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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 100150 January 5, 1994


BRIGIDO R. SIMON, JR., CARLOS QUIMPO, CARLITO ABELARDO, AND GENEROSO
OCAMPO, petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, ROQUE FERMO, AND OTHERS AS JOHN DOES,
respondents.
The City Attorney for petitioners.
The Solicitor General for public respondent.

VITUG, J.:
The extent of the authority and power of the Commission on Human Rights ("CHR") is
again placed into focus in this petition for prohibition, with prayer for a restraining order and
preliminary injunction. The petitioners ask us to prohibit public respondent CHR from further
hearing and investigating CHR Case No. 90-1580, entitled "Fermo, et al. vs. Quimpo, et al."
The case all started when a "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos
Quimpo (one of the petitioners) in his capacity as an Executive Officer of the Quezon City
Integrated Hawkers Management Council under the Office of the City Mayor, was sent to,
and received by, the private respondents (being the officers and members of the North
EDSA Vendors Association, Incorporated). In said notice, the respondents were given a
grace-period of three (3) days (up to 12 July 1990) within which to vacate the questioned
premises of North EDSA. 1 Prior to their receipt of the demolition notice, the private
respondents were informed by petitioner Quimpo that their stalls should be removed to give
way to the "People's Park". 2 On 12 July 1990, the group, led by their President Roque
Fermo, filed a letter-complaint (Pinag-samang Sinumpaang Salaysay) with the CHR
against the petitioners, asking the late CHR Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista for a letter
to be addressed to then Mayor Brigido Simon, Jr., of Quezon City to stop the demolition of
the private respondents' stalls, sari-sari stores, and carinderia along North EDSA. The
complaint was docketed as CHR Case No. 90-1580. 3 On 23 July 1990, the CHR issued an
Order, directing the petitioners "to desist from demolishing the stalls and shanties at North
EDSA pending resolution of the vendors/squatters' complaint before the Commission" and
ordering said petitioners to appear before the CHR. 4
On the basis of the sworn statements submitted by the private respondents on 31 July
1990, as well as CHR's own ocular inspection, and convinced that on 28 July 1990 the
petitioners carried out the demolition of private respondents' stalls, sari-sari stores and
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carinderia, 5 the CHR, in its resolution of 1 August 1990, ordered the disbursement of
financial assistance of not more than P200,000.00 in favor of the private respondents to
purchase light housing materials and food under the Commission's supervision and again
directed the petitioners to "desist from further demolition, with the warning that violation of
said order would lead to a citation for contempt and arrest." 6
A motion to dismiss, 7 dated 10 September 1990, questioned CHR's jurisdiction. The
motion also averred, among other things, that:
1.
this case came about due to the alleged violation by the (petitioners) of the InterAgency Memorandum of Agreement whereby Metro-Manila Mayors agreed on a
moratorium in the demolition of the dwellings of poor dwellers in Metro-Manila;
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3.
. . . , a perusal of the said Agreement (revealed) that the moratorium referred to
therein refers to moratorium in the demolition of the structures of poor dwellers;
4.
that the complainants in this case (were) not poor dwellers but independent business
entrepreneurs even this Honorable Office admitted in its resolution of 1 August 1990 that
the complainants are indeed, vendors;
5.
that the complainants (were) occupying government land, particularly the sidewalk of
EDSA corner North Avenue, Quezon City; . . . and
6.
that the City Mayor of Quezon City (had) the sole and exclusive discretion and
authority whether or not a certain business establishment (should) be allowed to operate
within the jurisdiction of Quezon City, to revoke or cancel a permit, if already issued, upon
grounds clearly specified by law and ordinance. 8
During the 12 September 1990 hearing, the petitioners moved for postponement, arguing
that the motion to dismiss set for 21 September 1990 had yet to be resolved. The
petitioners likewise manifested that they would bring the case to the courts.
On 18 September 1990 a supplemental motion to dismiss was filed by the petitioners,
stating that the Commission's authority should be understood as being confined only to the
investigation of violations of civil and political rights, and that "the rights allegedly violated in
this case (were) not civil and political rights, (but) their privilege to engage in business." 9
On 21 September 1990, the motion to dismiss was heard and submitted for resolution,
along with the contempt charge that had meantime been filed by the private respondents,
albeit vigorously objected to by petitioners (on the ground that the motion to dismiss was
still then unresolved). 10
In an Order, 11 dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited the petitioners in contempt for
carrying out the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order
to desist", and it imposed a fine of P500.00 on each of them.
On 1 March 1991, 12 the CHR issued an Order, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss and
supplemental motion to dismiss, in this wise:
2

Clearly, the Commission on Human Rights under its constitutional mandate had jurisdiction
over the complaint filed by the squatters-vendors who complained of the gross violations of
their human and constitutional rights. The motion to dismiss should be and is hereby
DENIED for lack of merit. 13
The CHR opined that "it was not the intention of the (Constitutional) Commission to create
only a paper tiger limited only to investigating civil and political rights, but it (should) be
(considered) a quasi-judicial body with the power to provide appropriate legal measures for
the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines . . . ." It added:
The right to earn a living is a right essential to one's right to development, to life and to
dignity. All these brazenly and violently ignored and trampled upon by respondents with little
regard at the same time for the basic rights of women and children, and their health, safety
and welfare. Their actions have psychologically scarred and traumatized the children, who
were witness and exposed to such a violent demonstration of Man's inhumanity to man.
In an Order, 14 dated 25 April 1991, petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied.
Hence, this recourse.
The petition was initially dismissed in our resolution 15 of 25 June 1991; it was
subsequently reinstated, however, in our resolution 16 of 18 June 1991, in which we also
issued a temporary restraining order, directing the CHR to "CEASE and DESIST from
further hearing CHR No. 90-1580." 17
The petitioners pose the following:
Whether or not the public respondent has jurisdiction:
a)
to investigate the alleged violations of the "business rights" of the private
respondents whose stalls were demolished by the petitioners at the instance and authority
given by the Mayor of Quezon City;
b)

to impose the fine of P500.00 each on the petitioners; and

c)
to disburse the amount of P200,000.00 as financial aid to the vendors affected by the
demolition.
In the Court's resolution of 10 October 1991, the Solicitor-General was excused from filing
his comment for public respondent CHR. The latter thus filed its own comment, 18 through
Hon. Samuel Soriano, one of its Commissioners. The Court also resolved to dispense with
the comment of private respondent Roque Fermo, who had since failed to comply with the
resolution, dated 18 July 1991, requiring such comment.
The petition has merit.
The Commission on Human Rights was created by the 1987
Constitution. 19 It was formally constituted by then President Corazon Aquino via
Executive Order No. 163, 20 issued on 5 May 1987, in the exercise of her legislative power
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at the time. It succeeded, but so superseded as well, the Presidential Committee on


Human Rights. 21
The powers and functions 22 of the Commission are defined by the 1987 Constitution, thus:
to
(1)
Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights
violations involving civil and political rights;
(2)
Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for
violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;
(3)
Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons
within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive
measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been
violated or need protection;
(4)

Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;

(5)
Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to enhance
respect for the primacy of human rights;
(6)
Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to
provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;
(7)
Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty obligations
on human rights;
(8)
Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose
possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the
truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;
(9)
Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the
performance of its functions;
(10)

Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and

(11)

Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.

In its Order of 1 March 1991, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss, the CHR theorizes that
the intention of the members of the Constitutional Commission is to make CHR a quasijudicial body. 23 This view, however, has not heretofore been shared by this Court. In
Cario v. Commission on Human Rights, 24 the Court, through then Associate Justice, now
Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, has observed that it is "only the first of the enumerated
powers and functions that bears any resemblance to adjudication or adjudgment," but that
resemblance can in no way be synonymous to the adjudicatory power itself. The Court
explained:

. . . (T)he Commission on Human Rights . . . was not meant by the fundamental law to be
another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much less take over the
functions of the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that
it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed
human rights violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication,
and cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial
agency or official. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of
a controversy is not a judicial function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the
faculty of receiving evidence and making factual conclusions in a controversy must be
accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end
that the controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively,
subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to
repeat, the Commission does not have.
After thus laying down at the outset the above rule, we now proceed to the other kernel of
this controversy and, its is, to determine the extent of CHR's investigative power.
It can hardly be disputed that the phrase "human rights" is so generic a term that any
attempt to define it, albeit not a few have tried, could at best be described as inconclusive.
Let us observe. In a symposium on human rights in the Philippines, sponsored by the
University of the Philippines in 1977, one of the questions that has been propounded is
"(w)hat do you understand by "human rights?" The participants, representing different
sectors of the society, have given the following varied answers:
Human rights are the basic rights which inhere in man by virtue of his humanity. They are
the same in all parts of the world, whether the Philippines or England, Kenya or the Soviet
Union, the United States or Japan, Kenya or Indonesia . . . .
Human rights include civil rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property; freedom of
speech, of the press, of religion, academic freedom, and the rights of the accused to due
process of law; political rights, such as the right to elect public officials, to be elected to
public office, and to form political associations and engage in politics; and social rights,
such as the right to an education, employment, and social services. 25
Human rights are the entitlement that inhere in the individual person from the sheer fact of
his humanity. . . . Because they are inherent, human rights are not granted by the State
but can only be recognized and protected by it. 26
(Human rights include all) the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights defined
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 27
Human rights are rights that pertain to man simply because he is human. They are part of
his natural birth, right, innate and inalienable. 28
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as, or more specifically, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, suggests that the scope of human rights can be understood to
include those that relate to an individual's social, economic, cultural, political and civil
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relations. It thus seems to closely identify the term to the universally accepted traits and
attributes of an individual, along with what is generally considered to be his inherent and
inalienable rights, encompassing almost all aspects of life.
Have these broad concepts been equally contemplated by the framers of our 1986
Constitutional Commission in adopting the specific provisions on human rights and in
creating an independent commission to safeguard these rights? It may of value to look back
at the country's experience under the martial law regime which may have, in fact, impelled
the inclusions of those provisions in our fundamental law. Many voices have been heard.
Among those voices, aptly represented perhaps of the sentiments expressed by others,
comes from Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, a respected jurist and an advocate of civil liberties,
who, in his paper, entitled "Present State of Human Rights in the Philippines," 29 observes:
But while the Constitution of 1935 and that of 1973 enshrined in their Bill of Rights most of
the human rights expressed in the International Covenant, these rights became unavailable
upon the proclamation of Martial Law on 21 September 1972. Arbitrary action then became
the rule. Individuals by the thousands became subject to arrest upon suspicion, and were
detained and held for indefinite periods, sometimes for years, without charges, until ordered
released by the Commander-in-Chief or this representative. The right to petition for the
redress of grievances became useless, since group actions were forbidden. So were
strikes. Press and other mass media were subjected to censorship and short term licensing.
Martial law brought with it the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and judges lost
independence and security of tenure, except members of the Supreme Court. They were
required to submit letters of resignation and were dismissed upon the acceptance thereof.
Torture to extort confessions were practiced as declared by international bodies like
Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists.
Converging our attention to the records of the Constitutional Commission, we can see the
following discussions during its 26 August 1986 deliberations:
MR. GARCIA . . . , the primacy of its (CHR) task must be made clear in view of the
importance of human rights and also because civil and political rights have been
determined by many international covenants and human rights legislations in the
Philippines, as well as the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights and subsequent
legislation. Otherwise, if we cover such a wide territory in area, we might diffuse
its impact and the precise nature of its task, hence, its effectivity would also be
curtailed.
So, it is important to delienate the parameters of its tasks so that the commission can
be most effective.
MR. BENGZON.
That is precisely my difficulty because civil and political rights are very
broad. The Article on the Bill of Rights covers civil and political rights. Every single right of
an individual involves his civil right or his political right. So, where do we draw the line?
MR. GARCIA.
Actually, these civil and political rights have been made clear in the
language of human rights advocates, as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights which addresses a number of articles on the right to life, the right against torture, the
right to fair and public hearing, and so on. These are very specific rights that are considered

enshrined in many international documents and legal instruments as constituting civil and
political rights, and these are precisely what we want to defend here.
MR. BENGZON. So, would the commissioner say civil and political rights as defined in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
MR. GARCIA. Yes, and as I have mentioned, the International Covenant of Civil and
Political Rights distinguished this right against torture.
MR. BENGZON. So as to distinguish this from the other rights that we have?
MR. GARCIA. Yes, because the other rights will encompass social and economic rights,
and there are other violations of rights of citizens which can be addressed to the proper
courts and authorities.
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MR. BENGZON. So, we will authorize the commission to define its functions, and,
therefore, in doing that the commission will be authorized to take under its wings cases
which perhaps heretofore or at this moment are under the jurisdiction of the ordinary
investigative and prosecutorial agencies of the government. Am I correct?
MR. GARCIA. No. We have already mentioned earlier that we would like to define the
specific parameters which cover civil and political rights as covered by the international
standards governing the behavior of governments regarding the particular political and civil
rights of citizens, especially of political detainees or prisoners. This particular aspect we
have experienced during martial law which we would now like to safeguard.
MR. BENGZON. Then, I go back to that question that I had. Therefore, what we are really
trying to say is, perhaps, at the proper time we could specify all those rights stated in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and defined as human rights. Those are the rights
that we envision here?
MR. GARCIA. Yes. In fact, they are also enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our
Constitution. They are integral parts of that.
MR. BENGZON. Therefore, is the Gentleman saying that all the rights under the Bill
of Rights covered by human rights?
MR. GARCIA. No, only those that pertain to civil and political rights.
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MR. RAMA. In connection with the discussion on the scope of human rights, I
would like to state that in the past regime, everytime we invoke the violation of
human rights, the Marcos regime came out with the defense that, as a matter of
fact, they had defended the rights of people to decent living, food, decent
housing and a life consistent with human dignity.

So, I think we should really limit the definition of human rights to political rights. Is
that the sense of the committee, so as not to confuse the issue?
MR. SARMIENTO. Yes, Madam President.
MR. GARCIA. I would like to continue and respond also to repeated points raised
by the previous speaker.
There are actually six areas where this Commission on Human Rights could act
effectively: 1) protection of rights of political detainees; 2) treatment of
prisoners and the prevention of tortures; 3) fair and public trials; 4) cases of
disappearances; 5) salvagings and hamletting; and 6) other crimes committed against the
religious.
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The PRESIDENT. Commissioner Guingona is recognized.


MR. GUINGONA. Thank You Madam President.
I would like to start by saying that I agree with Commissioner Garcia that we
should, in order to make the proposed Commission more effective, delimit as
much as possible, without prejudice to future expansion. The coverage of the
concept and jurisdictional area of the term "human rights". I was actually disturbed this
morning when the reference was made without qualification to the rights embodied in the
universal Declaration of Human Rights, although later on, this was qualified to refer to civil
and political rights contained therein.
If I remember correctly, Madam President, Commissioner Garcia, after mentioning the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, mentioned or linked the concept of human
right with other human rights specified in other convention which I do not remember. Am I
correct?
MR. GARCIA. Is Commissioner Guingona referring to the Declaration of Torture of 1985?
MR. GUINGONA. I do not know, but the commissioner mentioned another.
MR. GARCIA. Madam President, the other one is the International Convention on Civil and
Political Rights of which we are signatory.
MR. GUINGONA. I see. The only problem is that, although I have a copy of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights here, I do not have a copy of the other covenant mentioned. It
is quite possible that there are rights specified in that other convention which may not be
specified here. I was wondering whether it would be wise to link our concept of human
rights to general terms like "convention," rather than specify the rights contained in the
convention.
As far as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is concerned, the Committee, before
the period of amendments, could specify to us which of these articles in the Declaration will
fall within the concept of civil and political rights, not for the purpose of including these in
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the proposed constitutional article, but to give the sense of the Commission as to what
human rights would be included, without prejudice to expansion later on, if the need arises.
For example, there was no definite reply to the question of Commissioner Regalado as to
whether the right to marry would be considered a civil or a social right. It is not a
civil right?
MR. GARCIA. Madam President, I have to repeat the various specific civil and
political rights that we felt must be envisioned initially by this provision
freedom from political detention and arrest prevention of torture, right to fair
and public trials, as well as crimes involving disappearance, salvagings,
hamlettings and collective violations. So, it is limited to politically related crimes
precisely to protect the civil and political rights of a specific group of individuals,
and therefore, we are not opening it up to all of the definite areas.
MR. GUINGONA. Correct. Therefore, just for the record, the Gentlemen is no longer linking
his concept or the concept of the Committee on Human Rights with the so-called civil or
political rights as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
MR. GARCIA. When I mentioned earlier the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I was
referring to an international instrument.
MR. GUINGONA. I know.
MR. GARCIA. But it does not mean that we will refer to each and every specific article
therein, but only to those that pertain to the civil and politically related, as we understand it
in this Commission on Human Rights.
MR. GUINGONA. Madam President, I am not even clear as to the distinction between civil
and social rights.
MR. GARCIA. There are two international covenants: the International Covenant and Civil
and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights. The second covenant contains all the different rights-the rights of labor to organize,
the right to education, housing, shelter, et cetera.
MR. GUINGONA. So we are just limiting at the moment the sense of the committee to those
that the Gentlemen has specified.
MR. GARCIA. Yes, to civil and political rights.
MR. GUINGONA. Thank you.
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SR. TAN. Madam President, from the standpoint of the victims of human rights, I cannot
stress more on how much we need a Commission on Human Rights. . . .
. . . human rights victims are usually penniless. They cannot pay and very few lawyers
will accept clients who do not pay. And so, they are the ones more abused and
oppressed. Another reason is, the cases involved are very delicate torture,
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salvaging, picking up without any warrant of arrest, massacre and the persons who are
allegedly guilty are people in power like politicians, men in the military and big shots.
Therefore, this Human Rights Commission must be independent.
I would like very much to emphasize how much we need this commission, especially for
the little Filipino, the little individual who needs this kind of help and cannot get
it. And I think we should concentrate only on civil and political violations
because if we open this to land, housing and health, we will have no place to go again
and we will not receive any response. . . . 30 (emphasis supplied)
The final outcome, now written as Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution, is a
provision empowering the Commission on Human Rights to "investigate, on its own or
on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political
rights" (Sec. 1).
The term "civil rights," 31 has been defined as referring
(t)o those (rights) that belong to every citizen of the state or country, or, in wider sense, to
all its inhabitants, and are not connected with the organization or administration of the
government. They include the rights of property, marriage, equal protection of the laws,
freedom of contract, etc. Or, as otherwise defined civil rights are rights appertaining to a
person by virtue of his citizenship in a state or community. Such term may also refer, in its
general sense, to rights capable of being enforced or redressed in a civil action.
Also quite often mentioned are the guarantees against involuntary servitude, religious
persecution, unreasonable searches and seizures, and imprisonment for debt. 32
Political rights, 33 on the other hand, are said to refer to the right to participate, directly or
indirectly, in the establishment or administration of government, the right of suffrage, the
right to hold public office, the right of petition and, in general, the rights appurtenant to
citizenship vis-a-vis the management of government. 34
Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, aforequoted, it is readily
apparent that the delegates envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that would focus
its attention to the more severe cases of human rights violations. Delegate Garcia, for
instance, mentioned such areas as the "(1) protection of rights of political detainees, (2)
treatment of prisoners and the prevention of tortures, (3) fair and public trials, (4) cases of
disappearances, (5) salvagings and hamletting, and (6) other crimes committed against the
religious." While the enumeration has not likely been meant to have any preclusive effect,
more than just expressing a statement of priority, it is, nonetheless, significant for the tone it
has set. In any event, the delegates did not apparently take comfort in peremptorily making
a conclusive delineation of the CHR's scope of investigatorial jurisdiction. They have thus
seen it fit to resolve, instead, that "Congress may provide for other cases of violations of
human rights that should fall within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its
recommendation." 35
In the particular case at hand, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are
the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties, erected by private
respondents on a land which is planned to be developed into a "People's Park". More than
that, the land adjoins the North EDSA of Quezon City which, this Court can take judicial
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notice of, is a busy national highway. The consequent danger to life and limb is not thus to
be likewise simply ignored. It is indeed paradoxical that a right which is claimed to have
been violated is one that cannot, in the first place, even be invoked, if it is, in fact, extant.
Be that as it may, looking at the standards hereinabove discoursed vis-a-vis the
circumstances obtaining in this instance, we are not prepared to conclude that the order
for the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia of the private respondents can
fall within the compartment of "human rights violations involving civil and political rights"
intended by the Constitution.
On its contempt powers, the CHR is constitutionally authorized to "adopt its operational
guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance
with the Rules of Court." Accordingly, the CHR acted within its authority in providing in its
revised rules, its power "to cite or hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to
impose the appropriate penalties in accordance with the procedure and sanctions provided
for in the Rules of Court." That power to cite for contempt, however, should be understood
to apply only to violations of its adopted operational guidelines and rules of procedure
essential to carry out its investigatorial powers. To exemplify, the power to cite for contempt
could be exercised against persons who refuse to cooperate with the said body, or who
unduly withhold relevant information, or who decline to honor summons, and the like, in
pursuing its investigative work. The "order to desist" (a semantic interplay for a restraining
order) in the instance before us, however, is not investigatorial in character but
prescinds from an adjudicative power that it does not possess. In Export Processing
Zone Authority vs. Commission on Human Rights, 36 the Court, speaking through Madame
Justice Carolina Grio-Aquino, explained:
The constitutional provision directing the CHR to "provide for preventive measures and
legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need
protection" may not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to issue a
restraining order or writ of injunction for, it that were the intention, the Constitution would
have expressly said so. "Jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or by law". It is
never derived by implication.
Evidently, the "preventive measures and legal aid services" mentioned in the Constitution
refer to extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a writ of preliminary injunction) which
the CHR may seek from proper courts on behalf of the victims of human rights violations.
Not being a court of justice, the CHR itself has no jurisdiction to issue the writ, for a writ of
preliminary injunction may only be issued "by the judge of any court in which the action is
pending [within his district], or by a Justice of the Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme
Court. . . . A writ of preliminary injunction is an ancillary remedy. It is available only in a
pending principal action, for the preservation or protection of the rights and interests of a
party thereto, and for no other purpose." (footnotes omitted).
The Commission does have legal standing to indorse, for appropriate action, its findings
and recommendations to any appropriate agency of government. 37
The challenge on the CHR's disbursement of the amount of P200,000.00 by way of
financial aid to the vendors affected by the demolition is not an appropriate issue in the
instant petition. Not only is there lack of locus standi on the part of the petitioners to
question the disbursement but, more importantly, the matter lies with the appropriate
administrative agencies concerned to initially consider.
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The public respondent explains that this petition for prohibition filed by the petitioners has
become moot and academic since the case before it (CHR Case No. 90-1580) has already
been fully heard, and that the matter is merely awaiting final resolution. It is true that
prohibition is a preventive remedy to restrain the doing of an act about to be done, and not
intended to provide a remedy for an act already accomplished. 38 Here, however, said
Commission admittedly has yet to promulgate its resolution in CHR Case No. 90-1580. The
instant petition has been intended, among other things, to also prevent CHR from precisely
doing that. 39
WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for in this petition is GRANTED. The Commission on Human
Rights is hereby prohibited from further proceeding with CHR Case No. 90-1580 and from
implementing the P500.00 fine for contempt. The temporary restraining order
heretofore issued by this Court is made permanent. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., dissenting:
I reiterate my separate opinion in "Carino, et al. vs. The Commission on Human rights, et
al.," G.R. No. 96681, 2 December 1991, 204 SCRA 483 in relation to the resolution of 29
January 1991 and my dissenting opinion in "Export Processing Zone Authority vs. The
Commission on Human Rights,
et al.," G.R. No. 101476, 14 April 1992, 208 SCRA 125. I am of the considered view that the
CHR can issue a cease and desist order to maintain a status quo pending its investigation
of a case involving an alleged human rights violation; that such cease and desist order
maybe necessary in situations involving a threatened violation of human rights, which the
CHR intents to investigate.
In the case at bench, I would consider the threatened demolition of the stalls, sari-sari
stores and carinderias as well as the temporary shanties owned by the private respondents
as posing prima facie a case of human rights violation because it involves an impairment of
the civil rights of said private respondents, under the definition of civil rights cited by the
majority opinion (pp. 20-21) and which the CHR has unquestioned authority to investigate
(Section 18, Art. XIII, 1987 Constitution).
Human rights demand more than lip service and extend beyond impressive displays of
placards at street corners. Positive action and results are what count. Certainly, the cause
of human rights is not enhanced when the very constitutional agency tasked to protect and
vindicate human rights is transformed by us, from the start, into a tiger without dentures but
with maimed legs to boot. I submit the CHR should be given a wide latitude to look into and
investigate situations which may (or may not ultimately) involve human rights violations.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to remand the case to the CHR for
further proceedings.
# Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., dissenting:
I reiterate my separate opinion in "Carino, et al. vs. The Commission on Human rights, et
al.," G.R. No. 96681, 2 December 1991, 204 SCRA 483 in relation to the resolution of 29
January 1991 and my dissenting opinion in "Export Processing Zone Authority vs. The
12

Commission on Human Rights,


et al.," G.R. No. 101476, 14 April 1992, 208 SCRA 125. I am of the considered view that the
CHR can issue a cease and desist order to maintain a status quo pending its investigation
of a case involving an alleged human rights violation; that such cease and desist order
maybe necessary in situations involving a threatened violation of human rights, which the
CHR intents to investigate.
In the case at bench, I would consider the threatened demolition of the stalls, sari-sari
stores and carinderias as well as the temporary shanties owned by the private respondents
as posing prima facie a case of human rights violation because it involves an impairment of
the civil rights of said private respondents, under the definition of civil rights cited by the
majority opinion (pp. 20-21) and which the CHR has unquestioned authority to investigate
(Section 18, Art. XIII, 1987 Constitution).
Human rights demand more than lip service and extend beyond impressive displays of
placards at street corners. Positive action and results are what count. Certainly, the cause
of human rights is not enhanced when the very constitutional agency tasked to protect and
vindicate human rights is transformed by us, from the start, into a tiger without dentures but
with maimed legs to boot. I submit the CHR should be given a wide latitude to look into and
investigate situations which may (or may not ultimately) involve human rights violations.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to remand the case to the CHR for
further proceedings.

Today is Friday, July 01, 2016


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13

Atty. Alicia Risos-Vidal v. COMELEC and Joseph Ejercito Estrada, G.R. No. 206666,
January 21, 2015
Decision, Leonardo-de Castro [J]
Separate Opinion, Brion [J]
Concurring Opinion, Mendoza [J]
Dissenting Opinion, Leonen [J]
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 206666

January 21, 2015

ATTY. ALICIA RISOS-VIDAL, Petitioner,


ALFREDO S. LIM Petitioner-Intervenor,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, Respondents.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
Before the Court are (1) a Petition for Certiorari filed under Rule 64, in relation to
Rule 65, both of the Revised Rules of Court, by Atty. Alicia Risos-Vidal (RisosVidal), which essentially prays for the issuance of the writ of certiorari annulling
and setting aside the April 1, 20131 and April 23, 20132 Resolutions of the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Second Division and En bane,
respectively, in SPA No. 13-211 (DC), entitled "Atty. Alicia Risos-Vidal v. Joseph
Ejercito Estrada" for having been rendered with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (2) a Petition-in-Intervention3
filed by Alfredo S. Lim (Lim), wherein he prays to be declared the 2013 winning
candidate for Mayor of the City of Manila in view of private respondent former
President Joseph Ejercito Estradas (former President Estrada) disqualification to
run for and hold public office.
The Facts
The salient facts of the case are as follows:
On September 12, 2007, the Sandiganbayan convicted former President
Estrada, a former President of the Republic of the Philippines, for the crime of
plunder in Criminal Case No. 26558, entitled "People of the Philippines v. Joseph
Ejercito Estrada, et al." The dispositive part of the graft courts decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in
Criminal Case No. 26558 finding the accused, Former President Joseph Ejercito
Estrada, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of PLUNDER, defined in
and penalized by Republic Act No. 7080, as amended. On the other hand, for

14

failure of the prosecution to prove and establish their guilt beyond reasonable
doubt, the Court finds the accused Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Atty. Edward S.
Serapio NOT GUILTY of the crime of plunder, and accordingly, the Court hereby
orders their ACQUITTAL.
The penalty imposable for the crime of plunder under Republic Act No. 7080, as
amended by Republic Act No. 7659, is Reclusion Perpetua to Death. There being
no aggravating or mitigating circumstances, however, the lesser penalty shall
be applied in accordance with Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code. Accordingly,
the accused Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada is hereby sentenced to
suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and the accessory penalties of civil
interdiction during the period of sentence and perpetual absolute
disqualification.
The period within which accused Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada has
been under detention shall be credited to him in full as long as he agrees
voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon
convicted prisoners.
Moreover, in accordance with Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7080, as amended
by Republic Act No. 7659, the Court hereby declares the forfeiture in favor of the
government of the following:
(1) The total amount of Five Hundred Forty[-]Two Million Seven Hundred
Ninety[-]One Thousand Pesos (P545,291,000.00), with interest and income
earned, inclusive of the amount of Two Hundred Million Pesos
(P200,000,000.00), deposited in the name and account of the Erap Muslim Youth
Foundation.
(2) The amount of One Hundred Eighty[-]Nine Million Pesos (P189,000,000.00),
inclusive of interests and income earned, deposited in the Jose Velarde account.
(3) The real property consisting of a house and lot dubbed as "Boracay Mansion"
located at #100 11th Street, New Manila, Quezon City.
The cash bonds posted by accused Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Atty. Edward S.
Serapio are hereby ordered cancelled and released to the said accused or their
duly authorized representatives upon presentation of the original receipt
evidencing payment thereof and subject to the usual accounting and auditing
procedures. Likewise, the hold-departure orders issued against the said accused
are hereby recalled and declared functus oficio.4
On October 25, 2007, however, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
(former President Arroyo) extended executive clemency, by way of pardon, to
former President Estrada. The full text of said pardon states:
MALACAAN PALACE
MANILA

15

By the President of the Philippines


PARDON
WHEREAS, this Administration has a policy of releasing inmates who have
reached the age of seventy (70),
WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has been under detention for six and a half
years,
WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any
elective position or office,
IN VIEW HEREOF and pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by the
Constitution, I hereby grant executive clemency to JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA,
convicted by the Sandiganbayan of Plunder and imposed a penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights.
The forfeitures imposed by the Sandiganbayan remain in force and in full,
including all writs and processes issued by the Sandiganbayan in pursuance
hereof, except for the bank account(s) he owned before his tenure as President.
Upon acceptance of this pardon by JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, this pardon shall
take effect.
Given under my hand at the City of Manila, this 25th Day of October, in the year
of Our Lord, two thousand and seven.
Gloria M. Arroyo (sgd.)
By the President:
IGNACIO R. BUNYE (sgd.)
Acting Executive Secretary5
On October 26, 2007, at 3:35 p.m., former President Estrada "received and
accepted"6 the pardon by affixing his signature beside his handwritten notation
thereon.
On November 30, 2009, former President Estrada filed a Certificate of
Candidacy7 for the position of President. During that time, his candidacy earned
three oppositions in the COMELEC: (1) SPA No. 09-024 (DC), a "Petition to Deny
Due Course and Cancel Certificate of Candidacy" filed by Rev. Elly Velez B. Lao
Pamatong, ESQ; (2) SPA No. 09-028 (DC), a petition for "Disqualification as
Presidential Candidate" filed by Evilio C. Pormento (Pormento); and (3) SPA No.
09-104 (DC), a "Petition to Disqualify Estrada Ejercito, Joseph M.from Running as
President due to Constitutional Disqualification and Creating Confusion to the
Prejudice of Estrada, Mary Lou B" filed by Mary Lou Estrada. In separate
Resolutions8 dated January 20, 2010 by the COMELEC, Second Division,

16

however, all three petitions were effectively dismissed on the uniform grounds
that (i) the Constitutional proscription on reelection applies to a sitting
president; and (ii) the pardon granted to former President Estrada by former
President Arroyo restored the formers right to vote and be voted for a public
office. The subsequent motions for reconsideration thereto were denied by the
COMELEC En banc.
After the conduct of the May 10, 2010 synchronized elections, however, former
President Estrada only managed to garner the second highest number of votes.
Of the three petitioners above-mentioned, only Pormento sought recourse to
this Court and filed a petition for certiorari, which was docketed as G.R. No.
191988, entitled "Atty. Evilio C. Pormento v. Joseph ERAP Ejercito Estrada and
Commission on Elections." But in a Resolution9 dated August 31, 2010, the
Court dismissed the aforementioned petition on the ground of mootness
considering that former President Estrada lost his presidential bid.
On October 2, 2012, former President Estrada once more ventured into the
political arena, and filed a Certificate of Candidacy,10 this time vying for a local
elective post, that ofthe Mayor of the City of Manila.
On January 24, 2013, Risos-Vidal, the petitioner in this case, filed a Petition for
Disqualification against former President Estrada before the COMELEC. The
petition was docketed as SPA No. 13-211 (DC). Risos Vidal anchored her petition
on the theory that "[Former President Estrada] is Disqualified to Run for Public
Office because of his Conviction for Plunder by the Sandiganbayan in Criminal
Case No. 26558 entitled People of the Philippines vs. Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Sentencing Him to Suffer the Penalty of Reclusion Perpetuawith Perpetual
Absolute Disqualification."11 She relied on Section 40 of the Local Government
Code (LGC), in relation to Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), which
state respectively, that:
Sec. 40, Local Government Code:
SECTION 40. Disqualifications.- The following persons are disqualified from
running for any elective local position:
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude
or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within
two (2) years after serving sentence; (b) Those removed from office as a result
of an administrative case;
(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the
Republic;
(d) Those with dual citizenship;
(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;

17

(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the
right to reside abroad and continue to avail of the same right after the
effectivity of this Code; and
(g) The insane or feeble minded. (Emphasis supplied.)
Sec. 12, Omnibus Election Code:
Section 12. Disqualifications. - Any person who has been declared by competent
authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgmentfor
subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which he has been
sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving
moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any public
office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty. (Emphases
supplied.)
In a Resolution dated April 1, 2013,the COMELEC, Second Division, dismissed
the petition for disqualification, the fallo of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for
utter lack of merit.12
The COMELEC, Second Division, opined that "[h]aving taken judicial cognizance
of the consolidated resolution for SPA No. 09-028 (DC) and SPA No. 09-104 (DC)
and the 10 May 2010 En Banc resolution affirming it, this Commission will not be
labor the controversy further. Moreso, [Risos-Vidal] failed to present cogent
proof sufficient to reverse the standing pronouncement of this Commission
declaring categorically that [former President Estradas] right to seek public
office has been effectively restored by the pardon vested upon him by former
President Gloria M. Arroyo. Since this Commission has already spoken, it will no
longer engage in disquisitions of a settled matter lest indulged in wastage of
government resources."13
The subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by Risos-Vidal was denied in a
Resolution dated April 23, 2013.
On April 30, 2013, Risos-Vidal invoked the Courts jurisdiction by filing the
present petition. She presented five issues for the Courts resolution, to wit:
I. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT
RESPONDENT ESTRADAS PARDON WAS NOT CONDITIONAL;
II. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT FINDING THAT
RESPONDENT ESTRADA IS DISQUALIFIED TO RUN AS MAYOR OF MANILA UNDER
SEC. 40 OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTCODE OF 1991 FOR HAVING BEEN
CONVICTED OF PLUNDER, AN OFFENSE INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE;

18

III. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION


AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN DISMISSING THE PETITION
FOR DISQUALIFICATION ON THE GROUND THAT THE CASE INVOLVES THE SAME
OR SIMILAR ISSUES IT ALREADY RESOLVED IN THE CASES OF "PORMENTO VS.
ESTRADA", SPA NO. 09-028 (DC) AND IN "RE: PETITION TO DISQUALIFY ESTRADA
EJERCITO, JOSEPH M. FROM RUNNING AS PRESIDENT, ETC.," SPA NO. 09-104
(DC);
IV. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT RULING THAT
RESPONDENT ESTRADAS PARDON NEITHER RESTORED HIS RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE
NOR REMITTED HIS PERPETUAL ABSOLUTE DISQUALIFICATION FROM SEEKING
PUBLIC OFFICE; and
V. RESPONDENT COMELEC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT HAVING EXERCISED
ITS POWER TO MOTU PROPRIO DISQUALIFY RESPONDENT ESTRADA IN THE FACE
OF HIS PATENT DISQUALIFICATION TO RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE BECAUSE OF HIS
PERPETUAL AND ABSOLUTE DISQUALIFICATION TO SEEK PUBLIC OFFICE AND TO
VOTE RESULTING FROM HIS CRIMINAL CONVICTION FOR PLUNDER.14
While this case was pending beforethe Court, or on May 13, 2013, the elections
were conducted as scheduled and former President Estrada was voted into office
with 349,770 votes cast in his favor. The next day, the local board of canvassers
proclaimed him as the duly elected Mayor of the City of Manila.
On June 7, 2013, Lim, one of former President Estradas opponents for the
position of Mayor, moved for leave to intervene in this case. His motion was
granted by the Court in a Resolution15 dated June 25, 2013. Lim subscribed to
Risos-Vidals theory that former President Estrada is disqualified to run for and
hold public office as the pardon granted to the latter failed to expressly remit his
perpetual disqualification. Further, given that former President Estrada is
disqualified to run for and hold public office, all the votes obtained by the latter
should be declared stray, and, being the second placer with 313,764 votes to his
name, he (Lim) should be declared the rightful winning candidate for the
position of Mayor of the City of Manila.
The Issue
Though raising five seemingly separate issues for resolution, the petition filed by
Risos-Vidal actually presents only one essential question for resolution by the
Court, that is, whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that former President
Estrada is qualified to vote and be voted for in public office as a result of the
pardon granted to him by former President Arroyo.
In her petition, Risos-Vidal starts her discussion by pointing out that the pardon
granted to former President Estrada was conditional as evidenced by the latters
express acceptance thereof. The "acceptance," she claims, is an indication of

19

the conditional natureof the pardon, with the condition being embodied in the
third Whereas Clause of the pardon, i.e., "WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has
publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office." She
explains that the aforementioned commitment was what impelled former
President Arroyo to pardon former President Estrada, without it, the clemency
would not have been extended. And any breach thereof, that is, whenformer
President Estrada filed his Certificate of Candidacy for President and Mayor of
the City of Manila, he breached the condition of the pardon; hence, "he ought to
be recommitted to prison to serve the unexpired portion of his sentence x x x
and disqualifies him as a candidate for the mayoralty [position] of Manila."16
Nonetheless, Risos-Vidal clarifies that the fundamental basis upon which former
President Estrada mustbe disqualified from running for and holding public
elective office is actually the proscription found in Section 40 of the LGC, in
relation to Section 12 ofthe OEC. She argues that the crime of plunder is both an
offense punishable by imprisonment of one year or more and involving moral
turpitude; such that former President Estrada must be disqualified to run for and
hold public elective office.
Even with the pardon granted to former President Estrada, however, Risos-Vidal
insists that the same did not operate to make available to former President
Estrada the exception provided under Section 12 of the OEC, the pardon being
merely conditional and not absolute or plenary. Moreover, Risos-Vidal puts a
premium on the ostensible requirements provided under Articles 36 and 41 of
the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
ART. 36. Pardon; its effects. A pardon shall not work the restoration of the right
to hold publicoffice, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be expressly
restored by the terms of the pardon.
A pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from the payment of the civil
indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence.
xxxx
ART. 41. Reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal Their accessory penalties.
The penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal shall carry with them
that of civil interdiction for life or during the period of the sentence as the case
may be, and that of perpetual absolute disqualification which the offender shall
suffer even though pardoned as to the principal penalty, unless the same shall
have been expressly remitted in the pardon. (Emphases supplied.)
She avers that in view of the foregoing provisions of law, it is not enough that a
pardon makes a general statement that such pardon carries with it the
restoration of civil and political rights. By virtue of Articles 36 and 41, a pardon
restoring civil and political rights without categorically making mention what
specific civil and political rights are restored "shall not work to restore the right
to hold public office, or the right of suffrage; nor shall it remit the accessory
penalties of civil interdiction and perpetual absolute disqualification for the

20

principal penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal."17 In other


words, she considers the above constraints as mandatory requirements that
shun a general or implied restoration of civil and political rights in pardons.
Risos-Vidal cites the concurring opinions of Associate Justices Teodoro R. Padilla
and Florentino P. Feliciano in Monsanto v. Factoran, Jr.18 to endorse her position
that "[t]he restoration of the right to hold public office to one who has lost such
right by reason of conviction in a criminal case, but subsequently pardoned,
cannot be left to inference, no matter how intensely arguable, but must be
statedin express, explicit, positive and specific language."
Applying Monsantoto former President Estradas case, Risos-Vidal reckons that
"such express restoration is further demanded by the existence of the condition
in the [third] [W]hereas [C]lause of the pardon x x x indubitably indicating that
the privilege to hold public office was not restored to him."19
On the other hand, the Office ofthe Solicitor General (OSG) for public respondent
COMELEC, maintains that "the issue of whether or not the pardon extended to
[former President Estrada] restored his right to run for public office had already
been passed upon by public respondent COMELEC way back in 2010 via its
rulings in SPA Nos. 09-024, 09-028 and 09-104, there is no cogent reason for it
to reverse its standing pronouncement and declare [former President Estrada]
disqualified to run and be voted as mayor of the City of Manila in the absence of
any new argument that would warrant its reversal. To be sure, public respondent
COMELEC correctly exercised its discretion in taking judicial cognizance of the
aforesaid rulings which are known toit and which can be verified from its own
records, in accordance with Section 2, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court on the
courts discretionary power to take judicial notice of matters which are of public
knowledge, orare capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be
known to them because of their judicial functions."20
Further, the OSG contends that "[w]hile at first glance, it is apparent that
[former President Estradas] conviction for plunder disqualifies him from running
as mayor of Manila under Section 40 of the [LGC], the subsequent grant of
pardon to him, however, effectively restored his right to run for any public
office."21 The restoration of his right to run for any public office is the exception
to the prohibition under Section 40 of the LGC, as provided under Section 12 of
the OEC. As to the seeming requirement of Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised
Penal Code, i.e., the express restoration/remission of a particular right to be
stated in the pardon, the OSG asserts that "an airtight and rigid interpretation of
Article 36 and Article 41 of the [RPC] x x x would be stretching too much the
clear and plain meaning of the aforesaid provisions."22 Lastly, taking into
consideration the third Whereas Clause of the pardon granted to former
President Estrada, the OSG supports the position that it "is not an integral part
of the decree of the pardon and cannot therefore serve to restrict its
effectivity."23

21

Thus, the OSG concludes that the "COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed
Resolutions."24
For his part, former President Estrada presents the following significant
arguments to defend his stay in office: that "the factual findings of public
respondent COMELEC, the Constitutional body mandated to administer and
enforce all laws relative to the conduct of the elections, [relative to the
absoluteness of the pardon, the effects thereof, and the eligibility of former
President Estrada to seek public elective office] are binding [and conclusive] on
this Honorable Supreme Court;" that he "was granted an absolute pardon and
thereby restored to his full civil and political rights, including the right to seek
public elective office such as the mayoral (sic) position in the City of Manila;"
that "the majority decision in the case of Salvacion A. Monsanto v. Fulgencio S.
Factoran, Jr.,which was erroneously cited by both Vidal and Lim as authority for
their respective claims, x x x reveal that there was no discussion whatsoever in
the ratio decidendi of the Monsanto case as to the alleged necessity for an
expressed restoration of the right to hold public office in the pardon as a legal
prerequisite to remove the subject perpetual special disqualification;" that
moreover, the "principal question raised in this Monsanto case is whether or not
a public officer, who has been granted an absolute pardon by the Chief
Executive, is entitled to reinstatement toher former position without need of a
new appointment;" that his "expressed acceptance [of the pardon] is not proof
that the pardon extended to [him] is conditional and not absolute;" that this
case is a mere rehash of the casesfiled against him during his candidacy for
President back in 2009-2010; that Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code
"cannot abridge or diminish the pardoning power of the President expressly
granted by the Constitution;" that the text of the pardon granted to him
substantially, if not fully, complied with the requirement posed by Article 36 of
the Revised Penal Code as it was categorically stated in the said document that
he was "restored to his civil and political rights;" that since pardon is an act of
grace, it must be construed favorably in favor of the grantee;25 and that his
disqualification will result in massive disenfranchisement of the hundreds of
thousands of Manileos who voted for him.26
The Court's Ruling
The petition for certiorari lacks merit.
Former President Estrada was granted an absolute pardon that fully restored
allhis civil and political rights, which naturally includes the right to seek public
elective office, the focal point of this controversy. The wording of the pardon
extended to former President Estrada is complete, unambiguous, and
unqualified. It is likewise unfettered by Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal
Code. The only reasonable, objective, and constitutional interpretation of the
language of the pardon is that the same in fact conforms to Articles 36 and 41
of the Revised Penal Code. Recall that the petition for disqualification filed by
Risos-Vidal against former President Estrada, docketed as SPA No. 13-211 (DC),
was anchored on Section 40 of the LGC, in relation to Section 12 of the OEC,

22

that is, having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment of one


year or more, and involving moral turpitude, former President Estrada must be
disqualified to run for and hold public elective office notwithstanding the fact
that he is a grantee of a pardon that includes a statement expressing "[h]e is
hereby restored to his civil and political rights." Risos-Vidal theorizes that former
President Estrada is disqualified from running for Mayor of Manila inthe May 13,
2013 Elections, and remains disqualified to hold any local elective post despite
the presidential pardon extended to him in 2007 by former President Arroyo for
the reason that it (pardon) did not expressly provide for the remission of the
penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification, particularly the restoration of his
(former President Estrada) right to vote and bevoted upon for public office. She
invokes Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code as the foundations of her
theory.
It is insisted that, since a textual examination of the pardon given to and
accepted by former President Estrada does not actually specify which political
right is restored, it could be inferred that former President Arroyo did not
deliberately intend to restore former President Estradas rights of suffrage and
to hold public office, orto otherwise remit the penalty of perpetual absolute
disqualification. Even if her intention was the contrary, the same cannot be
upheld based on the pardons text.
The pardoning power of the President cannot be limited by legislative action.
The 1987 Constitution, specifically Section 19 of Article VII and Section 5 of
Article IX-C, provides that the President of the Philippines possesses the power
to grant pardons, along with other acts of executive clemency, to wit:
Section 19. Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this
Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons,
and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment.
He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a
majority of all the Members of the Congress.
xxxx
Section 5. No pardon, amnesty, parole, or suspension of sentence for violation of
election laws, rules, and regulations shall be granted by the President without
the favorable recommendation of the Commission.
It is apparent from the foregoing constitutional provisions that the only
instances in which the President may not extend pardon remain to be in: (1)
impeachment cases; (2) cases that have not yet resulted in a final conviction;
and (3) cases involving violations of election laws, rules and regulations in which
there was no favorable recommendation coming from the COMELEC. Therefore,
it can be argued that any act of Congress by way of statute cannot operate to
delimit the pardoning power of the President.

23

In Cristobal v. Labrador27 and Pelobello v. Palatino,28 which were decided under


the 1935 Constitution,wherein the provision granting pardoning power to the
President shared similar phraseology with what is found in the present 1987
Constitution, the Court then unequivocally declared that "subject to the
limitations imposed by the Constitution, the pardoning power cannot be
restricted or controlled by legislative action." The Court reiterated this
pronouncement in Monsanto v. Factoran, Jr.29 thereby establishing that, under
the present Constitution, "a pardon, being a presidential prerogative, should not
be circumscribed by legislative action." Thus, it is unmistakably the longstanding position of this Court that the exercise of the pardoning power is
discretionary in the President and may not be interfered with by Congress or the
Court, except only when it exceeds the limits provided for by the Constitution.
This doctrine of non-diminution or non-impairment of the Presidents power of
pardon by acts of Congress, specifically through legislation, was strongly
adhered to by an overwhelming majority of the framers of the 1987 Constitution
when they flatly rejected a proposal to carve out an exception from the
pardoning power of the President in the form of "offenses involving graft and
corruption" that would be enumerated and defined by Congress through the
enactment of a law. The following is the pertinent portion lifted from the Record
of the Commission (Vol. II):
MR. ROMULO. I ask that Commissioner Tan be recognized to introduce an
amendment on the same section.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Tan is recognized.
SR. TAN. Madam President, lines 7 to 9 state:
However, the power to grant executive clemency for violations of corrupt
practices laws may be limited by legislation.
I suggest that this be deletedon the grounds that, first, violations of corrupt
practices may include a very little offense like stealing P10; second, which I
think is more important, I get the impression, rightly or wrongly, that
subconsciously we are drafting a constitution on the premise that all our future
Presidents will bebad and dishonest and, consequently, their acts will be lacking
in wisdom. Therefore, this Article seems to contribute towards the creation of an
anti-President Constitution or a President with vast responsibilities but no
corresponding power except to declare martial law. Therefore, I request that
these lines be deleted.
MR. REGALADO. Madam President,may the Committee react to that?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, please.
MR. REGALADO. This was inserted here on the resolution of Commissioner
Davide because of the fact that similar to the provisions on the Commission on
Elections, the recommendation of that Commission is required before executive

24

clemency isgranted because violations of the election laws go into the very
political life of the country.
With respect to violations of our Corrupt Practices Law, we felt that it is also
necessary to have that subjected to the same condition because violation of our
Corrupt Practices Law may be of such magnitude as to affect the very economic
systemof the country. Nevertheless, as a compromise, we provided here that it
will be the Congress that will provide for the classification as to which
convictions will still require prior recommendation; after all, the Congress could
take into account whether or not the violation of the Corrupt Practices Law is of
such magnitude as to affect the economic life of the country, if it is in the
millions or billions of dollars. But I assume the Congress in its collective wisdom
will exclude those petty crimes of corruption as not to require any further
stricture on the exercise of executive clemency because, of course, there is a
whale of a difference if we consider a lowly clerk committing malversation of
government property or funds involving one hundred pesos. But then, we also
anticipate the possibility that the corrupt practice of a public officer is of such
magnitude as to have virtually drained a substantial portion of the treasury, and
then he goes through all the judicial processes and later on, a President who
may have close connections with him or out of improvident compassion may
grant clemency under such conditions. That is why we left it to Congress to
provide and make a classification based on substantial distinctions between a
minor act of corruption or an act of substantial proportions. SR. TAN. So, why do
we not just insert the word GROSS or GRAVE before the word "violations"?
MR. REGALADO. We feel that Congress can make a better distinction because
"GRAVE" or "GROSS" can be misconstrued by putting it purely as a policy.
MR. RODRIGO. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized.
MR. RODRIGO. May I speak in favor of the proposed amendment?
THE PRESIDENT. Please proceed.
MR. RODRIGO. The power to grant executive clemency is essentially an
executive power, and that is precisely why it is called executive clemency. In this
sentence, which the amendment seeks to delete, an exception is being made.
Congress, which is the legislative arm, is allowed to intrude into this prerogative
of the executive. Then it limits the power of Congress to subtract from this
prerogative of the President to grant executive clemency by limiting the power
of Congress to only corrupt practices laws. There are many other crimes more
serious than these. Under this amendment, Congress cannot limit the power of
executive clemency in cases of drug addiction and drug pushing which are very,
very serious crimes that can endanger the State; also, rape with murder,
kidnapping and treason. Aside from the fact that it is a derogation of the power
of the President to grant executive clemency, it is also defective in that it singles

25

out just one kind of crime. There are far more serious crimes which are not
included.
MR. REGALADO. I will just make one observation on that. We admit that the
pardoning power is anexecutive power. But even in the provisions on the
COMELEC, one will notice that constitutionally, it is required that there be a
favorable recommendation by the Commission on Elections for any violation of
election laws.
At any rate, Commissioner Davide, as the principal proponent of that and as a
member of the Committee, has explained in the committee meetings we had
why he sought the inclusion of this particular provision. May we call on
Commissioner Davide to state his position.
MR. DAVIDE. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is recognized.
MR. DAVIDE. I am constrained to rise to object to the proposal. We have just
approved the Article on Accountability of Public Officers. Under it, it is mandated
that a public office is a public trust, and all government officers are under
obligation to observe the utmost of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and
efficiency, to lead modest lives and to act with patriotism and justice.
In all cases, therefore, which would go into the verycore of the concept that a
public office is a public trust, the violation is itself a violation not only of the
economy but the moral fabric of public officials. And that is the reason we now
want that if there is any conviction for the violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, which, in effect, is a violation of the public trust character of the
public office, no pardon shall be extended to the offender, unless some
limitations are imposed.
Originally, my limitation was, it should be with the concurrence of the convicting
court, but the Committee left it entirely to the legislature to formulate the
mechanics at trying, probably, to distinguish between grave and less grave or
serious cases of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Perhaps
this is now the best time, since we have strengthened the Article on
Accountability of Public Officers, to accompany it with a mandate that the
Presidents right to grant executive clemency for offenders or violators of laws
relating to the concept of a public office may be limited by Congress itself.
MR. SARMIENTO. Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Sarmiento is recognized.
MR. SARMIENTO. May I briefly speak in favor of the amendment by deletion.
Madam President, over and over again, we have been saying and arguing before
this Constitutional Commission that we are emasculating the powers of the

26

presidency, and this provision to me is another clear example of that. So, I


speak against this provision. Even the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions do not
provide for this kind of provision.
I am supporting the amendment by deletion of Commissioner Tan.
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Tingson would like to be recognized.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Tingson is recognized.
MR. TINGSON. Madam President, I am also in favor of the amendment by
deletion because I am in sympathy with the stand of Commissioner Francisco
"Soc" Rodrigo. I do believe and we should remember that above all the elected
or appointed officers of our Republic, the leader is the President. I believe that
the country will be as the President is, and if we systematically emasculate the
power of this presidency, the time may come whenhe will be also handcuffed
that he will no longer be able to act like he should be acting.
So, Madam President, I am in favor of the deletion of this particular line.
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Colayco would like to be recognized.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Colayco is recognized.
MR. COLAYCO. Thank you very much, Madam President.
I seldom rise here to object to or to commend or to recommend the approval of
proposals, but now I find that the proposal of Commissioner Tan is worthy of
approval of this body.
Why are we singling out this particular offense? There are other crimes which
cast a bigger blot on the moral character of the public officials.
Finally, this body should not be the first one to limit the almost absolute power
of our Chief Executive in deciding whether to pardon, to reprieve or to commute
the sentence rendered by the court.
I thank you.
THE PRESIDENT. Are we ready to vote now?
MR. ROMULO. Commissioner Padilla would like to be recognized, and after him
will be Commissioner Natividad.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Padilla is recognized.
MR. PADILLA. Only one sentence, Madam President. The Sandiganbayan has
been called the Anti-Graft Court, so if this is allowed to stay, it would mean that
the Presidents power togrant pardon or reprieve will be limited to the cases

27

decided by the Anti-Graft Court, when as already stated, there are many
provisions inthe Revised Penal Code that penalize more serious offenses.
Moreover, when there is a judgment of conviction and the case merits the
consideration of the exercise of executive clemency, usually under Article V of
the Revised Penal Code the judge will recommend such exercise of clemency.
And so, I am in favor of the amendment proposed by Commissioner Tan for the
deletion of this last sentence in Section 17.
THE PRESIDENT. Are we ready to vote now, Mr. Floor Leader?
MR. NATIVIDAD. Just one more.
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Natividad is recognized.
MR. NATIVIDAD. I am also against this provision which will again chip more
powers from the President. In case of other criminals convicted in our society,
we extend probation to them while in this case, they have already been
convicted and we offer mercy. The only way we can offer mercy to them is
through this executive clemency extended to them by the President. If we still
close this avenue to them, they would be prejudiced even worse than the
murderers and the more vicious killers in our society. I do not think they deserve
this opprobrium and punishment under the new Constitution.
I am in favor of the proposed amendment of Commissioner Tan.
MR. ROMULO. We are ready tovote, Madam President.
THE PRESIDENT. Is this accepted by the Committee?
MR. REGALADO. The Committee, Madam President, prefers to submit this to the
floor and also because of the objection of the main proponent, Commissioner
Davide. So we feel that the Commissioners should vote on this question.
VOTING
THE PRESIDENT. As many as are in favor of the proposed amendment of
Commissioner Tan to delete the last sentence of Section 17 appearing on lines
7, 8 and 9, please raise their hand. (Several Members raised their hand.)
As many as are against, please raise their hand. (Few Members raised their
hand.)
The results show 34 votes in favor and 4 votes against; the amendment is
approved.30 (Emphases supplied.)
The proper interpretation of Articles
36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.

28

The foregoing pronouncements solidify the thesis that Articles 36 and 41 of the
Revised Penal Code cannot, in any way, serve to abridge or diminish the
exclusive power and prerogative of the President to pardon persons convicted of
violating penal statutes.
The Court cannot subscribe to Risos-Vidals interpretation that the said Articles
contain specific textual commands which must be strictly followed in order to
free the beneficiary of presidential grace from the disqualifications specifically
prescribed by them.
Again, Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
ART. 36. Pardon; its effects. A pardon shall not work the restoration of the right
to hold publicoffice, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be expressly
restored by the terms of the pardon.
A pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from the payment of the civil
indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence.
xxxx
ART. 41. Reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal Their accessory penalties.
The penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal shall carry with them
that of civil interdiction for life or during the period of the sentence as the case
may be, and that of perpetual absolute disqualification which the offender shall
suffer even though pardoned as to the principal penalty, unless the same shall
have been expressly remitted in the pardon. (Emphases supplied.)
A rigid and inflexible reading of the above provisions of law, as proposed by
Risos-Vidal, is unwarranted, especially so if it will defeat or unduly restrict the
power of the President to grant executive clemency.
It is well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that where the words of a statute are
clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and
applied without attempted interpretation. Verba legis non est recedendum. From
the words of a statute there should be no departure.31 It is this Courts firm
view that the phrase in the presidential pardon at issue which declares that
former President Estrada "is hereby restored to his civil and political rights"
substantially complies with the requirement of express restoration.
The Dissent of Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen agreed with Risos Vidal that there
was no express remission and/or restoration of the rights of suffrage and/or to
hold public office in the pardon granted to former President Estrada, as required
by Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.
Justice Leonen posits in his Dissent that the aforementioned codal provisions
must be followed by the President, as they do not abridge or diminish the

29

Presidents power to extend clemency. He opines that they do not reduce the
coverage of the Presidents pardoning power. Particularly, he states:
Articles 36 and 41 refer only to requirements of convention or form. They only
provide a procedural prescription. They are not concerned with areas where or
the instances when the President may grant pardon; they are only concerned
with how he or she is to exercise such power so that no other governmental
instrumentality needs to intervene to give it full effect.
All that Articles 36 and 41 do is prescribe that, if the President wishes to include
in the pardon the restoration of the rights of suffrage and to hold public office,
or the remission of the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute
disqualification,he or she should do so expressly. Articles 36 and 41 only ask
that the President state his or her intentions clearly, directly, firmly, precisely,
and unmistakably. To belabor the point, the President retains the power to make
such restoration or remission, subject to a prescription on the manner by which
he or she is to state it.32
With due respect, I disagree with the overbroad statement that Congress may
dictate as to how the President may exercise his/her power of executive
clemency. The form or manner by which the President, or Congress for that
matter, should exercise their respective Constitutional powers or prerogatives
cannot be interfered with unless it is so provided in the Constitution. This is the
essence of the principle of separation of powers deeply ingrained in our system
of government which "ordains that each of the three great branches of
government has exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in matters falling within
its own constitutionally allocated sphere."33 Moreso, this fundamental principle
must be observed if noncompliance with the form imposed by one branch on a
co-equal and coordinate branch will result into the diminution of an exclusive
Constitutional prerogative.
For this reason, Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code should be
construed in a way that will give full effect to the executive clemency granted
by the President, instead of indulging in an overly strict interpretation that may
serve to impair or diminish the import of the pardon which emanated from the
Office of the President and duly signed by the Chief Executive himself/herself.
The said codal provisions must be construed to harmonize the power of
Congress to define crimes and prescribe the penalties for such crimes and the
power of the President to grant executive clemency. All that the said provisions
impart is that the pardon of the principal penalty does notcarry with it the
remission of the accessory penalties unless the President expressly includes said
accessory penalties in the pardon. It still recognizes the Presidential prerogative
to grant executive clemency and, specifically, to decide to pardon the principal
penalty while excluding its accessory penalties or to pardon both. Thus, Articles
36 and 41 only clarify the effect of the pardon so decided upon by the President
on the penalties imposedin accordance with law.
A close scrutiny of the text of the pardon extended to former President Estrada
shows that both the principal penalty of reclusion perpetua and its accessory

30

penalties are included in the pardon. The first sentence refers to the executive
clemency extended to former President Estrada who was convicted by the
Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of reclusion perpetua. The
latter is the principal penalty pardoned which relieved him of imprisonment. The
sentence that followed, which states that "(h)e is hereby restored to his civil and
political rights," expressly remitted the accessory penalties that attached to the
principal penalty of reclusion perpetua. Hence, even if we apply Articles 36 and
41 of the Revised Penal Code, it is indubitable from the textof the pardon that
the accessory penalties of civil interdiction and perpetual absolute
disqualification were expressly remitted together with the principal penalty of
reclusion perpetua.
In this jurisdiction, the right toseek public elective office is recognized by law as
falling under the whole gamut of civil and political rights.
Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9225,34 otherwise known as the "Citizenship
Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003," reads as follows:
Section 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. Those who retain or reacquire
Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and
be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of
the Philippines and the following conditions: (1) Those intending to exercise their
right of suffrage must meet the requirements under Section 1, Article V of the
Constitution, Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as "The Overseas
Absentee Voting Act of 2003" and other existing laws;
(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the
qualifications for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and
existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a
personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any
public officer authorized to administer an oath;
(3) Those appointed to any public office shall subscribe and swear an oath of
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and its duly constituted authorities
prior to their assumption of office: Provided, That they renounce their oath of
allegiance to the country where they took that oath; (4) Those intending to
practice their profession in the Philippines shall apply with the proper authority
for a license or permit to engage in such practice; and
(5) That right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public office in the
Philippines cannot be exercised by, or extended to, those who:
(a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in the country of which
theyare naturalized citizens; and/or
(b) are in active service as commissioned or non commissioned officers in the
armed forces of the country which they are naturalized citizens. (Emphases
supplied.)

31

No less than the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which
the Philippines is a signatory, acknowledges the existence of said right. Article
25(b) of the Convention states: Article 25
Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the
distinctions mentioned in Article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:
xxxx
(b) To vote and to be electedat genuine periodic elections which shall be by
universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the
free expression of the will of the electors[.] (Emphasis supplied.)
Recently, in Sobejana-Condon v. Commission on Elections,35 the Court
unequivocally referred to the right to seek public elective office as a political
right, to wit:
Stated differently, it is an additional qualification for elective office specific only
to Filipino citizens who re-acquire their citizenship under Section 3 of R.A. No.
9225. It is the operative act that restores their right to run for public office. The
petitioners failure to comply there with in accordance with the exact tenor of
the law, rendered ineffectual the Declaration of Renunciation of Australian
Citizenship she executed on September 18, 2006. As such, she is yet to regain
her political right to seek elective office. Unless she executes a sworn
renunciation of her Australian citizenship, she is ineligible to run for and hold
any elective office in the Philippines. (Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, from both law and jurisprudence, the right to seek public elective office is
unequivocally considered as a political right. Hence, the Court reiterates its
earlier statement that the pardon granted to former President Estrada admits no
other interpretation other than to mean that, upon acceptance of the pardon
granted tohim, he regained his FULL civil and political rights including the right
to seek elective office.
On the other hand, the theory of Risos-Vidal goes beyond the plain meaning of
said penal provisions; and prescribes a formal requirement that is not only
unnecessary but, if insisted upon, could be in derogation of the constitutional
prohibition relative to the principle that the exercise of presidential pardon
cannot be affected by legislative action.
Risos-Vidal relied heavily on the separate concurring opinions in Monsanto v.
Factoran, Jr.36 to justify her argument that an absolute pardon must expressly
state that the right to hold public office has been restored, and that the penalty
of perpetual absolute disqualification has been remitted.
This is incorrect.
Her reliance on said opinions is utterly misplaced. Although the learned views of
Justices Teodoro R. Padilla and Florentino P. Feliciano are to be respected, they

32

do not form partof the controlling doctrine nor to be considered part of the law
of the land. On the contrary, a careful reading of the majority opinion in
Monsanto, penned by no less than Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan, reveals no
statement that denotes adherence to a stringent and overly nuanced application
of Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code that will in effect require the
President to use a statutorily prescribed language in extending executive
clemency, even if the intent of the President can otherwise be deduced from the
text or words used in the pardon. Furthermore, as explained above, the pardon
here is consistent with, and not contrary to, the provisions of Articles 36 and 41.
The disqualification of former President Estrada under Section 40 of the LGC in
relation to Section 12 of the OEC was removed by his acceptance of the
absolute pardon granted to him.
Section 40 of the LGC identifies who are disqualified from running for any
elective local position. Risos-Vidal argues that former President Estrada is
disqualified under item (a), to wit:
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude
or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within
two (2) years after serving sentence[.] (Emphasis supplied.)
Likewise, Section 12 of the OEC provides for similar prohibitions, but it provides
for an exception, to wit:
Section 12. Disqualifications. x x x unless he has been given plenary pardon or
granted amnesty. (Emphasis supplied.)
As earlier stated, Risos-Vidal maintains that former President Estradas
conviction for plunder disqualifies him from running for the elective local
position of Mayor of the City of Manila under Section 40(a) of the LGC. However,
the subsequent absolute pardon granted to former President Estrada effectively
restored his right to seek public elective office. This is made possible by reading
Section 40(a) of the LGC in relation to Section 12 of the OEC.
While it may be apparent that the proscription in Section 40(a) of the LGC is
worded in absolute terms, Section 12 of the OEC provides a legal escape from
the prohibition a plenary pardon or amnesty. In other words, the latter
provision allows any person who has been granted plenary pardon or amnesty
after conviction by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude, inter
alia, to run for and hold any public office, whether local or national position.
Take notice that the applicability of Section 12 of the OEC to candidates running
for local elective positions is not unprecedented. In Jalosjos, Jr. v. Commission on
Elections,37 the Court acknowledged the aforementioned provision as one of
the legal remedies that may be availed of to disqualify a candidate in a local
election filed any day after the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy, but
not later than the date of proclamation.38 The pertinent ruling in the Jalosjos
case is quoted as follows:

33

What is indisputably clear is that false material representation of Jalosjos is a


ground for a petition under Section 78. However, since the false material
representation arises from a crime penalized by prision mayor, a petition under
Section 12 ofthe Omnibus Election Code or Section 40 of the Local Government
Code can also be properly filed. The petitioner has a choice whether to anchor
his petition on Section 12 or Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code, or on
Section 40 of the Local Government Code. The law expressly provides multiple
remedies and the choice of which remedy to adopt belongs to petitioner.39
(Emphasis supplied.)
The third preambular clause of the pardon did not operate to make the pardon
conditional.
Contrary to Risos-Vidals declaration, the third preambular clause of the pardon,
i.e., "[w]hereas, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer
seek any elective position or office," neither makes the pardon conditional, nor
militate against the conclusion that former President Estradas rights to suffrage
and to seek public elective office have been restored.
This is especially true as the pardon itself does not explicitly impose a condition
or limitation, considering the unqualified use of the term "civil and political
rights"as being restored. Jurisprudence educates that a preamble is not an
essential part of an act as it is an introductory or preparatory clause that
explains the reasons for the enactment, usually introduced by the word
"whereas."40 Whereas clauses do not form part of a statute because, strictly
speaking, they are not part of the operative language of the statute.41 In this
case, the whereas clause at issue is not an integral part of the decree of the
pardon, and therefore, does not by itself alone operate to make the pardon
conditional or to make its effectivity contingent upon the fulfilment of the
aforementioned commitment nor to limit the scope of the pardon.
On this matter, the Court quotes with approval a relevant excerpt of COMELEC
Commissioner Maria Gracia Padacas separate concurring opinion in the assailed
April 1, 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC in SPA No. 13-211 (DC), which captured
the essence of the legal effect of preambular paragraphs/whereas clauses, viz:
The present dispute does not raise anything which the 20 January 2010
Resolution did not conclude upon. Here, Petitioner Risos-Vidal raised the same
argument with respect to the 3rd "whereas clause" or preambular paragraph of
the decree of pardon. It states that "Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly
committed to no longer seek any elective position or office." On this contention,
the undersigned reiterates the ruling of the Commission that the 3rd preambular
paragraph does not have any legal or binding effect on the absolute nature of
the pardon extended by former President Arroyo to herein Respondent. This
ruling is consistent with the traditional and customary usage of preambular
paragraphs. In the case of Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice, the Supreme Court
ruled on the legal effect of preambular paragraphs or whereas clauses on
statutes. The Court stated, viz.:

34

Besides, a preamble is really not an integral part of a law. It is merely an


introduction to show its intent or purposes. It cannot be the origin of rights and
obligations. Where the meaning of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the
preamble can neither expand nor restrict its operation much less prevail over its
text.
If former President Arroyo intended for the pardon to be conditional on
Respondents promise never to seek a public office again, the former ought to
have explicitly stated the same in the text of the pardon itself. Since former
President Arroyo did not make this an integral part of the decree of pardon, the
Commission is constrained to rule that the 3rd preambular clause cannot be
interpreted as a condition to the pardon extended to former President
Estrada.42 (Emphasis supplied.)
Absent any contrary evidence, former President Arroyos silence on former
President Estradas decision torun for President in the May 2010 elections
against, among others, the candidate of the political party of former President
Arroyo, after the latters receipt and acceptance of the pardon speaks volume of
her intention to restore him to his rights to suffrage and to hold public office.
Where the scope and import of the executive clemency extended by the
President is in issue, the Court must turn to the only evidence available to it,
and that is the pardon itself. From a detailed review ofthe four corners of said
document, nothing therein gives an iota of intimation that the third Whereas
Clause is actually a limitation, proviso, stipulation or condition on the grant of
the pardon, such that the breach of the mentioned commitment not to seek
public office will result ina revocation or cancellation of said pardon. To the
Court, what it is simply is a statement of fact or the prevailing situation at the
time the executive clemency was granted. It was not used as a condition to the
efficacy orto delimit the scope of the pardon.
Even if the Court were to subscribe to the view that the third Whereas
Clausewas one of the reasons to grant the pardon, the pardon itself does not
provide for the attendant consequence of the breach thereof. This Court will be
hard put to discern the resultant effect of an eventual infringement. Just like it
will be hard put to determine which civil or political rights were restored if the
Court were to take the road suggested by Risos-Vidal that the statement "[h]e is
hereby restored to his civil and political rights" excludes the restoration of
former President Estradas rights to suffrage and to hold public office. The
aforequoted text ofthe executive clemency granted does not provide the Court
with any guide asto how and where to draw the line between the included and
excluded political rights.
Justice Leonen emphasizes the point that the ultimate issue for resolution is not
whether the pardon is contingent on the condition that former President Estrada
will not seek janother elective public office, but it actually concerns the
coverage of the pardon whether the pardon granted to former President
Estrada was so expansive as to have restored all his political rights, inclusive of

35

the rights of suffrage and to hold public office. Justice Leonen is of the view that
the pardon in question is not absolute nor plenary in scope despite the
statement that former President Estrada is "hereby restored to his civil and
political rights," that is, the foregoing statement restored to former President
Estrada all his civil and political rights except the rights denied to him by the
unremitted penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification made up of, among
others, the rights of suffrage and to hold public office. He adds that had the
President chosen to be so expansive as to include the rights of suffrage and to
hold public office, she should have been more clear on her intentions.
However, the statement "[h]e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights,"
to the mind of the Court, iscrystal clear the pardon granted to former President
Estrada was absolute, meaning, it was not only unconditional, it was
unrestricted in scope, complete and plenary in character, as the term "political
rights"adverted to has a settled meaning in law and jurisprudence.
With due respect, I disagree too with Justice Leonen that the omission of the
qualifying word "full" can be construed as excluding the restoration of the rights
of suffrage and to hold public office. There appears to be no distinction as to the
coverage of the term "full political rights" and the term "political rights" used
alone without any qualification. How to ascribe to the latter term the meaning
that it is "partial" and not "full" defies ones understanding. More so, it will be
extremely difficult to identify which of the political rights are restored by the
pardon, when the text of the latter is silent on this matter. Exceptions to the
grant of pardon cannot be presumed from the absence of the qualifying word
"full" when the pardon restored the "political rights" of former President Estrada
without any exclusion or reservation.
Therefore, there can be no other conclusion but to say that the pardon granted
to former President Estrada was absolute in the absence of a clear, unequivocal
and concrete factual basis upon which to anchor or support the Presidential
intent to grant a limited pardon.
To reiterate, insofar as its coverageis concerned, the text of the pardon can
withstand close scrutiny even under the provisions of Articles 36 and 41 of the
Revised Penal Code.
The COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions.
In light of the foregoing, contrary to the assertions of Risos-Vidal, the COMELEC
did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions.
The Court has consistently held that a petition for certiorariagainst actions of
the COMELEC is confined only to instances of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to patentand substantial denial of due process, because the
COMELEC is presumed to be most competent in matters falling within its
domain.43

36

As settled in jurisprudence, grave abuse of discretion is the arbitrary exercise of


power due to passion, prejudice or personal hostility; or the whimsical, arbitrary,
or capricious exercise of power that amounts to an evasion or refusal to perform
a positive duty enjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of law. For an act
to be condemned as having been done with grave abuse of discretion, such an
abuse must be patent and gross.44
The arguments forwarded by Risos-Vidal fail to adequately demonstrate any
factual or legal bases to prove that the assailed COMELEC Resolutions were
issued in a "whimsical, arbitrary or capricious exercise of power that amounts to
an evasion orrefusal to perform a positive duty enjoined by law" or were so
"patent and gross" as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.
On the foregoing premises and conclusions, this Court finds it unnecessary to
separately discuss Lim's petition-in-intervention, which substantially presented
the same arguments as Risos-Vidal's petition.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and petition-inintervention are
DISMISSED. The Resolution dated April 1, 2013 of the Commission on Elections,
Second Division, and the Resolution dated April 23, 2013 of the Commission on
Elections, En bane, both in SPA No. 13-211 (DC), are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 139465. January 18, 2000]
SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, petitioner, vs. HON. RALPH C. LANTION, Presiding Judge,
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25, and MARK B. JIMENEZ,
respondents.
DECISION
MELO, J.:
The individual citizen is but a speck of particle or molecule vis--vis the vast and overwhelming
powers of government. His only guarantee against oppression and tyranny are his fundamental
liberties under the Bill of Rights which shield him in times of need. The Court is now called to
decide whether to uphold a citizens basic due process rights, or the governments ironclad duties
under a treaty. The bugle sounds and this Court must once again act as the faithful guardian of the
fundamental writ.
The petition at our doorstep is cast against the following factual backdrop:
On January 13, 1977, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1069
"Prescribing the Procedure for the Extradition of Persons Who Have Committed Crimes in a Foreign
Country". The Decree is founded on: the doctrine of incorporation under the Constitution; the mutual
concern for the suppression of crime both in the state where it was committed and the state where the
criminal may have escaped; the extradition treaty with the Republic of Indonesia and the intention of
the Philippines to enter into similar treaties with other interested countries; and the need for rules to
guide the executive department and the courts in the proper implementation of said treaties.
On November 13, 1994, then Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon, representing the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines, signed in Manila the "Extradition Treaty Between the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America" (hereinafter
referred to as the RP-US Extradition Treaty). The Senate, by way of Resolution No. 11, expressed its
37

concurrence in the ratification of said treaty. It also expressed its concurrence in the Diplomatic
Notes correcting Paragraph (5)(a), Article 7 thereof (on the admissibility of the documents
accompanying an extradition request upon certification by the principal diplomatic or consular
officer of the requested state resident in the Requesting State).
On June 18, 1999, the Department of Justice received from the Department of Foreign Affairs U. S.
Note Verbale No. 0522 containing a request for the extradition of private respondent Mark Jimenez
to the United States. Attached to the Note Verbale were the Grand Jury Indictment, the warrant of
arrest issued by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, and other supporting documents
for said extradition. Based on the papers submitted, private respondent appears to be charged in the
United States with violation of the following provisions of the United States Code (USC):
A)......18 USC 371 (Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States; two [2] counts;
Maximum Penalty 5 years on each count);
B)......26 USC 7201 (Attempt to evade or defeat tax; four [4] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years on
each count);
C)......18 USC 1343 (Fraud by wire, radio, or television; two [2] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years
on each count);
D)......18 USC 1001 (False statement or entries; six [6] counts; Maximum Penalty 5 years on each
count);
E)......2 USC 441f (Election contributions in name of another; thirty-three [33] counts; Maximum
Penalty less than one year).
(p. 14, Rollo.)
On the same day, petitioner issued Department Order No. 249 designating and authorizing a panel of
attorneys to take charge of and to handle the case pursuant to Section 5(1) of Presidential Decree No.
1069. Accordingly, the panel began with the "technical evaluation and assessment" of the extradition
request and the documents in support thereof. The panel found that the "official English translation
of some documents in Spanish were not attached to the request and that there are some other matters
that needed to be addressed" (p. 15, Rollo).
Pending evaluation of the aforestated extradition documents, private respondent, through counsel,
wrote a letter dated July 1, 1999 addressed to petitioner requesting copies of the official extradition
request from the U. S. Government, as well as all documents and papers submitted therewith; and
that he be given ample time to comment on the request after he shall have received copies of the
requested papers. Private respondent also requested that the proceedings on the matter be held in
abeyance in the meantime.
Later, private respondent requested that preliminarily, he be given at least a copy of, or access to, the
request of the United States Government, and after receiving a copy of the Diplomatic Note, a period
of time to amplify on his request.
In response to private respondents July 1, 1999 letter, petitioner, in a reply-letter dated July 13, 1999
(but received by private respondent only on August 4, 1999), denied the foregoing requests for the
following reasons:
1. We find it premature to furnish you with copies of the extradition request and supporting
documents from the United States Government, pending evaluation by this Department of the
sufficiency of the extradition documents submitted in accordance with the provisions of the
extradition treaty and our extradition law. Article 7 of the Extradition Treaty between the Philippines
and the United States enumerates the documentary requirements and establishes the procedures
under which the documents submitted shall be received and admitted as evidence. Evidentiary
requirements under our domestic law are also set forth in Section 4 of P.D. No. 1069.
Evaluation by this Department of the aforementioned documents is not a preliminary investigation
nor akin to preliminary investigation of criminal cases. We merely determine whether the procedures
and requirements under the relevant law and treaty have been complied with by the Requesting
Government. The constitutionally guaranteed rights of the accused in all criminal prosecutions are
38

therefore not available.


It is only after the filing of the petition for extradition when the person sought to be extradited will be
furnished by the court with copies of the petition, request and extradition documents and this
Department will not pose any objection to a request for ample time to evaluate said
documents.
2. The formal request for extradition of the United States contains grand jury information and
documents obtained through grand jury process covered by strict secrecy rules under United States
law. The United States had to secure orders from the concerned District Courts authorizing the
United States to disclose certain grand jury information to Philippine government and law
enforcement personnel for the purpose of extradition of Mr. Jimenez. Any further disclosure of the
said information is not authorized by the United States District Courts. In this particular extradition
request the United States Government requested the Philippine Government to prevent unauthorized
disclosure of the subject information. This Departments denial of your request is consistent with
Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty which provides that the Philippine Government must
represent the interests of the United States in any proceedings arising out of a request for extradition.
The Department of Justice under P.D. No. 1069 is the counsel of the foreign governments in all
extradition requests.
3. This Department is not in a position to hold in abeyance proceedings in connection with an
extradition request. Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, to which we are a
party provides that "[E]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by
them in good faith". Extradition is a tool of criminal law enforcement and to be effective, requests for
extradition or surrender of accused or convicted persons must be processed expeditiously.
(pp. 77-78, Rollo.)
Such was the state of affairs when, on August 6, 1999, private respondent filed with the Regional
Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region a petition against the Secretary of Justice, the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, for mandamus
(to compel herein petitioner to furnish private respondent the extradition documents, to give him
access thereto, and to afford him an opportunity to comment on, or oppose, the extradition request,
and thereafter to evaluate the request impartially, fairly and objectively); certiorari (to set aside
herein petitioners letter dated July 13, 1999); and prohibition (to restrain petitioner from considering
the extradition request and from filing an extradition petition in court; and to enjoin the Secretary of
Foreign Affairs and the Director of the NBI from performing any act directed to the extradition of
private respondent to the United States), with an application for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction (pp. 104-105, Rollo).
The aforementioned petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 99-94684 and thereafter raffled to
Branch 25 of said regional trial court stationed in Manila which is presided over by the Honorable
Ralph C. Lantion.
After due notice to the parties, the case was heard on August 9, 1999. Petitioner, who appeared in his
own behalf, moved that he be given ample time to file a memorandum, but the same was denied.
On August 10, 1999, respondent judge issued an order dated the previous day, disposing:
WHEREFORE, this Court hereby Orders the respondents, namely: the Secretary of Justice, the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, their agents
and/or representatives to maintain the status quo by refraining from committing the acts complained
of; from conducting further proceedings in connection with the request of the United States
Government for the extradition of the petitioner; from filing the corresponding Petition with a
Regional Trial court; and from performing any act directed to the extradition of the petitioner to the
United States, for a period of twenty (20) days from service on respondents of this Order, pursuant to
Section 5, Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Court.
The hearing as to whether or not this Court shall issue the preliminary injunction, as agreed upon by
the counsels for the parties herein, is set on August 17, 1999 at 9:00 oclock in the morning. The
39

respondents are, likewise, ordered to file their written comment and/or opposition to the issuance of a
Preliminary Injunction on or before said date.
SO ORDERED.
(pp. 110-111, Rollo.)
Forthwith, petitioner initiated the instant proceedings, arguing that:
PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION OR WITH
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION
IN ISSUING THE TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER BECAUSE:
I.
BY ORDERING HEREIN PETITIONER TO REFRAIN FROM COMMITTING THE ACTS
COMPLAINED OF, I. E., TO DESIST FROM REFUSING PRIVATE RESPONDENT ACCESS TO
THE OFFICIAL EXTRADITION REQUEST AND DOCUMENTS AND FROM DENYING
PRIVATE RESPONDENT AN OPPORTUNITY TO FILE A COMMENT ON, OR OPPOSITION
TO, THE REQUEST, THE MAIN PRAYER FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUS IN THE PETITION
FOR MANDAMUS, CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION WAS, IN EFFECT, GRANTED SO AS
TO CONSTITUTE AN ADJUDICATION ON THE MERITS OF THE MANDAMUS ISSUES;
II.
PETITIONER WAS UNQUALIFIEDLY PREVENTED FROM PERFORMING LEGAL DUTIES
UNDER THE EXTRADITION TREATY AND THE PHILIPPINE EXTRADITION LAW;
III.
THE PETITION FOR (MANDAMUS), CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION IS, ON ITS FACE,
FORMALLY AND SUBSTANTIALLY DEFICIENT; AND
IV.
PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAS NO RIGHT IN ESSE THAT NEEDS PROTECTION AND
ENFORCEMENT, AND WILL NOT SUFFER ANY IRREPARABLE INJURY.
(pp. 19-20, Rollo.)
On August 17, 1999, the Court required private respondent to file his comment. Also issued, as
prayed for, was a temporary restraining order (TRO) providing:
NOW, THEREFORE, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, You,
Respondent Judge Ralph C. Lantion, your agents, representatives or any person or persons acting in
your place or stead are hereby ORDERED to CEASE and DESIST from enforcing the assailed order
dated August 9, 1999 issued by public respondent in Civil Case No. 99-94684.
GIVEN by the Honorable HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the
Philippines, this 17th day of August 1999.
(pp. 120-121, Rollo.)
The case was heard on oral argument on August 31, 1999, after which the parties, as directed, filed
their respective memoranda.
From the pleadings of the opposing parties, both procedural and substantive issues are patent.
However, a review of these issues as well as the extensive arguments of both parties, compel us to
delineate the focal point raised by the pleadings: During the evaluation stage of the extradition
proceedings, is private respondent entitled to the two basic due process rights of notice and hearing?
An affirmative answer would necessarily render the proceedings at the trial court, moot and
academic (the issues of which are substantially the same as those before us now), while a negative
resolution would call for the immediate lifting of the TRO issued by this Court dated August 24,
1999, thus allowing petitioner to fast-track the process leading to the filing of the extradition petition
with the proper regional trial court. Corollarily, in the event that private respondent is adjudged
entitled to basic due process rights at the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings, would this
entitlement constitute a breach of the legal commitments and obligations of the Philippine
Government under the RP-US Extradition Treaty? And assuming that the result would indeed be a
breach, is there any conflict between private respondents basic due process rights and the provisions
40

of the RP-US Extradition Treaty?


The issues having transcendental importance, the Court has elected to go directly into the substantive
merits of the case, brushing aside peripheral procedural matters which concern the proceedings in
Civil Case No. 99-94684, particularly the propriety of the filing of the petition therein, and of the
issuance of the TRO of August 17, 1999 by the trial court.
To be sure, the issues call for a review of the extradition procedure. The RP-US Extradition Treaty
which was executed only on November 13, 1994, ushered into force the implementing provisions of
Presidential Decree No. 1069, also called as the Philippine Extradition Law. Section 2(a) thereof
defines extradition as "the removal of an accused from the Philippines with the object of placing him
at the disposal of foreign authorities to enable the requesting state or government to hold him in
connection with any criminal investigation directed against him or the execution of a penalty
imposed on him under the penal or criminal law of the requesting state or government." The portions
of the Decree relevant to the instant case which involves a charged and not convicted individual, are
abstracted as follows:
The Extradition Request
The request is made by the Foreign Diplomat of the Requesting State, addressed to the Secretary of
Foreign Affairs, and shall be accompanied by:
1. The original or an authentic copy of the criminal charge and the warrant of arrest issued by the
authority of the Requesting State having jurisdiction over the matter, or some other instruments
having equivalent legal force;
2. A recital of the acts for which extradition is requested, with the fullest particulars as to the name
and identity of the accused, his whereabouts in the Philippines, if known, the acts or omissions
complained of, and the time and place of the commission of these acts;
3. The text of the applicable law or a statement of the contents of said law, and the designation or
description of the offense by the law, sufficient for evaluation of the request; and
4. Such other documents or information in support of the request.
(Section 4, Presidential Decree No. 1069.)
Section 5 of the Presidential Decree, which sets forth the duty of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,
pertinently provides:
. . . (1) Unless it appears to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs that the request fails to meet the
requirements of this law and the relevant treaty or convention, he shall forward the request together
with the related documents to the Secretary of Justice, who shall immediately designate and
authorize an attorney in his office to take charge of the case.
The above provision shows only too clearly that the executive authority given the task of evaluating
the sufficiency of the request and the supporting documents is the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. What
then is the coverage of this task?
In accordance with Paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty, the executive
authority must ascertain whether or not the request is supported by:
1. Documents, statements, or other types of information which describe the identity and probable
location of the person sought;
2. A statement of the facts of the offense and the procedural history of the case;
3. A statement of the provisions of the law describing the essential elements of the offense for which
extradition is requested;
4. A statement of the provisions of law describing the punishment for the
offense;
5. A statement of the provisions of the law describing any time limit on the prosecution or the
execution of punishment for the offense;
6. Documents, statements, or other types of information specified in paragraph 3 or paragraph 4 of
said Article, as applicable.
(Paragraph 2, Article 7, Presidential Decree No. 1069.)
41

7. Such evidence as, according to the law of the Requested State, would provide probable cause for
his arrest and committal for trial if the offense had been committed there;
8. A copy of the warrant or order of arrest issued by a judge or other competent authority; and
9. A copy of the charging document.
(Paragraph 3, ibid.)
The executive authority (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) must also see to it that the accompanying
documents received in support of the request had been certified by the principal diplomatic or
consular officer of the Requested State resident in the Requesting State (Embassy Note No. 052 from
U. S. Embassy; Embassy Note No. 951309 from the Department of Foreign Affairs).
In this light, Paragraph 3, Article 3 of the Treaty provides that "[e]xtradition shall not be granted if
the executive authority of the Requested State determines that the request is politically motivated, or
that the offense is a military offense which is not punishable under non-military penal legislation."
The Extradition Petition
Upon a finding made by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs that the extradition request and its
supporting documents are sufficient and complete in form and substance, he shall deliver the same to
the Secretary of Justice, who shall immediately designate and authorize an attorney in his office to
take charge of the case (Paragraph [1], Section 5, P. D. No. 1069). The lawyer designated shall then
file a written petition with the proper regional trial court of the province or city, with a prayer that the
court take the extradition request under consideration (Paragraph [2], ibid.).
The presiding judge of the regional trial court, upon receipt of the petition for extradition, shall, as
soon as practicable, issue an order summoning the prospective extraditee to appear and to answer the
petition on the day and hour fixed in the order. The judge may issue a warrant of arrest if it appears
that the immediate arrest and temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of justice
(Paragraph [1], Section 6, ibid.), particularly to prevent the flight of the prospective extraditee.
The Extradition Hearing
The Extradition Law does not specifically indicate whether the extradition proceeding is criminal,
civil, or a special proceeding. Nevertheless, Paragraph [1], Section 9 thereof provides that in the
hearing of the extradition petition, the provisions of the Rules of Court, insofar as practicable and not
inconsistent with the summary nature of the proceedings, shall apply. During the hearing, Section 8
of the Decree provides that the attorney having charge of the case may, upon application by the
Requesting State, represent the latter throughout the proceedings.
Upon conclusion of the hearing, the court shall render a decision granting the extradition and giving
the reasons therefor upon a showing of the existence of a prima facie case, or dismiss the petition
(Section 10, ibid.). Said decision is appealable to the Court of Appeals, whose decision shall be final
and immediately executory (Section 12, ibid.). The provisions of the Rules of Court governing
appeal in criminal cases in the Court of Appeals shall apply in the aforementioned appeal, except for
the required 15-day period to file brief (Section 13, ibid.).
The trial court determines whether or not the offense mentioned in the petition is extraditable based
on the application of the dual criminality rule and other conditions mentioned in Article 2 of the RPUS Extradition Treaty. The trial court also determines whether or not the offense for which
extradition is requested is a political one (Paragraph [1], Article 3, RP-US Extradition Treaty).
With the foregoing abstract of the extradition proceedings as backdrop, the following query presents
itself: What is the nature of the role of the Department of Justice at the evaluation stage of the
extradition proceedings?
A strict observance of the Extradition Law indicates that the only duty of the Secretary of Justice is
to file the extradition petition after the request and all the supporting papers are forwarded to him by
the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. It is the latter official who is authorized to evaluate the extradition
papers, to assure their sufficiency, and under Paragraph [3], Article 3 of the Treaty, to determine
whether or not the request is politically motivated, or that the offense is a military offense which is
not punishable under non-military penal legislation. Ipso facto, as expressly provided in Paragraph
42

[1], Section 5 of the Extradition Law, the Secretary of Justice has the ministerial duty of filing the
extradition papers.
However, looking at the factual milieu of the case before us, it would appear that there was failure to
abide by the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1069. For while it is true that the extradition
request was delivered to the Department of Foreign Affairs on June 17, 1999, the following day or
less than 24 hours later, the Department of Justice received the request, apparently without the
Department of Foreign Affairs discharging its duty of thoroughly evaluating the same and its
accompanying documents. The statement of an assistant secretary at the Department of Foreign
Affairs that his Department, in this regard, is merely acting as a post office, for which reason he
simply forwarded the request to the Department of Justice, indicates the magnitude of the error of the
Department of Foreign Affairs in taking lightly its responsibilities. Thereafter, the Department of
Justice took it upon itself to determine the completeness of the documents and to evaluate the same
to find out whether they comply with the requirements laid down in the Extradition Law and the RPUS Extradition Treaty. Petitioner ratiocinates in this connection that although the Department of
Justice had no obligation to evaluate the extradition documents, the Department also had to go over
them so as to be able to prepare an extradition petition (tsn, August 31, 1999, pp. 24-25). Notably, it
was also at this stage where private respondent insisted on the following: (1) the right to be furnished
the request and the supporting papers; (2) the right to be heard which consists in having a reasonable
period of time to oppose the request, and to present evidence in support of the opposition; and (3)
that the evaluation proceedings be held in abeyance pending the filing of private respondent's
opposition to the request.
The two Departments seem to have misread the scope of their duties and authority, one abdicating its
powers and the other enlarging its commission. The Department of Foreign Affairs, moreover, has,
through the Solicitor General, filed a manifestation that it is adopting the instant petition as its own,
indirectly conveying the message that if it were to evaluate the extradition request, it would not allow
private respondent to participate in the process of evaluation.
Plainly then, the record cannot support the presumption of regularity that the Department of Foreign
Affairs thoroughly reviewed the extradition request and supporting documents and that it arrived at a
well-founded judgment that the request and its annexed documents satisfy the requirements of law.
The Secretary of Justice, eminent as he is in the field of law, could not privately review the papers all
by himself. He had to officially constitute a panel of attorneys. How then could the DFA Secretary or
his undersecretary, in less than one day, make the more authoritative determination?
The evaluation process, just like the extradition proceedings proper, belongs to a class by itself. It is
sui generis. It is not a criminal investigation, but it is also erroneous to say that it is purely an
exercise of ministerial functions. At such stage, the executive authority has the power: (a) to make a
technical assessment of the completeness and sufficiency of the extradition papers; (b) to outrightly
deny the request if on its face and on the face of the supporting documents the crimes indicated are
not extraditable; and (c) to make a determination whether or not the request is politically motivated,
or that the offense is a military one which is not punishable under non-military penal legislation (tsn,
August 31, 1999, pp. 28-29; Article 2 & and Paragraph [3], Article 3, RP-US Extradition Treaty).
Hence, said process may be characterized as an investigative or inquisitorial process in contrast to a
proceeding conducted in the exercise of an administrative bodys quasi-judicial power.
In administrative law, a quasi-judicial proceeding involves: (a) taking and evaluation of evidence; (b)
determining facts based upon the evidence presented; and (c) rendering an order or decision
supported by the facts proved (De Leon, Administrative Law: Text and Cases, 1993 ed., p. 198, citing
Morgan vs. United States, 304 U.S. 1). Inquisitorial power, which is also known as examining or
investigatory power, is one of the determinative powers of an administrative body which better
enables it to exercise its quasi-judicial authority (Cruz, Phil. Administrative Law, 1996 ed., p. 26).
This power allows the administrative body to inspect the records and premises, and investigate the
activities, of persons or entities coming under its jurisdiction (Ibid., p. 27), or to require disclosure of
43

information by means of accounts, records, reports, testimony of witnesses, production of


documents, or otherwise (De Leon, op. cit., p. 64).
The power of investigation consists in gathering, organizing, and analyzing evidence, which is a
useful aid or tool in an administrative agencys performance of its rule-making or quasi-judicial
functions. Notably, investigation is indispensable to prosecution.
In Ruperto v. Torres (100 Phil. 1098 [1957], unreported), the Court had occasion to rule on the
functions of an investigatory body with the sole power of investigation. It does not exercise judicial
functions and its power is limited to investigating the facts and making findings in respect thereto.
The Court laid down the test of determining whether an administrative body is exercising judicial
functions or merely investigatory functions: Adjudication signifies the exercise of power and
authority to adjudicate upon the rights and obligations of the parties before it. Hence, if the only
purpose for investigation is to evaluate evidence submitted before it based on the facts and
circumstances presented to it, and if the agency is not authorized to make a final pronouncement
affecting the parties, then there is an absence of judicial discretion and judgment.
The above description in Ruperto applies to an administrative body authorized to evaluate extradition
documents. The body has no power to adjudicate in regard to the rights and obligations of both the
Requesting State and the prospective extraditee. Its only power is to determine whether the papers
comply with the requirements of the law and the treaty and, therefore, sufficient to be the basis of an
extradition petition. Such finding is thus merely initial and not final. The body has no power to
determine whether or not the extradition should be effected. That is the role of the court. The bodys
power is limited to an initial finding of whether or not the extradition petition can be filed in court.
It is to be noted, however, that in contrast to ordinary investigations, the evaluation procedure is
characterized by certain peculiarities. Primarily, it sets into motion the wheels of the extradition
process. Ultimately, it may result in the deprivation of liberty of the prospective extraditee. This
deprivation can be effected at two stages: First, the provisional arrest of the prospective extraditee
pending the submission of the request. This is so because the Treaty provides that in case of urgency,
a contracting party may request the provisional arrest of the person sought pending presentation of
the request (Paragraph [1], Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty), but he shall be automatically
discharged after 60 days if no request is submitted (Paragraph 4). Presidential Decree No. 1069
provides for a shorter period of 20 days after which the arrested person could be discharged (Section
20[d]). Logically, although the Extradition Law is silent on this respect, the provisions only mean
that once a request is forwarded to the Requested State, the prospective extraditee may be
continuously detained, or if not, subsequently rearrested (Paragraph [5], Article 9, RP-US Extradition
Treaty), for he will only be discharged if no request is submitted. Practically, the purpose of this
detention is to prevent his possible flight from the Requested State. Second, the temporary arrest of
the prospective extraditee during the pendency of the extradition petition in court (Section 6,
Presidential Decree No. 1069).
Clearly, there is an impending threat to a prospective extraditees liberty as early as during the
evaluation stage. It is not only an imagined threat to his liberty, but a very imminent
one.
Because of these possible consequences, we conclude that the evaluation process is akin to an
administrative agency conducting an investigative proceeding, the consequences of which are
essentially criminal since such technical assessment sets off or commences the procedure for, and
ultimately, the deprivation of liberty of a prospective extraditee. As described by petitioner himself,
this is a "tool" for criminal law enforcement (p. 78, Rollo). In essence, therefore, the evaluation
process partakes of the nature of a criminal investigation. In a number of cases, we had occasion to
make available to a respondent in an administrative case or investigation certain constitutional rights
that are ordinarily available only in criminal prosecutions. Further, as pointed out by Mr. Justice
Mendoza during the oral arguments, there are rights formerly available only at the trial stage that had
been advanced to an earlier stage in the proceedings, such as the right to counsel and the right against
44

self-incrimination (tsn, August 31, 1999, p. 135; Escobedo vs. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478; Gideon vs.
Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335; Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436).
In Pascual v. Board of Medical Examiners (28 SCRA 344 [1969]), we held that the right against selfincrimination under Section 17, Article III of the 1987 Constitution which is ordinarily available only
in criminal prosecutions, extends to administrative proceedings which possess a criminal or penal
aspect, such as an administrative investigation of a licensed physician who is charged with
immorality, which could result in his loss of the privilege to practice medicine if found guilty. The
Court, citing the earlier case of Cabal vs. Kapunan (6 SCRA 1059 [1962]), pointed out that the
revocation of ones license as a medical practitioner, is an even greater deprivation than forfeiture of
property.
Cabal vs. Kapunan (supra) involved an administrative charge of unexplained wealth against a
respondent which was filed under Republic Act No. 1379, or the Anti-Graft Law. Again, we therein
ruled that since the investigation may result in forfeiture of property, the administrative proceedings
are deemed criminal or penal, and such forfeiture partakes the nature of a penalty. There is also the
earlier case of Almeda, Sr. vs. Perez (5 SCRA 970 [1962]), where the Court, citing American
jurisprudence, laid down the test to determine whether a proceeding is civil or criminal: If the
proceeding is under a statute such that if an indictment is presented the forfeiture can be included in
the criminal case, such proceeding is criminal in nature, although it may be civil in form; and where
it must be gathered from the statute that the action is meant to be criminal in its nature, it cannot be
considered as civil. If, however, the proceeding does not involve the conviction of the wrongdoer for
the offense charged, the proceeding is civil in nature.
The cases mentioned above refer to an impending threat of deprivation of ones property or property
right. No less is this true, but even more so in the case before us, involving as it does the possible
deprivation of liberty, which, based on the hierarchy of constitutionally protected rights, is placed
second only to life itself and enjoys precedence over property, for while forfeited property can be
returned or replaced, the time spent in incarceration is irretrievable and beyond recompense.
By comparison, a favorable action in an extradition request exposes a person to eventual extradition
to a foreign country, thus saliently exhibiting the criminal or penal aspect of the process. In this
sense, the evaluation procedure is akin to a preliminary investigation since both procedures may have
the same result the arrest and imprisonment of the respondent or the person charged. Similar to the
evaluation stage of extradition proceedings, a preliminary investigation, which may result in the
filing of an information against the respondent, can possibly lead to his arrest, and to the deprivation
of his liberty.
Petitioners reliance on Wright vs. Court of Appeals (235 SCRA 241 [1992]) (p. 8, Petitioners
Memorandum) that the extradition treaty is neither a piece of criminal legislation nor a criminal
procedural statute is not well-taken. Wright is not authority for petitioners conclusion that his
preliminary processing is not akin to a preliminary investigation. The characterization of a treaty in
Wright was in reference to the applicability of the prohibition against an ex post facto law. It had
nothing to do with the denial of the right to notice, information, and hearing.
As early as 1884, the United States Supreme Court ruled that "any legal proceeding enforced by
public authority, whether sanctioned by age or custom, or newly devised in the discretion of the
legislative power, in furtherance of the general public good, which regards and preserves these
principles of liberty and justice, must be held to be due process of law" (Hurtado vs. California, 110
U.S. 516). Compliance with due process requirements cannot be deemed non-compliance with treaty
commitments.
The United States and the Philippines share a mutual concern about the suppression and punishment
of crime in their respective jurisdictions. At the same time, both States accord common due process
protection to their respective citizens.
The due process clauses in the American and Philippine Constitutions are not only worded in exactly
identical language and terminology, but more importantly, they are alike in what their respective
45

Supreme Courts have expounded as the spirit with which the provisions are informed and impressed,
the elasticity in their interpretation, their dynamic and resilient character which make them capable
of meeting every modern problem, and their having been designed from earliest time to the present to
meet the exigencies of an undefined and expanding future. The requirements of due process are
interpreted in both the United States and the Philippines as not denying to the law the capacity for
progress and improvement. Toward this effect and in order to avoid the confines of a legal
straitjacket, the courts instead prefer to have the meaning of the due process clause "gradually
ascertained by the process of inclusion and exclusion in the course of the decisions of cases as they
arise" (Twining vs. New Jersey, 211 U.S. 78). Capsulized, it refers to "the embodiment of the sporting
idea of fair play" (Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Owners Association vs. City Mayor of Manila, 20
SCRA 849 [1967]). It relates to certain immutable principles of justice which inhere in the very idea
of free government (Holden vs. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366).
Due process is comprised of two components substantive due process which requires the intrinsic
validity of the law in interfering with the rights of the person to his life, liberty, or property, and
procedural due process which consists of the two basic rights of notice and hearing, as well as the
guarantee of being heard by an impartial and competent tribunal (Cruz, Constitutional Law, 1993
Ed., pp. 102-106).
True to the mandate of the due process clause, the basic rights of notice and hearing pervade not only
in criminal and civil proceedings, but in administrative proceedings as well. Non-observance of these
rights will invalidate the proceedings. Individuals are entitled to be notified of any pending case
affecting their interests, and upon notice, they may claim the right to appear therein and present their
side and to refute the position of the opposing parties (Cruz, Phil. Administrative Law, 1996 ed., p.
64).
In a preliminary investigation which is an administrative investigatory proceeding, Section 3, Rule
112 of the Rules of Court guarantees the respondents basic due process rights, granting him the right
to be furnished a copy of the complaint, the affidavits, and other supporting documents, and the right
to submit counter-affidavits and other supporting documents within ten days from receipt thereof.
Moreover, the respondent shall have the right to examine all other evidence submitted by the
complainant.
These twin rights may, however, be considered dispensable in certain instances, such as:
1. In proceedings where there is an urgent need for immediate action, like the summary abatement of
a nuisance per se (Article 704, Civil Code), the preventive suspension of a public servant facing
administrative charges (Section 63, Local Government Code, B. P. Blg. 337), the padlocking of filthy
restaurants or theaters showing obscene movies or like establishments which are immediate threats to
public health and decency, and the cancellation of a passport of a person sought for criminal
prosecution;
2. Where there is tentativeness of administrative action, that is, where the respondent is not precluded
from enjoying the right to notice and hearing at a later time without prejudice to the person affected,
such as the summary distraint and levy of the property of a delinquent taxpayer, and the replacement
of a temporary appointee; and
3. Where the twin rights have previously been offered but the right to exercise them had not been
claimed.
Applying the above principles to the case at bar, the query may be asked: Does the evaluation stage
of the extradition proceedings fall under any of the described situations mentioned above?
Let us take a brief look at the nature of American extradition proceedings which are quite noteworthy
considering that the subject treaty involves the U.S. Government.
American jurisprudence distinguishes between interstate rendition or extradition which is based on
the Extradition Clause in the U.S. Constitution (Art. IV, 2 cl 2), and international extradition
proceedings. In interstate rendition or extradition, the governor of the asylum state has the duty to
deliver the fugitive to the demanding state. The Extradition Clause and the implementing statute are
46

given a liberal construction to carry out their manifest purpose, which is to effect the return as swiftly
as possible of persons for trial to the state in which they have been charged with crime (31A Am Jur
2d 754-755). In order to achieve extradition of an alleged fugitive, the requisition papers or the
demand must be in proper form, and all the elements or jurisdictional facts essential to the extradition
must appear on the face of the papers, such as the allegation that the person demanded was in the
demanding state at the time the offense charged was committed, and that the person demanded is
charged with the commission of the crime or that prosecution has been begun in the demanding state
before some court or magistrate (35 C.J.S. 406-407). The extradition documents are then filed with
the governor of the asylum state, and must contain such papers and documents prescribed by statute,
which essentially include a copy of the instrument charging the person demanded with a crime, such
as an indictment or an affidavit made before a magistrate. Statutory requirements with respect to said
charging instrument or papers are mandatory since said papers are necessary in order to confer
jurisdiction on the governor of the asylum state to effect the extradition (35 C.J.S. 408-410). A
statutory provision requiring duplicate copies of the indictment, information, affidavit, or
judgment of conviction or sentence and other instruments accompanying the demand or
requisitions be furnished and delivered to the fugitive or his attorney is directory. However, the
right being such a basic one has been held to be a right mandatory on demand (Ibid., p. 410, citing
Ex parte Moore, 256 S.W. 2d 103, 158 Tex. Cr. 407 and Ex parte Tucker, Cr., 324, S.W.2d
853).
In international proceedings, extradition treaties generally provide for the presentation to the
executive authority of the Requested State of a requisition or demand for the return of the alleged
offender, and the designation of the particular officer having authority to act in behalf of the
demanding nation (31A Am Jur 2d 815).
In petitioners memorandum filed on September 15, 1999, he attached thereto a letter dated
September 13, 1999 from the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, summarizing the
U.S. extradition procedures and principles, which are basically governed by a combination of treaties
(with special reference to the RP-US Extradition Treaty), federal statutes, and judicial decisions, to
wit:
1. All requests for extradition are transmitted through the diplomatic channel. In urgent cases,
requests for the provisional arrest of an individual may be made directly by the Philippine
Department of Justice to the U.S. Department of Justice, and vice-versa. In the event of a provisional
arrest, a formal request for extradition is transmitted subsequently through the diplomatic channel.
2. The Department of State forwards the incoming Philippine extradition request to the Department
of Justice. Before doing so, the Department of State prepares a declaration confirming that a formal
request has been made, that the treaty is in full force and effect, that under Article 17 thereof the
parties provide reciprocal legal representation in extradition proceedings, that the offenses are
covered as extraditable offenses under Article 2 thereof, and that the documents have been
authenticated in accordance with the federal statute that ensures admissibility at any subsequent
extradition hearing.
3. A judge or magistrate judge is authorized to issue a warrant for the arrest of the prospective
extraditee (18 U.S.C. 3184). Said judge or magistrate is authorized to hold a hearing to consider the
evidence offered in support of the extradition request (Ibid.)
4. At the hearing, the court must determine whether the person arrested is extraditable to the foreign
country. The court must also determine that (a) it has jurisdiction over the defendant and jurisdiction
to conduct the hearing; (b) the defendant is being sought for offenses for which the applicable treaty
permits extradition; and (c) there is probable cause to believe that the defendant is the person sought
and that he committed the offenses charged (Ibid.)
5. The judge or magistrate judge is vested with jurisdiction to certify extraditability after having
received a "complaint made under oath, charging any person found within his jurisdiction" with
having committed any of the crimes provided for by the governing treaty in the country requesting
47

extradition (Ibid.) [In this regard, it is noted that a long line of American decisions pronounce that
international extradition proceedings partake of the character of a preliminary examination before a
committing magistrate, rather than a trial of the guilt or innocence of the alleged fugitive (31A Am
Jur 2d 826).]
6. If the court decides that the elements necessary for extradition are present, it incorporates its
determinations in factual findings and conclusions of law and certifies the persons extraditability.
The court then forwards this certification of extraditability to the Department of State for disposition
by the Secretary of State. The ultimate decision whether to surrender an individual rests with the
Secretary of State (18 U.S.C. 3186).
7. The subject of an extradition request may not litigate questions concerning the motives of the
requesting government in seeking his extradition. However, a person facing extradition may present
whatever information he deems relevant to the Secretary of State, who makes the final determination
whether to surrender an individual to the foreign government concerned.
From the foregoing, it may be observed that in the United States, extradition begins and ends with
one entity the Department of State which has the power to evaluate the request and the extradition
documents in the beginning, and, in the person of the Secretary of State, the power to act or not to act
on the courts determination of extraditability. In the Philippine setting, it is the Department of
Foreign Affairs which should make the initial evaluation of the request, and having satisfied itself on
the points earlier mentioned (see pp. 10-12), then forwards the request to the Department of Justice
for the preparation and filing of the petition for extradition. Sadly, however, the Department of
Foreign Affairs, in the instant case, perfunctorily turned over the request to the Department of Justice
which has taken over the task of evaluating the request as well as thereafter, if so warranted,
preparing, filing, and prosecuting the petition for extradition.
Private respondent asks what prejudice will be caused to the U.S. Government should the person
sought to be extradited be given due process rights by the Philippines in the evaluation stage. He
emphasizes that petitioners primary concern is the possible delay in the evaluation process.
We agree with private respondents citation of an American Supreme Court ruling:
The establishment of prompt efficacious procedures to achieve legitimate state ends is a proper state
interest worthy of cognizance in constitutional adjudication. But the Constitution recognizes higher
values than speed and efficiency. Indeed, one might fairly say of the Bill of Rights in general, and the
Due Process Clause, in particular, that they were designed to protect the fragile values of a
vulnerable citizenry from the overbearing concern for efficiency and efficacy that may characterize
praiseworthy government officials no less, and perhaps more, than mediocre ones.
(Stanley vs. Illinois, 404 U.S. 645, 656)
The United States, no doubt, shares the same interest as the Philippine Government that no right that
of liberty secured not only by the Bills of Rights of the Philippines Constitution but of the United
States as well, is sacrificed at the altar of expediency.
(pp. 40-41, Private Respondents Memorandum.)
In the Philippine context, this Courts ruling is invoked:
One of the basic principles of the democratic system is that where the rights of the individual are
concerned, the end does not justify the means. It is not enough that there be a valid objective; it is
also necessary that the means employed to pursue it be in keeping with the Constitution. Mere
expediency will not excuse constitutional shortcuts. There is no question that not even the strongest
moral conviction or the most urgent public need, subject only to a few notable exceptions, will
excuse the bypassing of an individuals rights. It is no exaggeration to say that a person invoking a
right guaranteed under Article III of the Constitution is a majority of one even as against the rest of
the nation who would deny him that right (Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc.
vs. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343, 375-376 [1989]).
There can be no dispute over petitioners argument that extradition is a tool of criminal law
enforcement. To be effective, requests for extradition or the surrender of accused or convicted
48

persons must be processed expeditiously. Nevertheless, accelerated or fast-tracked proceedings and


adherence to fair procedures are, however, not always incompatible. They do not always clash in
discord. Summary does not mean precipitous haste. It does not carry a disregard of the basic
principles inherent in "ordered liberty."
Is there really an urgent need for immediate action at the evaluation stage? At that point, there is no
extraditee yet in the strict sense of the word. Extradition may or may not occur. In interstate
extradition, the governor of the asylum state may not, in the absence of mandatory statute, be
compelled to act favorably (37 C.J.S. 387) since after a close evaluation of the extradition papers, he
may hold that federal and statutory requirements, which are significantly jurisdictional, have not
been met (31 Am Jur 2d 819). Similarly, under an extradition treaty, the executive authority of the
requested state has the power to deny the behest from the requesting state. Accordingly, if after a
careful examination of the extradition documents the Secretary of Foreign Affairs finds that the
request fails to meet the requirements of the law and the treaty, he shall not forward the request to the
Department of Justice for the filing of the extradition petition since non-compliance with the
aforesaid requirements will not vest our government with jurisdiction to effect the extradition.
In this light, it should be observed that the Department of Justice exerted notable efforts in assuring
compliance with the requirements of the law and the treaty since it even informed the U.S.
Government of certain problems in the extradition papers (such as those that are in Spanish and
without the official English translation, and those that are not properly authenticated). In fact,
petitioner even admits that consultation meetings are still supposed to take place between the lawyers
in his Department and those from the U.S. Justice Department. With the meticulous nature of the
evaluation, which cannot just be completed in an abbreviated period of time due to its intricacies,
how then can we say that it is a proceeding that urgently necessitates immediate and prompt action
where notice and hearing can be dispensed with?
Worthy of inquiry is the issue of whether or not there is tentativeness of administrative action. Is
private respondent precluded from enjoying the right to notice and hearing at a later time without
prejudice to him? Here lies the peculiarity and deviant characteristic of the evaluation procedure. On
one hand, there is yet no extraditee, but ironically on the other, it results in an administrative
determination which, if adverse to the person involved, may cause his immediate incarceration. The
grant of the request shall lead to the filing of the extradition petition in court. The "accused" (as
Section 2[c] of Presidential Decree No. 1069 calls him), faces the threat of arrest, not only after the
extradition petition is filed in court, but even during the evaluation proceeding itself by virtue of the
provisional arrest allowed under the treaty and the implementing law. The prejudice to the "accused"
is thus blatant and manifest.
Plainly, the notice and hearing requirements of administrative due process cannot be dispensed with
and shelved aside.
Apart from the due process clause of the Constitution, private respondent likewise invokes Section 7
of Article III which reads:
Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized.
Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or
decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be
afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.
The above provision guarantees political rights which are available to citizens of the Philippines,
namely: (1) the right to information on matters of public concern, and (2) the corollary right of
access to official records and documents. The general right guaranteed by said provision is the right
to information on matters of public concern. In its implementation, the right of access to official
records is likewise conferred. These cognate or related rights are "subject to limitations as may be
provided by law" (Bernas, The 1987 Phil. Constitution A Reviewer-Primer, 1997 ed., p. 104) and rely
on the premise that ultimately it is an informed and critical public opinion which alone can protect
the values of democratic government (Ibid.).
49

Petitioner argues that the matters covered by private respondents letter-request dated July 1, 1999 do
not fall under the guarantee of the foregoing provision since the matters contained in the documents
requested are not of public concern. On the other hand, private respondent argues that the distinction
between matters vested with public interest and matters which are of purely private interest only
becomes material when a third person, who is not directly affected by the matters requested, invokes
the right to information. However, if the person invoking the right is the one directly affected
thereby, his right to information becomes absolute.
The concept of matters of public concern escapes exact definition. Strictly speaking, every act of a
public officer in the conduct of the governmental process is a matter of public concern (Bernas, The
1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, 1996 ed., p. 336). This concept embraces a
broad spectrum of subjects which the public may want to know, either because these directly affect
their lives or simply because such matters arouse the interest of an ordinary citizen (Legaspi v. Civil
Service Commission, 150 SCRA 530 [1987]). Hence, the real party in interest is the people and any
citizen has "standing".
When the individual himself is involved in official government action because said action has a
direct bearing on his life, and may either cause him some kind of deprivation or injury, he actually
invokes the basic right to be notified under Section 1 of the Bill of Rights and not exactly the right to
information on matters of public concern. As to an accused in a criminal proceeding, he invokes
Section 14, particularly the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
him.
The right to information is implemented by the right of access to information within the control of
the government (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, 1996 ed., p. 337).
Such information may be contained in official records, and in documents and papers pertaining to
official acts, transactions, or decisions.
In the case at bar, the papers requested by private respondent pertain to official government action
from the U. S. Government. No official action from our country has yet been taken. Moreover, the
papers have some relation to matters of foreign relations with the U. S. Government. Consequently, if
a third party invokes this constitutional provision, stating that the extradition papers are matters of
public concern since they may result in the extradition of a Filipino, we are afraid that the balance
must be tilted, at such particular time, in favor of the interests necessary for the proper functioning of
the government. During the evaluation procedure, no official governmental action of our own
government has as yet been done; hence the invocation of the right is premature. Later, and in
contrast, records of the extradition hearing would already fall under matters of public concern,
because our government by then shall have already made an official decision to grant the extradition
request. The extradition of a fellow Filipino would be forthcoming.
We now pass upon the final issue pertinent to the subject matter of the instant controversy: Would
private respondents entitlement to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the proceedings
constitute a breach of the legal duties of the Philippine Government under the RP-Extradition Treaty?
Assuming the answer is in the affirmative, is there really a conflict between the treaty and the due
process clause in the Constitution?
First and foremost, let us categorically say that this is not the proper time to pass upon the
constitutionality of the provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty nor the Extradition Law
implementing the same. We limit ourselves only to the effect of the grant of the basic rights of notice
and hearing to private respondent on foreign relations.
The rule of pacta sunt servanda, one of the oldest and most fundamental maxims of international
law, requires the parties to a treaty to keep their agreement therein in good faith. The observance of
our country's legal duties under a treaty is also compelled by Section 2, Article II of the Constitution
which provides that "[t]he Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the
generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the
policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations." Under the
50

doctrine of incorporation, rules of international law form part of the law of the land and no further
legislative action is needed to make such rules applicable in the domestic sphere (Salonga & Yap,
Public International Law, 1992 ed., p. 12).
The doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever municipal tribunals (or local courts) are
confronted with situations in which there appears to be a conflict between a rule of international law
and the provisions of the constitution or statute of the local state. Efforts should first be exerted to
harmonize them, so as to give effect to both since it is to be presumed that municipal law was
enacted with proper regard for the generally accepted principles of international law in observance of
the Incorporation Clause in the above-cited constitutional provision (Cruz, Philippine Political Law,
1996 ed., p. 55). In a situation, however, where the conflict is irreconcilable and a choice has to be
made between a rule of international law and municipal law, jurisprudence dictates that municipal
law should be upheld by the municipal courts (Ichong vs. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155 [1957];
Gonzales vs. Hechanova, 9 SCRA 230 [1963]; In re: Garcia, 2 SCRA 984 [1961]) for the reason that
such courts are organs of municipal law and are accordingly bound by it in all circumstances
(Salonga & Yap, op. cit., p. 13). The fact that international law has been made part of the law of the
land does not pertain to or imply the primacy of international law over national or municipal law in
the municipal sphere. The doctrine of incorporation, as applied in most countries, decrees that rules
of international law are given equal standing with, but are not superior to, national legislative
enactments. Accordingly, the principle lex posterior derogat priori takes effect a treaty may repeal a
statute and a statute may repeal a treaty. In states where the constitution is the highest law of the land,
such as the Republic of the Philippines, both statutes and treaties may be invalidated if they are in
conflict with the constitution (Ibid.).
In the case at bar, is there really a conflict between international law and municipal or national law?
En contrario, these two components of the law of the land are not pitted against each other. There is
no occasion to choose which of the two should be upheld. Instead, we see a void in the provisions of
the RP-US Extradition Treaty, as implemented by Presidential Decree No. 1069, as regards the basic
due process rights of a prospective extraditee at the evaluation stage of extradition proceedings. From
the procedures earlier abstracted, after the filing of the extradition petition and during the judicial
determination of the propriety of extradition, the rights of notice and hearing are clearly granted to
the prospective extraditee. However, prior thereto, the law is silent as to these rights. Reference to the
U.S. extradition procedures also manifests this silence.
Petitioner interprets this silence as unavailability of these rights. Consequently, he describes the
evaluation procedure as an "ex parte technical assessment" of the sufficiency of the extradition
request and the supporting documents.
We disagree.
In the absence of a law or principle of law, we must apply the rules of fair play. An application of the
basic twin due process rights of notice and hearing will not go against the treaty or the implementing
law. Neither the Treaty nor the Extradition Law precludes these rights from a prospective extraditee.
Similarly, American jurisprudence and procedures on extradition pose no proscription. In fact, in
interstate extradition proceedings as explained above, the prospective extraditee may even request for
copies of the extradition documents from the governor of the asylum state, and if he does, his right to
be supplied the same becomes a demandable right (35 C.J.S. 410).
Petitioner contends that the United States requested the Philippine Government to prevent
unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. Hence, the secrecy surrounding the action of the
Department of Justice Panel of Attorneys. The confidentiality argument is, however, overturned by
petitioners revelation that everything it refuses to make available at this stage would be obtainable
during trial. The Department of Justice states that the U.S. District Court concerned has authorized
the disclosure of certain grand jury information. If the information is truly confidential, the veil of
secrecy cannot be lifted at any stage of the extradition proceedings. Not even during
trial.
51

A libertarian approach is thus called for under the premises.


One will search in vain the RP-US Extradition Treaty, the Extradition Law, as well as American
jurisprudence and procedures on extradition, for any prohibition against the conferment of the two
basic due process rights of notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition
proceedings. We have to consider similar situations in jurisprudence for an application by analogy.
Earlier, we stated that there are similarities between the evaluation process and a preliminary
investigation since both procedures may result in the arrest of the respondent or the prospective
extraditee. In the evaluation process, a provisional arrest is even allowed by the Treaty and the
Extradition Law (Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty; Sec. 20, Presidential Decree No. 1069).
Following petitioners theory, because there is no provision of its availability, does this imply that for
a period of time, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, despite Section 15, Article
III of the Constitution which states that "[t]he privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be
suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it"? Petitioners
theory would also infer that bail is not available during the arrest of the prospective extraditee when
the extradition petition has already been filed in court since Presidential Decree No. 1069 does not
provide therefor, notwithstanding Section 13, Article III of the Constitution which provides that "[a]ll
persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt
is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance
as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ
of habeas corpus is suspended " Can petitioner validly argue that since these contraventions are by
virtue of a treaty and hence affecting foreign relations, the aforestated guarantees in the Bill of Rights
could thus be subservient thereto?
The basic principles of administrative law instruct us that "the essence of due process in
administrative proceedings is an opportunity to explain ones side or an opportunity to seek
reconsideration of the actions or ruling complained of (Mirano vs. NLRC, 270 SCRA 96 [1997];
Padilla vs. NLRC, 273 SCRA 457 [1997]; PLDT vs. NLRC, 276 SCRA 1 [1997]; Helpmate, Inc. vs.
NLRC, 276 SCRA 315 [1997]; Aquinas School vs. Magnaye, 278 SCRA 602 [1997]; Jamer vs.
NLRC, 278 SCRA 632 [1997]). In essence, procedural due process refers to the method or manner by
which the law is enforced (Corona vs. United Harbor Pilots Association of the Phils., 283 SCRA 31
[1997]). This Court will not tolerate the least disregard of constitutional guarantees in the
enforcement of a law or treaty. Petitioners fears that the Requesting State may have valid objections
to the Requested States non-performance of its commitments under the Extradition Treaty are
insubstantial and should not be given paramount consideration.
How then do we implement the RP-US Extradition Treaty? Do we limit ourselves to the four corners
of Presidential Decree No. 1069?
Of analogous application are the rulings in Government Service Insurance System vs. Court of
Appeals (201 SCRA 661 [1991]) and Go vs. National Police Commission (271 SCRA 447 [1997])
where we ruled that in summary proceedings under Presidential Decree No. 807 (Providing for the
Organization of the Civil Service Commission in Accordance with Provisions of the Constitution,
Prescribing its Powers and Functions and for Other Purposes), and Presidential Decree No. 971
(Providing Legal Assistance for Members of the Integrated National Police who may be charged for
Service-Connected Offenses and Improving the Disciplinary System in the Integrated National
Police, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for other purposes), as amended by Presidential Decree
No. 1707, although summary dismissals may be effected without the necessity of a formal
investigation, the minimum requirements of due process still operate. As held in GSIS vs. Court of
Appeals:
... [I]t is clear to us that what the opening sentence of Section 40 is saying is that an employee may
be removed or dismissed even without formal investigation, in certain instances. It is equally clear to
us that an employee must be informed of the charges preferred against him, and that the normal way
by which the employee is so informed is by furnishing him with a copy of the charges against him.
52

This is a basic procedural requirement that a statute cannot dispense with and still remain consistent
with the constitutional provision on due process. The second minimum requirement is that the
employee charged with some misfeasance or malfeasance must have a reasonable opportunity to
present his side of the matter, that is to say, his defenses against the charges levelled against him and
to present evidence in support of his defenses.
(at p. 671)
Said summary dismissal proceedings are also non-litigious in nature, yet we upheld the due process
rights of the respondent.
In the case at bar, private respondent does not only face a clear and present danger of loss of property
or employment, but of liberty itself, which may eventually lead to his forcible banishment to a
foreign land. The convergence of petitioners favorable action on the extradition request and the
deprivation of private respondents liberty is easily comprehensible.
We have ruled time and again that this Courts equity jurisdiction, which is aptly described as "justice
outside legality," may be availed of only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law or
judicial pronouncements (Smith Bell & Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 267 SCRA 530 [1997]; DavidChan vs. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA 677 [1997]). The constitutional issue in the case at bar does
not even call for "justice outside legality," since private respondents due process rights, although not
guaranteed by statute or by treaty, are protected by constitutional guarantees. We would not be true to
the organic law of the land if we choose strict construction over guarantees against the deprivation of
liberty. That would not be in keeping with the principles of democracy on which our Constitution is
premised.
Verily, as one traverses treacherous waters of conflicting and opposing currents of liberty and
government authority, he must ever hold the oar of freedom in the stronger arm, lest an errant and
wayward course be laid.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for
lack of merit. Petitioner is ordered to furnish private respondent copies of the extradition request and
its supporting papers, and to grant him a reasonable period within which to file his comment with
supporting evidence. The incidents in Civil Case No. 99-94684 having been rendered moot and
academic by this decision, the same is hereby ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED. 6/2/00 2:12 PM
[G.R. No. 118295. May 2, 1997] TANADA VS ANGARA
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade Organization, abetted by the
membership thereto of the vast majority of countries has revolutionized international
business and economic relations amongst states. It has irreversibly propelled the world
towards trade liberalization and economic globalization. Liberalization, globalization,
deregulation and privatization, the third-millennium buzz words, are ushering in a new
borderless world of business by sweeping away as mere historical relics the heretofore
traditional modes of promoting and protecting national economies like tariffs, export
subsidies, import quotas, quantitative restrictions, tax exemptions and currency controls.
Finding market niches and becoming the best in specific industries in a market-driven and
export-oriented global scenario are replacing age-old beggar-thy-neighbor policies that
unilaterally protect weak and inefficient domestic producers of goods and services. In the
words of Peter Drucker, the well-known management guru, Increased participation in the
world economy has become the key to domestic economic growth and prosperity.
Brief Historical Background
To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by the Second World War,
53

plans for the establishment of three multilateral institutions -- inspired by that grand political
body, the United Nations -- were discussed at Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton Woods. The
first was the World Bank (WB) which was to address the rehabilitation and reconstruction of
war-ravaged and later developing countries; the second, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) which was to deal with currency problems; and the third, the International Trade
Organization (ITO), which was to foster order and predictability in world trade and to
minimize unilateral protectionist policies that invite challenge, even retaliation, from other
states. However, for a variety of reasons, including its non-ratification by the United States,
the ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, never took off. What remained was only GATT -- the
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was a collection of treaties governing
access to the economies of treaty adherents with no institutionalized body administering the
agreements or dependable system of dispute settlement.
After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations, principally the Kennedy
Round, the Tokyo Round and the Uruguay Round, the world finally gave birth to that
administering body -- the World Trade Organization -- with the signing of the Final Act in
Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the WTO Agreement by its members. [if !
supportFootnotes][1][endif]

Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined WTO as a founding member
with the goal, as articulated by President Fidel V. Ramos in two letters to the Senate (infra),
of improving Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major trading partners,
through the reduction of tariffs on its exports, particularly agricultural and industrial
products. The President also saw in the WTO the opening of new opportunities for the
services sector x x x, (the reduction of) costs and uncertainty associated with exporting x x
x, and (the attraction of) more investments into the country. Although the Chief Executive
did not expressly mention it in his letter, the Philippines - - and this is of special interest to
the legal profession - - will benefit from the WTO system of dispute settlement by judicial
adjudication through the independent WTO settlement bodies called (1) Dispute Settlement
Panels and (2) Appellate Tribunal. Heretofore, trade disputes were settled mainly through
negotiations where solutions were arrived at frequently on the basis of relative bargaining
strengths, and where naturally, weak and underdeveloped countries were at a
disadvantage.
The Petition in Brief
Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines to place nationals and products of
member-countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products and (2) that the WTO
intrudes, limits and/or impairs the constitutional powers of both Congress and the Supreme
Court, the instant petition before this Court assails the WTO Agreement for violating the
mandate of the 1987 Constitution to develop a self-reliant and independent national
economy effectively controlled by Filipinos x x x (to) give preference to qualified Filipinos
(and to) promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally
produced goods.
Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine participation in worldwide
trade liberalization and economic globalization? Does it prescribe Philippine integration into
a global economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized? These are the main
questions raised in this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of
the Rules of Court praying (1) for the nullification, on constitutional grounds, of the
concurrence of the Philippine Senate in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of
the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement, for brevity)
and (2) for the prohibition of its implementation and enforcement through the release and
utilization of public funds, the assignment of public officials and employees, as well as the
use of government properties and resources by respondent-heads of various executive
54

offices concerned therewith. This concurrence is embodied in Senate Resolution No. 97,
dated December 14, 1994.
The Facts
On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary of the Department of
Trade and Industry (Secretary Navarro, for brevity), representing the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines, signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act Embodying the
Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations (Final Act, for brevity).
By signing the Final Act, [if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] Secretary Navarro on behalf of the Republic of
the Philippines, agreed:
(a)tosubmit,asappropriate,theWTOAgreementfortheconsiderationoftheirrespectivecompetent
authorities,withaviewtoseekingapprovaloftheAgreementinaccordancewiththeirprocedures;
and
(b)toadopttheMinisterialDeclarationsandDecisions.
On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received a letter dated August
11, 1994 from the President of the Philippines, [if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] stating among others that
the Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence
pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received another letter from the
President of the Philippines[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] likewise dated August 11, 1994, which stated
among others that the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Agreement Establishing the World
Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding on
Commitments in Financial Services are hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence
pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified the necessity of the
immediate adoption of P.S. 1083, a resolution entitled Concurring in the Ratification of the
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. [if !supportFootnotes][5][endif]
On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution No. 97 which Resolved,
as it is hereby resolved, that the Senate concur, as it hereby concurs, in the ratification by
the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization.[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif] The text of the WTO Agreement is written on pages 137 et
seq. of Volume I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and
includes various agreements and associated legal instruments (identified in the said
Agreement as Annexes 1, 2 and 3 thereto and collectively referred to as Multilateral Trade
Agreements, for brevity) as follows:
ANNEX1
Annex1A:MultilateralAgreementonTradeinGoods
GeneralAgreementonTariffsandTrade1994
AgreementonAgriculture
AgreementontheApplicationofSanitaryand
PhytosanitaryMeasures
AgreementonTextilesandClothing
AgreementonTechnicalBarrierstoTrade
AgreementonTradeRelatedInvestmentMeasures
AgreementonImplementationofArticleVIoftheGeneralAgreementonTariffsandTrade1994
AgreementonImplementationofArticleVIIoftheGeneralonTariffsandTrade1994
AgreementonPreShipmentInspection
AgreementonRulesofOrigin
AgreementonImportsLicensingProcedures
AgreementonSubsidiesandCoordinatingMeasures

55

AgreementonSafeguards
Annex1B:GeneralAgreementonTradeinServicesandAnnexes
Annex1C:AgreementonTradeRelatedAspectsofIntellectualPropertyRights
ANNEX2
UnderstandingonRulesandProceduresGoverningtheSettlementofDisputes
ANNEX3
TradePolicyReviewMechanism
On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines signed [if !supportFootnotes][7][endif] the
Instrument of Ratification, declaring:
NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President ofthe Republic of the
Philippines,afterhavingseenandconsideredtheaforementionedAgreementEstablishingtheWorld
TradeOrganizationandtheagreementsandassociatedlegalinstrumentsincludedinAnnexesone
(1),two(2)andthree(3)ofthatAgreementwhichareintegralpartsthereof,signedatMarrakesh,
Moroccoon15April1994,doherebyratifyandconfirmthesameandeveryArticleandClause
thereof.
To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of the Philippines is composed
of the Agreement Proper and the associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1),
two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts thereof.
On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro embodies not only the WTO
Agreement (and its integral annexes aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial
Declarations and Decisions and (2) the Understanding on Commitments in Financial
Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13, 1996, [if !supportFootnotes][8][endif] the Solicitor General
describes these two latter documents as follows:
TheMinisterialDecisionsandDeclarationsaretwentyfivedeclarationsanddecisionsonawide
rangeofmatters,suchasmeasuresinfavorofleastdevelopedcountries,notificationprocedures,
relationship ofWTO with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), andagreements on technical
barrierstotradeandondisputesettlement.
TheUnderstandingonCommitmentsinFinancialServicesdwellon,amongotherthings,standstillor
limitationsandqualificationsofcommitmentstoexistingnonconformingmeasures,marketaccess,
national treatment, and definitions of nonresident supplier of financial services, commercial
presenceandnewfinancialservice.
On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After careful deliberation on
respondents comment and petitioners reply thereto, the Court resolved on December 12,
1995, to give due course to the petition, and the parties thereafter filed their respective
memoranda. The Court also requested the Honorable Lilia R. Bautista, the Philippine
Ambassador to the United Nations stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, to submit a paper,
hereafter referred to as Bautista Paper,[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif] for brevity, (1) providing a
historical background of and (2) summarizing the said agreements.
During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court directed:
(a)thepetitionerstosubmitthe(1)SenateCommitteeReportonthematterincontroversyand(2)the
transcriptofproceedings/hearingsintheSenate;and
(b)theSolicitorGeneral,ascounselforrespondents,tofile(1)alistofPhilippinetreatiessigned
prior to the Philippine adherence to the WTO Agreement, which derogate from Philippine
sovereigntyand(2)copiesofthemultivolumeWTOAgreementandotherdocumentsmentionedin
theFinalAct,assoonaspossible.
After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would consider the case
submitted for resolution. In a Compliance dated September 16, 1996, the Solicitor General
submitted a printed copy of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
Negotiations, and in another Compliance dated October 24, 1996, he listed the various
56

bilateral or multilateral treaties or international instruments involving derogation of Philippine


sovereignty. Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their Compliance dated January 28,
1997, on January 30, 1997.
The Issues
In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners summarized the issues as follows:
A.Whetherthepetitionpresentsapoliticalquestionorisotherwisenotjusticiable.
B.WhetherthepetitionermembersoftheSenatewhoparticipatedinthedeliberationsandvoting
leadingtotheconcurrenceareestoppedfromimpugningthevalidityoftheAgreementEstablishing
theWorldTradeOrganizationorofthevalidityoftheconcurrence.
C.WhethertheprovisionsoftheAgreementEstablishingtheWorldTradeOrganizationcontravene
theprovisionsofSec.19,ArticleII,andSecs.10and12,ArticleXII,allofthe1987Philippine
Constitution.
D.WhetherprovisionsoftheAgreementEstablishingtheWorldTradeOrganizationundulylimit,
restrictandimpairPhilippinesovereigntyspecificallythelegislativepowerwhich,underSec.2,
ArticleVI,1987PhilippineConstitutionisvestedintheCongressofthePhilippines;
E.WhetherprovisionsoftheAgreementEstablishingtheWorldTradeOrganizationinterferewith
theexerciseofjudicialpower.
F.WhethertherespondentmembersoftheSenateactedingraveabuseofdiscretionamountingto
lack or excess of jurisdiction when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the
constitutionallyinfirmAgreementEstablishingtheWorldTradeOrganization.
G.WhethertherespondentmembersoftheSenateactedingraveabuseofdiscretionamountingto
lack or excess of jurisdiction when they concurred only in the ratification of the Agreement
EstablishingtheWorldTradeOrganization,andnotwiththePresidentialsubmissionwhichincluded
theFinalAct,MinisterialDeclarationandDecisions,andtheUnderstandingonCommitmentsin
FinancialServices.
On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for respondents synthesized the
several issues raised by petitioners into the following: [if !supportFootnotes][10][endif]
1.WhetherornottheprovisionsoftheAgreementEstablishingtheWorldTradeOrganizationand
theAgreementsandAssociatedLegalInstrumentsincludedinAnnexesone(1),two(2)andthree(3)
ofthatagreementcitedbypetitionersdirectlycontraveneorunderminetheletter,spiritandintentof
Section19,ArticleIIandSections10and12,ArticleXIIofthe1987Constitution.
2.WhetherornotcertainprovisionsoftheAgreementundulylimit,restrictorimpairtheexerciseof
legislativepowerbyCongress.
3.WhetherornotcertainprovisionsoftheAgreementimpairtheexerciseofjudicialpowerbythis
HonorableCourtinpromulgatingtherulesofevidence.
4.WhetherornottheconcurrenceoftheSenateintheratificationbythePresidentofthePhilippines
of the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization implied rejection of the treaty
embodiedintheFinalAct.
By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven presented by petitioners, the
Solicitor General has effectively ignored three, namely: (1) whether the petition presents a
political question or is otherwise not justiciable; (2) whether petitioner-members of the
Senate (Wigberto E. Taada and Anna Dominique Coseteng) are estopped from joining this
suit; and (3) whether the respondent-members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of
discretion when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the WTO Agreement. The
foregoing notwithstanding, this Court resolved to deal with these three issues thus:
(1)Thepoliticalquestionissuebeingveryfundamentalandvital,andbeingamatterthatprobes
intotheveryjurisdictionofthisCourttohearanddecidethiscasewasdeliberateduponbythe
Courtandwillthusberuleduponasthefirstissue;

57

(2)Thematterofestoppelwillnotbetakenupbecausethisdefenseiswaivableandtherespondents
haveeffectivelywaiveditbynotpursuingitinanyoftheirpleadings;inanyevent,thisissue,evenif
ruledinrespondentsfavor,willnotcausethepetitionsdismissalastherearepetitionersotherthan
thetwosenators,whoarenotvulnerabletothedefenseofestoppel;and
(3)Theissueofallegedgraveabuseofdiscretiononthepartoftherespondentsenatorswillbetaken
upasanintegralpartofthedispositionofthefourissuesraisedbytheSolicitorGeneral.
During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the respondents did not question
the locus standi of petitioners. Hence, they are also deemed to have waived the benefit of
such issue. They probably realized that grave constitutional issues, expenditures of public
funds and serious international commitments of the nation are involved here, and that
transcendental public interest requires that the substantive issues be met head on and
decided on the merits, rather than skirted or deflected by procedural matters. [if !supportFootnotes][11]
[endif]

To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are:


(1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY? OTHERWISE
STATED, DOES THE PETITION INVOLVE A POLITICAL QUESTION OVER WHICH THIS
COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION?
(2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS THREE ANNEXES
CONTRAVENE SEC. 19, ARTICLE II, AND SECS. 10 AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF THE
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?
(3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES LIMIT, RESTRICT,
OR IMPAIR THE EXERCISE OF LEGISLATIVE POWER BY CONGRESS?
(4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR INTERFERE WITH THE EXERCISE OF
JUDICIAL POWER BY THIS COURT IN PROMULGATING RULES ON EVIDENCE?
(5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE IN THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS
ANNEXES SUFFICIENT AND/OR VALID, CONSIDERING THAT IT DID NOT INCLUDE
THE FINAL ACT, MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND DECISIONS, AND THE
UNDERSTANDING ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?
The First Issue: Does the Court Have Jurisdiction Over the Controversy?
In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the
Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the
legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only
the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. The question thus posed is
judicial rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy
of the Constitution is upheld. [if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] Once a controversy as to the application or
interpretation of a constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case),
it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide. [if !
supportFootnotes][13][endif]

The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters [if !supportFootnotes][14][endif] raised in the
petition is clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution, [if !supportFootnotes][15][endif] as follows:
Judicialpowerincludesthedutyofthecourtsofjusticetosettleactualcontroversiesinvolvingrights
whicharelegallydemandableandenforceable,andtodeterminewhetherornottherehasbeena
graveabuseofdiscretionamountingtolackorexcessofjurisdictiononthepartofanybranchor
instrumentalityofthegovernment.
The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial departments duty and power to strike down
grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government
including Congress. It is an innovation in our political law. [if !supportFootnotes][16][endif] As explained by
former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, [if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] the judiciary is the final arbiter
on the question of whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted
without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of
58

discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to
pass judgment on matters of this nature.
As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases, [if !supportFootnotes][18][endif] it will
not shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution
in matters that involve grave abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases,
committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the government.
As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no other plain, speedy or
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that
this petition should be given due course and the vital questions raised therein ruled upon
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, certiorari, prohibition and mandamus are
appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify,
when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we have no equivocation.
We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this petition, this Court will not
review the wisdom of the decision of the President and the Senate in enlisting the country
into the WTO, or pass upon the merits of trade liberalization as a policy espoused by said
international body. Neither will it rule on the propriety of the governments economic policy of
reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies, quantitative restrictions, and other import/trade
barriers. Rather, it will only exercise its constitutional duty to determine whether or not there
had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
of the Senate in ratifying the WTO Agreement and its three annexes.
Second Issue: The WTO Agreement and Economic Nationalism
This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition.
Petitioners vigorously argue that the letter, spirit and intent of the Constitution mandating
economic nationalism are violated by the so-called parity provisions and national treatment
clauses scattered in various parts not only of the WTO Agreement and its annexes but also
in the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations and in the Understanding on Commitments in
Financial Services.
Specifically, the flagship constitutional provisions referred to are Sec. 19, Article II, and
Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, of the Constitution, which are worded as follows:
ArticleII
DECLARATIONOFPRINCIPLESANDSTATEPOLICIES
xx xx xx xx
Sec. 19. The State shall develop a selfreliant and independent national economy effectively
controlledbyFilipinos.
xx xx xx xx
ArticleXII
NATIONALECONOMYANDPATRIMONY
xx xx xx xx
Sec.10.xxx.TheCongressshallenactmeasuresthatwillencouragetheformationandoperationof
enterpriseswhosecapitaliswhollyownedbyFilipinos.
Inthegrantofrights,privileges,andconcessionscoveringthenationaleconomyandpatrimony,the
StateshallgivepreferencetoqualifiedFilipinos.
xx xx xx xx
Sec.12.TheStateshallpromotethepreferentialuseofFilipinolabor,domesticmaterialsandlocally
producedgoods,andadoptmeasuresthathelpmakethemcompetitive.
Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are desecrated by the following
WTO provisions quoted in their memorandum:[if !supportFootnotes][19][endif]
a)Intheareaofinvestmentmeasuresrelatedtotradeingoods(TRIMS,forbrevity):
Article2

59

NationalTreatmentandQuantitativeRestrictions.
1.WithoutprejudicetootherrightsandobligationsunderGATT1994.noMembershallapplyany
TRIMthatisinconsistentwiththeprovisionsofArticleIIIorArticleXIofGATT1994.
2.AnIllustrativelistofTRIMSthatareinconsistentwiththeobligationsofgeneraleliminationof
quantitativerestrictionsprovidedforinparagraphIofArticleXIofGATT1994iscontainedinthe
AnnextothisAgreement.(AgreementonTradeRelatedInvestmentMeasures,Vol.27,Uruguay
Round,LegalInstruments,p.22121,emphasissupplied).
The Annex referred to reads as follows:
ANNEX
IllustrativeList
1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation of national treatment provided for in
paragraph4ofArticleIIIofGATT1994includethosewhicharemandatoryorenforceable
underdomesticlaworunderadministrativerulings,orcompliancewithwhichisnecessaryto
obtainanadvantage,andwhichrequire:
(a)thepurchaseorusebyanenterpriseofproductsofdomesticoriginorfromanydomesticsource,
whetherspecifiedintermsofparticularproducts,intermsofvolumeorvalueofproducts,orinterms
ofproportionofvolumeorvalueofitslocalproduction;or
(b)thatanenterprisespurchasesoruseofimportedproductsbelimitedtoanamountrelatedtothe
volumeorvalueoflocalproductsthatitexports.
2.TRIMSthatareinconsistentwiththeobligationsofgeneraleliminationofquantitativerestrictions
providedforinparagraph1ofArticleXIofGATT1994includethosewhicharemandatoryor
enforceable under domestic laws or under administrative rulings, or compliance with which is
necessarytoobtainanadvantage,andwhichrestrict:
(a)theimportationbyanenterpriseofproductsusedinorrelatedtothelocalproductionthatit
exports;
(b) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to its local production by
restrictingitsaccesstoforeignexchangeinflowsattributabletotheenterprise;or
(c)theexportationorsaleforexportspecifiedintermsofparticularproducts,intermsofvolumeor
valueofproducts,orintermsofapreparationofvolumeorvalueofitslocalproduction.(Annexto
theAgreementonTradeRelatedInvestmentMeasures,Vol.27,UruguayRoundLegalDocuments,
p.22125,emphasissupplied).
Theparagraph4ofArticleIIIofGATT1994referredtoisquotedasfollows:
The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the territory of any other
contracting party shall be accorded treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like
productsofnationalorigininrespectoflaws,regulationsandrequirementsaffectingtheirinternal
sale,offeringforsale,purchase,transportation,distributionoruse.theprovisionsofthisparagraph
shall not prevent the application of differential internal transportation charges which are based
exclusivelyontheeconomicoperationofthemeansoftransportandnotonthenationalityofthe
product.(ArticleIII,GATT1947,asamendedbytheProtocolModifyingPartII,andArticleXXVI
of GATT, 14 September 1948, 62 UMTS 8284 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of the General
AgreementonTariffsandTrade1994,Vol.1,UruguayRound,LegalInstrumentsp.177,emphasis
supplied).
b)Intheareaoftraderelatedaspectsofintellectualpropertyrights(TRIPS,forbrevity):
EachMembershallaccordtothenationalsofotherMemberstreatmentnolessfavourable
thanthatitaccordstoitsownnationals withregardtotheprotectionofintellectualproperty...
(par. 1, Article 3, Agreement on TradeRelated Aspect of Intellectual Property rights, Vol. 31,
UruguayRound,LegalInstruments,p.25432(emphasissupplied)
60

(c)IntheareaoftheGeneralAgreementonTradeinServices:
NationalTreatment
1.Inthesectorsinscribedinitsschedule,andsubjecttoanyconditionsandqualificationssetout
therein,eachMembershallaccordtoservicesandservicesuppliersofanyotherMember,inrespect
ofallmeasuresaffectingthesupplyofservices,treatmentnolessfavourablethanitaccordstoits
ownlikeservicesandservicesuppliers.
2.AMembermaymeettherequirementofparagraphIbyaccordingtoservicesandservicesuppliers
ofanyotherMember,eitherformallyidenticaltreatmentorformallydifferenttreatmenttothatit
accordstoitsownlikeservicesandservicesuppliers.
3.Formallyidenticalorformallydifferenttreatmentshallbeconsideredtobelessfavourableifit
modifiestheconditions ofcompletioninfavourofservices orservicesuppliers oftheMember
compared to like services or service suppliers of any other Member. (Article XVII, General
AgreementonTradeinServices,Vol.28,UruguayRoundLegalInstruments,p.22610emphasis
supplied).
It is petitioners position that the foregoing national treatment and parity provisions of the
WTO Agreement place nationals and products of member countries on the same footing as
Filipinos and local products, in contravention of the Filipino First policy of the Constitution.
They allegedly render meaningless the phrase effectively controlled by Filipinos. The
constitutional conflict becomes more manifest when viewed in the context of the clear duty
imposed on the Philippines as a WTO member to ensure the conformity of its laws,
regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed
agreements.[if !supportFootnotes][20][endif] Petitioners further argue that these provisions contravene
constitutional limitations on the role exports play in national development and negate the
preferential treatment accorded to Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced
goods.
On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General counter (1) that such Charter
provisions are not self-executing and merely set out general policies; (2) that these
nationalistic portions of the Constitution invoked by petitioners should not be read in
isolation but should be related to other relevant provisions of Art. XII, particularly Secs. 1
and 13 thereof; (3) that read properly, the cited WTO clauses do not conflict with the
Constitution; and (4) that the WTO Agreement contains sufficient provisions to protect
developing countries like the Philippines from the harshness of sudden trade liberalization.
We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments.
Declaration of Principles Not Self-Executing
By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a declaration of principles and state policies.
The counterpart of this article in the 1935 Constitution [if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] is called the basic
political creed of the nation by Dean Vicente Sinco. [if !supportFootnotes][22][endif] These principles in
Article II are not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement through the
courts.[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif] They are used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise
of its power of judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. As held in the
leading case of Kilosbayan, Incorporated vs. Morato,[if !supportFootnotes][24][endif] the principles and
state policies enumerated in Article II and some sections of Article XII are not self-executing
provisions, the disregard of which can give rise to a cause of action in the courts. They do
not embody judicially enforceable constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation.
In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor[if !supportFootnotes][25][endif] that broad constitutional
principles need legislative enactments to implement them, thus:
OnpetitionersallegationthatP.D.1869violatesSections11(PersonalDignity)12(Family)and13
(RoleofYouth)ofArticleII;Section13(SocialJustice)ofArticleXIIIandSection2(Educational
Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also that these are merely
61

statementsofprinciplesandpolicies.Assuch,theyarebasicallynotselfexecuting,meaningalaw
shouldbepassedbyCongresstoclearlydefineandeffectuatesuchprinciples.
Ingeneral,therefore,the1935provisionswerenotintendedtobeselfexecutingprinciplesreadyfor
enforcementthroughthecourts.Theywereratherdirectivesaddressedtotheexecutiveandtothe
legislature. If the executive and the legislature failed to heed the directives of the article, the
availableremedywasnotjudicialbutpolitical.Theelectoratecouldexpresstheirdispleasurewith
thefailureoftheexecutiveandthelegislaturethroughthelanguageoftheballot.(Bernas,Vol.II,p.
2).
The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement of broad constitutional
principles are sourced from basic considerations of due process and the lack of judicial
authority to wade into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy making. Mr.
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his concurring opinion in Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr.,[if !
supportFootnotes][26][endif]
explained these reasons as follows:
Mysuggestionissimplythatpetitionersmust,beforethetrialcourt,showamorespecificlegalright
arightcastinlanguageofasignificantlylowerorderofgeneralitythanArticleII(15)ofthe
Constitutionthatisormaybeviolatedbytheactions,orfailurestoact,imputedtothepublic
respondentbypetitionerssothatthetrialcourtcanvalidlyrenderjudgmentgrantingallorpartofthe
reliefprayedfor.Tomymind,thecourtshouldbeunderstoodassimplysayingthatsuchamore
specificlegalrightorrightsmaywellexistinourcorpusoflaw,consideringthegeneralpolicy
principlesfoundintheConstitutionandtheexistenceofthePhilippineEnvironmentCode,andthat
thetrialcourtshouldhavegivenpetitionersaneffectiveopportunitysotodemonstrate,insteadof
abortingtheproceedingsonamotiontodismiss.
Itseemstomeimportantthatthelegalrightwhichisanessentialcomponentofacauseofactionbea
specific,operablelegalright,ratherthanaconstitutionalorstatutorypolicy,foratleasttwo(2)
reasons.Oneisthatunlessthelegalrightclaimedtohavebeenviolatedordisregardedisgiven
specificationinoperationalterms,defendantsmaywellbeunabletodefendthemselvesintelligently
andeffectively;inotherwords,therearedueprocessdimensionstothismatter.
The second is a broadergauge consideration where a specific violation of law or applicable
regulation is not alleged or proved, petitioners can be expected to fall back on the expanded
conceptionofjudicialpowerinthesecondparagraphofSection1ofArticleVIIIoftheConstitution
whichreads:
Section1.xxx
Judicialpowerincludesthedutyofthecourtsofjusticetosettleactualcontroversiesinvolvingrights
whicharelegallydemandableandenforceable,andtodeterminewhetherornottherehasbeena
graveabuseofdiscretionamountingtolackorexcessofjurisdictiononthepartofanybranchor
instrumentalityoftheGovernment.(Emphasessupplied)
Whensubstantivestandardsasgeneralastherighttoabalancedandhealthyecologyandtherightto
health are combined with remedial standards as broad ranging as a grave abuse of discretion
amountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction,theresultwillbe,itisrespectfullysubmitted,topropel
courtsintotheunchartedoceanofsocialandeconomicpolicymaking.Atleastinrespectofthevast
areaofenvironmentalprotectionandmanagement,ourcourtshavenoclaimtospecialtechnical
competenceandexperienceandprofessionalqualification.Wherenospecific,operablenormsand
standardsareshowntoexist,thenthepolicymakingdepartmentsthelegislativeandexecutive
departmentsmustbegivenarealandeffectiveopportunitytofashionandpromulgatethosenorms
andstandards,andtoimplementthembeforethecourtsshouldintervene.
Economic Nationalism Should Be Read with Other Constitutional Mandates to Attain
Balanced Development of Economy
On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from merely laying down general

62

principles relating to the national economy and patrimony, should be read and understood
in relation to the other sections in said article, especially Secs. 1 and 13 thereof which read:
Section1.Thegoalsofthenationaleconomyareamoreequitabledistributionofopportunities,
income,andwealth;asustainedincreaseintheamountofgoodsandservicesproducedbythenation
forthebenefitofthepeople;andanexpandingproductivityasthekeytoraisingthequalityoflife
forall,especiallytheunderprivileged.
The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural
developmentandagrarianreform,throughindustriesthatmakefullandefficientuseofhumanand
naturalresources,andwhicharecompetitiveinbothdomesticandforeignmarkets.However,the
StateshallprotectFilipinoenterprisesagainstunfairforeigncompetitionandtradepractices.
Inthepursuitofthesegoals,allsectorsoftheeconomyandallregionsofthecountryshallbegiven
optimumopportunitytodevelop.xxx
xxxxxxxxx
Sec.13.TheStateshallpursueatradepolicythatservesthegeneralwelfareandutilizesallforms
andarrangementsofexchangeonthebasisofequalityandreciprocity.
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down the basic goals of national
economic development, as follows:
1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth;
2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services provided by the nation for the
benefit of the people; and
3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the
underprivileged.
With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the ideals of economic
nationalism (1) by expressing preference in favor of qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights,
privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony [if !supportFootnotes][27][endif]
and in the use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally-produced goods; (2) by
mandating the State to adopt measures that help make them competitive; [if !supportFootnotes][28][endif]
and (3) by requiring the State to develop a self-reliant and independent national economy
effectively controlled by Filipinos. [if !supportFootnotes][29][endif] In similar language, the Constitution
takes into account the realities of the outside world as it requires the pursuit of a trade
policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange
on the basis of equality and reciprocity; [if !supportFootnotes][30][endif] and speaks of industries which
are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets as well as of the protection of Filipino
enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.
It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service Insurance
System, et al.,[if !supportFootnotes][31][endif] this Court held that Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the
1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is complete in itself and which
needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rules for its enforcement. From its very
words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in operation. It is per se
judicially enforceable. However, as the constitutional provision itself states, it is enforceable
only in regard to the grants of rights, privileges and concessions covering national economy
and patrimony and not to every aspect of trade and commerce. It refers to exceptions rather
than the rule. The issue here is not whether this paragraph of Sec. 10 of Art. XII is selfexecuting or not. Rather, the issue is whether, as a rule, there are enough balancing
provisions in the Constitution to allow the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the
WTO Agreement. And we hold that there are.
All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of Filipino goods, services,
labor and enterprises, at the same time, it recognizes the need for business exchange with
the rest of the world on the bases of equality and reciprocity and limits protection of Filipino

63

enterprises only against foreign competition and trade practices that are unfair. [if !supportFootnotes]
[32][endif]
In other words, the Constitution did not intend to pursue an isolationist policy. It did
not shut out foreign investments, goods and services in the development of the Philippine
economy. While the Constitution does not encourage the unlimited entry of foreign goods,
services and investments into the country, it does not prohibit them either. In fact, it allows
an exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity, frowning only on foreign competition
that is unfair.
WTO Recognizes Need to Protect Weak Economies
Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself has some built-in
advantages to protect weak and developing economies, which comprise the vast majority of
its members. Unlike in the UN where major states have permanent seats and veto powers
in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made on the basis of sovereign equality,
with each members vote equal in weight to that of any other. There is no WTO equivalent of
the UN Security Council.
WTOdecidesbyconsensuswheneverpossible,otherwise,decisionsoftheMinisterialConference
and the General Council shall be taken by the majority of the votes cast, except in cases of
interpretationoftheAgreementorwaiveroftheobligationofamemberwhichwouldrequirethree
fourthsvote.Amendmentswouldrequiretwothirdsvoteingeneral.AmendmentstoMFNprovisions
andtheAmendmentsprovisionwillrequireassentofallmembers.Anymembermaywithdrawfrom
theAgreementupontheexpirationofsixmonthsfromthedateofnoticeofwithdrawals. [if!supportFootnotes]
[33][endif]

Hence, poor countries can protect their common interests more effectively through the WTO
than through one-on-one negotiations with developed countries. Within the WTO,
developing countries can form powerful blocs to push their economic agenda more
decisively than outside the Organization. This is not merely a matter of practical alliances
but a negotiating strategy rooted in law. Thus, the basic principles underlying the WTO
Agreement recognize the need of developing countries like the Philippines to share in the
growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development.
These basic principles are found in the preamble [if !supportFootnotes][34][endif] of the WTO Agreement
as follows:
ThePartiestothisAgreement,
Recognizingthattheirrelationsinthefieldoftradeandeconomicendeavourshouldbeconducted
withaviewtoraisingstandardsofliving,ensuringfullemploymentandalargeandsteadilygrowing
volumeofrealincomeandeffectivedemand,andexpandingtheproductionofandtradeingoods
andservices,whileallowingfortheoptimaluseoftheworldsresourcesinaccordancewiththe
objectiveofsustainabledevelopment,seekingbothtoprotectandpreservetheenvironmentandto
enhancethemeansfordoingsoinamannerconsistentwiththeirrespectiveneedsandconcernsat
differentlevelsofeconomicdevelopment,
Recognizing further that there is need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing
countries, and especially the least developed among them, secure a share in the growth in
internationaltradecommensuratewiththeneedsoftheireconomicdevelopment,
Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and mutually
advantageousarrangementsdirectedtothesubstantialreductionoftariffsandotherbarrierstotrade
andtotheeliminationofdiscriminatorytreatmentininternationaltraderelations,
Resolved,therefore,todevelopanintegrated,moreviableanddurablemultilateraltradingsystem
encompassingtheGeneralAgreementonTariffsandTrade,theresultsofpasttradeliberalization
efforts,andalloftheresultsoftheUruguayRoundofMultilateralTradeNegotiations,
Determinedtopreservethebasicprinciplesandtofurthertheobjectivesunderlyingthismultilateral
tradingsystem,xxx.(underscoringsupplied.)
64

Specific WTO Provisos Protect Developing Countries


So too, the Solicitor General points out that pursuant to and consistent with the foregoing
basic principles, the WTO Agreement grants developing countries a more lenient treatment,
giving their domestic industries some protection from the rush of foreign competition. Thus,
with respect to tariffs in general, preferential treatment is given to developing countries in
terms of the amount of tariff reduction and the period within which the reduction is to be
spread out. Specifically, GATT requires an average tariff reduction rate of 36% for
developed countries to be effected within a period of six (6) years while developing
countries -- including the Philippines -- are required to effect an average tariff reduction of
only 24% within ten (10) years.
In respect to domestic subsidy, GATT requires developed countries to reduce domestic
support to agricultural products by 20% over six (6) years, as compared to only 13% for
developing countries to be effected within ten (10) years.
In regard to export subsidy for agricultural products, GATT requires developed countries to
reduce their budgetary outlays for export subsidy by 36% and export volumes receiving
export subsidy by 21% within a period of six (6) years. For developing countries, however,
the reduction rate is only two-thirds of that prescribed for developed countries and a longer
period of ten (10) years within which to effect such reduction.
Moreover, GATT itself has provided built-in protection from unfair foreign competition and
trade practices including anti-dumping measures, countervailing measures and safeguards
against import surges. Where local businesses are jeopardized by unfair foreign
competition, the Philippines can avail of these measures. There is hardly therefore any
basis for the statement that under the WTO, local industries and enterprises will all be
wiped out and that Filipinos will be deprived of control of the economy. Quite the contrary,
the weaker situations of developing nations like the Philippines have been taken into
account; thus, there would be no basis to say that in joining the WTO, the respondents have
gravely abused their discretion. True, they have made a bold decision to steer the ship of
state into the yet uncharted sea of economic liberalization. But such decision cannot be set
aside on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, simply because we disagree with it or
simply because we believe only in other economic policies. As earlier stated, the Court in
taking jurisdiction of this case will not pass upon the advantages and disadvantages of
trade liberalization as an economic policy. It will only perform its constitutional duty of
determining whether the Senate committed grave abuse of discretion.
Constitution Does Not Rule Out Foreign Competition
Furthermore, the constitutional policy of a self-reliant and independent national economy [if !
supportFootnotes][35][endif]
does not necessarily rule out the entry of foreign investments, goods and
services. It contemplates neither economic seclusion nor mendicancy in the international
community. As explained by Constitutional Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, sponsor of this
constitutional policy:
Economic selfreliance is a primary objective of a developing country that is keenly aware of
overdependenceonexternalassistanceforevenitsmostbasicneeds.Itdoesnotmeanautarkyor
economic seclusion; rather, it means avoiding mendicancy in the international community.
Independencereferstothefreedomfromundueforeigncontrolofthenationaleconomy,especially
in such strategic industries as in the development of natural resources and public utilities. [if !
supportFootnotes][36][endif]

The WTO reliance on most favored nation, national treatment, and trade without
discrimination cannot be struck down as unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of equality
and reciprocity that apply to all WTO members. Aside from envisioning a trade policy based
on equality and reciprocity,[if !supportFootnotes][37][endif] the fundamental law encourages industries
that are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets, thereby demonstrating a clear
65

policy against a sheltered domestic trade environment, but one in favor of the gradual
development of robust industries that can compete with the best in the foreign markets.
Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino enterprises have shown capability and tenacity to
compete internationally. And given a free trade environment, Filipino entrepreneurs and
managers in Hongkong have demonstrated the Filipino capacity to grow and to prosper
against the best offered under a policy of laissez faire.
Constitution Favors Consumers, Not Industries or Enterprises
The Constitution has not really shown any unbalanced bias in favor of any business or
enterprise, nor does it contain any specific pronouncement that Filipino companies should
be pampered with a total proscription of foreign competition. On the other hand,
respondents claim that WTO/GATT aims to make available to the Filipino consumer the
best goods and services obtainable anywhere in the world at the most reasonable prices.
Consequently, the question boils down to whether WTO/GATT will favor the general welfare
of the public at large.
Will adherence to the WTO treaty bring this ideal (of favoring the general welfare) to reality?
Will WTO/GATT succeed in promoting the Filipinos general welfare because it will -- as
promised by its promoters -- expand the countrys exports and generate more employment?
Will it bring more prosperity, employment, purchasing power and quality products at the
most reasonable rates to the Filipino public?
The responses to these questions involve judgment calls by our policy makers, for which
they are answerable to our people during appropriate electoral exercises. Such questions
and the answers thereto are not subject to judicial pronouncements based on grave abuse
of discretion.
Constitution Designed to Meet Future Events and Contingencies
No doubt, the WTO Agreement was not yet in existence when the Constitution was drafted
and ratified in 1987. That does not mean however that the Charter is necessarily flawed in
the sense that its framers might not have anticipated the advent of a borderless world of
business. By the same token, the United Nations was not yet in existence when the 1935
Constitution became effective. Did that necessarily mean that the then Constitution might
not have contemplated a diminution of the absoluteness of sovereignty when the
Philippines signed the UN Charter, thereby effectively surrendering part of its control over
its foreign relations to the decisions of various UN organs like the Security Council?
It is not difficult to answer this question. Constitutions are designed to meet not only the
vagaries of contemporary events. They should be interpreted to cover even future and
unknown circumstances. It is to the credit of its drafters that a Constitution can withstand
the assaults of bigots and infidels but at the same time bend with the refreshing winds of
change necessitated by unfolding events. As one eminent political law writer and respected
jurist[if !supportFootnotes][38][endif] explains:
TheConstitutionmustbequintessentialratherthansuperficial,therootandnottheblossom,thebase
andframeworkonlyoftheedificethatisyettorise.Itisbutthecoreofthedreamthatmusttake
shape,notinatwinklingbymandateofourdelegates,butslowlyinthecrucibleofFilipinominds
andhearts,whereitwillintimedevelopitssinewsandgraduallygatheritsstrengthandfinally
achieveitssubstance.Infine,theConstitutioncannot,likethegoddessAthena,risefullgrownfrom
thebrowoftheConstitutionalConvention,norcanitconjurebymerefiataninstantUtopia.Itmust
growwiththesocietyitseekstorestructureandmarchapacewiththeprogressoftherace,drawing
fromthevicissitudesofhistorythedynamismandvitalitythatwillkeepit,farfrombecominga
petrifiedrule,apulsing,livinglawattunedtotheheartbeatofthenation.
Third Issue: The WTO Agreement and Legislative Power
The WTO Agreement provides that (e)ach Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws,
regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed
66

Agreements.[if !supportFootnotes][39][endif] Petitioners maintain that this undertaking unduly limits,


restricts and impairs Philippine sovereignty, specifically the legislative power which under
Sec. 2, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution is vested in the Congress of the
Philippines. It is an assault on the sovereign powers of the Philippines because this means
that Congress could not pass legislation that will be good for our national interest and
general welfare if such legislation will not conform with the WTO Agreement, which not only
relates to the trade in goods x x x but also to the flow of investments and money x x x as
well as to a whole slew of agreements on socio-cultural matters x x x. [if !supportFootnotes][40][endif]
More specifically, petitioners claim that said WTO proviso derogates from the power to tax,
which is lodged in the Congress.[if !supportFootnotes][41][endif] And while the Constitution allows
Congress to authorize the President to fix tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage
and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts, such authority is subject to specified limits
and x x x such limitations and restrictions as Congress may provide, [if !supportFootnotes][42][endif] as in
fact it did under Sec. 401 of the Tariff and Customs Code.
Sovereignty Limited by International Law and Treaties
This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by which petitioners stressed
their arguments on this issue. However, while sovereignty has traditionally been deemed
absolute and all-encompassing on the domestic level, it is however subject to restrictions
and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines, expressly or impliedly, as a member
of the family of nations. Unquestionably, the Constitution did not envision a hermit-type
isolation of the country from the rest of the world. In its Declaration of Principles and State
Policies, the Constitution adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as
part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom,
cooperation and amity, with all nations." [if !supportFootnotes][43][endif] By the doctrine of incorporation,
the country is bound by generally accepted principles of international law, which are
considered to be automatically part of our own laws. [if !supportFootnotes][44][endif] One of the oldest
and most fundamental rules in international law is pacta sunt servanda -- international
agreements must be performed in good faith. A treaty engagement is not a mere moral
obligation but creates a legally binding obligation on the parties x x x. A state which has
contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its legislations such
modifications as may be necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken. [if !
supportFootnotes][45][endif]

By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the absoluteness of sovereignty. By
their voluntary act, nations may surrender some aspects of their state power in exchange
for greater benefits granted by or derived from a convention or pact. After all, states, like
individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit of mutually covenanted objectives and
benefits, they also commonly agree to limit the exercise of their otherwise absolute rights.
Thus, treaties have been used to record agreements between States concerning such
widely diverse matters as, for example, the lease of naval bases, the sale or cession of
territory, the termination of war, the regulation of conduct of hostilities, the formation of
alliances, the regulation of commercial relations, the settling of claims, the laying down of
rules governing conduct in peace and the establishment of international organizations. [if !
supportFootnotes][46][endif]
The sovereignty of a state therefore cannot in fact and in reality be
considered absolute. Certain restrictions enter into the picture: (1) limitations imposed by
the very nature of membership in the family of nations and (2) limitations imposed by treaty
stipulations. As aptly put by John F. Kennedy, Today, no nation can build its destiny alone.
The age of self-sufficient nationalism is over. The age of interdependence is here. [if !
supportFootnotes][47][endif]

UN Charter and Other Treaties Limit Sovereignty


Thus, when the Philippines joined the United Nations as one of its 51 charter members, it
67

consented to restrict its sovereign rights under the concept of sovereignty as autolimitation.47-A Under Article 2 of the UN Charter, (a)ll members shall give the United Nations
every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall
refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking
preventive or enforcement action. Such assistance includes payment of its corresponding
share not merely in administrative expenses but also in expenditures for the peace-keeping
operations of the organization. In its advisory opinion of July 20, 1961, the International
Court of Justice held that money used by the United Nations Emergency Force in the
Middle East and in the Congo were expenses of the United Nations under Article 17,
paragraph 2, of the UN Charter. Hence, all its members must bear their corresponding
share in such expenses. In this sense, the Philippine Congress is restricted in its power to
appropriate. It is compelled to appropriate funds whether it agrees with such peace-keeping
expenses or not. So too, under Article 105 of the said Charter, the UN and its
representatives enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities, thereby limiting again the
exercise of sovereignty of members within their own territory. Another example: although
sovereign equality and domestic jurisdiction of all members are set forth as underlying
principles in the UN Charter, such provisos are however subject to enforcement measures
decided by the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security
under Chapter VII of the Charter. A final example: under Article 103, (i)n the event of a
conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present
Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligation under
the present charter shall prevail, thus unquestionably denying the Philippines -- as a
member -- the sovereign power to make a choice as to which of conflicting obligations, if
any, to honor.
Apart from the UN Treaty, the Philippines has entered into many other international pacts -both bilateral and multilateral -- that involve limitations on Philippine sovereignty. These are
enumerated by the Solicitor General in his Compliance dated October 24, 1996, as follows:
(a)BilateralconventionwiththeUnitedStatesregardingtaxesonincome,wherethePhilippines
agreed,amongothers,toexemptfromtax,incomereceivedinthePhilippinesby,amongothers,the
Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, the Export/Import Bank of the United States, the
OverseasPrivateInvestmentCorporationoftheUnitedStates.Likewise,insaidconvention,wages,
salariesandsimilarremunerationspaidbytheUnitedStatestoitscitizensforlaborandpersonal
servicesperformedbythemasemployeesorofficialsoftheUnitedStatesareexemptfromincome
taxbythePhilippines.
(b)BilateralagreementwithBelgium,providing,amongothers,fortheavoidanceofdoubletaxation
withrespecttotaxesonincome.
(c)BilateralconventionwiththeKingdomofSwedenfortheavoidanceofdoubletaxation.
(d)BilateralconventionwiththeFrenchRepublicfortheavoidanceofdoubletaxation.
(e)BilateralairtransportagreementwithKoreawherethePhilippinesagreedtoexemptfromall
customsduties,inspectionfeesandotherdutiesortaxesaircraftsofSouthKoreaandtheregular
equipment,sparepartsandsuppliesarrivingwithsaidaircrafts.
(f)BilateralairserviceagreementwithJapan,wherethePhilippinesagreedtoexemptfromcustoms
duties,excisetaxes,inspectionfeesandothersimilarduties,taxesorchargesfuel,lubricatingoils,
spareparts,regularequipment,storesonboardJapaneseaircraftswhileonPhilippinesoil.
(g)BilateralairserviceagreementwithBelgiumwherethePhilippinesgrantedBelgianaircarriers
thesameprivilegesasthosegrantedtoJapaneseandKoreanaircarriersunderseparateairservice
agreements.
(h)BilateralnoteswithIsraelfortheabolitionoftransitandvisitorvisaswherethePhilippines
exemptedIsraelinationalsfromtherequirementofobtainingtransitorvisitorvisasforasojournin
68

thePhilippinesnotexceeding59days.
(I)BilateralagreementwithFranceexemptingFrenchnationalsfromtherequirementofobtaining
transitandvisitorvisaforasojournnotexceeding59days.
(j) Multilateral Convention on Special Missions, where the Philippines agreed that premises of
SpecialMissionsinthePhilippinesareinviolableanditsagentscannotentersaidpremiseswithout
consentoftheHeadofMissionconcerned.SpecialMissionsarealsoexemptedfromcustomsduties,
taxesandrelatedcharges.
(k)MultilateralConventionontheLawofTreaties.Inthisconvention,thePhilippinesagreedtobe
governedbytheViennaConventionontheLawofTreaties.
(l) Declaration of the President of the Philippines accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the
InternationalCourtofJustice.TheInternationalCourtofJusticehasjurisdictioninalllegaldisputes
concerningtheinterpretationofatreaty,anyquestionofinternationallaw,theexistenceofanyfact
which,ifestablished,wouldconstituteabreachofinternationalobligation.
In the foregoing treaties, the Philippines has effectively agreed to limit the exercise of its
sovereign powers of taxation, eminent domain and police power. The underlying
consideration in this partial surrender of sovereignty is the reciprocal commitment of the
other contracting states in granting the same privilege and immunities to the Philippines, its
officials and its citizens. The same reciprocity characterizes the Philippine commitments
under WTO-GATT.
Internationaltreaties,whetherrelatingtonucleardisarmament,humanrights,theenvironment,the
lawofthesea,ortrade,constraindomesticpoliticalsovereigntythroughtheassumptionofexternal
obligations.Butunlessanarchyininternationalrelationsispreferredasanalternative,inmostcases
weacceptthatthebenefitsofthereciprocalobligationsinvolvedoutweighthecostsassociatedwith
anylossofpoliticalsovereignty.(T)radetreatiesthatstructurerelationsbyreferencetodurable,
welldefinedsubstantivenormsandobjectivedisputeresolutionproceduresreducetherisksoflarger
countriesexploitingraweconomicpowertobullysmallercountries,bysubjectingpowerrelationsto
someformoflegalordering.Inaddition,smallercountriestypicallystandtogaindisproportionately
fromtradeliberalization.Thisisduetothesimplefactthatliberalizationwillprovideaccesstoa
largersetofpotentialnewtradingrelationshipthanincaseofthelargercountrygainingenhanced
successtothesmallercountrysmarket.[if!supportFootnotes][48][endif]
The point is that, as shown by the foregoing treaties, a portion of sovereignty may be
waived without violating the Constitution, based on the rationale that the Philippines adopts
the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and
adheres to the policy of x x x cooperation and amity with all nations.
Fourth Issue: The WTO Agreement and Judicial Power
Petitioners aver that paragraph 1, Article 34 of the General Provisions and Basic Principles
of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) [if !
supportFootnotes][49][endif]
intrudes on the power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules
concerning pleading, practice and procedures. [if !supportFootnotes][50][endif]
To understand the scope and meaning of Article 34, TRIPS, [if !supportFootnotes][51][endif] it will be
fruitful to restate its full text as follows:
Article34
ProcessPatents:BurdenofProof
1.Forthepurposesofcivilproceedingsinrespectoftheinfringementoftherightsoftheowner
referredtoinparagraph1(b)ofArticle28,ifthesubjectmatterofapatentisaprocessforobtaining
aproduct,thejudicialauthoritiesshallhavetheauthoritytoorderthedefendanttoprovethatthe
processtoobtainanidenticalproductisdifferentfromthepatentedprocess.Therefore,Members
shall provide, in at least one of the following circumstances, that any identical product when

69

producedwithouttheconsentofthepatentownershall,intheabsenceofprooftothecontrary,be
deemedtohavebeenobtainedbythepatentedprocess:
(a)iftheproductobtainedbythepatentedprocessisnew;
(b)ifthereisasubstantiallikelihoodthattheidenticalproductwasmadebytheprocessandthe
ownerofthepatenthasbeenunablethroughreasonableeffortstodeterminetheprocessactually
used.
2.AnyMembershallbefreetoprovidethattheburdenofproofindicatedinparagraph1shallbeon
theallegedinfringeronlyiftheconditionreferredtoinsubparagraph(a)isfulfilledoronlyifthe
conditionreferredtoinsubparagraph(b)isfulfilled.
3.Intheadductionofprooftothecontrary,thelegitimateinterestsofdefendantsinprotectingtheir
manufacturingandbusinesssecretsshallbetakenintoaccount.
From the above, a WTO Member is required to provide a rule of disputable (note the words
in the absence of proof to the contrary) presumption that a product shown to be identical to
one produced with the use of a patented process shall be deemed to have been obtained
by the (illegal) use of the said patented process, (1) where such product obtained by the
patented product is new, or (2) where there is substantial likelihood that the identical
product was made with the use of the said patented process but the owner of the patent
could not determine the exact process used in obtaining such identical product. Hence, the
burden of proof contemplated by Article 34 should actually be understood as the duty of the
alleged patent infringer to overthrow such presumption. Such burden, properly understood,
actually refers to the burden of evidence (burden of going forward) placed on the producer
of the identical (or fake) product to show that his product was produced without the use of
the patented process.
The foregoing notwithstanding, the patent owner still has the burden of proof since,
regardless of the presumption provided under paragraph 1 of Article 34, such owner still
has to introduce evidence of the existence of the alleged identical product, the fact that it is
identical to the genuine one produced by the patented process and the fact of newness of
the genuine product or the fact of substantial likelihood that the identical product was made
by the patented process.
The foregoing should really present no problem in changing the rules of evidence as the
present law on the subject, Republic Act No. 165, as amended, otherwise known as the
Patent Law, provides a similar presumption in cases of infringement of patented design or
utility model, thus:
SEC.60. Infringement.Infringementofadesignpatentorofapatentforutilitymodelshall
consistinunauthorizedcopyingofthepatenteddesignorutilitymodelforthepurposeoftradeor
industryinthearticleorproductandinthemaking,usingorsellingofthearticleorproductcopying
thepatenteddesignorutilitymodel.Identityorsubstantialidentitywiththepatenteddesignorutility
modelshallconstituteevidenceofcopying.(underscoringsupplied)
Moreover, it should be noted that the requirement of Article 34 to provide a disputable
presumption applies only if (1) the product obtained by the patented process is NEW or (2)
there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the process and the
process owner has not been able through reasonable effort to determine the process used.
Where either of these two provisos does not obtain, members shall be free to determine the
appropriate method of implementing the provisions of TRIPS within their own internal
systems and processes.
By and large, the arguments adduced in connection with our disposition of the third issue -derogation of legislative power - will apply to this fourth issue also. Suffice it to say that the
reciprocity clause more than justifies such intrusion, if any actually exists. Besides, Article
34 does not contain an unreasonable burden, consistent as it is with due process and the

70

concept of adversarial dispute settlement inherent in our judicial system.


So too, since the Philippine is a signatory to most international conventions on patents,
trademarks and copyrights, the adjustment in legislation and rules of procedure will not be
substantial.[if !supportFootnotes][52][endif]
Fifth Issue: Concurrence Only in the WTO Agreement and Not in Other Documents
Contained in the Final Act
Petitioners allege that the Senate concurrence in the WTO Agreement and its annexes -but not in the other documents referred to in the Final Act, namely the Ministerial
Declaration and Decisions and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services -is defective and insufficient and thus constitutes abuse of discretion. They submit that such
concurrence in the WTO Agreement alone is flawed because it is in effect a rejection of the
Final Act, which in turn was the document signed by Secretary Navarro, in representation of
the Republic upon authority of the President. They contend that the second letter of the
President to the Senate[if !supportFootnotes][53][endif] which enumerated what constitutes the Final Act
should have been the subject of concurrence of the Senate.
A final act, sometimes called protocol de clture, is an instrument which records the
winding up of the proceedings of a diplomatic conference and usually includes a
reproduction of the texts of treaties, conventions, recommendations and other acts agreed
upon and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the conference. [if !supportFootnotes][54][endif] It is
not the treaty itself. It is rather a summary of the proceedings of a protracted conference
which may have taken place over several years. The text of the Final Act Embodying the
Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations is contained in just one
page[if !supportFootnotes][55][endif] in Vol. I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
Negotiations. By signing said Final Act, Secretary Navarro as representative of the Republic
of the Philippines undertook:
"(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective
competentauthoritieswithaviewtoseekingapprovaloftheAgreementinaccordancewiththeir
procedures;and
(b)toadopttheMinisterialDeclarationsandDecisions."
The assailed Senate Resolution No. 97 expressed concurrence in exactly what the Final
Act required from its signatories, namely, concurrence of the Senate in the WTO
Agreement.
The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions were deemed adopted without need for
ratification. They were approved by the ministers by virtue of Article XXV: 1 of GATT which
provides that representatives of the members can meet to give effect to those provisions of
this Agreement which invoke joint action, and generally with a view to facilitating the
operation and furthering the objectives of this Agreement. [if !supportFootnotes][56][endif]
The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services also approved in Marrakesh
does not apply to the Philippines. It applies only to those 27 Members which have indicated
in their respective schedules of commitments on standstill, elimination of monopoly,
expansion of operation of existing financial service suppliers, temporary entry of personnel,
free transfer and processing of information, and national treatment with respect to access to
payment, clearing systems and refinancing available in the normal course of business. [if !
supportFootnotes][57][endif]

On the other hand, the WTO Agreement itself expresses what multilateral agreements are
deemed included as its integral parts,[if !supportFootnotes][58][endif] as follows:
ArticleII
ScopeoftheWTO
1.TheWTOshallprovidethecommoninstitutionalframeworkfortheconductoftraderelations
amongitsMembersinmatterstotheagreementsandassociatedlegalinstrumentsincludedinthe
71

AnnexestothisAgreement.
2.TheAgreementsandassociatedlegalinstrumentsincludedinAnnexes1,2,and3(hereinafter
referredtoasMultilateralAgreements)areintegralpartsofthisAgreement,bindingonallMembers.
3.TheAgreementsandassociatedlegalinstrumentsincludedinAnnex4(hereinafterreferredtoas
PlurilateralTradeAgreements)arealsopartofthisAgreementforthoseMembersthathaveaccepted
them,andarebindingonthoseMembers.ThePlurilateralTradeAgreementsdonotcreateeither
obligationorrightsforMembersthathavenotacceptedthem.
4.TheGeneralAgreementonTariffsandTrade1994asspecifiedinannex1A(hereinafterreferred
toasGATT1994)islegallydistinctfromtheGeneralAgreementonTariffsandTrade,dated30
October1947,annexedtotheFinalActadoptedattheconclusionoftheSecondSessionofthe
Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment, as
subsequentlyrectified,amendedormodified(hereinafterreferredtoasGATT1947).
It should be added that the Senate was well-aware of what it was concurring in as shown by
the members deliberation on August 25, 1994. After reading the letter of President Ramos
dated August 11, 1994,[if !supportFootnotes][59][endif] the senators of the Republic minutely dissected
what the Senate was concurring in, as follows: [if !supportFootnotes][60][endif]
THECHAIRMAN:Yes.Now,thequestionofthevalidityofthesubmissioncameupinthefirstday
hearingofthisCommitteeyesterday.WastheobservationmadebySenatorTaadathatwhatwas
submittedtotheSenatewasnottheagreementonestablishingtheWorldTradeOrganizationbythe
finalactoftheUruguayRoundwhichisnotthesameastheagreementestablishingtheWorldTrade
Organization? Andon that basis,Senator Tolentino raised apoint oforder which, however, he
agreedtowithdrawuponunderstandingthathissuggestionforanalternativesolutionatthattime
wasacceptable.ThatsuggestionwastotreattheproceedingsoftheCommitteeasbeinginthenature
ofbriefingsforSenatorsuntilthequestionofthesubmissioncouldbeclarified.
And so, Secretary Romulo, in effect, is the President submitting a new... is he making a new
submissionwhichimprovesontheclarityofthefirstsubmission?
MR. ROMULO: Mr. Chairman, to make sure that it is clear cut and there should be no
misunderstanding,itwashisintentiontoclarifyallmattersbygivingthisletter.
THECHAIRMAN:Thankyou.
CanthisCommitteehearfromSenatorTaadaandlateronSenatorTolentinosincetheyweretheones
thatraisedthisquestionyesterday?
SenatorTaada,please.
SEN.TAADA:Thankyou,Mr.Chairman.
BasedonwhatSecretaryRomulohasread,itwouldnowclearlyappearthatwhatisbeingsubmitted
totheSenateforratificationisnottheFinalActoftheUruguayRound,butrathertheAgreementon
the World Trade Organization as well as the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the
UnderstandingandCommitmentsinFinancialServices.
IamnowsatisfiedwiththewordingofthenewsubmissionofPresidentRamos.
SEN.TAADA....ofPresidentRamos,Mr.Chairman.
THECHAIRMAN.Thankyou,SenatorTaada.CanwehearfromSenatorTolentino?Andafterhim
SenatorNeptaliGonzalesandSenatorLina.
SENTOLENTINO,Mr.Chairman,Ihavenotseenthenewsubmissionactuallytransmittedtousbut
Isawthedraftofhisearlier,andIthinkitnowcomplieswiththeprovisionsoftheConstitution,and
withtheFinalActitself.TheConstitutiondoesnotrequireustoratifytheFinalAct.Itrequiresusto
ratifytheAgreementwhichisnowbeingsubmitted.TheFinalActitselfspecifieswhatisgoingtobe
submittedtowiththegovernmentsoftheparticipants.
Inparagraph2oftheFinalAct,wereadandIquote:
BysigningthepresentFinalAct,therepresentativesagree:(a)tosubmitasappropriatetheWTO
72

Agreement for the consideration ofthe respective competent authorities witha view to seeking
approvaloftheAgreementinaccordancewiththeirprocedures.
Inotherwords,itis not theFinal Actthatwas agreedto besubmittedto thegovernments for
ratificationoracceptanceaswhatevertheirconstitutionalproceduresmayprovidebutitistheWorld
TradeOrganizationAgreement.Andifthatistheonethatisbeingsubmittednow,Ithinkitsatisfies
boththeConstitutionandtheFinalActitself.
Thankyou,Mr.Chairman.
THECHAIRMAN.Thankyou,SenatorTolentino,MayIcallonSenatorGonzales.
SEN.GONZALES.Mr.Chairman,myviewsonthismatterarealreadyamatterofrecord.Andthey
had been adequately reflected in the journal of yesterdays session and I dont see any need for
repeatingthesame.
Now,Iwouldconsiderthenewsubmissionasanactexabudantecautela

.
THECHAIRMAN.Thankyou,SenatorGonzales.SenatorLina,doyouwanttomakeanycomment
onthis?
SEN.LINA.Mr.President,IagreewiththeobservationjustmadebySenatorGonzalesoutofthe
abundanceofquestion.Thenthenewsubmissionis,Ibelieve,statingtheobviousandthereforeI
havenofurthercommenttomake.
Epilogue
In praying for the nullification of the Philippine ratification of the WTO Agreement, petitioners
are invoking this Courts constitutionally imposed duty to determine whether or not there has
been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the
Senate in giving its concurrence therein via Senate Resolution No. 97. Procedurally, a writ
of certiorari grounded on grave abuse of discretion may be issued by the Court under Rule
65 of the Rules of Court when it is amply shown that petitioners have no other plain, speedy
and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment
as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. [if !supportFootnotes][61][endif] Mere abuse of discretion is not
enough. It must be grave abuse of discretion as when the power is exercised in an arbitrary
or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so patent and so
gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty
enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.[if !supportFootnotes][62][endif] Failure on the part of the
petitioner to show grave abuse of discretion will result in the dismissal of the petition. [if !
supportFootnotes][63][endif]

In rendering this Decision, this Court never forgets that the Senate, whose act is under
review, is one of two sovereign houses of Congress and is thus entitled to great respect in
its actions. It is itself a constitutional body independent and coordinate, and thus its actions
are presumed regular and done in good faith. Unless convincing proof and persuasive
arguments are presented to overthrow such presumptions, this Court will resolve every
doubt in its favor. Using the foregoing well-accepted definition of grave abuse of discretion
and the presumption of regularity in the Senates processes, this Court cannot find any
cogent reason to impute grave abuse of discretion to the Senates exercise of its power of
concurrence in the WTO Agreement granted it by Sec. 21 of Article VII of the Constitution. [if !
supportFootnotes][64][endif]

It is true, as alleged by petitioners, that broad constitutional principles require the State to
develop an independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos; and to protect
and/or prefer Filipino labor, products, domestic materials and locally produced goods. But it
is equally true that such principles -- while serving as judicial and legislative guides -- are
not in themselves sources of causes of action. Moreover, there are other equally
fundamental constitutional principles relied upon by the Senate which mandate the pursuit

73

of a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of
exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity and the promotion of industries which are
competitive in both domestic and foreign markets, thereby justifying its acceptance of said
treaty. So too, the alleged impairment of sovereignty in the exercise of legislative and
judicial powers is balanced by the adoption of the generally accepted principles of
international law as part of the law of the land and the adherence of the Constitution to the
policy of cooperation and amity with all nations.
That the Senate, after deliberation and voting, voluntarily and overwhelmingly gave its
consent to the WTO Agreement thereby making it a part of the law of the land is a legitimate
exercise of its sovereign duty and power. We find no patent and gross arbitrariness or
despotism by reason of passion or personal hostility in such exercise. It is not impossible to
surmise that this Court, or at least some of its members, may even agree with petitioners
that it is more advantageous to the national interest to strike down Senate Resolution No.
97. But that is not a legal reason to attribute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate and
to nullify its decision. To do so would constitute grave abuse in the exercise of our own
judicial power and duty. Ineludably, what the Senate did was a valid exercise of its authority.
As to whether such exercise was wise, beneficial or viable is outside the realm of judicial
inquiry and review. That is a matter between the elected policy makers and the people. As
to whether the nation should join the worldwide march toward trade liberalization and
economic globalization is a matter that our people should determine in electing their policy
makers. After all, the WTO Agreement allows withdrawal of membership, should this be the
political desire of a member.
The eminent futurist John Naisbitt, author of the best seller Megatrends, predicts an Asian
Renaissance[if !supportFootnotes][65][endif] where the East will become the dominant region of the
world economically, politically and culturally in the next century. He refers to the free market
espoused by WTO as the catalyst in this coming Asian ascendancy. There are at present
about 31 countries including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia negotiating for membership in
the WTO. Notwithstanding objections against possible limitations on national sovereignty,
the WTO remains as the only viable structure for multilateral trading and the veritable forum
for the development of international trade law. The alternative to WTO is isolation,
stagnation, if not economic self-destruction. Duly enriched with original membership, keenly
aware of the advantages and disadvantages of globalization with its on-line experience, and
endowed with a vision of the future, the Philippines now straddles the crossroads of an
international strategy for economic prosperity and stability in the new millennium. Let the
people, through their duly authorized elected officers, make their free choice.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Mendoza,
Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr., and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Padilla, and Vitug, JJ., in the result.
[if!supportEndnotes]
[endif]
[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif]

In Annex A of her Memorandum, dated August 8, 1996, received by this


Court on August 12, 1996, Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, World Trade
Organization and other international organizations Lilia R. Bautista (hereafter referred to as
Bautista Paper) submitted a 46-year Chronology of GATT as follows:
1947 The birth of GATT. On 30 October 1947, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
(GATT) was signed by 23 nations at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Agreement
contained tariff concessions agreed to in the first multilateral trade negotiations and a set of
74

rules designed to prevent these concessions from being frustrated by restrictive trade
measures.
The 23 founding contracting parties were members of the Preparatory Committee
established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1946 to draft the charter
of the International Trade Organization (ITO). The ITO was envisaged as the final leg of a
triad of post-War economic agencies (the other two were the International Monetary Fund
and the International Bank for Reconstruction - later the World Bank).
In parallel with this task, the Committee members decided to negotiate tariff concessions
among themselves. From April to October 1947, the participants completed some 123
negotiations and established 20 schedules containing the tariff reductions and bindings
which became an integral part of GATT. These schedules resulting from the first Round
covered some 45,000 tariff concessions and about $10 billion in trade.
GATT was conceived as an interim measure that put into effect the commercial-policy
provisions of the ITO. In November, delegations from 56 countries met in Havana, Cuba, to
consider the ITO draft as a whole. After long and difficult negotiations, some 53 countries
signed the Final Act authenticating the text of the Havana Charter in March 1948. There
was no commitment, however, from governments to ratification and, in the end, the ITO was
stillborn, leaving GATT as the only international instrument governing the conduct of world
trade.
1948 Entry into force. On 1 January 1948, GATT entered into force. The 23 founding
members were: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, Chile, China, Cuba,
Czechoslovakia, France, India, Lebanon, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
Pakistan, Southern Rhodesia, Syria, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States. The
first Session of the contracting parties was held from February to March in Havana, Cuba.
The secretariat of the Interim Commission for the ITO, which served as the ad hoc
secretariat of GATT, move from lake Placid, New York, to Geneva. The Contracting Parties
held their second session in Geneva from August to September.
1949 Second Round at Annecy. During the second Round of trade negotiations, held from
April to August at Annecy, France, the contracting parties exchange some 5,000 tariff
concession. At their third Session, they also dealt with the accession of ten more countries.
1950 Third Round At Torquay. From September 1950 to April 1951, the contracting
parties exchange some 8,700 tariff concessions in the English town, yielding tariff reduction
of about 25 per cent in relation to the 1948 level. Four more countries acceded to GATT.
During the fifth Session of the Contracting Parties, the United States indicated that the ITO
Charter would not be re-submitted to the US congress; this, in effect, meant that ITO would
not come into operation.
1956 Fourth Round at Geneva. The fourth Round was completed in May and produce
some $2.5 billion worth of tariff reductions. At the beginning of the year, the GATT
commercial policy course for officials of developing countries was inaugurated.
1958 The Haberler Report. GATT published Trends in International Trade in October.
Known as the "Haberler Report" in honour of Professor Gottfried Haberler, the chairman of
the panel of imminent economist, it provided initial guidelines for the work of GATT. The
Contracting Parties at their 13th Sessions, attended by Ministers, subsequently established
3 committees in GATT: Committee I to convene a further tariff negotiating conference;
Committee II To review the agricultural policies of member governments and Committee III
to tackle the problems facing developing countries in their trade. The establishment of the
European Economic Community during the previous year also demanded large scale tariff
negotiation under Article XXIV 6 of the General Agreement.
1960 The Dillon Round. The fifth Round opened in September and was divided into two
phases: the first was concerned with EEC members states for the creation of a single
75

schedule of concessions for the Community based on its Common External Tariff; and the
second was a further general round of tariff negotiations. Named in honor of US UnderSecretary of State Douglas Dillon who proposed the negotiations, the Round was
concluded in July 1962 and resulted in about 4,400 tariff concessions covering $4.9 billion
of trade.
1961 The Short-Term Arrangement covering cotton textiles was agreed as an exception
to the GATT rules. The arrangement permitted the negotiation of quota restrictions affecting
the exports of cotton-producing countries. In 1962 the "Short Term " Arrangement become
the "Long term" Arrangement, lasting until 1974 when the Multifibre Arrangement entered
into force.
1964 The Kennedy Round. Meeting at Ministerial Level, a Trade Negotiations Committee
formally opened the Kennedy Round in May. In June 1967, the Round's Final Act was
signed by some 50 participating countries which together accounted for 75 per cent of world
trade. For the first time, negotiation departed from product-by-product approach used in the
previous Rounds to an across-the-board or linear method of cutting tariffs for industrial
goods. The working hypothesis of a 50 per cent target cut in tariff levels was achieved in
many areas. Concessions covered an estimated total value of trade of about $40 billion.
Separate agreements were reached on grains, chemical products and a Code on AntiDumping.
1965 A New Chapter. The early 1960s marked the accession to the General Agreement of
many newly-independent developing countries. In February, the Contracting Parties,
meeting in a special session, adopted the text of Part IV on Trade and Development. The
additional chapter to the GATT required developed countries to accord high priority to the
reduction of trade barriers to products of developing countries. A committee on Trade and
Development was established to oversee the functioning of the new GATT provisions. In the
preceding year, GATT had established the International Trade Center (ITC) to help
developing countries in trade promotion and identification of potential markets. Since 1968,
the ITC had been jointly operated by GATT and the UN Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD).
1973 The Tokyo Round. The seventh Round was launched by Ministers in September at
the Japanese capital. Some 99 countries participated in negotiating a comprehensive body
of agreements covering both tariff and non-tariff matters. At the end of the Round in
November 1979, participants exchange tariff reduction and bindings which covered more
than $300 billion of trade. As a result of these cuts, the weighted average tariff on
manufactured goods in the world's nine major Industrial Markets declined from 7.0 to 4.7
per cent. Agreements were reached in the following areas; subsidies and countervailing
measures, technical barriers to trade, import licensing procedures, government
procurement, customs valuation, a revised anti-dumping code, trade in bovine meat, trade
in daily products and trade in civil aircraft. The first concrete result of the Round was the
reduction of import duties and other trade barriers by industrial countries on tropical
products exported by developing countries.
1974 On 1 January 1974, the Arrangement Regarding International Trade in textiles,
otherwise known as the Multifibre Arrangement (MFA), entered into force. Its superseded
the arrangement that had been governing trade in cotton textiles since 1961. The MFA
seeks to promote the expansion and progressive liberalization of trade in textile product
while at the same time avoiding disruptive effects in individual markets in lines of
production. The MFA was extended in 1978, 1982, 1986, 1991 and 1992. MFA members
account for most of the world exports of textiles and clothing which in 1986 amounted to
US$128 billion.
1982 Ministerial Meeting. Meeting for the first time in nearly ten years, the GATT Ministers
76

in November at Geneva reaffirmed the validity of GATT rules for the conduct of international
trade and committed themselves to combating protectionist pressures. They also
established a wide-ranging work programme for the GATT which was to laid down the
ground work for a new Round. 1986 The Uruguay Round. The GATT Trade Ministers
meeting at Punta del Este, Uruguay, launched the eighth Round of Trade Negotiations on
20 September. The Punta del Este, declarations, while representing a single political
undertaking, was divided into two section. The First covered negotiations on Trade in goods
and the second initiated negotiation on trade in services. In the area of trade in goods, the
Ministers committed themselves to a "standstill" on new trade measures inconsistent with
their GATT obligations and to a "rollback" programme aimed at phasing out existing
inconsistent measures. Envisaged to last four years, negotiations started in early February
1987 in the following areas: tariffs, non-tariff measures, tropical products, natural resourcebased products, textiles and clothing, agriculture, subsidies, safeguards, trade-related
aspects of intellectual property rights including trade in counterfeit goods, in trade- related
investment measures. The work of other groups included a review of GATT articles, the
GATT dispute-settlement procedure, the Tokyo Round agreements, as well as functioning of
the GATT system as a whole.
1994 "GATT 1994" is the updated version of GATT 1947 and takes into account the
substantive and institutional changes negotiated in the Uruguay Round. GATT 1994 is an
integral part of the World Trade Organization established on 1 January 1995. It is agreed
that there be a one year transition period during which certain GATT 1947 bodies and
commitments would co-exist with those of the World Trade Organization."
[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif]
The Final Act was signed by representatives of 125 entities, namely
Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentine Republic, Australia, Republic of Austria,
State of Bahrain, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, Barbados, The Kingdom of Belgium,
Belize, Republic of Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Peoples Republic of
China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Republic of Cote dIvoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Kingdom of Denmark, Commonwealth of Dominica, Dominican Republic, Arab
Republic of Egypt, El Salvador, European Communities, Republic of Fiji, Finland, French
Republic, Gabonese Republic, Gambia, Federal Republic of Germany, Ghana, Hellenic
Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Guyana, Haiti,
Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, State of Israel, Italian
Republic, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, State of Kuwait, Kingdom of Lesotho, Principality
of Liechtenstein, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Macau, Republic of Madagascar, Republic
of Malawi, Malaysia, Republic of Maldives, Republic of Mali, Republic of Malta, Islamic
Republic of Mauritania, Republic of Mauritius, United Mexican States, Kingdom of Morocco,
Republic of Mozambique, Union of Myanmar, Republic of Namibia, Kingdom of the
Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Republic of Niger, Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Kingdom of Norway, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland,
Portuguese Republic, State of Qatar, Romania, Rwandese Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis,
Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak
Republic, South Africa, Kingdom of Spain, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
Republic of Surinam, Kingdom of Swaziland, Kingdom of Sweden, Swiss Confederation,
United Republic of Tanzania, Kingdom of Thailand, Togolese Republic, Republic of Trinidad
and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Eastern Republic of Uruguay,
Venezuela, Republic of Zaire, Republic of Zambia, Republic of Zimbabwe; see pp. 6-25,
Vol. 1, Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations.
[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif]
11 August 1994
77

The Honorable Members


Senate
Through Senate President Edgardo Angara
Manila
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have the honor to forward herewith an authenticated copy of the Uruguay Round Final Act
signed by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Rizalino S. Navarro for the
Philippines on 15 April 1994 in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The Uruguay Round Final Act aims to liberalize and expand world trade and strengthen the
interrelationship between trade and economic policies affecting growth and development.
The Final Act will improve Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major trading
partners through the reduction of tariffs on its exports particularly agricultural and industrial
products. These concessions may be availed of by the Philippines, only if it is a member of
the World Trade Organization. By GATT estimates, the Philippines can acquire additional
export revenues from $2.2 to $2.7 Billion annually under Uruguay Round. This will be on top
of the normal increase in exports that the Philippines may experience.
The Final Act will also open up new opportunities for the services sector in such areas as
the movement of personnel, (e.g. professional services and construction services), crossborder supply (e.g. computer-related services), consumption abroad (e.g. tourism,
convention services, etc.) and commercial presence.
The clarified and improved rules and disciplines on anti-dumping and countervailing
measures will also benefit Philippine exporters by reducing the costs and uncertainty
associated with exporting while at the same time providing a means for domestic industries
to safeguard themselves against unfair imports.
Likewise, the provision of adequate protection for intellectual property rights is expected to
attract more investments into the country and to make it less vulnerable to unilateral actions
by its trading partners (e.g. Sec. 301 of the United States Omnibus Trade Law).
In view of the foregoing, the Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for
its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
A draft of a proposed Resolution giving its concurrence to the aforesaid Agreement is
enclosed.
Very truly yours,
(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS
[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif]
11 August 1994
The Honorable Members
Senate
Through Senate President Edgardo Angara
Manila
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have the honor to forward herewith an authenticated copy of the Uruguay Round Final Act
signed by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Rizalino S. Navarro for the
Philippines on 13 April 1994 in Marrakech (sic), Morocco.
Members of the trade negotiations committee, which included the Philippines, agreed that
the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and
Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services embody the
results of their negotiations and form an integral part of the Uruguay Round Final Act.
By signing the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Philippines, through Secretary Navarro,
agreed:
(a) To submit the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization to the Senate for its
concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution; and
78

(b) To adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.


The Uruguay Round Final Act aims to liberalize and expand world trade and strengthen the
interrelationship between trade and economic policies affecting growth and development.
The Final Act will improve Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major trading
partners through the reduction of tariffs on its exports particularly agricultural and industrial
products. These concessions may be availed of by the Philippines, only if it is a member of
the World Trade Organization. By GATT estimates, the Philippines can acquire additional
export revenues from $2.2 to $2.7 Billion annually under Uruguay Round. This will be on top
of the normal increase in the exports that the Philippines may experience.
The Final Act will also open up new opportunities for the services sector in such areas as
the movement of personnel, (e.g., professional services and construction services), crossborder supply (e.g., computer-related services), consumption abroad (e.g., tourism,
convention services, etc.) and commercial presence.
The clarified and improved rules and disciplines on anti-dumping and countervailing
measures will also benefit Philippine exporters by reducing the costs and uncertainty
associated with exporting while at the same time providing a means for domestic industries
to safeguard themselves against unfair imports.
Likewise, the provision of adequate protection for intellectual property rights is expected to
attract more investments into the country and to make it a less vulnerable to unilateral
actions by its trading partners (e.g., Sec. 301 of the United States Omnibus Trade Law).
In view of the foregoing, the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Agreement Establishing the
World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services, as embodied in the Uruguay Round
Final Act and forming and integral part thereof are hereby submitted to the Senate for its
concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.
A draft of a proposed Resolution giving its concurrence to the aforesaid Agreement is
enclosed.
Very truly yours,
EN BANC
G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, Petitioner, v. SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION),
AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
The decision whether to detain or release an accused before and during trial is
ultimately an incident of the judicial power to hear and determine his criminal
case. The strength of the Prosecutions case, albeit a good measure of the
accuseds propensity for flight or for causing harm to the public, is subsidiary to
the primary objective of bail, which is to ensure that the accused appears at
trial.1
The Case
Before the Court is the petition for certiorari filed by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile
to assail and annul the resolutions dated July 14, 2014 2 and August 8, 20143
issued by the Sandiganbayan (Third Division) in Case No. SB-14-CRM-0238,
where he has been charged with plunder along with several others. Enrile insists
79

that the resolutions, which respectively denied his Motion To Fix Bail and his
Motion For Reconsideration, were issued with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.chanrobleslaw
Antecedents
On June 5, 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman charged Enrile and several
others with plunder in the Sandiganbayan on the basis of their purported
involvement in the diversion and misuse of appropriations under the Priority
Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).4 On June 10, 2014 and June 16, 2014,
Enrile respectively filed his Omnibus Motion5 and Supplemental Opposition,6
praying, among others, that he be allowed to post bail should probable cause be
found against him. The motions were heard by the Sandiganbayan after the
Prosecution filed its Consolidated Opposition.7
On July 3, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued its resolution denying Enriles
motion, particularly on the matter of bail, on the ground of its prematurity
considering that Enrile had not yet then voluntarily surrendered or been placed
under the custody of the law.8 Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan ordered the
arrest of Enrile.9
On the same day that the warrant for his arrest was issued, Enrile voluntarily
surrendered to Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and was later on confined
at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital following his medical
examination.10
Thereafter, Enrile filed his Motion for Detention at the PNP General Hospital ,11
and his Motion to Fix Bail,12 both dated July 7, 2014, which were heard by the
Sandiganbayan on July 8, 2014. 13 In support of the motions, Enrile argued that
he should be allowed to post bail because: (a) the Prosecution had not yet
established that the evidence of his guilt was strong; (b) although he was
charged with plunder, the penalty as to him would only be reclusion temporal,
not reclusion perpetua; and (c) he was not a flight risk, and his age and physical
condition must further be seriously considered.
On July 14, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued its first assailed resolution denying
Enriles Motion to Fix Bail, disposing thusly:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
x x x [I]t is only after the prosecution shall have presented its evidence and the
Court shall have made a determination that the evidence of guilt is not strong
against accused Enrile can he demand bail as a matter of right. Then and only
then will the Court be duty-bound to fix the amount of his bail.
To be sure, no such determination has been made by the Court. In fact, accused
Enrile has not filed an application for bail. Necessarily, no bail hearing can even
commence. It is thus exceedingly premature for accused Enrile to ask the Court

80

to fix his bail.


xxxx
Accused Enrile next argues that the Court should grant him bail because while
he is charged with plunder, the maximum penalty that may be possibly imposed
on him is reclusion temporal, not reclusion perpetua. He anchors this claim on
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080, as amended, and on the allegation that he is over
seventy (70) years old and that he voluntarily surrendered. Accordingly, it may
be said that the crime charged against Enrile is not punishable by reclusion
perpetua, and thus bailable.
The argument has no merit.
xxxx
x x x [F]or purposes of bail, the presence of mitigating circumstance/s is not
taken into consideration. These circumstances will only be appreciated in the
imposition of the proper penalty after trial should the accused be found guilty of
the offense charged. x x x
xxxx
Lastly, accused Enrile asserts that the Court should already fix his bail because
he is not a flight risk and his physical condition must also be seriously considered
by the Court.
Admittedly, the accuseds age, physical condition and his being a flight risk are
among the factors that are considered in fixing a reasonable amount of bail.
However, as explained above, it is premature for the Court to fix the amount of
bail without an anterior showing that the evidence of guilt against accused Enrile
is not strong.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Juan Ponce Enriles Motion to Fix
Bail dated July 7, 2014 is DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary 14cralawlawlibrary
On August 8, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued its second assailed resolution to
deny Enriles motion for reconsideration filed vis--vis the July 14, 2014
resolution.15
Enrile raises the following grounds in support of his petition for certiorari,
namely:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Before judgment of the Sandiganbayan, Enrile is bailable as a matter of
right. Enrile may be deemed to fall within the exception only upon
concurrence of two (2) circumstances: (i) where the offense is

81

punishable by reclusion perpetua, and (ii) when evidence of guilt is


strong.x x x x
The prosecution failed to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile, if
ever he would be convicted, is punishable by reclusion perpetua; hence,
Enrile is entitled to bail as a matter of right.x x x x
The prosecution failed to show clearly and conclusively that evidence of
Enriles guilt (if ever) is strong; hence, Enrile is entitled to bail as a
matter of right.x x x x
At any rate, Enrile may be bailable as he is not a flight risk.16
Enrile claims that before judgment of conviction, an accused is entitled to bail as
matter of right; that it is the duty and burden of the Prosecution to show clearly
and conclusively that Enrile comes under the exception and cannot be excluded
from enjoying the right to bail; that the Prosecution has failed to establish that
Enrile, if convicted of plunder, is punishable by reclusion perpetua considering
the presence of two mitigating circumstances his age and his voluntary
surrender; that the Prosecution has not come forward with proof showing that
his guilt for the crime of plunder is strong; and that he should not be considered
a flight risk taking into account that he is already over the age of 90, his medical
condition, and his social standing.
In its Comment,17 the Ombudsman contends that Enriles right to bail is
discretionary as he is charged with a capital offense; that to be granted bail, it is
mandatory that a bail hearing be conducted to determine whether there is
strong evidence of his guilt, or the lack of it; and that entitlement to bail
considers
the
imposable
penalty,
regardless
of
the
attendant
circumstances.chanrobleslaw
Ruling of the Court
The petition for certiorari is meritorious.chanrobleslaw
1.
Bail protects the right of the accused to due process and to be presumed
innocent
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the
contrary is proved.18 The presumption of innocence is rooted in the guarantee of
due process, and is safeguarded by the constitutional right to be released on
bail,19 and further binds the court to wait until after trial to impose any
punishment on the accused.20
It is worthy to note that bail is not granted to prevent the accused from
committing additional crimes.21 The purpose of bail is to guarantee the
appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so required by the trial
court. The amount of bail should be high enough to assure the presence of the
accused when so required, but it should be no higher than is reasonably

82

calculated to fulfill this purpose.22 Thus, bail acts as a reconciling mechanism to


accommodate both the accuseds interest in his provisional liberty before or
during the trial, and the societys interest in assuring the accuseds presence at
trial.23
2.
Bail may be granted as a matter of right or of discretion
The right to bail is expressly afforded by Section 13, Article III (Bill of Rights) of
the Constitution, viz.:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
x x x All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by
sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law.
The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
This constitutional provision is repeated in Section 7, Rule 114 24 of the Rules of
Court, as follows:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, not bailable. No person charged with a capital offense, or an
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted
to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal
prosecution.
A capital offense in the context of the rule refers to an offense that, under the
law existing at the time of its commission and the application for admission to
bail, may be punished with death.25
The general rule is, therefore, that any person, before being convicted of any
criminal offense, shall be bailable, unless he is charged with a capital offense, or
with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the
evidence of his guilt is strong. Hence, from the moment he is placed under
arrest, or is detained or restrained by the officers of the law, he can claim the
guarantee of his provisional liberty under the Bill of Rights, and he retains his
right to bail unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense
punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his
guilt is strong.26 Once it has been established that the evidence of guilt is strong,
no right to bail shall be recognized.27
As a result, all criminal cases within the competence of the Metropolitan Trial
Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit
Trial Court are bailable as matter of right because these courts have no
jurisdiction to try capital offenses, or offenses punishable with reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment. Likewise, bail is a matter of right prior to
conviction by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for any offense not punishable by
death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, or even prior to conviction for

83

an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment when


evidence of guilt is not strong.28
On the other hand, the granting of bail is discretionary: (1) upon conviction by
the RTC of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment;29 or (2) if the RTC has imposed a penalty of imprisonment
exceeding six years, provided none of the circumstances enumerated under
paragraph 3 of Section 5, Rule 114 is present, as follows:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has
committed the crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration;
(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or
violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification;
(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional
pardon;
(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released
on bail; or
(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the
pendency of the appeal.
3.
Admission to bail in offenses punished
by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion
perpetua is subject to judicial discretion
For purposes of admission to bail, the determination of whether or not evidence
of guilt is strong in criminal cases involving capital offenses, or offenses
punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment lies within the discretion
of the trial court. But, as the Court has held in Concerned Citizens v. Elma,30
such discretion may be exercised only after the hearing called to ascertain the
degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of whether or not he should be
granted provisional liberty. It is axiomatic, therefore, that bail cannot be allowed
when its grant is a matter of discretion on the part of the trial court unless there
has been a hearing with notice to the Prosecution. 31 The indispensability of the
hearing with notice has been aptly explained in Aguirre v. Belmonte, viz.:32
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
x x x Even before its pronouncement in the Lim case, this Court already ruled in
People vs. Dacudao, etc., et al. that a hearing is mandatory before bail can be
granted to an accused who is charged with a capital offense, in this wise:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The respondent court acted irregularly in granting bail in a murder case without
any hearing on the motion asking for it, without bothering to ask the prosecution
for its conformity or comment, as it turned out later, over its strong objections.

84

The court granted bail on the sole basis of the complaint and the affidavits of
three policemen, not one of whom apparently witnessed the killing. Whatever
the court possessed at the time it issued the questioned ruling was intended only
for prima facie determining whether or not there is sufficient ground to engender
a well-founded belief that the crime was committed and pinpointing the persons
who probably committed it. Whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong for
each individual accused still has to be established unless the prosecution submits
the issue on whatever it has already presented. To appreciate the strength or
weakness of the evidence of guilt, the prosecution must be consulted or heard.
It is equally entitled as the accused to due process.
xxxx
Certain guidelines in the fixing of a bailbond call for the presentation of evidence
and reasonable opportunity for the prosecution to refute it. Among them are the
nature and circumstances of the crime, character and reputation of the accused,
the weight of the evidence against him, the probability of the accused appearing
at the trial, whether or not the accused is a fugitive from justice, and whether or
not the accused is under bond in other cases. (Section 6, Rule 114, Rules of
Court) It is highly doubtful if the trial court can appreciate these guidelines in an
ex-parte determination where the Fiscal is neither present nor heard.
The hearing, which may be either summary or otherwise, in the discretion of the
court, should primarily determine whether or not the evidence of guilt against
the accused is strong. For this purpose, a summary hearing means:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
x x x such brief and speedy method of receiving and considering the evidence of
guilt as is practicable and consistent with the purpose of hearing which is merely
to determine the weight of evidence for purposes of bail. On such hearing, the
court does not sit to try the merits or to enter into any nice inquiry as to the
weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against the accused, nor
will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence may be
therein offered or admitted. The course of inquiry may be left to the discretion of
the court which may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to
substantial matters, avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the examination and
cross examination.33cralawlawlibrary
In resolving bail applications of the accused who is charged with a capital
offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the
trial judge is expected to comply with the guidelines outlined in Cortes v.
Catral,34 to wit:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, notify the
prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require him to submit his
recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as amended);
Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail
regardless of whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to
show that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court

85

to exercise its sound discretion; (Section 7 and 8, supra)


Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of
evidence of the prosecution;
If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval
of the bailbond (Section 19, supra) Otherwise petition should be denied.
3.
Enriles poor health justifies his admission to bail
We first note that Enrile has averred in his Motion to Fix Bail the presence of two
mitigating circumstances that should be appreciated in his favor, namely: that he
was already over 70 years at the time of the alleged commission of the offense,
and that he voluntarily surrendered.35
Enriles averment has been mainly uncontested by the Prosecution, whose
Opposition to the Motion to Fix Bail has only argued that
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
As regards the assertion that the maximum possible penalty that might be
imposed upon Enrile is only reclusion temporal due to the presence of two
mitigating circumstances, suffice it to state that the presence or absence of
mitigating circumstances is also not consideration that the Constitution deemed
worthy. The relevant clause in Section 13 is charged with an offense punishable
by. It is, therefore, the maximum penalty provided by the offense that
has bearing and not the possibility of mitigating circumstances being
appreciated in the accuseds favor.36
Yet, we do not determine now the question of whether or not Enriles averment
on the presence of the two mitigating circumstances could entitle him to bail
despite the crime alleged against him being punishable with reclusion perpetua,37
simply because the determination, being primarily factual in context, is ideally to
be made by the trial court.
Nonetheless, in now granting Enriles petition for certiorari, the Court is guided
by the earlier mentioned principal purpose of bail, which is to guarantee the
appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so required by the court.
The Court is further mindful of the Philippines responsibility in the international
community arising from the national commitment under the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights to:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and
dignity of every person. This commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of
our Constitution which provides: The State values the dignity of every human
person and guarantees full respect for human rights. The Philippines,
therefore, has the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of
every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that those detained or
arrested can participate in the proceedings before a court, to enable it

86

to decide without delay on the legality of the detention and order their
release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are under
obligation to make available to every person under detention such
remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. These
remedies include the right to be admitted to bail.38cralawlawlibrary
This national commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as well as
value the worth and dignity of every person has authorized the grant of bail not
only to those charged in criminal proceedings but also to extraditees upon a
clear and convincing showing: (1) that the detainee will not be a flight risk or a
danger to the community; and (2) that there exist special, humanitarian and
compelling circumstances.39
In our view, his social and political standing and his having immediately
surrendered to the authorities upon his being charged in court indicate that the
risk of his flight or escape from this jurisdiction is highly unlikely. His personal
disposition from the onset of his indictment for plunder, formal or otherwise, has
demonstrated his utter respect for the legal processes of this country. We also do
not ignore that at an earlier time many years ago when he had been charged
with rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, he already evinced a
similar personal disposition of respect for the legal processes, and was granted
bail during the pendency of his trial because he was not seen as a flight risk. 40
With his solid reputation in both his public and his private lives, his long years of
public service, and historys judgment of him being at stake, he should be
granted bail.
The currently fragile state of Enriles health presents another compelling
justification for his admission to bail, but which the Sandiganbayan did not
recognize.
In his testimony in the Sandiganbayan, 41 Dr. Jose C. Gonzales, the Director of
the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), classified Enrile as a geriatric patient who
was found during the medical examinations conducted at the UP-PGH to be
suffering from the following conditions:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(1) Chronic Hypertension with fluctuating blood pressure levels on
multiple drug therapy; (Annexes 1.1, 1.2, 1.3);
(2) Diffuse atherosclerotic
following:
a.
b.
c.

cardiovascular

disease

composed

of

the

Previous history of cerebrovascular disease with


carotid and vertebral artery disease; (Annexes 1.4,
4.1)
Heavy coronary artery calcifications; (Annex 1.5)
Ankle Brachial Index suggestive of arterial
calcifications. (Annex 1.6)

87

(3) Atrial and Ventricular Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) documented


by Holter monitoring; (Annexes 1.7.1, 1.7.2)
(4) Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrom (ACOS) and postnasal drip syndrome;
(Annexes 2.1, 2.2)
(5) Ophthalmology:
a.
b.

Age-related mascular degeneration, neovascular s/p


laser of the Retina, s/p Lucentis intra-ocular injections;
(Annexes 3.0, 3.1, 3.2)
S/p Cataract surgery with posterior chamber intraocular
lens. (Annexes 3.1, 3.2)

(6) Historical diagnoses of the following:


a.
b
c.
d.
e.

High blood sugar/diabetes on medications;


.
High cholesterol levels/dyslipidemia;
Alpha thalassemia;
Gait/balance disorder;
Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (etiology uncertain) in
2014;
f. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (with documented enlarged
prostate on recent ultrasound).42
Dr. Gonzales attested that the following medical conditions, singly or collectively,
could pose significant risks to the life of Enrile, to wit: (1) uncontrolled
hypertension, because it could lead to brain or heart complications, including
recurrence of stroke; (2) arrhythmia, because it could lead to fatal or non-fatal
cardiovascular events, especially under stressful conditions; (3) coronary
calcifications associated with coronary artery disease, because they could
indicate a future risk for heart attack under stressful conditions; and (4)
exacerbations of ACOS, because they could be triggered by certain
circumstances (like excessive heat, humidity, dust or allergen exposure) which
could cause a deterioration in patients with asthma or COPD.43
Based on foregoing, there is no question at all that Enriles advanced age and ill
health required special medical attention. His confinement at the PNP General
Hospital, albeit at his own instance, 44 was not even recommended by the officerin-charge (OIC) and the internist doctor of that medical facility because of the
limitations in the medical support at that hospital. Their testimonies ran as
follows:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
xxxx
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
The question is, do you feel comfortable with the continued confinement of
Senator Enrile at the Philippine National Police Hospital?

88

DR. SERVILLANO:
No, Your Honor.
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
Director, doctor, do you feel comfortable with
confinement of Senator Enrile at the PNP Hospital?

the

continued

PSUPT. JOCSON:
No, Your Honor.
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
Why?
PSUPT. JOCSON:
Because during emergency cases, Your Honor, we cannot give him the
best.
xxxx
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
At present, since you are the attending physician of the accused, Senator
Enrile, are you happy or have any fear in your heart of the present
condition of the accused vis a vis the facilities of the hospital?
DR. SERVILLANO:
Yes, Your Honor. I have a fear.
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
That you will not be able to address in an emergency situation?
DR. SERVILLANO:
Your Honor, in case of emergency situation we can handle it but
probably if the condition of the patient worsen, we have no facilities
to do those things, Your Honor.45
xxxx
Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime charged,
should be allowed independently of the merits of the charge, provided his
continued incarceration is clearly shown to be injurious to his health or to
endanger his life. Indeed, denying him bail despite imperiling his health and life
would not serve the true objective of preventive incarceration during the trial.
Granting bail to Enrile on the foregoing reasons is not unprecedented. The Court
has already held in Dela Rama v. The Peoples Court:46
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
x x x This court, in disposing of the first petition for certiorari, held the following:

89

chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
x x x [U]nless allowance of bail is forbidden by law in the particular
case, the illness of the prisoner, independently of the merits of the case,
is a circumstance, and the humanity of the law makes it a consideration
which should, regardless of the charge and the stage of the proceeding,
influence the court to exercise its discretion to admit the prisoner to
bail;47 x x x
xxxx
Considering the report of the Medical Director of the Quezon Institute to the
effect that the petitioner is actually suffering from minimal, early, unstable type
of pulmonary tuberculosis, and chronic, granular pharyngitis, and that in said
institute they have seen similar cases, later progressing into advance stages
when the treatment and medicine are no longer of any avail; taking into
consideration that the petitioners previous petition for bail was denied by the
Peoples Court on the ground that the petitioner was suffering from quiescent
and not active tuberculosis, and the implied purpose of the Peoples Court in
sending the petitioner to the Quezon Institute for clinical examination and
diagnosis of the actual condition of his lungs, was evidently to verify whether the
petitioner is suffering from active tuberculosis, in order to act accordingly in
deciding his petition for bail; and considering further that the said Peoples Court
has adopted and applied the well-established doctrine cited in our above-quoted
resolution, in several cases, among them, the cases against Pio Duran (case No.
3324) and Benigno Aquino (case No. 3527), in which the said defendants were
released on bail on the ground that they were ill and their continued confinement
in New Bilibid Prison would be injurious to their health or endanger their life; it is
evident and we consequently hold that the Peoples Court acted with grave abuse
of discretion in refusing to release the petitioner on bail. 48cralawlawlibrary
It is relevant to observe that granting provisional liberty to Enrile will then
enable him to have his medical condition be properly addressed and better
attended to by competent physicians in the hospitals of his choice. This will not
only aid in his adequate preparation of his defense but, more importantly, will
guarantee his appearance in court for the trial.
On the other hand, to mark time in order to wait for the trial to finish before a
meaningful consideration of the application for bail can be had is to defeat the
objective of bail, which is to entitle the accused to provisional liberty pending the
trial. There may be circumstances decisive of the issue of bail whose existence
is either admitted by the Prosecution, or is properly the subject of judicial notice
that the courts can already consider in resolving the application for bail
without awaiting the trial to finish. 49 The Court thus balances the scales of justice
by protecting the interest of the People through ensuring his personal
appearance at the trial, and at the same time realizing for him the guarantees of
due process as well as to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Accordingly, we conclude that the Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the
objective of bail to ensure the appearance of the accused during the trial; and

90

unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the fragile health and advanced
age of Enrile. As such, the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in
denying Enriles Motion To Fix Bail. Grave abuse of discretion, as the ground for
the issuance of the writ of certiorari, connotes whimsical and capricious exercise
of judgment as is equivalent to excess, or lack of jurisdiction. 50 The abuse must
be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a
virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation
of law as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by
reason of passion or hostility.51
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition for certiorari; ISSUES the writ of
certiorari ANNULING and SETTING ASIDE the Resolutions issued by the
Sandiganbayan (Third Division) in Case No. SB-14-CRM-0238 on July 14, 2014
and August 8, 2014; ORDERS the PROVISIONAL RELEASE of petitioner Juan
Ponce Enrile in Case No. SB-14-CRM-0238 upon posting of a cash bond of
P1,000,000.00 in the Sandiganbayan; and DIRECTS the immediate release of
petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile from custody unless he is being detained for some
other lawful cause.
No pronouncement on costs of suit.
G.R. No. 179267
June 25, 2013
JESUS C. GARCIA, Petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial CourtBranch 41, Bacolod City, and ROSALIE JAYPE-GARCIA, for herself and in behalf of
minor children, namely: JO-ANN, JOSEPH EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed
GARCIA, Respondents.
DECISION
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
Hailed as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, the Philippines boasts of 86.8 million Filipinosor 93 percent of a total population of 93.3 million adhering to the teachings of Jesus
Christ.1 Yet, the admonition for husbands to love their wives as their own bodies just as
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 2 failed to prevent, or even to curb, the
pervasiveness of violence against Filipino women. The National Commission on the Role of
Filipino Women (NCRFW) reported that, for the years 2000-2003, "female violence
comprised more than 90o/o of all forms of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these
reported cases were committed by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands
and live-in partners."3
Thus, on March 8, 2004, after nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by women's groups,
Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against
Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing
Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes." It took effect on March 27, 2004. 4
R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence against
women and their children (VAWC) perpetrated by women's intimate partners, i.e, husband;
former husband; or any person who has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with
whom the woman has a common child. 5 The law provides for protection orders from the
barangay and the courts to prevent the commission of further acts of VAWC; and outlines
the duties and responsibilities of barangay officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court
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personnel, social workers, health care providers, and other local government officials in
responding to complaints of VAWC or requests for assistance.
A husband is now before the Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 as being
violative of the equal protection and due process clauses, and an undue delegation of
judicial power to barangay officials.
The Factual Antecedents
On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for herself and in
behalf of her minor children, a verified petition 6 (Civil Case No. 06-797) before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City for the issuance of a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)
against her husband, Jesus C. Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. 9262. She claimed to
be a victim of physical abuse; emotional, psychological, and economic violence as a result
of marital infidelity on the part of petitioner, with threats of deprivation of custody of her
children and of financial support. 7
Private respondent's claims
Private respondent married petitioner in 2002 when she was 34 years old and the former
was eleven years her senior. They have three (3) children, namely: Jo-Ann J. Garcia, 17
years old, who is the natural child of petitioner but whom private respondent adopted;
Jessie Anthone J. Garcia, 6 years old; and Joseph Eduard J. Garcia, 3 years old. 8
Private respondent described herself as a dutiful and faithful wife, whose life revolved
around her husband. On the other hand, petitioner, who is of Filipino-Chinese descent, is
dominant, controlling, and demands absolute obedience from his wife and children. He
forbade private respondent to pray, and deliberately isolated her from her friends. When she
took up law, and even when she was already working part time at a law office, petitioner
trivialized her ambitions and prevailed upon her to just stay at home. He was often jealous
of the fact that his attractive wife still catches the eye of some men, at one point threatening
that he would have any man eyeing her killed.9
Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank manager of
Robinson's Bank, Bacolod City, who is the godmother of one of their sons. Petitioner
admitted to the affair when private respondent confronted him about it in 2004. He even
boasted to the household help about his sexual relations with said bank manager. Petitioner
told private respondent, though, that he was just using the woman because of their
accounts with the bank.10
Petitioner's infidelity spawned a series of fights that left private respondent physically and
emotionally wounded. In one of their quarrels, petitioner grabbed private respondent on
both arms and shook her with such force that caused bruises and hematoma. At another
time, petitioner hit private respondent forcefully on the lips that caused some bleeding.
Petitioner sometimes turned his ire on their daughter, Jo-Ann, who had seen the text
messages he sent to his paramour and whom he blamed for squealing on him. He beat JoAnn on the chest and slapped her many times. When private respondent decided to leave
petitioner, Jo-Ann begged her mother to stay for fear that if the latter leaves, petitioner
would beat her up. Even the small boys are aware of private respondent's sufferings. Their
6-year-old son said that when he grows up, he would beat up his father because of his
cruelty to private respondent.11
All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to the brink of despair.
On December 17, 2005, while at home, she attempted suicide by cutting her wrist. She was
found by her son bleeding on the floor. Petitioner simply fled the house instead of taking her
to the hospital. Private respondent was hospitalized for about seven (7) days in which time
petitioner never bothered to visit, nor apologized or showed pity on her. Since then, private
respondent has been undergoing therapy almost every week and is taking anti-depressant
medications.12
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When private respondent informed the management of Robinson's Bank that she intends to
file charges against the bank manager, petitioner got angry with her for jeopardizing the
manager's job. He then packed his things and told private respondent that he was leaving
her for good. He even told private respondent's mother, who lives with them in the family
home, that private respondent should just accept his extramarital affair since he is not
cohabiting with his paramour and has not sired a child with her.13
Private respondent is determined to separate from petitioner but she is afraid that he would
take her children from her and deprive her of financial support. Petitioner had previously
warned her that if she goes on a legal battle with him, she would not get a single centavo. 14
Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction of deep wells. He
is the President of three corporations 326 Realty Holdings, Inc., Negros Rotadrill
Corporation, and J-Bros Trading Corporation of which he and private respondent are both
stockholders. In contrast to the absolute control of petitioner over said corporations, private
respondent merely draws a monthly salary of P20,000.00 from one corporation only, the
Negros Rotadrill Corporation. Household expenses amounting to not less than P200,000.00
a month are paid for by private respondent through the use of credit cards, which, in turn,
are paid by the same corporation together with the bills for utilities. 15
On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of P60,000.00 from Negros Rotadrill
Corporation, and enjoys unlimited cash advances and other benefits in hundreds of
thousands of pesos from the corporations. 16 After private respondent confronted him about
the affair, petitioner forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building, Mandalagan, where all the
businesses of the corporations are conducted, thereby depriving her of access to full
information about said businesses. Until the filing of the petition a quo, petitioner has not
given private respondent an accounting of the businesses the value of which she had
helped raise to millions of pesos.17
Action of the RTC of Bacolod City
Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the
private respondent and her children exists or is about to recur, the RTC issued a TPO 18 on
March 24, 2006 effective for thirty (30) days, which is quoted hereunder:
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:
a) Ordered to remove all his personal belongings from the conjugal dwelling or family home
within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Restraining Order and if he refuses, ordering
that he be removed by police officers from the conjugal dwelling; this order is enforceable
notwithstanding that the house is under the name of 236 Realty Holdings Inc. (Republic Act
No. 9262 states "regardless of ownership"), this is to allow the Petitioner (private
respondent herein) to enter the conjugal dwelling without any danger from the Respondent.
After the Respondent leaves or is removed from the conjugal dwelling, or anytime the
Petitioner decides to return to the conjugal dwelling to remove things, the Petitioner shall be
assisted by police officers when re-entering the family home.
The Chief of Police shall also give the Petitioner police assistance on Sunday, 26 March
2006 because of the danger that the Respondent will attempt to take her children from her
when he arrives from Manila and finds out about this suit.
b) To stay away from the petitioner and her children, mother and all her household help and
driver from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where
the Petitioner may be temporarily residing.
c) Not to harass, annoy, telephone, contact or otherwise communicate with the Petitioner,
directly or indirectly, or through other persons, or contact directly or indirectly her children,
mother and household help, nor send gifts, cards, flowers, letters and the like. Visitation
rights to the children may be subject of a modified TPO in the future.
d) To surrender all his firearms including a .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK and
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ordering the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Unit and the Provincial
Director of the PNP to cancel all the Respondent's firearm licenses. He should also be
ordered to surrender any unlicensed firearms in his possession or control.
e) To pay full financial support for the Petitioner and the children, including rental of a house
for them, and educational and medical expenses.
f) Not to dissipate the conjugal business.
g) To render an accounting of all advances, benefits, bonuses and other cash he received
from all the corporations from 1 January 2006 up to 31 March 2006, which himself and as
President of the corporations and his Comptroller, must submit to the Court not later than 2
April 2006. Thereafter, an accounting of all these funds shall be reported to the court by the
Comptroller, copy furnished to the Petitioner, every 15 days of the month, under pain of
Indirect Contempt of Court.
h) To ensure compliance especially with the order granting support pendente lite, and
considering the financial resources of the Respondent and his threat that if the Petitioner
sues she will not get a single centavo, the Respondent is ordered to put up a BOND TO
KEEP THE PEACE in the amount of FIVE MILLION PESOS, in two sufficient sureties.
On April 24, 2006, upon motion 19 of private respondent, the trial court issued an amended
TPO,20 effective for thirty (30) days, which included the following additional provisions:
i) The petitioners (private respondents herein) are given the continued use of the Nissan
Patrol and the Starex Van which they are using in Negros Occidental.
j) The petitioners are given the continued use and occupation of the house in Paraaque,
the continued use of the Starex van in Metro Manila, whenever they go to Manila.
k) Respondent is ordered to immediately post a bond to keep the peace, in two sufficient
sureties.
l) To give monthly support to the petitioner provisionally fixed in the sum of One Hundred
Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 150,000.00) per month plus rental expenses of Fifty Thousand
Pesos (Php 50,000.00) per month until the matter of support could be finally resolved.
Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte
Motion for Renewal of the TPO 21 seeking the denial of the renewal of the TPO on the
grounds that it did not (1) comply with the three-day notice rule, and (2) contain a notice of
hearing. He further asked that the TPO be modified by (1) removing one vehicle used by
private respondent and returning the same to its rightful owner, the J-Bros Trading
Corporation, and (2) cancelling or reducing the amount of the bond from P5,000,000.00 to a
more manageable level at P100,000.00.
Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved 22 for the modification of the TPO to allow
him visitation rights to his children.
On May 24, 2006, the TPO was renewed and extended yet again, but subject only to the
following modifications prayed for by private respondent:
a) That respondent (petitioner herein) return the clothes and other personal belongings of
Rosalie and her children to Judge Jesus Ramos, co-counsel for Petitioner, within 24 hours
from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared in
Indirect Contempt of Court;
b) Respondent shall make an accounting or list of furniture and equipment in the conjugal
house in Pitimini St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City within 24 hours from receipt of
the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
c) Ordering the Chief of the Women's Desk of the Bacolod City Police Headquarters to
remove Respondent from the conjugal dwelling within eight (8) hours from receipt of the
Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, and that he cannot return until 48 hours after
the petitioners have left, so that the petitioner Rosalie and her representatives can remove
things from the conjugal home and make an inventory of the household furniture,
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equipment and other things in the conjugal home, which shall be submitted to the Court.
d) Deliver full financial support of Php200,000.00 and Php50,000.00 for rental and
Php25,000.00 for clothes of the three petitioners (sic) children within 24 hours from receipt
of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared in indirect
contempt of Court;
e) That respondent surrender his two firearms and all unlicensed firearms to the Clerk of
Court within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
f) That respondent shall pay petitioner educational expenses of the children upon
presentation of proof of payment of such expenses. 23
Claiming that petitioner continued to deprive them of financial support; failed to faithfully
comply with the TPO; and committed new acts of harassment against her and their children,
private respondent filed another application 24 for the issuance of a TPO ex parte. She
alleged inter
alia that petitioner contrived a replevin suit against himself by J-Bros Trading, Inc., of which
the latter was purportedly no longer president, with the end in view of recovering the Nissan
Patrol and Starex Van used by private respondent and the children. A writ of replevin was
served upon private respondent by a group of six or seven policemen with long firearms
that scared the two small boys, Jessie Anthone and Joseph Eduard. 25
While Joseph Eduard, then three years old, was driven to school, two men allegedly
attempted to kidnap him, which incident traumatized the boy resulting in his refusal to go
back to school. On another occasion, petitioner allegedly grabbed their daughter, Jo-Ann,
by the arm and threatened her.26 The incident was reported to the police, and Jo-Ann
subsequently filed a criminal complaint against her father for violation of R.A. 7610, also
known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and
Discrimination Act."
Aside from the replevin suit, petitioner's lawyers initiated the filing by the housemaids
working at the conjugal home of a complaint for kidnapping and illegal detention against
private respondent. This came about after private respondent, armed with a TPO, went to
said home to get her and her children's belongings. Finding some of her things inside a
housemaid's (Sheryl Jamola) bag in the maids' room, private respondent filed a case for
qualified theft against Jamola.27
On August 23, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO, 28 effective for thirty (30) days, which reads as
follows:
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:
1) Prohibited from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, acts
of violence against the offended party;
2) Prohibited from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise
communicating in any form with the offended party, either directly or indirectly;
3) Required to stay away, personally or through his friends, relatives, employees or agents,
from all the Petitioners Rosalie J. Garcia and her children, Rosalie J. Garcia's three
brothers, her mother Primitiva Jaype, cook Novelita Caranzo, driver Romeo Hontiveros,
laundrywoman Mercedita Bornales, security guard Darwin Gayona and the petitioner's
other household helpers from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the
subdivision where the Petitioners are temporarily residing, as well as from the schools of
the three children; Furthermore, that respondent shall not contact the schools of the
children directly or indirectly in any manner including, ostensibly to pay for their tuition or
other fees directly, otherwise he will have access to the children through the schools and
the TPO will be rendered nugatory;
4) Directed to surrender all his firearms including .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK
to the Court;
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5) Directed to deliver in full financial support of Php200,000.00 a month and Php50,000.00


for rental for the period from August 6 to September 6, 2006; and support in arrears from
March 2006 to August 2006 the total amount of Php1,312,000.00;
6) Directed to deliver educational expenses for 2006-2007 the amount of Php75,000.00 and
Php25,000.00;
7) Directed to allow the continued use of a Nissan Patrol with Plate No. FEW 508 and a
Starex van with Plate No. FFD 991 and should the respondent fail to deliver said vehicles,
respondent is ordered to provide the petitioner another vehicle which is the one taken by J
Bros Tading;
8) Ordered not to dissipate, encumber, alienate, sell, lease or otherwise dispose of the
conjugal assets, or those real properties in the name of Jesus Chua Garcia only and those
in which the conjugal partnership of gains of the Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and
respondent have an interest in, especially the conjugal home located in No. 14, Pitimini St.,
Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City, and other properties which are conjugal assets or
those in which the conjugal partnership of gains of Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and the
respondent have an interest in and listed in Annexes "I," "I-1," and "I-2," including properties
covered by TCT Nos. T-186325 and T-168814;
9) Ordered that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City and E.B. Magalona shall be served a
copy of this TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER and are ordered not to allow the transfer,
sale, encumbrance or disposition of these above-cited properties to any person, entity or
corporation without the personal presence of petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia, who shall affix her
signature in the presence of the Register of Deeds, due to the fear of petitioner Rosalie that
her signature will be forged in order to effect the encumbrance or sale of these properties to
defraud her or the conjugal partnership of gains.
In its Order29 dated September 26, 2006, the trial court extended the aforequoted TPO for
another ten (10) days, and gave petitioner a period of five (5) days within which to show
cause why the TPO should not be renewed, extended, or modified. Upon petitioner's
manifestation,30 however, that he has not received a copy of private respondent's motion to
modify/renew the TPO, the trial court directed in its Order 31 dated October 6, 2006 that
petitioner be furnished a copy of said motion. Nonetheless, an Order 32 dated a day earlier,
October 5, had already been issued renewing the TPO dated August 23, 2006. The
pertinent portion is quoted hereunder:
xxxx
x x x it appearing further that the hearing could not yet be finally terminated, the Temporary
Protection Order issued on August 23, 2006 is hereby renewed and extended for thirty (30)
days and continuously extended and renewed for thirty (30) days, after each expiration,
until further orders, and subject to such modifications as may be ordered by the court.
After having received a copy of the foregoing Order, petitioner no longer submitted the
required comment to private respondent's motion for renewal of the TPO arguing that it
would only be an "exercise in futility." 33
Proceedings before the CA
During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals
(CA) a petition34 for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698), with prayer for injunction and
temporary restraining order, challenging (1) the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 for being
violative of the due process and the equal protection clauses, and (2) the validity of the
modified TPO issued in the civil case for being "an unwanted product of an invalid law."
On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order 36
(TRO) against the enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant
thereto.
Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court dismissed 36 the petition
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for failure of petitioner to raise the constitutional issue in his pleadings before the trial court
in the civil case, which is clothed with jurisdiction to resolve the same. Secondly, the
challenge to the validity
of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition seeking to annul the protection orders issued
by the trial court constituted a collateral attack on said law.
His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been denied in the
Resolution37 dated August 14, 2007, petitioner is now before us alleging that
The Issues
I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION ON THE THEORY
THAT THE ISSUE OF CONSTITUTIONALITY WAS NOT RAISED AT THE EARLIEST
OPPORTUNITY AND THAT, THE PETITION CONSTITUTES A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON
THE VALIDITY OF THE LAW.
II.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO CONCLUDE
THAT R.A. 9262 IS DISCRIMINATORY, UNJUST, AND VIOLATIVE OF THE EQUAL
PROTECTION CLAUSE.
III.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE MISTAKE IN NOT FINDING THAT R.A.
9262 RUNS COUNTER TO THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
IV.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LAW DOES VIOLENCE
TO THE POLICY OF THE STATE TO PROTECT THE FAMILY AS A BASIC SOCIAL
INSTITUTION.
V.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING R.A. No. 9262 AS
INVALID AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT ALLOWS AN UNDUE DELEGATION
OF JUDICIAL POWER TO THE BARANGAY OFFICIALS.38
The Ruling of the Court
Before delving into the arguments propounded by petitioner against the constitutionality of
R.A. 9262, we shall first tackle the propriety of the dismissal by the appellate court of the
petition for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698) filed by petitioner.
As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity
so that if not raised in the pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised in the trial, and if not
raised in the trial court, it will not be considered on appeal. 39 Courts will not anticipate a
question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it. 40
In defending his failure to attack the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 before the RTC of
Bacolod City, petitioner argues that the Family Court has limited authority and jurisdiction
that is "inadequate to tackle the complex issue of constitutionality." 41
We disagree.
Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute.
At the outset, it must be stressed that Family Courts are special courts, of the same level as
Regional Trial Courts. Under R.A. 8369, otherwise known as the "Family Courts Act of
1997," family courts have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of
domestic violence against women and children.42 In accordance with said law, the Supreme
Court designated from among the branches of the Regional Trial Courts at least one Family
Court in each of several key cities identified. 43 To achieve harmony with the first mentioned
law, Section 7 of R.A. 9262 now provides that Regional Trial Courts designated as Family
Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of VAWC defined under the
latter law, viz:
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SEC. 7. Venue. The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original
and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under
this law. In the absence of such court in the place where the offense was committed, the
case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was
committed at the option of the complainant. (Emphasis supplied)
Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City remains possessed of
authority as a court of general original jurisdiction to pass upon all kinds of cases whether
civil, criminal, special proceedings, land registration, guardianship, naturalization, admiralty
or insolvency.44 It is settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to resolve the constitutionality of a
statute,45 "this authority being embraced in the general definition of the judicial power to
determine what are the valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the
fundamental law."46 The Constitution vests the power of judicial review or the power to
declare the constitutionality or validity of a law, treaty, international or executive agreement,
presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this Court, but in
all RTCs.47 We said in J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. CA 48 that, "plainly the Constitution
contemplates that the inferior courts should have jurisdiction in cases involving
constitutionality of any treaty or law, for it speaks of appellate review of final judgments of
inferior courts in cases where such constitutionality happens to be in issue." Section 5,
Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution reads in part as follows:
SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
xxx
2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules
of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
a. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive
agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or
regulation is in question.
xxxx
Thus, contrary to the posturing of petitioner, the issue of constitutionality of R.A. 9262 could
have been raised at the earliest opportunity in his Opposition to the petition for protection
order before the RTC of Bacolod City, which had jurisdiction to determine the same, subject
to the review of this Court.
Section 20 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the Rule on Violence Against Women and Their
Children, lays down a new kind of procedure requiring the respondent to file an opposition
to the petition and not an answer.49 Thus:
SEC. 20. Opposition to petition. (a) The respondent may file an opposition to the petition
which he himself shall verify. It must be accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and
shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued.
(b) Respondent shall not include in the opposition any counterclaim, cross-claim or thirdparty complaint, but any cause of action which could be the subject thereof may be litigated
in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied)
We cannot subscribe to the theory espoused by petitioner that, since a counterclaim, crossclaim and third-party complaint are to be excluded from the opposition, the issue of
constitutionality cannot likewise be raised therein. A counterclaim is defined as any claim for
money or other relief which a defending party may have against an opposing party. 50 A
cross-claim, on the other hand, is any claim by one party against a co-party arising out of
the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a
counterclaim therein.51 Finally, a third-party complaint is a claim that a defending party may,
with leave of court, file against a person not a party to the action for contribution, indemnity,
subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his opponent's claim. 52 As pointed out by
Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, the unconstitutionality of a statute is not a cause of
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action that could be the subject of a counterclaim, cross-claim or a third-party complaint.


Therefore, it is not prohibited from being raised in the opposition in view of the familiar
maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius.
Moreover, it cannot be denied that this issue affects the resolution of the case a quo
because the right of private respondent to a protection order is founded solely on the very
statute the validity of which is being attacked 53 by petitioner who has sustained, or will
sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. The alleged unconstitutionality of R.A.
9262 is, for all intents and purposes, a valid cause for the non-issuance of a protection
order.
That the proceedings in Civil Case No. 06-797 are summary in nature should not have
deterred petitioner from raising the same in his Opposition. The question relative to the
constitutionality of a statute is one of law which does not need to be supported by
evidence.54 Be that as it may, Section 25 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC nonetheless allows the
conduct of a hearing to determine legal issues, among others, viz:
SEC. 25. Order for further hearing. - In case the court determines the need for further
hearing, it may issue an order containing the following:
(a) Facts undisputed and admitted;
(b) Factual and legal issues to be resolved;
(c) Evidence, including objects and documents that have been marked and will be
presented;
(d) Names of witnesses who will be ordered to present their direct testimonies in the form of
affidavits; and
(e) Schedule of the presentation of evidence by both parties which shall be done in one day,
to the extent possible, within the 30-day period of the effectivity of the temporary protection
order issued. (Emphasis supplied)
To obviate potential dangers that may arise concomitant to the conduct of a hearing when
necessary, Section 26 (b) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC provides that if a temporary protection
order issued is due to expire, the trial court may extend or renew the said order for a period
of thirty (30) days each time until final judgment is rendered. It may likewise modify the
extended or renewed temporary protection order as may be necessary to meet the needs of
the parties. With the private respondent given ample protection, petitioner could proceed to
litigate the constitutional issues, without necessarily running afoul of the very purpose for
the adoption of the rules on summary procedure.
In view of all the foregoing, the appellate court correctly dismissed the petition for
prohibition with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order (CA-G.R. CEB - SP.
No. 01698). Petitioner may have proceeded upon an honest belief that if he finds succor in
a superior court, he could be granted an injunctive relief. However, Section 22(j) of A.M. No.
04-10-11-SC expressly disallows the filing of a petition for certiorari, mandamus or
prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by the trial court. Hence, the 60-day TRO
issued by the appellate court in this case against the enforcement of the TPO, the amended
TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto was improper, and it effectively hindered the case
from taking its normal course in an expeditious and summary manner.
As the rules stand, a review of the case by appeal or certiorari before judgment is
prohibited. Moreover, if the appeal of a judgment granting permanent protection shall not
stay its enforcement,55 with more reason that a TPO, which is valid only for thirty (30) days
at a time,56 should not be enjoined.
The mere fact that a statute is alleged to be unconstitutional or invalid, does not of itself
entitle a litigant to have the same enjoined. 57 In Younger v. Harris, Jr., 58 the Supreme Court
of the United States declared, thus:
Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes, either in their entirety or with respect to
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their separate and distinct prohibitions, are not to be granted as a matter of course, even if
such statutes are unconstitutional. No citizen or member of the community is immune from
prosecution, in good faith, for his alleged criminal acts. The imminence of such a
prosecution even though alleged to be unauthorized and, hence, unlawful is not alone
ground for relief in equity which exerts its extraordinary powers only to prevent irreparable
injury to the plaintiff who seeks its aid. (Citations omitted)
The sole objective of injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the trial court hears fully
the merits of the case. It bears stressing, however, that protection orders are granted ex
parte so as to protect women and their children from acts of violence. To issue an injunction
against such orders will defeat the very purpose of the law against VAWC.
Notwithstanding all these procedural flaws, we shall not shirk from our obligation to
determine novel issues, or issues of first impression, with far-reaching implications. We
have, time and again, discharged our solemn duty as final arbiter of constitutional issues,
and with more reason now, in view of private respondent's plea in her Comment 59 to the
instant Petition that we should put the challenge to the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 to rest.
And so we shall.
Intent of Congress in enacting R.A. 9262.
Petitioner claims that since R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and criminalize spousal and
child abuse, which could very well be committed by either the husband or the wife, gender
alone is not enough basis to deprive the husband/father of the remedies under the law. 60
A perusal of the deliberations of Congress on Senate Bill No. 2723, 61 which became R.A.
9262, reveals that while the sponsor, Senator Luisa Pimentel-Ejercito (better known as
Senator Loi Estrada), had originally proposed what she called a "synthesized measure" 62
an amalgamation of two measures, namely, the "Anti-Domestic Violence Act" and the "AntiAbuse of Women in Intimate Relationships Act" 63 providing protection to "all family
members, leaving no one in isolation" but at the same time giving special attention to
women as the "usual victims" of violence and abuse, 64 nonetheless, it was eventually
agreed that men be denied protection under the same measure. We quote pertinent
portions of the deliberations:
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Senator Pangilinan. I just wanted to place this on record, Mr. President. Some women's
groups have expressed concerns and relayed these concerns to me that if we are to
include domestic violence apart from against women as well as other members of the
household, including children or the husband, they fear that this would weaken the efforts to
address domestic violence of which the main victims or the bulk of the victims really are the
wives, the spouses or the female partners in a relationship. We would like to place that on
record. How does the good Senator respond to this kind of observation?
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President, there is this group of women who call themselves
"WIIR" Women in Intimate Relationship. They do not want to include men in this domestic
violence. But plenty of men are also being abused by women. I am playing safe so I placed
here members of the family, prescribing penalties therefor and providing protective
measures for victims. This includes the men, children, live-in, common-law wives, and those
related with the family.65
xxx
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
xxxx
The President Pro Tempore. x x x
Also, may the Chair remind the group that there was the discussion whether to limit this to
women and not to families which was the issue of the AWIR group. The understanding that I
have is that we would be having a broader scope rather than just women, if I remember
100

correctly, Madam sponsor.


Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President.
As a matter of fact, that was brought up by Senator Pangilinan during the interpellation
period.
I think Senator Sotto has something to say to that.
Senator Legarda. Mr. President, the reason I am in support of the measure. Do not get me
wrong. However, I believe that there is a need to protect women's rights especially in the
domestic environment.
As I said earlier, there are nameless, countless, voiceless women who have not had the
opportunity to file a case against their spouses, their live-in partners after years, if not
decade, of battery and abuse. If we broaden the scope to include even the men, assuming
they can at all be abused by the women or their spouses, then it would not equalize the
already difficult situation for women, Mr. President.
I think that the sponsor, based on our earlier conversations, concurs with this position. I am
sure that the men in this Chamber who love their women in their lives so dearly will agree
with this representation. Whether we like it or not, it is an unequal world. Whether we like it
or not, no matter how empowered the women are, we are not given equal opportunities
especially in the domestic environment where the macho Filipino man would always feel
that he is stronger, more superior to the Filipino woman.
xxxx
The President Pro Tempore. What does the sponsor say?
Senator Estrada. Mr. President, before accepting this, the committee came up with this bill
because the family members have been included in this proposed measure since the other
members of the family other than women are also possible victims of violence. While
women are most likely the intended victims, one reason incidentally why the measure
focuses on women, the fact remains that in some relatively few cases, men also stand to be
victimized and that children are almost always the helpless victims of violence. I am worried
that there may not be enough protection extended to other family members particularly
children who are excluded. Although Republic Act No. 7610, for instance, more or less,
addresses the special needs of abused children. The same law is inadequate. Protection
orders for one are not available in said law.
I am aware that some groups are apprehensive about granting the same protection to men,
fearing that they may use this law to justify their abusive behavior against women. However,
we should also recognize that there are established procedures and standards in our courts
which give credence to evidentiary support and cannot just arbitrarily and whimsically
entertain baseless complaints.
Mr. President, this measure is intended to harmonize family relations and to protect the
family as the basic social institution. Though I recognize the unequal power relations
between men and women in our society, I believe we have an obligation to uphold inherent
rights and dignity of both husband and wife and their immediate family members,
particularly children.
While I prefer to focus mainly on women, I was compelled to include other family members
as a critical input arrived at after a series of consultations/meetings with various NGOs,
experts, sports groups and other affected sectors, Mr. President.
Senator Sotto. Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, with the permission of the other senators.
Senator Sotto. Yes, with the permission of the two ladies on the Floor.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is recognized.
Senator Sotto. I presume that the effect of the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda
would be removing the "men and children" in this particular bill and focus specifically on
101

women alone. That will be the net effect of that proposed amendment. Hearing the rationale
mentioned by the distinguished sponsor, Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito Estrada, I am not sure
now whether she is inclined to accept the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda.
I am willing to wait whether she is accepting this or not because if she is going to accept
this, I will propose an amendment to the amendment rather than object to the amendment,
Mr. President.
xxxx
Senator Estrada. The amendment is accepted, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection?
xxxx
Senator Sotto. x x x May I propose an amendment to the amendment.
The President Pro Tempore. Before we act on the amendment?
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, please proceed.
Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I am inclined to believe the rationale used by the
distinguished proponent of the amendment. As a matter of fact, I tend to agree. Kung may
maaabuso, mas malamang iyong babae kaysa sa lalake. At saka iyong mga lalake, puwede
na talagang magulpi iyan. Okey lang iyan. But I cannot agree that we remove the children
from this particular measure.
So, if I may propose an amendment
The President Pro Tempore. To the amendment.
Senator Sotto. more than the women, the children are very much abused. As a matter of
fact, it is not limited to minors. The abuse is not limited to seven, six, 5-year-old children. I
have seen 14, 15-year-old children being abused by their fathers, even by their mothers.
And it breaks my heart to find out about these things.
Because of the inadequate existing law on abuse of children, this particular measure will
update that. It will enhance and hopefully prevent the abuse of children and not only
women.
SOTTO-LEGARDA AMENDMENTS
Therefore, may I propose an amendment that, yes, we remove the aspect of the men in the
bill but not the children.
Senator Legarda. I agree, Mr. President, with the Minority Leader.
The President Pro Tempore. Effectively then, it will be women AND CHILDREN.
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Estrada. It is accepted, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the
amendment, as amended, is approved.66
It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a
statute.67 Hence, we dare not venture into the real motivations and wisdom of the members
of Congress in limiting the protection against violence and abuse under R.A. 9262 to
women and children only. No proper challenge on said grounds may be entertained in this
proceeding. Congress has made its choice and it is not our prerogative to supplant this
judgment. The choice may be perceived as erroneous but even then, the remedy against it
is to seek its amendment or repeal by the legislative. By the principle of separation of
powers, it is the legislative that determines the necessity, adequacy, wisdom and
expediency of any law.68 We only step in when there is a violation of the Constitution.
However, none was sufficiently shown in this case.
R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws.
Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be
treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. The oft-repeated
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disquisition in the early case of Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union 69 is instructive:
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application
of the laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid
the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be
affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate
operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances
surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not
require that things which are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the
same. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that are
different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is
directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification.
Classification in law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping
of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain
particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification
is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no
manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification
is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should be based on substantial
distinctions which make for real differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of the
law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to
each member of the class. This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the
classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not
palpably arbitrary. (Emphasis supplied)
Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A. 9262 is based on
a valid classification as shall hereinafter be discussed and, as such, did not violate the
equal protection clause by favoring women over men as victims of violence and abuse to
whom the State extends its protection.
I. R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions.
The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are more
likely than men to be victims of violence; and the widespread gender bias and prejudice
against women all make for real differences justifying the classification under the law. As
Justice McIntyre succinctly states, "the accommodation of differences ... is the essence of
true equality."70
A. Unequal power relationship between men and women
According to the Philippine Commission on Women (the National Machinery for Gender
Equality and Women's Empowerment), violence against women (VAW) is deemed to be
closely linked with the unequal power relationship between women and men otherwise
known as "gender-based violence". Societal norms and traditions dictate people to think
men are the leaders, pursuers, providers, and take on dominant roles in society while
women are nurturers, men's companions and supporters, and take on subordinate roles in
society. This perception leads to men gaining more power over women. With power comes
the need to control to retain that power. And VAW is a form of men's expression of
controlling women to retain power.71
The United Nations, which has long recognized VAW as a human rights issue, passed its
Resolution 48/104 on the Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women on
December 20, 1993 stating that "violence against women is a manifestation of historically
unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and
discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of
women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which
women are forced into subordinate positions, compared with men." 72
103

Then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno traced the historical and social context of genderbased violence and developments in advocacies to eradicate VAW, in his remarks delivered
during the Joint Launching of R.A. 9262 and its Implementing Rules last October 27, 2004,
the pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder:
History reveals that most societies sanctioned the use of violence against women. The
patriarch of a family was accorded the right to use force on members of the family under his
control. I quote the early studies:
Traditions subordinating women have a long history rooted in patriarchy the institutional
rule of men. Women were seen in virtually all societies to be naturally inferior both
physically and intellectually. In ancient Western societies, women whether slave, concubine
or wife, were under the authority of men. In law, they were treated as property.
The Roman concept of patria potestas allowed the husband to beat, or even kill, his wife if
she endangered his property right over her. Judaism, Christianity and other religions
oriented towards the patriarchal family strengthened the male dominated structure of
society.
English feudal law reinforced the tradition of male control over women. Even the eminent
Blackstone has been quoted in his commentaries as saying husband and wife were one
and that one was the husband. However, in the late 1500s and through the entire 1600s,
English common law began to limit the right of husbands to chastise their wives. Thus,
common law developed the rule of thumb, which allowed husbands to beat their wives with
a rod or stick no thicker than their thumb.
In the later part of the 19th century, legal recognition of these rights to chastise wives or
inflict corporeal punishment ceased. Even then, the preservation of the family was given
more importance than preventing violence to women.
The metamorphosis of the law on violence in the United States followed that of the English
common law. In 1871, the Supreme Court of Alabama became the first appellate court to
strike down the common law right of a husband to beat his wife:
The privilege, ancient though it may be, to beat one's wife with a stick, to pull her hair,
choke her, spit in her face or kick her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like indignities, is
not now acknowledged by our law... In person, the wife is entitled to the same protection of
the law that the husband can invoke for himself.
As time marched on, the women's advocacy movement became more organized. The
temperance leagues initiated it. These leagues had a simple focus. They considered the
evils of alcoholism as the root cause of wife abuse. Hence, they demonstrated and picketed
saloons, bars and their husbands' other watering holes. Soon, however, their crusade was
joined by suffragette movements, expanding the liberation movement's agenda. They
fought for women's right to vote, to own property, and more. Since then, the feminist
movement was on the roll.
The feminist movement exposed the private invisibility of the domestic violence to the public
gaze. They succeeded in transforming the issue into an important public concern. No less
than the United States Supreme Court, in 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, noted:
In an average 12-month period in this country, approximately two million women are the
victims of severe assaults by their male partners. In a 1985 survey, women reported that
nearly one of every eight husbands had assaulted their wives during the past year. The
[American Medical Association] views these figures as "marked underestimates," because
the nature of these incidents discourages women from reporting them, and because
surveys typically exclude the very poor, those who do not speak English well, and women
who are homeless or in institutions or hospitals when the survey is conducted. According to
the AMA, "researchers on family violence agree that the true incidence of partner violence
is probably double the above estimates; or four million severely assaulted women per year."
104

Studies on prevalence suggest that from one-fifth to one-third of all women will be
physically assaulted by a partner or ex-partner during their lifetime... Thus on an average
day in the United States, nearly 11,000 women are severely assaulted by their male
partners. Many of these incidents involve sexual assault... In families where wife beating
takes place, moreover, child abuse is often present as well.
Other studies fill in the rest of this troubling picture. Physical violence is only the most
visible form of abuse. Psychological abuse, particularly forced social and economic isolation
of women, is also common.
Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers, perhaps because they
perceive no superior alternative...Many abused women who find temporary refuge in
shelters return to their husbands, in large part because they have no other source of
income... Returning to one's abuser can be dangerous. Recent Federal Bureau of
Investigation statistics disclose that 8.8 percent of all homicide victims in the United States
are killed by their spouses...Thirty percent of female homicide victims are killed by their
male partners.
Finally in 1994, the United States Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act.
In the International front, the women's struggle for equality was no less successful. The
United States Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed the equality
of all human beings. In 1979, the UN General Assembly adopted the landmark Convention
on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In 1993, the UN
General Assembly also adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against
Women. World conferences on the role and rights of women have been regularly held in
Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing. The UN itself established a Commission on
the Status of Women.
The Philippines has been in cadence with the half and full steps of all these women's
movements. No less than Section 14, Article II of our 1987 Constitution mandates the State
to recognize the role of women in nation building and to ensure the fundamental equality
before the law of women and men. Our Senate has ratified the CEDAW as well as the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two protocols. To cap it all, Congress, on
March 8, 2004, enacted Rep. Act No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against
Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing
Penalties therefor and for other Purposes." (Citations omitted)
B. Women are the "usual" and "most likely"
victims of violence.
At the time of the presentation of Senate Bill No. 2723, official statistics on violence against
women and children show that
x x x physical injuries had the highest number of cases at 5,058 in 2002 representing
55.63% of total cases reported (9,903). And for the first semester of 2003, there were 2,381
reported cases out of 4,354 cases which represent 54.31%. xxx (T)he total number of
women in especially difficult circumstances served by the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) for the year 2002, there are 1,417 physically abused/maltreated
cases out of the total of 5,608 cases. xxx (T)here are 1,091 DSWD cases out of a total
number of 3,471 cases for the first semester of 2003. Female violence comprised more
than 90% of all forms of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases
were committed by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands and live-in
partners.73
Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women presented comparative statistics on
violence against women across an eight-year period from 2004 to August of 2011 with
violations under R.A. 9262 ranking first among the different VAW categories since its
implementation in 2004,74 thus:
105

Table 1. Annual Comparative Statistics on Violence Against Women, 2004 - 2011*


Reported
Cases

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Rape

997

927

659

837

811

770

Incestuous Rape

38

46

26

22

28

27

Attempted Rape

194

148

185

147

204

167

Acts of
Lasciviousness

580

536

382

358

445

485

Physical
Injuries

3,553

2,335

1,892

1,505

1,307

1,498

Sexual
Harassment

53

37

38

46

18

54

RA 9262

218

924

1,269

2,387

3,599

5,285

Threats

319

223

199

182

220

208

Seduction

62

19

29

30

19

19

Concubinage

121

102

93

109

109

99

RA 9208

17

11

16

24

34

152

Abduction
/Kidnapping 29

16

34

23

28

18

25

Unjust Vexation

90

50

59

59

83

703

106

Total

6,271

5,374

4,881

5,729

6,905

9,485

*2011 report covers only from January to August


Source: Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)
On the other hand, no reliable estimates may be obtained on domestic abuse and violence
against men in the Philippines because incidents thereof are relatively low and, perhaps,
because many men will not even attempt to report the situation. In the United Kingdom,
32% of women who had ever experienced domestic violence did so four or five (or more)
times, compared with 11% of the smaller number of men who had ever experienced
domestic violence; and women constituted 89% of all those who had experienced 4 or more
incidents of domestic violence.75 Statistics in Canada show that spousal violence by a
woman against a man is less likely to cause injury than the other way around (18 percent
versus 44 percent). Men, who experience violence from their spouses are much less likely
to live in fear of violence at the hands of their spouses, and much less likely to experience
sexual assault. In fact, many cases of physical violence by a woman against a spouse are
in self-defense or the result of many years of physical or emotional abuse. 76
While there are, indeed, relatively few cases of violence and abuse perpetrated against
men in the Philippines, the same cannot render R.A. 9262 invalid.
In a 1960 case involving the violation of a city ordinance requiring drivers of animal-drawn
vehicles to pick up, gather and deposit in receptacles the manure emitted or discharged by
their vehicle-drawing animals in any public highways, streets, plazas, parks or alleys, said
ordinance was challenged as violative of the guaranty of equal protection of laws as its
application is limited to owners and drivers of vehicle-drawing animals and not to those
animals, although not utilized, but similarly pass through the same streets.
The ordinance was upheld as a valid classification for the reason that, while there may be
non-vehicle-drawing animals that also traverse the city roads, "but their number must be
negligible and their appearance therein merely occasional, compared to the rig-drawing
ones, as not to constitute a menace to the health of the community." 77 The mere fact that
the legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of the right to
equal protection, for every classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces
inequality in some degree, but the law is not thereby rendered invalid. 78
C. Gender bias and prejudices
From the initial report to the police through prosecution, trial, and sentencing, crimes
against women are often treated differently and less seriously than other crimes. This was
argued by then United States Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., now Vice President, chief
sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), in defending the civil rights remedy as
a valid exercise of the U.S. Congress' authority under the Commerce and Equal Protection
Clauses. He stressed that the widespread gender bias in the U.S. has institutionalized
historic prejudices against victims of rape or domestic violence, subjecting them to "double
victimization" first at the hands of the offender and then of the legal system. 79
Our own Senator Loi Estrada lamented in her Sponsorship Speech for Senate Bill No. 2723
that "(w)henever violence occurs in the family, the police treat it as a private matter and
advise the parties to settle the conflict themselves. Once the complainant brings the case to
the prosecutor, the latter is hesitant to file the complaint for fear that it might later be
withdrawn. This lack of response or reluctance to be involved by the police and prosecution
reinforces the escalating, recurring and often serious nature of domestic violence." 80
Sadly, our own courts, as well, have exhibited prejudices and biases against our women.
In a recent case resolved on March 9, 2011, we fined RTC Judge Venancio J. Amila for
Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge. He used derogatory and irreverent language in reference
107

to the complainant in a petition for TPO and PPO under R.A. 9262, calling her as "only a
live-in partner" and presenting her as an "opportunist" and a "mistress" in an "illegitimate
relationship." Judge Amila even called her a "prostitute," and accused her of being
motivated by "insatiable greed" and of absconding with the contested property. 81 Such
remarks betrayed Judge Amila's prejudices and lack of gender sensitivity.
The enactment of R.A. 9262 aims to address the discrimination brought about by biases
and prejudices against women. As emphasized by the CEDAW Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women, addressing or correcting discrimination
through specific measures focused on women does not discriminate against men. 82
Petitioner's contention,83 therefore, that R.A. 9262 is discriminatory and that it is an "antimale," "husband-bashing," and "hate-men" law deserves scant consideration. As a State
Party to the CEDAW, the Philippines bound itself to take all appropriate measures "to
modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to
achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are
based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped
roles for men and women." 84 Justice Puno correctly pointed out that "(t)he paradigm shift
changing the character of domestic violence from a private affair to a public offense will
require the development of a distinct mindset on the part of the police, the prosecution and
the judges."85
II. The classification is germane to the purpose of the law.
The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262, which is
to address violence committed against women and children, spelled out in its Declaration of
Policy, as follows:
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of
women and children and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also
recognizes the need to protect the family and its members particularly women and children,
from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.
Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against
women and children in keeping with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the
Constitution and the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention
on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments of which the
Philippines is a party.
In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which the Philippines ratified on
August 5, 1981. Subsequently, the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW was also ratified by the
Philippines on October 6, 2003.86 This Convention mandates that State parties shall accord
to women equality with men before the law 87 and shall take all appropriate measures to
eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family
relations on the basis of equality of men and women. 88 The Philippines likewise ratified the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two protocols. 89 It is, thus, bound by said
Conventions and their respective protocols.
III. The classification is not limited to existing
conditions only, and apply equally to all members
Moreover, the application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing conditions when it was
promulgated, but to future conditions as well, for as long as the safety and security of
women and their children are threatened by violence and abuse.
R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence and abuse. Section
3 thereof defines VAWC as:
x x x any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife,
former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating
108

relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate
or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in
physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of
such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It
includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman
or her child. It includes, but is not limited to:
a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex
object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual
parts of the victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene publications and indecent
shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof,
forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the
same room with the abuser;
b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force,
threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion;
c) Prostituting the woman or child.
C. "Psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or
emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment,
stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and
marital infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or
psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness
pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted
deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.
D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially
dependent which includes, but is not limited to the following:
1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate
profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other
spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the
Family Code;
2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and
enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;
3. destroying household property;
4. controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money
or properties.
It should be stressed that the acts enumerated in the aforequoted provision are attributable
to research that has exposed the dimensions and dynamics of battery. The acts described
here are also found in the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. 90
Hence, the argument advanced by petitioner that the definition of what constitutes abuse
removes the difference between violent action and simple marital tiffs is tenuous.
There is nothing in the definition of VAWC that is vague and ambiguous that will confuse
petitioner in his defense. The acts enumerated above are easily understood and provide
adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. They are worded with
sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is
prohibited, and need not guess at its meaning nor differ in its application. 91 Yet, petitioner
insists92 that phrases like "depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a
legal right," "solely controlling the conjugal or common money or properties," "marital
infidelity," and "causing mental or emotional anguish" are so vague that they make every
quarrel a case of spousal abuse. However, we have stressed that the "vagueness" doctrine
merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld not absolute
109

precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than


meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are
clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more
explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions. 93
There is likewise no merit to the contention that R.A. 9262 singles out the husband or father
as the culprit. As defined above, VAWC may likewise be committed "against a woman with
whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship." Clearly, the use of the genderneutral word "person" who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the woman
encompasses even lesbian relationships. Moreover, while the law provides that the offender
be related or connected to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating
relationship, it does not preclude the application of the principle of conspiracy under the
Revised Penal Code (RPC). Thus, in the case of Go-Tan v. Spouses Tan, 94 the parents-inlaw of Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan, the victim, were held to be proper respondents in the case
filed by the latter upon the allegation that they and their son (Go-Tan's husband) had
community of design and purpose in tormenting her by giving her insufficient financial
support; harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the family home; and in
repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically.
R.A. 9262 is not violative of the
due process clause of the Constitution.
Petitioner bewails the disregard of R.A. 9262, specifically in the issuance of POs, of all
protections afforded by the due process clause of the Constitution. Says he: "On the basis
of unsubstantiated allegations, and practically no opportunity to respond, the husband is
stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation,
all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling of what happened." 95
A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence against women and
their children, their family or household members, and to grant other necessary reliefs. Its
purpose is to safeguard the offended parties from further harm, minimize any disruption in
their daily life and facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control of their life. 96
"The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or offended
party is afforded all the remedies necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim.
This serves to safeguard the victim from greater risk of violence; to accord the victim and
any designated family or household member safety in the family residence, and to prevent
the perpetrator from committing acts that jeopardize the employment and support of the
victim. It also enables the court to award temporary custody of minor children to protect the
children from violence, to prevent their abduction by the perpetrator and to ensure their
financial support."97
The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed and verified by the
petitioner98 thereby undertaking full responsibility, criminal or civil, for every allegation
therein. Since "time is of the essence in cases of VAWC if further violence is to be
prevented,"99 the court is authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before notice
and hearing when the life, limb or property of the victim is in jeopardy and there is
reasonable ground to believe that the order is necessary to protect the victim from the
immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to prevent such violence, which is about to
recur.100
There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to issue an ex parte
order. The victim is required not only to verify the allegations in the petition, but also to
attach her witnesses' affidavits to the petition. 101
The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative of the right to due
process. Just like a writ of preliminary attachment which is issued without notice and
hearing because the time in which the hearing will take could be enough to enable the
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defendant to abscond or dispose of his property,102 in the same way, the victim of VAWC
may already have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and
possibly even death, if notice and hearing were required before such acts could be
prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural
due process must yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests, 103 among which
is protection of women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and
security.
It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court shall likewise order
that notice be immediately given to the respondent directing him to file an opposition within
five (5) days from service. Moreover, the court shall order that notice, copies of the petition
and TPO be served immediately on the respondent by the court sheriffs. The TPOs are
initially effective for thirty (30) days from service on the respondent. 104
Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the immediate issuance
and service of the notice upon the respondent requiring him to file an opposition to the
petition within five (5) days from service. The date of the preliminary conference and
hearing on the merits shall likewise be indicated on the notice. 105
The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify, must be
accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or
permanent protection order should not be issued. 106
It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for protection order
should be apprised of the charges imputed to him and afforded an opportunity to present
his side. Thus, the fear of petitioner of being "stripped of family, property, guns, money,
children, job, future employment and reputation, all in a matter of seconds, without an
inkling of what happened" is a mere product of an overactive imagination. The essence of
due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any
evidence one may have in support of one's defense. "To be heard" does not only mean
verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to
be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of
procedural due process.107
It should be recalled that petitioner filed on April 26, 2006 an Opposition to the Urgent ExParte Motion for Renewal of the TPO that was granted only two days earlier on April 24,
2006. Likewise, on May 23, 2006, petitioner filed a motion for the modification of the TPO to
allow him visitation rights to his children. Still, the trial court in its Order dated September
26, 2006, gave him five days (5) within which to show cause why the TPO should not be
renewed or extended. Yet, he chose not to file the required comment arguing that it would
just be an "exercise in futility," conveniently forgetting that the renewal of the questioned
TPO was only for a limited period (30 days) each time, and that he could prevent the
continued renewal of said order if he can show sufficient cause therefor. Having failed to do
so, petitioner may not now be heard to complain that he was denied due process of law.
Petitioner next laments that the removal and exclusion of the respondent in the VAWC case
from the residence of the victim, regardless of ownership of the residence, is virtually a
"blank check" issued to the wife to claim any property as her conjugal home. 108
The wording of the pertinent rule, however, does not by any stretch of the imagination
suggest that this is so. It states:
SEC. 11. Reliefs available to the offended party. -- The protection order shall include any,
some or all of the following reliefs:
xxxx
(c) Removing and excluding the respondent from the residence of the offended party,
regardless of ownership of the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting
the offended party, or permanently where no property rights are violated. If the respondent
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must remove personal effects from the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement
agent to accompany the respondent to the residence, remain there until the respondent has
gathered his things and escort him from the residence;
xxxx
Indubitably, petitioner may be removed and excluded from private respondent's residence,
regardless of ownership, only temporarily for the purpose of protecting the latter. Such
removal and exclusion may be permanent only where no property rights are violated. How
then can the private respondent just claim any property and appropriate it for herself, as
petitioner seems to suggest?
The non-referral of a VAWC case
to a mediator is justified.
Petitioner argues that "by criminalizing run-of-the-mill arguments, instead of encouraging
mediation and counseling, the law has done violence to the avowed policy of the State to
"protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution." 109
Under Section 23(c) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the court shall not refer the case or any issue
thereof to a mediator. The reason behind this provision is well-explained by the
Commentary on Section 311 of the Model Code on Domestic and Family Violence as
follows:110
This section prohibits a court from ordering or referring parties to mediation in a proceeding
for an order for protection. Mediation is a process by which parties in equivalent bargaining
positions voluntarily reach consensual agreement about the issue at hand. Violence,
however, is not a subject for compromise. A process which involves parties mediating the
issue of violence implies that the victim is somehow at fault. In addition, mediation of issues
in a proceeding for an order of protection is problematic because the petitioner is frequently
unable to participate equally with the person against whom the protection order has been
sought. (Emphasis supplied)
There is no undue delegation of
judicial power to barangay officials.
Petitioner contends that protection orders involve the exercise of judicial power which,
under the Constitution, is placed upon the "Supreme Court and such other lower courts as
may be established by law" and, thus, protests the delegation of power to barangay officials
to issue protection orders.111 The pertinent provision reads, as follows:
SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. Barangay
Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay
ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing acts under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this
Act.1wphi1 A Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the
protection order to the applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the
basis of the application. If the Punong Barangay is unavailable to act on the application for
a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO
is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the order must be accompanied by an attestation by the
Barangay Kagawad that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time of the issuance
of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the issuance of
an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve a
copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any barangay official to effect its personal
service.
The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the
Punong Barangay.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or
not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
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on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. 112 On the other hand,
executive power "is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is
the power of carrying the laws into practical operation and enforcing their due
observance."113
As clearly delimited by the aforequoted provision, the BPO issued by the Punong Barangay
or, in his unavailability, by any available Barangay Kagawad, merely orders the perpetrator
to desist from (a) causing physical harm to the woman or her child; and (2) threatening to
cause the woman or her child physical harm. Such function of the Punong Barangay is,
thus, purely executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty under the Local Government Code
to "enforce all laws and ordinances," and to "maintain public order in the barangay." 114
We have held that "(t)he mere fact that an officer is required by law to inquire into the
existence of certain facts and to apply the law thereto in order to determine what his official
conduct shall be and the fact that these acts may affect private rights do not constitute an
exercise of judicial powers."115
In the same manner as the public prosecutor ascertains through a preliminary inquiry or
proceeding "whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been
committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof," the Punong Barangay must
determine reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the
woman and her children exists or is about to recur that would necessitate the issuance of a
BPO. The preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor is, concededly, an
executive, not a judicial, function. The same holds true with the issuance of a BPO.
We need not even belabor the issue raised by petitioner that since barangay officials and
other law enforcement agencies are required to extend assistance to victims of violence
and abuse, it would be very unlikely that they would remain objective and impartial, and that
the chances of acquittal are nil. As already stated, assistance by barangay officials and
other law enforcement agencies is consistent with their duty to enforce the law and to
maintain peace and order.
Conclusion
Before a statute or its provisions duly challenged are voided, an unequivocal breach of, or a
clear conflict with the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative one, must be
demonstrated in such a manner as to leave no doubt in the mind of the Court. In other
words, the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt. 116 In the instant case,
however, no concrete evidence and convincing arguments were presented by petitioner to
warrant a declaration of the unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262, which is an act of Congress
and signed into law by the highest officer of the co-equal executive department. As we said
in Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, 117 courts must assume that the legislature is ever conscious
of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and passed laws with full knowledge of the
facts and for the purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the
majority.
We reiterate here Justice Puno's observation that "the history of the women's movement
against domestic violence shows that one of its most difficult struggles was the fight against
the violence of law itself. If we keep that in mind, law will not again be a hindrance to the
struggle of women for equality but will be its fulfillment." 118 Accordingly, the constitutionality
of R.A. 9262 is, as it should be, sustained.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED for lack of
merit.
SO ORDERED.
ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
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