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Statutory Construction

Statutory Construction it is the various methods and tests used by the courts for
determining the meaning of law.
I. General Principles in defining Statutory Construction
Whether the promotional scheme is a lottery or a gift that violates the provisions of the
Postal Law (Caltex v. Palomar)
In the case at bar, there is no requirement in the rules that any fee be paid, any
merchandise be bought, any service be rendered, or any value whatsoever be given for the
privilege to participate. The scheme is merely a gratuitous distribution of property by chance
which does not violate the provisions of the Postal Law. Construction is used where there is
rendered doubtful, amongst others, by reason of the fact that the given case is not explicitly
provided for in the law. Hence, the Court is tasked to look beyond the fair exterior, to the
substance, in order to unmask the real element and pernicious tendencies that the law is
seeking to prevent.

What is Statutory Construction?


It is the art or process of discovering and expounding the meaning and the intention of the
authors of the law with respect to its application to a given case, where that intention is
rendered doubtful, amongst others, by reason of the fact that the given case is not explicitly
provided for in the law. (Caltex v. Palomar)
II. When does statutory construction come in?
When does Statcon come in?
The first and fundamental duty of courts is to apply the law. Construction and interpretation
come only after it has been demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate
without them. (National Federation of Labor v. Eisma; Paat v. CA; People v. Mapa;
Paras v. Comelec; Daoang v. Municipal Judge of San Nicolas)
1. National Federation of Labor v. Eisma
Construction is required to determine jurisdiction.
The first and fundamental duty of courts is to apply the law. Construction and interpretation
come only after it has been demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate
without them. However, jurisdiction over the subject matter in a judicial proceeding is
conferred by the sovereign authority, which organizes the court; and it is given only by law.
Jurisdiction is never presumed; it must be conferred by law in words that do not admit of
doubt. Since the jurisdiction of courts and judicial tribunals is derived exclusively from the
statutes of the forum, the issue should be resolved on the basis of the law or statute in
force.
2. Paat v. CA
Whether construction admits that the authority confiscates conveyances belonging to the
court.
The construction that conveyances are subject of confiscation by the courts exclusively

(pursuant to Section 28, paragraph 2) unduly restricts the clear intention of the law and
inevitably reduces the other provision of Section 68-A, aside to the fact that conveyances
are not mentioned nor included in the former provision. In the case at bar, the phrase to
dispose of the same is broad enough to cover the act of forfeiting conveyances in favor of
the government. The only limitation is that it should be made in accordance with pertinent
laws, regulations or policies on the matter. Therefore, in the construction of statutes, it
must be read in such a way as to give effect to the purpose projected in the statute.
3. People v. Mapa
Prosecution for the crime of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition of appointed
secret agent of a public official.
The law is explicit that it is unlawful for any person to possess any firearm or any
instrument, intended to be used in the manufacture of firearms, parts of firearms, or
ammunition except when such firearms are in possession of such public officials and public
servants for use in the performance of their official duties. It is the first and fundamental
duty of courts to apply the law. It was decided that construction and interpretation come
only after it has been demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate without
them. The law cannot be any clearer; there being no provision made for a secret agent.
4. Daoang v. Municipal Judge of San Nicolas
Adoption under para 1 of Art. 335 of the Civil Code.
The words used in paragraph (1) of Article 335 of the Civil Code, in enumerating the persons
who cannot adopt, are clear and unambiguous. When the New Civil Code was adopted, it
changed the word descendant, found in the Spanish Civil Code to which the New Civil
Code was patterned, to children. The children thus mentioned have a clearly defined
meaning in law and do not include grandchildren. In the present case, Roderick and Rommel
Daoang, the grandchildren of Antero Agonoy and Amanda Ramos-Agonoy, cannot assail the
adoption of Quirino Bonilla and Wilson Marcos by the Agonoys. Therefore, the general rule is
that only statutes with an ambiguous or doubtful meaning may be the subjects of statutory
construction.
5. Paras v. Comelec
Is SK to be considered a regular local election in a recall proceeding?
The subject provision of the Local Government Code, Sec. 74 Paragraph (b) provides that
No recall shall take place within one year from the date of the officials assumption to office
or one year immediately preceding a regular local election. Hence, It is a rule in statutory
construction that every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context.
In the present case, the Sangguniang Kabataan elections cannot be considered a regular
election, as this would render inutile the recall provision of the Local Government Code. It
would be more in keeping with the intent of the recall provision of the Code to construe
regular local election as one referring to an election where the office held by the local
elective official sought to be recalled will be contested and be filled by the electorate.

Construction as a Judicial Function

Perfecto v. Meer
GR L-2348, 27 February 1950 (85 Phil 552)
First Division, Bengzon (p): 8 concur.
Facts: The 1935 Constitution provides in its Article VIII, Section 9, that the
members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior courts shall receive
such compensation as may be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished
during their continuance in office. It also provides that until Congress shall
provide otherwise, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall receive an
annual compensation of sixteen thousand pesos, and each Associate Justice,
fifteen thousand pesos. When Justice Perfecto assumed office, Congress had
not provided otherwise, by fixing a different salary for associate justices.
He received salary at the rate provided by the Constitution, i.e., fifteen
thousand pesos a year.
The Collector of Internal Revenue required Justice Gregorio Perfecto to pay
income tax upon his salary as member of the judiciary. The latter paid the
amount under protest. He contended that the assessment was illegal, his
salary not being taxable for the reason that imposition of taxes thereon
would reduce it in violation of the Constitution.
Issue: Whether the imposition of an income tax upon the salary of a
member of the Judiciary amount to a diminution thereof., and thus violate
the Constitution.
Held: The imposition of an income tax upon the salary of a member of the
judiciary amounts to a diminution thereof. If said imposition would not be
considered as a diminution, it would appear that, in the matter of
compensation and power and need of security, the judiciary is on a par with
the Executive. Such assumption certainly ignores the prevailing state of
affairs. Further, the Constitution provides that judges shall hold their offices
during good behavior, and shall at stated times receive for their services a
compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in
office. Thus, next to permanency in office, nothing can contribute more to
the independence of the judges than a fixed provision for their support. In
the general course of human nature, a power over a mans subsistence
amounts to a power over his will. The independence of the judges as of far
greater importance than any revenue that could come from taxing their
salaries.
Exemption of the judicial salary from reduction by taxation is not really a
gratuity or privilege. It is essentially and primarily compensation based upon
valuable consideration. The covenant on the part of the government is a
guaranty whose fulfillment is as much as part of the consideration agreed as
is the money salary. The undertaking has its own particular value to the
citizens in securing the independence of the judiciary in crises; and in the
establishment of the compensation upon a permanent foundation whereby

judicial preferment may be prudently accepted by those who are qualified by


talent, knowledge, integrity and capacity, but are not possessed of such a
private fortune as to make an assured salary an object of personal concern.
On the other hand, the members of the judiciary relinquish their position at
the bar, with all its professional emoluments, sever their connection with
their clients, and dedicate themselves exclusively to the discharge of the
onerous duties of their high office. So, it is irrefutable that the guaranty
against a reduction of salary by the imposition of a tax is not an exemption
from taxation in the sense of freedom from a burden or service to which
others are liable. The exemption for a public purpose or a valid consideration
is merely a nominal exemption, since the valid and full consideration or the
public purpose promoted is received in the place of the tax.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment.
Endencia v. David
GR L-6355-56, 31 August 1953 (93 Phil 696)
En Banc, Montemayor (p): 6 concur
Facts: Saturnino David, as a Collector of Internal Revenue collected income
taxes from Justices Endencia and Jugo, as Presiding Justice of the Court of
Appeals and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court respectively. The lower
court held that under the doctrine laid down in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer,
85 Phil., 552, the collection of income taxes from the salaries of Justice Jugo
and Justice Endencia was a diminution of their compensation and therefore
was in violation of the Constitution of the Philippines, and so ordered the
refund of said taxes. Respondent, through the Solicitor General contended
that the collection was done pursuant to Section 13 of Republic Act 590
which Congress enacted to authorize and legalize the collection of income
tax on the salaries of judicial officers, if not to counteract the ruling on the
Perfecto Case.
Issue: Whether the Legislature may lawfully declare the collection of
income tax on the salary of a public official, specially a judicial officer, not a
decrease of his salary, after the Supreme Court has found and decided
otherwise.
Held: The Legislature cannot lawfully declare the collection of income tax on
the salary of a public official, specially a judicial officer, not a decrease of his
salary, after the Supreme Court has found and decided otherwise. The
interpretation and application of the Constitution and of statutes is within the
exclusive province and jurisdiction of the judicial department, and that in
enacting a law, the Legislature may not legally provide therein that it be
interpreted in such a way that it may not violate a Constitutional prohibition,
thereby tying the hands of the courts in their task of later interpreting said
statute, specially when the interpretation sought and provided in said statute
runs counter to a previous interpretation already given in a case by the

highest court of the land. In the case at bar, Section 13 of Republic Act 590
interpreted or ascertained the meaning of the phrase which shall not be
diminished during their continuance in office, found in section 9, Article VIII
of the Constitution, referring to the salaries of judicial officers. This act of
interpreting the Constitution or any part thereof by the Legislature is an
invasion of the well-defined and established province and jurisdiction of the
Judiciary. The Legislature under our form of government is assigned the task
and the power to make and enact laws, but not to interpret them. This is
more true with regard to the interpretation of the basic law, the Constitution,
which is not within the sphere of the Legislative department. Allowing the
legislature to interpret the law would bring confusion and instability in
judicial processes and court decisions.
Further, under the Philippine system of constitutional government, the
Legislative department is assigned the power to make and enact laws. The
Executive department is charged with the execution or carrying out of the
provisions of said laws. But the interpretation and application of said laws
belong exclusively to the Judicial department. And this authority to interpret
and apply the laws extends to the Constitution. Before the courts can
determine whether a law is constitutional or not, it will have to interpret and
ascertain the meaning not only of said law, but also of the pertinent portion
of the Constitution in order to decide whether there is a conflict between the
two, because if there is, then the law will have to give way and has to be
declared invalid and unconstitutional. Therefore, the doctrine laid down in
the case of Perfecto vs. Meer to the effect that the collection of income tax
on the salary of a judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so violates the
Constitution, is reiterated.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision, affirming the ruling in Perferto v.
Meer and holding the interpretation and application of laws belong to the
Judiciary.

Nitafan v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Resolution)


GR L-78780, 23 July 1987
En Banc, Melencio-Herrera (p): 12 concur, 1 on leave
Facts: The Chief Justice has previously issued a directive to the Fiscal
Management and Budget Office to continue the deduction of withholding
taxes from salaries of the Justices of the Supreme Court and other members
of the judiciary. This was affirmed by the Supreme Court en banc on 4
December 1987.

Petitioners are the duly appointed and qualified Judges presiding over
Branches 52, 19 and 53, respectively, of the RTC, National Capital Judicial
Region, all with stations in Manila. They seek to prohibit and/or perpetually
enjoin the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Financial Officer of the
Supreme Court, from making any deduction of withholding taxes from their
salaries. With the filing of the petition, the Court deemed it best to settle the
issue through judicial pronouncement, even if it had dealt with the matter
administratively.
Issue: Whether the intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution is to
exempt justices and judges from taxes as it was in the 1935 Constitution.
Held: The ascertainment of the intent is but in keeping with the fundamental
principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the
organic law and of the people adopting it should be given effect. The
primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter
assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the
adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely assumed that the people
in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered
by the framers. In the present case, Section 10, Article VIII is plain that the
Constitution authorizes Congress to pass a law fixing another rate of
compensation of Justices and Judges but such rate must be higher than that
which they are receiving at the time of enactment, or if lower, it would be
applicable only to those appointed after its approval. It would be a strained
construction to read into the provision an exemption from taxation in the
light of the discussion in the Constitutional Commission. Thus, the debates,
interpolations and opinions expressed regarding the constitutional provision
in question until it was finally approved by the Commission disclosed that the
true intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting it, was to
make the salaries of members of the Judiciary taxable.
The Supreme Court dismissed the petition for prohibition.

JUDICIAL LEGISLATION

Floresca v. Philex Mining


GR L-30642., 30 April 1985 (136 SCRA 142)
En Banc, Makasiar (p): 7 concurring, 1 on leave, 2 took no part, others
dissenting
Facts: Several miners were killed in a cave-in at one of Philex Mining
Corporations mine sites. The heirs of the miners were able to recover under the
Workmans Compensation Act (WCA). Thereafter, a special committee report
indicated that the company failed to provide the miners with adequate safety

protection. The heirs decided to file a complaint for damages before the Court
of First Instance (CFI) of Manila. Philex filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground
that the action was based on an industrial accident which is covered under the
WCA and, therefore, the CFI has no jurisdiction over the case. Philex argues
that the work connected injuries are compensable exclusively under Sections 5
and 46 of the WCA; and that the WCA covers work-connected accidents even if
the employer was negligent as the WCA under Section 4-A imposes a 50%
additional compensation in the event that the employer is negligent. The heirs,
however, contend that the CFI has jurisdiction, as their complaint is not based
on the WCA but on the Civil Code provisions on damages arising out of
negligence. The CFI dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The heirs
questioned the dismissal before the Supreme Court.
Amici curiae submitted their respective memoranda, pursuant to the resolution
of 26 November 1976, involving the issue whether the action of an injured
employee or worker or that of his heirs in case of his death under the
Workmens Compensation Act is exclusive, selective or cumulative; i.e. (1:
Exclusive) whether an injured employee or his heirs action is exclusively
restricted to seeking the limited compensation provided under the Workmens
Compensation Act, (2: Selective) whether an injured employee or his heirs have
a right of selection or choice of action between availing of the workers right
under the Workmens Compensation Act and suing in the regular courts under
the Civil Code for higher damages (actual, moral and/or exemplary) from the
employer by virtue of negligence (or fault) of the employer or of his other
employees, or (3: Cumulative) whether an injured employee or his heirs may
avail cumulatively of both actions, i.e., collect the limited compensation under
the Workmens Compensation Act and sue in addition for damages in the
regular courts. The opinions of the amici curiae are diverse.
The Court in this same decision agreed with the argument that the action is
selective, i.e. that the injured worker or his heirs have the choice of remedies,
but that they cannot pursue both courses of action simultaneously and
balance the relative advantage of recourse under the Workmens Compensation
Act as against an ordinary action. It further held that the petitioners who had
received the benefits under the Workmens Compensation Act, such may not
preclude them from bringing an action before the regular court, as the choice
of the first remedy was based on ignorance or a mistake of fact, which nullifies
the choice as it was not an intelligent choice, but that upon the success of such
bids before the lower court, the payments made under the Workmens

Compensation Act should be deducted from the damages that may be decreed
in their favor.
Issue: Whether the Supreme Court, in determining the action to be selective, is
guilty of judicial legislation.
Held: The Court, through its majority, defended itself by holding that the Court
does not legislate but merely applies and gives effect to the constitutional
guarantees of social justice then secured by Section 5 of Article II and Section 6
of Article XIV of the 1935 Constitution, and later by Sections 6, 7, and 9 of
Article II of the Declaration of Principles and State Policies of the 1973
Constitution, as amended, and as implemented by Articles 2176, 2177, 2178,
1173, 2201, 2216, 2231 and 2232 of the New Civil Code of 1950. Further, it
reiterated its ruling in People vs. Licera: that judicial decisions of the Supreme
Court assume the same authority as the statute itself, pursuant to Article 8 of
the Civil Code of the Philippines which decrees that judicial decisions applying
or interpreting the laws or the Constitution form part of this jurisdictions legal
system. It argues that the application or interpretation placed by the Court
upon a law is part of the law as of the date of the enactment of the said law
since the Courts application or interpretation merely establishes the
contemporaneous legislative intent that the construed law purports to carry
into effect. Yet, the Court argues that the Court can legislate, pursuant to
Article 9 of the New Civil Code, which provides that No judge or court shall
decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity or insufficiency
of the laws. Thus, even the legislator himself recognizes that in certain
instances, the court do and must legislate to fill in the gaps in the law;
because the mind of the legislator, like all human beings, is finite and therefore
cannot envisage all possible cases to which the law may apply.

HOW THE CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE INTERPRETED

Sarmiento v. Mison [GR L-79974, 17 December 1987]


En Banc, Padilla (p): 8 concur
Facts: Petitioners, who are taxpayers, lawyers, members of the IBP and
professors of Constitutional Law, seek to enjoin Salvador Mison from
performing the functions of the Office of Commissioner of the Bureau of
Customs and Guillermo Carague, as Secretary of the Department of Budget,
from effecting disbursements in payment of Misons salaries and emoluments,

on the ground that Misons appointment as Commissioner of the Bureau of


Customs is unconstitutional by reason of its not having been confirmed by the
Commission on Appointments. The respondents, on the other hand, maintain
the constitutionality of Misons appointment without the confirmation of the
Commission on Appointments.
The Supreme Court held that the President has the authority to appoint Mison
as Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs without submitting his nomination
to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation, and thus, the latter is
entitled the full authority and functions of the office and receive all the salaries
and emoluments pertaining thereto. Thus, the Supreme Court dismissed the
petition and the petition in intervention, without costs.
1. Standing to file suit / Prohibition as proper remedy: Procedural
questions set aside due to demands of public interest
Because of the demands of public interest, including the need for stability in
the public service, the Court resolved to give due course to the petition and
decide, setting aside the finer procedural questions of whether prohibition is
the proper remedy to test Misons right to the office of Commissioner of the
Bureau of Customs and of whether the petitioners have a standing to bring this
suit.
2. Constitutional Construction
The fundamental principle of constitutional construction is to give effect to the
intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it. The
intention to which force is to be given is that which is embodied and expressed
in the constitutional provisions themselves. (Gold Creek Mining v. Rodriguez)
The Court will thus construe the applicable constitutional provisions, not in
accordance with how the executive or the legislative department may want
them construed, but in accordance with what they say and provide.
3. Presidents power to appoint
Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution empowers the President to
appoint 4 groups of officers: (1) the heads of the executive departments,
ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, officers of the armed forces
from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose
appointments are vested in him in this Constitution; (2) all other officers of
the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law;
(3) those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and (4)
officers lower in rank 4 whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in
the President alone. The first group is clearly appointed with the consent of the

Commission on Appointments. Appointments of such officers are initiated by


nomination and, if the nomination is confirmed by the Commission on
Appointments, the President appoints. The second and third groups of officers
can be made by the President without the consent (confirmation) of the
Commission on Appointments, as can be determined through the recorded
proceedings of Constitutional Commission.
4. Express enumeration excludes others not enumerated
It is an accepted rule in constitutional and statutory construction that an
express enumeration of subjects excludes others not enumerated. In the case
at bar, it would follow that only those appointments to positions expressly
stated in the first group require the consent (confirmation) of the Commission
on Appointments.
5. Constitutional provision presumed to have been framed and adopted
in light of prior laws
A constitutional provision must be presumed to have been framed and adopted
in the light and understanding of prior and existing laws and with reference to
them. Courts are bound to presume that the people adopting a constitution are
familiar with the previous and existing laws upon the subjects to which its
provisions relate, and upon which they express their judgment and opinion in
its adoption. In the 1935 Constitution, almost all presidential appointments
required the consent (confirmation) of the Commission on Appointments.
Under the 1935 Constitution, the commission was frequently transformed into
a venue of horse-trading and similar malpractices. On the other hand, the
1973 Constitution, consistent with the authoritarian pattern in which it was
molded and remolded by successive amendments, placed the absolute power of
appointment in the President with hardly any check on the part of the
legislature. Given the above two in extremes, one, in the 1935 Constitution and
the other, in the 1973 Constitution, it is not difficult for the Court to state that
the framers of the 1987 Constitution and the people adopting it, struck a
middle ground by requiring the consent (confirmation) of the Commission on
Appointments for the first group of appointments and leaving to the President,
without such confirmation, the appointment of other officers, i.e., those in the
second and third groups as well as those in the fourth group, i.e., officers of
lower rank. The proceedings in the 1986 Constitutional Commission support
this conclusion.
6. Construction of also in second sentence; consideration of different
language of proximate sentences to determine meaning

The word also could mean in addition; as well; besides, too besides in like
manner which meanings could stress that the word also in said second
sentence means that the President, in addition to nominating and, with the
consent of the Commission on Appointments, appointing the officers
enumerated in the first sentence, can appoint (without such consent or
confirmation) the officers mentioned in the second sentence, contrary to the
interpretation that the President shall appoint the officers mentioned in said
second sentence in the same manner as he appoints officers mentioned in the
first sentence. Rather than limit the area of consideration to the possible
meanings of the word also as used in the context of said second sentence, the
Court has chosen to derive significance from the fact that the first sentence
speaks of nomination by the President and appointment by the President with
the consent of the Commission on Appointments, whereas, the second
sentence speaks only of appointment by the President. And, this use of
different language in 2 sentences proximate to each other underscores a
difference in message conveyed and perceptions established. Thus, words are
not pebbles in alien juxtaposition.
7. Power to appoint fundamentally executive in character; Limitations
construed strictly
The power to appoint is fundamentally executive or presidential in character.
Limitations on or qualifications of such power should be strictly construed.
Such limitations or qualifications must be clearly stated in order to be
recognized. In the case at bar, the first sentence of Sec. 16, Art. VII clearly
stated that appointments by the President to the positions therein enumerated
require the consent of the Commission on Appointments.
8. The use of word alone after President in third sentence is a lapse
in draftsmanship, a literal import deemed redundant
After a careful study of the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission, the Court found the use of the word alone after the word
President in said third sentence of Sec. 16, Article VII is, more than anything
else, a slip or lapsus in draftmanship. In the 1987 Constitution, the clear and
expressed intent of its framers was to exclude presidential appointments from
confirmation by the Commission on Appointments, except appointments to
offices expressly mentioned in the first sentence. Consequently, there was no
reason to use in the third sentence the word alone after the word President
in providing that Congress may by law vest the appointment of lower-ranked
officers in the President alone, or in the courts, or in the heads of departments,
because the power to appoint officers whom the President may be authorized

by law to appoint is already vested in him, without need of confirmation by the


Commission on Appointments, in the second sentence. The word alone in the
third sentence, as a literal import from the last part of par. 3, section 10,
Article VII of the 1935 Constitution, appears to be redundant in the light of the
second sentence. This redundancy cannot prevail over the clear and positive
intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution that presidential appointments,
except those mentioned in the first sentence, are not subject to confirmation by
the Commission on Appointments.
9. President authorized Commissioner of Bureau of Customs;
Commissioner not included with the first group of appointment
The position of Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (a bureau head) is not
one of those within the first group of appointments where the consent of the
Commission on Appointments is required. The 1987 Constitution deliberately
excluded the position of heads of bureaus from appointments that need the
consent (confirmation) of the Commission on Appointments. Moreover, the
President is expressly authorized by law to appoint the Commissioner of the
Bureau of Customs (RA 1937, Tarifff and Customs Code of the Philippines,
Section 601, as amended by PD34 on 27 October 1972).
10. Laws approved during the effectivity of previous constitution must
be read in harmony with the new one
RA 1937 and PD 34 were approved during the effectivity of the 1935
Constitution, under which the President may nominate and, with the consent
of the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of bureaus, like the
Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs. After the effectivity of the 1987
Constitution, however, RA 1937 and PD 34 have to be read in harmony with
Sec. 16, Art. VII, with the result that, while the appointment of the
Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs is one that devolves on the President,
as an appointment he is authorized by law to make, such appointment,
however, no longer needs the confirmation of the Commission on
Appointments.

ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR. vs. THE HOUSE OF


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

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

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

Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella against the Chief
Justice on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation
of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a one-year
period.
2.From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission,
it is clear that judicial power is not only a power; it is also a duty, a duty which cannot be
abdicated by the mere specter of this creature called the political question doctrine.
Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify, however, that Section 1, Article VIII was
not intended to do away with "truly political questions." From this clarification it is
gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1) "truly political questions"
and (2) those which "are not truly political questions." Truly political questions are thus
beyond judicial review, the reason for respect of the doctrine of separation of powers to
be maintained. On the other hand, by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution,
courts can review questions which are not truly political in nature.

Chavez vs. Judicial and Bar Council, G.R. No.


202242, July 17, 2012
By LLBe:LawLifeBuzzEtcetera
Facts: In 1994, instead of having only seven members, an eighth member was added to the JBC
as two representatives from Congress began sitting in the JBC one from the House of
Representatives and one from the Senate, with each having one-half (1/2) of a vote. Then, the
JBC En Banc, in separate meetings held in 2000 and 2001, decided to allow the representatives
from the Senate and the House of Representatives one full vote each. At present, Senator Francis
Joseph G. Escudero and Congressman Niel C. Tupas, Jr. (respondents) simultaneously sit in the
JBC as representatives of the legislature. It is this practice that petitioner has questioned in this
petition. Respondents argued that the crux of the controversy is the phrase a representative of
Congress. It is their theory that the two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives,
are permanent and mandatory components of Congress, such that the absence of either divests
the term of its substantive meaning as expressed under the Constitution. Bicameralism, as the
system of choice by the Framers, requires that both houses exercise their respective powers in the
performance of its mandated duty which is to legislate. Thus, when Section 8(1), Article VIII of
the Constitution speaks of a representative from Congress, it should mean one representative
each from both Houses which comprise the entire Congress. Respondents further argue that
petitioner has no real interest in questioning the constitutionality of the JBCs current
composition. The respondents also question petitioners belated filing of the petition.
Issues:
(1) Whether or not the conditions sine qua non for the exercise of the power of judicial review
have been met in this case; and

(2) Whether or not the current practice of the JBC to perform its functions with eight (8)
members, two (2) of whom are members of Congress, runs counter to the letter and spirit of the
1987 Constitution.
Held:
(1) Yes. The Courts power of judicial review is subject to several limitations, namely: (a) there
must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (b) the person
challenging the act must have standing to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial
interest in the case, such that he has sustained or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its
enforcement; (c) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible
opportunity; and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.
Generally, a party will be allowed to litigate only when these conditions sine qua non are present,
especially when the constitutionality of an act by a co-equal branch of government is put in
issue.
The Court disagrees with the respondents contention that petitioner lost his standing to sue
because he is not an official nominee for the post of Chief Justice. While it is true that a
personal stake on the case is imperative to have locus standi, this is not to say that only official
nominees for the post of Chief Justice can come to the Court and question the JBC composition
for being unconstitutional. The JBC likewise screens and nominates other members of the
Judiciary. Albeit heavily publicized in this regard, the JBCs duty is not at all limited to the
nominations for the highest magistrate in the land. A vast number of aspirants to judicial posts all
over the country may be affected by the Courts ruling. More importantly, the legality of the very
process of nominations to the positions in the Judiciary is the nucleus of the controversy. The
claim that the composition of the JBC is illegal and unconstitutional is an object of concern, not
just for a nominee to a judicial post, but for all citizens who have the right to seek judicial
intervention for rectification of legal blunders.
(2) Yes. The word Congress used in Article VIII, Section 8(1) of the Constitution is used in its
generic sense. No particular allusion whatsoever is made on whether the Senate or the House of
Representatives is being referred to, but that, in either case, only a singular representative may be
allowed to sit in the JBC. The seven-member composition of the JBC serves a practical purpose,
that is, to provide a solution should there be a stalemate in voting.
It is evident that the definition of Congress as a bicameral body refers to its primary function
in government to legislate. In the passage of laws, the Constitution is explicit in the distinction
of the role of each house in the process. The same holds true in Congress non-legislative
powers. An inter-play between the two houses is necessary in the realization of these powers
causing a vivid dichotomy that the Court cannot simply discount. This, however, cannot be said
in the case of JBC representation because no liaison between the two houses exists in the
workings of the JBC. Hence, the term Congress must be taken to mean the entire legislative
department. The Constitution mandates that the JBC be composed of seven (7) members only.
Notwithstanding its finding of unconstitutionality in the current composition of the JBC, all its
prior official actions are nonetheless valid. Under the doctrine of operative facts, actions previous
to the declaration of unconstitutionality are legally recognized. They are not nullified.

Chavez vs. Judicial and Bar Council, G.R. No.


202242, July 17, 2012
Facts: In 1994, instead of having only seven
members, an eighth member was added to the JBC
as two representatives from Congress began sitting
in the JBC one from the House of Representatives
and one from the Senate, with each having onehalf (1/2) of a vote. Then, the JBC En Banc, in
separate meetings held in 2000 and 2001, decided
to allow the representatives from the Senate and
the House of Representatives one full vote each. At
present, Senator Francis Joseph G. Escudero and
Congressman Niel C. Tupas, Jr. (respondents)
simultaneously sit in the JBC as representatives of
the legislature. It is this practice that petitioner has
questioned in this petition. Respondents argued
that the crux of the controversy is the phrase a
representative of Congress. It is their theory that
the two houses, the Senate and the House of
Representatives, are permanent and mandatory
components of Congress, such that the absence
of either divests the term of its substantive
meaning as expressed under the Constitution.
Bicameralism, as the system of choice by the
Framers, requires that both houses exercise their
respective powers in the performance of its
mandated duty which is to legislate. Thus, when

Section 8(1), Article VIII of the Constitution speaks


of a representative from Congress, it should
mean one representative each from both Houses
which comprise the entire Congress.
Issue:
Whether or not the current practice of the JBC to
perform its functions with eight (8) members, two
(2) of whom are members of Congress, runs
counter to the letter and spirit of the 1987
Constitution.
Held:
Yes. The word Congress used in Article VIII,
Section 8(1) of the Constitution is used in its
generic sense. No particular allusion whatsoever is
made on whether the Senate or the House of
Representatives is being referred to, but that, in
either case, only a singular representative may be
allowed to sit in the JBC. The seven-member
composition of the JBC serves a practical purpose,
that is, to provide a solution should there be a
stalemate in voting.
It is evident that the definition of Congress as a
bicameral body refers to its primary function in
government to legislate. In the passage of laws,
the Constitution is explicit in the distinction of the
role of each house in the process. The same holds
true in Congress non-legislative powers. An inter-

play between the two houses is necessary in the


realization of these powers causing a vivid
dichotomy that the Court cannot simply discount.
This, however, cannot be said in the case of JBC
representation because no liaison between the two
houses exists in the workings of the JBC. Hence,
the term Congress must be taken to mean the
entire legislative department. The Constitution
mandates that the JBC be composed of seven (7)
members only.
The argument that a senator cannot represent a
member of the House of Representatives in the JBC
and vice-versa is, thus, misplaced. In the JBC, any
member of Congress, whether from the Senate or
the House of Representatives, is constitutionally
empowered to represent the entire Congress. It
may be a constricted constitutional authority, but it
is not an absurdity.
Under the circumstances, the Court finds the
exception of the Doctrine of Operative Fact
applicable in this case and holds that
notwithstanding its finding of unconstitutionality in
the current composition of the JBC, all its prior
official actions are nonetheless valid.
The Court has no power to add another member by
judicial construction.
The call for judicial activism fails to stir the
sensibilities of the Court tasked to guard the

Constitution against usurpation. The Court remains


steadfast in confining its powers in the sphere
granted by the Constitution itself. Judicial activism
should never be allowed to become judicial
exuberance. In cases like this, no amount of
practical logic or convenience can convince the
Court to perform either an excision or an insertion
that will change the manifest intent of the Framers.
To broaden the scope of congressional
representation in the JBC is tantamount to the
inclusion of a subject matter which was not
included in the provision as enacted. True to its
constitutional mandate, the Court cannot craft and
tailor constitutional provisions in order to
accommodate all of situations no matter how ideal
or reasonable the proposed solution may sound. To
the exercise of this intrusion, the Court declines.

G.R. No. 202242 April 16, 2013 FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ vs. JUDICIAL AND
BAR COUNCIL,
G.R. No. 202242

April 16, 2013

FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, Petitioner,


vs.
JUDICIALAND BAR COUNCIL, SEN. FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO and REP. NIEL C.
TUPAS, JR.,Respondents.
MENDOZA, J.:

NATURE:

The case is a motion for reconsideration filed by the JBC in a prior decision rendered July 17,
2012 that JBCs action of allowing more than one member of the congress to represent the JBC
to be unconstitutional
FACTS:
In 1994, instead of having only seven members, an eighth member was added to the JBC as two
representatives from Congress began sitting in the JBC one from the House of Representatives
and one from the Senate, with each having one-half (1/2) of a vote. Then, the JBC En Banc, in
separate meetings held in 2000 and 2001, decided to allow the representatives from the Senate
and the House of Representatives one full vote each. Senator Francis Joseph G. Escudero and
Congressman Niel C. Tupas, Jr. (respondents) simultaneously sit in the JBC as representatives of
the legislature. It is this practice that petitioner has questioned in this petition. it should mean one
representative each from both Houses which comprise the entire Congress. Respondent contends
that the phrase a representative of congress refers that both houses of congress should have
one representative each, and that these two houses are permanent and mandatory components of
congress as part of the bicameral system of legislature. Both houses have their respective
powers in performance of their duties. Art VIII Sec 8 of the constitution provides for the
component of the JBC to be 7 members only with only one representative from congress.
ISSUE:
Whether the JBCs practice of having members from the Senate and the House of
Representatives making 8 instead of 7 sitting members to be unconstitutional as provided in Art
VIII Sec 8 of the constitution.
HELD: Yes. The practice is unconstitutional; the court held that the phrase a representative of
congress should be construed as to having only one representative that would come from either
house, not both. That the framers of the constitution only intended for one seat of the JBC to be
allotted for the legislative.
It is evident that the definition of Congress as a bicameral body refers to its primary function
in government to legislate. In the passage of laws, the Constitution is explicit in the distinction
of the role of each house in the process. The same holds true in Congress non-legislative
powers. An inter-play between the two houses is necessary in the realization of these powers
causing a vivid dichotomy that the Court cannot simply discount. This, however, cannot be said
in the case of JBC representation because no liaison between the two houses exists in the
workings of the JBC. Hence, the term Congress must be taken to mean the entire legislative
department. The Constitution mandates that the JBC be composed of seven (7) members only.
FALLO: The motion was denied.

ATTY. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL V. PRESIDENTIAL


ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL
G.R. No. 191618, November 23, 2010
Nachura, J.
FACTS:
Atty. Romulo Macalintal questions the constitutionality of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal
(PET) on the grounds that it violates Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution. The petitioner
chafes the creation of the separate tribunal which was complemented by a budget allocation, a
seal, a set of personnel and confidential employees, to effect the constitutional mandate.
ISSUE:
Whether the petitioner has locus standi to file the instant petition.
HELD:
NO. The petitioner does not possess the locus standi in filing the instant petition as he was
unmistakably estopped in assailing the jurisdiction of the PET before which tribunal he had
ubiquitously appeared and had acknowledge its jurisdiction in 2004 therefore making the
petitioners standing still imperiled by thee white elephant in the petition. Judicial inquiry
requires that the constitutional question be raised at the earliest possible opportunity to challenge
the constitutionality of the Tribunals constitution. The 1987 Constitution introduces an
innovation about the Supreme Courts independence as cited in Section 4, Article VII. The
judicial power expanded, but it remained absolute.
ROLE OF THE PREAMBLE

Aglipay v. Ruiz
GR 45459, 13 March 1937 (64 Phil 201)
First Division, Laurel (p): 5 concur.
Facts: In May 1936, the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of Manila
that he would order the issuance of postage stamps commemorating the
celebration in the City of Manila of the 33rd International Eucharistic
Congress, organized by the Roman Catholic Church. The petitioner, Mons.
Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church, in the
fulfillment of what he considers to be a civic duty, requested Vicente Sotto,
Esq., member of the Philippine Bar, to denounce the matter to the President of

the Philippines. In spite of the protest of the petitioners attorney, the Director
of Posts publicly announced having sent to the United States the designs of the
postage for printing. The said stamps were actually issued and sold though the
greater part thereof remained unsold. The further sale of the stamps was
sought to be prevented by the petitioner.
Issue: Whether the issuance of the postage stamps was in violation of the
Constitution.
Held: Religious freedom as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of
profound reverence for religion and is not a denial of its influence in human
affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and
elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And, in so far as it instills into the
minds the purest principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and highly
appreciated. When the Filipino people, in the preamble of their Constitution,
implored the aid of Divine Providence, in order to establish a government that
shall embody their ideals, conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation,
promote the general welfare, and secure to themselves and their posterity the
blessings of independence under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy,
they thereby manifested their intense religious nature and placed unfaltering
reliance upon Him who guides the destinies of men and nations. The elevating
influence of religion in human society is recognized here as elsewhere.
Act 4052 contemplates no religious purpose in view. What it gives the Director
of Posts is the discretionary power to determine when the issuance of special
postage stamps would be advantageous to the Government. Of course, the
phrase advantageous to the Government does not authorize the violation of
the Constitution; i.e. to appropriate, use or apply of public money or property
for the use, benefit or support of a particular sect or church. In the case at bar,
the issuance of the postage stamps was not inspired by any sectarian feeling to
favor a particular church or religious denominations. The stamps were not
issued and sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church, nor were money
derived from the sale of the stamps given to that church. The purpose of the
issuing of the stamps was to take advantage of an event considered of
international importance to give publicity to the Philippines and its people and
attract more tourists to the country. Thus, instead of showing a Catholic
chalice, the stamp contained a map of the Philippines, the location of the City
of Manila, and an inscription that reads Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic
Congress, Feb. 3-7, 1937.

The Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of prohibition, without
pronouncement as to costs.