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ABAKADA Guro Party List v Ermita

FACTS:
In this case, the constitutionality of R.A. No. 9337 or the RVAT Law (Revitalized Value
Added Tax Law) was put into issue. It was alleged, among others, that said law was
not duly enacted.
R.A. 9337 originated as House Bill No. 3705. After 3rd reading in the lower house, it
was transmitted to the Senate where it was lodged as Senate Bill No. 1950. In the
Senate, several provisions, which were not found in the H.B. 3705, were inserted.
After 3rd reading in the Senate, the lower house found that the House version and
the Senate version have disagreeing provisions. And pursuant to Congress Rules,
both Houses agreed to form a Bicameral Conference Committee (BCC) where
representatives from both Houses were sent to settle the disagreeing provisions.
Apparently however, the BCC further inserted several provisions to S.B. 1950, i.e.,
stand by power was granted to the President to raise the valued-added tax rate.
Further still, the No pass provision was deleted this provision prohibited the
passing of value-added tax to consumers.
Nevertheless, said version was passed into law hence the promulgation of R.A. No.
9337.
In 2005, ABAKADA GURO Party List, headed by its officers Attys. Samson Alcantara
and Ed Vincent Albano, as well as co-petitioner [then] Congressman Francis
Escudero, questioned the constitutionality of R.A. No. 9337
Respondents in this case invoked the ruling in the case of Tolentino vs Secretary of
Finance or the Enrolled Bill Doctrine. Said case relied upon by respondents state
that the signing of a bill by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President and
the certification of the Secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it was passed
are conclusive of its due enactment. As such, R.A. No. 9337 enjoys the conclusive
presumption of constitutionality and that the courts cannot go behind the enrolled
bill.
ABAKADA GURO et al insists that the Tolentino ruling should be abandoned.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the enrolled bill doctrine applies in this case.
HELD:
Yes. There is no reason to abandon the ruling in Tolentino. The Supreme Court ruled
that the Supreme Court is not the proper venue to raise concerns regarding
parliamentary procedures. Parliamentary rules are merely procedural and with their
observance the courts have no concern. Congress is the best judge of how it should
conduct its own business expeditiously and in the most orderly manner.

If a change is desired in the practice of the Bicameral Conference Committee it


must be sought in Congress since this question is not covered by any constitutional
provision but is only an internal rule of each house. To date, Congress has not seen
it fit to make such changes adverted to by the Court. It seems, therefore, that
Congress finds the practices of the bicameral conference committee to be very
useful for purposes of prompt and efficient legislative action.