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Astorga vs.

56 SCRA 714

In 1964, Antonio Villegas (then Mayor of Manila) issued circulars to the department
heads and chiefs of offices of the city government as well as to the owners,
operators and/or managers of business establishments in Manila to disregard the
provisions of Republic Act No. 4065. He likewise issued an order to the Chief of
Police to recall five members of the city police force who had been assigned to then
Vice-Mayor Herminio Astorga (assigned under authority of RA 4065).

Astorga reacted against the steps carried out by Villegas. He then filed a petition for
Mandamus, Injunction and/or Prohibition with Preliminary Mandatory and
Prohibitory Injunction to compel Villegas et al and the members of the municipal
board to comply with the provisions of RA 4065 (filed with the SC). In his
defense, Villegas denied recognition of RA 4065 (An Act Defining the Powers, Rights
and Duties of the Vice-Mayor of the City of Manila) because the said law was
considered to have never been enacted. When thethis said law passed the
3rdreading in the lower house as House Bill No. 9266, it was sent to the Senate
which referred it to the Committee on Provinces and Municipal Governments and
Cities headed by then Senator Roxas. Some minor amendments were made before
the bill was referred back to the Senate floor for deliberations. During such
deliberations, Sen. Tolentino made significant amendments which were
subsequently approved by the Senate. The bill was then sent back to the lower
house and was thereafter approved by the latter. The bill was sent to the President
for approval and it became RA 4065. It was later found out however that the copy
signed by the Senate President, sent to the lower house for approval and sent to the
President for signing was the wrong version. It was in fact the version that had no
amendments thereto. It was not the version as amended by Tolentino and as validly
approved by the Senate. Due to this fact, the Senate president and the President of
the Philippines withdrew and invalidated their signatures that they affixed on the
said law.
Astorga maintains that the RA is still valid and binding and that the withdrawal of
the concerned signatures does not invalidate the statute. Astorga further maintains
that the attestation of the presiding officers of Congress is conclusive proof of a
bills due enactment.

Whether or not RA 4065 was validly enacted

Negative. The journal of the proceedings of each House of Congress is no ordinary
record. The Constitution requires it. While it is true that the journal is not
authenticated and is subject to the risks of misprinting and other errors, the journal
can be looked upon in this case. The SC is merely asked to inquire whether the text
of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the President was the same text passed by both
Houses of Congress. Under the specific facts and circumstances of this case, the SC
can do this and resort to the Senate journal for the purpose. The journal discloses
that substantial and lengthy amendments were introduced on the floor and
approved by the Senate but were not incorporated in the printed text sent to the
President and signed by him. Note however that the SC is not asked to incorporate
such amendments into the alleged law but only to declare that the bill was not duly
enacted and therefore did not become law. As done by both the President of the
Senate and the Chief Executive, when they withdrew their signatures therein, the SC
also declares that the bill intended to be as it is supposed to be was never made
into law. To perpetuate that error by disregarding such rectification and holding that
the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction and bring
about mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body.