The Bataan Petrochemical Corporation (BPC), a Taiwanese private corporation,
applied for registration with the Board of Investments (BOI) in February 1988 as a
new domestic producer of petrochemicals in the Philippines. It originally specified the
province of Bataan as the site for the proposed investment but later submitted an
amended application to change the site to Batangas. Unhappy with the change of the
site, Congressman Enrique Garcia of the Second District of Bataan requested a copy
of BPC’s original and amended application documents. The BoI denied the request on
the basis that the investors in BPC had declined to give their consent to the release
of the documents requested, and that Article 81 of the Omnibus Investments Code
protects the confidentiality of these documents absent consent to disclose. The BoI
subsequently approved the amended application without holding a second hearing or
publishing notice of the amended application. Garcia filed a petition before the
Supreme Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not the BoI committed grave abuse of discretion in yielding to the
wishes of the investor, national interest notwithstanding.
The Court ruled that the BoI violated Garcia’s Constitutional right to have access to
information on matters of public concern under Article III, Section 7 of the
Constitution. The Court found that the inhabitants of Bataan had an “interest in the
establishment of the petrochemical plant in their midst [that] is actual, real, and vital
because it will affect not only their economic life, but even the air they breathe” The
Court also ruled that BPC’s amended application was in fact a second application that
required a new public notice to be filed and a new hearing to be held.
Although Article 81 of the Omnibus Investments Code provides that “all applications
and their supporting documents filed under this code shall be confidential and shall
not be disclosed to any person, except with the consent of the applicant,” the Court
emphasized that Article 81 provides for disclosure “on the orders of a court of
competent jurisdiction”. The Court ruled that it had jurisdiction to order disclosure of
the application, amended application, and supporting documents filed with the BOI
under Article 81, with certain exceptions.
The Court went on to note that despite the right to access information, “the
Constitution does not open every door to any and all information” because “the law
may exempt certain types of information from public scrutiny”. Thus it excluded “the
trade secrets and confidential, commercial, and financial information of the applicant
BPC, and matters affecting national security” from its order. The Court did not provide
a test for what information is excluded from the Constitutional privilege to access
public information, nor did it specify the kinds of information that BPC could withhold
under its ruling.

Chavez v. PCGG, 299 SCRA 744
FACTS: Petitioner asks this Court to define the nature and the extent of the people’s
constitutional right to information on matters of public concern. Petitioner, invoking
his constitutional right to information and the correlative duty of the state to disclose
publicly all its transactions involving the national interest, demands that respondents
make public any and all negotiations and agreements pertaining to PCGG’s task of
recovering the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.
ISSUE: Are the negotiations leading to a settlement on ill-gotten wealth of the
Marcoses within the scope of the constitutional guarantee of access to information?
HELD: Yes. Considering the intent of the framers of the Constitution, it is incumbent
upon the PCGG and its officers, as well as other government representatives, to
disclose sufficient public information on any proposed settlement they have decided
to take up with the ostensible owners and holders of ill-gotten wealth. Such
information, though, must pertain to definite propositions of the government, not
necessarily to intra-agency or inter-agency recommendations or communications
during the stage when common assertions are still in the process of being formulated
or are in the “exploratory” stage. There is a need, of course, to observe the same
restrictions on disclosure of information in general -- such as on matters involving
national security, diplomatic or foreign relations, intelligence and other classified

The Court articulated that “there are certain types of information which the government may withhold from the public. and that “the right to information does not extend to matters recognized as ‘privileged information’ under the separation of powers. Neri did not appear upon orders of the President invoking executive privilege. On that day. and National Defense and Security (the “Committees”). w/n there is a recognized presumptive presidential communications privilege in our legal system 2.Neri v. Yes. On Nov. Fact: Neri appeared before the Committees and testified for about 11 hours on matters concerning the NBN Project. the Committees issued the show-cause letter requiring him to explain why he should not be cited in contempt. On Nov. Trade and Commerce. He informed PGMA of the bribery attempt and that she instructed him not to accept the bribe.” Issue: 1. 25 2008. w/n Committees committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the contempt order Held: 1. . Senate Committee Action: A motion for reconsideration of the Decision dated Mar. invoking “executive privilege. Neri disclosed that then Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos offered him P200M in exchange for his approval of the NBN Project.” 2. Vasquez. Neri’s replied that he manifested that it was not his intention to ignore the Senate hearing and that he thought the only remaining questions were those he claimed to be covered by executive privilege. required him to appear and testify once more on Nov. w/n Committees have shown that the communications elicited by the 3 questions are critical to the exercise of their functions 4. In Almonte v. 29. He also manifested his willingness to appear and testify should there be new matters to be taken up.” that there is “governmental privilege against public disclosure with respect to state secrets regarding military. and (c) w/n she directed him to approve it. a project awarded by the DOTC to ZTE. 20 2007. Neri refused to answer. and discussions in closed-door Cabinet meetings. w/n there is factual or legal basis to hold that the communications elicited by the 3 questions are covered by executive privilege 3. when probed further on PGMA and his discussions relating to the NBN Project. (b) w/n she directed him to prioritize it. diplomatic and other national security matters”.” Committees persisted in knowing Neri’s answers to (a) w/n PGMA followed up the NBN Project. correspondences. 22. by which the Court meant Presidential conversations. He requested that he be furbished “in advance as to what else” he “needs to clarify. granting the petition for certiorari filed by petitioner Romulo Neri against the respondent Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations. However. the Court affirmed that the presidential communications privilege is fundamental to the operation of government and inextricably rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution. Yes.

Ermita specified presidential communications privilege in relation to diplomatic and economic relation with another sovereign nation as the bases for the claim. “Quintessential” is defined as the most perfect embodiment of something. not to determine anyone’s guilt of a crime or wrongdoing. accountability. the Senate can still come up with legislations. and disclosure of information o The constitutional provisions cited by Committees do not espouse an absolute right to information.  To consider the 3 pending Senate Bills—There is simply a generalized assertion that the information is pertinent to the exercise of the power to legislate and a broad and non-specific reference to pending Senate Bills. of executive privilege because o Between Committee’s specific and demonstrated need and the President’s generalized interest in confidentiality. And it is further expressed by the counsel of Committees that even without Neri answering the 3 questions. but also in the Monetary Board. Committees contend that the power to secure a foreign loan does not relate to a “quintessential and non-delegable presidential power. No.” o In the balancing of interest. the concentrated essence of substance.  To curb graft and corruption—The potential culpability of high government officials in a given government transaction is not a task for the Senate to perform. . properly within the term “advisor” of the President. there is a need to strike the balance in favor of the former  It must be stressed that the President’s claim of executive privilege is not merely founded on her generalized interest in confidentiality. The Letter dated Nov. It must be emphasized that the assailed Decision did not enjoin the Committees from inquiring into the NBN Project. The power to enter into an executive agreement is in essence an executive power and the final decision in the exercise of the said executive power is still lodged in the Office of the President even when it has to secure the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board because it is only a form of check and balance. the Court disregarded the provisions of the 1987 Constitution on government transparency. her alter ego and a member of her official family. through Exec. the danger is absent because the official involved here is a member of the Cabinet.  The privileged character of diplomatic negotiations has been recognized in this jurisdiction that “information on intergovernment exchanges prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements may be subject to reasonable safeguards for the sake of national interest. even if delegated. thus.” In the case at bar. the responsibility remains with the obligor. 3. Sec. The role of the Legislature is to make laws.  Committees contend that the application of the “doctrine of operational proximity” for the reason that “it may be misconstrued to expand the scope of the presidential communications privilege to communications between those who are “operationally proximate” to the President by who may have “no direct communications with her. “Non-delegable” means that a power or duty cannot be delegated to another or.  Committees contend that the Court erred in upholding the President’s invocation. Sec. among them. Committees contend the information elicited by the 3 questions are necessary in the discharge of their legislative function. All that is expected from them is to respect matters that are covered by executive privilege.. 15 of Exec. in fact.” because the Constitution does not vest it in the President alone.

O. 455 “directing an inquiry in aid of legislation on the anomalous losses incurred by the Philippines Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC). he invoked Section 4(b) of E. SABIO v. like an unchecked Executive. Yes. requiring invitations or subpoenas to contain the “possible needed statute which prompted the need for the inquiry” along with “the usual indication of the subject of inquiry and the questions relative to and in furtherance thereof” is not provided for by the Constitution and is merely an obiter dictum  An unconstrained congressional investigative power. 21 Art. Senator Richard Gordon. . 1 “No member or staff of the Commission shall be required to testify or produce evidence in any judicial. the purpose is to ensure PCGG’s unhampered performance of its task. 6 of the Constitution requiring that the inquiry be conducted in accordance with the duly published rules of procedure is categorical.4. No. on May 8. Committees contended that the ruling in Senate v. Onyle those that result in violation of the rights of witnesses should be considered null and void. The requirements set forth in Senate v. It will allow them to prepare the pertinent information and documents  The language of Sec. and PHILCOMSAT Holdings Corporation (PHC) due to the alleged improprieties in their operations by their respective Board of Directors. 1 is constitutional. Ermita. considering that the rationale for the publication is to protect the rights of witnesses as expresses in Sec.” Apparently. legislative or administrative proceeding concerning matters within its official cognizance. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago introduced Senate Res. Gordon’s Subpoenae Ad Testificandum was repeatedly ignored by Sabio hence he threatened Sabio to be cited with contempt. At the same time. 2006. 2006. It should likewise be stressed that not all orders issued or proceedings conducted pursuant to the subject Rules are null and void. 6 of the Constitution.” Pursuant to this. wrote Chairman Camilo Sabio of the PCGG inviting him to be one of the resource persons in the public meeting jointly conducted by the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises and Committee on Public Services. Witnesses should be adequately informed what matters are to be covered by the inquiry. No. Ermita are modest mechanisms that would not unduly limit Congress’ power. GORDON On February 20. Chairman Sabio declined the invitation because of prior commitment. generates its own abuses. ISSUE: Whether or not Section 4 of EO No. 21 Art. Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT).

being a legitimate subject for legislation. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. These twin provisions of the Constitution seek to promote transparency in policymaking and in the operations of the government. the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. It can be said that the Congress’ power of inquiry has gained more solid existence and expansive construal.   FACTS The petitioners – NGOs. The Court’s high regard to such power is rendered more evident in Senate v. J. CASE Name: AKBAYAN vs Aquino Ponente: Carpio-Morales. Article III. transactions. as well as provide the people sufficient information to enable them to exercise effectively their constitutional rights. This became the basis of an inquiry subsequently conducted by the House Special Committee on Globalization (the House Committee) into the negotiations of the JPEPA. particularly the JPEPA. Ermita. is a proper subject for investigation” and that “the power of inquiry is co-extensive with the power to legislate”. Armed with the right information. as well as the Philippine and Japanese offers made in the course of the negotiations.” Verily. or decisions. Tañada III and Mario Joya Aguja filed House Resolution No. 551 calling for an inquiry regarding the bilateral trade being negotiated the Philippine government. where it categorically ruled that “the power of inquiry is broad enough to cover officials of the executive branch.HELD: No. Congresspersons. and to documents. 2005 – Petitioners Congressmen Lorenzo R. the Court reinforced the doctrine in Arnault that “the operation of government. Access to official records. January 25. citizens can participate in public discussions leading to the formulation of government policies and their effective implementation. shall be afforded the citizen. and papers pertaining to official acts. In the inquiry they requested respondent Undersecretary Tomas Aquino. subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. citizens and taxpayers – filed a petition for mandamus and prohibition seeking to obtain from respondents the full text of the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and all pertinent attachments and annexes to it. Section 7 The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Chairman of the Philippine Coordinating . as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development.

 September 11. Usec. in a separate move.”  Congressman Herminio G. The Court held that. that they will be provided a copy of the document “once the negotiations are completed and as soon as a thorough legal review of the proposed agreement has been conducted. Aquino replied to Congressman Aguja’s request.  August 31. YES 3. being an international trade agreement is covered by the doctrine of executive privilege. customs procedures. and to furnish the House Committee with a copy thereof. NO 1. 2006 – PGMA signed JPEPA  JPEPA – First bilateral free trade agreement to be entered by the Philippines in the event that the Senate grants consent to it. Whether or not executive privilege may be invoked. albeit of public . dispute avoidance and settlement. Whether or not the respondents belatedly claim executive privilege. YES 2. movement of natural persons. Yes  Neither the right to information nor the policy of full public disclosure is absolute. intellectual property rights. mutual recognition. paperless trading. there being matters which.  November 2. It covers topics about: o trade in goods. Yes  The courts have the duty to determine on a case by case basis whether the matter at issue is of interest or importance. Whether or not the JPEPA is a matter of public concern. therefore. 2006 – it was made accessible to the public ISSUES: 1. Aquino did not heed their request. exempted from the right to information and the policy full public disclosure. Whether of not there is sufficient public interest to overcome the claim of privilege. competition policy. 2. rules of origin. 2005 – A third hearing was conducted by the House Committee resolving to issue a subpoena for the most recent draft of the JPEPA but it was not pursued because then House Speaker Jose de Venecia requested him to hold in abeyance the subpoena until the President gives her consent to the disclosure of the documents. as it relates to or affects the public. cooperation. Aquino.  September 9. YES 4. Teves. investment. trade in services. Both of them responded that the person in best position to answer request would be Usec. NO 5. the JPEPA. and general and final provisions.  Aguja also requested the same from NEDA Director-General Romulo Neri and Tariff Commission Chairman Edgardo Abon. requested Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to do the same. through a letter. 2005 – Usec. Executive Secretary replied through a letter that copy of the JPEPA would be forwarded to the Committee as soon as it is settled and complete. government procurement. Whether or not the ruling in PMPF vs Manglapus in the case at bar.Committee to study and negotiate the JPEPA. improvement of the business environment.

. o Mr. that such privilege is only presumptive. many private talks and discussion.  It is reasonable to conclude that the Japanese representatives submitted their offers with the understanding that historic confidentiality would govern the same. o The nature of diplomacy requires centralization of authority and expedition of decision which are inherent in executive action. . JPEPA was a diplomatic negotiation in progress. who would ever trust American Delegations in another conference? (United States Department of State. PCGG held that information on intergovernment exchanges prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements may be subject to reasonable safeguards for the sake of national interest. to be considered privileged.  Privileged character of diplomatic negotiations has been recognized by the Court. Only after a consideration of the context in which the claim is made may it be determined if there is a public interest that calls for the disclosure of the desired information.). June 7.  In PMPF vs Manglapus. economic treaty (present case)  Faulty assumption that information. 1930. Stimson a Secretary of the State in the US said that: A complicated negotiation . . . Press Releases. . should become public . these are covered by executive privilege. . 3. YES (1) National security (PMPF vs Manglapus) vs. the Court held that: secrecy of negotiations with foreign countries is not violative of the constitutional provisions of freedom of speech or of the press nor of the freedom of access to information. however. strong enough to overcome its traditionally privileged status. they tell you of what they would do under certain circumstances and would not do under other circumstances.concern or public interest. that the President is the sole organ of the nation in its negotiations with foreign countries. must concern national security. pp.  The respondents claim privilege considering the status (negotiations ongoing and the text was still subject to change) and nature (diplomatic negotiations) of the JPEPA during the time that the Committee was requesting a copy the documents thereof. cannot be carried through without many. . Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. Whether a claim of executive privilege is valid depends on the ground invoked to justify it and the context in which it is made. Delegates from other countries come and tell you in confidence of their troubles at home and of their differences with other countries and with other delegates. man to man. Another essential characteristic of diplomacy is its confidential nature. but also with other foreign governments in future negotiations. many tentative suggestions and proposals. . Ermita that executive privilege has encompassed claims of varying kinds. o They adopted the doctrine laid down in US vs. It bears emphasis. Disclosing these offers could impair the ability of the Philippines to deal not only with Japan. The recognition in Senate v. If these reports . 282-284. are recognized as privileged in nature. Court in Chavez v. such that .

et al. Privilege for diplomatic negotiations is meant to encourage a frank exchange of exploratory ideas between the negotiating parties by shielding such negotiations from public view. And. Much give-and-take must occur for the countries to reach an accord. In Fulbright and Jaworski v. Examples of privileged information are: informer’s privilege. deliberative process privilege. As drafts of regulations typically are protected by the deliberative process privilege. which are: o Negotiations between two countries to draft a treaty represent a true example of a deliberative process. Philippine courts. In Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). the court refrained from applying the doctrine laid down in Fulbright and ordered the disclosure because the information being sought was not inter-agency and the court does not reach the question of deliberative process. the privilege accorded to diplomatic negotiations arises. o The US government stated a statutory basis for withholding information. however. Department of Treasury. releasing these snapshot views of the negotiations would be comparable to releasing drafts of the treaty. in pursuit of the public interest. when assessing a claim of privilege for diplomatic negotiations. presidential communications privilege. the US District court ined close relationship between deliberative process and diplomatic negotiation privileges. S.     it may even be more accurate to speak of executive privileges. and its sole representative with foreign nations. Similar to the privilege for presidential communications. Exposure of the pre-agreement positions of the French negotiators might well offend foreign governments and would lead to less candor by the U. o The policies behind the deliberative process privilege support non-disclosure. and diplomatic negotiations privilege. v. particularly in its capacity as the sole organ of the nation in its external relations. or the Exemption 5 from Freedom of Information Act. not on account of the content of the information per se. but because the information is part of a process of deliberation which. Trade Representative. are more free to focus directly on the issue of whether the privilege being claimed is . namely: (1) it must be either inter-agency or intra-agency in nature. Much harm could accrue to the negotiations process if these notes were revealed. as with the deliberative process privilege. Office of U. must be presumed confidential. in recording the events of the negotiations process. to protect the independence in decision-making of the President.S. through the same means. the diplomatic negotiations privilege seeks. and (2) it must be both pre-decisional and part of the agency's deliberative or decision-making process. cautions against such generalization. having no counterpart of the FOIA. drafts of treaties should be accorded the same protection. o Finally. particularly when the notes state the tentative provisions and language agreed on.

where the demand for information has come from members of Congress. or that parties in treaty negotiations no longer expect their communications to be governed by historic confidentiality. may be invoked under different procedural settings. This.indeed supported by public policy. Manglapus to the privileged character of diplomatic negotiations cannot be considered irrelevant in resolving the present case. Ermita that presidential refusals to furnish information may be actuated by any of at least three distinct kinds of considerations [state secrets privilege. Manglapus. once recognized.French tax treaty negotiations. in the case at bar petitioners include members of the House of Representatives  Incorrect to claim that the doctrine laid down in Manglapus does not apply to the present case. and may be asserted. petitioners failed to discharge. o CIEL -> plaintiffs sought information relating to the just-completed negotiation of a United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement the same district court. (3) The school of thought that the requirements of foreign policy and the ideals of transparency were incompatible with each other or the incompatibility hypothesis. in the context of either judicial or legislative investigations. are no longer so in this age of international cooperation. informers privilege.  The recognition granted in PMPF v. (2) Petitioners in Manglapus consisted entirely of members of mass media vs. may intrude upon that process. and a generic privilege for internal deliberations].  NOTES: o Fulbright -> The plaintiffs in that case sought access to notes taken by a member of the U. the contextual differences between the two cases notwithstanding. If petitioners are suggesting that the nature of treaty negotiations have so changed that [a]n ill-timed speech by one of the parties or a frank declaration of the concession which are exacted or offered on both sides no longer lead[s] to widespread propaganda to block the negotiations. negotiating team during the U. the Court held that it is the President alone who negotiates treaties. the burden is on them to substantiate the same. implies that a privilege. unless asked.S.  The Court notes that the ruling in PMPF v. without having to consider as the CIEL court did if these negotiations fulfill a formal requirement of being inter-agency.  The privileged character accorded to diplomatic negotiations does not ipso facto lose all force and effect simply because the same privilege is now being claimed under different circumstances. while valid when international relations were still governed by power. with differing degrees of success. politics and wars. and not even the Senate or the House of Representatives. not only from private citizens. In PMPF v.  The Courts statement in Senate v. .S. Manglapus is grounded more on the nature of treaty negotiations as such than on a particular socio-political school of thought.

of course.  The Congress alleged that they could not meaningfully exercise the power to regulate international trade agreements such as the JPEPA without being given copies of the initial offers exchanged during the negotiations thereof. In the same vein. 1464.  Petitioners go on to assert that the non-involvement of the Filipino people in the JPEPA negotiation process effectively results in the bargaining away of their economic and property rights without their knowledge and participation. Section 28(2) of the Constitution and Sections 401 and 402 of Presidential Decree No. the Court held that: By constitutional fiat and by the intrinsic nature of his office. VII Sec 21 of the Consti. Were the Senate to concur with the validity of the JPEPA at this moment. not yet binding on the Philippines. Executive Secretary. in the lawful exercise of his vast executive and diplomatic powers granted him no less than by the fundamental law itself. the Constitution vests the same in the President." Wielding vast powers and influence. the President is the chief architect of the nation's foreign policy. therefore. 2006. is the sole organ and authority in the external affairs of the country. in violation of the due process clause of the Constitution. o In PMPF vs Manglapus echoed by Bayan vs. One is the presumed public interest in favor of keeping the subject information confidential. and the other is the public interest in favor of disclosure. in the words of PMPF v. as head of State. been immensely weakened by the disclosure of the full text of the JPEPA to the public since September 11. NO  There are at least two kinds of public interest that must be taken into account. the existence of which must be shown by the party asking for information. In this light. pursuant to Article VI. they argue that the President cannot exclude Congress from the JPEPA negotiations since whatever power and authority the President has to negotiate international trade agreements is derived only by delegation of Congress. ample opportunity for discussion before [the treaty] is approved. as Jefferson describes. there has already been. o The case for petitioners has. . his conduct in the external affairs of the nation.4. o As regards the power to enter into treaties or international agreements. subject only to the concurrence of at least two thirds vote of all the members of the Senate. which is the reason for the privilege in the first place. And also Art. even as it is still being deliberated upon by the Senate and. Manglapus. In many ways. and Congress itself is powerless to invade it. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude. his "dominance in the field of foreign relations is (then) conceded. is executive altogether. the President. the negotiation of the VFA and the subsequent ratification of the agreement are exclusive acts which pertain solely to the President.

it is not even Congress as a whole that has been given the authority to concur as a means of checking the treaty-making power of the President. they do not strictly call for an assertion of executive privilege. the duty to disclose covers only transactions involving public interest. 2. The sale to K-Water was sought to be enjoined by petitioners who contend that PSALM gravely abused its discretion when. NO  That respondents invoked the privilege for the first time only in their Comment to the present petition does not mean that the claim of privilege should not be credited. the other aspect of the people’s right to know requires a demand or request for one to gain access to documents and paper of the particular agency. ISSUES: 1. Moreover. When PSALM commenced the privatization an invitation to bid was published and the highest bidder K-Water was identified. It follows from the above discussion that Congress. 9 Oct 2012Petitioners: IDEALS et al Respondents: PSALM et al FACTS: PSALM is a GOCC created by virtue of the EPIRA law. IDEALS vs PSALMS GR 192088. failing which respondents are deemed to have waived it. while possessing vast legislative powers. must constitute definite propositions by the government and should not cover recognized exceptions like privileged information. Moreover. such pertains only to the validity of the treaty under consideration. Petitioners position presupposes that an assertion of the privilege should have been made during the House Committee investigations.Yes. used in the on-going negotiation for the privatization and sale of Angat hydro plant be accessed via the right to information? 2. Unlike the disclosure of information which is mandatory under the Constitution. etc. in the conduct of the bidding it violated the people’s right to information without having previously released to the public critical information about the sale. Section 21 provides for Senate concurrence. while the duty to allow access has a broader scope of . Said law mandated PSALM to manage privatization of NPC. Request = NOT compulsory process. military and diplomatic secrets and similar matters affecting national security and public order. not to the conduct of negotiations attendant to its conclusion.Can the bid documents.  What respondents received from the House Committee and petitionerCongressman Aguja were mere requests for information. however. may not interfere in the field of treaty negotiations. but only the Senate.Is the duty to disclose information the same with the duty to permit access to information on matters of public concern? HELD: 1. The court reiterated that the constitutional right to information includes official information on on-going negotiations before a final contract. 5. While Article VII. The information.No.

177271 May 4. 177271). to participate in the forthcoming party-list elections without simultaneously determining whether or not their respective nominees possess the requisite qualifications defined in R. Rosales. COMELEC G. No. Comelec’s reason for keeping the names of the party list nominees away from the public is deducible from the excerpts of the news report appearing in the April 13. .. No. 7941. or the "Party-List System Act" and belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector each seeks to. Meanwhile petitioner Rosales. 7941 that requires the Comelec to disclose the names of nominees. 2007. this urgent petition has yet to be resolved.information which embraces not only transactions involving public interest.R. 2007 issue of the Manila Bulletin. and that party list elections must not be personality oriented according to Chairman Abalos. Bantay Republic Act (BA-RA 7941) and the Urban Poor for Legal Reforms (UP-LR) filed with the Comelec an Urgent Petition to Disqualify. was the issuance of Comelec en banc Resolution 07-0724 under date April 3. Evidently unbeknownst then to Ms. in G. 177314. 2007 virtually declaring the nominees’ names confidential and in net effect denying petitioner Rosales’ basic disclosure request. 2007 FACTS: Before the Court are two consolidated petitions for certiorari and mandamus to nullify and set aside certain issuances of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) respecting party-list groups which have manifested their intention to participate in the party-list elections on May 14. but any matter contained in official communications and public documents of the government agency Bantay vs. BA-RA 7941 and UP-LR assail the Comelec resolutions accrediting private respondents Biyaheng Pinoy et al. No.R. Docketed in the Comelec as SPA Case No 07-026.. seeking to disqualify the nominees of certain party-list organizations. A number of organized groups filed the necessary manifestations and subsequently were accredited by the Comelec to participate in the 2007 elections.A.R. et al. In the first petition (G. No. is that there is nothing in R.A. addressed 2 letters to the Director of the Comelec’s Law Department requesting a list of that groups’ nominees.

1. 7941. the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. a matter which is outside the office of judicial review by way of special civil action for certiorari. Accordingly. Article III of the Constitution. Can the Court cancel the accreditation accorded by the Comelec to the respondent party-list groups named in their petition on the ground that these groups and their respective nominees do not appear to be qualified. viz: Sec. Rosales. 7941 is there a requirement that the qualification of a party-list nominee be determined simultaneously with the accreditation of an organization.7. 2. and to documents.which last sentence reads: "[T]he names of the party-list nominees shall not be shown on the certified list" is certainly not a . Access to official records. Whether respondent Comelec is mandated by the Constitution to disclose to the public the names of said nominees. Section 7 of R. the 2 petitions are GRANTED. sectors or organizations accredited to participate in the May 14. COMELEC’s basis of its refusal to disclose the names of the nominees of subject party-list groups. No. However. Section 7. insofar as it seeks to compel the Comelec to disclose or publish the names of the nominees of party-list groups. by refusing to reveal the names of the nominees of the various party-list groups.R. the Court is not called upon to decide factual issues and the case must be decided on the undisputed facts on record. ) 2. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Kilosbayan Foundation and Bantay Katarungan Foundation impugn Comelec Resolution dated April 3. BA-RA 7941 and UP-LR have the additional prayers that the 33 private respondents named therein be "declare[d] as unqualified to participate in the party-list elections and that the Comelec be enjoined from allowing respondent groups from participating in the elections. petitioners Loreta Ann P. 2007 elections. and 3. (note that nowhere in R. Whether respondent Comelec. as well to government research data used as basis for policy development. The sole function of a writ of certiorari is to address issues of want of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion and does not include a review of the tribunal’s evaluation of the evidence. ISSUE: 1. or decisions. transactions. HELD: The 1st petition is partly DENIED insofar as it seeks to nullify the accreditation of the respondents named therein. the Comelec is hereby ORDERED to immediately disclose and release the names of the nominees of the party-list groups. While both petitions commonly seek to compel the Comelec to disclose or publish the names of the nominees of the various party-list groups named in the petitions. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. The exercise would require the Court to make a factual determination. The Court is unable to grant the desired plea of petitioners BA-RA 7941 and UP-LR for cancellation of accreditation on the grounds thus advanced in their petition. has violated the right to information and free access to documents as guaranteed by the Constitution. 28. 177314). Section 28. Article II of the Constitution reading: Sec. In certiorari proceedings.A. 2007. subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.In the second petition (G. No.A. and papers pertaining to official acts. shall be afforded the citizen.

Tawi-Tawi. 183951. 183752. There is absolutely nothing in R. to which the GRP grants the authority and jurisdiction over the ancestral domain and ancestral lands of the Bangsamoro— defined as the present geographic area of the ARMM constituted by Lanao del Sur. Maguindanao. and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were scheduled to sign the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) Aspect of the previous GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia. Nos. such vote. Basilan. in the end. While the vote cast in a party-list elections is a vote for a party. Sulu. but like all constitutional guarantees. a stipulation that creates the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE). however. Mandamus. as well as the municipalities of Lanao del Norte which voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite. It further provides that its provisions requiring “amendments to the existing legal framework” shall take effect upon signing of a Comprehensive Compact. 183893. lies. would eventually sit in the House of Representatives. 7941 that prohibits the Comelec from disclosing or even publishing through mediums other than the "Certified List" of the names. The MOA-AD also described the relationship of the GRP and the BJE as “associative. develop. invoking its right to information on matters of public concern. The people’s right to know is limited to "matters of public concern" and is further subject to such limitation as may be provided by law. as well as to hold a public consultation thereon. in appropriate cases. COMELEC has a constitutional duty to disclose and release the names of the nominees of the party-list groups named in the herein petitions. however. No.R. the right to information and its companion right of access to official records are not absolute. Government of the Republic of the Philippines (G. A subsequent petition sought to have the . and maintain its own institutions. or the citizens to be precise. The MOA-AD included. the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The right to information is a public right where the real parties in interest are the public. would be a vote for its nominees. 183591. therefore. the Province of North Cotabato sought to compel the respondents to disclose and furnish it with complete and official copies of the MOA-AD. the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing the legitimate demands of the petitioners for a list of the nominees of the party-list groups subject of their respective petitions.A. Before the signing. The Court frowns upon any interpretation of the law or rules that would hinder in any way the free and intelligent casting of the votes in an election 3.” characterized by shared authority and responsibility. But no national security or like concerns is involved in the disclosure of the names of the nominees of the party-list groups in question. The BJE is then granted the power to build. Doubtless. and Marawi City. who. represented by the GRP Peace Panel and the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP). among others. & 183962) (14 October 2008) Facts: On 8 August 2008.justifying card for the Comelec to deny the requested disclosure. It has been repeatedly said in various contexts that the people have the right to elect their representatives on the basis of an informed judgment. Province of North Cotabato v.

City of Zamboanga excluded from the BJE. is implemented therein. Issues and Ruling: 1. YES. 7) under a state policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest (1987 Constitution. 2. II. advice. she may not unilaterally implement them without the intervention of Congress. W/N there is a violation of the people’s right to information on matters of public concern (1987 Constitution. The Court then issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on 4 August 2008. the observance of the free and prior informed consent of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICC/IP). and. RA No. which entails. . The MOA-AD is one peculiar program that unequivocally and unilaterally vests ownership of a vast territory to the Bangsamoro people. or act in any way as if the assent of that body were assumed as a certainty. W/N the President has the power to pursue reforms that would require new legislation and constitutional amendments. and RA No. which enumerates the functions and responsibilities of the PAPP. b. Art. the stipulation in the MOA-AD that virtually guarantees that necessary changes shall be effected upon the legal framework of the GRP must be struck down as unconstitutional as it is inconsistent with the limits of the President’s authority to propose constitutional amendments. comments. 8371 (IPRA) provides for clear-cut procedure for the recognition and delineation of ancestral domain. 3. and recommendations from peace partners and concerned sectors of society. III. Because although the President’s power to conduct peace negotiations is implicitly included in her powers as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief. Sec. RA No. which could pervasively and drastically result to the diaspora or displacement of a great number of inhabitants from their total environment. 3. in the course of conducting peace negotiations. 28). In fact. 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991). 3. c. The PAPP committed grave abuse of discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation process. However. Sec. 7160 (LGC) requires all national offices to conduct consultations before any project or program critical to the environment and human ecology including those that may call for the eviction of a particular group of people residing in such locality. At least three pertinent laws animate these constitutional imperatives and justify the exercise of the people’s right to be consulted on relevant matters relating to the peace agenda: a. including public consultation under RA No. directing the public respondents and their agents to cease and desist from formally signing the MOA-AD. 7160. YES. Art. as mandated by EO No. EO No. RA No. W/N the GRP Peace Panel and the PAPP committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. it is the duty of the PAPP to conduct regular dialogues to seek relevant information. YES. may validly consider implementing even those policies that require changes to the Constitution. is replete with mechanics for continuing consultations on both national and local levels and for a principal forum for consensus-building. among other things.

the principal. In the basic model. It illustrates a gross evasion of positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined. or the people themselves through the process of initiative. 4. The inclusion of provisions in the MOA-AD establishing an associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government is. while the policy of public disclosure recognizes the duty of officialdom to give information even if nobody demands. capricious. The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority. the same does not cure its defect. 28. 7. Upholding such an act would amount to authorizing a usurpation of the constituent powers vested only in Congress. The right to information guarantees the right of the people to demand information. Art. Free associations represent a middle ground between integration and independence. 5. . While there is a clause in the MOA-AD stating that the provisions thereof inconsistent with the present legal framework will not be effective until that framework is amended. Art. it virtually guarantees that the necessary amendments to the Constitution and the laws will eventually be put in place. delegates certain responsibilities to the other. W/N the GRP can invoke executive privilege. Respondents effectively waived such defense after it unconditionally disclosed the official copies of the final draft of the MOA-AD. Moreover. Carpio-Morales. are unconstitutional. but the very concept underlying them. a violation of the Memorandum of Instructions From The President addressed to the government peace panel. Neither the GRP Peace Panel nor the President herself is authorized to make such a guarantee. for the only way that the Executive can ensure the outcome of the amendment process is through an undue influence or interference with that process. The people’s right to information on matters of public concern under Sec. namely. NO. An association is formed when two states of unequal power voluntarily establish durable links. and amounts to a whimsical. NO. W/N the MOA-AD is constitutional. J. one state. for the concept presupposes that the associated entity is a state and implies that the same is on its way to independence. the associative relationship envisioned between the GRP and the BJE. the associate. oppressive. III of the Constitution is in splendid symmetry with the state policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest under Sec. II of the Constitution. as the clause is worded. for judicial compliance and public scrutiny. itself. a Constitutional Convention.8371. Not only its specific provisions. arbitrary. while maintaining its international status as a state. It cannot be reconciled with the present Constitution and laws. and despotic exercise thereof. The IPRA does not grant the Executive Department or any government agency the power to delineate and recognize an ancestral domain claim by mere agreement or compromise.

Plainly. even then. 2010 . extend to allowing her to change the Constitution. under carefully defined circumstances. 1655036 July 5. and that not to give legal effect to those statements would be detrimental to the security of international intercourse. Public statements of a state representative may be construed as a unilateral declaration only when the following conditions are present: the statements were clearly addressed to the international community. and cultural development within the framework of an existing state.The recognized sources of international law establish that the right to selfdetermination of a people is normally fulfilled through internal self-determination—a people’s pursuit of its political. economic. Josef GR No. as stated in her oath of office. unilateral declarations arise only in peculiar circumstances. Such presidential power does not. her mere recommendation need not be construed as an unconstitutional act. and Violeta J. however. Hazel Ma. Jose A. but simply to recommend proposed amendments or revision. That the authority of the President to conduct peace negotiations with rebel groups is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution does not mean that she has no such authority. A right to external self-determination (which in this case potentially takes the form of the assertion of a right to unilateral secession) arises only in the most extreme of cases and. the state intended to be bound to that community by its statements. As long as she limits herself to recommending these changes and submits to the proper procedure for constitutional amendments and revision. C. social. Antolin v. Abelardo T. Domondon. The President has authority. only to preserve and defend the Constitution. Gangan.

(iv) the case was moot and academic as petitioner already passed the 1998 CPA Board Exams. Her answer sheets were shown but these consisted merely of shaded marks. petitioner filed a petition for mandamus with damages against the Board of Accountancy and its members before the Manila RTC. Nonetheless. the petitions are GRANTED. the RTC dismissed the petition on the ground that the petition had already become moot and academic since she already passed the 1998 CPA Board Exams. However. However. The CA. Issue: WON Antolin has a right to obtain copies of the examination papers. 76498. Also. secondly. respectively.Facts: Petitioner Hazel Antolin took the 1997 CPA Board Exams but failed. they added that the petition had become moot and academic since petitioner already passed the 1998 CPA Board Exams. Respondent denied the request. She later amended her petition. Respondents: Respondent primarily denied the request of petitioner on two grounds: first. receiving failing grades from four out of seven subjects. among others. (2) the petition stated no cause of action as there was no ministerial duty to release the information demanded. however. (v) that petitioner failed to exhaust administrative remedies. The November 11. (ii) that the examination documents were not of public concern. 76546 and CA-GR SP No. 338. he clarified that the Board was precluded from releasing the exam papers as such act were considered unprofessional by the PRC resolution. an omnibus order of the trial court reconsidered her case. (iii) it was not the function of the respondents to review and reassess the answers to exam questions of a failing examinee. the petitioner elevated the case to the RTC wherein respondents argue that petitioner was not entitled for the relief sought. The December 11. They also filed to dismiss the petition on damages since (1) petitioner failed to exhaust administrative remedies. she wrote to respondent Abelardo Domondon. are hereby SET ASIDE. The Board did not find any mechanical error in the grading of petitioner’s test papers. Petitioner insists she has the Constitutional right to gain access to said examination documents. that she did not need to exhaust administrative remedies since no recourse to the PRC was available as only a pure question of law is involved in the case and that her petition was not rendered moot and academic when she passed the 1998 CPA Board Exams. Dispositive Portion: IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. and an explanation of the grading system used in each subject. pleading a cause of action for the access of the documents requested for. the PRC rules only permitted access to the petitioner’s answer sheet and that reconsideration of rating shall be effected only on grounds of mechanical error in grading the answer sheets or malfeasance. Acting Chairman of the Board of Accountancy. She requested for copies of the questionnaire. 2006 and February 16. . Convinced that she deserved to pass. and requested that her answer sheets be re-corrected. ruled that (i) the PRC regulation preventing her from gaining access to said documents were valid limitations on petitioner’s right to information and access to government documents. (3) and the constitutional right to information on matters of public concern is subject to the limitation set forth by the PRC Resolution No. 2004 Decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR SP No. having not elevated the matter to the PRC before seeking judicial intervention. praying that the court would order the board to furnish her with copies of the examination papers and other documents and materials. Petitioner: Primarily. their respective answer keys.

2003 Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Manila. CA erred in ruling that petitioner should have exhausted administrative remedies before seeking judicial intervention because issues of law cannot be resolved with finality by an administrative officer. nonetheless. Article 3 provides the right of the people to information on matters of public interest. The Court. 98-86881 are AFFIRMED. the Court held that the petitioner’s belated passing of the Board Exams does not automatically mean that her interest in the examination papers has become mere superfluity. Furthermore. The examinees in particular. would understandably be interested in the fair and competent administration of these exams in order to ensure that only those qualified are admitted into the accounting profession. Article 2 of the Constitution provides that the State may adopt policies in the disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest while Section 7. conceded that the CPA Board Exams are matters of public concern. Court: The Court rules in favor of the petitioner.2002 and January 30. It is clear that the people’s right to information is limited to matters of public concern and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. Lastly. The case is remanded to the Regional Trial Court for further proceedings. Branch 33. Section 28. . in Civil Case No. on the issue of mootness.