer
concerned must be suspended only in the
office where he is alleged to have committed
the acts with which he has been charged.
Thus, it has been held that the use of the word
"office" would indicate that it applies to any
office which the officer charged may be
holding, and not only the particular office
under which he stands accused. 8
En passant, while the imposition of
suspension is not automatic or self-operative
as the validity of the information must be
determined in a pre-suspension hearing, there
is no hard and fast rule as to the conduct
thereof. It has been said that
"'x x x . No specific rules
need be laid down for such presuspension hearing. Suffice it to

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

state that the accused should be


given a fair and adequate
opportunity to challenge the
VALIDITY OF THE CRIMINAL
PROCEEDINGS against him e.g.
that he has not been afforded
the right of due preliminary
investigation; that the acts for
which he stands charged do not
constitute a violation of the
provisions of Republic Act 3019
or the bribery provisions of the
Revised Penal Code which would
warrant
his
mandatory
suspension from office under
section 13 of the Act; or he may
present a motion to quash the
information on any of the
grounds provided for in Rule 117
of the Rules of Court x x x .'
"xxx
xxx
xxx
"Likewise, he is accorded
the right to challenge the
propriety of his prosecution on
the ground that the acts for
which he is charged do not
constitute a violation of Rep. Act
3019, or of the provisions on
bribery of the Revised Penal
Code, and the right to present a
motion to quash the information
on any other grounds provided
in Rule 117 of the Rules of court.
"However, a challenge to
the validity of the criminal
proceedings on the ground that
the acts for which the accused is
charged do not constitute a
violation of the provisions of
Rep. Act 3019, or of the
provisions on bribery of the
revised Penal Code, should be
treated only in the same manner
as a challenge to the criminal
proceeding by way of a motion
to quash on the ground provided
in Paragraph (a), Section 2 of
Rule 117 of the Rules of Court,
i.e., that the facts charged do
not constitute an offense. In
other words, a resolution of the
challenge to the validity of the
criminal proceeding, on such
ground, should be limited to an
inquiry
whether
the
facts
alleged in the information, if
hypothetically
admitted,
constitute the elements of an

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offense punishable under Rep.
Act 3019 or the provisions on
bribery of the Revised Penal
Code."
The law does not require that the guilt
of the accused must be established in a
presuspension proceeding before trial on the
merits proceeds. Neither does it contemplate a
proceeding to determine (1) the strength of
the evidence of culpability against him, (2) the
gravity of the offense charged, or (3) whether
or not his continuance in office could influence
the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety
and integrity of the records and other evidence
before the court could have a valid basis in
decreeing preventive suspension pending the
trial of the case. All it secures to the accused is
adequate opportunity to challenge the validity
or regularity of the proceedings against him,
such as, that he has not been afforded the
right to due preliminary investigation, that the
acts imputed to him do not constitute a
specific crime warranting his mandatory
suspension from office under Section 13 of
Republic Act No. 3019, or that the information
is subject to quashal on any of the grounds set
out in Section 3, Rule 117, of the Revised Rules
on Criminal Procedure. 10
The instant petition is not the first time
that an incident relating to petitioner's case
before the Sandiganbayan has been brought to
this Court. In previous occasions, the Court has
been called upon to resolve several other
matters on the subject. Thus: (1) In Santiago
vs. Vasquez, 11 petitioner sought to enjoin the
Sandiganbayan from proceeding with Criminal
Case No. 16698 for violation of Republic Act
No. 3019; (2) in Santiago vs. Vasquez,
petitioner sought the nullification of the hold
departure order issued by the Sandiganbayan
via a "Motion to Restrain the Sandiganbayan
from Enforcing its Hold Departure Order with
Prayer for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order and/or Preliminary Injunction, with
Motion to set Pending Incident for Hearing; (3)
in Santiago vs. Garchitorena, petitioner sought
the nullification of the resolution, dated 03
March 1993, in Criminal Case No. 16698 of the
Sandiganbayan (First Division) and to declare
Presiding Justice Garchitorena disqualified from
acting in said criminal case, and the resolution,
dated 14 March 1993, which deemed as "filed"
the 32 amended informations against her; and
(4)
in
Miriam
Defensor
Santiago
vs.
Sandiganbayan, petitioner assailed the denial
by the Sandiganbayan of her motion for
reconsideration from its 03rd August 1995

order allowing the testimony of Pedellaga. In


one of these cases, the Court declared:
"We note that petitioner
had
previously
filed
two
petitions before us involving
Criminal Case No. 16698 (G.R.
Nos. 99289-99290; G.R. No.
107598). Petitioner has not
explained why she failed to raise
the issue of the delay in the
preliminary investigation and
the filing of the information
against her in those petitions. A
piece-meal
presentation
of
issues, like the splitting of
causes of action, is selfdefeating.
"Petitioner next claims
that the Amended informations
did not charge any offense
punishable under Section 3 (e)
of RA. No. 3019 because the
official acts complained therein
were authorized under Executive
Order No. 324 and that the
Board of Commissioners of the
Bureau of Investigation adopted
the
policy
of
approving
applications for legalization of
spouses and unmarried, minor
children of "qualified aliens"
even though they had arrived in
the Philippines after December
31, 1983. She concludes that
the Sandiganbayan erred in not
granting her motion to quash
the informations (Rollo, pp. 2531).
"In a motion to quash,
the accused the accused admits
hypothetically the allegations of
fact in the information (People
vs. Supnad, 7 SCRA 603 [1963]).
Therefore, petitioner admitted
hypothetically in her motion
that:
(1) She was a public
officer,
(2) She approved the
application for legalization of the
stay of aliens, who arrived in the
Philippines after January 1,
1984;
(3) Those aliens were
disqualified;
(4) She was cognizant of
such fact; and

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(5) She acted in 'evident
bad faith and manifest partiality
in the execution of her official
functions.'
"The
foregoing
allegations of fact constitute the
elements of the offense defined
in Section 3 (e) of R.A. No.
3019."
The pronouncement, upholding the
validity of the information filed against
petitioner,
behooved
Sandiganbayan
to
discharge its mandated duty to forthwith issue
the order of preventive suspension.
The order of suspension prescribed by
Republic Act No. 3019 is distinct from the
power of Congress to discipline its own ranks
under the Constitution which provides that
each "x x x . house may determine the rules
of its proceedings, punish its Members for
disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence
of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or
expel a Member. A penalty of suspension,
when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days."
The suspension contemplated in the
above constitutional provision is a punitive
measure that is imposed upon determination
by the Senate or the House of Representatives,
as the case may be, upon an erring member.
Thus, in its resolution in the case of Ceferino
Paredes, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan, et al., the
Court affirmed the order of suspension of
Congressman Paredes by the Sandiganbayan,
despite his protestations on the encroachment
by the court on the prerogatives of Congress.
The Court ruled:
"x x x . Petitioner's invocation of
Section 16 (3), Article VI of the Constitution
which deals with the power of each House of
Congress inter alia to 'punish its Members for
disorderly behavior,' and 'suspend or expel a
Member' by a vote of two-thirds of all its
Members subject to the qualification that the
penalty of suspension, when imposed, should
not exceed sixty days is unavailing, as it
appears to be quite distinct from the
suspension spoken of in Section 13 of RA 3019,
which is not a penalty but a preliminary,
preventive measure, prescinding from the fact
that the latter is not being imposed on
petitioner for misbehavior as a Member of the
House of Representatives."
The doctrine of separation of powers by
itself may not be deemed to have effectively
excluded members of Congress from Republic
Act No. 3019 nor from its sanctions. The
maxim simply recognizes each of the three coequal and independent, albeit coordinate,

branches of the government the Legislative,


the Executive and the Judiciary has
exclusive prerogatives and cognizance within
its own sphere of influence and effectively
prevents one branch from unduly intruding
into the internal affairs of either branch.
Parenthetically, it might be well to
elaborate a bit. Section 1, Article VIII, of the
1987 Constitution, empowers the Court to act
not only in the settlement of "actual
controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable," but also in the
determination of "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.
The provision allowing the Court to look into
any possible grave abuse of discretion
committed by any government instrumentality
has evidently been couched in general terms
in order to make it malleable to judicial
interpretation in the light of any emerging
milieu. In its normal concept, the term has
been said to imply an arbitrary, despotic,
capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
When the question, however, pertains to an
affair internal to either of Congress or the
Executive, the Court subscribes to the view
that unless an infringement of any specific
Constitutional proscription thereby inheres the
Court should not deign substitute its own
judgment over that of any of the other two
branches of government. It is an impairment
or a clear disregard of a specific constitutional
precept or provision that can unbolt the steel
door for Judicial intervention. If any part of the
Constitution is not, or ceases to be, responsive
to contemporary needs, it is the people, not
the Court, who must promptly react in the
manner prescribed by the Charter itself.
Attention might be called to the fact
that Criminal Case No. 16698 has been
decided by the First Division of the
Sandiganbayan on 06 December 1999,
acquitting herein petitioner. The Court,
nevertheless, deems it appropriate to render
this decision for future guidance on the
significant issue raised by petitioner.
Petition for certiorari is DISMISSED.

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133

CEFERINO
S.
PAREDES,
JR.
MANSUETO
J.
HONRADA
SANDIGANBAYAN ET. AL..
G.R. No. 108251 January 31, 1996
MENDOZA, J.:

and
vs.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


FACTS: This is a petition for certiorari,
prohibition and injunction, seeking to set aside
the resolution dated December 9, 1992 of the
Office of the Ombudsman, denying petitioner's
motion for the reinvestigation of three cases of
falsification of public documents which had
been filed against petitioners and to restrain
the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan
from hearing the cases.
In 1990 by Teofilo Gelacio, then vice
mayor of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur filed a
case against petitioner Paredes, Jr., who was
then the provincial governor, Mansueto J.
Honrada, clerk of court of the MCTC of San
Francisco, Agusan del Sur, and Atty. Generoso
Sansaet, counsel of petitioner Paredes, Jr. in
Criminal Case No. 1393 of the MCTC.
In his complaint Gelacio alleged that
Honrada, in conspiracy with petitioner Paredes,
Jr. and the latter's counsel, certified as true a
copy of a Notice of Arraignment and of the
Transcript of Stenographic Notes, showing that
an arraignment had been held in Criminal Case
No. 1393 and issued a certification dated
March 24, 1986 to that effect when in truth no
arraignment had been held in that case. In
support of his allegation, Gelacio submitted a
Certification issued by Judge Ario of the MCTC
to the effect that Criminal Case No. 1393 had
"never reached the arraignment stage" before
it was dismissed on motion of the prosecution.
A preliminary investigation of the
complaint was conducted by the Public
Prosecutor who had been deputized to assist
the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao.
Paredes, Jr. denied the charges. He
alleged that their filing was politically
motivated and that the complainant Gelacio,
was being used by his political enemies to
harass him. For his part, Honrada maintained
that an arraignment had indeed been held as
certified by him. His claim was corroborated by
Atty. Sansaet.
Prosecutor submitted his resolution to
the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao, but
before it could be acted upon, Atty. Sansaet,
retracted his earlier statement to the effect
that Paredes, Jr. had been arraigned before the
case against him was dismissed. In an Affidavit
of Explanations and Rectifications, Sansaet
claimed that there was really no arraignment
held in Criminal Case No. 1393 and that
Honrada made false certifications which were
used to support the dismissal (on the ground
of double jeopardy) of Criminal Case No.
13800 which was then pending against
Paredes, Jr. in the Sandiganbayan.

As a result of this development,


Paredes, Jr. and Honrada, were required to
comment. Paredes, Jr. claimed that the
Sansaet's aboutface was the result of their
political estrangement. For his part Honrada
insisted that an arraignment in Criminal Case
No. 1393 had indeed been held and that in
making the certifications in question he stated
the truth.
On the basis of the evidence of the
parties, Gay Maggie Balajadia-Violan, Graft
Investigation Officer of the Office of the
Deputy Ombudsman, recommended that
petitioners be charged with Falsification of
Public Documents. Her recommendation was
indorsed by Deputy Ombudsman Cesar
Nitorreda to Ombudsman Conrado Vasquez,
who, upon the recommendation of Erdulfo
Querubin of the Office of the Special
Prosecutor, approved the filing of three
informations
for
falsification
of
public
documents against Paredes, Jr., Honrada and
Sansaet with the Sandiganbayan.
Consequently, petitioners moved to
quash the information but it was denied by the
Sandiganbayan.
Also
the
motion
for
reconsideration they subsequently filed was
denied.
Petitioners
next
moved
for
a
reinvestigation of the cases. They complained
(1) that the resolution, recommending the
filing of the cases, was not prepared by Public
Prosecutor,
who
had
conducted
the
preliminary investigation, but by GIO II Gay
Maggie Balajadia-Violan, who allegedly had no
hand in the investigation; (2) that Violan relied
solely on the retraction of Atty. Sansaet and
the
Certification
of
Judge
Ario
and
disregarded evidence in favor of petitioners;
and (3) that Prosecutor Erdulfo Q. Querubin,
who reviewed Violan's recommendation, could
not be expected to act fairly because he was
the prosecutor in Criminal Case No. 13800 in
connection with which the allegedly falsified
records were used and in fact appealed the
dismissal of the case to this Court.
Although these grounds were the same
ones invoked by petitioners in their motion to
quash, which the Sandiganbayan had denied,
the Sandiganbayan nonetheless directed the
prosecution to conduct a reinvestigation of the
cases. Accordingly, the Office of the
Ombudsman required complainant Gelacio, to
comment
on
petitioners'
Motion
for
Reinvestigation.
In a resolution, Special Prosecution
Officer Carlos D. Montemayor recommended
denial of petitioners' motion. He noted that the

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matters raised in the motion were the same
ones contained in petitioners' motion to quash
which had already been denied and that in fact
"a cursory examination of the resolution of GIO
II Gay Maggie Balajadia-Violan shows that the
existence of a prima facie case has been duly
established and the same was reviewed by
SPO III Erdulfo Querubin and also the approval
of Honorable Conrado M. Vasquez." He held
that as no newly-discovered evidence or denial
of due process had been shown, there was no
basis
for
petitioners'
request
for
a
reinvestigation.
Montemayor's recommendation was
approved by Special Prosecutor Aniano
Desierto and Ombudsman Conrado Vasquez.
Accordingly the Sandiganbayan set the cases
for trial.
The present petition for certiorari,
prohibition and injunction was then filed to
enjoin the trial of the criminal cases.
Petitioners pray that:
(1) Upon the filing of this petition and
before its final resolution, to issue a TRO
immediately ordering the Sandiganbayan to
cease and desist from proceeding with the
scheduled hearing of this case;
(2) After due hearing, to adjudge that
respondents Honorable Special Prosecutor
Aniano A. Desierto and Honorable Ombudsman
Conrado M. Vasquez have committed grave
abuse of discretion, amounting to lack of
jurisdiction, in issuing and approving the
questioned resolution
and ordering said
resolution denying petitioners' motion for
reinvestigation be annulled and set aside;
(3) To adjudge that the Sandiganbayan,
Second Division, is without jurisdiction to try
Criminal Case Nos. 17791, 17792, and 17793
all of which are apparently intended as political
harassments against the herein petitioners
and prohibiting the said court from proceeding
(with) the hearing of the said cases on January
15, 1993, and likewise ordering the said court
to dismiss the said cases, with costs against
respondents and Teofilo Gelacio; and
(4) To issue a writ of injunction, thereby
making the restraining order permanent, and
prohibiting the respondents and complainant
Teofilo Gelacio from committing any act or acts
tending to harass and to inflict further damage
and injury to petitioners, such as but not
limited to the continuation and further
prosecution of said Criminal Cases Nos. 17791,
17792, and 17793.
Petitioners contend (1) that their
constitutional right to due process was
violated at various stages of the preliminary

investigation; (2) that the prosecutors closed


their eyes to the fact that in filing the cases
private respondent Teofilo Gelacio engaged in
forum-shopping; and (3) that the cases were
filed for political harassment and there is in
fact no prima facie evidence to hold them
answerable
for
falsification
of
public
documents.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

135

ISSUE:
(1) Whether or not petitioners constitutional
right to due process was violated at various
stages of the preliminary investigation?
(2) Whether or not the prosecutors closed their
eyes to the fact that in filing the cases
private respondent Teofilo Gelacio engaged
in forum-shopping?
(3) Whether or not the cases were filed for
political harassment and there is in fact no
prima facie evidence to hold them
answerable for falsification of public
documents?
HELD:
(1) No. Anent the first ground, petitioners
contend that the filing of charges against them
was not recommended by the prosecutor who
conducted the preliminary investigation, but
by another one who, it is alleged, had no part
at all in the investigation.
Petitioners' contention has no basis in
fact. It appears that the preliminary
investigation of the complaint filed by Gelacio
was initially conducted by Public Prosecutor
Axalan who had been deputized to assist the
Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao in the
investigation of graft cases. Axalan prepared a
resolution. The records do not show what his
recommendation was. What is clear, however,
is that no action had been taken on his
recommendation in view of the fact that Atty.
Sansaet retracted an earlier statement he had
given to the effect that petitioner Paredes, Jr.
had been arraigned in Criminal Case No. 1393
before the case was dismissed. Atty. Sansaet
now claimed that no arraignment had been
held after all. This new development required
the reopening of the investigation (in fact
Paredes, Jr. and Honrada were required to
comment on the retraction), the reevaluation
of the evidence, and the preparation of a new
resolution. Gay Maggie Balajadia-Violan, Graft
Investigation Officer II of the Office of the
Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao, was
designated to conduct the investigation and
prepare a report, which she did.
Violan's recommendation was indorsed
by Deputy Ombudsman Cesar Nitorreda to

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Ombudsman Conrado Vasquez, who then
referred the matter to Special Prosecution
Officer III Erdulfo Querubin for review.
Querubin concurred in the recommendation of
Violan but suggested that, instead of one,
three separate informations for falsification of
public documents be filed against respondents
considering that three documents were
involved.
On June 26, 1992, Ombudsman
Conrado
Vasquez
approved
the
recommendations of Violan and Querubin.
Accordingly three cases were filed against
petitioners with the Sandiganbayan, where
they were docketed as Criminal Case Nos.
17791, 17792 and 17793.
There is thus no basis for petitioners'
claim that the resolution was prepared by one
who did not take any part in investigation.
What happened here is similar to the trial of a
case by one judge who, without being able to
finish the hearing, ceases from office for one
reason or another and by necessity the
decision is rendered by another judge who has
taken over the conduct of the case. Such an
arrangement has never been thought to raise
any question of due process. For what is
important is that the judge who decides does
so on the basis of the evidence in record. It
does not matter that he did not conduct the
hearing of that case from the beginning.
Petitioners nonetheless charge that
Violan and Prosecutor Querubin did not have
such cold neutrality of an impartial judge to be
trusted to conduct a fair investigation.
According to petitioners, Violan gave credence
to the Certification issued by Judge Ciriaco C.
Ario when the fact is that Judge Ario
subsequently executed an affidavit, dated
November 5, 1990, in which he explained that
"he issued the said certificate without
expectation that the same would be used as
evidence in any case" and that the "use of said
certificate . . . is against [his] conscience."
Worse, it is contended, Violan considered the
Affidavit of Explanations and Rectifications
executed by Atty. Sansaet, which she should
have disregarded because it was made in
violation of the confidentiality of attorneyclient communication under Rule 130, 24 (b)
of the Rules of Court. As for Prosecutor
Querubin, they claim that he is the same
prosecutor who had handled the prosecution of
Criminal Case No. 13800 against petitioner
Paredes, Jr. in the Sandiganbayan and after its
dismissal, sought review in this Court and,
therefore, he was biased against petitioners.

That Violan gave credence to the


Certification of Judge Ario in concluding that
no arraignment had been held in Criminal Case
No. 1393 is not proof that Violan was biased
against petitioners. Although Judge Ario
subsequently gave an Affidavit, he never in
that Affidavit repudiated what he had earlier
stated. Thus, Judge Ario never denied his
earlier Certification that Criminal Case No.
1393 "never reached the arraignment stage,"
because having learned that Paredes, Jr. had
petitioned the Ministry of Justice for a review of
the fiscal's resolution, Judge Ario suspended
action until March 17, 1986 and in fact the
fiscal later moved for the dismissal of the case.
The fact that Judge Ario did not
anticipate that his certificate might be used in
evidence, much less in the criminal cases now
pending in the Sandiganbayan, is not a reason
to disregard it. The fact is that Judge Ario did
not retract his previous Certification that there
was no arraignment held in Criminal Case No.
1393. If that is the truth, then the fact that he
now says he did not anticipate that his
certificate would be used in evidence in any
case would not diminish a whit the value of the
certificate.
Nor was consideration of the retraction
of Atty. Sansaet proof that GIO II Violan was
biased against petitioners. Petitioners contend
that Sansaet's confession was privileged and
that Violan herself acknowledged that the
affidavit of retraction might be inadmissible in
court.
In the first place, there is nothing in the
resolution of Violan which shows that she
based her conclusion (that petitioners were
probably guilty of falsification of public
documents) on Atty. Sansaet's retraction. In
her resolution, all that she stated is that "the
confession of Atty. Sansaet has important
bearing in this case." Otherwise she did not
cite the confession as proof of the falsification
of public documents. To the contrary, Violan
thought that the retraction was made in
violation of attorney-client privilege and
therefore, would be inadmissible in evidence.
Violan could not, therefore, have relied on the
affidavit of retraction.
Moreover, the admissibility of this piece
of
evidence
is
a
question
for
the
Sandiganbayan to determine in the event it is
used by the prosecution. It is untenable to
ascribe bias and partiality to the investigator
because she considered this retraction in her
resolution of the case. Even if she relied on it
mere "divergence of opinions between a judge
and a party's counsel as to applicable laws and

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jurisprudence is not sufficient ground for
disqualifying the judge from hearing the case
on the ground of bias and partiality."
As for Prosecutor Querubin, simply
because he was the one who handled the
prosecution of Criminal Case No. 13800, in
connection
with
which
the
documents
allegedly falsified were used by petitioners, is
not a reason for supposing he could not act
fairly. As any other counsel in a case, it was his
duty to act with "full devotion to [his client's]
genuine
interests,
warm
zeal
in
the
maintenance and defense of his rights, and the
exertion of his utmost learning and ability." 9 It
cannot be casually assumed that because of
his engagement in that case he had lost his
objectivity to such an extent that he forsook
his duty to see to it that justice was done and
not to act out of vindictiveness.
Indeed, Querubin is a public prosecutor,
not a private attorney. In the familiar
terminology, he is the representative not of an
ordinary party to a controversy but of a
sovereignty whose obligation to govern
impartially is as compelling as its obligation to
govern at all and whose interest, therefore, in
a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a
case but that justice shall be done. 10 It may
therefore be assumed that he was merely
performing an official duty and that nothing
personal was involved in his recommendation
to prosecute the cases.
Above all, it should be stressed that the
decision to charge petitioners in the
Sandiganbayan was the decision not only of
one person but of all those who in one way or
another were called upon to act in the cases,
namely: Graft Investigation Officer Gay Maggie
Balajadia-Violan, Deputy Ombudsman Cesar
Nitorreda, Ombudsman Conrado Vasquez, and
Special Prosecutor Aniano Desierto. Indeed,
Querubin's only contribution to the process
was to suggest the filing of three separate
informations
of
falsification
of
public
documents against petitioners.
(2) No. The second ground for the petition is
that the Office of the Ombudsman closed its
eyes to the fact that in filing these cases,
complainant Teofilo Gelacio is guilty of forumshopping and that his purpose for the filing of
the cases is simply political harassment. To
buttress their contention, petitioners call
attention to the factual background of the
cases.
According to petitioners, way back in
1984 private respondent Gelacio charged
petitioner Paredes, Jr. with perjury on the

ground that in 1975 Paredes, Jr. made false


statements in an affidavit which he used in
support of his application for a free patent. As
already noted, the case which was filed with
the MTC of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, and
docketed there as Criminal Case No. 1393, was
dismissed on March 24, 1986 upon motion of
the prosecution.
On October 28, 1986, Gelacio filed
another complaint against petitioner Paredes,
Jr., then the acting governor of the province.
The complaint was for violation of 3 (a) of
Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act. Allegedly, in
1976 petitioner Paredes, Jr., then the Provincial
Attorney
of
Agusan
del
Sur,
unduly
"persuaded, induced and influenced the Public
Land Inspector to approve his (Paredes, Jr's)
application for a free patent. According to
petitioners, this case involved the same
application for a free patent of petitioner
Paredes, Jr., which was the subject of Criminal
case. No. 1393.
The information was filed by Special
Prosecutor
Erdulfo
Querubin
in
the
Sandiganbayan where it was docketed as
Criminal Case No. 13800. Petitioner Paredes, Jr.
moved to quash the information, but the court
denied his motion. He then filed a motion for
reconsideration. It was in connection with this
motion that the procurement of allegedly
falsified documents, now the subject of
prosecution, was made by petitioner Paredes,
Jr. The documents were used to support his
motion for reconsideration.
On August 1, 1991, the Sandiganbayan
reconsidered its previous resolution and
dismissed Criminal Case No. 13800, although
on the ground of prescription. The Office of the
Ombudsman sought a review of the action of
the Sandiganbayan, but its petition was
dismissed by this Court on July 3, 1992 in G.R.
No. 101724. The motion for reconsideration
filed by the prosecution was likewise denied.
As an offshoot of the execution of these
documents, two cases were filed by Gelacio:
(1) an administrative complaint (A.P. Case No.
P-90-396) for falsification of public documents
which was filed with this Court against
Mansueto Honrada, who made certifications
and (2) a complaint for falsification of public
documents, initially filed as OMB-MIN-90-0053
with the Office of the Ombudsman and
eventually as Criminal Case Nos. 17791,
17792, and 17793 in the Sandiganbayan,
against the petitioners and Atty. Sansaet.
The first case was dismissed for
insufficiency of the evidence. But with respect

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to the second complaint, Graft Investigation
Officer Violan found probable cause to proceed
against petitioners and against Atty. Sansaet
and so recommended the filing of a case
against them. Her recommendation was
approved by the Ombudsman on June 26,
1992, although upon the recommendation of
Special Prosecutor Querubin three separate
informations
were
filed
with
the
Sandiganbayan. Earlier on July 29, 1991, Atty.
Sansaet, one of the respondents, executed an
Affidavit of Explanations and Rectifications in
which he stated that, contrary to his previous
affidavit, there was no arraignment held in
Criminal Case No. 1393.
Petitioners contend that these cases
should be dismissed, being merely the latest in
a series of cases which "arose out of the same
alleged incident -- i.e. that of allegedly having
induced the land inspector to approve his
(Paredes, Jr's.) land application, " 12 for having
been filed in violation of the rules on forumshopping. Petitioners cite the following
statement in Crisostomo v. Securities and
Exchange Commission:
There is forum-shopping
whenever as a result of an
adverse opinion in one forum, a
party seeks a favorable opinion
(other
than
by
appeal
or
certiorari)
in
another.
The
principle applies not only with
respect to suits filed in the courts
while
an
administrative
proceeding is pending as in this
case
in
order
to
defeat
administrative processes and in
anticipation of an unfavorable
administrative
ruling
and
a
favorable court ruling. . . . A
violation of this rule shall
constitute contempt of court and
shall be a cause for summary
dismissal
of
both
petitions,
without prejudice to the taking of
appropriate action against the
counsel or the party concerned.
The mere filing of several cases based
on the same incident does not necessarily
constitute forum-shopping. The test is whether
the several actions filed involve the same
transactions,
essential
facts,
and
circumstances. Here, although several cases
were filed by the same complainant against
the same defendant and the subject matter of
the actions of two of the cases was the same
incident (i.e., the application for free patent of
petitioner Ceferino Paredes, Jr.), the fact is that

the several cases involve essentially different


facts, circumstances and causes of action.
Thus, Criminal Case No. 1393, which
was filed in the MCTC of San Francisco, Agusan
del Sur, was for perjury, based on false
statements allegedly made in 1975 by
petitioner Paredes, Jr. in connection with his
free patent application. Criminal Case No.
13800, which was filed in the Sandiganbayan,
although based on the filing of the same
application for free patent, was for violation of
the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act, on the
allegation that petitioner, as Provincial
Attorney, had unduly influenced the Public
Land Inspector to secure the approval of his
free patent application. On the other hand, as
already stated, the present cases (Criminal
Case Nos. 17791, 17792 and 17793) are for
falsification of court records pertaining to
Criminal Case No. 1393. A.P. Case No. P-90-396
is an administrative case against petitioner
Honrada based on the same incident and facts
that are subject of the preceding criminal
cases. The rest are incidents of these cases,
being the petition for review and motions for
reconsideration in Criminal Case No. 13800
and A.P. Case No. P-90-396.
Thus the present cases involve
substantially different transactions, facts and
circumstances from those involved in the
other, though related, cases. Although they
arose from the same incident, i.e., petitioner's
public land application, they involve different
issues. It is well settled that a single act may
offend against two or more distinct and related
provisions of law or that the same act may
give rise to criminal as well as administrative
liability. As such, they may be prosecuted
simultaneously or one after another, so long as
they do not place the accused in double
jeopardy of being punished for the same
offense.
Petitioners call attention to the fact that
the administrative complaint against petitioner
Honrada was dismissed. They invoke our ruling
in Maceda v. Vasquez that only this Court has
the power to oversee court personnel's
compliance with laws and take the appropriate
administrative action against them for their
failure to do so and that no other branch of the
government may exercise this power without
running afoul of the principle of separation of
powers.
But one thing is administrative liability.
Quite another thing is the criminal liability for
the same act. Our determination of the
administrative liability for falsification of public
documents is in no way conclusive of his lack

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

138

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


of criminal liability. As we have held in Tan v.
Comelec, the dismissal of an administrative
case does not necessarily bar the filing
prosecution for the same or similar acts which
were the subject of the administrative
complaint.
Petitioner's assertion that private
respondent Alterado has resorted to forumshopping is unacceptable. The investigation
then being conducted by the Ombudsman on
the criminal case for falsification and violation
of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, on
the one hand, and the inquiry into the
administrative charges by the COMELEC, on
the other hand, are entirely independent
proceedings. Neither would the results in one
conclude the other. Thus an absolution from a
criminal charge is not a bar to an
administrative prosecution (Office of the Court
administrator v. Enriquez, 218 SCRA 1) or vice
versa.
(3) As final argument, petitioners allege that
the complaint in Criminal Case Nos. 17791,
17792 and 17793 was filed by political
enemies of petitioner Paredes, Jr. merely to
harass him and that there is in fact no
probable cause to support the prosecution of
these cases. Petitioners cite the following
which allegedly indicate that the charges
below have merely been trumped up:
(1) The affidavit of Agusan del Sur
District Citizen's Attorney Lou Nueva, stating
that then Congressman Democrito O. Plaza
instructed Atty. Leonardo Cadiz to secure a
certification from Judge Ario that no
arraignment had been held in Criminal Case
No. 1393, threatening that if the judge refused
to give the certification, he (Congressman
Plaza) would do "everything against Judge
Ario," including "reviving certain cases
against Judge Ario;" and
(2) The affidavit of Judge Ario in which
he stated that he did not expect that the
certificate which he had previously issued
would be used in evidence and that the use of
the certificate in the cases below was "against
his conscience," because the cases were
politically motivated and he was not going to
testify in any investigation concerning such
certificate. At the same time petitioners seek
to minimize the retraction of Atty. Sansaet by
ascribing political motivation for its execution.
Petitioner Paredes, Jr. claims that Sansaet's
obsession has been to win in an election and
that his loss to petitioner Paredes, Jr. in the
May 11, 1992 congressional elections was
Sansaet's sixth defeat. As for private

respondent Gelacio, petitioners say he is a


political leader of Democrito Plaza. They claim
that in 1991 Atty. Sansaet changed political
affiliation and allied himself with Democrito
Plaza and Teofilo Gelacio.
Petitioners argue that the certifications
made by the clerk of court with respect to an
arraignment allegedly held on July 9, 1985 in
Criminal Case No. 1393 is conclusive and
cannot be altered by Atty. Sansaet's claim to
the contrary. They cite what is now Rule 132,
23 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, which
provides
that
"public
instruments
are
evidence, even against a third person, of the
fact which gave rise to their execution and of
the date of the latter."
We find the foregoing averments to be
unpersuasive. First of all, that the filing of the
charges is politically motivated cannot justify
the prohibition of a criminal prosecution if
there is otherwise evidence to support them.
Here a preliminary investigation of the
complaint against petitioners was held during
which petitioners were heard. Their evidence,
as well as that of private respondent Gelacio,
was considered in great detail in the resolution
of GIO II Violan. Violan's resolution was
reviewed by Special Prosecutor Erdulfo
Querubin who made his own detailed
resolution concurring in the finding of Violan.
We cannot say that, in approving the
resolutions
of
two
investigators,
the
respondent
Ombudsman
and
Special
Prosecutor committed an abuse of their
discretion.
Indeed, this Court is loath to interfere
with the discretion of the Ombudsman unless
such discretion is clearly shown to have been
abused. As explained in Young v. Office of the
Ombudsman:
The rule is based not only upon respect
for the investigatory and prosecutory powers
granted by the Constitution to the Office of the
Ombudsman but upon practicality as well.
Otherwise, the functions of the courts will be
grievously hampered by innumerable petitions
assailing the dismissal of investigatory
proceedings conducted by the Office of the
Ombudsman with regard to complaints filed
before it, in much the same way that the
courts would be extremely swamped if they
could be compelled to review the exercise of
discretion on the part of the fiscals or
prosecuting attorneys each time they decide
to file an information in court or dismiss a
complaint by a private complainant.
There
are
instances,
constituting
exceptions to the general rule, when this Court

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139

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


will intervene in the prosecution of cases.
Some of these instances were enumerated in
Brocka v. Enrile, as follows:
a. Where injunction is justified by the
necessity to afford protection to the
constitutional rights of the accused;
b. When necessary for the orderly
administration of justice or to avoid oppression
or multiplicity of actions;
c. When there is a prejudicial question
which is sub judice;
d. When the acts of the officer are
without or in excess of authority;
e. Where the prosecution is under an
invalid law, ordinance or regulation;
f. When double jeopardy is clearly
apparent;
g. Where the court has no jurisdiction
over the offense;
h. Where it is a case of persecution
rather than prosecution;
i. Where the charges are manifestly
false and motivated by the lust for vengeance;
j When there is clearly no prima facie
case against the accused and motion to quash
on that ground has been denied; and
k. Preliminary injunction has been
issued by the Supreme Court to prevent the
threatened unlawful arrest of petitioners.
But none of these instances is present
here.
What petitioners raise are questions
which go to the weight to be given to the
affidavits by Atty. Nueva and Judge Ario.
These are matters for the trial court's
appreciation. A preliminary investigation is not
a trial. The function of the government
prosecutor during the preliminary investigation
is merely to determine the existence of
probable cause. As we explained in Pilapil vs.
Sandiganbayan, this function involves only the
following:
Probable
cause
is
a
reasonable
ground
of
presumption that a matter is, or
may be, well-founded, such a
state of facts in the mind of the
prosecutor as would lead a person
of ordinary caution and prudence
to believe or entertain an honest
or strong suspicion, that a thing is
so. (Words and Phrases, Probable
Cause v. 34, p. 12) The term does
not mean "actual and positive
cause" nor does it import
absolute certainty. It is merely
based on opinion and reasonable
belief. Thus a finding of probable

cause does not require an inquiry


into whether there is sufficient
evidence to procure a conviction.
It is enough that it is believed that
the act or omission complained of
constitutes the offense charged.
Precisely, there is a trial for the
reception of evidence of the
prosecution in support of the
charge.
Secondly, to warrant a finding of
political harassment so as to justify the grant
of the extraordinary writs of certiorari and
prohibition, it must be shown that the
complainant possesses the power and the
influence to control the prosecution of cases.
Here, the prosecution is handled by the Office
of the Ombudsman. Although it is intimated
that Petitioner Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr. is the
subject of persecution by his political enemies
in Agusan del Sur, it has not been alleged,
much less shown, that his enemies have
influence and power over the national
prosecution service.
To show political harassment petitioners
must prove that public prosecutor, and not just
the private complainant, is acting in bad faith
in prosecuting the case 26 or has lent himself to
a scheme that could have no other purpose
than to place the accused in contempt and
disrepute. For it is only if he does so may the
prosecutor, in conducting the preliminary
investigation, be said to have deserted the
performance of his office to determine
objectively and impartially the existence of
probable cause and thus justify judicial
intervention in what is essentially his province.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari
and prohibition is DISMISSED.
*NOTE: Actually, parang hnde nman
related ang case na to sa Article VI. Pero may
nakita akong digest sa internet na related.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

140

CEFERINO
PAREDES
SANDIGANBAYAN

JR.

VS

FACTS: On 23 Jan 1990, Gelacio, the then vice


mayor of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur filed a
case against Paredes (who was then the
governor of the same province), Atty. Sansaet
(counsel of Paredes), and Honrada (the clerk of
court). The three allegedly conspired to falsify
a copy of a Notice of Arraignment and of the
Transcript of Stenographic Notes. Gelacio
claimed that, in fact, no arraignment has ever
been issued against him in a criminal
proceeding against him. Gelacio was able to
produce a certification from the judge handling

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


the case himself that the criminal case against
him never reached the arraignment stage
because the prosecution was dismissed. Atty.
Sansaet on his part maintained that there was
indeed a Notice of Arraignment but he later
retracted his testimonies. Paredes claimed that
Sansaet only changed his side because of
political realignment. Subsequently, the Office
of the Ombudsman recommended that
Paredes et al be charged with Falsification of
Public Documents. Paredes appealed but was
eventually denied by the Sandiganbayan.
ISSUE: Whether or not Paredes, now a
member of Congress, be suspended by order
of the Sandiganbayan.
HELD: The Supreme Court affirmed the order
of suspension of Congressman Paredes by the
Sandiganbayan, despite his protestations on
the encroachment by the court on the
prerogatives of congress. The SC ruled:x x x.
Petitioners invocation of Section 16 (3), Article
VI of the Constitution which deals with the
power of each House of Congress inter alia to
punish its Members for disorderly behavior,
and suspend or expel a Member by a vote of
two-thirds of all its Members subject to the
qualification that the penalty of suspension,
when imposed, should not exceed sixty days
is unavailing, as it appears to be quite distinct
from the suspension spoken of in Section 13 of
RA 3019, which is not a penalty but a
preliminary, preventive measure, prescinding
from the fact that the latter is not being
imposed on petitioner for misbehavior as a
Member of the House of Representatives.
DE
VENECIA,
JR.,
et
al.,
SANDIGANBAYAN (1st DIV.)
G.R. No. 130240. February 5, 2002]
EN BANC

vs.

FACTS: On March 12, 1993, an Information


(docketed as Criminal Case No. 18857) was
filed with the Sandiganbayan (First Division)
against then Congressman Ceferino S.
Paredes, Jr., of Agusan del Sur for violation of
Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (The
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as
amended).
After the accused pleaded not guilty,
the prosecution filed a Motion To Suspend The
Accused Pendente Lite. The Sandiganbayan
granted the motion and ordered the Speaker
to suspend the accused. But the Speaker did
not comply. Thus, the Sandiganbayan issued a
Resolution requiring him to appear before it to

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

show cause why he should not be held in


contempt of court.
Unrelenting, the Speaker filed, through
counsel, a motion for reconsideration, invoking
the rule on separation of powers and claiming
that he can only act as may be dictated by the
House as a body pursuant to House Resolution
No. 116 adopted on August 13, 1997.
On
August
29,
1997,
the
Sandiganbayan rendered the now assailed
Resolution declaring Speaker Jose C. de
Venecia, Jr. in contempt of court and ordering
him to pay a fine of P10,000.00 within 10 days
from notice. Hence, the instant recourse.
Petitioners seek the annulment of: (1)
the Order dated August 18, 1997 of the
Sandiganbayan (First Division), directing
Speaker Jose de Venecia of the House of
Representatives, to implement the preventive
suspension of then Congressman Ceferino S.
Paredes, Jr., in connection with Criminal Case
No. 18857 entitled People of the Philippines v.
Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr. and Gregorio S.
Branzuela; and
(2) the Resolution dated August 29,
1997, also of the Sandiganbayan, declaring
Speaker de Venecia in contempt of court for
refusing
to
implement
the
preventive
suspension order.
ISSUE: Whether of not the Sandiganbayan
may cite in contempt of court the Speaker of
the House of Representatives for refusing to
implement the preventive suspension order it
issued in a criminal case against a member of
the House?
HELD: Yes. The issue before us had long been
settled by this Court in Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr.
v. Sandiganbayan in G.R. No. 118354 (August
8, 1995).
We ruled that the suspension
provided for in the Anti-Graft law is mandatory
and is of different nature and purpose. It is
imposed by the court, not as a penalty, but as
a precautionary measure resorted to upon the
filing of a valid Information. Its purpose is to
prevent the accused public officer from
frustrating his prosecution by influencing
witnesses or tampering with documentary
evidence and from committing further acts of
malfeasance while in office. It is thus an
incident to the criminal proceedings before the
court. On the other hand, the suspension or
expulsion contemplated in the Constitution is a
House-imposed sanction against its members.
It is, therefore, a penalty for disorderly
behavior to enforce discipline, maintain order

141

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


in its proceedings, or vindicate its honor and
integrity.
Just recently, in Miriam Defensor
Santiago v. Sandiganbayan, et al., this Court
en banc, through Justice Jose C. Vitug, held
that the doctrine of separation of powers does
not exclude the members of Congress from the
mandate of R.A. 3019, thus:
The order of suspension prescribed by
Republic Act No. 3019 is distinct from the
power of Congress to discipline its own ranks
under the Constitution. x x x.
The suspension contemplated in the
above constitutional provision is a punitive
measure that is imposed upon a determination
by the Senate or the House of Representatives,
as the case may be, upon an erring member. x
x x.
The doctrine of separation of powers
by itself may not be deemed to have
effectively excluded members of Congress
from Republic Act No. 3019 nor from its
sanctions. The maxim simply recognizes that
each of the three co-equal and independent,
albeit coordinate, branches of the government
the Legislative, the Executive and the
Judiciary has exclusive prerogatives and
cognizance within its own sphere of influence
and effectively prevents one branch from
unduly intruding into the internal affairs of
either branch. (Emphasis ours)
We note that the term of then
Congressman Ceferino Paredes, Jr. expired on
June 30, 1988.
This rendered moot and
academic the instant case.
WHEREFORE, for being moot, this case
is deemed CLOSED and TERMINATED.

the 28th of February but on March 1 of that


year; and that, therefore, the same is null and
void. The validity of the Act is not otherwise
questioned. As it is admitted that the last day
of the special session was, under the
Governor-General's proclamation, February 28
and that the appellant is charged with having
violated the provisions of Act No. 2381, the
vital question is the date of adjournment of the
Legislature, and this reduces itself to two
others, namely, (1) how that is to be proved,
whether by the legislative journals or
extraneous evidence and (2) whether the court
can take judicial notice of the journals. These
questions will be considered in the reversed
order.
Also, counsel for Pons alleged that the
Assemblys clock was stopped on February 18,
1914 at midnight and left so until the
determination of the discussion of all pending
matters among which was Act NO. 2381. To
prove said allegations, counsel argued the
court to go beyond the proceedings of the
Legislature as recorded in the journals.
ISSUE: Whether or not the court may go
beyond the recitals of legislature journals or
just take judicial notice of said journals for the
purpose
of
determining
the
date
of
adjournment when such journal are clear and
explicitly?

FACTS: The respondent, together with Gabino


Beliso and Jacinto Lasarte were charged with
the crime of illegal importation of opium. On
motion of counsel, Juan Pons and Gabino
Beliso were tried separately. (Jacinto Lasarte
had not yet been arrested.) Each were found
guilty of the crime charged and sentenced
accordingly. Both appealed. Beliso later
withdrew his appeal and the judgment as to
him has become final.
In respondents motion, counsel alleged
and offered to prove that the last day of the
special session of the Philippine Legislature for
1914 was the 28th day of February; that Act
No. 2381, under which Pons must be punished
if found guilty, was not passed or approved on

HELD: The court may not go beyond the


recitals of legislature journals for the purpose
of determining the date of adjournment when
such journal are clear and explicit.
Act No. 1679 provides that the
Secretary of the Commission shall perform the
duties which would properly be required of the
Recorder of the Commission under the existing
law. And rules 15 and 16 of the Legislative
Procedure of the Philippine Commission
provides, among other things, "that the
proceedings of the Commission shall be briefly
and accurately stated on the journal," and that
it shall be the duty of the Secretary "to keep a
correct journal of the proceedings of the
Commission." On page 793 of volume 7 of the
Commission Journal for the ordinary and
special sessions of the Third Philippine
Legislature, the following appears:
The Journal for Saturday,
February 28, 1914, was approved.
Adjournment sine die of the
Commission as a Chamber of the
Philippine Legislature. The hour of
midnight having arrived, on
motion of Commissioner Palma,

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

142

THE UNITED STATES vs. JUAN PONS


G.R. No. L-11530 August 12, 1916
TRENT, J.:

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


the Commission, as a Chamber of
the
Philippine
Legislature,
adjourned sine die.
The Act of Congress, approved July 1,
1902, provides, among other things, in section
7, that the Philippine Assembly "shall keep in
journal of its proceedings, which shall be
published . . . ." In obedience to this mandate,
the journal of the Assembly's proceedings for
the sessions of 1914 was duly published and it
appears therein (vol. 9, p. 1029), that the
Assembly adjourned sine die at 12 o'clock
midnight on February 28, 1914.
Section 275 of the Code of Civil
Procedure provides that the existence of the
"official acts of the legislative, executive, and
judicial departments of the United States and
of the Philippine Islands ... shall be judicially
recognized by the court without the
introduction of proof; but the court may
receive evidence upon any of the subjects in
this section states, when it shall find it
necessary for its own information, and may
resort for its aid to appropriate books,
documents, or evidence." And section 313 [as
amended by sec. 1 of Act No. 2210], of the
same Code also provides that:
Official documents may be proved
as follows: . . . .
(2) The proceedings of the
Philippine Commission, or of any
legislative body that may be
provided
for
the
Philippine
Islands, or of Congress, by the
journals of those bodies or of
either house thereof, or by
published statutes or resolutions,
or by copies certified by the clerk
or secretary or printed by their
order: Provided, That in the case
of
Acts
of
the
Philippine
Commission or the Philippine
Legislature when there is in
existence a copy signed by the
presiding
officers
and
the
secretaries of said bodies, it shall
be conclusive proof of the
provisions of such Act and of the
due enactment thereof.
While there are no adjudicated cases in
this jurisdiction upon the exact question
whether the courts may take judicial notice of
the legislative journals, it is well settled in the
United States that such journals may be
noticed by the courts in determining the
question whether a particular bill became a
law or not. (The State ex rel. Herron vs. Smith,
44 Ohio, 348, and cases cited therein.) The

result is that the law and the adjudicated


cases make it our duty to take judicial notice of
the legislative journals of the special session of
the Philippine Legislature of 1914. These
journals are not ambiguous or contradictory as
to the actual time of the adjournment. They
show, with absolute certainty, that the
Legislature adjourned sine die at 12 o'clock
midnight on February 28, 1914.
Passing over the question whether the
printed Act (No. 2381), published by authority
of law, is conclusive evidence as to the date
when it was passed, we will inquire whether
the courts may go behind the legislative
journals for the purpose of determining the
date of adjournment when such journals are
clear and explicit.
From the foregoing it is clear that this
investigation belongs entirely to that branch of
legal science which embraces and illustrates
the laws of evidence. On the one hand, it is
maintained that the Legislature did not, as we
have indicated, adjourn at midnight on
February 28, 1914, but on March 1st, and that
this allegation or alleged fact may be
established by extraneous evidence; while, on
the other hand, it is urged that the contents of
the legislative journals are conclusive evidence
as to the date of adjournment. In order to
understand these opposing positions, it is
necessary to consider the nature and
character of the evidence thus involved.
Evidence is understood to be that which
proves or disproves "any matter in question or
to influence the belief respecting it," and
"conclusive evidence is that which establishes
the fact, as in the instance of conclusive
presumptions." (Bouvier's Law Dictionary, vol.
1, p. 701 et seq.) Counsel for the appellant, in
order to establish his contention, must
necessarily depend upon the memory or
recollection of witnesses, while the legislative
journals are the acts of the Government or
sovereign itself. From their very nature and
object the records of the Legislature are as
important as those of the judiciary, and to
inquire into the veracity of the journals of the
Philippine Legislature, when they are, as we
have said, clear and explicit, would be to
violate both the letter and the spirit of the
organic laws by which the Philippine
Government was brought into existence, to
invade
a
coordinate
and
independent
department of the Government, and to
interfere with the legitimate powers and
functions of the Legislature. But counsel in his
argument says that the public knows that the
Assembly's clock was stopped on February 28,

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

143

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1914, at midnight and left so until the
determination of the discussion of all pending
matters. Or, in other words, the hands of the
clock were stayed in order to enable the
Assembly to effect an adjournment apparently
within the time fixed by the Governor's
proclamation for the expiration of the special
session, in direct violation of the Act of
Congress of July 1, 1902. If the clock was, in
fact, stopped, as here suggested, "the
resultant evil might be slight as compared with
that of altering the probative force and
character of legislative records, and making
the proof of legislative action depend upon
uncertain oral evidence, liable to loss by death
or absence, and so imperfect on account of the
treachery of memory. Long, long centuries ago,
these considerations of public policy led to the
adoption of the rule giving verity and
unimpeachability to legislative records. If that
character is to be taken away for one purpose,
it must be taken away for all, and the evidence
of the laws of the state must rest upon a
foundation less certain and durable than that
afforded by the law to many contracts
between
private
individuals
concerning
comparatively trifling matters." (Capito vs.
Topping, W. Va., 22 L. R. A. [N. S.], 1089.) Upon
the same point the court, in the State ex rel.
Herron vs. Smith (44 Ohio, 348), decided in
1886, said:
Counsel have exhibited
unusual industry in looking up the
various cases upon this question;
and, out of a multitude of
citations, not one is found in
which any court has assumed to
go beyond the proceedings of the
legislature, as recorded in the
journals required to be kept in
each of its branches, on the
question whether a law has been
adopted. And if reasons for the
limitation upon judicial inquiry in
such matters have not generally
been stated, in doubtless arises
from the fact that they are
apparent. Imperative reasons of
public policy require that the
authenticity of laws should rest
upon public memorials of the
most permanent character. They
should be public, because all are
required to conform to them; they
should be permanent, that right
acquired to-day upon the faith of
what has been declared to be law
shall not be destroyed to-morrow,

or at some remote period of time,


by facts resting only in the
memory of individuals.
In the case from which this last
quotation is taken, the court cited numerous
decisions of the various states in the American
Union in support of the rule therein laid down,
and we have been unable to find a single case
of a later date where the rule has been in the
least changed or modified when the legislative
journals cover the point. As the Constitution of
the Philippine Government is modeled after
those of the Federal Government and the
various states, we do not hesitate to follow the
courts in that country in the matter now before
us. The journals say that the Legislature
adjourned at 12 midnight on February 28,
1914. This settles the question, and the court
did not err in declining to go behind these
journals. The judgment appealed from is
affirmed.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

144

CASCO PHILIPPINE CHEMICAL CO., INC.,


vs. HON. PEDRO GIMENEZ, in his capacity
as Auditor General of the Philippines, and
HON. ISMAEL MATHAY, in his capacity as
Auditor of the Central Bank
G.R. No. L-17931February 28, 1963
CONCEPCION, J.:
FACTS: Pursuant to the provisions of RA No.
2609, otherwise known as the Foreign
Exchange Margin Fee Law, the Central Bank of
the Philippines issued on July 1, 1959, its
Circular No. 95. fixing a uniform margin fee of
25% on foreign exchange transactions. To
supplement the circular, the Bank later
promulgated a memorandum establishing the
procedure for applications for exemption from
the payment of said fee, as provided in said RA
No. 2609. Several times in November and
December 1959, petitioner Casco Philippine
Chemical Co., Inc. which is engaged in the
manufacture of synthetic resin glues, used in
bonding lumber and veneer by plywood and
hardwood producers bought foreign
exchange for the importation of urea and
formaldehyde which are the main raw
materials in the production of said glues and
paid therefor the aforementioned margin fee
aggregating P33,765.42. In May, 1960,
petitioner made another purchase of foreign
exchange and paid the sum of P6,345.72 as
margin fee therefor.
Prior thereto, petitioner had sought the
refund of the first sum of P33,765.42, relying
upon Resolution No. 1529 of the Monetary
Board of said Bank, declaring that the separate

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


importation of urea and formaldehyde is
exempt from said fee. Soon after the last
importation of these products, petitioner made
a similar request for refund of the sum of
P6,345.72 paid as margin fee therefor.
Although the Central Bank issued the
corresponding margin fee vouchers for the
refund of said amounts, the Auditor of the
Bank refused to pass in audit and approve said
vouchers, upon the ground that the exemption
granted by the Monetary Board for petitioner's
separate
importations
of
urea
and
formaldehyde is not in accord with the
provisions of section 2, paragraph XVIII of
Republic Act No. 2609. On appeal taken by
petitioner, the Auditor General subsequently
affirmed said action of the Auditor of the Bank.
Hence, this petition for review.
ISSUE:
Whether
or
not
"urea"
and
"formaldehyde" are exempt by law from the
payment of the aforesaid margin fee.
HELD: No. The pertinent portion of Section 2
of Republic Act No. 2609 reads:
The margin established by
the Monetary Board pursuant to
the provision of section one
hereof shall not be imposed upon
the sale of foreign exchange for
the importation of the following:.
xxx
xxx
xxx
XVIII. Urea formaldehyde
for the manufacture of plywood
and hardboard when imported by
and for the exclusive use of endusers.
Wherefore,
the
parties
respectfully
pray
that
the
foregoing stipulation of facts be
admitted and approved by this
Honorable
Court,
without
prejudice to the parties adducing
other evidence to prove their case
not covered by this stipulation of
facts. 1wph1.t
Petitioner maintains that the term "urea
formaldehyde" appearing in this provision
should
be
construed
as
"urea
and
formaldehyde" (emphasis supplied) and that
respondents herein, the Auditor General and
the Auditor of the Central Bank, have erred in
holding otherwise. In this connection, it should
be
noted
that,
whereas
"urea"
and
"formaldehyde" are the principal raw materials
in the manufacture of synthetic resin glues,
the National Institute of Science and

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

Technology has expressed, through its


Commissioner, the view that:
Urea formaldehyde is not a
chemical solution. It is the
synthetic resin formed as a
condensation
product
from
definite proportions of urea and
formaldehyde
under
certain
conditions
relating
to
temperature, acidity, and time of
reaction. This produce when
applied in water solution and
extended with inexpensive fillers
constitutes a fairly low cost
adhesive
for
use
in
the
manufacture of plywood.
Hence, "urea formaldehyde" is clearly a
finished product, which is patently distinct and
different from urea" and "formaldehyde", as
separate articles used in the manufacture of
the
synthetic
resin
known
as
"urea
formaldehyde". Petitioner contends, however,
that the bill approved in Congress contained
the copulative conjunction "and" between the
terms "urea" and "formaldehyde", and that the
members of Congress intended to exempt
"urea" and "formaldehyde" separately as
essential elements in the manufacture of the
synthetic
resin
glue
called
"urea"
formaldehyde", not the latter as a finished
product, citing in support of this view the
statements made on the floor of the Senate,
during the consideration of the bill before said
House, by members thereof. But, said
individual statements do not necessarily
reflect the view of the Senate. Much less do
they indicate the intent of the House of
Representatives. Furthermore, it is well settled
that the enrolled bill which uses the term
"urea formaldehyde" instead of "urea and
formaldehyde" is conclusive upon the courts
as regards the tenor of the measure passed by
Congress and approved by the President. If
there has been any mistake in the printing of
the bill before it was certified by the officers of
Congress and approved by the Executive on
which
we
cannot
speculate,
without
jeopardizing the principle of separation of
powers and undermining
one of the
cornerstones of our democratic system the
remedy is by amendment or curative
legislation, not by judicial decree.
The decision appealed from is hereby
affirmed.
THE PHILIPPINE JUDGES ASSOCIATION et.
al., vs. HON. PETE PRADO, in his capacity
as Secretary of the Department of

145

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Transportation
and
Communications,
JORGE V. SARMIENTO, in his capacity as
Postmaster General, and the PHILIPPINE
POSTAL CORP.,
G.R. No. 105371 November 11, 1993
CRUZ, J.:
FACTS: The main target of this petition is
Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 as implemented by
the Philippine Postal Corporation through its
Circular No. 92-28. These measures withdraw
the franking privilege from the Supreme Court,
the Court of Appeals, the Regional Trial Courts,
the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal
Trial Courts, and the Land Registration
Commission and its Registers of Deeds, along
with certain other government offices.
The petitioners are members of the
lower courts who feel that their official
functions as judges will be prejudiced by the
above-named measures. The National Land
Registration Authority has taken common
cause with them insofar as its own activities,
such as sending of requisite notices in
registration cases, affect judicial proceedings.
On its motion, it has been allowed to
intervene.
The petition assails the constitutionality
of R.A. No. 7354 on the grounds that: (1) its
title embraces more than one subject and does
not express its purposes; (2) it did not pass the
required readings in both Houses of Congress
and printed copies of the bill in its final form
were not distributed among the members
before its passage; and (3) it is discriminatory
and encroaches on the independence of the
Judiciary.
The basic issue raised in this petition is
the independence of the Judiciary. It is
asserted by the petitioners that this hallmark
of republicanism is impaired by the statute and
circular they are here challenging. The
Supreme Court is itself affected by these
measures and is thus an interested party that
should ordinarily not also be a judge at the
same time. Under our system of government,
however, it cannot inhibit itself and must rule
upon the challenge, because no other office
has the authority to do so.

its final form were not distributed among


the members before its passage?
(3) Whether or not R.A. No. 7354 is
discriminatory and encroaches on the
independence of the Judiciary?
HELD: We approach these issues with one
important principle in mind, to wit, the
presumption of the constitutionality of
statutes. The theory is that as the joint act of
the Legislature and the Executive, every
statute is supposed to have first been carefully
studied and determined to be constitutional
before it was finally enacted. Hence, unless it
is clearly shown that it is constitutionally
flawed, the attack against its validity must be
rejected and the law itself upheld. To doubt is
to sustain.
(1) No.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the title of R.A. No. 7354
embraces more than one subject and does
not express its purposes?
(2) Whether or not R.A. No. 7354 did not pass
the required readings in both Houses of
Congress and printed copies of the bill in

We consider first the objection based


on Article VI, Sec. 26(l), of the Constitution
providing that "Every bill passed by the
Congress shall embrace only one subject
which shall be expressed in the title thereof."
The purposes of this rule are: (1) to
prevent
hodge-podge
or
"log-rolling"
legislation; (2) to prevent surprise or fraud
upon the legislature by means of provisions in
bills of which the title gives no intimation, and
which might therefore be overlooked and
carelessly and unintentionally adopted; and (3)
to fairly apprise the people, through such
publication of legislative proceedings as is
usually made, of the subject of legislation that
is being considered, in order that they may
have opportunity of being heard thereon, by
petition or otherwise, if they shall so desire.
It is the submission of the petitioners
that Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 which
withdrew the franking privilege from the
Judiciary is not expressed in the title of the
law, nor does it reflect its purposes.
R.A. No. 7354 is entitled "An Act
Creating the Philippine Postal Corporation,
Defining
its
Powers,
Functions
and
Responsibilities, Providing for Regulation of the
Industry and for Other Purposes Connected
Therewith." The objectives of the law are
enumerated in Section 3, which provides:
The State shall pursue the
following
objectives
of
a
nationwide postal system:
a)
to
enable
the
economical and speedy transfer
of mail and other postal matters,
from sender to addressee, with

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146

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


full recognition of their privacy or
confidentiality;
b) to promote international
interchange,
cooperation
and
understanding
through
the
unhampered flow or exchange of
postal matters between nations;
c) to cause or effect a wide
range of postal services to cater
to different users and changing
needs, including but not limited
to, philately, transfer of monies
and valuables, and the like;
d) to ensure that sufficient
revenues are generated by and
within the industry to finance the
overall cost of providing the
varied range of postal delivery
and messengerial services as well
as the expansion and continuous
upgrading of service standards by
the same.
Sec. 35 of R.A. No. 7354, which is the principal
target of the petition, reads as follows:
Sec. 35. Repealing Clause.
All acts, decrees, orders,
executive orders, instructions,
rules and regulations or parts
thereof inconsistent with the
provisions of this Act are repealed
or modified accordingly.
All
franking
privileges
authorized by law are hereby
repealed, except those provided
for under Commonwealth Act No.
265, Republic Acts Numbered 69,
180, 1414, 2087 and 5059. The
Corporation may continue the
franking privilege under Circular
No. 35 dated October 24, 1977
and that of the Vice President,
under such arrangements and
conditions as may obviate abuse
or unauthorized use thereof.
The
petitioners'
contention
is
untenable. We do not agree that the title of the
challenged act violates the Constitution.
The title of the bill is not required to be
an index to the body of the act, or to be as
comprehensive as to cover every single detail
of the measure. It has been held that if the
title fairly indicates the general subject, and
reasonably covers all the provisions of the act,
and is not calculated to mislead the legislature
or the people, there is sufficient compliance
with the constitutional requirement. 2
To require every end and means
necessary for the accomplishment of the

general objectives of the statute to be


expressed in its title would not only be
unreasonable but would actually render
legislation impossible. 3 As has been correctly
explained: The details of a legislative act need
not be specifically stated in its title, but matter
germane to the subject as expressed in the
title, and adopted to the accomplishment of
the object in view, may properly be included in
the act. Thus, it is proper to create in the same
act the machinery by which the act is to be
enforced, to prescribe the penalties for its
infraction, and to remove obstacles in the way
of its execution. If such matters are properly
connected with the subject as expressed in the
title, it is unnecessary that they should also
have special mention in the title (Southern
Pac. Co. v. Bartine, 170 Fed. 725).
This is particularly true of the repealing
clause, on which Cooley writes: "The repeal of
a statute on a given subject is properly
connected with the subject matter of a new
statute on the same subject; and therefore a
repealing section in the new statute is valid,
notwithstanding that the title is silent on the
subject. It would be difficult to conceive of a
matter more germane to an act and to the
object to be accomplished thereby than the
repeal of previous legislations connected
therewith." 4
The reason is that where a statute
repeals a former law, such repeal is the effect
and not the subject of the statute; and it is the
subject, not the effect of a law, which is
required to be briefly expressed in its title. 5 As
observed in one case, 6 if the title of an act
embraces only one subject, we apprehend it
was never claimed that every other act which
repeals it or alters by implication must be
mentioned in the title of the new act. Any such
rule would be neither within the reason of the
Constitution, nor practicable.
We are convinced that the withdrawal
of the franking privilege from some agencies is
germane to the accomplishment of the
principal objective of R.A. No. 7354, which is
the creation of a more efficient and effective
postal service system. Our ruling is that, by
virtue of its nature as a repealing clause,
Section 35 did not have to be expressly
included in the title of the said law.

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147

(2) No.
The petitioners maintain that the
second paragraph of Sec. 35 covering the
repeal of the franking privilege from the
petitioners and this Court under E.O. 207, PD
1882 and PD 26 was not included in the

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


original version of Senate Bill No. 720 or House
Bill No. 4200. As this paragraph appeared only
in the Conference Committee Report, its
addition, violates Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the
Constitution, reading as follows:
(2) No bill passed by either
House shall become a law unless
it has passed three readings on
separate days, and printed copies
thereof in its final form have been
distributed to its Members three
days before its passage, except
when the President certifies to the
necessity
of
its
immediate
enactment to meet a public
calamity or emergency. Upon the
last reading of a bill, no
amendment thereto shall be
allowed, and the vote thereon
shall
be
taken
immediately
thereafter, and the yeas and nays
entered in the Journal.
The petitioners also invoke Sec. 74 of
the Rules of the House of Representatives,
requiring that amendment to any bill when the
House and the Senate shall have differences
thereon may be settled by a conference
committee of both chambers. They stress that
Sec. 35 was never a subject of any
disagreement between both Houses and so the
second paragraph could not have been validly
added as an amendment.
These argument are unacceptable.
While it is true that a conference
committee is the mechanism for compromising
differences between the Senate and the
House, it is not limited in its jurisdiction to this
question. Its broader function is described
thus:
A conference committee
may, deal generally with the
subject matter or it may be
limited to resolving the precise
differences between the two
houses.
Even
where
the
conference committee is not by
rule limited in its jurisdiction,
legislative custom severely limits
the freedom with which new
subject matter can be inserted
into the conference bill. But
occasionally
a
conference
committee produces unexpected
results,
results
beyond
its
mandate, These excursions occur
even where the rules impose
strict limitations on conference
committee jurisdiction. This is

symptomatic of the authoritarian


power of conference committee
(Davies, Legislative Law and
Process: In a Nutshell, 1986 Ed.,
p.81).
It is a matter of record that the
conference Committee Report on the bill in
question was returned to and duly approved
by both the Senate and the House of
Representatives. Thereafter, the bill was
enrolled with its certification by Senate
President Neptali A. Gonzales and Speaker
Ramon
V.
Mitra
of
the
House
of
Representatives as having been duly passed
by both Houses of Congress. It was then
presented to and approved by President
Corazon C. Aquino on April 3, 1992.
Under the doctrine of separation
powers, the Court may not inquire beyond the
certification of the approval of a bill from the
presiding officers of Congress. Casco Philippine
Chemical Co. v. Gimenez 7 laid down the rule
that the enrolled bill, is conclusive upon the
Judiciary (except in matters that have to be
entered in the journals like the yeas and nays
on the final reading of the bill). The journals
are themselves also binding on the Supreme
Court, as we held in the old (but still valid)
case of U.S. vs. Pons, 9 where we explained the
reason thus: To inquire into the veracity of the
journals of the Philippine legislature when they
are, as we have said, clear and explicit, would
be to violate both the, letter and spirit of the
organic laws by which the Philippine
Government was brought into existence, to
invade
a
coordinate
and
independent
department of the Government, and to
interfere with the legitimate powers and
functions, of the Legislature.
Applying these principles, we shall
decline to look into the petitioners' charges
that an amendment was made upon the last
reading of the bill that eventually became R.A.
No. 7354 and that copies thereof in its final
form were not distributed among the members
of each House. Both the enrolled bill and the
legislative journals certify that the measure
was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with
Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the Constitution. We
are bound by such official assurances from a
coordinate department of the government, to
which we owe, at the very least, a becoming
courtesy.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

148

(3) Yes.
The third and most serious challenge of
the petitioners is based on the equal
protection clause. It is alleged that R.A. No.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


7354
is
discriminatory
because
while
withdrawing the franking privilege from the
Judiciary, it retains the same for the President
of the Philippines, the Vice President of the
Philippines; Senators and Members of the
House of Representatives, the Commission on
Elections; former Presidents of the Philippines;
the National Census and Statistics Office; and
the general public in the filing of complaints
against public offices and officers.
The respondents counter that there is
no discrimination because the law is based on
a valid classification in accordance with the
equal protection clause. In fact, the franking
privilege has been withdrawn not only from
the Judiciary but also the Office of Adult
Education, the Institute of National Language;
the Telecommunications Office; the Philippine
Deposit Insurance Corporation; the National
Historical Commission; the Armed Forces of
the Philippines; the Armed Forces of the
Philippines Ladies Steering Committee; the
City
and
Provincial
Prosecutors;
the
Tanodbayan (Office of Special Prosecutor); the
Kabataang Barangay; the Commission on the
Filipino Language; the Provincial and City
Assessors; and the National Council for the
Welfare of Disabled Persons.
The equal protection of the laws is
embraced in the concept of due process, as
every unfair discrimination offends the
requirements of justice and fair play. It has
nonetheless been embodied in a separate
clause in Article III Sec. 1., of the Constitution
to provide for a more, specific guaranty
against any form of undue favoritism or
hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in
general may be challenged on the basis of the
due process clause. But if the particular act
assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality
or prejudice, the sharper weapon to cut it
down is the equal protection clause.
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, 12 Similar subjects, in
other words, should not be treated differently,
so as to give undue favor to some and unjustly
discriminate against others.
The equal protection clause does not
require the universal application of the laws on
all persons or things without distinction. This
might in fact sometimes result in unequal
protection, as where, for example, a law
prohibiting mature books to all persons,
regardless of age, would benefit the morals of
the youth but violate the liberty of adults.

What the clause requires is equality among


equals as determined according to a valid
classification. By classification is meant the
grouping of persons or things similar to each
other in certain particulars and different from
all others in these same particulars.
What is the reason for the grant of the
franking privilege in the first place? Is the
franking privilege extended to the President of
the Philippines or the Commission on Elections
or to former Presidents of the Philippines
purely as a courtesy from the lawmaking
body? Is it offered because of the importance
or status of the grantee or because of its need
for the privilege? Or have the grantees been
chosen pell-mell, as it were, without any basis
at all for the selection?
We reject outright the last conjecture as
there is no doubt that the statute as a whole
was carefully deliberated upon, by the political
departments before it was finally enacted.
There is reason to suspect, however, that not
enough care or attention was given to its
repealing clause, resulting in the unwitting
withdrawal of the franking privilege from the
Judiciary.
We also do not believe that the basis of
the classification was mere courtesy, for it is
unimaginable that the political departments
would have intended this serious slight to the
Judiciary as the third of the major and equal
departments the government. The same
observations are made if the importance or
status of the grantee was the criterion used for
the extension of the franking privilege, which
is enjoyed by the National Census and
Statistics Office and even some private
individuals but not the courts of justice.
In our view, the only acceptable reason
for the grant of the franking privilege was the
perceived need of the grantee for the
accommodation, which would justify a waiver
of substantial revenue by the Corporation in
the interest of providing for a smoother flow of
communication between the government and
the people.
Assuming that basis, we cannot
understand why, of all the departments of the
government, it is the Judiciary, that has been
denied the franking privilege. There is no
question that if there is any major branch of
the government that needs the privilege, it is
the Judicial Department, as the respondents
themselves
point
out.
Curiously,
the
respondents would justify the distinction on
the basis precisely of this need and, on this
basis, deny the Judiciary the franking privilege
while extending it to others less deserving.

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In their Comment, the respondents
point out that available data from the Postal
Service Office show that from January 1988 to
June 1992, the total volume of frank mails
amounted to P90,424,175.00. Of this amount,
frank mails from the Judiciary and other
agencies whose functions include the service
of judicial processes, such as the intervenor,
the Department of Justice and the Office of the
Ombudsman, amounted to P86,481,759. Frank
mails coming fromthe Judiciary amounted to
P73,574,864.00, and those coming from the
petitioners reached the total amount of
P60,991,431.00. The respondents' conclusion
is that because of this considerable volume of
mail from the Judiciary, the franking privilege
must be withdrawn from it.
The argument is self-defeating. The
respondents are in effect saying that the
franking privilege should be extended only to
those who do not need it very much, if at all,
(like the widows of former Presidents) but not
to those who need it badly (especially the
courts of justice). It is like saying that a person
may be allowed cosmetic surgery although it is
not really necessary but not an operation that
can save his life.
If the problem of the respondents is the
loss of revenues from the franking privilege,
the remedy, it seems to us, is to withdraw it
altogether from all agencies of government,
including those who do not need it. The
problem is not solved by retaining it for some
and withdrawing it from others, especially
where there is no substantial distinction
between those favored, which may or may not
need it at all, and the Judiciary, which
definitely needs it. The problem is not solved
by violating the Constitution.
In lumping the Judiciary with the other
offices from which the franking privilege has
been withdrawn, Section 35 has placed the
courts of justice in a category to which it does
not belong. If it recognizes the need of the
President of the Philippines and the members
of Congress for the franking privilege, there is
no reason why it should not recognize a similar
and in fact greater need on the part of the
Judiciary for such privilege. While we may
appreciate the withdrawal of the franking
privilege from the Armed Forces of the
Philippines Ladies Steering Committee, we fail
to understand why the Supreme Court should
be similarly treated as that Committee. And
while we may concede the need of the
National Census and Statistics Office for the
franking privilege, we are intrigued that a

similar if not greater need is not recognized in


the courts of justice.
(On second thought, there does not
seem to be any justifiable need for
withdrawing the privilege from the Armed
Forces of the Philippines Ladies Steering
Committee, which, like former Presidents of
the Philippines or their widows, does not send
as much frank mail as the Judiciary.)
It is worth observing that the Philippine
Postal Corporation, as a government-controlled
corporation, was created and is expected to
operate for the purpose of promoting the
public service. While it may have been
established primarily for private gain, it cannot
excuse itself from performing certain functions
for the benefit of the public in exchange for
the franchise extended to it by the
government and the many advantages it
enjoys under its charter. 14 Among the services
it should be prepared to extend is free carriage
of mail for certain offices of the government
that need the franking privilege in the
discharge of their own public functions.
We also note that under Section 9 of
the law, the Corporation is capitalized at P10
billion pesos, 55% of which is supplied by the
Government, and that it derives substantial
revenues from the sources enumerated in
Section 10, on top of the exemptions it enjoys.
It is not likely that the retention of the franking
privilege of the Judiciary will cripple the
Corporation.
At this time when the Judiciary is being
faulted for the delay in the administration of
justice, the withdrawal from it of the franking
privilege can only further deepen this serious
problem. The volume of judicial mail, as
emphasized by the respondents themselves,
should stress the dependence of the courts of
justice
on
the
postal
service
for
communicating with lawyers and litigants as
part of the judicial process. The Judiciary has
the lowest appropriation in the national budget
compared to the Legislative and Executive
Departments; of the P309 billion budgeted for
1993, only .84%, or less than 1%, is alloted for
the judiciary. It should not be hard to imagine
the increased difficulties of our courts if they
have to affix a purchased stamp to every
process they send in the discharge of their
judicial functions.
We are unable to agree with the
respondents that Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354
represents a valid exercise of discretion by the
Legislature under the police power. On the
contrary, we find its repealing clause to be a
discriminatory provision that denies the

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Judiciary the equal protection of the laws
guaranteed for all persons or things similarly
situated. The distinction made by the law is
superficial. It is not based on substantial
distinctions that make real differences
between the Judiciary and the grantees of the
franking privilege.
This is not a question of wisdom or
power into which the Judiciary may not
intrude. It is a matter of arbitrariness that this
Court has the duty and power to correct.
In sum, we sustain R.A. No. 7354
against the attack that its subject is not
expressed in its title and that it was not passed
in accordance with the prescribed procedure.
However, we annul Section 35 of the law as
violative of Article 3, Sec. 1, of the Constitution
providing that no person shall "be deprived of
the equal protection of laws."
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is partially
GRANTED and Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 is
declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Circular No. 9228 is SET ASIDE insofar as it withdraws the
franking privilege from the Supreme Court, the
Court of Appeals, the Regional trail Courts, the
Municipal trial Courts, and the National Land
Registration Authority and its Register of
Deeds to all of which offices the said privilege
shall be RESTORED. The temporary restraining
order dated June 2, 1992, is made permanent.

FACTS: This is a petition for certiorari with


prayer for a temporary restraining order
assailing the resolutions of the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET): 1)
granting herein private respondent's Urgent
Motion to Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of
Protest, and 2) denying petitioner's Motion for
Reconsideration.
Petitioner Virgilio Robles and private
respondent Romeo Santos were candidates for
the position of Congressman of the 1st district
of Caloocan City in the 1987 congressional
elections. Petitioner Robles was proclaimed the
winner on December 23, 1987. Thereafter,
Santos filed an election protest with
respondent HRET. He alleged, among others,
that the elections in the 1st District of
Caloocan City were characterized by the
commission
of
electoral
frauds
and

irregularities in various forms, on the day of


elections, during the counting of votes and
during the canvassing of the election returns.
He likewise prayed for the recounting of the
genuine ballots in all the 320 contested
precincts.
Petitioner filed his Answer to the
protest. He alleged as among his affirmative
defenses, the lack of residence of protestant
and the late filing of his protest.
Respondent HRET issued an order
setting the commencement of the revision of
contested ballots on September 1, 1988 and
directed protestant Santos to identify 25% of
the total contested precincts which he desires
to be revised first in accordance with Section
18 of the
Rules
of the
House
of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
On
September 7, 1988, the revision of the ballots
for 75 precincts, representing the initial 25% of
all the contested precincts, was terminated.
Accordingly, Robles filed an Urgent
Motion to Suspend Revision while Santos filed
a Motion to Withdraw Protest on the unrevised
precincts.
No action on Robles' motion to suspend
revision and Santos' motion to withdraw
protest on unrevised precincts were yet taken
by respondent HRET when on September
14,1988, Santos filed an Urgent Motion to
Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of Protest.
Robles opposed Santos' motion to Recall and
Disregard Withdrawal of Protest in an Urgent
Motion to Cancel Continuation of Revision with
Opposition to Motion to Recall Withdrawal. On
the same day, respondent HRET issued a
resolution which, among others, granted
Santos' urgent Motion to Recall and Disregard
Withdrawal of Protest.
Robles filed an Urgent Motion and
Manifestation praying that his Urgent Motion to
Cancel Revision with Opposition to Motion to
Recall dated September 19, 1988 be treated
as a Motion for Reconsideration of the HRET
resolution of September 19, 1988. Thereafter,
respondent HRET directed Santos to comment
on Robles' "Urgent Motion to Cancel
Continuation of Revision with Opposition to
Motion to Recall Withdrawal" and ordered the
suspension of the resumption of revision.
On January 26,1989, the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal denied
Robles' Motion for Reconsideration. Hence, the
instant petition was filed on February 1, 1989.
On February 2, 1989, We required the
respondent to comment within ten (10) days
from notice of the petition. On February 9,
1989, petitioner Robles filed an Urgent Motion

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151

SECTION 17
REP. VIRGILIO P. ROBLES vs. HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL
and ROMEO L. SANTOS
G.R. No. 86647 February 5, 1990
MEDIALDEA, J.:

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Reiterating Prayer for Injunction or Restraining
Order which We Noted on February 16, 1989.
Petitioner's Motion for Leave to File Reply to
Comment was granted in the same resolution
of February 16,1989. On February 22, 1989,
petitioner filed a Supplemental Petition, this
time questioning respondent HRET's February
16, 1989 resolution denying petitioner's
motion to defer or reset revision until this
Court has finally disposed of the instant
petition
and
declaring
that
a
partial
determination pursuant to Section 18 of the
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
Rules was had with private respondent Santos
making a recovery of 267 votes.
It is petitioner's main contention in this
petition that when private respondent Santos
filed the Motion to Withdraw Protest on
Unrevised Precincts and Motion to Set Case for
Hearing, respondent HRET lost its jurisdiction
over the case, hence, when respondent HRET
subsequently ordered the revision of the
unrevised protested ballots, notwithstanding
the withdrawal of the protest, it acted without
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.
ISSUE: Whether or not respondent HRET has
lost its jurisdiction over the case?
HELD: No. We do not agree with petitioner.
It is noted that upon Santos' filing of his
Motion to Withdraw Protest on Unrevised
Precincts on September 12, 1988, no action
thereon was taken by respondent HRET
Contrary to petitioner's claim that the motion
to withdraw was favorably acted upon, the
records show that it was only on September
19, 1988 when respondent HRET resolved said
motion together with two other motions. The
questioned resolution of September 19, 1988
resolved three (3) motions, namely: a)
Protestee's Urgent Motion to Suspend Revision
dated September 8, 1988; b) Protestant's
Motion to Withdraw Protest on Unrevised
Precincts and Motion to Set Case for Hearing
dated September 12, 1988; and c) Protestant's
"Urgent Motion to Recall and Disregard
Withdrawal of Protest," dated September 14,
1988.
The mere filing of the motion to
withdraw
protest
on
the
remaining
uncontested precincts, without any action on
the part of respondent tribunal, does not by
itself divest the tribunal of its jurisdiction over
the case. Jurisdiction, once acquired, is not lost
upon the instance of the parties but continues
until the case is terminated (Jimenez v.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

Nazareno, G.R. No. L-37933, April 15, 1988,


160 SCRA 1).
We agree with respondent House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal when it
held:
We cannot agree with
Protestee's
contention
that
Protestant's "Motion to Withdraw
Protest on Unrevised Precincts"
effectively withdrew the precincts
referred to therein from the
protest even before the Tribunal
has acted thereon. Certainly, the
Tribunal retains the authority to
grant or deny the Motion, and the
withdrawal becomes effective
only when the Motion is granted.
To hold otherwise would permit a
party to deprive the Tribunal of
jurisdiction already acquired.
We hold therefore that this
Tribunal retains the power and the
authority to grant or deny
Protestant's Motion to Withdraw,
if only to insure that the Tribunal
retains sufficient authority to see
to it that the will of the electorate
is ascertained.
Since Protestant's "Motion
to Withdraw Protest on the
Unrevised Precincts" had not been
acted upon by this Tribunal before
it was recalled by the Protestant,
it did not have the effect of
removing the precincts covered
thereby from the protest. If these
precincts were not withdrawn
from the protest, then the
granting of Protestant's "Urgent
Motion to Recall and Disregard
Withdrawal of Protest" did not
amount to allowing the refiling of
protest beyond the reglementary
period.
Where the court has jurisdiction over
the subject matter, its orders upon all
questions pertaining to the cause are orders
within its jurisdiction, and however erroneous
they may be, they cannot be corrected by
certiorari. This rule more appropriately applies
to respondent HRET whose independence as a
constitutional body has time and again been
upheld by Us in many cases. As explained in
the case of Lazatin v. The House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Timbol,
G.R. No. 84297, December 8, 1988, thus:
The use of the word "sole" emphasizes
the exclusive character of the jurisdiction

152

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


conferred [Angara v. Electoral Commission,
supra ,at 162]. The exercise of the Power by
the Electoral Commission under the 1935
Constitution has been described as "intended
to be complete and unimpaired as if it had
remained originally in the legislature" [Id. at
175]. Earlier, this grant of power to the
legislature was characterized by Justice
Malcolm as "full, clear and complete" [Veloso
v. Board of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, 39
Phil. 886 (1919)]. Under the amended 1935
Constitution, the power was unqualifiedly
reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal [Suanes v.
Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818
(1948)] and it remained as full, clear and
complete as that previously granted the
legislature and the Electoral Commission
[ Lachica v. Yap, G.R. No. L-25379, September
25, 1968, 25 SCRA 140]. The same may be
said with regard to the jurisdiction of the
Electoral
Tribunals
under
the
1987
Constitution. Thus, "judicial review of decisions
or final resolutions of the House Electoral
Tribunal is (thus) possible only in the exercise
of
this
Court's
so-called
extraordinary
jurisdiction, . . . upon a determination that the
tribunal's decision or resolution was rendered
without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with
grave abuse of discretion or, paraphrasing
Morrera, upon a clear showing of such
arbitrary and improvident use by the Tribunal
of its power as constitutes a denial of due
process of law, or upon a demonstration of a
very clear unmitigated ERROR, manifestly
constituting such a GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION that there has to be a remedy for
such abuse.
In the absence of any clear showing of
abuse of discretion on the part of respondent
tribunal
in
promulgating
the
assailed
resolutions, a writ of certiorari will not issue.
Further, petitioner's objections to the
resolutions issued by respondent tribunal
center mainly on procedural technicalities, i.e.,
that the motion to withdraw, in effect, divested
the HRET of jurisdiction over the electoral
protest. This argument aside from being
irrelevant and baseless, overlooks the essence
of a public office as a public trust. The right to
hold an elective office is rooted on electoral
mandate, not perceived entitlement to the
office. This is the reason why an electoral
tribunal has been set up in order that any
doubt as to right/mandate to a public office
may
be
fully
resolved
vis-a-vis
the
popular/public will. To this end, it is important
that the tribunal be allowed to perform its
functions
as
a
constitutional
body,

unhampered by technicalities or procedural


play of words.
The case of Dimaporo v. Estipona (G.R.
No. L-17358, May 30, 1961, 2 SCRA 282) relied
upon by petitioner does not help to bolster his
case because the facts attendant therein are
different from the case at bar. In the said case,
the motion to withdraw was favorably acted
upon before the resolution thereon was
questioned.
As regards petitioner's Supplemental
Petition questioning respondent tribunal's
resolution denying his motion to defer or reset
revision of the remaining seventy-five (75) per
cent of the contested precincts, the same has
become academic in view of the fact that the
revision was resumed on February 20, 1989
and was terminated on March 2, 1989 (Private
Respondent's Memorandum, p. 208, Rollo).
This fact was not rebutted by petitioner.
The allegation of petitioner that he was
deprived of due process when respondent
tribunal rendered a partial determination
pursuant to Section 18 of the HRET rules and
found that Santos made a recovery of 267
votes after the revision of the first twenty-five
per cent of the contested precincts has
likewise, no basis. The partial determination
was arrived at only by a simple addition of the
votes adjudicated to each party in the revision
of
which
both
parties
were
properly
represented.
It would not be amiss to state at this
point that "an election protest is impressed
with public interest in the sense that the public
is interested in knowing what happened in the
elections" (Dimaporo v. Estipona, supra.), for
this reason, private interests must yield to
what is for the common good.
ACCORDINGLY, finding no grave abuse
of discretion on the part of respondent House
of Representatives Electoral Tribunal in issuing
the assailed resolutions, the instant petition is
DISMISSED.

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153

JOSE A. ANGARA vs. THE ELECTORAL


COMMISSION, PEDRO YNSUA, MIGUEL
CASTILLO, and DIONISIO C. MAYOR
G.R. No. L-45081 July 15, 1936
LAUREL, J.:
FACTS: This is an original action instituted in
this court by the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, for
the issuance of a writ of prohibition to restrain
and prohibit the Electoral Commission, one of
the
respondents,
from
taking
further
cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua,
another respondent, against the election of

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


said petitioner as member of the National
Assembly for the first assembly district of the
Province of Tayabas.
In the 1935 elections, the petitioner,
Jose A. Angara, and the respondents, Pedro
Ynsua, Miguel Castillo and Dionisio Mayor,
were candidates voted for the position of
member of the National Assembly for the first
district of the Province of Tayabas. For having
received the most number of votes, petitioner
was proclaimed the winner. Hence, he took his
oath of office thereafter.
On December 3, 1935, the National
Assembly in session assembled, passed the
following resolution No. 8 which effectively
confirmed the election of petitioner to the said
body. Thereafter, respondent Ynsua filed
before the Electoral Commission a "Motion of
Protest" against the election of the petitioner,
being the only protest filed after the passage
of Resolutions No. 8 aforequoted, and praying,
among other-things, that said respondent be
declared elected member of the National
Assembly for the first district of Tayabas, or
that the election of said position be nullified.
Meanwhile, on December 9, 1935, the
National Assembly, in a resolution, fixed said
date as the last day for the filing of protests
against the election, returns and qualifications
of members of the National Assembly,
notwithstanding the previous confirmation
made by them.
Petitioner Angara then filed before the
Electoral Commission a "Motion to Dismiss the
Protest", alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8 was
adopted in the legitimate exercise of its
constitutional prerogative to prescribe the
period during which protests against the
election of its members should be presented;
(b) that the aforesaid resolution has for its
object, and is the accepted formula for, the
limitation of said period; and (c) that the
protest in question was filed out of the
prescribed period.
Respondent Pedro Ynsua, filed an
"Answer to the Motion of Dismissal" alleging
that there is no legal or constitutional provision
barring the presentation of a protest against
the election of a member of the National
Assembly after confirmation. Afterwards,
petitioner Angara, filed a "Reply" to the
aforesaid "Answer to the Motion of Dismissal".
Consequently,
the
Electoral
Commission promulgated a resolution on
January 23, 1936, denying herein petitioner's
"Motion to Dismiss the Protest." Hence, this
original action was instituted in this court by
the petitioner for the issuance of a writ of

prohibition to restrain and prohibit the


Electoral Commission from taking further
cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua
against the election of said petitioner.
The application of the petitioner sets
forth the following grounds for the issuance of
the writ prayed for:
(a) That the Constitution confers
exclusive jurisdiction upon the electoral
Commission solely as regards the merits of
contested elections to the National Assembly;
(b) That the Constitution excludes from
said jurisdiction the power to regulate the
proceedings of said election contests, which
power has been reserved to the Legislative
Department of the Government or the National
Assembly;
(c) That like the Supreme Court and
other courts created in pursuance of the
Constitution, whose exclusive jurisdiction
relates solely to deciding the merits of
controversies submitted to them for decision
and to matters involving their internal
organization, the Electoral Commission can
regulate its proceedings only if the National
Assembly has not availed of its primary power
to so regulate such proceedings;
(d) That Resolution No. 8 of the
National Assembly is, therefore, valid and
should be respected and obeyed;
(e) That under paragraph 13 of section
1 of the ordinance appended to the
Constitution and paragraph 6 of article 7 of the
Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd
Congress of the United States) as well as
under section 1 and 3 (should be sections 1
and 2) of article VIII of the Constitution, this
Supreme Court has jurisdiction to pass upon
the fundamental question herein raised
because it involves an interpretation of the
Constitution of the Philippines.
On February 25, 1936, the SolicitorGeneral appeared and filed an answer in
behalf of the respondent Electoral Commission
interposing the following special defenses:
(a) That the Electoral Commission has
been created by the Constitution as an
instrumentality of the Legislative Department
invested with the jurisdiction to decide "all
contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly"; that in adopting its resolution of
December 9, 1935, fixing this date as the last
day for the presentation of protests against
the election of any member of the National
Assembly, it acted within its jurisdiction and in
the legitimate exercise of the implied powers
granted it by the Constitution to adopt the

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rules and regulations essential to carry out the
power and functions conferred upon the same
by the fundamental law; that in adopting its
resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the
motion of the petitioner to dismiss the election
protest in question, and declaring itself with
jurisdiction to take cognizance of said protest,
it acted in the legitimate exercise of its quasijudicial functions a an instrumentality of the
Legislative Department of the Commonwealth
Government, and hence said act is beyond the
judicial cognizance or control of the Supreme
Court;
(b) That the resolution of the National
Assembly of December 3, 1935, confirming the
election of the members of the National
Assembly against whom no protest had thus
far been filed, could not and did not deprive
the electoral Commission of its jurisdiction to
take cognizance of election protests filed
within the time that might be set by its own
rules:
(c) That the Electoral Commission is a
body invested with quasi-judicial functions,
created
by
the
Constitution
as
an
instrumentality of the Legislative Department,
and is not an "inferior tribunal, or corporation,
or board, or person" within the purview of
section 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, against which prohibition would lie.
The respondent Pedro Ynsua, in his
turn, appeared and filed an answer in his own
behalf on March 2, 1936, setting forth the
following as his special defense:
(a) That at the time of the approval of
the rules of the Electoral Commission on
December 9, 1935, there was no existing law
fixing the period within which protests against
the election of members of the National
Assembly should be filed; that in fixing
December 9, 1935, as the last day for the filing
of protests against the election of members of
the
National
Assembly,
the
Electoral
Commission was exercising a power impliedly
conferred upon it by the Constitution, by
reason of its quasi-judicial attributes;
(b) That said respondent presented his
motion of protest before the Electoral
Commission on December 9, 1935, the last
day fixed by paragraph 6 of the rules of the
said Electoral Commission;
(c) That therefore
the Electoral
Commission acquired jurisdiction over the
protest filed by said respondent and over the
parties thereto, and the resolution of the
Electoral Commission of January 23, 1936,
denying petitioner's motion to dismiss said
protest was an act within the jurisdiction of the

said commission, and is not reviewable by


means of a writ of prohibition;
(d) That neither the law nor the
Constitution requires confirmation by the
National Assembly of the election of its
members, and that such confirmation does not
operate to limit the period within which
protests should be filed as to deprive the
Electoral Commission of jurisdiction over
protest filed subsequent thereto;
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an
independent
entity
created
by
the
Constitution, endowed with quasi-judicial
functions, whose decision are final and
unappealable;
( f ) That the electoral Commission, as a
constitutional creation, is not an inferior
tribunal, corporation, board or person, within
the terms of sections 226 and 516 of the Code
of Civil Procedure; and that neither under the
provisions of sections 1 and 2 of article II
(should be article VIII) of the Constitution and
paragraph 13 of section 1 of the Ordinance
appended thereto could it be subject in the
exercise of its quasi-judicial functions to a writ
of prohibition from the Supreme Court;
(g) That paragraph 6 of article 7 of the
Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd
Congress of the united States) has no
application to the case at bar.
The case was argued on March 13,
1936. Before it was submitted for decision, the
petitioner prayed for the issuance of a
preliminary writ of injunction against the
respondent
Electoral
Commission
which
petition was denied "without passing upon the
merits of the case".

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

155

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the Court has jurisdiction
over the Electoral Commission and the
subject matter of the controversy.
(2) Whether or not the Electoral Commission
acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction
in assuming to the cognizance of the
protest filed the election of the herein
petitioner notwithstanding the previous
confirmation of such election by resolution
of the National Assembly.
HELD:
(1) Yes. The separation of powers is a
fundamental principle in our system of
government. It obtains not through express
provision but by actual division in our
Constitution.
Each
department
of
the
government has exclusive cognizance of
matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


within its own sphere. But it does not follow
from the fact that the three powers are to be
kept
separate
and
distinct
that
the
Constitution intended them to be absolutely
unrestrained and independent of each other.
The Constitution has provided for an elaborate
system of checks and balances to secure
coordination in the workings of the various
departments of the government. For example,
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. This, however, is subject to the further
check that a bill may become a law
notwithstanding the refusal of the President to
approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or threefourths, as the case may be, of the National
Assembly. The President has also the right to
convene the Assembly in special session
whenever he chooses. On the other hand, 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; and the
concurrence of a majority of all its members is
essential to the conclusion of treaties.
Furthermore, in its power to determine what
courts other than the Supreme Court shall be
established, to define their jurisdiction and to
appropriate funds for their support, the
National Assembly controls the judicial
department to a certain extent. The Assembly
also exercises the judicial power of trying
impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, with
the Supreme Court as the final arbiter,
effectively checks the other departments in
the exercise of its power to determine the law,
and hence to declare executive and legislative
acts void if violative of the Constitution.
But in the main, the Constitution has
blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines,
allotment of power to the executive, the
legislative and the judicial departments of the
government. The overlapping and interlacing
of functions and duties between the several
departments, however, sometimes makes it
hard to say just where the one leaves off and
the other begins. In times of social disquietude
or political excitement, the great landmarks of
the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or
marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of
conflict, the judicial department is the only
constitutional organ which can be called upon
to determine the proper allocation of powers
between the several departments and among
the integral or constituent units thereof.
As
any
human
production,
our
Constitution is of course lacking perfection and

perfectibility, but as much as it was within the


power of our people, acting through their
delegates to so provide, that instrument which
is the expression of their sovereignty however
limited,
has
established
a
republican
government intended to operate and function
as a harmonious whole, under a system of
checks and balances, and subject to specific
limitations and restrictions provided in the said
instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no
uncertain language the restrictions and
limitations upon governmental powers and
agencies. If these restrictions and limitations
are transcended it would be inconceivable if
the Constitution had not provided for a
mechanism by which to direct the course of
government along constitutional channels, for
then the distribution of powers would be mere
verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of
sentiment, and the principles of good
government
mere
political
apothegms.
Certainly, the limitation and restrictions
embodied in our Constitution are real as they
should be in any living constitution. In the
United States where no express constitutional
grant is found in their constitution, the
possession of this moderating power of the
courts, not to speak of its historical origin and
development there, has been set at rest by
popular acquiescence for a period of more
than one and a half centuries. In our case, this
moderating power is granted, if not expressly,
by clear implication from section 2 of article
VIII of our constitution.
The Constitution is a definition of the
powers of government. Who is to determine
the nature, scope and extent of such powers?
The Constitution itself has provided for the
instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational
way. And when the judiciary mediates to
allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not
assert any superiority over the other
departments; it does not in reality nullify or
invalidate an act of the legislature, but only
asserts the solemn and sacred obligation
assigned to it by the Constitution to determine
conflicting claims of authority under the
Constitution and to establish for the parties in
an actual controversy the rights which that
instrument secures and guarantees to them.
This is in truth all that is involved in what is
termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is
the power of judicial review under the
Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial
review is limited to actual cases and
controversies to be exercised after full
opportunity of argument by the parties, and
limited further to the constitutional question

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raised or the very lis mota presented. Any
attempt at abstraction could only lead to
dialectics and barren legal questions and to
sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities.
Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the
judiciary does not pass upon questions of
wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation.
More than that, courts accord the presumption
of constitutionality to legislative enactments,
not only because the legislature is presumed
to abide by the Constitution but also because
the judiciary in the determination of actual
cases and controversies must reflect the
wisdom and justice of the people as expressed
through their representatives in the executive
and
legislative
departments
of
the
governments of the government.
But much as we might postulate on the
internal checks of power provided in our
Constitution, it ought not the less to be
remembered that, in the language of James
Madison, the system itself is not "the chief
palladium of constitutional liberty . . . the
people who are authors of this blessing must
also be its guardians . . . their eyes must be
ever ready to mark, their voice to pronounce . .
. aggression on the authority of their
constitution." In the Last and ultimate analysis,
then, must the success of our government in
the unfolding years to come be tested in the
crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than in
consultation rooms and court chambers.
In the case at bar, the national
Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of
December 3, 1935, confirmed the election of
the herein petitioner to the said body. On the
other hand, the Electoral Commission has by
resolution adopted on December 9, 1935, fixed
said date as the last day for the filing of
protests against the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National
Assembly,
notwithstanding
the
previous
confirmation made by the National Assembly
as aforesaid. If, as contended by the
petitioner, the resolution of the National
Assembly has the effect of cutting off the
power of the Electoral Commission to entertain
protests against the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National
Assembly, submitted after December 3, 1935,
then
the
resolution
of
the
Electoral
Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere
surplusage and had no effect. But, if, as
contended by the respondents, the Electoral
Commission has the sole power of regulating
its proceedings to the exclusion of the National
Assembly, then the resolution of December 9,
1935, by which the Electoral Commission fixed

said date as the last day for filing protests


against the election, returns and qualifications
of members of the National Assembly, should
be upheld.
Here is then presented an actual
controversy involving as it does a conflict of a
grave constitutional nature between the
National Assembly on the one hand, and the
Electoral Commission on the other. From the
very nature of the republican government
established in our country in the light of
American experience and of our own, upon the
judicial department is thrown the solemn and
inescapable obligation of interpreting the
Constitution
and
defining
constitutional
boundaries. The Electoral Commission, as we
shall have occasion to refer hereafter, is a
constitutional organ, created for a specific
purpose, namely to determine all contests
relating
to
the
election,
returns
and
qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly. Although the Electoral Commission
may not be interfered with, when and while
acting within the limits of its authority, it does
not follow that it is beyond the reach of the
constitutional mechanism adopted by the
people and that it is not subject to
constitutional
restrictions.
The
Electoral
Commission is not a separate department of
the government, and even if it were,
conflicting claims of authority under the
fundamental law between department powers
and agencies of the government are
necessarily determined by the judiciary in
justifiable and appropriate cases. Discarding
the English type and other European types of
constitutional government, the framers of our
constitution adopted the American type where
the written constitution is interpreted and
given effect by the judicial department. In
some countries which have declined to follow
the American example, provisions have been
inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the
courts from exercising the power to interpret
the fundamental law. This is taken as a
recognition of what otherwise would be the
rule that in the absence of direct prohibition
courts are bound to assume what is logically
their function. For instance, the Constitution of
Poland of 1921, expressly provides that courts
shall have no power to examine the validity of
statutes (art. 81, chap. IV). The former
Austrian Constitution contained a similar
declaration. In countries whose constitutions
are silent in this respect, courts have assumed
this power. This is true in Norway, Greece,
Australia and South Africa. Whereas, in
Czechoslovakia (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law

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to constitutional Charter of the Czechoslovak
Republic, February 29, 1920) and Spain (arts.
121-123, Title IX, Constitutional of the Republic
of 1931) especial constitutional courts are
established to pass upon the validity of
ordinary laws. In our case, the nature of the
present controversy shows the necessity of a
final constitutional arbiter to determine the
conflict of authority between two agencies
created by the Constitution. Were we to
decline to take cognizance of the controversy,
who will determine the conflict? And if the
conflict
were
left
undecided
and
undetermined, would not a void be thus
created in our constitutional system which
may be in the long run prove destructive of the
entire framework? To ask these questions is to
answer them. Natura vacuum abhorret, so
must we avoid exhaustion in our constitutional
system. Upon principle, reason and authority,
we are clearly of the opinion that upon the
admitted facts of the present case, this court
has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission
and the subject mater of the present
controversy for the purpose of determining the
character,
scope
and
extent
of
the
constitutional
grant
to
the
Electoral
Commission as "the sole judge of all contests
relating
to
the
election,
returns
and
qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly."
(2) No. Electoral Commission was acting within
the legitimate exercise of its constitutional
prerogative in assuming to take cognizance of
the protest filed by the respondent Ynsua
against the election of petitioner Angara.
As able counsel for the petitioner has
pointed out, the issue hinges on the
interpretation of section 4 of Article VI of the
Constitution which provides:
"SEC. 4. There shall be an
Electoral Commission composed
of three Justice of the Supreme
Court designated by the Chief
Justice, and of six Members
chosen by the National Assembly,
three of whom shall be nominated
by the party having the largest
number of votes, and three by the
party having the second largest
number of votes therein. The
senior Justice in the Commission
shall be its Chairman. The
Electoral Commission shall be the
sole judge of all contests relating
to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of

the National Assembly." It is


imperative, therefore, that we
delve into the origin and history
of this constitutional provision
and inquire into the intention of
its framers and the people who
adopted it so that we may
properly
appreciate
its
full
meaning, import and significance.
From
the
deliberations
of
our
Constitutional Convention it is evident that the
purpose was to transfer in its totality all the
powers previously exercised by the legislature
in matters pertaining to contested elections of
its members, to an independent and impartial
tribunal. It was not so much the knowledge
and
appreciation
of
contemporary
constitutional precedents, however, as the
long-felt need of determining legislative
contests devoid of partisan considerations
which prompted the people, acting through
their delegates to the Convention, to provide
for this body known as the Electoral
Commission. With this end in view, a
composite body in which both the majority and
minority parties are equally represented to offset partisan influence in its deliberations was
created, and further endowed with judicial
temper by including in its membership three
justices of the Supreme Court.
The
Electoral
Commission
is
a
constitutional creation, invested with the
necessary authority in the performance and
execution of the limited and specific function
assigned to it by the Constitution. Although it
is not a power in our tripartite scheme of
government, it is, to all intents and purposes,
when acting within the limits of its authority,
an independent organ. It is, to be sure, closer
to the legislative department than to any
other. The location of the provision (section 4)
creating the Electoral Commission under
Article VI entitled "Legislative Department" of
our Constitution is very indicative. Its
compositions is also significant in that it is
constituted by a majority of members of the
legislature. But it is a body separate from and
independent of the legislature.
The grant of power to the Electoral
Commission to judge all contests relating to
the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, is
intended to be as complete and unimpaired as
if it had remained originally in the legislature.
The express lodging of that power in the
Electoral Commission is an implied denial of
the exercise of that power by the National
Assembly. And this is as effective a restriction

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upon the legislative power as an express
prohibition in the Constitution (Ex parte Lewis,
45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1; State vs. Whisman, 36
S.D., 260; L.R.A., 1917B, 1). If we concede the
power claimed in behalf of the National
Assembly that said body may regulate the
proceedings of the Electoral Commission and
cut off the power of the commission to lay
down the period within which protests should
be filed, the grant of power to the commission
would be ineffective. The Electoral Commission
in such case would be invested with the power
to determine contested cases involving the
election, returns and qualifications of the
members of the National Assembly but subject
at all times to the regulative power of the
National Assembly. Not only would the purpose
of the framers of our Constitution of totally
transferring this authority from the legislative
body be frustrated, but a dual authority would
be created with the resultant inevitable clash
of powers from time to time. A sad spectacle
would then be presented of the Electoral
Commission retaining the bare authority of
taking cognizance of cases referred to, but in
reality without the necessary means to render
that
authority
effective
whenever and
whenever the National Assembly has chosen
to act, a situation worse than that intended to
be remedied by the framers of our
Constitution. The power to regulate on the part
of the National Assembly in procedural matters
will inevitably lead to the ultimate control by
the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the
Electoral Commission, and, by indirection, to
the entire abrogation of the constitutional
grant. It is obvious that this result should not
be permitted.
We
are
not
insensible
to
the
impassioned argument or the learned counsel
for the petitioner regarding the importance
and necessity of respecting the dignity and
independence of the national Assembly as a
coordinate department of the government and
of according validity to its acts, to avoid what
he characterized would be practically an
unlimited power of the commission in the
admission of protests against members of the
National Assembly. But as we have pointed out
hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral
Commission carried with it ex necesitate rei
the power regulative in character to limit the
time with which protests intrusted to its
cognizance should be filed. It is a settled rule
of construction that where a general power is
conferred or duty enjoined, every particular
power necessary for the exercise of the one or
the performance of the other is also conferred

(Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eight ed.,


vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any
further constitutional provision relating to the
procedure to be followed in filing protests
before the Electoral Commission, therefore,
the incidental power to promulgate such rules
necessary for the proper exercise of its
exclusive power to judge all contests relating
to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, must be
deemed by necessary implication to have
been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.
It is, indeed, possible that, as
suggested by counsel for the petitioner, the
Electoral Commission may abuse its regulative
authority by admitting protests beyond any
reasonable time, to the disturbance of the
tranquillity and peace of mind of the members
of the National Assembly. But the possibility of
abuse is not argument against the concession
of the power as there is no power that is not
susceptible of abuse. In the second place, if
any mistake has been committed in the
creation of an Electoral Commission and in
investing it with exclusive jurisdiction in all
cases relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of members of the National
Assembly, the remedy is political, not judicial,
and must be sought through the ordinary
processes of democracy. All the possible
abuses of the government are not intended to
be corrected by the judiciary. We believe,
however, that the people in creating the
Electoral Commission reposed as much
confidence in this body in the exclusive
determination of the specified cases assigned
to it, as they have given to the Supreme Court
in the proper cases entrusted to it for decision.
All the agencies of the government were
designed by the Constitution to achieve
specific purposes, and each constitutional
organ working within its own particular sphere
of discretionary action must be deemed to be
animated with the same zeal and honesty in
accomplishing the great ends for which they
were created by the sovereign will. That the
actuations of these constitutional agencies
might leave much to be desired in given
instances, is inherent in the perfection of
human institutions. In the third place, from the
fact that the Electoral Commission may not be
interfered with in the exercise of its legitimate
power, it does not follow that its acts, however
illegal or unconstitutional, may not be
challenge in appropriate cases over which the
courts may exercise jurisdiction.
But independently of the legal and
constitutional aspects of the present case,

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there are considerations of equitable character
that should not be overlooked in the
appreciation of the intrinsic merits of the
controversy. The Commonwealth Government
was inaugurated on November 15, 1935, on
which date the Constitution, except as to the
provisions mentioned in section 6 of Article XV
thereof, went into effect. The new National
Assembly convened on November 25th of that
year, and the resolution confirming the
election of the petitioner, Jose A. Angara was
approved by that body on December 3, 1935.
The protest by the herein respondent Pedro
Ynsua against the election of the petitioner
was filed on December 9 of the same year. The
pleadings do not show when the Electoral
Commission was formally organized but it does
appear that on December 9, 1935, the
Electoral Commission met for the first time
and approved a resolution fixing said date as
the last day for the filing of election protest.
When, therefore, the National Assembly
passed its resolution of December 3, 1935,
confirming the election of the petitioner to the
National Assembly, the Electoral Commission
had not yet met; neither does it appear that
said body had actually been organized. As a
mater of fact, according to certified copies of
official records on file in the archives division
of the National Assembly attached to the
record of this case upon the petition of the
petitioner, the three justices of the Supreme
Court the six members of the National
Assembly
constituting
the
Electoral
Commission were respectively designated only
on December 4 and 6, 1935. If Resolution No.
8 of the National Assembly confirming nonprotested elections of members of the National
Assembly had the effect of limiting or tolling
the time for the presentation of protests, the
result would be that the National Assembly
on the hypothesis that it still retained the
incidental power of regulation in such cases
had already barred the presentation of
protests before the Electoral Commission had
had time to organize itself and deliberate on
the mode and method to be followed in a
matter entrusted to its exclusive jurisdiction by
the Constitution. This result was not and could
not have been contemplated, and should be
avoided.
From another angle, Resolution No. 8 of
the National Assembly confirming the election
of members against whom no protests had
been filed at the time of its passage on
December 3, 1935, can not be construed as a
limitation upon the time for the initiation of
election contests. While there might have been

good reason for the legislative practice of


confirmation of the election of members of the
legislature at the time when the power to
decide election contests was still lodged in the
legislature,
confirmation
alone
by
the
legislature cannot be construed as depriving
the Electoral Commission of the authority
incidental to its constitutional power to be "the
sole judge of all contest relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of the
members of the National Assembly", to fix the
time for the filing of said election protests.
Confirmation by the National Assembly of the
returns of its members against whose election
no protests have been filed is, to all legal
purposes, unnecessary. As contended by the
Electoral Commission in its resolution of
January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the
herein petitioner to dismiss the protest filed by
the respondent Pedro Ynsua, confirmation of
the election of any member is not required by
the Constitution before he can discharge his
duties as such member. As a matter of fact,
certification by the proper provincial board of
canvassers is sufficient to entitle a memberelect to a seat in the national Assembly and to
render him eligible to any office in said body
(No. 1, par. 1, Rules of the National Assembly,
adopted December 6, 1935).
Under the practice prevailing both in
the English House of Commons and in the
Congress of the United States, confirmation is
neither necessary in order to entitle a
member-elect to take his seat. The return of
the proper election officers is sufficient, and
the member-elect presenting such return
begins to enjoy the privileges of a member
from the time that he takes his oath of office
(Laws of England, vol. 12, pp. 331. 332; vol.
21, pp. 694, 695; U. S. C. A., Title 2, secs. 21,
25, 26). Confirmation is in order only in cases
of contested elections where the decision is
adverse to the claims of the protestant. In
England, the judges' decision or report in
controverted elections is certified to the
Speaker of the House of Commons, and the
House, upon being informed of such certificate
or report by the Speaker, is required to enter
the same upon the Journals, and to give such
directions for confirming or altering the return,
or for the issue of a writ for a new election, or
for carrying into execution the determination
as circumstances may require (31 & 32 Vict., c.
125, sec. 13). In the United States, it is
believed, the order or decision of the particular
house itself is generally regarded as sufficient,
without any actual alternation or amendment

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of the return (Cushing, Law and Practice of
Legislative Assemblies, 9th ed., sec. 166).
Under the practice prevailing when the
Jones Law was still in force, each house of the
Philippine Legislature fixed the time when
protests against the election of any of its
members should be filed. This was expressly
authorized by section 18 of the Jones Law
making each house the sole judge of the
election, return and qualifications of its
members, as well as by a law (sec. 478, Act
No. 3387) empowering each house to
respectively prescribe by resolution the time
and manner of filing contest in the election of
member of said bodies. As a matter of
formality, after the time fixed by its rules for
the filing of protests had already expired, each
house passed a resolution confirming or
approving the returns of such members
against whose election no protests had been
filed within the prescribed time. This was
interpreted as cutting off the filing of further
protests against the election of those
members not theretofore contested (Amistad
vs. Claravall [Isabela], Second Philippine
Legislature, Record First Period, p. 89;
Urguello vs. Rama [Third District, Cebu], Sixth
Philippine Legislature; Fetalvero vs. Festin
[Romblon], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record
First Period, pp. 637-640; Kintanar vs.
Aldanese [Fourth District, Cebu], Sixth
Philippine Legislature, Record First Period,
pp. 1121, 1122; Aguilar vs. Corpus [Masbate],
Eighth Philippine Legislature, Record First
Period, vol. III, No. 56, pp. 892, 893). The
Constitution has repealed section 18 of the
Jones Law. Act No. 3387, section 478, must be
deemed to have been impliedly abrogated
also, for the reason that with the power to
determine all contest relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of members of the
National Assembly, is inseparably linked the
authority to prescribe regulations for the
exercise of that power. There was thus no law
nor constitutional provisions which authorized
the National Assembly to fix, as it is alleged to
have fixed on December 3, 1935, the time for
the filing of contests against the election of its
members. And what the National Assembly
could not do directly, it could not do by
indirection
through
the
medium
of
confirmation.
Summarizing, we conclude:
(a) That the government established by
the Constitution follows fundamentally the
theory of separation of power into the
legislative, the executive and the judicial.

(b) That the system of checks and


balances and the overlapping of functions and
duties often makes difficult the delimitation of
the powers granted.
(c) That in cases of conflict between the
several departments and among the agencies
thereof, the judiciary, with the Supreme Court
as the final arbiter, is the only constitutional
mechanism devised finally to resolve the
conflict and allocate constitutional boundaries.
(d) That judicial supremacy is but the
power of judicial review in actual and
appropriate cases and controversies, 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.
(e) That the Electoral Commission is an
independent constitutional creation with
specific powers and functions to execute and
perform, closer for purposes of classification to
the legislative than to any of the other two
departments of the governments.
(f ) That the Electoral Commission is
the sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of members
of the National Assembly.
(g) That under the organic law
prevailing before the present Constitution went
into effect, each house of the legislature was
respectively the sole judge of the elections,
returns, and qualifications of their elective
members.
(h) That the present Constitution has
transferred all the powers previously exercised
by the legislature with respect to contests
relating to the elections, returns and
qualifications of its members, to the Electoral
Commission.
(i) That such transfer of power from the
legislature to the Electoral Commission was
full, clear and complete, 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.
( 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, devoid of partisan influence or
consideration,
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.
(k) That section 4 of article VI of the
Constitution repealed not only section 18 of

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the Jones Law making each house of the
Philippine Legislature respectively the sole
judge
of
the
elections,
returns
and
qualifications of its elective members, but also
section 478 of Act No. 3387 empowering each
house to prescribe by resolution the time and
manner of filing contests against the election
of its members, the time and manner of
notifying the adverse party, and bond or
bonds, to be required, if any, and to fix the
costs and expenses of contest.
(l) That confirmation by the National
Assembly of the election is contested or not, is
not essential before such member-elect may
discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges
of a member of the National Assembly.
(m) That confirmation by the National
Assembly of the election of any member
against whom no protest had been filed prior
to said confirmation, 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.
We hold, therefore, 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.
Angara, and that the resolution of the National
Assembly of December 3, 1935 can not in any
manner toll the time for filing protests against
the elections, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, nor
prevent the filing of a protest within such time
as the rules of the Electoral Commission might
prescribe.
In view of the conclusion reached by us
relative to the character of the Electoral
Commission as a constitutional creation and as
to the scope and extent of its authority under
the facts of the present controversy, we deem
it unnecessary to determine whether the
Electoral Commission is an inferior tribunal,
corporation, board or person within the
purview of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of
Civil Procedure.
The petition for a writ of prohibition
against the Electoral Commission is hereby
denied, with costs against the petitioner.
CARMELO F. LAZATIN vs. THE HOUSE
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and LORENZO G.
TIMBOL
G.R. No. 84297 December 8, 1988
CORTES, J.:

FACTS: Petitioner and private respondent


were among the candidates for Representative
of the first district of Pampanga during the
1987 election. During the canvassing of the
votes, private respondent objected to the
inclusion of certain election returns. But since
the Municipal Board of Canvassers did not rule
on his objections, he brought his case to the
COMELEC.
Thereafter, the COMELEC ordered the
Provincial Board of Canvassers to suspend the
proclamation of the winning candidate for the
first district of Pampanga. However, on May
26, 1987, the COMELEC ordered the Provincial
Board of Canvassers to proceed with the
canvassing of votes and to proclaim the
winner.
On May 27, 1987, petitioner was
proclaimed as Congressman-elect. Private
respondent thus filed in the COMELEC a
petition to declare petitioners proclamation
void ab initio. Later, private respondent also
filed a petition to prohibit petitioner from
assuming office. The COMELEC failed to act on
the second petition so petitioner was able to
assume office on June 30, 1987.
On September 15, 1987, the COMELEC
declared petitioner's proclamation void ab
initio. Petitioner challenged the COMELEC
resolution before this Court in a petition
entitled "Carmelo F. Lazatin v. The Commission
on Elections, Francisco R. Buan, Jr. and
Lorenzo G. Timbol," docketed as G.R. No.
80007. In a decision promulgated on January
25, 1988, the Court set aside the COMELEC's
revocation of petitioner's proclamation. On
February 8, 1988, private respondent filed in
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
an election protest, docketed as Case No. 46.
Petitioner moved to dismiss private
respondent's protest on the ground that it had
been filed late, citing Sec. 250 of the Omnibus
Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881). However, the
HRET ruled that the protest had been filed on
time in accordance with Sec. 9 of the HRET
Rules. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration
was also denied. Hence, petitioner has come
to this Court, challenging the jurisdiction of the
HRET over the protest filed by private
respondent.
This special civil action for certiorari
and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of
a writ of preliminary injunction and/or
restraining order seeks the annulment and
setting aside of (1) the resolution of the HRET,
dated May 2, 1988, in Case No. 46, holding
that the protest filed by private respondent

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had been filed on time, and (2) its July 29,
1988 resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration.
Without giving due course to the
petition, the Court required the respondents to
comment on the petition. The Solicitor General
filed a comment in behalf of the HRET while
the private respondent filed his comment with
a motion to admit counter/cross petition and
the petitioner filed his consolidated reply.
Thereafter, the Court resolved to give due
course to the petition, taking the comments
filed as the answers to the petition, and
considered the case submitted for decision.
Resolution of the instant controversy
hinges on which provision governs the period
for filing protests in the HRET. Should Sec. 250
of the Omnibus Election Code be held
applicable, private respondent's election
protest would have been filed out of time. On
the other hand, if Sec. 9 of the HRET Rules is
applicable, the filing of the protest would be
timely. Succinctly stated, the basic issue is
whether or not private respondent's protest
had been seasonably filed.
To support his contention that private
respondent's protest had been filed out of time
and, therefore, the HRET did not acquire
jurisdiction over it, petitioner relies on Sec.
250 of the Omnibus Election Code, which
provides:
Sec.
250.
Election
contests
for
Batasang Pambansa, regional, provincial and
city offices. A sworn petition contesting the
election of any Member of the Batasang
Pambansa or any regional, provincial or city
official shall be filed with the Commission by
any candidate who has duly filed a certificate
of candidacy and has been voted for the same
office, within ten days after the proclamation
of the results of the election. [Emphasis
supplied.]
Petitioner argues that even assuming
that the period to file an election protest was
suspended by the pendency of the petition to
annul his proclamation, the petition was filed
out of time, considering that he was
proclaimed on May 27, 1987 and therefore
private respondent had only until June 6, 1987
to file a protest; that private respondent filed a
petition to annul the proclamation on May 28,
1987 and the period was suspended and
began to run again on January 28, 1988 when
private respondent was served with a copy of
the decision of the Court in G.R, No. 80007;
that private respondent therefore only had
nine (9) days left or until February 6, 1988
within which to file his protest; but that private

respondent filed his protest with the HRET only


on February 8, 1988.
On the other hand, in finding that the
protest was flied on time, the HRET relied on
Sec. 9 of its Rules, to wit:
Election contests arising from the 1987
Congressional elections shall be filed with the
Office of the Secretary of the Tribunal or
mailed at the post office as registered matter
addressed to the Secretary of the Tribunal,
together with twelve (12) legible copies
thereof plus one (1) copy for each protestee,
within fifteen (15) days from the effectivity of
these Rules on November 22, 1987 where the
proclamation has been made prior to the
effectivity of these Rules, otherwise, the same
may be filed within fifteen (15) days from the
date of the proclamation. Election contests
arising from the 1987 Congressional elections
filed with the Secretary of the House of
Representatives and transmitted by him to the
Chairman of the Tribunal shall be deemed filed
with the tribunal as of the date of effectivity of
these Rules, subject to payment of filing fees
as prescribed in Section 15 hereof. [Emphasis
supplied.]
Thus, ruled the HRET:
On the basis of the
foregoing Rule, the protest
should have been filed within
fifteen
(15)
days
from
November 22, 1987, or not
later than December 7, 1987.
However, on September 15,
1987, the COMELEC acting
upon a petition filed by the
Protestant (private respondent
herein),
promulgated
a
Resolution
declaring
the
proclamation void ab initio.
This resolution had the effect
of nullifying the proclamation,
and such proclamation was not
reinstated
until
Protestant
received a copy of the
Supreme
Court's
decision
annulling
the
COMELEC
Resolution on January 28,
1988. For all intents and
purposes,
therefore,
Protestee's (petitioner herein)
proclamation became effective
only on January 28, 1988, and
the fifteen-day period for
Protestant to file his protest
must be reckoned from that
date.

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Protestant
filed
his
protest on February 8, 1988, or
eleven (11) days after January
28. The protest, therefore, was
filed
well
within
the
reglementary period provided
by the Rules of this Tribunal.
(Rollo, p. 129.]
ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the HRET has jurisdiction
over
the
protest
filed
by
private
respondent? Yes
(2) What provision of law governs the period
for filing protests in the HRET? Sec. 9 of the
HRET Rules is applicable not Sec. 250 of
the Omnibus Election Code.
(3) Whether or not private respondents
protest had been seasonably filed? Yes
HELD: The Court is of the view that the
protest had been filed on time and, hence, the
HRET acquired jurisdiction over it.
A. The Main Case
Petitioner's reliance on Sec. 250 of the
Omnibus Election Code is misplaced. Sec. 250
is couched in unambiguous terms and needs
no interpretation. It applies only to petitions
filed before the COMELEC contesting the
election of any Member of the Batasang
Pambansa, or any regional, provincial or city
official. Furthermore, Sec. 250 should be read
together with Sec. 249 of the same code which
provides that the COMELEC "shall be the sole
judge of all contests relating to the elections,
returns and qualifications of all Members of the
Batasang
Pambansa,
elective
regional,
provincial and city officials," reiterating Art. XIIC, Sec. 2(2) of the 1973 Constitution. It must
be emphasized that under the 1973
Constitution there was no provision for an
Electoral Tribunal, the jurisdiction over election
contests involving Members of the Batasang
Pambansa having been vested in the
COMELEC.
That Sec. 250 of the Omnibus Election
Code, as far as contests regarding the election,
returns and qualifications of Members of the
Batasang Pambansa is concerned, had ceased
to be effective under the 1987 Constitution is
readily apparent. First, the Batasang Pambansa
has already been abolished and the legislative
power is now vested in a bicameral Congress.
Second, the Constitution vests exclusive
jurisdiction over all contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of the
Members of the Senate and the House of

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Representatives in the respective Electoral


Tribunals [Art. VI, Sec. 171. The exclusive
original jurisdiction of the COMELEC is limited
by constitutional fiat to election contests
pertaining to election regional, provincial and
city offices and its appellate jurisdiction to
those involving municipal and barangay offices
[Art. IX-C, Sec. 2(2)].
Petitioner makes much of the fact that
the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code
on the conduct of the election were generally
made applicable to the congressional elections
of May 11, 1987. It must be emphasized,
however, that such does not necessarily imply
the application of all the provisions of said
code to each and every aspect of that
particular electoral exercise, as petitioner
contends. On the contrary, the Omnibus
Election Code was only one of several laws
governing said elections. *
An examination of the Omnibus
Election Code and the executive orders
specifically applicable to the May 11, 1987
congressional elections reveals that there is no
provision for the period within which to file
election protests in the respective Electoral
Tribunals. Thus, the question may well be
asked whether the rules governing the
exercise of the Tribunals' constitutional
functions may be prescribed by statute.
The Court is of the considered view that
it may not.
The power of the HRET, as the sole
judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the Members of
the House of Representatives, to promulgate
rules and regulations relative to matters within
its jurisdiction, including the period for filing
election protests before it, is beyond dispute.
Its rule-making power necessarily flows from
the general power granted it by the
Constitution. This is the import of the ruling in
the landmark case of Angara v. Electoral
Commission [63 Phil. 139 (1936)], where the
Court, speaking through Justice Laurel,
declared in no uncertain terms:
... [The creation of the Electoral
Commission carried with it ex necessitate rei
the power regulative in character to limit the
time within which protests entrusted to its
cognizance should be filed. It is a settled rule
of construction that where a general power is
conferred or duly enjoined, every particular
power necessary for the exercise of the one or
the performance of the other is also conferred
(Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eighth ed.,
vol. 1, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any
further constitutional provision relating to the

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procedure to be followed in filing protests
before the Electoral Commission, therefore,
the incidental power to promulgate such rules
necessary for the proper exercise of its
exclusive power to judge all contests relating
to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, must be
deemed by necessary implication to have
been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.
[At p. 177; emphasis supplied.]
A short review of our constitutional
history reveals that, except under the 1973
Constitution, the power to judge all contests
relating
to
the
election,
returns
and
qualifications of the members of the legislative
branch has been exclusively granted either to
the legislative body itself [i.e., the Philippine
Assembly under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and
the Senate and the House of Representatives
under the Philippine Autonomy Act (Jones
Law)] or to an independent, impartial and nonpartisan body attached to the legislature [i.e.,
the Electoral Commission under the 1935
Constitution and the Electoral Tribunals under
the
amended
1935
and
the
1987
Constitutions].
Except under the 1973 Constitution, the
power granted is that of being the sole judge
of all contests relating to the election, returns
and qualifications of the members of the
legislative body. Article VI of the 1987
Constitution states it in this wise:
See. 17. The Senate and the House of
Representatives shall each have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all
contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of their respective Members.
Each Electoral tribunal shall be composed of
nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices
of the Supreme Court to be designated by the
Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be
Members of the Senate or the House of
Representatives, as the case may be, who
shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
representation from the political parties and
the parties or organizations registered under
the party-list system represented therein. The
senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be
its Chairman.
The use of the word "sole" emphasizes
the exclusive character of the jurisdiction
conferred [Angara v. Electoral Commission,
supra, at 1621. The exercise of the power by
the Electoral Commission under the 1935
Constitution has been described as "intended
to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had
remained originally in the legislature" [Id. at
175]. Earlier, this grant of power to the

legislature was characterized by Justice


Malcolm as "full, clear and complete" [Veloso
v. Board of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, 39
Phil. 886 (1919)]. Under the amended 1935
Constitution, the power was unqualifiedly
reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal Suanes v.
Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818
(1948)] and it remained as full, clear and
complete as that previously granted the
legislature and the Electoral Commission
Lachica v. Yap, G.R. No. L25379, September
25, 1968, 25 SCRA 1401. The same may be
said with regard to the jurisdiction of the
Electoral
Tribunals
under
the
1987
Constitution.
The 1935 and 1987 Constitutions,
which separate and distinctly apportion the
powers of the three branches of government,
lodge the power to judge contests relating to
the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the legislature in an independent,
impartial and non-partisan body attached to
the legislature and specially created for that
singular
purpose
(i.e.,
the
Electoral
Commission and the Electoral Tribunals) [see
Suanes v. Chief Accountant of the Senate,
supra]. It was only under the 1973 Constitution
where the delineation between the powers of
the Executive and the Legislature was blurred
by constitutional experimentation that the
jurisdiction over election contests involving
members of the Legislature was vested in the
COMELEC, an agency with general jurisdiction
over the conduct of elections for all elective
national and local officials.
That the framers of the 1987
Constitution intended to restore fully to the
Electoral Tribunals exclusive jurisdiction over
all contests relating to the election, returns
and qualifications of its Members, consonant
with the return to the separation of powers of
the three branches of government under the
presidential system, is too evident to escape
attention.
The
new
Constitution
has
substantially retained the COMELEC's purely
administrative powers, namely, the exclusive
authority to enforce and administer all laws
and regulations relative to the conduct of an
election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and
recall; to decide, except those involving the
right to vote, all questions affecting elections;
to deputize law enforcement agencies and
government instrumentalities for election
purposes; to register political parties and
accredit citizens' arms; to file in court petitions
for inclusion and exclusion of voters and
prosecute, where appropriate, violations of
election laws [Art. IX(C), Sec. 2(1), (3)-(6)], as

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well as its rule-making power. In this sense,
and with regard to these areas of election law,
the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code
are fully applicable, except where specific
legislation provides otherwise. But the same
cannot be said with regard to the jurisdiction
of the COMELEC to hear and decide election
contests. This has been trimmed down under
the 1987 Constitution. Whereas the 1973
Constitution vested the COMELEC with
jurisdiction to be the sole judge of all contests
relating to the elections, returns and
qualifications of all Members of the Batasang
Pambansa and elective provincial and city
officials [Art. XII(C), Sec. 2(2)], the 1987
Constitution, while lodging in the COMELEC
exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests
relating to the elections, returns and
qualifications of all elective regional, provincial
and city officials and appellate jurisdiction over
contests relating to the election of municipal
and barangay officials [Art. IX(C), Sec. 2(2)].
expressly makes the Electoral Tribunals of the
Senate and the House of Representatives the
sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of their
respective Members [Art. VI, Sec. 17].
The inescapable conclusion from the
foregoing is that it is well within the power of
the HRET to prescribe the period within which
protests may be filed before it. This is founded
not only on historical precedents and
jurisprudence but, more importantly, on the
clear language of the Constitution itself.
Consequently,
private respondent's
election protest having been filed within the
period prescribed by the HRET, the latter
cannot be charged with lack of jurisdiction to
hear the case.
B. Private-Respondent's Counter/Cross
Petition
Private respondent in HRET Case No. 46
prayed for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction to enjoin petitioner herein from
discharging his functions and duties as the
Representative of the first district of Pampanga
during the pendency of the protest. However,
on May 5, 1988, the HRET resolved to defer
action on said prayer after finding that the
grounds therefor did not appear to be
indubitable. Private respondent moved for
reconsideration, but this was denied by the
HRET on May 30, 1988. Thus, private
respondent now seeks to have the Court annul
and set aside these two resolutions and to
issue a temporary restraining order and/or writ

of preliminary injunction on the premise that


the grounds therefor are too evident to be
doubted.
The relief prayed for in private
respondent's counter/cross petition is not
forthcoming.
The matter of whether or not to issue a
restraining order or a writ of preliminary
injunction during the pendency of a protest lies
within the sound discretion of the HRET as sole
judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the Members of
the House of Representatives. Necessarily, the
determination of whether or not there are
indubitable grounds to support the prayer for
the aforementioned ancilliary remedies also
lies within the HRETs sound judgment. Thus, in
G.R. No. 80007, where the Court declined to
take cognizance of the private respondent's
electoral protest, this Court said: The alleged
invalidity of the proclamation (which had been
previously ordered by the COMELEC itself)
despite alleged irregularities in connection
therewith, and despite the pendency of the
protests of the rival candidates, is a matter
that is also addressed, considering the
premises, to the sound judgment of the
Electoral Tribunal.
Moreover, private respondent's attempt
to have the Court set aside the HRET's
resolution to defer action on his prayer for
provisional relief is undeniably premature,
considering that the HRET had not yet taken
any final action with regard to his prayer.
Hence, there is actually nothing to review or
and and set aside. But then again, so long as
the Constitution grants the HRET the power to
be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of Members
of the House of Representatives, any final
action taken by the HRET on a matter within
its jurisdiction shall, as a rule, not be reviewed
by this Court. As stated earlier, the power
granted to the Electoral Tribunal is full, clear
and complete and "excludes the exercise of
any authority on the part of this Court that
would in any wise restrict or curtail it or even
affect the same." (Lachica v. Yap, supra, at
143.] As early as 1938 in Morrero v. Bocar (66
Phil. 429, 431 (1938)), the Court declared that
'[the judgment rendered by the [Electoral]
Commission in the exercise of such an
acknowledged power is beyond judicial
interference, except, in any event, upon a
clear
showing
of
such
arbitrary
and
improvident use of the power as will constitute
a denial of due process of law." Under the
1987 Constitution, the scope of the Court's

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authority is made explicit. The power granted
to the Court includes the duty "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 (Art. VIII,
Sec. 11. Thus, only where such grave abuse of
discretion is clearly shown shall the Court
interfere with the HRET's judgment. In the
instant case, there is no occasion for the
exercise of the Court's collective power, since
no grave abuse of discretion that would
amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and
would warrant the issuance of the writs prayed
for has been clearly shown.
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is
hereby DISMISSED.
Private
respondent's
Counter/Cross Petition is likewise DISMISSED.
FIRDAUSI SMAIL ABBAS et. al., vs. THE
SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL,
G.R. No. 83767 October 27, 1988
GANCAYCO, J.:
FACTS: This is a Special Civil Action for
certiorari to nullify and set aside the
Resolutions of the Senate Electoral Tribunal
dated February 12, 1988 and May 27, 1988,
denying, respectively, the petitioners' Motion
for Disqualification or Inhibition and their
Motion for Reconsideration thereafter filed.
On October 9, 1987, the petitioners
filed before the respondent Tribunal an
election contest docketed as SET Case No.
002-87 against 22 candidates of the LABAN
coalition who were proclaimed senators-elect
in the 1987 congressional elections by the
Commission on Elections. The respondent
Tribunal was at the time composed of three (3)
Justices of the Supreme Court and six (6)
Senators, namely: Senior Associate Justice
Pedro L. Yap (Chairman). Associate Justices
Andres R. Narvasa and Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr.,
and Senators Joseph E. Estrada, Neptali A.
Gonzales, Teofisto T. Guingona, Jose Lina, Jr.,
Mamintal A.J. Tamano and Victor S. Ziga.
On November 17, 1987, the petitioners,
with the exception of Senator Estrada but
including Senator Juan Ponce Enrile (who had
been designated Member of the Tribunal
replacing Senator Estrada, the latter having
affiliated with the Liberal Party and resigned as
the Opposition's representative in the Tribunal)
filed with the respondent Tribunal a Motion for
Disqualification or Inhibition of the SenatorsMembers thereof from the hearing and
resolution of SET Case No. 002-87 on the
ground that all of them are interested parties

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

to said case, as respondents therein. Before


that, Senator Rene A.V. Saguisag, one of the
respondents in the same case, had filed a
Petition to Recuse and later a Supplemental
Petition to Recuse the same Senators-Members
of the Tribunal on essentially the same ground.
Senator
Vicente
T.
Paterno,
another
respondent in the same contest, thereafter
filed his comments on both the petitions to
recuse and the motion for disqualification or
inhibition. Memoranda on the subject were
also filed and oral arguments were heard by
the respondent Tribunal, with the latter
afterwards issuing the Resolutions now
complained of.
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the
meantime had voluntarily inhibited himself
from participating in the hearings and
deliberations of the respondent tribunal in
both SET Case No. 00287 and SET Case No.
001-87, the latter being another contest filed
by Augusto's Sanchez against him and Senator
Santanina T. Rasul as alternative respondents,
citing his personal involvement as a party in
the two cases.
The petitioners, in essence, argue that
considerations of public policy and the norms
of fair play and due process imperatively
require the mass disqualification sought and
that the doctrine of necessity which they
perceive to be the foundation petition of the
questioned Resolutions does not rule out a
solution both practicable and constitutionally
unobjectionable, namely; the amendment of
the respondent Tribunal's Rules of procedure
so as to permit the contest being decided by
only three Members of the Tribunal.
The proposed amendment to the
Tribunal's Rules (Section 24)requiring the
concurrence of five (5) members for the
adoption of resolutions of whatever nature is a
proviso that where more than four (4)
members are disqualified, the remaining
members shall constitute a quorum, if not less
than three (3) including one (1) Justice, and
may adopt resolutions by majority vote with no
abstentions. Obviously tailored to fit the
situation
created
by
the
petition
for
disqualification, this would, in the context of
that situation, leave the resolution of the
contest to the only three Members who would
remain, all Justices of this Court, whose
disqualification is not sought.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Senators-Members
of
the
Electoral
Tribunal
may
inhibit
themselves from hearing the contest?

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HELD:
NO.W e do not agree with petitioners'
thesis that the suggested device is neither
unfeasible nor repugnant to the Constitution.
We opine that in fact the most fundamental
objection to such proposal lies in the plain
terms and intent of the Constitution itself
which, in its Article VI, Section 17, creates the
Senate
Electoral
Tribunal,
ordains
its
composition and defines its jurisdiction and
powers.
Sec. 17. The Senate and
the House of Representatives
shall each have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole
judge of all contests relating to
the election, returns, and
qualifications
of
their
respective
Members.
Each
Electoral Tribunal shall be
composed of nine Members,
three of whom shall be Justices
of the Supreme Court to be
designated
by
the
Chief
Justice, and the remaining six
shall be Members of the
Senate or the House of
Representatives, as the case
may be, who shall be chosen
on the basis of proportional
representation
from
the
political parties and the parties
or organizations
registered
under the party-list system
represented therein. The senior
Justice in the Electoral Tribunal
hall be its Chairman.
It seems quite clear to us that in thus
providing for a Tribunal to be staffed by both
Justices of the Supreme Court and Members of
the Senate, the Constitution intended that
both
those
"judicial'
and
'legislative'
components commonly share the duty and
authority of deciding all contests relating to
the election, returns and qualifications of
Senators. The respondent Tribunal correctly
stated one part of this proposition when it held
that said provision "... is a clear expression of
an intent that all (such) contests ... shall be
resolved by a panel or body in which their (the
Senators') peers in that Chamber are
represented." 1 The other part, of course, is
that the constitutional provision just as clearly
mandates the participation in the same
process of decision of a representative or
representatives of the Supreme Court.
Said intent is even more clearly
signalled by the fact that the proportion of

Senators to Justices in the prescribed


membership of the Senate Electoral Tribunal is
2 to 1-an unmistakable indication that the
"legislative component" cannot be totally
excluded from participation in the resolution of
senatorial election contests, without doing
violence to the spirit and intent of the
Constitution.
Where, as here, a situation is created
which precludes the substitution of any
Senator sitting in the Tribunal by any of his
other colleagues in the Senate without inviting
the same objections to the substitute's
competence,
the
proposed
mass
disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered,
would leave the Tribunal no alternative but to
abandon a duty that no other court or body
can perform, but which it cannot lawfully
discharge if shorn of the participation of its
entire membership of Senators.
To our mind, this is the overriding
considerationthat the Tribunal be not
prevented from discharging a duty which it
alone has the power to perform, the
performance of which is in the highest public
interest as evidenced by its being expressly
imposed by no less than the fundamental law.
It is aptly noted in the first of the
questioned Resolutions that the framers of the
Constitution could not have been unaware of
the possibility of an election contest that
would involve all 24 Senators-elect, six of
whom would inevitably have to sit in judgment
thereon. Indeed, such possibility might surface
again in the wake of the 1992 elections when
once more, but for the last time, all 24 seats in
the Senate will be at stake. Yet the
Constitution provides no scheme or mode for
settling such unusual situations or for the
substitution of Senators designated to the
Tribunal whose disqualification may be sought.
Litigants in such situations must simply place
their trust and hopes of vindication in the
fairness and sense of justice of the Members of
the Tribunal. Justices and Senators, singly and
collectively.
Let us not be misunderstood as saying
that no Senator-Member of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or disqualify
himself from sitting in judgment on any case
before said Tribunal. Every Member of the
Tribunal may, as his conscience dictates,
refrain from participating in the resolution of a
case where he sincerely feels that his personal
interests or biases would stand in the way of
an objective and impartial judgment. What we
are merely saying is that in the light of the
Constitution, the Senate Electoral Tribunal

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cannot legally function as such, absent its
entire membership of Senators and that no
amendment of its Rules can confer on the
three Justices-Members alone the power of
valid adjudication of a senatorial election
contest.
The charge that the respondent
Tribunal gravely abused its discretion in its
disposition of the incidents referred to must
therefore fail. In the circumstances, it acted
well within law and principle in dismissing the
petition for disqualification or inhibition filed by
herein petitioners. The instant petition for
certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

FACTS: In the 1987 local and congressional


elections, Marciano M. Pineda of the Laban ng
Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and Dr. Emigdio
A. Bondoc of the Nacionalista Party (NP) were
rival
candidates
for
the
position
of
Representative for the Fourth District of the
province of Pampanga.
On May 19, 1987, Pineda was
proclaimed winner in the election. In due time,
Bondoc filed a protest in the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal which is
composed of nine (9) members, three of whom
are Justices of the Supreme Court and the
remaining six are members of the House of
Representatives chosen on the basis of
proportional representation from the political
parties and the parties or organizations
registered
under
the
party-list
system
represented therein (Sec. 17, Art. VI, 1987
Constitution).
By October 1990, a decision had been
reached in which Bondoc won over Pineda by a
margin of twenty-three (23) votes. At that
point, the LDP members in the Tribunal
insisted on a reappreciation and recount of the
ballots cast in some precincts, thereby
delaying by at least four (4) months the
finalization of the decision in the case.
The reexamination and re-appreciation
of the ballots resulted in increasing Bondoc's
lead over Pineda to 107 votes. Congressman
Camasura voted with the Supreme Court
Justices and Congressman Cerilles to proclaim
Bondoc the winner of the contest.
Moved by candor
and honesty,
Congressman Camasura revealed to his
'Chief," Congressman Jose S. Cojuangco, Jr.,

LDP Secretary General, not only the final tally


in the Bondoc case but also that he voted for
Bondoc "consistent with truth and justice and
self- respect," and to honor a "gentlemen's
agreement" among the members of the HRET
that they would "abide by the result of the
appreciation
of
the
contested
ballot.
Congressman Camasura's revelation stirred a
hornets' nest in the LDP which went into a
flurry of plotting appropriate moves to
neutralize the pro-Bondoc majority in the
Tribunal.
On March 5, 1991, the HRET issued a
Notice of Promulgation of Decision on March
14, 1991 at 2:30 P.M. in HRET Case No. 25. A
copy of the notice was received by Bondoc's
counsel on March 6, 1991.
On March 13, 1991, the eve of the
promulgation
of
the
Bondoc
decision,
Congressman
Cojuangco
informed
Congressman Camasura by letter that the LDP
Davao del Sur Chapter by Resolution No. 03-91
had already expelled him and Congressman
Benjamin Bautista from the LDP for having
allegedly helped to organize the Partido
Pilipino of Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, and
for allegedly having invited LDP members in
Davao del Sur to join said political party; and
that as those acts are "not only inimical
uncalled for, unethical and immoral, but also a
complete betrayal to (sic) the cause and
objectives, and loyalty to LDP. In a meeting,
the LDP Executive Committee unanimously
confirmed the expulsions.
At the same time, Congressman
Cojuangco notified Speaker Ramon V. Mitra
about the ouster of the two congressmen from
the
LDP,
and
asked
the
House
of
Representatives, through the Speaker, to take
note of it 'especially in matters where party
membership is a prerequisite.
On March 4, 1991, the Chairman of the
Tribunal, Mme. Justice Armeurfina M. Herrera,
received the following letter from the Office of
the Secretary General of the House of
Representatives, informing the Tribunal that on
the basis of the letter from the LDP, the House
of Representatives, during its plenary session
on March 13, 1991, decided to withdraw the
nomination and rescind the election of
Congressman Camasura, Jr. to the House of
Electoral Tribunal.
Justices Herrera, Cruz, and Feliciano
promptly apprised the Chief Justice and
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court in
writing, of this "distressing development' and
asked to be relieved from their assignments in
the HRET because It is extremely difficult to

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169

DR.
EMIGDIO
A.
BONDOC
vs.
REPRESENTATIVES MARCIANO M. PINEDA
ET. AL.,
G.R. No. 97710 September 26, 1991
GRIO-AQUIO, J.:

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


continue with membership in the Tribunal and
for the Tribunal to preserve its integrity and
credibility as a constitutional body charged
with a judicial task. Also, political factors are
blocking
the
accomplishment
of
the
constitutionally mandated task of the Tribunal
well ahead of the completion of the present
congressional term.
At the open session of the HRET, the
Tribunal issued Resolution No. 91-0018
cancelling the promulgation of the decision in
HRET Case No. 25. The resolution reads: In
view of the formal notice the Tribunal has
received from the House of Representatives
that at its plenary session held on March 13,
1991, it had voted to withdraw the nomination
and rescind the election of Congressman
Camasura to the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal,' the Tribunal Resolved to
cancel the promulgation of its Decision in
Bondoc vs. Pineda (HRET Case No. 25)
scheduled for this afternoon. This is because,
without Congressman Camasura's vote, the
decision lacks the concurrence of five
members as required by Section 24 of the
Rules of the Tribunal and, therefore, cannot be
validly promulgated. x x x x
On March 19, 1991, this Court, after
deliberating on the request for relief of Justices
Herrera, Cruz and Feliciano, resolved to direct
them to return to their duties in the Tribunal.
The Court observed that: ... in view of the
sensitive constitutional functions of the
Electoral Tribunals as the 'sole judge' of all
contests relationship to the election, returns
and qualifications of the members of Congress,
all members of these bodies are appropriately
guided only by purely legal considerations in
the decision of the cases before them and that
in the contemplation of the Constitution the
members-legislators,
thereof,
upon
assumption of their duties therein, sit in the
Tribunal no longer as representatives of their
respective political parties but as impartial
judges. The view was also submitted that, to
further bolster the independence of the
Tribunals, the term of office of every member
thereof should be considered co-extensive with
the corresponding legislative term and may
not be legally terminated except only by
death, resignation, permanent disability, or
removal for valid cause, not including political
disloyalty.
On March 21, 1991, a petition for
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus was filed
by
Dr.
Emigdio
A.
Bondoc
against
Representatives
Marciano
M.
Pineda,
Magdaleno M. Palacol, Juanita G. Camasura, Jr.,

or any other representative who may be


appointed Vice Representative Juanita G.
Camasura,
Jr.,
and
the
House
of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal, praying this
Court to:
1. Annul the decision of the House of
Representatives of March 13, 1991, 'to
withdraw the nomination and to rescind the
nomination of Representative Juanita G.
Camasura, Jr. to the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal;"
2. Issue a wilt of prohibition restraining
respondent Palacol or whomsoever may be
designated in place of respondent Camasura
from assuming, occupying and discharging
functions as a member of the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal;
3. Issue a writ of mandamus ordering
respondent
Camasura
to
immediately
reassume and discharge his functions as a
member of the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal; and
4. Grant such other relief as may be
just and equitable.
Upon receipt of the petition, the Court
required the respondents to comment on the
petition within ten days from notice and to
enjoin the HRET 'from reorganizing and
allowing participation in its proceedings of
Honorable Magdaleno M. Palacol or whoever is
designated to replace Honorable Juanita G.
Camasura in said House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal, until the issue of the
withdrawal of the nomination and rescission of
the election of said Congressman Camasura as
member of the HRET by the House of
Representatives is resolved by this Court, or
until otherwise ordered by the Court."
Congressman Juanito G. Camasura, Jr.
did not oppose the petition.
Congressman Marciano M. Pineda's plea
for the dismissal of the petition is centered on
Congress' being the sole authority that
nominates and elects from its members. Upon
recommendation by the political parties
therein, those who are to sit in the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal (and in the
Commission on Appointments as well), hence,
it allegedly has the sole power to remove any
of them whenever the ratio in the
representation of the political parties in the
House or Senate is materially changed on
account of death, incapacity, removal or
expulsion from the political party; that a
Tribunal member's term of office is not coextensive with his legislative term, for if a
member of the Tribunal who changes his party
affiliation is not removed from the Tribunal, the

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constitutional
provision
mandating
representation based on political affiliation
would be completely nullified; and that the
expulsion of Congressman Camasura from the
LDP, is "purely a party affair" of the LDP and
the decision to rescind his membership in the
House Electoral Tribunal is the sole prerogative
of
the
House-of-Representative
Representatives, hence, it is a purely political
question beyond the reach of judicial review. 10
In
his
comment,
respondent
Congressman Magdaleno M. Palacol alleged
that the petitioner has no cause of action
against him because he has not yet been
nominated by the LDP for membership in the
HRET. Moreover, the petition failed to implead
the
House
of
Representatives
as
an
indispensable party for it was the House, not
the HRET that withdrew and rescinded
Congressman Camasura's membership in the
HRET.
The Solicitor General, as counsel for the
Tribunal, argued in a similar vein; that the
inclusion of the HRET as a party respondent is
erroneous because the petition states no
cause of action against the Tribunal. The
petitioner does not question any act or order
of the HRET in violation of his rights. What he
assails is the act of the House of
Representatives
of
withdrawing
the
nomination, and rescinding the election, of
Congressman Juanita nito Camasura as a
member of the HRET.
Replying to the Solicitor General's
Manifestation, the petitioner argued that while
the Tribunal indeed had nothing to do with the
assailed
decision
of
the
House
of
Representatives, it acknowledged that decision
by cancelling the promulgation of its decision
in HRET Case No. 25 to his (Bondoc's)
prejudice. Hence, although the Tribunal may
not be an indispensable party, it is a necessary
party to the suit, to assure that complete relief
is accorded to the petitioner for "in the
ultimate, the Tribunal would have to
acknowledge, give recognition, and implement
the Supreme Court's decision as to whether
the
relief
of
respondent
Congressman
Camasura from the Office of the Electoral
Tribunal is valid."
In his reply to Congressman Palacol's
Comment, the petitioner explained that
Congressman Palacol was impleaded as one of
the respondents in this case because after the
House of Representatives had announced the
termination of Congressman Camasura's
membership in the HETH several newspapers
of general circulation reported that the House

of Representatives would nominate and elect


Congressman Palacol to take Congressman
Camasura's seat in the Tribunal.

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171

ISSUES:
(1) May the House of Representatives, at the
request of the dominant political party
therein, change that party's representation
in the House Electoral Tribunal to thwart
the promulgation of a decision freely
reached by the tribunal in an election
contest pending therein?
(2) May the Supreme Court review and annul
that action of the House?
(3) Whether or not the Resolution of the House
of
Representatives
violates
the
independence of the HRET?
(4) Whether or not disloyalty to party is a valid
cause for termination of membership in the
HRET?
(5) Whether
or
not
the
expulsion
of
Congressman Camasura violates his right
to security of tenure?
HELD:
(1) Section 17, Article VI of the 1987
Constitution supplies the answer to that
question. It provides:
Section 17. The Senate
and
the
House
of
Representatives
shall
each
have an Electoral Tribunal
which shall be the sole judge of
all contests relating to the
election,
returns
and
qualifications
of
their
respective
members,
Each
Electoral Tribunal shall be
composed of nine Members,
three of whom shall be Justices
of the Supreme Court to be
designated
by
the
Chief
Justice, and the remaining six
shall be Members of the
Senate
or
House
of
Representatives, as the case
may be, who shall be chosen
on the basis of proportional
representation
from
the
political parties and the parties
or organizations
registered
under the party list system
represented therein. The senior
Justice in the Electoral Tribunal
shall be its Chairman.
Section 17 reechoes Section 11, Article
VI of the 1935 Constitution, except the
provision on the representation of the main

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political parties in the tribunal which is now
based on proportional representation from all
the political parties, instead of equal
representation of three members from each of
the first and second largest political
aggrupations in the Legislature. The 1935
constitutional provision reads as follows:
Sec. 11. The Senate and
the House of Representatives
shall have an Electoral Tribunal
which shall be the sole judge of
all contests relating to the
election,
returns,
and
qualifications
of
their
respective
Members.
Each
Electoral Tribunal shall be
composed of nine Members,
three of whom shall be Justices
of the Supreme Court to be
designated
by
the
Chief
Justice, and the remaining six
shall be Members of the
Senate or of the House of
Representatives, as the case
may be, who shall be chosen
by each House, three upon
nomination of the party having
the largest number of votes
and three of the party having
the second largest member of
votes therein. The senior
Justice
in
each
Electoral
Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
(1 935 Constitution of the
Philippines.)
Under the above provision, the Justices
held the deciding votes, aid it was impossible
for any political party to control the voting in
the tribunal.
The 1973 Constitution did not provide
for an electoral tribunal in the Batasang
Pambansa.
The use of the word "sole" in both
Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and
Section
11
of
the
1935
Constitution
underscores the exclusive jurisdiction of the
House Electoral Tribunal as judge of contests
relating
to
the
election,
returns
and
qualifications of the members of the House of
Representatives
(Robles
vs.
House
of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No.
86647, February 5, 1990). The tribunal was
created to function as a nonpartisan court
although two-thirds of its members are
politicians. It is a non-political body in a sea of
politicians. What this Court had earlier said
about the Electoral Commission applies as well

to the electoral tribunals of the Senate and


House of Representatives:
The purpose of the
constitutional
convention
creating
the
Electoral
Commission was to provide an
independent
and
impartial
tribunal for the determination
of contests to legislative office,
devoid
of
partisan
consideration, and to transfer
to that tribunal all the powers
previously exercised by the
legislature
in
matters
pertaining
to
contested
elections of its members.
The power granted to
the electoral Commission to
judge contests relating to the
election and qualification of
members of the National
Assembly is intended to be as
complete and unimpaired as if
it had
remained
in the
legislature.
The Electoral Tribunals
of the Senate and the House
were
created
by
the
Constitution
as
special
tribunals to be the sole judge
of all contests relating to
election
returns
and
qualifications of members of
the legislative houses, and, as
such, are independent bodies
which must be permitted to
select their own employees,
and to supervise and control
them, without any legislative
interference. (Suanes vs. Chief
Accountant of the Senate, 81
Phil. 818.)
To be able to exercise exclusive
jurisdiction, the House Electoral Tribunal must
be independent. Its jurisdiction to hear and
decide congressional election contests is not
to be shared by it with the Legislature nor with
the Courts.
The
Electoral
Commission is a body separate
from and independent of the
legislature and though not a
power in the tripartite scheme
of government, it is to all
intents and purposes, when
acting within the limits of its
authority,
an
independent
organ; while composed of a

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172

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majority of members of the
legislature it is a body separate
from and independent of the
legislature.
xxx xxx xxx
The
Electoral
Commission, a constitutional
organ created for the specific
purpose
of
determining
contests relating to election
returns and qualifications of
members of the National
Assembly
may
not
be
interfered with by the judiciary
when and while acting within
the limits of its authority, but
the
Supreme
Court
has
jurisdiction over the Electoral
Commission for the purpose of
determining
the
character,
scope and extent of the
constitutional grant to the
commission as sole judge of all
contests
relating
to
the
election and qualifications of
the members of the National
Assembly. (Angara vs. Electoral
Commission, 63 Phil. 139.)
The independence of the electoral
tribunal was preserved undiminished in the
1987 Constitution as the following exchanges
on the subject between Commissioners
Maambong
and
Azcuna
in
the
1986
Constitutional Commission, attest:
(2) Yes. In the past, the Supreme Court, as
head of the third and weakest branch of our
Government, was all too willing to avoid a
political confrontation with the other two
branches by burying its head ostrich-like in the
sands of the "political question" doctrine, the
accepted meaning of which is that 'where the
matter involved is left to a decision by the
people acting in their sovereign capacity or to
the sole determination by either or both the
legislative or executive branch of the
government, it is beyond judicial cognizance.
Thus it was that in suits where the party
proceeded against was either the President or
Congress, or any of its branches for that
matter, the courts refused to act." (Aquino vs.
Ponce Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 196.)
In time, however, the duty of the courts
to look into the constitutionality and validity of
legislative or executive action, especially when
private rights are affected came to be
recognized. As we pointed out in the
celebrated Aquino case, a showing that

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

plenary power is granted either department of


government may not be an obstacle to judicial
inquiry, for the improvident exercise or the
abuse thereof may give rise to a justiciable
controversy. Since "a constitutional grant of
authority
is
not
usually
unrestricted,
limitations being provided for as to what may
be done and how it is to be accomplished,
necessarily then, it becomes the responsibility
of the courts to ascertain whether the two
coordinate branches have adhered to the
mandate of the fundamental law. The question
thus posed is judicial rather than political. The
duty remains to assure that the supremacy of
the Constitution is upheld" (Aquino vs. Ponce
Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 196).
That duty is a part of the judicial power
vested in the courts by an express grant under
Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution
of the Philippines which defines judicial power
as both authority and duty of the courts 'to
settle actual controversies involving rights
which are legally demandable and enforceable,
and to determine whether or not there has
been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any
branch or instrumentality of the Government."
The power and duty of the courts to
nullify in appropriate cases, the actions of the
executive and legislative branches of the
Government, does not mean that the courts
are superior to the President and the
Legislature. It does mean though that the
judiciary may not shirk "the irksome task" of
inquiring into the constitutionality and legality
of legislative or executive action when a
justiciable controversy is brought before the
courts by someone who has been aggrieved or
prejudiced by such action, as in this case. It is
a plain exercise of the judicial power, that
power vested in courts to enable them to
administer justice according to law. ... It is
simply a necessary concomitant of the power
to hear and dispose of a case or controversy
properly before the court, to the determination
of which must be brought the test and
measure of the law. (Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil.
192, 203.)
(3)
Yes. The independence of the House
Electoral Tribunal so zealously guarded by the
framers of our Constitution, would, however,
by a myth and its proceedings a farce if the
House of Representatives, or the majority
party therein, may shuffle and manipulate the
political (as distinguished from the judicial)
component of the electoral tribunal, to serve
the interests of the party in power.

173

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The resolution of the House of
Representatives
removing
Congressman
Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal
for disloyalty to the LDP, because he cast his
vote in favor of the Nacionalista Party's
candidate, Bondoc, is a clear impairment of
the constitutional prerogative of the House
Electoral Tribunal to be the sole judge of the
election contest between Pineda and Bondoc.
To sanction such interference by the
House of Representatives in the work of the
House Electoral Tribunal would reduce the
tribunal to a mere tool for the aggrandizement
of the party in power (LDP) which the three
justices of the Supreme Court and the lone NP
member would be powerless to stop. A
minority party candidate may as well abandon
all hope at the threshold of the tribunal.

(5) Yes. Another reason for the nullity of the


expulsion resolution of the House of
Representatives
is
that
it
violates
Congressman Camasura's right to security of
tenure. Members of the HRET as "sole judge"
of congressional election contests, are entitled
to security of tenure just as members of the
judiciary enjoy security of tenure under our
Constitution
(Sec.
2,
Art.
VIII,
1987
Constitution). Therefore, membership in the
House Electoral Tribunal may not be
terminated except for a just cause, such as,
the expiration of the member's congressional
term of office, his death, permanent disability,
resignation from the political party he
represents in the tribunal, formal affiliation
with another political party, or removal for
other valid cause. A member may not be

expelled by the House of Representatives for


"party disloyalty" short of proof that he has
formally affiliated with another political group.
As the records of this case fail to show that
Congressman Camasura has become a
registered member of another political party,
his expulsion from the LDP and from the HRET
was not for a valid cause, hence, it violated his
right to security of tenure.
There is nothing to the argument of
respondent Pineda that members of the House
Electoral Tribunal are not entitled to security of
tenure because, as a matter of fact, two
Supreme Court Justices in the Tribunal were
changed before the end of the congressional
term, namely: Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan
who, upon his elevation to the office of Chief
Justice, was replaced by Justice Florentino P.
Feliciano, and the latter, who was temporarily
replaced by Justice Emilio A. Gancayco, when
he (J. Feliciano) took a leave of absence to
deliver a lecture in Yale University. It should be
stressed, however, that those changes in the
judicial composition to the HRET had no
political implications at all unlike the present
attempt to remove Congressman Camasura.
No coercion was applied on Chief Justice
Fernan to resign from the tribunal, nor on
Justice Feliciano to go on a leave of absence.
They acted on their own free will, for valid
reasons, and with no covert design to derail
the disposition of a pending case in the HRET.
The case of Congressman Camasura is
different. He was expelled from, and by, the
LDP to punish him for "party disloyalty" after
he had revealed to the Secretary-General of
the party how he voted in the Bondoc case.
The purpose of the expulsion of Congressman
Camasura was to nullify his vote in the Bondoc
case so that the HRET's decision may not be
promulgated, and so that the way could be
cleared for the LDP to nominate a replacement
for Congressman Camasura in the Tribunal.
That stratagem of the LDP and the House of
Representatives is clearly aimed to substitute
Congressman Camasura's vote and, in effect,
to change the judgment of the HRET in the
Bondoc case.
The judicial power of this Court has
been invoked by Bondoc for the protection of
his rights against the strong arm of the
majority party in the House of Representatives.
The Court cannot be deaf to his plea for relief,
nor indifferent to his charge that the House of
Representatives had acted with grave abuse of
discretion in removing Congressman Camasura
from the House Electoral Tribunal. He calls
upon the Court, as guardian of the

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

174

(4) No. Disloyalty to party is not a valid cause


for termination of membership in the HRET.
As judges, the members of the tribunal
must be non-partisan. They must discharge
their functions with complete detachment,
impartiality,
and
independence
even
independence from the political party to which
they belong. Hence, "disloyalty to party" and
"breach of party discipline," are not valid
grounds for the expulsion of a member of the
tribunal. In expelling Congressman Camasura
from the HRET for having cast a conscience
vote" in favor of Bondoc, based strictly on the
result of the examination and appreciation of
the ballots and the recount of the votes by the
tribunal, the House of Representatives
committed a grave abuse of discretion, an
injustice, and a violation of the Constitution. Its
resolution of expulsion against Congressman
Camasura is, therefore, null and void.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Constitution, to exercise its judicial power and
discharge its duty to protect his rights as the
party aggrieved by the action of the House.
The Court must perform its duty under the
Constitution "even when the violator be the
highest official of the land or the Government
itself" (Concurring opinion of J. Antonio Barredo
in Aquino vs. Ponce-Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 207).
Since the expulsion of Congressman
Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal by
the House of Representatives was not for a
lawful and valid cause, but to unjustly interfere
with the tribunal's disposition of the Bondoc
case and to deprive Bondoc of the fruits of the
Tribunal's decision in his favor, the action of
the House of Representatives is clearly
violative of the constitutional mandate (Sec.
17, Art. VI, 1987 Constitution) which created
the House Electoral Tribunal to be the "sole
judge" of the election contest between Pineda
and Bondoc. We, therefore, declare null and
void the resolution dated March 13, 1991 of
the House of Representatives withdrawing the
nomination, and rescinding the election, of
Congressman Camasura as a member of the
House Electoral Tribunal. The petitioner, Dr.
Emigdio Bondoc, is entitled to the reliefs he
prays for in this case.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus is granted. The
decision of the House of Representatives
withdrawing the nomination and rescinding the
election of Congressman Juanita G. Camasura,
Jr. as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal
is hereby declared null and void ab initio for
being violative of the Constitution, and
Congressman Juanita G. Camasura, Jr. is
ordered reinstated to his position as a member
of the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal. The HRET Resolution No. 91-0018
dated March 14, 1991, cancelling the
promulgation of the decision in HRET Case No.
25 is also set aside.

FACTS: This case was originally an urgent


petition ad cautelam praying, among others,
for the issuance of a temporary restraining
order enjoining respondent Commission on
Elections (Comelec) from proclaiming the 24th
highest senatorial candidate.
On May 5, 1992, this Court issued a
Resolution in G.R. No. 104704, entitled
"Francisco Chavez v. Comelec, et al.,"

disqualifying
Melchor
Chavez,
private
respondent therein, from running for the Office
of Senator in the May 11, 1992 elections.
The above-mentioned resolution was
received by respondent Comelec on May 6,
1992. On the same day, petitioner filed an
urgent motion with the Comelec praying that it
(1) disseminate through the fastest available
means this Court's Resolution dated May 5,
1992 to all regional election directors,
provincial election supervisors, city and
municipal election registrars, boards of
election inspectors, the six (6) accredited
political parties and the general public; and (2)
order said election officials to delete the name
of Melchor Chavez as printed in the certified
list of candidates tally sheets, election returns
and "to count all votes cast for the disqualified
Melchor Chavez in favor of Francisco I.
Chavez . . . ."
On May 8, 1992, the Comelec issued
Res. No. 92-1322 which resolved to delete the
name of Melchor Chavez from the list of
qualified candidates. However, it failed to
order the crediting of all "Chavez" votes in
favor of petitioner as well as the cancellation
of Melchor Chavez' name in the list of qualified
candidates.
According to petitioner, the Comelec
failed to perform its mandatory function under
Sec. 7, RA 7166 which states that if a
candidate has been disqualified, it shall be the
duty of the Commission to instruct without
delay the deletion of the name of said
candidate.
Thus, the name of Melchor Chavez
remained undeleted in the list of qualified
candidates on election day.
Confusion arose, allegedly nationwide,
as the "Chavez" votes were either declared
stray or invalidated by the Boards of Election
Inspectors (BEIs).
On May 11, 1992, Commissioner Rama
of respondent Comelec issued a directive over
radio and TV ordering all "Chavez" votes to be
credited in favor of petitioner. Petitioner
contends
that
the
radio
and
TV
announcements did not reach the BEI at the
170,354 precincts nationwide. As a result,
"Chavez" votes were not credited in favor of
petitioner.
On May 12, 1992, Comelec issued
another Resolution directing all municipal and
city election registrars throughout the country
to examine the minutes of voting submitted by
the BEIs and to credit all the "Chavez" votes,
which have been declared stray or invalidated
by the BEIs, in favor of petitioner.

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175

FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ vs. COMMISSION


ON ELECTIONS
G.R. No. 105323 July 3, 1992
BIDIN, J.:

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Petitioner maintains that the said
resolution proved futile because it did not
reach all the various BEIs of the 170,354
election precincts throughout the country on
time for implementation and that the minutes
of voting did not indicate the number of
"Chavez" votes which were declared stray or
invalidated.
On May 14, 1992, petitioner sent a
letter to the Comelec requesting the latter to
devise ways and means in crediting "Chavez"
votes in his favor but the respondent
Commission
failed
to
act
on
said
letter/complaint.
On May 23, 1992, petitioner filed an
urgent petition before the respondent Comelec
praying the latter to (1) implement its May 12,
1992 resolution with costs de officio; (2) to reopen the ballot boxes in 13 provinces including
the National Capital Region involving some
80,348 precincts (p. 9 of petition) and to scan
for the "Chavez" votes for purposes of
crediting the same in his favor; (3) make the
appropriate
entries
in
the
election
returns/certificates of canvass; and (4) to
suspend the proclamation of the 24 winning
candidates.
Dissatisfied
with
the
failure
of
respondent Comelec to act on his petition,
petitioner filed, as aforesaid, this urgent
petition for prohibition and mandamus, with
prayer for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order, enjoining the Comelec from
proclaiming the 24th highest senatorial
candidate,
without
first
implementing
respondent Comelec's resolution of May 12,
1992
and
acting
upon
petitioner's
letter/complaint dated May 14, 1992 and
urgent petition dated May 22, 1992.
It is the submission of petitioner that
assuming only ten (10) "Chavez" votes were
invalidated per precinct, he would have lost at
least 1.7 million votes (considering that there
are more than 170,000 precincts nationwide);
the result of which will affect the 24 ranking
senatorial candidates.
Petitioner alleges that respondent
Comelec acted capriciously and whimsically
and with grave abuse of discretion and
therefore prays that the Comelec be enjoined
from proclaiming the 24th winning senatorial
candidate until after his petition before the
Commission is resolved.
On June 4, 1992, the Court issued a
Temporary
Restraining
Order
enjoining
respondent Comelec from proclaiming the 24th
winning senatorial candidate and set the case
for hearing on June 9, 1992.

On the same day, petitioner filed a


manifestation stating that on May 30, 1992,
his urgent petition dated May 22, 1992 was
dismissed by respondent Comelec and prayed
that the petition ad cautelam at bar be
considered a regular petition.
On June 8, 1992, Senator Agapito
Aquino ** filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene
with Comment in Intervention praying for the
dismissal of the instant petition on the ground
that the law does not allow pre-proclamation
controversy involving the election of members
of the Senate.
After hearing the arguments of the
parties on June 9, 1992, the Court resolved to
lift the temporary restraining order in the
afternoon of the same day (June 9, 1992).

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

176

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the SC can review the
alleged inaction of respondent Comelec in
ordering the deletion of Melchor Chavez's
name in the list of qualified candidates?
(2) Whether or not petitioner has a cause of
action against respondent COMELEC?
HELD: The petition is devoid of any merit.
(1) No. The alleged inaction of respondent
Comelec in ordering the deletion of Melchor
Chavez's name in the list of qualified
candidates does not call for the exercise of the
Court's function of judicial review. This Court
can review the decisions or orders of the
Comelec only in cases of grave abuse of
discretion committed by it in the discharge of
its quasi-judicial powers and not those arising
from the exercise of its administrative
functions. Respondent Commission's alleged
failure to implement its own resolution is
undoubtedly administrative in nature, hence,
beyond
judicial
interference.
Moreover,
respondent Comelec has in fact, on May 6,
1992 to be exact, ordered the deletion of
Melchor Chavez's name not only on the official
list of candidates, but also on the election
returns, tally sheet and certificate of canvass.
Hence, petitioner's allegation that respondent
Comelec failed to implement Res. No. 92-132
does not hold water. Be that as it may, there
are other compelling reasons why the instant
petition is bound to fail.
(2) No. A simple reading of the petition would
readily show that petitioner has no cause of
action, the controversy presented being one in
the nature of a pre-proclamation controversy.
While the Commission has exclusive
jurisdiction
over
pre-proclamation

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


controversies involving local elective officials
(Sec.
242,
Omnibus
Election
Code),
nevertheless, pre-proclamation cases are not
allowed in elections for President, VicePresident, Senator and Member of the House
of Representatives. Sec. 15 of Republic Act
7166 provides:
Sec.
15.
Preproclamation
Cases
Not
Allowed
in
Elections
for
President,
Vice-President,
Senator, and Member of the
House of Representatives.
For purposes of the elections
for
President,Vice-President,
Senator and Member of the
House of Representatives, no
pre-proclamation cases shall
be allowed on matters relating
to
the
preparation,
transmission, receipt, custody
and
appreciation
of
the
election
returns
or
the
certificate of canvass, as the
case may be. However, this
does
not
preclude
the
authority of the appropriate
canvassing body motu proprio
or upon written complaint of an
interested person to correct
manifest
errors
in
the
certificate
of
canvass
or
election returns before it.
(emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
Any objection on the
election returns before the city
or
municipal
board
of
canvassers,
or
on
the
municipal
certificates
of
canvass before the provincial
boards of canvassers or district
board of canvassers in Metro
Manila
Area,
shall
be
specifically
noted
in
the
minutes of their respective
proceedings.
It is clear from the above-quoted
provision of the law that "pre-proclamation
cases (are) not allowed in elections for
President, Vice-President, Senator and Member
of the House of Representatives.'' What is
allowed is the correction of "manifest errors in
the certificate of canvass or election returns."
To be manifest, the errors must appear on the
face of the certificates of canvass or election
returns sought to be corrected and/or
objections thereto must have been made

before the board of canvassers and specifically


noted in the minutes of their respective
proceedings.
In the case at bar, however, petitioner
prays not only for a restraining order enjoining
"the proclamation of the 24th highest ranking
senatorial candidate without first acting upon
petitioner's letter/complaint dated May 14,
1992 and urgent petition dated May 22, 1992"
but also prays that judgment be rendered
requiring the Comelec to re-open the ballot
boxes in 80,348 precincts in 13 provinces
therein enumerated (Petition, p. 9) including
Metro Manila, scan the ballots for "Chavez"
votes which were invalidated or declared stray
and credit said scanned "Chavez" votes in
favor of petitioner.
It is quite obvious that petitioner's
prayer does not call for the correction of
"manifest errors in the certificates of canvass
or election returns" before the Comelec but for
the re-opening of the ballot boxes and
appreciation of the ballots contained therein.
Indeed, petitioner has not even pointed to any
"manifest error" in the certificates of canvass
or election returns he desires to be rectified.
There being none, petitioner's proper recourse
is to file a regular election protest which, under
the Constitution and the Omnibus Election
Code, exclusively pertains to the Senate
Electoral Tribunal.
Thus, Sec. 17, Art. VI of the Constitution
provides that "(t)he Senate and the House of
Representatives shall each have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all
contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications
of
their
respective
Members. . . ." (emphasis supplied). The word
"sole" underscores the exclusivity of the
Tribunals' jurisdiction over election contests
relating to their respective Members. It is
therefore crystal clear that this Court has no
jurisdiction to entertain the instant petition. It
is the Senate Electoral Tribunal which has
exclusive jurisdiction to act on the complaint of
petitioner involving, as it does, contest relating
to the election of a member of the Senate. As
aforesaid, petitioner's proper recourse is to file
a regular election protest before the Senate
Electoral Tribunal after the winning senatorial
candidates have been proclaimed.
Petitioner argues, on the other hand,
that a recount before the Senate Electoral
Tribunal where he would be forced to shell out
the expenses imposes not only a property
requirement for the enjoyment of the right to
be voted upon but also a price on the right of

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

177

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


suffrage which would ultimately stifle the
sovereign will.
The argument, however, is beside the
point. The law is very clear on the matter and
it is not right for petitioner to ask this Court to
abandon settled jurisprudence, engage in
judicial legislation, amend the Constitution and
alter the Omnibus Election Code. The
mandatory procedures laid down by the
existing law in cases like the one at bar must
be faithfully followed lest we allow anarchy to
reign. The proper recourse is for petitioner to
ask not this Court but the Legislature to enact
remedial measures.
Finally, the instant petition falls
squarely with the case of Sanchez v.
Commission on Elections (1987) and the
disposition arrived therein finds application in
the case at bar, mutatis mutandis:
Sanchez anchors his
petition for recount and/or
reappreciation on Section 243,
paragraph (b) of the Omnibus
Election Code in relation to
Section
234 thereof
with
regard to material defects in
canvassed election returns. He
contends that the canvassed
returns discarding "Sanchez"
votes
as
stray
were
"incomplete" and therefore
warrant
a
recount
or
reappreciation of the ballots
under Section 234.
xxx xxx xxx
. . The fact that some
votes
written
solely
as
"Sanchez" were declared stray
votes
because
of
the
inspectors' erroneous belief
that Gil Sanchez had not been
disqualified as a candidate,
involves
an
erroneous
appreciation of the ballots. It is
established by the law as well
as jurisprudence . . . that errors
in the appreciation of ballots
by the board of inspectors are
proper subject for election
protest and not for recount or
reappreciation of ballots.
2. The appreciation of
the ballots cast in the precincts
is not a "proceeding of the
board
of
canvassers"
for
purposes of pre-proclamation
proceedings
under
Section
241, Omnibus Election Code,

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

but of the boards of election


inspectors who are called upon
to count and appreciate the
votes in accordance with the
rules of appreciation provided
in
Section
211,
Omnibus
Election
Code.
Otherwise
stated, the appreciation of
ballots is not part of the
proceedings of the board of
canvassers. The function of
ballots
appreciation
is
performed by the boards of
election inspectors at the
precinct
level.
(Emphasis
supplied)
3. The scope of preproclamation controversy is
limited
to
the
issues
enumerated under Sec. 243 of
the Omnibus Election Code.
The enumeration therein of the
issues that may be raised in
pre-proclamation controversy
is restrictive and exclusive. In
the absence of any clear
showing or proof that the
election returns canvassed are
incomplete or contain material
defects (sec. 234), appear to
have been tampered with,
falsified or prepared under
duress
(sec.
235)
and/or
contain discrepancies in the
votes
credited
to
any
candidate, the difference of
which affects the result of the
election (sec. 236), which are
the only instances where a preproclamation recount may be
resorted
to,
granted
the
preservation of the integrity of
the ballot box and its contents,
Sanchez' petition must fail. The
complete
election
returns
whose authenticity is not in
question, must be prima facie
considered
valid
for
the
purpose of canvassing the
same and proclamation of the
winning candidates.
xxx xxx xxx
7.
The
ground
for
recount
relied
upon
by
Sanchez is clearly not among
the issues that may be raised
in
pre-proclamation
controversy. His allegation of

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invalidation of "Sanchez" votes
intended for him bear no
relation to the correctness and
authenticity of the election
returns canvassed. Neither the
Constitution nor statute has
granted the Comelec or the
board of canvassers the power
in the canvass of election
returns to look beyond the face
thereof, once satisfied of their
authenticity (Abes v. Comelec,
21 SCRA 1252, 1256).
In the case at bar, petitioner's
allegation that "Chavez" votes were either
invalidated or declared stray has no relation to
the correctness or authenticity of the election
returns
canvassed.
Otherwise
stated,
petitioner has not demonstrated any manifest
error in the certificates of canvass or election
returns before the Comelec which would
warrant their correction. As the authenticity of
the certificates of canvass or election returns
are not questioned, they must be prima facie
considered valid for purposes of canvassing
the same and proclamation of the winning
candidates (Sanchez v. Comelec, supra).

FACTS: Before this Court are two original


petitions for prohibition and mandamus with
prayer for writ of preliminary injunction.
Petitioners assail the composition of the
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
and the Commission on AppointmentS.
Petitioners pray that respondents be ordered
to
"alter,
reorganize,
reconstitute
and
reconfigure" the composition of the HRET and
the CA to include party-list representatives in
accordance with Sections 17 and 18, Article VI
of the 1987 Constitution and Republic Act No.
7941, otherwise known as the Party-List
System Act. Petitioners further pray that the
HRET and the CA be enjoined from exercising
their functions until they have been
reorganized.
Section 5, Article VI of the 1987
Constitution provides for a party-list system in
the House of Representatives ("House" for
brevity), as follows:
"Sec. 5. (1) The House
of Representatives shall be
composed of not more than

two
hundred
and
fifty
members, unless otherwise
fixed by law, who shall be
elected
from
legislative
districts apportioned among
the provinces, cities, and the
Metropolitan Manila area in
accordance with the number of
their respective inhabitants,
and on the basis of a uniform
and progressive ratio, and
those who, as provided by law,
shall be elected through a
party-list system of registered
national, regional and sectoral
parties or organizations.
(2)
The
party-list
representatives shall constitute
twenty per centum of the total
number
of
representatives
including those under the party
list. For three consecutive
terms after the ratification of
this Constitution, one-half of
the seats allocated to party-list
representatives shall be filled,
as provided by law, by
selection or election from the
labor, peasant, urban poor,
indigenous
cultural
communities, women, youth
and such other sectors as may
be provided by law except the
religious sector."
On March 3, 1995, the Party-List
System Act took effect. The Act sought to
"promote proportional representation in the
election of representatives, to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of
registered national, regional and sectoral
parties or organizations or coalitions thereof,
which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to
marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties, and who lack welldefined political constituencies but who could
contribute to the formulation and enactment of
appropriate legislation that will benefit the
nation as a whole, to become members of the
House of Representatives.
In 1998, in accordance with the PartyList System Act, national elections were held
which included, for the first time, the election
through popular vote of party-list groups and
organizations whose nominees would become
members of the House. Proclaimed winners
were 14 party-list representatives from 13
organizations, including petitioners from partylist groups Association of Philippine Electric

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

179

SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., ET.


AL., vs. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL ET. AL.,
G.R. No. 141489 November 29, 2002
CARPIO, J.:

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Cooperatives (APEC), Alyansang Bayanihan ng
mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang Bukid at
Mangingisda (ABA), NATCO Network Party
(COOP-NATCCO), Akbayan! Citizens Action
Party (AKBAYAN), and Abanse! Pinay (ABANSE).
Due to the votes it garnered, APEC was able to
send 2 representatives to the House, while the
12
other
party-list
groups
had
one
representative each. Also elected were district
representatives belonging to various political
parties.
Subsequently, the House constituted its
HRET and CA contingent by electing its
representatives to these two constitutional
bodies. In practice, the procedure involves the
nomination by the political parties of House
members who are to occupy seats in the HRET
and the CA. From available records, it does not
appear that after the May 11, 1998 elections
the party-list groups in the House nominated
any of their representatives to the HRET or the
CA. As of the date of filing of the instant
petitions, the House contingents to the HRET
and the CA were composed solely of district
representatives belonging to the different
political parties.
On January 18, 2000, Senator Aquilino
Q. Pimentel, Jr. wrote two letters addressed to
then Senate President Blas F. Ople, as
Chairman of the CA, and to Associate Justice of
the Supreme Court Jose A. R. Melo (now
retired), as Chairman of the HRET. The letters
requested Senate President Ople and Justice
Melo to cause the restructuring of the CA and
the HRET, respectively, to include party-list
representatives to conform to Sections 17 and
18, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
In its meeting of January 20, 2000, the
HRET resolved to direct the Secretary of the
Tribunal to refer Senator Pimentels letter to
the Secretary-General of the House of
Representatives. On the same day, HRET
Secretary Daisy B. Panga-Vega, in an
Indorsement of even date, referred the letter
to House of Representatives Secretary General
Roberto P. Nazareno.
On February 2, 2000, petitioners filed
with this Court their Petitions for Prohibition,
Mandamus and Preliminary Injunction (with
Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order)
against the HRET, its Chairman and Members,
and against the CA, its Chairman and
Members.
Petitioners contend that, under the
Constitution and the Party-List System Act,
party-list representatives should have 1.2 or at
least 1 seat in the HRET, and 2.4 seats in the
CA. Petitioners charge that respondents

committed grave abuse of discretion in


refusing to act positively on the letter of
Senator Pimentel. In its Resolution of February
8, 2000, the Court en banc directed the
consolidation of G.R. No. 141490 with G.R. No.
141489.
On February 11, 2000, petitioners filed
in both cases a motion to amend their
petitions to implead then Speaker Manuel B.
Villar, Jr. as an additional respondent, in his
capacity as Speaker of the House and as one
of the members of the CA. The Court granted
both motions and admitted the amended
petitions.
Senator Pimentel filed the instant
petitions on the strength of his oath to protect,
defend and uphold the Constitution and in his
capacity as taxpayer and as a member of the
CA.
He
was
joined
by
5
party-list
representatives from APEC, ABA, ABANSE,
AKBAYAN and COOP-NATCCO as co-petitioners.
Petitioners cite as basis Sections 17 and
18, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, to wit:
"Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of
Representatives shall each have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all
contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of their respective Members.
Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of
nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices
of the Supreme Court to be designated by the
Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be
Members of the Senate or the House of
Representatives, as the case may be, who
shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
representation from the political parties and
the parties or organizations registered under
the party-list system represented therein. The
senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be
its Chairman."
"Sec. 18. There shall be a Commission
on Appointments consisting of the President of
the Senate, as ex officio Chairman, twelve
Senators and twelve Members of the House of
Representatives, elected by each House on the
basis of proportional representation from the
political parties and parties or organizations
registered
under
the
party-list
system
represented therein. The Chairman of the
Commission shall not vote, except in case of a
tie. The Commission shall act on all
appointments submitted to it within thirty
session days of the Congress from their
submission. The Commission shall rule by a
majority vote of all the Members," 18 (Emphasis
supplied)

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Petitioners also invoke the following
provision of Section 11 of Republic Act No.
7941:
"Sec.
11.
Number
of
Party-List
Representatives.
The
party-list
representatives shall constitute twenty per
centum (20%) of the total number of the
members of the House of Representatives
including those under the party-list. xxx"
According to the Solicitor Generals
Consolidated Comment, at the time petitioners
filed the instant petitions the House had 220
members, 14 of whom were party-list
representatives, constituting 6.3636% of the
House. Of the remaining 206 district
representatives affiliated with different political
parties, 151 belonged to LAMP (68.6354%), 36
belonged to LAKAS (16.3636%), 13 to the
Liberal Party (5.9090%), 1 member (0.4545%)
each to KBL, PDRLM, Aksyon Demokratiko,
Reporma and PROMDI, and 1 representative
was an independent.
In
their
Reply
to
Consolidated
Comment, petitioners alleged that, following
the Solicitor Generals computation, the LP and
LAKAS were over-represented in the HRET and
the CA. Petitioners particularly assail the
presence of one LP representative each in the
HRET and the CA, and maintain that the LP
representatives should be ousted and replaced
with
nominees
of
the
14
party-list
representatives.
On the other hand, the Solicitor General
argues that the instant petitions are
procedurally
defective
and
substantially
lacking in merit for having been filed
prematurely, thus:"It is a generally accepted
principle that the averments in the pleading
determine the existence of a cause of action.
In the instant petitions, petitioners failed to
aver that they or any one of them was elected
by a party or organization registered under the
party-list system as a Member of the HRET or
CA to represent said party or organization
under the party-list system of the House of
Representatives."
ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the present composition of
the House Electoral Tribunal & present
membership of the House in the
Commission on Appointments violate the
constitutional requirement of proportional
representation because there are no partylist representatives in the HRET?
(2) Whether or not the refusal of the HRET &
the CA to reconstitute themselves to

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

include the party-list representatives


constitutes grave abuse of discretion?
HELD:
(1) No.
Petitioners urge the Court to rule on the
issues raised in the petitions under review,
citing
the
following
pronouncement
in
Guingona
Jr.
v.
Gonzales
:
"Where
constitutional issues are properly raised in the
context of the alleged facts, procedural
questions
acquire
a
relatively
minor
significance,
and
the
transcendental
importance to the public of the case demands
that they be settled promptly and definitely
brushing
aside
xxx
technicalities
of
procedure."
Petitioners reliance on Guingona, Jr. v.
Gonzales is misplaced. The "procedural
questions" that petitioners want the Court to
brush aside are not mere technicalities but
substantive matters that are specifically
provided for in the constitutional provisions
cited by petitioners.
The Constitution expressly grants to the
House of Representatives the prerogative,
within constitutionally defined limits, to choose
from among its district and party-list
representatives those who may occupy the
seats allotted to the House in the HRET and
the CA. Section 18, Article VI of the
Constitution24 explicitly confers on the Senate
and on the House the authority to elect among
their members those who would fill the 12
seats for Senators and 12 seats for House
members in the Commission on Appointments.
Under Section 17, Article VI of the
Constitution,25 each chamber of Congress
exercises the power to choose, within
constitutionally defined limits, who among
their members would occupy the allotted 6
seats of each chambers respective electoral
tribunal.
These constitutional provisions are
reiterated in Rules 3 and 4 (a) of the 1998
Rules of the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal, to wit:
"Rule 3. Composition. - The Tribunal
shall be composed of nine Members, three of
whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court
to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the
remaining six shall be Members of the House
of Representatives who shall be chosen on the
basis of proportional representation from the
political
parties
and
the
parties
or
organizations registered under the party-list
system represented therein. The Senior Justice
in the Tribunal shall be its Chairman.

181

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Rule 4. Organization. - (a) Upon the
designation of the Justices of the Supreme
Court and the election of the Members of the
House of Representatives who are to compose
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
pursuant to Sections 17 and 19 of Article VI of
the Constitution, the Tribunal shall meet for its
organization and adoption of such resolutions
as it may deem proper." (Emphasis supplied)
Likewise, Section 1 of the Rules of the
Commission on Appointments provides:
"Section
1.
Composition
of
the
Commission On Appointments. Within thirty
(30) days after both Houses of Congress shall
have organized themselves with the election of
the Senate President and the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, the Commission on
Appointments shall be constituted. It shall be
composed of twelve (12) Senators and twelve
(12)
members
of
the
House
of
Representatives, elected by each House on the
basis of proportional representation from the
political parties and parties or organizations
registered
under
the
party-list
system
represented herein. (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, even assuming that party-list
representatives comprise a sufficient number
and have agreed to designate common
nominees to the HRET and the CA, their
primary recourse clearly rests with the House
of Representatives and not with this Court.
Under Sections 17 and 18, Article VI of the
Constitution, party-list representatives must
first show to the House that they possess the
required numerical strength to be entitled to
seats in the HRET and the CA. Only if the
House fails to comply with the directive of the
Constitution on proportional representation of
political parties in the HRET and the CA can
the party-list representatives seek recourse to
this Court under its power of judicial review.
Under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, prior
recourse to the House is necessary before
petitioners may bring the instant case to the
court.
Consequently,
petitioners
direct
recourse to this Court is premature.
The discretion of the House to choose
its members to the HRET and the CA is not
absolute, being subject to the mandatory
constitutional
rule
on
proportional
representation.26 However, under the doctrine
of separation of powers, the Court may not
interfere with the exercise by the House of this
constitutionally mandated duty, absent a clear
violation of the Constitution or grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.27 Otherwise, the doctrine of
separation of powers calls for each branch of

government to be left alone to discharge its


duties as it sees fit. 28 Neither can the Court
speculate on what action the House may take
if party-list representatives are duly nominated
for membership in the HRET and the CA.
The instant petitions are bereft of any
allegation that respondents prevented the
party-list
groups
in
the
House
from
participating in the election of members of the
HRET and the CA. Neither does it appear that
after the May 11, 1998 elections, the House
barred the party-list representatives from
seeking membership in the HRET or the CA.
Rather, it appears from the available facts that
the party-list groups in the House at that time
simply refrained from participating in the
election process. The party-list representatives
did not designate their nominees even up to
the time they filed the instant petitions, with
the predictable result that the House did not
consider any party-list representative for
election to the HRET or the CA. As the primary
recourse of the party-list representatives lies
with the House of Representatives, the Court
cannot resolve the issues presented by
petitioners at this time.
Moreover, it is a well-settled rule that a
constitutional question will not be heard and
resolved by the courts unless the following
requirements of judicial inquiry concur: (1)
there must be an actual controversy; (2) the
person or party raising the constitutional issue
must have a personal and substantial interest
in the resolution of the controversy; (3) the
controversy must be raised at the earliest
reasonable opportunity; and (4) the resolution
of
the
constitutional
issue
must
be
indispensable to the final determination of the
controversy.
The five party-list representatives who
are petitioners in the instant case have not
alleged that they are entitled to, and have
been unlawfully deprived of, seats in the HRET
or the CA. Neither have they claimed that they
have been nominated by the party-list groups
in the House to the HRET or the CA. As such,
they do not possess the personal and
substantial interest required to confer them
with locus standi. The party raising the
constitutional issue must have "such personal
stake in the outcome of the controversy as to
assure that concrete adverseness which
sharpens the presentation of issues upon
which the court depends for illumination of
difficult constitutional questions."
(2) No. SC find no grave abuse in the action or
lack of action by the HRET and the CA in
response to the letters of Senator Pimentel.

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Under Sections 17 and 18 of Article VI of the
1987 Constitution and their internal rules, the
HRET and the CA are bereft of any power to
reconstitute themselves.
Finally, the issues raised in the petitions
have been rendered academic by subsequent
events. On May 14, 2001, a new set of district
and party-list representatives were elected to
the House. The Court cannot now resolve the
issue of proportional representation in the
HRET and the CA based on the "present
composition" of the House of Representatives
as presented by petitioners and the Solicitor
General. With the May 14, 2001 elections, it is
certain that the composition of the House has
changed. In the absence of a proper petition
assailing the present composition of the HRET
and the CA, the instant petitions must fail.
Otherwise, for the Court to rule on the instant
petitions at this time would be tantamount to
rendering an advisory opinion, which is outside
our jurisdiction.31
WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions
for prohibition and mandamus are DISMISSED.

FACTS:
These two cases are about the
authority of the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal (HRET) to pass upon the
eligibilities of the nominees of the party-list
groups that won seats in the lower house of
Congress.
In G.R. 189466, petitioner Daryl Grace
J. Abayon is the first nominee of the Aangat
Tayo party-list organization that won a seat in
the House of Representatives during the 2007
elections.
Respondents Perfecto C. Lucaban, Jr.,
Ronyl S. Dela Cruz, and Agustin C. Doroga, all
registered voters, filed a petition for quo
warranto with respondent HRET against
Aangat Tayo and its nominee, petitioner
Abayon, in HRET Case 07-041. They claimed
that Aangat Tayo was not eligible for a partylist seat in the House of Representatives, since
it did not represent the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors.
Respondent Lucaban and the others
with him further pointed out that petitioner
Abayon herself was not qualified to sit in the
House as a party-list nominee since she did
not
belong
to
the
marginalized
and

underrepresented sectors, she being the wife


of an incumbent congressional district
representative. She moreover lost her bid as
party-list representative of the party-list
organization
called
An
Waray
in
the
immediately preceding elections of May 10,
2004.
Petitioner Abayon countered that the
COMELEC had already confirmed the status of
Aangat Tayo as a national multi-sectoral partylist organization representing the workers,
women, youth, urban poor, and elderly and
that she belonged to the women sector.
Abayon also claimed that although she was
the second nominee of An Waray party-list
organization during the 2004 elections, she
could not be regarded as having lost a bid for
an elective office.
Finally, petitioner Abayon pointed out
that respondent HRET had no jurisdiction over
the petition for quo warranto since respondent
Lucaban and the others with him collaterally
attacked the registration of Aangat Tayo as a
party-list organization, a matter that fell within
the jurisdiction of the COMELEC. It was Aangat
Tayo that was taking a seat in the House of
Representatives, and not Abayon who was just
its nominee. All questions involving her
eligibility as first nominee, said Abayon, were
internal concerns of Aangat Tayo.
On July 16, 2009 respondent HRET
issued an order, dismissing the petition as
against Aangat Tayo but upholding its
jurisdiction over the qualifications of petitioner
Abayon. The latter moved for reconsideration
but the HRET denied the same on September
17, 2009, prompting Abayon to file the present
petition for special civil action of certiorari.
In G.R. 189506, petitioner Jovito S.
Palparan, Jr. is the first nominee of the Bantay
party-list group that won a seat in the 2007
elections for the members of the House of
Representatives.
Respondents
Reynaldo
Lesaca, Jr., Cristina Palabay, Renato M. Reyes,
Jr., Erlinda Cadapan, Antonio Flores, and
Joselito Ustarez are members of some other
party-list groups.
Shortly after the elections, respondent
Lesaca and the others with him filed with
respondent HRET a petition for quo warranto
against Bantay and its nominee, petitioner
Palparan, in HRET Case 07-040. Lesaca and
the others alleged that Palparan was ineligible
to sit in the House of Representatives as partylist nominee because he did not belong to the
marginalized and underrepresented sectors
that Bantay represented, namely, the victims
of communist rebels, Civilian Armed Forces

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

183

CONGRESSMAN JOVITO S. PALPARAN, JR.,


vs.
HOUSE
OF
REPRESENTATIVES
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL (HRET) ET. AL.,
G.R.
No.
G.R.
No.
189466
&
189506 February 11, 2010
ABAD, J.:

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


Geographical Units (CAFGUs), former rebels,
and security guards. Lesaca and the others
said that Palparan committed gross human
rights violations against marginalized and
underrepresented sectors and organizations.
Petitioner Palparan countered that the
HRET had no jurisdiction over his person since
it was actually the party-list Bantay, not he,
that was elected to and assumed membership
in the House of Representatives. Palparan
claimed that he was just Bantays nominee.
Consequently, any question involving his
eligibility as first nominee was an internal
concern of Bantay. Such question must be
brought, he said, before that party-list group,
not before the HRET.
On July 23, 2009 respondent HRET
issued an order dismissing the petition against
Bantay for the reason that the issue of the
ineligibility or qualification of the party-list
group fell within the jurisdiction of the
COMELEC pursuant to the Party-List System
Act. HRET, however, defended its jurisdiction
over the question of petitioner Palparans
qualifications.
Palparan
moved
for
reconsideration but the HRET denied it by a
resolution dated September 10, 2009, hence,
the recourse to this Court through this petition
for special civil action of certiorari and
prohibition.
Since the two cases raise a common
issue,
the
Court
has
caused
their
consolidation.

HELD: Yes.
Petitioners Abayon and Palparan have a
common theory: Republic Act (R.A.) 7941, the
Party-List System Act, vests in the COMELEC
the authority to determine which parties or
organizations have the qualifications to seek
party-list seats in the House of Representatives
during the elections. Indeed, the HRET
dismissed the petitions for quo warranto filed
with
it
insofar
as
they
sought
the
disqualifications of Aangat Tayo and Bantay.
Since petitioners Abayon and Palparan were
not elected into office but were chosen by their
respective organizations under their internal
rules, the HRET has no jurisdiction to inquire
into and adjudicate their qualifications as
nominees.

If at all, says petitioner Abayon, such


authority belongs to the COMELEC which
already upheld her qualification as nominee of
Aangat Tayo for the women sector. For
Palparan,
Bantays
personality
is
so
inseparable and intertwined with his own
person as its nominee so that the HRET cannot
dismiss the quo warranto action against
Bantay without dismissing the action against
him.
But, although it is the party-list
organization that is voted for in the elections,
it is not the organization that sits as and
becomes a member of the House of
Representatives. Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution,5 identifies who the "members" of
that House are:
Sec.
5.
(1).
The
House
of
Representatives shall be composed of not
more than two hundred and fifty members,
unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be
elected from legislative districts apportioned
among the provinces, cities, and the
Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with
the number of their respective inhabitants,
and on the basis of a uniform and progressive
ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall
be elected through a party -list system of
registered national, regional, and sectoral
parties
or
organizations.
(Underscoring
supplied)
Clearly, the members of the House of
Representatives are of two kinds: "members x
x x who shall be elected from legislative
districts" and "those who x x x shall be
elected through a party-list system of
registered
national,
regional,
and
sectoral parties or organizations." This
means that, from the Constitutions point of
view, it is the party-list representatives who
are "elected" into office, not their parties or
organizations. These representatives are
elected, however, through that peculiar partylist system that the Constitution authorized
and that Congress by law established where
the voters cast their votes for the
organizations or parties to which such partylist representatives belong.
Once
elected,
both
the
district
representatives
and
the
party-list
representatives are treated in like manner.
They have the same deliberative rights,
salaries,
and
emoluments.
They
can
participate in the making of laws that will
directly benefit their legislative districts or
sectors. They are also subject to the same
term limitation of three years for a maximum
of three consecutive terms.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

184

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent HRET has


jurisdiction over the question of qualifications
of petitioners Abayon and Palparan as
nominees of Aangat Tayo and Bantay party-list
organizations, respectively, who took the seats
at the House of Representatives?

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


It may not be amiss to point out that
the Party-List System Act itself recognizes
party-list nominees as "members of the House
of Representatives," thus:
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. - The State
shall promote proportional representation in
the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of
registered national, regional and sectoral
parties or organizations or coalitions thereof,
which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to
the
marginalized
and
underrepresented
sectors, organizations and parties, and who
lack well-defined political constituencies but
who could contribute to the formulation and
enactment of appropriate legislation that will
benefit the nation as a whole, to become
members of the House of Representatives.
Towards this end, the State shall develop and
guarantee a full, free and open party system in
order to attain the broadest possible
representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives by
enhancing their chances to compete for and
win seats in the legislature, and shall provide
the simplest scheme possible. (Underscoring
supplied)
As this Court also held in Bantay
Republic Act or BA-RA 7941 v. Commission on
Elections,6 a party-list representative is in
every sense "an elected member of the House
of Representatives." Although the vote cast in
a party-list election is a vote for a party, such
vote, in the end, would be a vote for its
nominees, who, in appropriate cases, would
eventually sit in the House of Representatives.
Both the Constitution and the Party-List
System Act set the qualifications and grounds
for disqualification of party-list nominees.
Section 9 of R.A. 7941, echoing the
Constitution, states:
Sec. 9. Qualification of
Party-List Nominees. No
person shall be nominated as
party-list representative unless
he is a natural-born citizen of
the Philippines, a registered
voter, a resident of the
Philippines for a period of not
less
than
one
(1)
year
immediately preceding the day
of the election, able to read
and write, bona fide member
of the party or organization
which he seeks to represent for
at least ninety (90) days
preceding the day of the
election, and is at least twenty-

five (25) years of age on the


day of the election.
In case of a nominee of
the youth sector, he must at
least be twenty-five (25) but
not more than thirty (30) years
of age on the day of the
election. Any youth sectoral
representative who attains the
age of thirty (30) during his
term shall be allowed to
continue until the expiration of
his term.
In the cases before the Court, those
who
challenged
the
qualifications
of
petitioners Abayon and Palparan claim that the
two do not belong to the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors that they ought to
represent. The Party-List System Act provides
that a nominee must be a "bona fide member
of the party or organization which he seeks to
represent."
It is for the HRET to interpret the
meaning of this particular qualification of a
nomineethe need for him or her to be a bona
fide member or a representative of his partylist organizationin the context of the facts
that characterize petitioners Abayon and
Palparans relation to Aangat Tayo and Bantay,
respectively, and the marginalized and
underrepresented
interests
that
they
presumably embody.
Petitioners Abayon and Palparan of
course point out that the authority to
determine the qualifications of a party-list
nominee belongs to the party or organization
that nominated him. This is true, initially. The
right to examine the fitness of aspiring
nominees and, eventually, to choose five from
among them after all belongs to the party or
organization that nominates them.8 But where
an allegation is made that the party or
organization had chosen and allowed a
disqualified nominee to become its party-list
representative in the lower House and enjoy
the secured tenure that goes with the position,
the resolution of the dispute is taken out of its
hand.
Parenthetically, although the Party-List
System Act does not so state, the COMELEC
seems to believe, when it resolved the
challenge to petitioner Abayon, that it has the
power to do so as an incident of its authority to
approve
the
registration
of
party-list
organizations. But the Court need not resolve
this question since it is not raised here and has
not been argued by the parties.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

185

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


What is inevitable is that Section 17,
Article VI of the Constitution9 provides that the
HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating to, among other things, the
qualifications of the members of the House of
Representatives. Since, as pointed out above,
party-list nominees are "elected members"
of the House of Representatives no less than
the district representatives are, the HRET has
jurisdiction to hear and pass upon their
qualifications. By analogy with the cases of
district representatives, once the party or
organization of the party-list nominee has
been proclaimed and the nominee has taken
his oath and assumed office as member of the
House of Representatives, the COMELECs
jurisdiction over election contests relating to
his qualifications ends and the HRETs own
jurisdiction begins.
The Court holds that respondent HRET
did not gravely abuse its discretion when it
dismissed the petitions for quo warranto
against Aangat Tayo party-list and Bantay
party-list but upheld its jurisdiction over the
question of the qualifications of petitioners
Abayon and Palparan.
WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the
consolidated petitions and AFFIRMS the Order
dated July 16, 2009 and Resolution 09-183
dated September 17, 2009 in HRET Case 07041 of the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal as well as its Order dated July 23,
2009 and Resolution 09-178 dated September
10, 2009 in HRET Case 07-040.

FACTS:
After
the
1987
congressional
elections, the House of Representatives
proportionally apportioned its twelve seats in
the Commission on Appointments among the
several political parties represented in that
chamber, including the Lakas ng Bansa, the
PDP-Laban, the NP-Unido, the Liberal Party,
and the KBL, in accordance with Article VI,
Section 18, of the Constitution. Petitioner Raul
A. Daza was among those chosen and was
listed as a representative of the Liberal Party.
On September 16, 1988, the Laban ng
Demokratikong Pilipino was reorganized,
resulting in a political realignment in the

House of Representatives. Twenty four


members of the Liberal Party formally resigned
from that party and joined the LDP, thereby
swelling
its
number
to
159
and
correspondingly reducing their former party to
only 17 members.
On the basis of this development, the
HOR revised its representation in the
Commission on Appointments by withdrawing
the seat occupied by the petitioner and giving
this to the newly-formed LDP. On December 5,
1988, the chamber elected a new set of
representatives consisting of the original
members except the petitioner and including
therein respondent Luis C. Singson as the
additional member from the LDP.
The petitioner came to this Court on
January 13, 1989, to challenge his removal
from the Commission on Appointments and the
assumption of his seat by the respondent.
Acting initially on his petition for prohibition
and injunction with preliminary injunction, we
issued a temporary restraining order that
same day to prevent both the petitioner and
the
respondent
from
serving
in
the
Commission on Appointments.
Briefly stated, the contention of the
petitioner is that he cannot be removed from
the Commission on Appointments because his
election thereto is permanent under the
doctrine announced in Cunanan v. Tan. His
claim is that the reorganization of the House
representation in the said body is not based on
a permanent political realignment because the
LDP is not a duly registered political party and
has not yet attained political stability.
For his part, the respondent argues that
the question raised by the petitioner is political
in nature and so beyond the jurisdiction of this
Court. He also maintains that he has been
improperly
impleaded,
the
real
party
respondent
being
the
House
of
Representatives
which
changed
its
representation
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments and removed the petitioner.
Finally, he stresses that nowhere in the
Constitution is it required that the political
party be registered to be entitled to
proportional representation in the Commission
on Appointments.
In addition to the pleadings filed by the
parties, a Comment was submitted by the
Solicitor General as amicus curiae in
compliance with an order from the Court.
At the core of this controversy is Article
VI, Section 18, of the Constitution providing as
follows: Sec. 18. There shall be a Commission
on Appointments consisting of the President of

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

186

SECTION 18
REP. RAUL A. DAZA
vs. REP. LUIS C.
SINGSON and HON. RAOUL V. VICTORINO
IN THE LATTER'S CAPACITY AS SECRETARY
OF THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS
G.R. No. 86344 December 21, 1989
CRUZ, J.:

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


the Senate, as ex officio Chairman, twelve
Senators and twelve Members of the House of
Representatives, elected by each House on the
basis of proportional representation from the
political parties and parties or organizations
registered
under
the
party-list
system
represented therein. The Chairman of the
Commission shall not vote, except in case of a
tie. The Commission shall act on all
appointments submitted to it within thirty
session days of the Congress from their
submission. The Commission shall rule by a
majority vote of all the Members.

HELD:
(1) No. Contrary to the respondent's
assertion, the Court has the competence to act
on the matter at bar. Our finding is that what is
before us is not a discretionary act of the
House of Representatives that may not be
reviewed by us because it is political in nature.
What is involved here is the legality, not the
wisdom, of the act of that chamber in
removing the petitioner from the Commission
on Appointments. That is not a political
question because, as Chief Justice Concepcion
explained in Tanada v. Cuenco:
... the term "political
question" connotes, in legal
parlance, what it means in
ordinary parlance, namely, a
question of policy. In other
words, ... it refers "to those
questions which, under the
Constitution, are to be decided
by
the
people
in
their
sovereign capacity,
or in
regard
to
which
full
discretionary
authority
has
been
delegated
to
the
Legislature or executive branch
of the Government." It is
concerned
with
issues
dependent upon the wisdom,

not legality, of a particular


measure.
In the aforementioned case, the Court
was asked by the petitioners therein to annul
the election of two members of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal of that chamber, on the
ground that they had not been validly
nominated. The Senate then consisted of 23
members from the Nacionalista Party and the
petitioner as the lone member of the Citizens
Party. Senator Lorenzo M. Tanada nominated
only himself as the minority representative in
the Tribunal, whereupon the majority elected
Senators Mariano J. Cuenco and Francisco
Delgado, from its own ranks, to complete the
nine-man composition of the Tribunal as
provided for in the 1935 Constitution. The
petitioner came to this Court, contending that
under Article VI, Section 11, of that Charter,
the six legislative members of the Tribunal
were to be chosen by the Senate, "three upon
nomination of the party having the largest
number of votes and three of the party having
the second largest number of votes therein."
As the majority party in the Senate, the
Nacionalista Party could nominate only three
members and could not also fill the other two
seats pertaining to the minority.
By way of special and affirmative
defenses, the respondents contended inter alia
that the subject of the petition was an internal
matter that only the Senate could resolve. The
Court rejected this argument, holding that
what was involved was not the wisdom of the
Senate in choosing the respondents but the
legality of the choice in light of the
requirement
of
the
Constitution.
The
petitioners were questioning the manner of
filling the Tribunal, not the discretion of the
Senate in doing so. The Court held that this
was a justiciable and not a political question,
thus:
Such is not the nature of
the question for determination in
the present case. Here, we are
called upon to decide whether
the election of Senators Cuenco
and Delgado by the Senate, as
members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal, upon nomination by
Senator Primicias-member and
spokesman of the party having
the largest number of votes in
the
Senate-behalf
of
its
Committee
on
Rules,
contravenes the constitutional
mandate that said members of
the Senate Electoral Tribunal

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

187

ISSUE:
(1) Whether or not the question raised by the
petitioner is political in nature?
(2) Whether or not the respondent he has
been improperly impleaded, the real party
respondent
being
the
House
of
Representatives
which
changed
its
representation in the Commission on
Appointments and removed the petitioner.?
(3) Whether or not the LDP is not entitled to a
seat in the Commission on Appointments
because it does not suffice the qualification
of being a political party.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


shall
be
chosen
"upon
nomination ... of the party
having
the
second
largest
number of votes" in the Senate
and hence, is null and void. The
Senate is not clothed with "full
discretionary authority" in the
choice of members of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal. The exercise
of its power thereon is subject to
constitutional limitations which
are claimed to be mandatory in
nature. It is clearly within the
legitimate
province
of
the
judicial department to pass upon
the validity of the proceeding in
connection therewith.
... whether an election of
public officers has been in
accordance with law is for the
judiciary. Moreover, where the
legislative department has by
statute
prescribed
election
procedure in a given situation,
the judiciary may determine
whether a particular election has
been in conformity with such
statute,
and
particularly,
whether such statute has been
applied in a way to deny or
transgress on constitutional or
statutory rights ...' (1 6 C.J.S.,
439; emphasis supplied)
It
is,
therefore,
our
opinion that we have, not only
jurisdiction but also the duty, to
consider and determine the
principal issue raised by the
parties herein."
Although not specifically discussed, the
same disposition was made in Cunanan v. Tan
as it likewise involved the manner or legality of
the organization of the Commission on
Appointments, not the wisdom or discretion of
the House in the choice of its representatives.
In the case now before us, the
jurisdictional objection becomes even less
tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even
if we were to assume that the issue presented
before us was political in nature, we would still
not be precluded from resolving it under the
expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that
now covers, in proper cases, even the political
question. Article VII, Section 1, of the
Constitution clearly provides:
Section 1. The judicial power
shall be vested in one Supreme

Court and in such lower courts


as may be established by law.
Judicial power includes
the duty of the courts of justice
to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are
legally
demandable
and
enforceable, and to determine
whether or not there has been
a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of any
branch or instrumentality of
the Government.
(2) No. he respondent's contention that he has
been improperly impleaded is even less
persuasive. While he may be technically
correct in arguing that it is not he who caused
the petitioner's removal, we feel that this
objection is also not an insuperable obstacle to
the resolution of this controversy. We may, for
one thing, treat this proceeding as a petition
for quo warranto as the petitioner is actually
questioning the respondent's right to sit as a
member of the Commission on Appointments.
For another, we have held as early as in the
Emergency Powers Cases 7 that where serious
constitutional questions are involved, "the
transcendental importance to the public of
these cases demands that they be settled
promptly and definitely brushing aside, if we
must, technicalities of procedure." The same
policy has since then been consistently
followed by the Court, as in Gonzales v.
Commission on Elections, 8 where we held
through Chief Justice Fernando:
In the course of the
deliberations,
a
serious
procedural
objection
was
raised by five members of the
Court. It is their view that
respondent Commission on
Elections not being sought to
be restrained from performing
any specific act, this suit
cannot be characterized as
other than a mere request for
an advisory opinion. Such a
view, from the remedial law
standpoint,
has
much
to
recommend it. Nonetheless, a
majority would affirm the
original stand that under the
circumstances, it could still
rightfully be treated as a
petition for prohibition.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

188

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


The language of justice
Laurel fits the case: "All await
the decision of this Court on
the constitutional question.
Considering,
therefore,
the
importance which the instant
case has assumed and to
prevent multiplicity of suits,
strong reasons of public policy
demand
that
[its]
constitutionality ... be now
resolved.' It may likewise be
added that the exceptional
character of the situation that
confronts us, the paramount
public
interest,
and
the
undeniable necessity for ruling,
the national elections being
barely
six
months
away,
reinforce our stand. It would
appear undeniable, therefore,
that
before
us
is
an
appropriate invocation of our
jurisdiction to prevent the
enforcement of an alleged
unconstitutional statute. We
are left with no choice then; we
must act on the matter.
(3) No. Coming now to the more crucial
question, the Court notes that both the
petitioner and the respondent are invoking the
case of Cunanan v. Tan to support their
respective positions. It is best, therefore, to
make a quick review of that case for a proper
disposition of this one.
In the election for the House of
Representatives held in 1961, 72 seats were
won by the Nacionalista Party, 29 by the
Liberal Party and 1 by an independent.
Accordingly, the representation of the chamber
in the Commission on Appointments was
apportioned
to 8
members
from
the
Nacionalista Party and 4 from the Liberal Party.
Subsequently, 25 members of the Nacionalista
Party, professing discontent over the House
leadership, made common cause with the
Liberal Party and formed what was called the
Allied Majority to install a new Speaker and
reorganize the chamber. Included in this
reorganization was the House representation in
the Commission on appointments where three
of the Nacionalista congressmen originally
chosen were displaced by three of their party
colleagues who had joined the Allied Majority.
Petitioner Carlos Cunanan's ad interim
appointment as Deputy Administrator of the
Reforestration Administration was rejected by

the Commission on Appointments as thus


reorganized and respondent Jorge Tan, Jr. was
thereafter designated in his place. Cunanan
then came to this Court, contending that the
rejection of his appointment was null and void
because the Commission itself was invalidly
constituted.
The Court agreed. It noted that the
Allied Majority was a merely temporary
combination as the Nacionalista defectors had
not disaffiliated from their party and
permanently joined the new political group.
Officially, they were still members of the
Nacionalista Party. The reorganization of the
Commission on Appointments was invalid
because it was not based on the proportional
representation of the political parties in the
House of Representatives as required by the
Constitution. The Court held:
... In other words, a
shifting of votes at a given
time,
even
if
due
to
arrangements of a more or less
temporary nature, like the one
that has led to the formation of
the so-called "Allied Majority,"
does not suffice to authorize a
reorganization
of
the
membership
of
the
Commission for said House.
Otherwise the Commission on
Appointments may have to be
reorganized as often as votes
shift from one side to another
in the House. The framers of
our Constitution could not have
intended to thus place a
constitutional organ, like the
Commission on Appointments,
at the mercy of each House of
Congress
The petitioner vigorously argues that
the LDP is not the permanent political party
contemplated in the Constitution because it
has not been registered in accordance with
Article IX-B, Section 2(5), in relation to the
other provisions of the Constitution. He
stresses that the so-called party has not yet
achieved stability and suggests it might be no
different from several other political groups
that have died "a-bornin'," like the LINA, or
have subsequently floundered, like the UNIDO.
The respondent also cites Cunanan but
from a different viewpoint. According to him,
that case expressly allows reorganization at
any time to reflect changes in the political
alignments in Congress, provided only that
such changes are permanent. The creation of

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

189

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the LDP constituting the bulk of the former
PDP-Laban and to which no less than 24 Liberal
congressmen had transferred was a permanent
change. That change fully justified his
designation
to
the
Commission
on
Appointments after the reduction of the LP
representation therein. Thus, the Court held:
Upon the other hand,
the constitutional provision to
the effect that "there shall be a
Commission on Appointments
consisting of twelve (12)
Senators and twelve (12)
members of the House of
Representatives elected by
each House, respectively, on
the
basis
of
proportional
REPRESENTATION
OF
THE
POLITICAL PARTIES THEREIN,"
necessarily
connotes
the
authority of each House of
Congress to see to it that this
requirement is duly complied
with. As a consequence, it may
take appropriate measures, not
only
upon
the
initial
organization
of
the
Commission,
but
also,
subsequently thereto. If by
reason of successful election
protests against members of a
House, or of their expulsion
from the political party to
which they belonged and/or of
their affiliation with another
political party, the ratio in the
representation of the political
parties in the House is
materially changed, the House
is clothed with authority to
declare vacant the necessary
number of seats in the
Commission on Appointments
held by members of said
House
belonging
to
the
political
party
adversely
affected by the change and
then fill said vacancies in
conformity
with
the
Constitution.
In the course of the spirited debate on
this matter between the petitioner and the
respondent (who was supported by the
Solicitor General) an important development
has supervened to considerably simplify the
present controversy. The petitioner, to repeat,
bases his argument heavily on the nonregistration of the LDP which, he claims has

not
provided
the
permanent
political
realignment
to
justify
the
questioned
reorganization.
On November 23, 1989, however, that
argument boomeranged against the petitioner.
On that date, the Commission on Elections in
an en banc resolution affirmed the resolution of
its First Division dated August 28, 1989,
granting the petition of the LDP for registration
as a political party. This has taken the wind out
of the sails of the petitioner, so to speak, and
he must now limp to shore as best he can.
The petitioner's contention that, even if
registered, the party must still pass the test of
time to prove its permanence is not
acceptable. Under this theory, a registered
party obtaining the majority of the seats in the
House of Representatives (or the Senate)
would still not be entitled to representation in
the Commission on Appointments as long as it
was organized only recently and has not yet
"aged." The Liberal Party itself would fall in
such a category. That party was created in
December 1945 by a faction of the
Nacionalista Party that seceded therefrom to
support Manuel A. Roxas's bid for the
Presidency of the Philippines in the election
held on April 23, 1946. The Liberal Party won.
At that time it was only four months old. Yet no
question was raised as to its right to be
represented
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments and in the Electoral Tribunals by
virtue of its status as the majority party in both
chambers of the Congress.
The LDP has been in existence for more
than one year now. It now has 157 members in
the House of Representatives and 6 members
in the Senate. Its titular head is no less than
the President of the Philippines and its
President is Senator Neptali A. Gonzales, who
took over recently from Speaker Ramon V.
Mitra. It is true that there have been, and there
still are, some internal disagreements among
its members, but these are to be expected in
any political organization, especially if it is
democratic in structure. In fact even the
monolithic Communist Party in a number of
socialist
states
has
undergone
similar
dissension, and even upheavals. But it surely
cannot be considered still temporary because
of such discord.
If the petitioner's argument were to be
pursued, the 157 members of the LDP in the
House of Representatives would have to be
denied representation in the Commission on
Appointments and, for that matter, also the
Electoral Tribunal. By the same token, the KBL,
which the petitioner says is now "history only,"

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should also be written off. The independents
also cannot be represented because they
belong to no political party. That would virtually
leave the Liberal Party only with all of its
seventeen members to claim all the twelve
seats of the House of Representatives in the
Commission on Appointments and the six
legislative seats in the House Electoral
Tribunal.
It is noteworthy that when with 41
members the Liberal Party was alloted two of
the seats in the Commission on Appointments,
it did not express any objection. 13
Inconsistently, the petitioner is now opposed to
the withdrawal from it of one seat although its
original number has been cut by more than
half.
As for the other condition suggested by
the petitioner, to wit, that the party must
survive in a general congressional election, the
LDP has doubtless also passed that test, if only
vicariously. It may even be said that as it now
commands the biggest following in the House
of Representatives, the party has not only
survived but in fact prevailed. At any rate, that
test was never laid down in Cunanan.
To summarize, then, we hold, in view of
the foregoing considerations, that the issue
presented to us is justiciable rather political,
involving as it does the legality and not the
wisdom of the act complained of, or the
manner of filling the Commission on
Appointments
as
prescribed
by
the
Constitution. Even if the question were political
in nature, it would still come within our powers
of review under the expanded jurisdiction
conferred upon us by Article VIII, Section 1, of
the Constitution, which includes the authority
to determine whether grave abuse of discretion
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction has
been
committed
by
any
branch
or
instrumentality of the government. As for the
alleged technical flaw in the designation of the
party respondent, assuming the existence of
such a defect, the same may be brushed aside,
conformably to existing doctrine, so that the
important constitutional issue raised may be
addressed. Lastly, we resolve that issue in
favor of the authority of the House of
Representatives to change its representation in
the Commission on Appointments to reflect at
any time the changes that may transpire in the
political alignments of its membership. It is
understood that such changes must be
permanent and do not include the temporary
alliances or factional divisions not involving
severance of political loyalties or formal

disaffiliation and permanent shifts of allegiance


from one political party to another.
The Court would have preferred not to
intervene in this matter, leaving it to be settled
by the House of Representatives or the
Commission on Appointments as the bodies
directly involved. But as our jurisdiction has
been invoked and, more importantly, because
a constitutional stalemate had to be resolved,
there was no alternative for us except to act,
and to act decisively. In doing so, of course, we
are not imposing our will upon the said
agencies, or substituting our discretion for
theirs, but merely discharging our sworn
responsibility to interpret and apply the
Constitution. That is a duty we do not evade,
lest we ourselves betray our oath.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
The TRO is LIFTED. The Court holds that the
respondent has been validly elected as a
member of the Commission on Appointments
and is entitled to assume his seat in that body
pursuant to Article VI, Section 18, of the
Constitution.

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191

ANNA DOMINIQUE M.L. COSETENG and


KABABAIHAN PARA SA INANG BAYAN vs.
HON. RAMON V. MITRA, JR., as speaker of
the House of Representatives of the
Congress of the Philippines et. al.,
G.R. No. 86649 July 12, 1990
GRIO-AQUINO, J.:
FACTS: The congressional elections of May 11,
1987 resulted in the election to the House of
Representatives of the candidates of diverse
political parties such as the PDP-Laban, Lakas
ng Bansa (LB), Liberal Party (LP), NP-Unido,
Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan (KBL), Panaghiusa,
Kababaihan Para sa Inang Bayan (KAIBA), and
some
independents.
Petitioner
Anna
Dominique M.L. Coseteng was the only
candidate elected under the banner of KAIBA.
On August 26, 1987, the House of
Representatives, upon nomination by the
Majority
Floor
Leader,
Cong.
Francisco
Sumulong, elected from the Coalesced
Majority, eleven (11) out of twelve (12)
congressmen to represent the House in the
Commission on Appointments.
On
September
22,
1987,
upon
nomination of the Minority Floor Leader, the
House elected Honorable Roque Ablan, Jr., KBL,
as the twelfth member of the Commission on
Appointments, representing the Coalesced
Minority in the House.
A year later, on September 16, 1988,
the "Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino" was

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


organized as a political party. As 158 out of 202
members of the House of Representatives
formally affiliated with the LDP, the House
committees,
including
the
House
representation
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments, had to be reorganized.
On
October
8,
1988,
petitioner
Coseteng wrote a letter to Speaker Ramon
Mitra requesting that as representative of
KAIBA, she be appointed as a member of the
Commission on Appointments and House
Electoral Tribunal. Her request was endorsed
by nine (9) congressmen.
On December 5, 1988, the House of
Representatives, on motion of the Majority
Floor Leader and over the objection of Cong.
Raul A. Daza, LP, revised the House majority
membership
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments to conform with the new political
alignments by replacing Rep. Raul A. Daza, LP,
with Rep. Luis C. Singson, LDP.
Congressman Ablan, KBL, was retained
as the 12th member representing the House
minority.
On February 1, 1989, Congresswoman
Coseteng and her party, the KAIBA, filed this
Petition for Extraordinary Legal Writs (which
may be considered as a petition for quo
warranto and injunction) praying this Court to
declare as null and void the election of
respondent
Ablan,
Verano-Yap,
Romero,
Cuenco, Mercado, Bandon, Cabochan, Imperial,
Lobregat, Beltran, Locsin, and Singson, as
members of the Commission on Appointments,
to enjoin them from acting as such and to
enjoin also the other respondents from
recognizing them as members of the
Commission on Appointments on the theory
that their election to that Commission violated
the constitutional mandate of proportional
representation because:
1) the New Majority (158 LDP members
out of the 202 members of the House) is
entitled to only nine (9) seats out of the twelve
to be filled by the House (p. 29, Rollo);
2) the members representing the
political parties, or coalitions thereof, must be
nominated by their respective political parties
or coalitions;
3) the nomination and election of
respondent Verano-Yap by the respondents as
representative of the minority was clearly
invalid (p. 31, Rollo); and
4) that similarly invalid was the
retention of respondent Ablan as Minority
member in the Commission because he was
neither nominated nor elected as such by the

minority party or parties in the House (p. 31,


Rollo).
Petitioner Coseteng further alleged that
she is qualified to sit in the Commission on
Appointments as a representative of the
Minority because she has the support of nine
(9) other congressmen and congresswomen of
the Minority.
In their collective Comment, the
respondents House of Representatives, the
Speaker, the Majority Floor Leader, the
members of the Commission on Appointments
including Congressman Roque R. Ablan, but
excluding Congresswoman Lorna Verano-Yap
(who filed a separate Comment), alleged: (1)
that the legality of the reorganization of the
Commission on Appointments is a political
question, hence, outside the jurisdiction of this
Court to decide, and (2) that in any case, the
reorganization was "strictly in consonance with
Section 18, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution"
i.e., on the basis of proportional representation
of the political parties, considering the majority
coalition "as a form of a political party". They
further alleged that as of March 3, 1989, 160
members of the House (including 26 former
Liberals) had expressly renounced in writing
their respective political party affiliations and
formally affiliated with the LDP leaving only 15
Liberals in the House (p. 119, Rollo). After its
petition for registration as a political party was
granted on August 28, 1989 by the First
Division of the COMELEC) and affirmed on
November 23, 1989 by the COMELEC en banc,
the LDP become the new Majority in the House.
They finally argued that as KAIBA is part of the
Coalesced Majority which supports the
administration of President Corazon C. Aquino,
not of the minority, petitioner is bound by the
choice of the Coalesced Majority of the
members who would sit in the Commission on
Appointments.
Representative Lorna Verano-Yap, in her
comment alleged that the petitioner has no
better light than those already selected, to be
chosen as a member of the Commission on
Appointments because: (1) the Constitution
was not violated in electing Yap and eleven
(11) other House members to the Commission
on Appointments; (2) respondent Yap is a
rightful incumbent; and (3) petitioner's claim to
a seat on the Commission on Appointments is
without legal and factual basis (pp. 217-218,
Rollo).
The Commission on Appointments took
a neutral stand on the petition as the issues
involved may touch on the validity of its
organization and the legality of the entitlement

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of the LDP or the LP to representation, which
are raised in the case of Daza vs. Singson, G.R.
No. 86344, then pending before this Court.
ISSUE: Whether the members of the House in
the Commission on Appointments were chosen
on the basis of proportional representation
from the political parties therein as provided in
Section 18, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution?
HELD: Yes. The petition should be dismissed.
Section 18, Article VI of the 1987
Constitution provides: There shall be a
Commission on Appointments consisting of the
President of the Senate, as ex oficio Chairman,
twelve Senators, and twelve Members of the
House of Representatives elected by each
House
on
the
basis
of
proportional
representation from the political parties and
parties or organizations registered under the
party-list system represented therein. The
chairman of the Commission shall not vote,
except in case of a tie. The Commission shall
act on all appointments submitted to it within
thirty session days of the Congress from their
submission. The commission shall rule by a
majority vote of all the Members. (Art. VI, 1987
Constitution.)
After deliberating on the petition and
the comments of the respondents, we hold that
the petition should be dismissed, not because
it raises a political question, which it does not,
but because the revision of the House
representation
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments is based on proportional
representation of the political parties therein as
provided in Section 18, Article VI of the 1987
Constitution.
The "political question" issue was
settled in Daza vs. Singson, G.R. No. 86344,
December 21, 1989, where this Court ruled
that "the legality, and not the wisdom, of the
manner of filling the Commission on
Appointments
as
prescribed
by
the
Constitution" is justiciable, and, "even if the
question were political in nature, it would still
come within our powers of review under the
expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us by
Article VIII, Section 1, of the Constitution, which
includes the authority to determine whether
grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess
or lack of jurisdiction has been committed by
any branch or instrumentality of the
government."
The
composition
of
the
House
membership
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments was based on proportional
representation of the political parties in the

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

House. There are 160 members of the LDP in


the House. They represent 79% of the House
membership (which may be rounded out to
80%). Eighty percent (80%) of 12 members in
the Commission on Appointments would equal
9.6 members, which may be rounded out to
ten (10) members from the LDP. The remaining
two seats were apportioned to the LP
(respondent Lorna Verano-Yap) as the next
largest party in the Coalesced Majority and the
KBL (respondent Roque Ablan) as the principal
opposition party in the House. There is no
doubt that this apportionment of the House
membership
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments was done "on the basis of
proportional representation of the political
parties therein."
The other political parties or groups in
the House, such as petitioner's KAIBA (which is
presumably a member also of the Coalesced
Majority), are bound by the majority's choices.
Even if KAIBA were to be considered as an
opposition party, its lone member (petitioner
Coseteng) represents only .4% or less than 1%
of the House membership, hence, she is not
entitled to one of the 12 House seats in the
Commission on Appointments. To be able to
claim
proportional
membership
in
the
Commission on Appointments, a political party
should represent at least 8.4% of the House
membership, i.e., it should have been able to
elect
at
least
17
congressmen
or
congresswomen.
The indorsements of the nine (9)
congressmen and congresswomen in favor of
the petitioner's election to the Commission are
inconsequential because they are not members
of her party and they signed identical
indorsements in favor of her rival, respondent
Congresswoman Verano-Yap.
There is no merit in the petitioner's
contention that the House members in the
Commission on Appointments should have
been nominated and elected by their
respective political parties. The petition itself
shows that they were nominated by their
respective floor leaders in the House. They
were elected by the House (not by their party)
as provided in Section 18, Article VI of the
Constitution. The validity of their election to
the Commission on Appointments eleven
(11) from the Coalesced Majority and one from
the minority is unassailable.
WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed
for lack of merit.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., AND LAKASNATIONAL
UNION
OF
CHRISTIAN

193

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DEMOCRATS (LAKAS-NUCD) vs. NEPTALI
A. GONZALES, ALBERTO ROMULO and
WIGBERTO E. TAADA,
G.R. No. 106971 October 20, 1992
CAMPOS, JR., J.:
FACTS: As a result of the national elections
held last May 11, 1992, the Senate is
composed of the following members or
Senators representing the respective political
affiliations:
LDP
15 senators
NPC
5 senators
LAKAS-NUCD
3 senators
LP-PDP-LABAN
1 senator
Applying the mathematical formula
agreed to by the parties, the resulting
composition of the senate based on the rule of
proportional representation of each political
party with elected representatives in the
Senate, is as follows:
LDP
7.5
members
NPC
2.5
members
LAKAS-NUCD
1.5
members
LP-PDP-LABAN
.5 members
At the organization meeting of the
Senate held on August 27, 1992, Senator
Romulo in his capacity as Majority Floor Leader
nominated, for and in his behalf of the LDP,
eight (8) senators for membership in the
Commission
on
Appointments,
namely
Senators Angara, Herrera, Alvarez, Aquino,
Mercado, Ople, Sotto and Romulo. The
nomination of the eight senators was objected
to by Petitioner, Senator Guingona, as Minority
Floor Leader, and Senator John Osmea, in
representation of the NPC. To resolve the
impasse, Senator Arturo Tolentino proposed a
compromise to the effect that Senate elect
.12
members
to
the
Commission on Appointments,
eight coming from the LDP,
two coming from NPC, one
coming from the Liberal Party,
with the understanding that
there are strong reservations
against this proportion of these
numbers so that if later on in
action in the Supreme Court, if
any party is found to have an
excess in representation, and if
any party is found to have a
deficiency in representation,
that party will be entitled to
nominate and have elected by

this
body
its
additional
representatives.
The proposed compromise above stated
was a temporary arrangement and, inspite of
the objections of Senator Guingona and
Osmea, to enable the Commission on
Appointments to be organized by the election
of its members, it was approved. The elected
members consisted of eight LDP, one LP-PDPLABAN, two NPC and one LAKAS-NUCD.
On September 23, 1992, Senator
Teofisto Guingona. Jr., in his behalf and in
behalf of Lakas-National Union of Christian
Democrats (LAKAS-NUCD), filed a petition for
the issuance of a writ of prohibition to prohibit
the respondent Senate President Neptali
Gonzales, as ex-officio Chairman of the
Commission
on
Appointments,
from
recognizing the membership of Senators
Alberto Romulo as the eight senator elected by
the LDP, and Wigberto E. Taada, as the lone
member representing the LP-PDP-LABAN, in the
Commission on Appointments, on the ground
that the proposed compromise of Senator
Tolentino was violative of the rule of
proportional representation, and that it is the
right of the minority political parties in the
Senate, consistent with the Constitution, to
combine their fractional representation in the
Commission on Appointments to complete one
seat therein, and to decide who, among the
senators in their ranks, shall be additionally
nominated and elected thereto.
Based
on
the
mathematical
computation of proportional representation of
the various political parties with elected
senators in the Senate, each of these political
parties is entitled to a fractional membership in
the Commission on Appointments as stated in
the first paragraph of this decision. Each
political party has a claim to an extra half seat,
and the election of respondents Senator
Romulo and Senator Taada to the Commission
on Appointments by the LDP majority is
precisely questioned by the petitioners
because, according to them, it unduly
increased the membership of LDP and LP-PDPLABAN in the commission and reduced the
membership of the LAKAS-NUCD and NPC
correspondingly. In view of the conflicting
claims of each of the political parties/coalition
duly represented in the Senate to a fractional
membership
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments, the election of respondents
Senator Romulo and Senator Taada has
become
controversial
and
its
validity
questionable. Hence, this petition. It has been
established that the legality of filling up the

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membership
of
the
Commission
on
Appointments is a justiciable issue and not a
political question.
ISSUES:
(1) Nature of the instant petition?
(2) Whether the election of Senators Alberto
Romulo and Wigberto E. Taada as
members
of
the
Commission
on
Appointments is in accordance with the
provision of Section 18 of Article VI of the
1987 Constitution.

(2) Yes. The election of Senators Alberto


Romulo and Wigberto E. Taada as members of
the Commission on Appointments is not in
accordance with the provision of Section 18 of
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
Section 18 Article VI of the Constitution
of 1987 provides for the creation of a

Commission
on
Appointments
and
the
allocation of its membership, as follows:
Sec. 18. There shall be
a
Commission
on
Appointments consisting of the
President of the Senate as exofficio
Chairman,
twelve
members of the House of
Representatives, elected by
each house on the basis of
proportional
representation
from the political parties or
organizations registered under
the
party
list
system
represented
therein.
The
Chairman of the Commission
shall not vote except in case of
a tie. The Commission shall act
on all appointments submitted
to it within the session days of
the
Congress
from
their
submission of all the members.
(Emphasis supplied.)
It is an established fact to which all the
parties
agree
that
the
mathematical
representation of each of the political parties
represented in the Senate is as follows:
LDP
7.5 members
NPC
2.5 members
LAKAS-NUCD
1.5 members
LP-PDP-LABAN
.5 members
It is also a fact accepted by all such
parties that each of them entitled to a
fractional membership on the basis of the rule
on proportional representation of each of the
political parties. A literal interpretation of
Section 18 of Article VI of the Constitution
leads to no other manner of application than as
above. The problem is what to do with the
fraction of .5 or 1/2 to which each of the
parties is entitled. The LDP majority in the
Senate converted a fractional half membership
into a whole membership of one senator by
adding one half or .5 to 7.5 to be able to elect
Senator Romulo. In so doing one other party's
fractional membership was correspondingly
reduced leaving the latter's representation in
the Commission on Appointments to less than
their proportional representation in the Senate.
This is clearly a violation of Section 18 because
it is no longer in compliance with its mandate
that membership in the Commission be based
on the proportional representation of the
political parties. The election of Senator
Romulo gave more representation to the LDP
and reduced the representation of one political
party either the LAKAS-NUCD or the NPC.

Abad, Pascasio, Perez & Saludes (2013)

195

HELD:
(1) There is no doubt that the issues involved
herein are constitutional in nature and are of
vital importance to our nation. They involve the
interpretation of Section 18, Article VI of the
Constitution which creates a Commission on
Appointments. Where constitutional issues are
properly raised in the context of the alleged
facts, procedural questions acquire a relatively
minor significance and the "transcendental
importance to the public of the case demands
that they be settled promptly and definitely
brushing aside . . . technicalities of procedure".
For the purpose of resolving the case at
bar, the instant petition may be regarded as
one of prohibition
wherein the Senate is
claimed to have acted without or in excess of
its jurisdiction when it designated respondent
Senator Romulo as eighth member of the
Commission
on
Appointments,
upon
nomination by the LDP, and respondent
Senator
Taada
as
LP
nominee,
notwithstanding, that, in both instance, LDP
and LP are each entitled only to "half a
member". In the alternative, the petition may
be regarded as one for mandamus, in which it
is claimed that the LAKAS-NUCD and NPC were
unlawfully excluded from the use and
enjoyment of a right or office to which each is
entitled. Considering the importance of the
case at bar and in keeping with the Court's
duty under the Constitution to keep the other
branches of the government within the limits of
the Constitution and the laws of the land, this
Court has decided to brush aside legal
technicalities of procedure and take cognizance
of this case.

CASE DIGEST IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I (Based on Atty. Gabriels Syllabus)


On the claim of Senator Taada that
under the ruling in the case of Senator Lorenzo
Taada, and the cases of Senator Juan Ponce
Enrile, he has a right to be elected as a
member of the Commission on Appointments
because of: (a) the physical impossibility of
dividing a person, so that the fractional
membership must be rounded up into one
senator; (b) being the sole elected senator of
his party, his party is entitled to be
represented
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments; (c) having been elected
senator, rounding up into one full senator his
fractional membership is consistent with the
provision and spirit of the Constitution and
would be in full accord with the principle of
republicanism that emphasizes democracy.
The cases of the two former senators
mentioned cannot be invoked as a precedent
in support of incumbent Senator Taada's claim
to a membership in the present Commission on
Appointments. In the time of his illustrious
father, out of 24 elected senators in the upper
chamber of Congress, 23 belonged to the
Nacionalista Party, while Senator Lorenzo
Taada, who belonged to the Citizen's Party,
was the lone opposition. By force of
circumstance, he became a member of the
Commission on Appointments because he
alone represented the minority party. Had
there been another senator belonging to a
party other than the Citizens' Party, this
problem of who should sit as the sole
representative of the opposition party would
have arisen. In the case of Senator Ponce
Enrile, there were two senators elected from
the opposition party, namely, he and Senator
Estrada. Applying the rule of proportional
representation mentioned earlier (see formula),
the opposition was entitled to full member (not
a fractional membership). Senator Enrile was
thus legally nominated and elected as the
minority representative in the Senate. In the
present case, if there were a political parties in
the Senate, and We follow Senators Taada's
claim that he is entitled to full membership as
lone representative of his party, We the
anomaly of having 13 senators, where the
Constitution allows only twelve (12) in the
Commission on Appointments.
We find the respondents' claim to
membership
in
the
Commission
on
Appointments by nomination and election of
the LDP majority in the Senate as not in
accordance with Section 18 of Article VI of the
1987 Constitution and therefore violative of the
same because it is not in compliance with the
requirements that twelve senators shall be

elected
on
the
basis
of
proportional
representation of the resulting fractional
membership of the political parties represented
therein. To disturb the resulting fractional
membership of the political parties in the
Commission on Appointments by adding
together two halves to make a whole is a
breach
of
the
rule
on
proportional
representation because it will give the LDP an
added member in the Commission by utilizing
the fractional membership of the minority
political party, who is deprived of half a
representation.
The provision of Section 18 on
proportional representation is mandatory in
character and does not leave any discretion to
the majority party in the Senate to disobey or
disregard
the
rule
on
proportional
representation; otherwise, the party with a
majority representation in the Senate or the
House of Representatives can by sheer force of
number impose its will on the hapless minority.
By requiring a proportional representation in
the Commission on Appointments, Section 18
in effect works as a check on the majority party
in the Senate and helps to maintain the
balance of power. No party can cla