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San Beda College of Law

Mendiola, Manila
CASES IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES
Rules of Construction of Doubts in the Constitution
Manila Prince Hotel vs. GSIS [G.R. No. 122156, February 3,
1997]
Doctrine of Constitutional Supremacy
A constitution is a system of fundamental laws for the
governance and administration of a nation. It is supreme, imperious,
absolute and unalterable except by the authority from which it
emanates. It has been defined as the fundamental and paramount
law of the nation. It prescribes the permanent framework of a system
of government, assigns to the different departments their respective
powers and duties, and establishes certain fixed principles on which
government is founded. The fundamental conception in other words
is that it is a supreme law to which all other laws must conform and
in accordance with which all private rights must be determined and
all public authority administered. Under the doctrine of constitutional
supremacy, if a law or contract violates any norm of the constitution
that law or contract whether promulgated by the legislative or by the
executive branch or entered into by private persons for private
purposes is null and void and without any force and effect. Thus,
since the Constitution is the fundamental, paramount and supreme
law of the nation, it is deemed written in every statute and contract.
Concept of Self-Executing Provisions
Admittedly, some constitutions are merely declarations of
policies and principles. Their provisions command the legislature to
enact laws and carry out the purposes of the framers who merely
establish an outline of government providing for the different
departments of the governmental machinery and securing certain
fundamental and inalienable rights of citizens. A provision which lays
down a general principle, such as those found in Art. II of the 1987
Constitution, is usually not self-executing. But a provision which is
complete in itself and becomes operative without the aid of
supplementary or enabling legislation, or that which supplies
sufficient rule by means of which the right it grants may be enjoyed
or protected, is self-executing. Thus a constitutional provision is selfexecuting if the nature and extent of the right conferred and the
liability imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can
be determined by an examination and construction of its terms, and
there is no language indicating that the subject is referred to the
legislature for action.
As against constitutions of the past, modern constitutions
have been generally drafted upon a different principle and have often
become in effect extensive codes of laws intended to operate directly

upon the people in a manner similar to that of statutory enactments,


and the function of constitutional conventions has evolved into one
more like that of a legislative body. Hence, unless it is expressly
provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a constitutional
mandate, the presumption now is that all provisions of the
constitution are self-executing. If the constitutional provisions are
treated as requiring legislation instead of self-executing, the
legislature would have the power to ignore and practically nullify the
mandate of the fundamental law. This can be cataclysmic. That is
why the prevailing view is, as it has always been, that x x x x in case of doubt, the Constitution should be
considered self-executing rather than non-selfexecuting x x x x Unless the contrary is clearly
intended, the provisions of the Constitution should
be considered self-executing, as a contrary rule
would give the legislature discretion to determine
when, or whether, they shall be effective. These
provisions would be subordinated to the will of the
lawmaking body, which could make them entirely
meaningless by simply refusing to pass the needed
implementing statute.
Francisco vs. House of Representatives [G.R. No. 160261,
Nov 10, 2003]
To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant petitions,
this Court must necessarily turn to the Constitution itself which
employs the well-settled principles of constitutional construction.
First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible, the words used in the
Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except where
technical terms are employed. Thus, in J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v.
Land Tenure Administration,36 this Court, speaking through Chief
Justice Enrique Fernando, declared:
We look to the language of the document
itself in our search for its meaning. We do not
of course stop there, but that is where we
begin. It is to be assumed that the words in
which constitutional provisions are couched
express the objective sought to be attained.
They are to be given their ordinary meaning
except where technical terms are employed in
which case the significance thus attached to
them prevails. As the Constitution is not primarily
a lawyer's document, it being essential for the rule
of law to obtain that it should ever be present in
the people's consciousness, its language as much
as possible should be understood in the sense they
have in common use. What it says according to
the text of the provision to be construed

compels acceptance and negates the power of


the courts to alter it, based on the postulate that
the framers and the people mean what they say.
Thus these are the cases where the need for
construction is reduced to a minimum. 37 (Emphasis
and underscoring supplied)
Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The words of
the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the intent
of its framers. And so did this Court apply this principle in Civil
Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary 38 in this wise:
A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction
is the intention underlying the provision under
consideration. Thus, it has been held that the Court
in construing a Constitution should bear in mind the
object sought to be accomplished by its adoption,
and the evils, if any, sought to be prevented or
remedied. A doubtful provision will be examined in
the light of the history of the times, and the
condition and circumstances under which the
Constitution was framed. The object is to
ascertain the reason which induced the
framers of the Constitution to enact the
particular provision and the purpose sought to
be accomplished thereby, in order to construe
the whole as to make the words consonant to
that reason and calculated to effect that
purpose.39 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on Internal Revenue40 where,
speaking through Madame Justice Amuerfina A. Melencio-Herrera, it
declared:
x x x The ascertainment of that intent is but in
keeping with the fundamental principle of
constitutional construction that the intent of
the framers of the organic law and of the
people adopting it should be given effect. The
primary task in constitutional construction is to
ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of
the purpose of the framers and of the people in the
adoption of the Constitution. It may also be
safely assumed that the people in ratifying
the Constitution were guided mainly by the
explanation
offered
by
the
framers.41
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The Constitution is to be
interpreted as a whole. Thus, in Chiongbian v. De Leon,42 this Court,
through Chief Justice Manuel Moran declared:

x x x [T]he members of the Constitutional


Convention could not have dedicated a
provision of our Constitution merely for the
benefit of one person without considering that
it could also affect others. When they adopted
subsection 2, they permitted, if not willed,
that said provision should function to the full
extent of its substance and its terms, not by
itself alone, but in conjunction with all other
provisions of that great document.43 (Emphasis
and underscoring supplied)
Likewise, still in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary,44 this
Court affirmed that:
It is a well-established rule in constitutional
construction that no one provision of the
Constitution is to be separated from all the
others, to be considered alone, but that all the
provisions bearing upon a particular subject
are to be brought into view and to be so
interpreted as to effectuate the great
purposes of the instrument. Sections bearing
on a particular subject should be considered
and interpreted together as to effectuate the
whole purpose of the Constitution and one
section is not to be allowed to defeat another,
if by any reasonable construction, the two can
be made to stand together.
In other words, the court must harmonize them, if
practicable, and must lean in favor of a construction which
will render every word operative, rather than one which may
make the words idle and nugatory.45 (Emphasis supplied)
If, however, the plain meaning of the word is not found to be clear,
resort to other aids is available. In still the same case of Civil
Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, this Court expounded:
While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult
the
debates
and
proceedings
of
the
constitutional convention in order to arrive at the
reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution,
resort thereto may be had only when other
guides fail as said proceedings are powerless
to vary the terms of the Constitution when the
meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional
convention "are of value as showing the views of
the individual members, and as indicating the
reasons for their votes, but they give us no light as
to the views of the large majority who did not talk,
much less of the mass of our fellow citizens whose
votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of

fundamental law. We think it safer to construe


the constitution from what appears upon its
face." The proper interpretation therefore
depends more on how it was understood by
the people adopting it than in the framers's
understanding
thereof.46
(Emphasis
and
underscoring supplied)
Effectivity of the 1987 Constitution
De Leon vs. Esguerra [G.R. No. 78059, August 31, 1987]
1987 CONSTITUTION; DATE OF RATIFICATION; RETROACTS ON THE
DAY OF THE PLEBISCITE. The main issue resolved in the judgment
at bar is whether the 1987 Constitution took effect on February 2,
1987, the date that the plebiscite for its ratification was held or
whether it took effect on February 11, 1987, the date its ratification
was proclaimed per Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the
Philippines, Corazon C. Aquino. The thrust of the dissent is that the
Constitution should be deemed to "take effect on the date its
ratification shall have been ascertained and not at the time the
people cast their votes to approve or reject it." This view was actually
proposed at the Constitutional Commission deliberations, but was
withdrawn by its proponent in the face of the "overwhelming"
contrary view that the Constitution "will be effective on the very day
of the plebiscite." The record of the proceedings and debates of the
Constitutional Commission fully supports the Court's judgment. It
shows that the clear, unequivocal and express intent of the
Constitutional Commission in unanimously approving (by thirty-five
votes in favor and none against) the aforequoted Section 27 of
Transitory Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution was that "the act of
ratification is the act of voting by the people. So that is the date of
the ratification" and that "the canvass thereafter [of the votes] is
merely the mathematical confirmation of what was done during the
date of the plebiscite and the proclamation of the President is merely
the official confirmatory declaration of an act which was actually done
by the Filipino people in adopting the Constitution when they cast
their votes on the date of the plebiscite."
The Court next holds as a consequence of its declaration at bar that
the Constitution took effect on the date of its ratification in the
plebiscite held on February 2, 1987, that: (1) the Provisional
Constitution promulgated on March 25, 1986 must be deemed to
have been superseded by the 1987 Constitution on the same date
February 2, 1987 and (2) by and after said date, February 2, 1987,
absent any saying clause to the contrary in the Transitory Article of
the Constitution, respondent OIC Governor could no longer exercise
the power to replace petitioners in their positions as Barangay
Captain and Councilmen. Hence, the attempted replacement of
petitioners by respondent OIC Governor's designation on February 8,
1987 of their successors could no longer produce any legal force and
effect. While the Provisional Constitution provided for a one-year
period expiring on March 25, 1987 within which the power of
replacement could be exercised, this period was shortened by the
ratification and effectivity on February 2, 1987 of the Constitution.

Had the intention of the framers of the Constitution been otherwise,


they would have so provided for in the Transitory Article, as indeed
they provided for multifarious transitory provisions in twenty six
sections of Article XVIII, e.g. extension of the six-year term of the
incumbent President and Vice-President to noon of June 30, 1992 for
purposes of synchronization of elections, the continued exercise of
legislative powers by the incumbent President until the convening of
the first Congress, etc
The Power to Amend the Constitution is not included in the General
Legislative Power
Gonzales vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. L-28196, November 9,
1967]
NATURE OF POWER TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION. The power to
amend the Constitution or to propose, amendments thereto is not
included in the general grant of legislative powers to Congress (Sec.
1, Art, VI, Const.) It is part of the inherent powers of the people - as
the repository of sovereignty in a republican state, such as ours (Sec.
1, Art. II, Const.) to make and hence, to amend their own
Fundamental Law. Congress may propose amendments to the
Constitution merely because the same explicitly grants such power
(Sec. 1, Art. XV, Const.). Hence, when exercising the same, it is said
that Senators and Members of the House of Representatives act, not
as members of Congress, but as component elements of a constituent
assembly. When acting as such, the members of Congress derive
their authority from the Constitution, unlike the people, when
performing the same function, for their authority does not emanate
from the Constitution - they are the very source of all powers of
government, including the Constitution itself.
POWER OF THE COURT TO REVIEW THE EXERCISE OF THIS POWER
BY THE CONGRESS. In short, the issue whether or not a Resolution of
Congress acting as a constituent assembly violates the
Constitution, is essentially justiciable, not political, and, hence,
subject to judicial review, and, to the extent that this view may be
inconsistent with the stand taken in Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito,
the
latter should be deemed modified accordingly. The Members of the
Court are unanimous on this point.
THE CONGRESS, ACTING AS A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY MAY
DIRECTLY PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, AND
SIMULTANEOUSLY CALL A CONSITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO
PROPOSE THE NEEDED AMMENDMENTS. Atty. Juan T. David, as
amicus curiae maintains that Congress may either propose
amendments to the Constitution or call a convention for that purpose,
but it cannot do both, at the same time. This theory is based upon
the fact that the two (2) alternatives are connected in the
Constitution by the disjunctive "or." Such basis is, however, a weak
one, in the absence of other circumstances and none has been
brought to our attention supporting the conclusion drawn by the
amicus curiae. In fact, the term "or" has, oftentimes, been held to
mean "and," or vice-versa, when the spirit or context of the law
warrants it.

It is, also, noteworthy that R.B.H. Nos. 1 and 3 propose amendments


to the constitutional provisions on Congress, to be submitted to the
people for ratification on November 14, 1967, whereas R.B.H. No. 2
calls for a convention in 1971, to consider proposals for amendment
to the Constitution, in general. In other words, the subject- matter of
R.B.H. No. 2 is different from that of R.B.H. Nos. 1 and 3. Moreover,
the amendments proposed under R.B.H. Nos. 1 and 3, will be
submitted for ratification several years before those that may be
proposed by the constitutional convention called in R.B.H. No. 2.
Again, although the three (3) resolutions were passed on the same
date, they were taken up and put to a vote separately, or one after
the other. In other words, they were not passed at the same time.
In any event, we do not find, either in the Constitution, or in the
history thereof, anything that would negate the contested of different
Congresses to approve the contested Resolutions, or of the same
Congress to pass the same in different sessions or different days of
the same congressional session. And, neither has any plausible
reason been advanced to justify the denial of authority to adopt said
resolutions on the same day.
Counsel ask: Since Congress has decided to call a constitutional
convention to propose amendments, why not let the whole thing be
submitted to said convention, instead of, likewise, proposing some
specific amendments, to be submitted for ratification before said
convention is held? The force of this argument must be conceded, but
the same impugns the wisdom of the action taken by Congress, not
its authority to take it. One seeming purpose thereof is to permit
Members of Congress to run for election as delegates to the
constitutional convention and participate in the proceedings therein,
without forfeiting their seats in Congress. Whether or nothing should
be done is a political question, not subject to review by the courts of
justice.
RATIFICATION
OF
THE
CONSTITUTION
MAY
BE
HELD
SIMULTANEOUSLY IN A GENERAL ELECTION.
There is in this
provision nothing to indicate that the "election" therein referred to is
a "special," not a general election. The circumstance that three
previous amendments to the Constitution had been submitted to the
people for ratification in special elections merely shows that Congress
deemed it best to do so under the circumstances then obtaining. It
does not negate its authority to submit proposed amendments for
ratification in general elections.
It would be better, from the viewpoint of a thorough discussion of the
proposed amendments, that the same be submitted to the people's
approval independently of the election of public officials. And there is
no denying the fact that an adequate appraisal of the merits and
demerits of proposed amendments is likely to be overshadowed by
the great attention usually commanded by the choice of personalities
involved in general elections, particularly when provincial and
municipal officials are to be chosen. But, then, these considerations

are addressed to the wisdom of holding a plebiscite simultaneously


with the election of public officers. They do not deny the authority of
Congress to choose either alternative, as implied in the term
"election" used, without qualification, in the above-quoted provision
of the Constitution. Such authority becomes even more patent when
we consider: (1) that the term "election," normally refers to the
choice or selection of candidates to public office by popular vote; and
(2) that the word used in Article V of the Constitution concerning the
grant of suffrage to women is, not "election," but "plebiscite."
Petitioners maintain that the term "election," as used in Section 1 of
Art. XV of the Constitution, should be construed as meaning a special
election Some members of the Court even feel that said term
("election") refers to a "plebiscite," without any "election," general or
special, of public officers. They opine that constitutional amendments
are, in general, if not always, of such importance, if not
transcendental and vital nature as to demand that the attention of
the people be focused exclusively on the subject-matter thereof, so
that their votes thereon may reflect no more than their intelligent,
impartial and considered view on the merits of the proposed
amendments, unimpaired, or, at least, undiluted by extraneous, if not
insidious factors, let alone the partisan political considerations that
are likely to affect the selection of elective officials.
This, certainly, is a situation to be hoped for. It is a goal the
attainment of which should be promoted. The ideal conditions, are,
however, one thing. The question whether the Constitution forbids the
submission of proposals for amendment to the people except under
such conditions, is another thing. Much as the writer and those who
concur in this opinion admire the contrary view, they find themselves
unable to subscribe thereto without, in effect, reading into the
Constitution what they believe is not written thereon and can not
fairly be deduced from the letter thereof, since the spirit of the law
should not be a matter of sheer speculation.
Sanidad vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. L-44640, October 12,
1976]
THE POWER TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION IS A
PURELY JUSTICEABLE CONTROVERSY. - The Solicitor General would
consider the question at bar as a pure political one, lying outside the
domain of judicial review. We disagree. The amending process both
as to proposal and ratification, raises a judicial question. This is
especially true in cases where the power of the Presidency to initiate
the amending process by proposals of amendments, a function
normally exercised by the legislature, is seriously doubted. Under the
terms of the 1973 Constitution, the power to propose amendments to
the Constitution resides in the interim National Assembly during the
period of transition (Sec. 15, Transitory Provisions). After that period,
and the regular National Assembly in its active session, the power to
propose amendments becomes ipso facto the prerogative of the
regular National Assembly (Sec. 1, pars. 1 and 2 of Art. XVI, 1973
Constitution). The normal course has not been followed. Rather than
calling the interim National Assembly to constitute itself into a

constituent assembly, the incumbent President undertook the


proposal of amendments and submitted the proposed amendments
thru Presidential Decree 1033 to the people in a ReferendumPlebiscite on October 16. Unavoidably, the regularity of the procedure
for amendments, written in lambent words in the very Constitution
sought to be amended, raises a contestable issue. The implementing
Presidential Decree Nos. 991, 1031, and 1033, which commonly
purport to have the force and effect of legislation are assailed as
invalid, thus the issue of the validity of said Decrees is plainly a
justiciable one, within the competence of this Court to pass upon.
Section 2 (2) Article X of the new Constitution provides: "All cases
involving the constitutionality of a treaty, executive agreement, or
law shall be heard and decided by the Supreme Court en banc and no
treaty, executive agreement, or law may be declared unconstitutional
without the concurrence of at least ten Members. . . .." The Supreme
Court has the last word in the construction not only of treaties and
statutes, but also of the Constitution itself. The amending, like all
other powers organized in the Constitution, is in form a delegated
and hence a limited power, so that the Supreme Court is vested with
that authority to determine whether that power has been discharged
within its limits.
Political questions are neatly associated with the wisdom, not the
legality of a particular act. Where the vortex of the controversy refers
to the legality or validity of the contested act, that matter is definitely
justiciable or non-political. What is in the heels of the Court is not the
wisdom of the act of the incumbent President in proposing
amendments to the Constitution, but his constitutional authority to
perform such act or to assume the power of a constituent assembly.
Whether the amending process confers on the President that power
to propose amendments is therefore a downright justiciable question.
Should the contrary be found, the actuation of the President would
merely he a brutum fulmen. If the Constitution provides how it may
be amended, the judiciary as the interpreter of that Constitution, can
declare whether the procedure followed or the authority assumed was
valid or not.
We cannot accept the view of the Solicitor General, in pursuing his
theory of non-justiciability, that the question of the President's
authority to propose amendments and the regularity of the procedure
adopted for submission of the proposals to the people ultimately lie in
the judgment of the latter. A clear Descartes fallacy of vicious circle.
Is it not that the people themselves, by their sovereign act, provided
for the authority and procedure for the amending process when they
ratified the present Constitution in 1973? Whether, therefore, that
constitutional provision has been followed or not is indisputably a
proper subject of inquiry, not by the people themselves of course
who exercise no power of judicial review, but by the Supreme
Court in whom the people themselves vested that power, a power
which includes the competence to determine whether the
constitutional norms for amendments have been observed or not.
And, this inquiry must be done a priori not a posteriori, i.e., before
the submission to and ratification by the people

SINCE THE PRESIDENT, UNDER THE 1973 CONSTITUTION, MAY


EXERCISE LEGISLATIVE POWER, HE MAY LIKEWISE THEREFORE,
PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION. - As earlier pointed
out, the power to legislate is constitutionally consigned to the interim
National Assembly during the transition period. However, the initial
convening of that Assembly is a matter fully addressed to the
judgment of the incumbent President. And, in the exercise of that
judgment, the President opted to defer convening of that body in
utter recognition of the people's preference. Likewise, in the period of
transition, the power to propose amendments to the Constitution lies
in the interim National Assembly upon special call by the President
(Sec. 15 of the Transitory Provisions). Again, harking to the dictates
of the sovereign will, the President decided not to call the interim
National Assembly. Would it then be within the bounds of the
Constitution and of law for the President to assume that constituent
power of the interim Assembly vis-a-vis his assumption of that body's
legislative functions? The answer is yes. If the President has been
legitimately discharging the legislative functions of the interim
Assembly, there is no reason why he cannot validly discharge the
function of that Assembly to propose amendments to the
Constitution, which is but adjunct, although peculiar, to its gross
legislative power. This, of course, is not to say that the President has
converted his office into a constituent assembly of that nature
normally constituted by the legislature. Rather, with the interim
National Assembly not convened and only the Presidency and the
Supreme Court in operation, the urges of absolute necessity render it
imperative upon the President to act as agent for and in behalf of the
people to propose amendments to the Constitution. Parenthetically,
by its very constitution, the Supreme Court possesses no capacity to
propose amendments without constitutional infractions. For the
President to shy away from that actuality and decline to undertake
the amending process would leave the governmental machinery at a
stalemate or create in the powers of the State a destructive vacuum,
thereby impeding the objective of a crisis government "to end the
crisis and restore normal times." In these parlous times, that
Presidential initiative to reduce into concrete forms the constant
voices of the people reigns supreme. After all, constituent assemblies
or constitutional conventions, like the President now, are mere agents
of the people.
Imbong vs. Ferrer, COMELEC [G.R. No. L-32432, September
11, 1970]
THE CONGRESS, ACTING AS A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY, MAY
PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, AND EXERCISING
ITS GENERAL LEGISLATIVE POWER, PROVIDE FOR THE DETAILS OF
THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. The constitutionality of the
enactment of R.A. 6132 by Congress must be upheld for the following
reasons: 1) Congress, acting as Constituent Assembly pursuant to
Article XV of the Constitution, has authority to propose constitutional
amendments or call a convention for the purpose by 3/4 votes of
each house in joint session assembled but voting separately; 2) Such
grant includes all other powers essential to the effective exercise of

the principal power by necessary implication; 3) Implementing details


are within the authority of Congress not only as a Constituent
Assembly but also in the exercise of its comprehensive legislative
power so long as it does not contravene any provision of the
Constitution; and 4) Congress as a legislative body may thus enact
necessary implementing legislation to fill in the gaps which Congress
as a Constituent Assembly omitted.
1.

Congress, when acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant


to Art. XV of the Constitution, has full and plenary authority
to propose Constitutional amendments or to call a
convention for the purpose, by a three-fourths vote of each
House in joint session assembled but voting separately.
Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4 calling for a constitutional
convention were passed by the required three-fourths vote.

2.

The grant to Congress as a Constituent Assembly of such


plenary authority to call a constitutional convention includes,
by virtue of the doctrine of necessary implication, all other
powers essential to the effective exercise of the principal
power granted, such as the power to fix the qualifications,
number, apportionment, and compensation of the delegates
as well as appropriation of funds to meet the expenses for
the election of delegates and for the operation of the
Constitutional Convention itself, as well as all other
implementing details indispensable to a fruitful convention.
Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4 already embody the abovementioned details, except the appropriation of funds.

3.

While the authority to call a constitutional convention is


vested by the present Constitution solely and exclusively in
Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly, the power to
enact the implementing details, which are now contained in
Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4 as well as in R.A. No. 6132, does
not exclusively pertain to Congress acting as a Constituent
Assembly. Such implementing details are matters within the
competence of Congress in the exercise of its comprehensive
legislative power, which power encompasses all matters not
expressly or by necessary implication withdrawn or removed
by the Constitution from the ambit of legislative action. And
as long as such statutory details do not clash with any
specific provision of the Constitution, they are valid.

4.

Consequently, when Congress, acting as a Constituent


Assembly, omits to provide for such implementing details
after calling a constitutional convention, Congress, acting as
a legislative body, can enact the necessary implementing
legislation to fill in the gaps, which authority is expressly
recognized in Sec. 8 of Res. No. 2 as amended by Res. No.
4.

5.

The fact that a bill providing for such implementing details


may be vetoed by the President is no argument against

conceding such power in Congress as a legislative body nor


present any difficulty; for it is not irremediable as Congress
can override the Presidential veto or Congress can
reconvene as a Constituent Assembly and adopt a resolution
prescribing the required implementing details.
Occena vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 56350, April 2, 1981]
TO APPROVE PROPOSALS TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION, THE
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION ONLY NEEDS MAJORITY VOTE,
SUBJECT TO THE RATIFICATION BY THE PEOPLE. - The Interim
Batasang Pambansa, sitting as a constituent body, can propose
amendments. In that capacity, only a majority vote is needed. It
would be an indefensible proposition to assert that the three-fourth
votes required when it sits as a legislative body applies as well when
it has been convened as the agency through which amendments
could be proposed. That is not a requirement as far as constitutional
convention is concerned. It is not a requirement either when, as in
this case, the Interim Batasang Pambansa exercises its constituent
power to propose amendments.
AMNEDMENT INCLUDES REVISION - Petitioners would urge upon us
the proposition that the amendments proposed are so extensive in
character that they go far beyond the limits of the authority conferred
on the Interim Batasang Pambansa as successor of the Interim
National Assembly. For them, what was done was to revise and not to
amend. It suffices to quote from the opinion of Justice Makasiar,
speaking for the Court, in Del Rosario v. Commission on Elections to
dispose of this contention. Thus: "3. And whether the Constitutional
Convention will only propose amendments to the Constitution or
entirely overhaul the present Constitution and propose an entirely
new Constitution based on an ideology foreign to the democratic
system, is of no moment; because the same will be submitted to the
people for ratification. Once ratified by the sovereign people, there
can be no debate about the validity of the new Constitution. 4. The
fact that the present Constitution may be revised and replaced with a
new one . . . is no argument against the validity of the law because
'amendment' includes the 'revision' or total overhaul of the entire
Constitution. At any rate, whether the Constitution is merely
amended in part or revised or totally changed would become
immaterial the moment the same is ratified by the sovereign people."
There is here the adoption of the principle so well-known in American
decisions as well as legal texts that a constituent body can
propose anything but conclude nothing. We are not disposed to
deviate from such a principle not only sound in theory but also
advantageous in practice.
Tolentino vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. L-34150, October 16,
1971]
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION MUST BE
SUBMITTED TO THE PEOPLE FOR RATIFICATION IN ONE ELECTION,
PIECE-MEAL RATIFICATION IS NOT ALLOWED. - The ultimate
question, therefore, boils down to this: Is there any limitation or

condition in Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution which is


violated by the act of the Convention of calling for a plebiscite on the
sole amendment contained in Organic Resolution No. 1? The Court
holds that there is, and it is the condition and limitation that all the
amendments to be proposed by the same Convention must be
submitted to the people in a single "election" or plebiscite. It being
indisputable that the amendment now proposed to be submitted to a
plebiscite is only the first amendment the Convention will propose We
hold that the plebiscite being called for the purpose of submitting the
same for ratification of the people on November 8, 1971 is not
authorized by Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution, hence all
acts of the Convention and the respondent Comelec in that direction
are null and void.
We have arrived at this conclusion for the following reasons:
1.
The language of the constitutional provision aforequoted is
sufficiently clear. It says distinctly that either Congress
sitting as a constituent assembly or a convention called for
the purpose "may propose amendments to this Constitution,
"thus placing no limit as to the number of amendments that
Congress or the Convention may propose. The same
provision also as definitely provides that "such amendments
shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by
a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the
amendments are submitted to the people for their
ratification," thus leaving no room for doubt as to how many
"elections" or plebiscites may be held to ratify any
amendment or amendments proposed by the same
constituent assembly of Congress or convention, and the
provision unequivocably says "an election" which means only
one.
2.

Very little reflection is needed for anyone to realize the


wisdom and appropriateness of this provision. As already
stated, amending the Constitution is as serious and
important an undertaking as constitution making itself.
Indeed, any amendment of the Constitution is as important
as the whole of it, if only because the Constitution has to be
an integrated and harmonious instrument, if it is to be viable
as the framework of the government it establishes, on the
one hand, and adequately formidable and reliable as the
succinct but comprehensive articulation of the rights,
liberties, ideology, social ideals, and national and
nationalistic policies and aspirations of the people, on the
other. It is inconceivable how a constitution worthy of any
country or people can have any part which is out of tune
with its other parts.

A constitution is the work of the people thru its drafters assembled by


them for the purpose. Once the original constitution is approved, the
part that the people play in its amendment becomes harder, for when
a whole constitution is submitted to them, more or less they can
assume its harmony as an integrated whole, and they can either

accept or reject it in its entirety. At the very least, they can examine
it before casting their vote and determine for themselves from a
study of the whole document the merits and demerits of all or any of
its parts and of the document as a whole. And so also, when an
amendment is submitted to them that is to form part of the existing
constitution, in like fashion they can study with deliberation the
proposed amendment in relation to the whole existing constitution
and or any of its parts and thereby arrive at an intelligent judgment
as to its acceptability.
This cannot happen in the case of the amendment in question.
Prescinding already from the fact that under Section 3 of the
questioned resolution, it is evident that no fixed frame of reference is
provided the voter, as to what finally will be concomitant
qualifications that will be required by the final draft of the constitution
to be formulated by the Convention of a voter to be able to enjoy the
right of suffrage, there are other considerations which make it
impossible to vote intelligently on the proposed amendment, although
it may already be observed that under Section 3, if a voter would
favor the reduction of the voting age to eighteen under conditions he
feels are needed under the circumstances, and he does not see those
conditions in the ballot nor is there any possible indication whether
they will ever be or not, because Congress has reserved those for
future action, what kind of judgment can he render on the proposal?
But the situation actually before Us is even worse. No one knows
what changes in the fundamental principles of the constitution the
Convention will be minded to approve. To be more specific, we do not
have any means of foreseeing whether the right to vote would be of
any significant value at all. Who can say whether or not later on the
Convention may decide to provide for varying types of voters for each
level of the political units it may divide the country into. The root of
the difficulty in other words, lies in that the Convention is precisely on
the verge of introducing substantial changes, if not radical ones, in
almost every part and aspect of the existing social and political order
enshrined in the present Constitution. How can a voter in the
proposed plebiscite intelligently determine the effect of the reduction
of the voting age upon the different institutions which the Convention
may establish and of which presently he is not given any idea?
We are certain no one can deny that in order that a plebiscite for the
ratification of an amendment to the Constitution may be validly held,
it must provide the voter not only sufficient time but ample basis for
an intelligent appraisal of the nature of the amendment per se as well
as its relation to the other parts of the Constitution with which it has
to form a harmonious whole. In the context of the present state of
things, where the Convention has hardly started considering the
merits of hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals to amend the
existing Constitution, to present to the people any single proposal or
a few of them cannot comply with this requirement. We are of the
opinion that the present Constitution does not contemplate in Section
1 of Article XV a plebiscite or "election" wherein the people are in the
dark as to frame of reference they can base their judgment on. We

reject the rationalization that the present Constitution is a possible


frame of reference, for the simple reason that intervenors themselves
are stating that the sole purpose of the proposed amendment is to
enable the eighteen year olds to take part in the election for the
ratification of the Constitution to be drafted by the Convention. In
brief, under the proposed plebiscite, there can be, in the language of
Justice Sanchez, speaking for the six members of the Court in
Gonzales, supra, "no proper submission".
Santiago vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 127325, March 19, 1997]
PROVISION ON THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO DIRECTLY PROPOSE
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, NOT SELF-EXECUTORY.
Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution is not self-executory. In
his book, Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission, stated: Without implementing legislation Section 2
cannot operate. Thus, although this mode of amending the
Constitution is a mode of amendment which bypasses congressional
action, in the last analysis it still is dependent on congressional
action. Bluntly stated the right of the people to directly propose
amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative
would remain entombed in the cold niche of the Constitution until
Congress provides for its implementation. Stated otherwise, while the
Constitution has recognized or granted that right, the people cannot
exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason, does not provide for its
implementation.
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6735 IS INSUFFICIENT, AND DOES NOT COVER
INITIATIVE ON THE CONSTITUTION. - First, Contrary to the assertion
of public respondent COMELEC, Section 2 of the Act does not suggest
an initiative on amendments to the Constitution. The inclusion of the
word "Constitution" therein was a delayed afterthought. That word is
neither germane nor relevant to said section, which exclusively
relates to initiative and referendum on national laws and local laws,
ordinances, and resolutions. That section is silent as to amendments
on the Constitution. As pointed out earlier, initiative on the
Constitution is confined only to proposals to AMEND. The people are
not accorded the power to "directly propose, enact, approve, or
reject, in whole or in part, the Constitution" through the system of
initiative. They can only do so with respect to "laws, ordinances, or
resolutions."' . . . Second. It is true that Section 3 (Definition of
Terms) of the Act defines initiative on amendments to the
Constitution and mentions it as one of the three systems of initiative,
and that Section 5 (Requirements) restates the constitutional
requirements as to the percentage of the registered voters who must
submit the proposal. But unlike in the case of the other systems of
initiative, the Act does not provide for the contents of a petition for
initiative on the Constitution. Section 5 paragraph (c) requires,
among other things, a statement of the proposed law sought to be
enacted, approve or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may
be. It does not include, as among the contents of the petition, the
provisions of the Constitution sought to be amended, in the case of
initiative on the Constitution. . . . The use of the clause "proposed
laws sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or

repealed" only strengthens the conclusion that Section 2, quoted


earlier, excludes initiative on amendments to the Constitution. Third.
While the Act provides subtitles for National Initiative and
Referendum (Subtitle, II) and for Local Initiative and Referendum
(Subtitle III), no subtitle is provided for initiative on the Constitution.
This conspicuous silence as to the latter simply means that the main
thrust of the Act is initiative and referendum on national and local
laws. If Congress intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully provide for the
implementation of the initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it
could have provided for a subtitle therefor, considering that in the
order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the
right of the people to directly propose amendments to the
Constitution is far more important than the initiative on national and
local laws. . . . The foregoing brings us to the conclusion that R.A. No.
6735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and
conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is
concerned. Its lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and.
cannot be cured by "empowering" the COMELEC "to promulgate such
rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes
of [the] Act."
THE CONGRESS CANNOT DELEGATE TO OTHER AGENCIES THE
POWER TO PROVIDE FOR THE EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT OF
INITIATIVE ON THE CONSTITUTION. - The rule is that what has been
delegated, cannot be delegated or as expressed in a Latin maxim:
potestas delegata non delegari potest. 59 The recognized exceptions
to the rule are as follows:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)

Delegation of tariff powers to the President under


Section 28(2) of Article VI of the Constitution;
Delegation of emergency powers to the President
under Section 23(2) of Article VI of the
Constitution;
Delegation to the people at large;
Delegation to local governments; and
Delegation to administrative bodies.

Empowering the COMELEC, an administrative body exercising quasijudicial functions, to promulgate rules and regulations is a form of
delegation of legislative authority under no. 5 above. However, in
every case of permissible delegation, there must be a showing that
the delegation itself is valid. It is valid only if the law (a) is complete
in itself, setting forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out, or
implemented by the delegate; and (b) fixes a standard the limits of
which are sufficiently determinate and determinable to which the
delegate must conform in the performance of his functions. A
sufficient standard is one which defines legislative policy, marks its
limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to
apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative
command is to be effected.
It logically follows that the COMELEC cannot validly promulgate rules
and regulations to implement the exercise of the right of the people

to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the


system of initiative. It does not have that power under R.A. No. 6735.
Reliance on the COMELEC's power under Section 2(1) of Article IX-C
of the Constitution is misplaced, for the laws and regulations referred
to therein are those promulgated by the COMELEC under (a) Section
3 of Article IX-C of the Constitution, or (b) a law where subordinate
legislation is authorized and which satisfies the "completeness" and
the "sufficient standard" tests.

relevant American jurisprudence on people's initiative. In particular,


the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission explicitly reveal
that the framers intended that the people must first see the full text
of the proposed amendments before they sign, and that the people
must sign on a petition containing such full text. Indeed, Section 5(b)
of Republic Act No. 6735, the Initiative and Referendum Act that the
Lambino Group invokes as valid, requires that the people must sign
the "petition . . . as signatories."

Lambino vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 174153, October 25, 2006]


PETITION FOR INITIATIVE TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE
CONSTITUTION MUST CONTAIN THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS. Clearly, the framers of the Constitution intended that the "draft of the
proposed constitutional amendment" should be "ready and shown" to
the people "before" they sign such proposal. The framers plainly
stated that "before they sign there is already a draft shown to them."
The framers also "envisioned" that the people should sign on the
proposal itself because the proponents must "prepare that proposal
and pass it around for signature."

An initiative that gathers signatures from the people without first


showing to the people the full text of the proposed amendments is
most likely a deception, and can operate as a gigantic fraud on the
people. That is why the Constitution requires that an initiative must
be "directly proposed by the people . . . in a petition" meaning that
the people must sign on a petition that contains the full text of the
proposed amendments. On so vital an issue as amending the nation's
fundamental law, the writing of the text of the proposed amendments
cannot be hidden from the people under a general or special power of
attorney to unnamed, faceless, and unelected individuals.

The essence of amendments "directly proposed by the people through


initiative upon a petition" is that the entire proposal on its face is a
petition by the people. This means two essential elements must be
present. First, the people must author and thus sign the entire
proposal. No agent or representative can sign on their behalf.
Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be
embodied in a petition.

The Constitution entrusts to the people the power to directly propose


amendments to the Constitution. This Court trusts the wisdom of the
people even if the members of this Court do not personally know the
people who sign the petition. However, this trust emanates from a
fundamental assumption: the full text of the proposed amendment is
first shown to the people before they sign the petition, not after they
have signed the petition.

These essential elements are present only if the full text of the
proposed amendments is first shown to the people who express their
assent by signing such complete proposal in a petition. Thus, an
amendment is "directly proposed by the people through initiative
upon a petition" only if the people sign on a petition that contains the
full text of the proposed amendments.

INTIATIVE CAN ONLY BE EXERCISED TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO


THE CONSTITUTION, AND NOT REVISION. - This Court, whose
members are sworn to defend and protect the Constitution, cannot
shirk from its solemn oath and duty to insure compliance with the
clear command of the Constitution that a people's initiative may
only amend, never revise, the Constitution.

The full text of the proposed amendments may be either written on


the face of the petition, or attached to it. If so attached, the petition
must state the fact of such attachment. This is an assurance that
every one of the several millions of signatories to the petition had
seen the full text of the proposed amendments before signing.
Otherwise, it is physically impossible, given the time constraint, to
prove that every one of the millions of signatories had seen the full
text of the proposed amendments before signing.

The question is, does the Lambino Group's initiative constitute an


amendment or revision of the Constitution? If the Lambino Group's
initiative constitutes a revision, then the present petition should be
dismissed for being outside the scope of Section 2, Article XVII of the
Constitution.

Moreover, "an initiative signer must be informed at the time of


signing of the nature and effect of that which is proposed" and failure
to do so is "deceptive and misleading" which renders the initiative
void.
Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution does not expressly state
that the petition must set forth the full text of the proposed
amendments. However, the deliberations of the framers of our
Constitution clearly show that the framers intended to adopt the

Courts have long recognized the distinction between an amendment


and a revision of a constitution. One of the earliest cases that
recognized the distinction described the fundamental difference in
this manner:
[T]he very term "constitution" implies an instrument of a permanent
and abiding nature, and the provisions contained therein for its
revision indicate the will of the people that the underlying principles
upon which it rests, as well as the substantial entirety of the
instrument, shall be of a like permanent and abiding nature. On the
other hand, the significance of the term "amendment" implies such
an addition or change within the lines of the original instrument as

will effect an improvement, or better carry out the purpose for which
it was framed.
Revision broadly implies a change that alters a basic principle in the
constitution, like altering the principle of separation of powers or the
system of checks-and-balances. There is also revision if the change
alters the substantial entirety of the constitution, as when the change
affects substantial provisions of the constitution. On the other hand,
amendment broadly refers to a change that adds, reduces, or deletes
without altering the basic principle involved. Revision generally
affects several provisions of the constitution, while amendment
generally affects only the specific provision being amended.
In California where the initiative clause allows amendments but not
revisions to the constitution just like in our Constitution, courts have
developed a two-part test: the quantitative test and the qualitative
test. The quantitative test asks whether the proposed change is "so
extensive in its provisions as to change directly the 'substantial
entirety' of the constitution by the deletion or alteration of numerous
existing provisions."
The court examines only the number of
provisions affected and does not consider the degree of the change.
The qualitative test inquires into the qualitative effects of the
proposed change in the constitution. The main inquiry is whether the
change will "accomplish such far reaching changes in the nature of
our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision." Whether
there is an alteration in the structure of government is a proper
subject of inquiry. Thus, "a change in the nature of [the] basic
governmental plan" includes "change in its fundamental framework or
the fundamental powers of its Branches." A change in the nature of
the basic governmental plan also includes changes that "jeopardize
the traditional form of government and the system of check and
balances."
Under both the quantitative and qualitative tests, the Lambino
Group's initiative is a revision and not merely an amendment.
Quantitatively, the Lambino Group's proposed changes overhaul two
articles Article VI on the Legislature and Article VII on the
Executive affecting a total of 105 provisions in the entire
Constitution. 40 Qualitatively, the proposed changes alter
substantially the basic plan of government, from presidential to
parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature.
A change in the structure of government is a revision of the
Constitution, as when the three great co-equal branches of
government in the present Constitution are reduced into two. This
alters the separation of powers in the Constitution. A shift from the
present Bicameral-Presidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary
system is a revision of the Constitution. Merging the legislative and
executive branches is a radical change in the structure of
government.

The abolition alone of the Office of the President as the locus of


Executive Power alters the separation of powers and thus constitutes
a revision of the Constitution. Likewise, the abolition alone of one
chamber of Congress alters the system of checks-and-balances within
the legislature and constitutes a revision of the Constitution.
By any legal test and under any jurisdiction, a shift from a BicameralPresidential to a Unicameral-Parliamentary system, involving the
abolition of the Office of the President and the abolition of one
chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision, not a mere
amendment. On the face alone of the Lambino Group's proposed
changes, it is readily apparent that the changes will radically alter the
framework of government as set forth in the Constitution. Father
Joaquin Bernas, S.J., a leading member of the Constitutional
Commission, writes:
An amendment envisages an alteration of one or a
few specific and separable provisions. The guiding
original intention of an amendment is to improve
specific parts or to add new provisions deemed
necessary to meet new conditions or to suppress
specific portions that may have become obsolete or
that are judged to be dangerous. In revision,
however, the guiding original intention and plan
contemplates a re-examination of the entire
document, or of provisions of the document which
have over-all implications for the entire document,
to determine how and to what extent they should
be altered. Thus, for instance a switch from the
presidential system to a parliamentary system
would be a revision because of its over-all impact
on the entire constitutional structure. So would a
switch from a bicameral system to a unicameral
system be because of its effect on other important
provisions of the Constitution.
Republic Act No. 6735
COMELEC Resolution No. 2300
THE CONCEPT OF THE STATE
Collector of Internal Revenue vs. Campos Rueda [G.R. No. L13250, Oct 29, 1971]
FOREIGN COUNTRY IS DIFFERENT FROM A STATE; A FOREIGN
COUNTRY DOES NOT NEED TO POSSESS THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS
OF A STATE. It does not admit of doubt that if a foreign country is to
be identified with a state, it is required in line with Pound's
formulation that it be a politically organized sovereign community
independent of outside control bound by penalties of nationhood,
legally supreme within its territory, acting through a government
functioning
under
a
regime
of
law. It is thus a sovereign person with the people composing it
viewed as an organized corporate society under a government with
the legal competence to exact obedience to its commands. It has
been referred to as a body-politic organized by common consent for

mutual defense and mutual safety and to promote the general


welfare. Correctly has it been described by Esmein as "the juridical
personification of the nation." This is to view it in the light of its
historical development. The stress is on its being a nation, its people
occupying a definite territory, politically organized, exercising by
means of its government its sovereign will over the individuals within
it and maintaining its separate international personality. Laski could
speak of it then as a territorial society divided into government and
subjects, claiming within its allotted area a supremacy over all other
institutions. McIver similarly would point to the power entrusted to
its government to maintain within its territory the conditions of a
legal order and to enter into international relations. With the latter
requisite satisfied, international law do not exact independence as a
condition of statehood. So Hyde did opine.
Bacani vs. NACOCO [G.R. No. L-9657, November 29, 1956]
FUNCTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT; CONSTITUENT AND MINISTRANT.
- To begin with, we state that the term "Government" may be defined
as "that institution or aggregate of institutions by which an
independent society makes and carries out those rules of action
which are necessary to enable men to live in a social state, or which
are imposed upon the people forming that society by those who
possess the power or authority of prescribing them" (U.S. vs. Dorr, 2
Phil., 332). This institution, when referring to the national
government, has reference to what our Constitution has established
composed of three great departments, the legislative, executive, and
the judicial, through which the powers and functions of government
are exercised. These functions are twofold: constituent and
ministrant. The former are those which constitute the very bonds of
society and are compulsory in nature; the latter are those that are
undertaken only by way of advancing the general interests of society,
and are merely optional. President Wilson enumerates the constituent
functions as follows:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)

The keeping of order and providing for the


protection of persons and property from violence
and robbery.
The fixing of the legal relations between man and
wife and between parents and children.
The regulation of the holding, transmission, and
interchange of property, and the determination of
its liabilities for debt or for crime.
The determination of contract rights between
individuals.
The definition and punishment of crime.
The administration of justice in civil cases.
The determination of the political duties, privileges,
and relations of citizens.
Dealings of the state with foreign powers: the
preservation of the state from external danger or
encroachment and the advancement of its
international interests.'" (Malcolm, The Government
of the Philippine Islands, p. 19.)

The most important of the ministrant functions are: public works,


public education, public charity, health and safety regulations, and
regulations of trade and industry. The principles determining whether
or not a government shall exercise certain of these optional functions
are: (1) that a government should do for the public welfare those
things which private capital would not naturally undertake and (2)
that a government should do these things which by its very nature it
is better equipped to administer for the public welfare than is any
private individual or group of individuals. (Malcolm, The Government
of the Philippine Islands, pp. 19-20.)
From the above we may infer that, strictly speaking, there are
functions which our government is required to exercise to promote its
objectives as expressed in our Constitution and which are exercised
by it as an attribute of sovereignty, and those which it may exercise
to promote merely the welfare, progress and prosperity of the people.
To this latter class belongs the organization of those corporations
owned or controlled by the government to promote certain aspects of
the economic life of our people such as the National Coconut
Corporation. These are what we call government-owned or controlled
corporations which may take on the form of a private enterprise or
one organized with powers and formal characteristics of a private
corporations under the Corporation Law.
GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS ARE NOT
GOVERNMENT ENTITIES. - The question that now arises is: Does the
fact that these corporations perform certain functions of government
make them a part of the Government of the Philippines?
The answer is simple: they do not acquire that status for the simple
reason that they do not come under the classification of municipal or
public corporation. Take for instance the National Coconut
Corporation. While it was organized with the purpose of "adjusting
the coconut industry to a position independent of trade preferences in
the United States" and of providing "Facilities for the better curing of
copra products and the proper utilization of coconut by-products", a
function which our government has chosen to exercise to promote the
coconut industry, however, it was given a corporate power separate
and distinct from our government, for it was made subject to the
provisions of our Corporation Law in so far as its corporate existence
and the powers that it may exercise are concerned (sections 2 and 4,
Commonwealth Act No. 518). It may sue and be sued in the same
manner as any other private corporations, and in this sense it is an
entity different from our government. As this Court has aptly said,
"The mere fact that the Government happens to be a majority
stockholder does not make it a public corporation" (National Coal Co.
vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, 46 Phil., 586-587). "By becoming a
stockholder in the National Coal Company, the Government divested
itself of its sovereign character so far as respects the transactions of
the corporation. . . . Unlike the Government, the corporation may be
sued without its consent, and is subject to taxation. Yet the National

Coal Company remains an agency or instrumentality of government."


(Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Springer, 50 Phil., 288.)
To recapitulate, we may mention that the term "Government of the
Republic of the Philippines" used in section 2 of the Revised
Administrative Code refers only to that government entity through
which the functions of the government are exercised as an attribute
of sovereignty, and in this are included those arms through which
political authority is made effective whether they be provincial,
municipal or other form of local government. These are what we call
municipal corporations. They do not include government entities
which are given a corporate personality separate and distinct from
the government and which are governed by the Corporation Law.
Their powers, duties and liabilities have to be determined in the light
of that law and of their corporate charters. They do not therefore
come within the exemption clause prescribed in section 16, Rule 130
of our Rules of Court.
"Public corporations are those formed or organized
for the government of a portion of the State."
(Section 3, Republic Act No. 1459, Corporation
Law).
"'The generally accepted definition of a municipal
corporation would only include organized cities and
towns, and like organizations, with political and
legislative powers for the local, civil government
and police regulations of the inhabitants of the
particular district included in the boundaries of the
corporation.' Heller vs. Stremmel, 52 Mo. 309,
312."
"In its more general sense the phrase 'municipal
corporation' may include both towns and counties,
and
other
public
corporations
created
by
government for political purposes. In its more
common and limited signification, it embraces only
incorporated villages, towns and cities. Dunn vs.
Court of County Revenues, 85 Ala. 144, 146, 4 So.
661." (McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, 2nd ed.,
Vol. 1, p. 385.)
"We may, therefore, define a municipal corporation
in its historical and strict sense to be the
incorporation, by the authority of the government,
of the inhabitants of a particular place or district,
and authorizing them in their corporate capacity to
exercise subordinate specified powers of legislation
and regulation with respect to their local and
internal concerns. This power of local government is
the distinctive purpose and the distinguishing
feature of a municipal corporation proper." (Dillon,
Municipal Corporations, 5th ed., Vol. I, p. 59.)

Philippine Virginia Tobacco Adm. vs. CIR [G.R. No. L-32052, July
25, 1975]
THE PROMOTION OF GENERAL WELFARE IS A GOVERNMENT
FUNCTION, REPUDIATION OF THE CONCEPT OF LAISSEZ FAIRE. The growing complexities of modern society, however, have rendered
this traditional classification of the functions of government quite
unrealistic, not to say obsolete. The areas which used to be left to
private enterprise and initiative and which the government was called
upon to enter optionally, and only 'because it was better equipped to
administer for the public welfare than is any private individual or
group of individuals,' continue to lose their well-defined boundaries
and to be absorbed within activities that the government must
undertake in its sovereign capacity if it is to meet the increasing
social challenges of the times. Here as almost everywhere else the
tendency is undoubtedly towards a greater socialization of economic
forces. Here of course this development was envisioned, indeed
adopted as a national policy, by the Constitution itself in its
declaration of principle concerning the promotion of social justice."
Thus was laid to rest the doctrine in Bacani v. National Coconut
Corporation, based on the Wilsonian classification of the tasks
incumbent on government into constituent and ministrant in
accordance with the laissez faire principle. That concept, then
dominant in economics, was carried into the governmental sphere, as
noted in a textbook on political science, the first edition of which was
published in 1898, its author being the then Professor, later American
President, Woodrow Wilson. He took pains to emphasize that what
was categorized by him as constituent functions had its basis in a
recognition of what was demanded by the "strictest [concept of]
laissez faire, [as they] are indeed the very bonds of society." The
other functions he would minimize as ministrant or optional.
It is a matter of law that in the Philippines, the laissez faire principle
hardly commanded the authoritative position which at one time it
held in the United States. As early as 1919, Justice Malcolm in Rubi v.
Provincial Board, could affirm: "The doctrines of laissez faire and of
unrestricted freedom of the individual, as axioms of economic and
political theory, are of the past. The modern period has shown a
widespread belief in the amplest possible demonstration of
government activity."
The 1935 Constitution, as was indicated
earlier, continued that approach. As noted in Edu v. Ericta: "What is
more, to erase any doubts, the Constitutional Convention saw to it
that the concept of laissez-faire was rejected. It entrusted to our
government the responsibility of coping with social and economic
problems with the commensurate power of control over economic
affairs. Thereby it could live up to its commitment to promote the
general welfare through state action."
Nor did the opinion in Edu
stop there: "To repeat, our Constitution which took effect in 1935
erased whatever doubts there might be on that score. Its philosophy
is a repudiation of laissez-faire. One of the leading members of the
Constitutional Convention, Manuel A. Roxas, later the first President

of the Republic, made it clear when he disposed of the objection of


Delegate Jose Reyes of Sorsogon, who noted the 'vast extensions in
the sphere of governmental functions' and the 'almost unlimited
power to interfere in the affairs of industry and agriculture as well as
to compete with existing business' as 'reflections of the fascination
exerted by [the then] current tendencies' in other jurisdictions. He
spoke thus: 'My answer is that this constitution has a definite and
well defined philosophy, not only political but social and
economic. . . . If in this Constitution the gentlemen will find
declarations of economic policy they are there because they are
necessary to safeguard the interest and welfare of the Filipino people
because we believe that the days have come when in self-defense, a
nation may provide in its constitution those safeguards, the
patrimony, the freedom to grow, the freedom to develop national
aspirations and national interests, not to be hampered by the artificial
boundaries which a constitutional provision automatically imposes."
It would be then to reject what was so emphatically stressed in the
Agricultural Credit Administration decision about which the
observation was earlier made that it reflected the philosophy of the
1935 Constitution and is even more in consonance with the expanded
role of government accorded recognition in the present Charter if the
plea of petitioner that it discharges governmental function were not
heeded. That path this Court is not prepared to take. That would be
to go backward, to retreat rather than to advance. Nothing can thus
be clearer than that there is no constitutional obstacle to a
government pursuing lines of endeavor, formerly reserved for private
enterprise. This is one way, in the language of Laski, by which
through such activities, "the harsh contract which [does] obtain
between the levels of the rich and the poor" may be minimized. It is
a response to a trend noted by Justice Laurel in Calalang v. Williams
for the humanization of laws and the promotion of the interest of all
component elements of society so that man's innate aspirations, in
what was so felicitously termed by the First Lady as "a compassionate
society" be attained.
Gov. of the Philippine Islands vs. Monte de Piedad [G.R. No.
9959, December 13, 1916]
DOCTRINE OF PARENS PATRIAE - In Fontain vs. Ravenel (17 How.,
369, 384), Mr. Justice McLean, delivering the opinion of the court in a
charity case, said:
"When this country achieved its independence, the
prerogatives of the crown devolved upon the people
of the States. And this power still remains with
them except so far as they have delegated a
portion of it to the Federal Government. The
sovereign will is made known to us by legislative
enactment. The State as a sovereign, is the parens
partiae."
Chancelor Kent says:
"In this country, the legislature or government of
the State, as parens partiae, has the right to

enforce all charities of a public nature, by virtue of


its general superintending authority over the public
interests, where no other person is entrusted with
it." (4 Kent Com., 508, note.)
The Supreme Court of the United States in Mormon Church vs. United
States, supra, after approving also the last quotations, said:
"This prerogative of parens partiae is inherent in
the supreme power of every State, whether that
power is lodged in a royal person or in the
legislature, and has no affinity to those arbitrary
powers
which
are
sometimes
exerted
by
irresponsible monarch to the great detriment of the
people and the destruction of their liberties. On the
contrary, it is a most beneficent function, and often
necessary to be exercised in the interest of
humanity, and for the prevention of injury to those
who cannot protect themselves."
The court in the same case, after quoting from Sohier vs. Mass.
General Hospital (3 Cush., 483, 497), wherein the latter court held
that it is deemed indispensible that there should be a power in the
legislature to authorize the sale of the estates of infants, idiots,
insane persons, and persons not known, or not in being, who cannot
act for themselves, said:
"These remarks in reference to infants, insane
persons and persons not known, or not in being,
apply to the beneficiaries of charities, who are often
incapable of vindicating their rights, and justly look
for protection to the sovereign authority, acting as
parens partiae. They show that this beneficent
function has not ceased to exist under the change
of government from a monarchy to a republic; but
that it now resides in the legislative department,
ready to be called into exercise whenever required
for the purposes of justice and right, and is as
clearly capable of being exercised in cases of
charities as in any other cases whatever."
In People vs. Cogswell (113 Cal. 129, 130), it was urged that the
plaintiff was not the real party in interest; that the Attorney-General
had no power to institute the action; and that there must be an
allegation and proof of a distinct right of the people as a whole, as
distinguished from the rights of individuals, before an action could be
brought by the Attorney-General in the name of the people. The
court, in overruling these contentions, held that it was not only the
right but the duty of the Attorney-General to prosecute the action,
which related to charities, and approved the following quotation from
Attorney-General vs. Compton (1 Young & C. C., 417):
"Where property affected by a trust for public purposes is in the
hands of those who hold it devoted to that trust, it is the privilege of
the public that the crown should be entitled to intervene by its
officers for the purpose of asserting, on behalf on the public

generally, the public interest and the public right, which, probably, no
individual could be found effectually to assert, even if the interest
were such as to allow it." (2 Kent's Commentaries, 10th ed., 359;
Lewin on Trusts, sec. 665; 1 Daniell's Chancery Practice, sec. 13;
Perry on Trusts, sec. 732.)
It is further urged, as above indicated, that "the only persons who
could claim to be damages by this payment to the Monte, if it was
unlawful, are the donor or the cestuis que trustent, and this
Government is neither. Consequently, the plaintiff is not the proper
party to bring the action." The earthquake fund was the result or the
accumulation of a great number of small contributions. The names of
the contributors do not appear in the record. Their whereabouts are
unknown. They parted with the title to their respective contributions.
The beneficiaries, consisting of the original sufferers and their heirs,
could have been ascertained. They are quite numerous also. And no
doubt a large number of the original sufferers have died, leaving
various heirs. It would be impracticable for them to institute an action
or actions either individually or collectively to recover the $80,000.
The only course that can be satisfactorily pursued is for the
Government to against assume control of the fund and devote it to
the object for which it was originally destined.
The impracticability of pursuing a different course, however, is not the
true ground upon which the right of the Government to maintain the
action rests. The true ground is that the money being given to a
charity became, in a measure, public property, only applicable, it is
true, to the specific purposes to which it was intended to be devoted,
but within those limits consecrated to the public use, and became
part of the public resources for promoting the happiness and welfare
of the Philippine Government. (Mormon Church vs. U. S., supra.) To
deny the Government's right to maintain this action would be
contrary to sound public policy, as tending to discourage the prompt
exercise of similar acts of humanity and Christian benevolences in like
instances in the future.
Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh [G.R. No. L-5a, November
16, 1945]
DURING
BELLIGERENT
OCCUPATION,
JUDICIAL
DECISIONS
RENDERED BY THE INVADER CONTINUE ITS FORCE AND EFFECT
EVEN AFTER THE CESSATION OF INVASION. Suffice it to say that the
provisions of the Hague Conventions which imposes upon a
belligerent occupant the duty to continue the courts as well as the
municipal laws in force in the country unless absolutely prevented, in
order to reestablish and insure "I'ordre et la vie publice," that is, the
public order and safety, and the entire social and commercial life of
the country, were inserted, not for the benefit of the invader, but for
the protection and benefit of the people or inhabitants of the occupied
territory and of those not in the military service, in order that the
ordinary pursuits and business of society may not be unnecessarily
deranged.

This is the opinion of all writers on international law up to date,


among them Wheaton (Vol. II, p. 236) and Oppenheim (Vol. II, p.
338) in their recently revised Treatises on International Law, edited in
the year 1944, and the interpretation of the Supreme Court of the
United States in many cases, specially in the case of Dow vs. Johnson
(106 U. S., 158), in which that Court said: "As a necessary
consequence of such occupation and domination, the political
relations of its people to their former government are, for the time
being, severed. But for their protection and benefit, and the
protection and benefit of others not in the ordinary pursuits and
business of society may not be unnecessarily deranged, the municipal
laws, that is, such as affect private rights of persons and property
and provide for the punishment of crime, are generally allowed to
continue in force, and to be administered by the ordinary tribunals as
they were administered before the occupation. They are considered
as continuing, unless suspended or superseded by the occupying
belligerent." (Dow vs. Johnson, 100 U. S., 158; 25 U. S. [Law, ed.],
632).
The fact that the belligerent occupant is a treacherous aggressor, as
Japan was, does not, therefore, exempt him from complying with said
precepts of the Hague Conventions, nor does it make null and void
the judicial acts of the courts continued by the occupant in the
territory occupied. To deny validity to such judicial acts would benefit
the invader or aggressor, who is presumed to be intent upon causing
as much harm as possible to the inhabitants or nationals of the
enemy's territory, and prejudice the latter; it would cause more
suffering to the conquered and assist the conqueror or invader in
realizing his nefarious design; in fine, it would result in penalizing the
nationals of the occupied territory, and rewarding the invader or
occupant for his acts of treachery and aggression.
We held in our decision that the word "processes," as used in the
proclamation of General Douglas MacArthur of October 23, 1944,
cannot be interpreted to mean judicial processes; and because of the
cogent reasons therein set forth, we did not deem it necessary to
specify the processes to which said proclamation should be construed
to refer. As some doubt still lingers in the minds of person interested
in sustaining a contrary interpretation or construction, we are now
constrained to say that the term as used in the proclamation should
be construed to mean legislative and constitutional processes, by
virtue of the maxim "noscitur a sociis." According to this maxim,
where a particular word or phrase is ambiguous in itself or is equally
susceptible of various meaning, its meaning may be made clear and
specific by considering the company in which it is found. (Black on
Interpretation of Laws, 2d ed., pp. 194-196.) Since the proclamation
provides that "all laws, regulations and processes of any other
government in the Philippines than that of the said Commonwealth
are null and void," the word "processes" must be interpreted or
construed to refer to the Executive Commission, Ordinances
promulgated by the President of the so-called Republic of the
Philippines, and the Constitution itself of said Republic, and others

that are of the same class as the laws and regulations with which the
world "processes" is associated.
As the said judicial acts which apply the municipal laws, that is, such
as affect private rights or persons and property and provide for the
punishment of crimes, are good and valid even after occupation has
ceased, although it is true that no crucial instances exist to show
that, were they reversed or invalidated by the restored or legitimate
government, international wrong would be committed, it is
nonetheless true and evident that by such abrogation national wrong
would be caused to the inhabitants or citizens of the legitimate
government. According to the law of nations and Wheaton himself,
said judicial acts are legal and valid before and after the occupation
has ceased and the legitimate government has been restored. As
there are vested rights which have been acquired by the parties by
virtue of such judgments, the restored government or its
representative cannot reverse or abrogate them without causing
wrong or injury to the interested parties, because such reversal
would deprive them of their properties without due process of law.
People vs. Gozo [G.R. No. L-36409, October 26, 1973]
SOVEREIGNTY IS COMPREHENSIVE, BUT ITS EXERCISE MAY BE
RESTRICTED. - Much less is a reversal indicated because of the
alleged absence of the rather novel concept of administrative
jurisdiction on the part of Olongapo City. Nor is novelty the only thing
that may be said against it. Far worse is the assumption at war with
controlling and authoritative doctrines that the mere existence of
military or naval bases of a foreign country cuts deeply into the
power to govern. Two leading cases may be cited to show how
offensive is such thinking to the juristic concept of sovereignty,
People v. Acierto, and Reagan v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
As was so emphatically set forth by Justice Tuason in Acierto: "By the
Agree it should be noted, the Philippine Government merely consents
that the United States exercise jurisdiction in certain cases. The
consent was given purely as a matter of comity, courtesy, or
expediency. The Philippine Government has not abdicated its
sovereignty over the bases as part of the Philippine territory or
divested itself completely of jurisdiction over offenses committed
therein. Under the terms of the treaty, the United States Government
has prior or preferential but not exclusive jurisdiction of such
offenses. The Philippine Government retains not only jurisdictional
rights not granted, but also all such ceded rights as the United States
Military authorities for reasons of their own decline to make use of.
The first proposition is implied from the fact of Philippine sovereignty
over the bases; the second from the express provisions of the treaty."
There was a reiteration of such a view in Reagan. Thus: "Nothing is
better settled than that the Philippines being independent and
sovereign, its authority may be exercised over its entire domain.
There is no portion thereof that is beyond its power. Within its limits,
its decrees are supreme, its commands paramount. Its laws govern
therein, and everyone to whom it applies must submit to its terms.
That is the extent of its jurisdiction, both territorial and personal.
Necessarily, likewise, it has to be exclusive. If it were not thus, there

is a diminution of its sovereignty."


Then came this paragraph
dealing with the principle of auto-limitation: "It is to be admitted that
any state may, by its consent, express or implied, submit to a
restriction of its sovereign rights. There may thus be a curtailment of
what otherwise is a power plenary in character. That is the concept of
sovereignty as auto-limitation, which, in the succinct language of
Jellinek, 'is the property of a state-force due to which it has the
exclusive capacity of legal self-determination and self-restriction.' A
state then, if it chooses to, may refrain from the exercise of what
otherwise is illimitable competence."
The opinion was at pains to
point out though that even then, there is at the most diminution of
jurisdictional rights, not in appearance. The words employed follow:
"Its laws may as to some persons found within its territory no longer
control. Nor does the matter end there. It is not precluded from
allowing another power to participate in the exercise of jurisdictional
right over certain portions of its territory. If it does so, it by no means
follows that such areas become impressed with an alien character.
They retain their status as native soil. They are still subject to its
authority. Its jurisdiction may be diminished, but it does not
disappear. So it is with the bases under lease to the American armed
forces by virtue of the military bases agreement of 1947. They are
not and cannot be foreign territory."
Laurel vs. Misa [G.R. No. L-409, January 30, 1947]
LAW ON TREASON, THOUGH POLITICAL IN NATURE, IS NOT
SUSPENDED DURING BELLIGERENT OCCUPATION. Considering that
the absolute and permanent allegiance of the inhabitants of a
territory occupied by the enemy to their legitimate government or
sovereign is not abrogated or severed by the enemy occupation,
because the sovereignty of the government or sovereign de jure is
not transferred thereby to the occupier, as we have held in the cases
of Co Kim Cham v~. Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon (75 Phil., 113) and of
Peralta vs. Director of Prisons (75 Phil., 285), and if it is not
transferred to the occupant it must necessarily remain vested in the
legitimate government; that the sovereignty vested in the titular
government (which is the supreme power which governs a body
politic or society which constitute the state) must be distinguished
from the exercise of the rights inherent thereto, and may be
destroyed, or severed and transferred to another, but it cannot be
suspended because the existence of sovereignty cannot be suspended
without putting it out of existence or divesting the possessor thereof
at least during the so-called period of suspension; that what may be
suspended is the exercise of the rights of sovereignty with the control
and government of the territory occupied by the enemy passes
temporarily to the occupant; that the subsistence of the sovereignty
of the legitimate government in a territory occupied by the military
forces of the enemy during the war, 'although the former is in fact
prevented from exercising the supremacy over them' is one of the
'rules of international law of our times'; (II Oppenheim, 6th
Lauterpach ed., 1944, p. 482), recognized, by necessary implication,
in articles 23, 44, 45, and 52 of Hague Regulation; and that, as a
corollary of the conclusion that the sovereignty itself is not suspended
and subsists during the enemy occupation, the allegiance of the

10

inhabitants to their legitimate government or sovereign subsists, and


therefore there is no such thing as suspended allegiance, the basic
theory on which the whole fabric of the petitioner's contention rests
Considering that even adopting the words 'temporary allegiance,'
repudiated by Oppenheim and other publicists, as descriptive of the
relations borne by the inhabitants of the territory occupied by the
enemy toward the military government established over them, such
allegiance may, at most, be considered similar to the temporary
allegiance which a foreigner owes to the government or sovereign of
the territory wherein he resides in return for the protection he
receives as above described, and does not do away with the absolute
and permanent allegiance which the citizen residing in a foreign
country owes to his own government or sovereign; that just as a
citizen or subject of a government or sovereign may be prosecuted
for and convicted of treason committed in a foreign country, in the
same way an inhabitant of a territory occupied by the military forces
of the enemy may commit treason against his own legitimate
government or sovereign if he adheres to the enemies of the latter by
giving them aid comfort; and that if the allegiance of a citizen or
subject to his government or sovereign is nothing more than
obedience to its laws in return for the protection he receives, it would
necessarily follow that a citizen who resides in a foreign country or
state would, on one hand, ipso facto acquire the citizenship thereof
since he has to obey, with certain exceptions, the laws of that country
which enforce public order and regulate the social and commercial
life, in return for the protection he receives, and would, on the other
hand, lose his original citizenship, because he would not be bound to
obey most of the laws of his own government or sovereign, and
would not receive, while in a foreign country, the protection he is
entitled to in his own;
Considering that, as a corollary of the suspension of the exercise of
rights of sovereignty by the legitimate government in the territory
occupied by the enemy military forces, because the authority of the
legitimate power to govern has passed into the hands of the occupant
(Article 43, Hague Regulations), the political laws which prescribe the
reciprocal rights, duties and obligation of government and citizens,
are suspended or in abeyance during military occupation (Co Kim
Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon, supra), for the only reason that
as they exclusively bear relation to the ousted legitimate
government, they are inoperative or not applicable to the government
established by the occupant; that the crimes against national
security, such as treason and espionage, inciting to war,
correspondence with hostile country, flight to enemy's country, as
well as those against public order, such as rebellion, sedition, and
disloyalty, illegal possession of firearms, which are of political
complexion because they bear relation to, and are penalized by our
Revised Penal Code as crimes against the legitimate government, are
also suspended or become inapplicable as against the occupant,
because they can not be committed against the latter (Peralta 1.S.
Director of Prisons, supra); and that, while the offenses against public
order to be preserved by the legitimate government were inapplicable

as offenses against the invader for the reason above stated, unless
adopted by him, were also ill operative as against the ousted
government for the latter was not responsible for the preservation of
the public order in the occupied territory, yet article 114 of the said
Revised Penal Code, was applicable to treason committed against the
national security of the legitimate government, because the
inhabitants of the occupied territory were still bound by their
allegiance to the latter during the enemy occupation;
Considering that, although the military occupant is enjoined to
respect or continue in force, unless absolutely prevented by the
circumstances, those laws that enforce public order and regulate the
social and commercial life of the country, he has, nevertheless, all the
powers of a de facto government and may, at his pleasure, either
change the existing laws or make new ones when the exigencies of
the military service demand such action, that is, when it is necessary
for the occupier to do so for the control of the country and the
protection of his army, subject to the restrictions or limitations
imposed by the Hague Regulations, the usages established by
civilized nations, the laws of humanity and the requirements of public
conscience ( Peralta vs. Director of Prisons, supra; 1940 United
States Rules of Land Warfare 76, 77); and that, consequently, all acts
of the military occupant dictated within these limitations are
obligatory upon the inhabitants of the territory, who are bound to
obey them, and the laws of the legitimate government which have
not been adopted, as well and those which, though continued in
force, are in conflict with such laws and orders of the occupier, shall
be considered as suspended or not in force and binding upon said
inhabitants;
Considering that, since the preservation of the allegiance or the
obligation of fidelity and obedience of a citizen or subject to his
government or sovereign does not demand from him a positive
action, but only passive attitude or forbearance from adhering to the
enemy by giving the latter aid and comfort, the occupant has no
power, as a corollary of the preceding consideration, to repeal or
suspend the operation of the law of treason, essential for the
preservation of the allegiance owed by the inhabitants to their
legitimate government, or compel them to adhere and give aid and
comfort to him; because it is evident that such action is not
demanded by the exigencies of the military service or not necessary
for the control of the inhabitants and the safety and protection of his
army, and because it is tantamount to practically transfer temporarily
to the occupant their allegiance to the titular government or
sovereign; and that, therefore, if an inhabitant of the occupied
territory were compelled illegally by the military occupant, through
force, threat or intimidation, to give him aid and comfort, the former
may lawfully resist and die if necessary as a hero, or submit thereto
without becoming a traitor;
Considering that adoption of the petitioner's theory of suspended
allegiance would lead to disastrous consequences for small and weak
nations or states, and would be repugnant to the laws of humanity

and requirements of public conscience, for it would allow invaders to


legally recruit or enlist the Quisling inhabitants of the occupied
territory to fight against their own government without the latter
incurring the risk of being prosecuted for treason, and even compel
those who are not to aid them in their military operation against the
resisting enemy forces in order to completely subdue and conquer the
whole nation, and thus deprive them all of their own independence or
sovereignty such theory would sanction the action of invaders in
forcing the people of a free and sovereign country to be a party i n
the nefarious task of depriving themselves of their own freedom and
independence and repressing the exercise by them of their own
sovereignty; in other words, to commit a political suicide.
Ruffy vs. Chief of Staff [G.R. No. L-533, August 20, 1946]
THE SUSPENSION OF POLITICAL LAWS DURING BELLIGERENT
OCCUPATION DOES NOT APPLY TO THE ENEMIES IN ARMS. The rule
invoked by counsel, namely, that laws of political nature or affecting
political relations are considered superseded or in abeyance during
the military occupation, is intended for the governing of the civil
inhabitants of the occupied territory. It is not intended for and does
not bind the enemies in arms. This is self-evident from the very
nature of things. The paradox of a contrary ruling should readily
manifest itself. Under the petitioners' theory the forces of resistance
operating in an occupied territory would have to abide by the
outlawing of their own existence. They would be stripped of the very
lifeblood of an army, the right and the ability to maintain order and
discipline within the organization and to try the men guilty of breach
thereof.
THE DOCTRINE OF STATE IMMUNITY
Republic vs. Sandoval [G.R. No. 84607, March 19, 1993]
CONCEPT OF STATE IMMUNITY. - Under our Constitution the principle
of immunity of the government from suit is expressly provided in
Article XVI, Section 3. The principle is based on the very essence of
sovereignty, and on the practical ground that there can be no legal
right as against the authority that makes the law on which the right
depends. It also rests on reasons of public policy that public
service would be hindered, and the public endangered, if the
sovereign authority could be subjected to law suits at the instance of
every citizen and consequently controlled in the uses and dispositions
of the means required for the proper administration of the
government.
INSTANCES OF SUITS AGAINST THE STATE. - Some instances when a
suit against the State is proper are:
(1)
(2)

When the Republic is sued by name;


When the suit is against an unincorporated
government agency;

11

(3)

When the suit is on its face against a government


officer but the case is such that ultimate liability will
belong not to the officer but to the government.

While the Republic in this case is sued by name, the ultimate liability
does not pertain to the government. Although the military officers
and personnel, then party defendants, were discharging their official
functions when the incident occurred, their functions ceased to be
official the moment they exceeded their authority. Based on the
Commission findings, there was lack of justification by the
government forces in the use of firearms. Moreover, the members of
the police and military crowd dispersal units committed a prohibited
act under B.P. Blg. 880 as there was unnecessary firing by them in
dispersing the marchers.
While it is true that nothing is better settled than the general rule
that a sovereign state and its political subdivisions cannot be sued in
the courts except when it has given its consent, it cannot be invoked
by both the military officers to release them from any liability, and by
the heirs and victims to demand indemnification from the
government. The principle of state immunity from suit does not apply,
as in this case, when the relief demanded by the suit requires no
affirmative official action on the part of the State nor the affirmative
discharge of any obligation which belongs to the State in its political
capacity, even though the officers or agents who are made
defendants claim to hold or act only by virtue of a title of the state
and as its agents and servants.
This Court has made it quite clear
that even a "high position in the government does not confer a
license to persecute or recklessly injure another."
THE STATE IMMUNITY IS NOT WAIVED ONLY FOR THE REASON THAT
THE PRESIDENT CREATED A COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE THE
INCIDENT, OR BY THE PRESIDENTS ACT OF JOINING A RALLY OF
THE COMPLAINANTS. In effect, whatever may be the findings of the
Commission, the same shall only serve as the cause of action in the
event that any party decides to litigate his/her claim. Therefore, the
Commission is merely a preliminary venue. The Commission is not
the end in itself. Whatever recommendation it makes cannot in any
way bind the State immediately, such recommendation not having
become final and executory. This is precisely the essence of it being a
fact-finding body.
Secondly, whatever acts or utterances that then President Aquino
may have done or said, the same are not tantamount to the State
having waived its immunity from suit. The President's act of joining
the marchers, days after the incident, does not mean that there was
an admission by the State of any liability. In fact to borrow the words
of petitioners (Caylao group), "it was an act of solidarity by the
government with the people". Moreover, petitioners rely on President
Aquino's speech promising that the government would address the
grievances of the rallyists. By this alone, it cannot be inferred that
the State has admitted any liability, much less can it be inferred that
it has consented to the suit.

Although consent to be sued may be given impliedly, still it cannot be


maintained that such consent was given considering the
circumstances obtaining in the instant case.
Sanders vs. Veridiano [G.R. No. L-46930, June 10, 1988]
ACTS COMMITTED BY THE OFFICERS IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY
ARE COVERED BY STATE IMMUNITY. - It is stressed at the outset that
the mere allegation that a government functionary is being sued in
his personal capacity will not automatically remove him from the
protection of the law of public officers and, if appropriate, the
doctrine of state immunity. By the same token, the mere invocation
of official character will not suffice to insulate him from suability and
liability for an act imputed to him as a personal tort committed
without or in excess of his authority. These well-settled principles are
applicable not only to the officers of the local state but also where the
person sued in its courts pertains to the government of a foreign
state, as in the present case.
It is abundantly clear in the present case that the acts for which the
petitioners are being called to account were performed by them in the
discharge of their official duties. Sanders, as director of the special
services department of NAVSTA, undoubtedly had supervision over its
personnel, including the private respondents, and had a hand in their
employment, work assignments, discipline, dismissal and other
related matters. It is not disputed that the letter written was in fact a
reply to a request from his superior, the other petitioner, for more
information regarding the case of the private respondents.
Moreover, even in the absence of such request, he still was within his
rights in reacting to the hearing officer's criticism in effect a direct
attack against him that Special Services was practicing "an
autocratic form of supervision."
As for Moreau, what he is claimed to have done was write the Chief of
Naval Personnel for concurrence with the conversion of the private
respondents' type of employment even before the grievance
proceedings had even commenced. Disregarding for the nonce the
question of its timeliness, this act is clearly official in nature,
performed by Moreau as the immediate superior of Sanders and
directly answerable to Naval Personnel in matters involving the
special services department of NAVSTA. In fact, the letter dealt with
the financial and budgetary problems of the department and
contained recommendations for their solution, including the redesignation of the private respondents. There was nothing personal
or private about it.
Given the official character of the above-described letters, we have to
conclude that the petitioners were, legally speaking, being sued as
officers of the United States government. As they have acted on
behalf of that government, and within the scope of their authority, it
is that government, and not the petitioners personally, that is

responsible for their acts. Assuming that the trial can proceed and it
is proved that the claimants have a right to the payment of damages,
such award will have to be satisfied not by the petitioners in their
personal capacities but by the United States government as their
principal. This will require that government to perform an affirmative
act to satisfy the judgment, viz., the appropriation of the necessary
amount to cover the damages awarded, thus making the action a suit
against that government without its consent.
THE DOCTRINE OF STATE IMMUNITY APPLIES TO FOREIGN STATES
SUED IN THIS JURISDICTION. - There should be no question by now
that such complaint cannot prosper unless the government sought to
be held ultimately liable has given its consent to be sued. So we have
ruled not only in Baer but in many other decisions where we upheld
the doctrine of state immunity as applicable not only to our own
government but also to foreign states sought to be subjected to the
jurisdiction of our courts.
The practical justification for the doctrine, as Holmes put it, is that
"there can be no legal right against the authority which makes the
law on which the right depends."
In the case of foreign states, the
rule is derived from the principle of the sovereign equality of states
which wisely admonishes that par in parem non habet imperium and
that a contrary attitude would "unduly vex the peace of nations."
Our adherence to this precept is formally expressed in Article II,
Section 2, of our Constitution, where we reiterate from our previous
charters that the Philippines "adopts the generally accepted principles
of international law as part of the law of the land.
par in parem non habet imperium (meaning, an equal has no
authority over an equal)
Festejo vs. Fernando [G.R. No. L-5156, March 11, 1954]
ACTS COMMITTED BY OFFICIALS OUTSIDE THEIR AUTHORITY WILL
NOT GIVE RISE TO THE CONCEPT OF STATE IMMUNITY. Ordinarily
the officer or employee committing the tort is personally liable
therefor, and may be sued as any other citizen and held answerable
for whatever injury or damage results from his tortious act." 49
Am. Jur. 289. . . If an officer, even while acting under color of his
office, exceeds the power conferred on him by law, he cannot shelter
himself under the plea that he is a public agent." 43 Am. Jur. 86.
It is a general rule that an officer-executive, administrative quasijudicial, ministerial, or otherwise who acts outside the scope of his
jurisdiction and without authorization of law may thereby render
himself amenable to personal liability in a civil suit. If he exceeds the
power conferred on him by law, he cannot shelter himself by the plea
that he is a public agent acting under color of his office, and not
personally. In the eye of the law, his acts then are wholly without
authority." 43 Am. Jur. 89-90.

12

1990]

United States vs. Guinto

[G.R. No. 76607, February

26,

CONCEPT OF STATE IMMUNITY. - The rule that a state may not be


sued without its consent, now expressed in Article XVI, Section 3, of
the 1987 Constitution, is one of the generally accepted principles of
international law that we have adopted as part of the law of our land
under Article II, Section 2. This latter provision merely reiterates a
policy earlier embodied in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions and also
intended to manifest our resolve to abide by the rules of the
international community.
Even without such affirmation, we would still be bound by the
generally accepted principles of international law under the doctrine
of incorporation. Under this doctrine, as accepted by the majority of
states, such principles are deemed incorporated in the law of every
civilized state as a condition and consequence of its membership in
the society of nations. Upon its admission to such society, the state is
automatically obligated to comply with these principles in its relations
with other states.
As applied to the local state, the doctrine of state immunity is based
on the justification given by Justice Holmes that "there can be no
legal right against the authority which makes the law on which the
right depends."
There are other practical reasons for the
enforcement of the doctrine. In the case of the foreign state sought
to be impleaded in the local jurisdiction, the added inhibition is
expressed in the maxim par in parem, non habet imperium. All states
are sovereign equals and cannot assert jurisdiction over one another.
A contrary disposition would, in the language of a celebrated case,
"unduly vex the peace of nations."
While the doctrine appears to prohibit only suits against the state
without its consent, it is also applicable to complaints filed against
officials of the state for acts allegedly performed by them in the
discharge of their duties. The rule is that if the judgment against such
officials will require the state itself to perform an affirmative act to
satisfy the same, such as the appropriation of the amount needed to
pay the damages awarded against them, the suit must be regarded
as against the state itself although it has not been formally
impleaded.
In such a situation, the state may move to dismiss the
complaint on the ground that it has been filed without its consent.
The doctrine is sometimes derisively called "the royal prerogative of
dishonesty" because of the privilege it grants the state to defeat any
legitimate claim against it by simply invoking its non-suability. That is
hardly fair, at least in democratic societies, for the state is not an
unfeeling tyrant unmoved by the valid claims of its citizens. In fact,
the doctrine is not absolute and does not say the state may not be
sued under any circumstance. On the contrary, the rule says that the
state may not be sued without its consent, which clearly imports that
it may be sued if it consents.

WAIVER OF STATE IMMUNITY. The consent of the state to be sued


may be manifested expressly or impliedly. Express consent may be
embodied in a general law or a special law. Consent is implied when
the state enters into a contract or it itself commences litigation.

the United Kingdom and other states in Western


Europe.

The general law waiving the immunity of the state from suit is found
in Act No. 3083, under which the Philippine government "consents
and submits to be sued upon any moneyed claim involving liability
arising from contract, express or implied, which could serve as a
basis of civil action between private parties." In Merritt v.
Government of the Philippine Islands,
a special law was passed to
enable a person to sue the government for an alleged tort. When the
government enters into a contract, it is deemed to have descended to
the level of the other contracting party and divested of its sovereign
immunity from suit with its implied consent.
Waiver is also implied
when the government files a complaint, thus opening itself to a
counterclaim.

The restrictive application of State immunity is


proper only when the proceedings arise out of
commercial transactions of the foreign sovereign,
its commercial activities or economic affairs. Stated
differently, a State may be said to have descended
to the level of an individual and can thus be
deemed to have tacitly given its consent to be sued
only when it enters into business contracts. It does
not apply where the contract relates to the exercise
of its sovereign functions. In this case the projects
are an integral part of the naval base which is
devoted to the defense of both the United States
and the Philippines, indisputably a function of the
government of the highest order; they are not
utilized for nor dedicated to commercial or business
purposes.

The above rules are subject to qualification. Express consent is


effected only by the will of the legislature through the medium of a
duly enacted statute.
We have held that not all contracts entered
into by the government will operate as a waiver of its non-suability;
distinction must be made between its sovereign and proprietary acts.
As for the filing of a complaint by the government, suability will result
only where the government is claiming affirmative relief from the
defendant.
RESTRICTIVE THEORY OF STATE IMMUNITY. - There is no question
that the United States of America, like any other state, will be
deemed to have impliedly waived its non-suability if it has entered
into a contract in its proprietary or private capacity. It is only when
the contract involves its sovereign or governmental capacity that no
such waiver may be implied. This was our ruling in United States of
America v. Ruiz,
where the transaction in question dealt with the
improvement of the wharves in the naval installation at Subic Bay. As
this was a clearly governmental function, we held that the contract
did not operate to divest the United States of its sovereign immunity
from suit. In the words of Justice Vicente Abad Santos:
The traditional rule of immunity exempts a State
from being sued in the courts of another State
without its consent or waiver. This rule is a
necessary consequence of the principles of
independence and equality of States. However, the
rules of International Law are not petrified; they are
constantly developing and evolving. And because
the activities of states have multiplied, it has been
necessary to distinguish them between sovereign
and governmental acts (jure imperii) and private,
commercial and proprietary acts (jure gestionis).
The result is that State immunity now extends only
to acts jure imperii. The restrictive application of
State immunity is now the rule in the United States,

xxx

xxx

xxx

SUABILITY IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH LIABILITY. - The private


respondent invokes Article 2180 of the Civil Code which holds the
government liable if it acts through a special agent. The argument, it
would seem, is premised on the ground that since the officers are
designated "special agents," the United States government should be
liable for their torts.
There seems to be a failure to distinguish between suability and
liability and a misconception that the two terms are synonymous.
Suability depends on the consent of the state to be sued, liability on
the applicable law and the established facts. The circumstance that a
state is suable does not necessarily mean that it is liable; on the
other hand, it can never be held liable if it does not first consent to be
sued. Liability is not conceded by the mere fact that the state has
allowed itself to be sued. When the state does waive its sovereign
immunity, it is only giving the plaintiff the chance to prove, if it can,
that the defendant is liable.
The said article establishes a rule of liability, not suability. The
government may be held liable under this rule only if it first allows
itself to be sued through any of the accepted forms of consent.
Moreover, the agent performing his regular functions is not a special
agent even if he is so denominated, as in the case at bar. No less
important, the said provision appears to regulate only the relations of
the local state with its inhabitants and, hence, applies only to the
Philippine government and not to foreign governments impleaded in
our courts.
Veterans Manpower & Protective Services, Inc. vs. CA [G.R.
No. 91359, September 25, 1992]

13

WAIVER OF STATE IS CONSTRUED STRICTISSIMI JURIS. - Waiver of


the State's immunity from suit, being a derogation of sovereignty, will
not be lightly inferred, but must be construed strictissimi juris
(Republic vs. Feliciano, 148 SCRA 424). The consent of the State to
be sued must emanate from statutory authority, hence, from a
legislative act, not from a mere memorandum. Without such consent,
the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the public respondents.
We agree with the observation of the Court of Appeals that the
Memorandum of Agreement dated May 12, 1986 does not constitute
an implied consent by the State to be sued:
"The Memorandum of Agreement dated May 12,
1986 was entered into by the PC Chief in relation to
the exercise of a function sovereign in nature. The
correct test for the application of state immunity is
not the conclusion of a contract by the State but
the legal nature of the act. This was clearly
enunciated in the case of United States of America
vs. Ruiz where the Hon. Supreme Court held:
"'The restrictive application of State immunity is
proper only when the proceedings arise out of
commercial transactions of the foreign sovereign,
its commercial activities or economic affairs. Stated
differently, a State may be said to have descended
to the level of an individual and can thus be
deemed to have tacitly given its consent to be sued
only when it enters into a business contract. It does
not apply where the contract relates to the exercise
of its functions.' (136 SCRA 487, 492.)
"In the instant case, the Memorandum of
Agreement entered into by the PC Chief and
PADPAO was intended to professionalize the
industry and to standardize the salaries of security
guards as well as the current rates of security
services, clearly, a governmental function. The
execution of the said agreement is incidental to the
purpose of R.A. 5487, as amended, which is to
regulate the organization and operation of private
detective, watchmen or security guard agencies.
(Emphasis Ours.)" (pp. 258-259, Rollo.)
The state immunity doctrine rests upon reasons of public policy and
the inconvenience and danger which would flow from a different rule.
"It is obvious that public service would be hindered, and public safety
endangered, if the supreme authority could be subjected to suits at
the instance of every citizen, and, consequently, controlled in the use
and disposition of the means required for the proper administration of
the government" (Siren vs. U.S. Wall, 152, 19 L. ed. 129, as cited in

78 SCRA 477). In the same vein, this Court in Republic vs. Purisima
(78 SCRA 470, 473) rationalized:
"Nonetheless, a continued adherence to the
doctrine of nonsuability is not to be deplored for as
against the inconvenience that may be cause [by]
private parties, the loss of governmental efficiency
and the obstacle to the performance of its
multifarious functions are far greater if such a
fundamental principle were abandoned and the
availability of judicial remedy were not thus
restricted. With the well known propensity on the
part of our people to go to court, at the least
provocation, the loss of time and energy required to
defend against law suits, in the absence of such a
basic principle that constitutes such an effective
obstacles, could very well be imagined." (citing
Providence Washington Insurance Co. vs. Republic,
29 SCRA 598.)

"SECTION 1. E. Merritt is hereby authorized to


bring suit in the Court of First Instance of the city of
Manila against the Government of the Philippine
Islands in order to fix the responsibility for the
collision between his motorcycle and the ambulance
of the General Hospital, and to determine the
amount of the damages, if any, to which Mr. E.
Merritt is entitled on account of said collision, and
the attorney-General of the Philippine Islands is
hereby authorized and directed to appear at the
trial on the behalf of the Government of said
Islands, to defend said Government at the same.
"SEC. 2. This Act shall take effect on its passage.
"Enacted, February 3, 1915."

Did the defendant, in enacting the above quoted act, simply waive its
immunity from suit or did it also concede its liability to the plaintiff? If
only the former, then it cannot be held that the Act created any new
Merritt vs. Government of Philippine Islands [G.R. No. 11154,
cause of action in favor of the plaintiff or extended the defendant's
March 21, 1916]
liability to any case not previously recognized.
SPECIAL LAW WAIVING STATE IMMUNITY. - Act No. 2457,
effective February 3, 1915, reads:
"An act authorizing E. Merritt to bring suit against
the Government of the Philippine Islands and
authorizing the Attorney-General of said Islands to
appear in said suit.
"Whereas a claim has been filed against the
Government of the Philippine Islands by Mr. E.
Merritt, of Manila, for damages resulting from a
collision between his motorcycle and the ambulance
of the General Hospital on March twenty-fifth,
nineteen hundred and thirteen;
"Whereas it is not known who is responsible for the
accident nor is it possible to determine the amount
of damages, if any, to which the claimant is
entitled; and
"Whereas the Director of Public Works and the
Attorney-General recommend that an act be passed
by the Legislature authorizing Mr. E. Merritt to bring
suit in the courts against the Government, in order
that said questions may be decided: Now,
therefore,
"By authority of the United States, be it enacted by
the Philippine Legislature, that:

All admit that the Insular Government (the defendant) cannot be


sued by an individual without its consent. It is also admitted that the
instant case is one against the Government. As the consent of the
Government to be sued by the plaintiff was entirely voluntary on its
part, it is our duty to look carefully into the terms of the consent, and
render judgment accordingly.
The plaintiff was authorized to bring this action against the
Government "in order to fix the responsibility for the collision
between his motorcycle and the ambulance of the General Hospital
and to determine the amount of the damages, if any, to which Mr. E.
Merritt is entitled on account of said collision, . . . ." These were the
two questions submitted to the court for determination. The Act was
passed "in order that said questions may be decided." We have
"decided" that the accident was due solely to the negligence of the
chauffeur, who was at the time an employee of the defendant, and we
have also fixed the amount of damages sustained by the plaintiff as a
result of the collision. Does the Act authorize us to hold that the
Government is legally liable for that amount? If not, we must look
elsewhere for such authority, if it exists.
SUABILITY VS. LIABILITY. - As to the scope of legislative enactments
permitting individuals to sue the state where the cause of action
arises out of either tort or contract, the rule is stated in 36 Cyc., 915,
thus:
"By consenting to be sued a state simply waives its
immunity from suit. It does not thereby concede its
liability to plaintiff, or create any cause of action in
his favor, or extend its liability to any cause not

14

previously recognized. It merely gives a remedy to


enforce a preexisting liability and submits itself to
the jurisdiction of the court, subject to its right to
interpose any lawful defense."
In Apfelbacher vs. State (152 N. W., 144, advanced sheets), decided
April 16, 1915, the Act of 1913, which authorized the bringing of this
suit, read:
"SECTION 1.
Authority is hereby given to
George Apfelbacher, of the town of Summit,
Waukesha County, Wisconsin, to bring suit in such
court or courts and in such form or forms as he
may be advised for the purpose of settling and
determining all controversies which he may now
have with the State of Wisconsin, or its duly
authorized officers and agents, relative to the mill
property of said George Apfelbacher, the fish
hatchery of the State Wisconsin on the Bark River,
and the mill property of Evan Humphrey at the
lower end of Nagawicka Lake, and relative to the
use of the waters of said Bark River and Nagawicka
Lake, all in the county of Waukesha, Wisconsin."
In determining the scope of this act, the court said;
"Plaintiff claims that by the enactment of this law
the legislature admitted liability on the part of the
state for the acts of its officers, and that the suit
now stands just as it would stand between private
parties. It is difficult to see how the act does, or
was intended to do, more than remove the state's
immunity from suit. It simply gives authority to
commence suit for the purpose of settling plaintiff's
controversies with the state. Nowhere in the act is
there a whisper or suggestion that the court or
courts in the disposition of the suit shall depart
from well established principles of law, or that the
amount of damages is the only question to be
settled. The act opened the door of the court to the
plaintiff. It did not pass upon the question of
liability, but left the suit just where it would be in
the absence of the state's immunity from suit. If
the Legislature had intended to change the rule that
obtained in this state so long and to declare liability
on the part of the state, it would not have left so
important a matter to mere inference but would
have done so in express terms. (Murdoc Grate Co.
vs. Commonwealth, 152 Mass., 28; 24 N. E., 854; 8
L. R.A., 399)
It being quite clear that Act No. 2457 does not operate to extend the
Government's liability to any cause not previously recognized, we will

now examine the substantive law touching the defendant's liability for
the negligent acts of its officers, agents, and employees. Paragraph 5
of article 1903 of the civil Code reads:
"The state is liable in this sense when it acts
through a special agent, but not when the damage
should have been caused by the official to whom
properly it pertained to do the act performed, in
which case the provisions of the preceding article
shall be applicable."
Amigable vs. Cuenca [G.R. No. L-26400, February 29, 1972]
THE DOCTRINE OF STATE IMMUNITY CANNOT BE USED TO
PERPETRATE INJUSTICE. - In the case of Ministerio vs. Court of First
Instance of Cebu, 1 involving a claim for payment of the value of a
portion of land used for the widening of the Gorordo Avenue in Cebu
City, this Court, through Mr. Justice Enrique M. Fernando, held that
where the government takes away property from a private landowner
for public use without going through the legal process of
expropriation or negotiated sale, the aggrieved party may properly
maintain a suit against the government without thereby violating the
doctrine of governmental immunity from suit without its consent. We
there said:
". . . If the constitutional mandate that the owner
be compensated for property taken for public use
were to be respected, as it should, then a suit of
this character should not be summarily dismissed.
The doctrine of governmental immunity from suit
cannot serve as an instrument for perpetrating an
injustice on a citizen. Had the government followed
the procedure indicated by the governing law at the
time, a complaint would have been filed by it, and
only upon payment of the compensation fixed by
the judgment, or after tender to the party entitled
to such payment of the amount fixed, may it have
the right to enter in and upon the land so
condemned, to appropriate the same to the public
use defined in the judgment.' If there were an
observance of procedural regularity, petitioners
would not be in the sad plaint they are now. It is
unthinkable then that precisely because there was a
failure to abide by what the law requires, the
government would stand to benefit. It is just as
important, if not more so, that there be fidelity to
legal norms on the part of officialdom if the rule of
law were to be maintained. It is not too much to
say that when the government takes any property
for public use, which is conditioned upon the
payment of just compensation, to be judicially
ascertained, it makes manifest that it submits to
the jurisdiction of a court. There is no thought then

that the doctrine of immunity from suit could still be


appropriately invoked."
Republic vs. Sandiganbayan [G.R. No. 90478, November 21,
1991]
STATE IMPLIEDLY WAIVES ITS IMMUNITY WHEN IT COMMENCES
LITIGATION. - So, too, the PCGG's postulation that none of its
members may be "required to testify or produce evidence in any
judicial . . . proceeding concerning matters within its official
cognizance," has no application to a judicial proceeding it has itself
initiated. As just suggested, the act of bringing suit must entail a
waiver of the exemption from giving evidence; by bringing suit it
brings itself within the operation and scope of all the rules governing
civil actions, including the rights and duties under the rules of
discovery. Otherwise, the absurd would have to be conceded, that
while the parties it has impleaded as defendants may be required to
"disgorge all the facts" within their knowledge and in their
possession, it may not itself be subject to a like compulsion.
The State is, of course, immune from suit in the sense that it cannot,
as a rule, be sued without its consent. But it is axiomatic that in filing
an action, it divests itself of its sovereign character and sheds its
immunity from suit, descending to the level of an ordinary litigant.
The PCGG cannot claim a superior or preferred status to the State,
even while assuming to represent or act for the State.
The suggestion that the State makes no implied waiver of immunity
by filing suit except when in so doing it acts in, or in matters
concerning, its proprietary or non-governmental capacity, is
unacceptable; it attempts a distinction without support in principle or
precedent. On the contrary
"The consent of the State to be sued may be given
expressly or impliedly. Express consent may be
manifested either through a general law or a special
law. Implied consent is given when the State itself
commences litigation or when it enters into a
contract."
"The immunity of the State from suits does not
deprive it of the right to sue private parties in its
own courts. The state as plaintiff may avail itself of
the different forms of actions open to private
litigants. In short, by taking the initiative in an
action against the private parties, the state
surrenders its privileged position and comes down
to the level of the defendant. The latter
automatically acquires, within certain limits, the
right to set up whatever claims and other defenses
he might have against the state. . . . (Sinco,
Philippine Political Law, Tenth E., pp. 36-37, citing
U.S. vs. Ringgold, 8 Pet. 150, 8 L.ed. 899)'" 51

15

It can hardly be doubted that in exercising the right of eminent


domain, the State exercises its jus imperii, as distinguished from its
proprietary rights or jus gestionis. Yet, even in that area, it has been
held that where private property has been taken in expropriation
without just compensation being paid, the defense of immunity from
suit cannot be set up by the State against an action for payment by
the owner.
Republic vs. Feliciano [G.R. No. 70853, March 12, 1987]
We find the petition meritorious. The doctrine of non-suability of the
State has proper application in this case. The plaintiff has impleaded
the Republic of the Philippines as defendant in an action for recovery
of ownership and possession of a parcel of land, bringing the State to
court just like any private person who is claimed to be usurping a
piece of property. A suit for the recovery of property is not an action
in rem, but an action in personam. It is an action directed against a
specific party or parties, and any judgment therein binds only such
party or parties. The complaint filed by plaintiff, the private
respondent herein, is directed against the Republic of the Philippines,
represented by the Land Authority, a governmental agency created
by Republic Act No. 3844.
By its caption and its allegation and prayer, the complaint is clearly a
suit against the State, which under settled jurisprudence is not
permitted, except upon a showing that the State has consented to be
sued, either expressly or by implication through the use of statutory
language too plain to be misinterpreted. There is no such showing in
the instant case. Worse, the complaint itself fails to allege the
existence of such consent. This is a fatal defect, and on this basis
alone, the complaint should have been dismissed.
THE STATE IMMUNITY MAY BE INVOKED AT ANY STAGE OF THE
PROCEEDINGS. - The failure of the petitioner to assert the defense
of immunity from suit when the case was tried before the court a
quo, as alleged by private respondent, is not fatal. It is now settled
that such defense "may be invoked by the courts sua sponte at any
stage of the proceedings."
EXPRESS WAIVER OF IMMUNITY MUST BE THROUGH LEGISLATIVE
ACT. - Private respondent contends that the consent of petitioner
may be read from the Proclamation itself, when it established the
reservation "subject to private rights, if any there be." We do not
agree. No such consent can be drawn from the language of the
Proclamation. The exclusion of existing private rights from the
reservation established by Proclamation No. 90 can not be construed
as a waiver of the immunity of the State from suit. Waiver of
immunity, being a derogation of sovereignty, will not be inferred
lightly, but must be construed in strictissimi juris.
Moreover, the
Proclamation is not a legislative act. The consent of the State to be
sued must emanate from statutory authority. Waiver of State
immunity can only be made by an act of the legislative body.

Neither is there merit in respondent's submission. which the


respondent appellate court sustained, on the basis of our decision in
the Begosa case, that the present action is not a suit against the
State within the rule of State immunity from suit, because plaintiff
does not seek to divest the Government of any of its lands or its
funds. It is contended that the complaint involves land not owned by
the State, but private land belonging to the plaintiff, hence the
Government is not being divested of any of its properties. There is
some sophistry involved in this argument, since the character of the
land sought to be recovered still remains to be established, and the
plaintiff's action is directed against the State precisely to compel the
latter to litigate the ownership and possession of the property. In
other words, the plaintiff is out to establish that he is the owner of
the land in question based, incidentally, on an informacion posesoria
of dubious value, and he seeks to establish his claim of ownership by
suing the Republic of the Philippines in an action in personam.
United States vs. Ruiz [G.R. No. L-35645, May 22, 1985]
RESTRICTIVE THEORY OF STATE IMMUNITY. The traditional rule of
State immunity exempts a State from being sued in the courts of
another State without its consent or waiver. This rule is a necessary
consequence of the principles of independence and equality of States.
However, the rules of International Law are not petrified; they are
constantly developing and evolving. And because the activities of
states have multiplied, it has been necessary to distinguish them
between sovereign and governmental acts (jure imperii) and private,
commercial and proprietary acts (jure gestionis). The result is that
State immunity now extends only to acts jure imperii. The restrictive
application of State immunity is now the rule in the United States, the
United Kingdom and other states in western Europe. (See Coquia and
Defensor-Santiago, Public International Law, pp. 207-209 [1984].)
The restrictive application of State immunity is proper only when the
proceedings arise out of commercial transactions of the foreign
sovereign, its commercial activities or economic affairs. Stated
differently, a State may be said to have descended to the level of an
individual and can thus be deemed to have tacitly given its consent to
be sued only when it enters into business contracts. It does not apply
where the contract relates to the exercise of its sovereign functions.
In this case the projects are an integral part of the naval base which
is devoted to the defense of both the United States and the
Philippines, indisputably a function of the government of the highest
order; they are not utilized for nor dedicated to commercial or
business purposes.
That the correct test for the application of State immunity is not the
conclusion of a contract by a State but the legal nature of the act is
shown in Syquia vs. Lopez, 84 Phil. 312 (1949). In that case the
plaintiffs leased three apartment buildings to the United States of
America for the use of its military officials. The plaintiffs sued to

recover possession of the premises on the ground that the term of


the leases had expired, They also asked for increased rentals until the
apartments shall have been vacated.
1994]

The Holy See vs. Rosario

[G.R. No. 101949, December 1,

PROCEDURE IN INVOKING STATE IMMUNITY BY FOREIGN STATES. In Public International Law, when a state or international agency
wishes to plead sovereign or diplomatic immunity in a foreign court, it
requests the Foreign Office of the state where it is sued to convey to
the court that said defendant is entitled to immunity.
In the United States, the procedure followed is the process of
"suggestion," where the foreign state or the international
organization sued in an American court requests the Secretary of
State to make a determination as to whether it is entitled to
immunity. If the Secretary of State finds that the defendant is
immune from suit, he, in turn, asks the Attorney General to submit to
the court a "suggestion" that the defendant is entitled to immunity. In
England, a similar procedure is followed, only the Foreign Office
issues a certification to that effect instead of submitting a
"suggestion" (O'Connell, I International Law 130 [1965]; Note:
Immunity from Suit of Foreign Sovereign Instrumentalities and
Obligations, 50 Yale Law Journal 1088 [1941]).
In the Philippines, the practice is for the foreign government or the
international organization to first secure an executive endorsement of
its claim of sovereign or diplomatic immunity. But how the Philippine
Foreign Office conveys its endorsement to the courts varies. In
International Catholic Migration Commission v. Calleja, 190 SCRA 130
(1990), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs just sent a letter directly to
the Secretary of Labor and Employment, informing the latter that the
respondent-employer could not be sued because it enjoyed diplomatic
immunity. In World Health Organization v. Aquino, 48 SCRA 242
(1972), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs sent the trial court a
telegram to that effect. In Baer v. Tizon, 57 SCRA 1 (1974), the U.S.
Embassy asked the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to request the
Solicitor General to make, in behalf of the Commander of the United
States Naval Base at Olongapo City, Zambales, a "suggestion" to
respondent Judge. The Solicitor General embodied the "suggestion" in
a Manifestation and Memorandum as amicus curiae.
TWO CONFLICTING CONCEPTS OF SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY. - There
are two conflicting concepts of sovereign immunity, each widely held
and firmly established. According to the classical or absolute theory, a
sovereign cannot, without its consent, be made a respondent in the
courts of another sovereign. According to the newer or restrictive
theory, the immunity of the sovereign is recognized only with regard
to public acts or acts jure imperii of a state, but not with regard to
private acts or acts jure gestionis (United States of America v. Ruiz,
136 SCRA 487 [1987]; Coquia and Defensor-Santiago, Public
International Law 194 [1984]).

16

In the absence of legislation defining what activities and transactions


shall be considered "commercial" and as constituting acts jure
gestionis, we have to come out with our own guidelines, tentative
they may be.
Certainly, the mere entering into a contract by a foreign state with a
private party cannot be the ultimate test. Such an act can only be the
start of the inquiry. The logical question is whether the foreign state
is engaged in the activity in the regular course of business. If the
foreign state is not engaged regularly in a business or trade, the
particular act or transaction must then be tested by its nature. If the
act is in pursuit of a sovereign activity, or an incident thereof, then it
is an act jure imperii, especially when it is not undertaken for gain or
profit.
REMEDY OF THE COMPLAINANTS WHEN THE STATE IMMUNITY IS
INVOKED. - Private respondent is not left without any legal remedy
for the redress of its grievances. Under both Public International Law
and Transnational Law, a person who feels aggrieved by the acts of a
foreign sovereign can ask his own government to espouse his cause
through diplomatic channels.
Private respondent can ask the Philippine government, through the
Foreign Office, to espouse its claims against the Holy See. Its first
task is to persuade the Philippine government to take up with the
Holy See the validity of its claims. Of course, the Foreign Office shall
first make a determination of the impact of its espousal on the
relations between the Philippine government and the Holy See
(Young, Remedies of Private Claimants Against Foreign States,
Selected Readings on Protection by Law of Private Foreign
Investments 905, 919 [1964]). Once the Philippine government
decides to espouse the claim, the latter ceases to be a private cause.
According to the Permanent Court of International Justice, the
forerunner of the International Court of Justice:
"By taking up the case of one of its subjects and by
reporting to diplomatic action or international
judicial proceedings on his behalf, a State is in
reality asserting its own rights its right to ensure,
in the person of its subjects, respect for the rules of
international law (The Mavrommatis Palestine
Concessions, 1 Hudson, World Court Reports 293,
302 [1924]).
Republic vs. Villasor

[G.R. No. L-30671, November 28,

1973]
FUNDS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT SUBJECT TO GARNISHMENT.
It is a fundamental postulate of constitutionalism flowing from the
juristic concept of sovereignty that the state as well as its

government is immune from suit unless it gives its consent. It is


readily understandable why it must be so. In the classic formulation
of Holmes: "A sovereign is exempt from suit, not because of any
formal conception or obsolete theory, but on the logical and practical
ground that there can be no legal right as against the authority that
makes the law on which the right depends."
Sociological
jurisprudence supplies an answer not dissimilar. So it was indicated in
a recent decision, Providence Washington Insurance Co. v. Republic of
the Philippines,
with its affirmation that "a continued adherence to
the doctrine of non-suability is not to be deplored for as against the
inconvenience that may be caused private parties, the loss of
governmental efficiency and the obstacle to the performance of its
multifarious functions are far greater if such a fundamental principle
were abandoned and the availability of judicial remedy were not thus
restricted. With the well known propensity on the part of our people
to go to court, at the least provocation, the loss of time and energy
required to defend against law suits, in the absence of such a basic
principle that constitutes such an effective obstacle, could very well
be imagined."
This fundamental postulate underlying the 1935 Constitution is now
made explicit in the revised charter. It is therein expressly provided:
"The State may not be sued without its consent." A corollary, both
dictated by logic and sound sense from such a basic concept is that
public funds cannot be the object of a garnishment proceeding even if
the consent to be sued had been previously granted and the state
liability adjudged. Thus in the recent case of Commissioner of Public
Highways v. San Diego, such a well-settled doctrine was restated in
the opinion of Justice Teehankee: "The universal rule that where the
State gives its consent to be sued by private parties either by general
or special law, it may limit claimant's action `only up to the
completion of proceedings anterior to the stage of execution' and that
the power of the Courts ends when the judgment is rendered, since
government funds and properties may not be seized under writs of
execution or garnishment to satisfy such judgments, is based on
obvious considerations of public policy. Disbursements of public funds
must be covered by the corresponding appropriation as required by
law. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot
be allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of public
funds from their legitimate and specific objects, as appropriated by
law."
Such a principle applies even to an attempted garnishment of
a salary that had accrued in favor of an employee. Director of
Commerce and Industry v. Concepcion,
speaks to that effect.
Justice Malcolm as ponente left no doubt on that score. Thus: "A rule,
which has never been seriously questioned, is that money in the
hands of public officers, although it may be due government
employees, is not liable to the creditors of these employees in the
process of garnishment. One reason is, that the State, by virtue of its
sovereignty, may not be sued in its own courts except by express
authorization by the Legislature, and to subject its officers to
garnishment would be to permit indirectly what is prohibited directly.
Another reason is that moneys sought to be garnished, as long as
they remain in the hands of the disbursing officer of the Government,

belong to the latter, although the defendant in garnishment may be


entitled to a specific portion thereof. And still another reason which
covers both of the foregoing is that every consideration of public
policy forbids it."
Department of Agriculture vs. NLRC [G.R. No. 104269,
November 11, 1993]
FORMS OF WAIVER OF IMMUNITY. - The basic postulate enshrined in
the constitution that "(t)he State may not be sued without its
consent," reflects nothing less than a recognition of the sovereign
character of the State and an express affirmation of the unwritten
rule effectively insulating it from the jurisdiction of courts. It is based
on the very essence of sovereignty. As has been aptly observed, by
Justice Holmes, a sovereign is exempt from suit, not because of any
formal conception or obsolete theory, but on the logical and practical
ground that there can be no legal right as against the authority that
makes the law on which the right depends. True, the doctrine, not
too infrequently, is derisively called "the royal prerogative of
dishonesty" because it grants the state the prerogative to defeat any
legitimate claim against it by simply invoking its non-suability. We
have had occasion to explain in its defense, however, that a
continued adherence to the doctrine of non-suability cannot be
deplored, for the loss of governmental efficiency and the obstacle to
the performance of its multifarious functions would be far greater in
severity than the inconvenience that may be caused private parties, if
such fundamental principle is to be abandoned and the availability of
judicial remedy is not to be accordingly restricted.
The rule, in any case, is not really absolute for it does not say that
the state may not be sued under any circumstance. On the contrary,
as correctly phrased, the doctrine only conveys, "the state may not
be sued without its consent;" its clear import then is that the State
may at times be sued. The States' consent may be given either
expressly or impliedly. Express consent may be made through a
general law or a special law. In this jurisdiction, the general law
waiving the immunity of the state from suit is found in Act No. 3083,
where the Philippine government "consents and submits to be sued
upon any money claim involving liability arising from contract,
express or implied, which could serve as a basis of civil action
between private parties." Implied consent, on the other hand, is
conceded when the State itself commences litigation, thus opening
itself to a counterclaim or when it enters into a contract. In this
situation, the government is deemed to have descended to the level
of the other contracting party and to have divested itself of its
sovereign immunity. This rule, relied upon by the NLRC and the
private respondents, is not, however, without qualification. Not all
contracts entered into by the government operate as a waiver of its
non-suability; distinction must still be made between one which is
executed in the exercise of its sovereign functions and another which
is done in its proprietary capacity.

17

PROCEDURE IN ENFORCING THE LIABILITY OF THE STATE. - But, be


that as it may, the claims of private respondents, i.e., for
underpayment of wages, holiday pay, overtime pay and similar other
items, arising from the Contract for Security Services, clearly
constitute money claims. Act No. 3083, aforecited, gives the consent
of the State to be "sued upon any moneyed claim involving liability
arising from contract, express or implied, . . ." Pursuant, however, to
Commonwealth Act ("C.A.") No. 327, as amended by Presidential
Decree ("P.D.") No. 1445, the money claim should first be brought to
the Commission on Audit. Thus, in Carabao, Inc., vs. Agricultural
Productivity Commission, we ruled:
"(C)laimants have to prosecute their money claims
against the Government under Commonwealth Act
327, stating that Act 3083 stands now merely as
the general law waiving the State's immunity from
suit, subject to its general limitation expressed in
Section 7 thereof that 'no execution shall issue
upon any judgment rendered by any Court against
the Government of the (Philippines), and that the
conditions provided in Commonwealth Act 327 for
filing money claims against the Government must
be strictly observed.' "
We fail to see any substantial conflict or inconsistency between the
provisions of C.A. No. 327 and the Labor Code with respect to money
claims against the State. The Labor Code, in relation to Act No. 3083,
provides the legal basis for the State liability but the prosecution,
enforcement or satisfaction thereof must still be pursued in
accordance with the rules and procedures laid down in C.A. No. 327,
as amended by P.D. 1445.
When the State gives its consent to be sued, it does not thereby
necessarily consent to an unrestrained execution against it. Tersely
put, when the State waives its immunity, all it does, in effect, is to
give the other party an opportunity to prove, if it can, that the State
has a liability. In Republic vs. Villasor, this Court, in nullifying the
issuance of an alias writ of execution directed against the funds of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines to satisfy a final and executory
judgment, has explained, thus
The universal rule that where the State gives its
consent to be sued by private parties either by
general or special law, it may limit claimant's action
"only up to the completion of proceedings anterior
to the stage of execution" and that the power of the
Courts ends when the judgment is rendered, since
government funds and properties may not be seized
under writs of execution or garnishment to satisfy
such judgments, is based on obvious considerations
of public policy. Disbursements of public funds must
be covered by the corresponding appropriation as
required by law. The functions and public services

rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be


paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of public
funds from their legitimate and specific objects, as
appropriated by law.
PNB vs. Pabalan [G.R. No. L-33112, June 15, 1978]
DOCTRINE OF STATE IMMUNITY FROM SUIT; A GOVERNMENT OWNED
AND CONTROLLED CORPORATION HAS DISTINCT PERSONALITY OF
ITS OWN; FUNDS OF THE CORPORATE ENTITY MAY BE PROCEEDED
AGAINST. The doctrine of non-suability cannot be legally set forth
as a bar or impediment to a notice of garnishment. In National
Shipyard and Steel Corporation v. Court of Industrial Relations, 118
Phil. 782 (1963), it was explicitly stated: "That allegation to the effect
that the funds of the NASSCO are public funds of the government,
and that, as such the same may not be garnished, attached or levied
upon, is untenable for, as a government owned and controlled
corporation, the NASSCO has a personality of its own, distinct and
separate from that of the Government. It has pursuant to Section
2 of Executive Order No. 356, dated October 23, 1950 . . ., pursuant
to which the NASSCO has been established "all the powers of a
corporation under the Corporation Law . . . " Accordingly, it may sue
and be sued and may be subjected to court processes just like any
other corporation (Section 13, Act No. 1459, as amended.)
Rayo vs. CFI of Bulacan
19, 1981]

[G.R. No. L-55273-83, December

GOVERNMENT OWNED AND CONTROLLED CORPORATION HAS A


SEPARATE PERSONALITY INDEPENDENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND
THUS, THE QUESTION OF SUABILITY MAY BE DETERMINED FROM ITS
CHARTER. - It is not necessary to write an extended dissertation on
whether or not the NPC performs a governmental function with
respect to the management and operation of the Angat Dam. It is
sufficient to say that the government has organized a private
corporation, put money in it and has allowed it to sue and be sued in
any court under its charter. (R.A. No. 6395, Sec. 3[d].) As a
government owned and controlled corporation, it has a personality of
its own, distinct and separate from that of the Government. (See
National Shipyards and Steel Corp. vs. CIR, et al., L-17874, August
31, 1963, 8 SCRA 781.) Moreover, the charter provision that the NPC
can "sue and be sued in any court" is without qualification on the
cause of action and accordingly it can include a tort claim such as the
one instituted by petitioners.
Bureau of Printing vs. Bureau of Printing Employees Ass.
[G.R. No. L-15751, January 28, 1961]
GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES, THOUGH INCEDENTALLY PERFORMING
PROPRIETARY FUNCTIONS, ARE ENTITLED TO STATE IMMUNITY. The Bureau of Printing is an office of the Government created by the
Administrative Code of 1916 (Act No. 2657). As such instrumentality
of the Government, it operates under the direct supervision of the

Executive Secretary, Office of the President, and is "charged with the


execution of all printing and binding, including work incidental to
those processes, required by the National Government and such
other work of the same character as said Bureau may, by law or by
order of the (Secretary of Finance) Executive Secretary, be
authorized to undertake . . .." (Sec. 1644, Rev. Adm. Code.) It has no
corporate existence, and its appropriations are provided for in the
General Appropriations Act. Designed to meet the printing needs of
the Government, it is primarily a service bureau and is obviously, not
engaged in business or occupation for pecuniary profit.
Indeed, as an office of the Government, without any corporate or
juridical personality, the Bureau of Printing cannot be sued. (Sec. 1,
Rule 3, Rules of Court.) Any suit, action or proceeding against it, if it
were to produce any effect, would actually be a suit, action or
proceeding against the Government itself, and the rule is settled that
the Government cannot be sued without its consent, much less over
its objection. (See Metran vs. Paredes, 45 Off. Gaz., 2835; Angat
River Irrigation System, et al. vs. Angat River Workers' Union, et al.,
G.R. Nos. L-10943-44, December 28, 1957).
It is true, as stated in the order complained of, that the Bureau of
Printing receives outside jobs and that many of its employees are
paid for overtime work on regular working days and on holidays, but
these facts do not justify the conclusion that its functions are
"exclusively proprietary in nature." Overtime work in the Bureau of
Printing is done only when the interest of the service so requires (sec.
566, Rev. Adm. Code). As a matter of administrative policy, the
overtime compensation may be paid, but such payment is
discretionary with the head of the Bureau depending upon its current
appropriations, so that it cannot be the basis for holding that the
functions of said Bureau are wholly proprietary in character. Anent
the additional work it executes for private persons, we find that such
work is done upon request, as distinguished from those solicited, and
only "as the requirements of Government work will permit" (sec.
1654, Rev. Adm. Code), and "upon terms fixed by the Director of
Printing, with the approval of the Department Head" (sec. 1665, id.).
As shown by the uncontradicted evidence of the petitioners, most of
these works consist of orders for greeting cards during Christmas
from government officials, and for printing of checks of private
banking institutions. On those greeting cards, the Government seal,
of which only the Bureau of Printing is authorized to use, is
embossed, and on the bank checks, only the Bureau of Printing can
print the reproduction of the official documentary stamps appearing
thereon. The volume of private jobs done, in comparison with
government jobs, is only one-half of 1 percent, and in computing the
costs for work done for private parties, the Bureau does not include
profit, because it is not allowed to make any. Clearly, while the
Bureau of Printing is allowed to undertake private printing jobs, it
cannot be pretended that it is thereby an industrial or business
concern. The additional work it executes for private parties is merely
incidental to its function, and although such work may be deemed
proprietary in character, there is no showing that the employees

18

performing said proprietary function are separate and distinct from


those employed in its general governmental functions.

THE SUABILITY OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS IS DETERMINED


THROUGH THEIR CHARTER. - Municipal corporations, for example,
like provinces and cities, are agencies of the State when they are
Mobil Phils. Exploration vs. Customs Arrastre Service [G.R.
engaged in governmental functions and therefore should enjoy the
No. L-23139, December 17, 1966]
sovereign immunity from suit. Nevertheless, they are subject to suit
even in the performance of such functions because their charter
PROPRIETARY FUNCTIONS NECESSARY TO THE GOVERNMENTAL provided that they can sue and be sued. (Cruz, Philippine Political
PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT ENTITY ARE COVERED BY THE Law, 1987 Edition, p. 39)
DOCTRINE OF STATE IMMUNITY. - The situation here is not materially
different. The Bureau of Customs, to repeat, is part of the Department A distinction should first be made between suability and liability.
of Finance (Sec. 81, Rev. Adm. Code), with no personality of its own "Suability depends on the consent of the state to be sued, liability on
apart from that of the national government. Its primary function is the applicable law and the established facts. The circumstance that a
governmental, that of assessing and collecting lawful revenues from state is suable does not necessarily mean that it is liable; on the
imported articles and all other tariff and customs duties, fees, charges, other hand, it can never be held liable if it does not first consent to be
fines and penalties (Sec. 602, R. A. 1937). To this function, arrastre sued. Liability is not conceded by the mere fact that the state has
service is a necessary incident. For practical reasons said revenues and allowed itself to be sued. When the state does waive its sovereign
customs duties can not be assessed and collected by simply receiving immunity, it is only giving the plaintiff the chance to prove, if it can,
the importer's or ship agent's or consignee's declaration of merchandise that the defendant is liable." (United States of America v. Guinto,
being imported and imposing the duty provided in the Tariff law. supra, p. 659-660).
Customs authorities and officers must see to it that the declaration
tallies with the merchandise actually landed. And this checking up Anent the issue of whether or not the municipality is liable for the
requires that the landed merchandise be hauled from the ship's side to a torts committed by its employee, the test of liability of the
suitable place in the customs premises to enable said customs officers municipality depends on whether or not the driver, acting in behalf of
to make it, that is, it requires arrastre operation.
the municipality, is performing governmental or proprietary functions.
As emphasized in the case of Torio v. Fontanilla (G.R. No. L-29993,
Clearly, therefore, although said arrastre function may be deemed October 23, 1978. 85 SCRA 599, 606), the distinction of powers
proprietary, it is a necessary incident of the primary and governmental becomes important for purposes of determining the liability of the
function of the Bureau of Customs, so that engaging in the same does municipality for the acts of its agents which result in an injury to third
not necessarily render said Bureau liable to suit. For otherwise, it could persons.
not perform its governmental function without necessarily exposing
itself to suit. Sovereign immunity, granted as to the end, should not be
Mun. of San Miguel vs. Fernandez [G.R. No. L-61744, June
denied as to the necessary means to that end.
25, 1984]

Furthermore, the procedure outlined by Section 15, Rule 39 of the


New Rules of Court has not been followed.

Civil Aeronautics Administration vs. CA [G.R. No. L-51806, November


FUNDS OF THE MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ARE EXEMPT FROM
EXECUTION. - In Tantoco vs. Municipal Council of Iloilo, 49 Phil. 52, it
was held that "it is the settled doctrine of the law that not only the
THE DOCTRINE OF STATE IMMUNITY DOES NOT APPLY TO
public property but also the taxes and public revenues of such
GOVERNMENT OWNED AND CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS. - This
corporations cannot be seized under execution against them, either in
doctrine has been reaffirmed in the recent case of Malong v.
the treasury or when in transit to it. Judgments rendered for taxes,
Philippine National Railways [G.R. No. L-49930, August 7, 1985, 138
and the proceeds of such judgments in the hands of officers of the
SCRA 63], where it was held that the Philippine National Railways,
law, are not subject to execution unless so declared by statute.
although owned and operated by the government, was not immune
from suit as it does not exercise sovereign but purely proprietary and
Thus, it is clear that all the funds of petitioner municipality in the
business functions. Accordingly, as the CAA was created to undertake
possession of the Municipal Treasurer of San Miguel, as well as those
the management of airport operations which primarily involve
in the possession of the Provincial Treasurer of Bulacan, are also
proprietary functions, it cannot avail of the immunity from suit
public funds and as such they are exempt from execution. Besides,
accorded to government agencies performing strictly governmental
there must be, pursuant to Section 2(a) of Presidential Decree No.
functions.
477, known as "The Decree on Local Fiscal Administration," a
corresponding appropriation in the form of an ordinance duly passed
Mun. of San Fernando vs. Firme [G.R. No. 52179, April 8,
by the Sangguniang Bayan before any money of the municipality may
1991]
be paid out. In the case at bar, it has not been shown that the
Sangguniang Bayan has passed an ordinance to this effect.

Nevertheless, this is not to say that private respondent and PSB are
left with no legal recourse. Where a municipality fails or refuses,
without justifiable reason, to effect payment of a final money
judgment rendered against it, the claimant may avail of the remedy
of mandamus in order to compel the enactment and approval of the
necessary
appropriation
ordinance,
and
the
corresponding
disbursement of municipal funds therefor [See Viuda De Tan Toco v.
The Municipal Council of Iloilo, supra; Baldivia v. Lota, 107 Phil. 1099
(1960); Yuviengco v. Gonzales, 108 Phil. 247 (1960)].

8, 1988]

Mun. of Makati vs. CA [G.R. Nos. 89898-99, October 1,


1990]
REMEDY TO ENFORCE THE LIABILITY OF THE MUNICIPAL
CORPORATION - There is merit in this contention. The funds
deposited in the second PNB Account No. S/A 263-530850-7 are
public funds of the municipal government. In this jurisdiction, wellsettled is the rule that public funds are not subject to levy and
execution, unless otherwise provided for by statute [Republic v.
Palacio, supra.; The Commissioner of Public Highways v. San Diego,
G.R. No. L-30098, February 18, 1970, 31 SCRA 616]. More
particularly, the properties of a municipality, whether real or personal,
which are necessary for public use cannot be attached and sold at
execution sale to satisfy a money judgment against the municipality.
Municipal revenues derived from taxes, licenses and market fees, and
which are intended primarily and exclusively for the purpose of
financing the governmental activities and functions of the
municipality, are exempt from execution [See Viuda De Tan Toco v.
The Municipal Council of Iloilo, 49 Phil. 52 (1926); The Municipality of
Paoay, Ilocos Norte v. Manaois, 86 Phil. 629 (1950); Municipality of
San Miguel, Bulacan v. Fernandez, G.R. No. 61744, June 25, 1984,
130 SCRA 56]. The foregoing rule finds application in the case at bar.
Absent a showing that the municipal council of Makati has passed an
ordinance appropriating from its public funds an amount
corresponding to the balance due under the RTC decision dated June
4, 1987, less the sum of P99,743.94 deposited in Account No. S/A
265-537154-3, no levy under execution may be validly effected on
the public funds of petitioner deposited in Account No. S/A 263530850-7.

City of Caloocan vs. Judge Allarde [G.R. No. 107271,


September 10, 2003]
GOVERNMENT FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR A PURPOSE MAY BE
GARNISHED TO SATISFY THAT PURPOSE. - However, the rule is not
absolute and admits of a well-defined exception, that is, when there
is a corresponding appropriation as required by law. Otherwise
stated, the rule on the immunity of public funds from seizure or
garnishment does not apply where the funds sought to be levied
under execution are already allocated by law specifically for the

19

satisfaction of the money judgment against the government. In such


a case, the monetary judgment may be legally enforced by judicial
processes.
Thus, in the similar case of Pasay City Government, et al. vs. CFI of
Manila, Br. X, et al., where petitioners challenged the trial court's
order garnishing its funds in payment of the contract price for the
construction of the City Hall, we ruled that, while government funds
deposited in the PNB are exempt from execution or garnishment, this
rule does not apply if an ordinance has already been enacted for the
payment of the City's obligations
Upon the issuance of the writ of execution, the
petitioner-appellants moved for its quashal alleging
among other things the exemption of the
government from execution. This move on the part
of petitioner-appellants is at first glance laudable
for 'all government funds deposited with the
Philippine National Bank by any agency or
instrumentality of the government, whether by way
of general or special deposit, remain government
funds and may not be subject to garnishment or
levy.' But inasmuch as an ordinance has already
been enacted expressly appropriating the amount
of P613,096.00 as payment to the respondentappellee, then the herein case is covered by the
exception to the general rule
ARTICLE II FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES AND STATE
POLICIES
Section 1
Villavicencio vs. Lukban [G.R. No. 14639, March 25, 1919]
IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY LAW, GOOD INTENTIONS CANNOT JUSTIFY
THE CURTAILMENT OF FREEDOM. - Law defines power. Centuries ago
Magna Charta decreed that "No freeman shall be taken, or
imprisoned, or be disseized of his freehold, or liberties, or free
customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor
will we pass upon him nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of
his peers or by the law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not
deny or defer to any man either justice or right." (Magna Charta, 9
Hen., 111, 1225, Cap. 29; 1 Eng. Stat. at Large, 7.) No official, no
matter how high, is above the law. The courts are the forum which
functionate to safeguard individual liberty and to punish official
transgressors. "The law," said Justice Miller, delivering the opinion of
the Supreme Court of the United States, "is the only supreme power
in our system of government, and every man who by accepting office
participates in its functions is all the more strongly bound to submit
to that supremacy, and to observe the limitations which it imposes
upon the exercise of the authority which it gives." (U.S. vs. Lee
[1882], 106 U.S., 196, 220.) "The very idea," said Justice Matthews

of the same high tribunal in another case, "that one man may be
compelled to hold his life, or the means of living, or any material right
essential to the enjoyment of life, at the mere will of another, seems
to be intolerable in any country where freedom prevails, as being the
essence of slavery itself." (Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S.,
356, 370.) All this explains the motive in issuing the writ of habeas
corpus, and makes clear why we said in the very beginning that the
primary question was whether the courts should permit a government
of men or a government of laws to be established in the Philippine
Islands.
One hundred and seventy women, who had lived in the segregated
district for women of ill repute in the city of Manila, were by orders of
the Mayor of the city of Manila and the chief of police of that city
isolated from society and then at night, without their consent and
without any opportunity to consult with friends or to defend their
rights, were forcibly hustled on board steamers for transportation to
regions unknown. No law, order, or regulation authorized the Mayor
of the city of Manila or the chief of the police of that city to force
citizens of the Philippine Islands to change their domicile from Manila
to another locality. Held: That the writ of habeas corpus was properly
granted, and that the Mayor of the city of Manila who was primarily
responsible for the deportation, is in contempt of court for his failure
to comply with the order of the court.
These women, despite their being in a sense lepers of society, are
nevertheless not chattles, but Philippine citizens protected by the
same constitutional guaranties as are other citizens.
Section 2
Kuroda vs. Jalandoni [G.R. No. L-2662, March 26, 1949]
PENALIZING WAR CRIMES IS A GENERALLY ACCEPTED PRINCIPLE OF
INTERNATIONAL LAW. - In accordance with the generally accepted
principles of international law of the present day, including the Hague
Convention, the Geneva Convention and significant precedents of
international jurisprudence established by the United Nations, all
those persons, military or civilian, who have been guilty of planning,
preparing or waging a war of aggression and of the commission of
crimes and offenses consequential and incidental thereto, in violation
of the laws and customs of war, of humanity and civilization, are held
accountable therefor. Consequently, in the promulgation and
enforcement of Executive Order No. 68, the President of the
Philippines has acted in conformity with the generally accepted
principles and policies of international law which are part of our
Constitution.
Petitioner argues that respondent Military Commission has no
jurisdiction to try petitioner for acts committed in violation of the
Hague Convention and the Geneva Convention because the
Philippines is not a signatory to the first and signed the second only
in 1947. It cannot be denied that the rules and regulations of the

Hague and Geneva conventions form part of and are wholly based on
the generally accepted principles of international law. In fact, these
rules and principles were accepted by the two belligerent nations, the
United States and Japan, who were signatories to the two
Conventions. Such rules and principles, therefore, form part of the
law of our nation even if the Philippines was not a signatory to the
conventions embodying them, for our Constitution has been
deliberately general and extensive in its scope and is not confined to
the recognition of rules and principles of international law as
contained in treaties to which our government may have been or
shall be a signatory.
Agustin vs. Edu [G.R. No. L-2662, March 26, 1949]
The conclusion reached by this Court that this petition must be
dismissed is reinforced by this consideration. The petition itself
quoted these two whereas clauses of the assailed Letter of
Instruction: "[Whereas], the hazards posed by such obstructions to
traffic have been recognized by international bodies concerned with
traffic safety, the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals
and the United Nations Organization (U.N.); [Whereas], the said
Vienna Convention, which was ratified by the Philippine Government
under P.D. No. 207, recommended the enactment of local legislation
for the installation of road safety signs and devices; . . ." It cannot
be disputed then that this Declaration of Principle found in the
Constitution possesses relevance: "The Philippines . . . adopts the
generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of
the land, . . ."
The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and
Signals is impressed with such a character. It is not for this country to
repudiate a commitment to which it had pledged its word. The
concept of Pacta sunt servanda stands in the way of such an attitude,
which is, moreover, at war with the principle of international morality.
Ichong vs. Hernandez [G.R. No. L-7995, May 31, 1957]
TREATIES SUBJECT TO QUALIFICATION OR AMENDMENT BY
SUBSEQUENT LAW. The law does not violate international treaties
and obligations. The United Nations Charter imposes no strict or legal
obligations regarding the rights and freedom of their subjects (Jans
Kelsen, The Law of the United Nations, 1951 ed., pp. 29-32), and the
Declaration of Human Rights contains nothing more than a mere
recommendation, or a common standard of achievement for all
peoples and all nations. The Treaty of Amity between the Republic of
the Philippines and the Republic of China of April 18, 1947 guarantees
equality of treatment to the Chinese nationals "upon the same terms
as the nationals of any other country". But the nationals of China are
not discriminated against because nationals of all other countries,
except those of the United States, who are granted special rights by
the Constitution, are all Prohibited from engaging in the retail trade.
But even supposing that the law infringes upon the said treaty, the
treaty is always subject to qualification or amendment by a
subsequent law (U.S. vs. Thompson, 258, Fed. 257, 260), and the

20

same may never curtail or restrict the scope of the police power of
the State (Palston vs. Pennsylvania 58 L. ed., 539).
Gonzales vs. Hechanova [G.R. No. L-21897, October 22,
1963]
PRESIDENT MAY NOT, BY EXECUTIVE AGREEMENT, ENTER INTO A
TRANSACTION WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY STATUTES ENACTED PRIOR
THERETO. It is lastly contended that the Government of the
Philippines has already entered into two (2) contracts for the
purchase of rice, one with the Republic of Vietnam, and another with
the Government of Burma; that these contracts constitute valid
executive agreements under international law; that such agreements
became binding and effective upon signing thereof by representatives
of the parties thereto; that in case of conflict between Republic Acts
Nos. 2207 and 3452 on the one hand, and the aforementioned
contracts, on the other, the latter should prevail, because, if a treaty
and a statute are inconsistent with each other, the conflict must be
resolved under the American jurisprudence in favor of the one
which is latest in point of time; that petitioner herein assails the
validity of acts of the executive relative to foreign relations in the
conduct of which the Supreme Court cannot interfere; and that the
aforementioned contracts have already been consummated, the
Government of the Philippines having already paid the price of the
rice involved therein through irrevocable letters of credit in favor of
the sellers of said commodity. We find no merit in this pretense.
The Court is not satisfied that the status of said contracts as alleged
executive agreements has been sufficiently established. The parties
to said contracts do not appear to have regarded the same as
executive agreements. But, even assuming that said contracts may
properly be considered as executive agreements, the same are
unlawful, as well as null and void, from a constitutional viewpoint,
said agreements being inconsistent with the provisions of Republic
Acts Nos. 2207 and 3452. Although the President may, under the
American constitutional system, enter into executive agreements
without previous legislative authority, he may not, by executive
agreement, enter into a transaction which is prohibited by statutes
enacted prior thereto. Under the Constitution, the main function of
the Executive is to enforce laws enacted by Congress. The former
may not interfere in the performance of the legislative powers of the
latter, except in the exercise of his veto power. He may not defeat
legislative enactments that have acquired the status of laws, by
indirectly repealing the same through an executive agreement
providing for the performance of the very act prohibited by said laws.
The American theory to the effect that, in the event of conflict
between a treaty and a statute, the one which is latest in point of
time shall prevail, is not applicable to the case at bar, for respondents
not only admit, but, also, insist that the contracts adverted to are not
treaties. Said theory may be justified upon the ground that treaties to
which the United States is signatory require the advice and consent
of its Senate, and, hence, of a branch of the legislative department.

No such justification can be given as regards executive agreements


not authorized by previous legislation, without completely upsetting
the principle of separation of powers and the system of checks and
balances which are fundamental in our constitutional set up and that
of the United States.
In Re: Garcia [2 SCRA 984, August 15, 1961]
Article I of the Treaty, in its pertinent part, provides:
"The nationals of both countries who shall have
obtained degrees or diplomas to practice the liberal
professions in either of the Contracting States,
issued by competent national authorities, shall be
deemed competent to exercise said professions in
the territory of the Other, subject to the laws and
regulations of the latter. . . ."
It is clear, therefore, that the privileges provided in the Treaty
invoked by the applicant are made expressly subject to the laws and
regulations of the contracting State in whose territory it is desired to
exercise the legal profession; and Section 1 of Rule 127, in
connection with Sections 2, 9, and 16 thereof, which have the force of
law, require that before anyone can practice the legal profession in
the Philippines he must first successfully pass the required bar
examinations; and
The aforementioned Treaty, concluded between the Republic of the
Philippines and the Spanish State could not have been intended to
modify the laws and regulations governing admission to the practice
of law in the Philippines, for the reason that the Executive
Department may not encroach upon the constitutional prerogative of
the Supreme Court to promulgate rules for admission to the practice
of law in the Philippines, the power to repeal, alter or supplement
such rules being reserved only to the Congress of the Philippines.
(See Sec. 13, Art. VIII, Phil. Constitution).
At any rate, the Treaty was intended to govern Filipino citizens
desiring to practice their profession in Spain, and the citizens of Spain
desiring to practice their professions in the Philippines. Applicant is a
Filipino citizen desiring to practice the legal profession in the
Philippines. He is therefore subject to the laws of his own country and
is not entitled to the privileges extended to Spanish nationals desiring
to practice in the Philippines.
Section 4
People vs. Lagman [G.R. No. 45892, July 13, 1938]
COMPULSORY
Defense Law,
does not go
contrary, in

MILITARY SERVICE IS CONSTITUTIONAL. The National


in so far as it establishes compulsory military service,
against this constitutional provision but is, on the
faithful compliance therewith. The duty of the

Government to defend the State cannot be performed except through


an army. To leave the organization of an army to the will of the
citizens would be to make this duty of the Government excusable
should there be no sufficient men who volunteer to enlist therein.
In the United States the courts have held in a series of decisions that
the compulsory military service adopted by reason of the civil war
and the world war does not violate the Constitution, because the
power to establish it is derived from that granted to Congress to
declare war and to organize and maintain an army. This is so because
the right of the Government to require compulsory military service is
a consequence of its duty to defend the State and is reciprocal with
its duty to defend the life, liberty, and property of the citizen. In the
case of Jacobson vs. Massachusetts (197 U.S., 11; 25 Sup. Ct. Rep.,
385), it was said that, without violating the Constitution, a person
may be compelled by force, if need be, against his will, against his
pecuniary interests, and even against his religious or political
convictions, to take his place in the ranks of the army of this country,
and risk the chance of being shot down in its defense. In the case of
United States vs. Olson (253 Feb., 233), it was also said that this is
not deprivation of property without due process of law, because, in its
just sense, there is no right of property to an office or employment.
The circumstance that these decisions refer to laws enacted by
reason of the actual existence of war does not make our case any
different, inasmuch as, in the last analysis, what justifies compulsory
military service is the defense of the State, whether actual or
whether in preparation to make it more effective, in case of need.

Section 6
Aglipay vs. Ruiz [G.R. No. 45459, March 13, 1937]
THE CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, AND NOT
MERE RELIGIOUS TOLERATION. - The prohibition herein expressed is
a direct corollary of the principle of separation of church and state.
Without the necessity of adverting to the historical background of this
principle in our country, it is sufficient to say that our history, not to
speak of the history of mankind, has taught us that the union of
church and state is prejudicial to both, for occasions might arise when
the state will use the church, and the church the state, as a weapon
in the furtherance of their respective ends and aims. The Malolos
Constitution recognized this principle of separation of church and
state in the early stages of our constitutional development; it was
inserted in the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain of
December 10, 1898, reiterated in President McKinley's Instructions to
the Philippine Commission, reaffirmed in the Philippine Bill of 1902
and in the Autonomy Act of August 29, 1916, and finally embodied in
the Constitution of the Philippines as the supreme expression of the

21

Filipino People. It is almost trite to say now that in this country we


enjoy both religious and civil freedom. All the officers of the
Government, from the highest to the lowest, in taking their oath to
support and defend the Constitution, bind themselves to recognize
and respect the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, with its
inherent limitations and recognized implications. It should be stated
that what is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious liberty, not
mere religious toleration.
Religious freedom, however, as a constitutional mandate is not
inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not a denial of its
influence in human affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an
active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is
recognized. And, in so far as it instills into the minds the purest
principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and highly
appreciated. When the Filipino people, in the preamble of their
Constitution, implored "the aid of Divine Providence, in order to
establish a government that shall embody their ideals, conserve and
develop the patrimony of the nation, promote the general welfare,
and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of
independence under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy," they
thereby manifested their intense religious nature and placed
unfaltering reliance upon Him who guides the destinies of men and
nations. The elevating influence of religion in human society is
recognized here as elsewhere. In fact, certain general concessions
are indiscriminately accorded to religious sects and denominations.
Our Constitution and laws exempt from taxation properties devoted
exclusively to religious purposes (sec. 14, subsec. 3, Art. VI,
Constitution of the Philippines and sec. 1, subsec. Ordinance
appended thereto; Assessment Law, sec. 344, par [c], Adm. Code)
sectarian aid is not prohibited when a priest, preacher, minister or
other religious teacher or dignitary as such is assigned to the armed
forces or to any penal institution, orphanage or leprosarium (sec. 13,
subsec. 3 Art. VI, Constitution of the Philippines). Optional religious
instruction in the public schools is by constitutional mandate allowed
(sec. 5, Art. XIII, Constitution of the Philippines, in relation to sec.
928, Ad. Code). Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, Thanksgiving
Day, Christmas Day, and Sundays are made legal holidays (sec. 29,
Adm. Code) because of the secular idea that their observance is
conducive to beneficial moral results. The law allows divorce but
punishes polygamy and bigamy; and certain crimes against religious
worship are considered crimes against the fundamental laws of the
state (see arts. 132 and 133, Revised Penal Code).
Taruc vs. De la Cruz [G.R. No. 144801, March 10, 2005]
INTRAMURAL RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES. The only issue to be resolved
in this case is whether or not the courts have jurisdiction to hear a
case involving the expulsion/excommunication of members of a
religious institution.
We rule that the courts do not.

Section 5, Article III or the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution


specifically provides that:
Sec. 5. No law shall be made respecting an
establishment of religion or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment
of religious profession and worship, without
discrimination or preference, shall forever be
allowed. No religious test shall be required for the
exercise of civil or political rights.
In our jurisdiction, we hold the Church and the State to be separate
and distinct from each other. "Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and to
God what is God's." We have, however, observed as early as 1928
that:
upon the examination of the decisions it will be
readily apparent that cases involving questions
relative to ecclesiastical rights have always received
the profoundest attention from the courts, not only
because of their inherent interest, but because of
the far reaching effects of the decisions in human
society. [However,] courts have learned the lesson
of conservatism in dealing with such matters, it
having been found that, in a form of government
where the complete separation of civil and
ecclesiastical authority is insisted upon, the civil
courts must not allow themselves to intrude unduly
in matters of an ecclesiastical nature. 4 (italics
ours)
We
agree
with
the
Court
of
Appeals
that
the
expulsion/excommunication
of
members
of
a
religious
institution/organization is a matter best left to the discretion of the
officials, and the laws and canons, of said institution/organization. It
is not for the courts to exercise control over church authorities in the
performance of their discretionary and official functions. Rather, it is
for the members of religious institutions/organizations to conform to
just church regulations. In the words of Justice Samuel F. Miller 5:
. . . all who unite themselves to an ecclesiastical
body do so with an implied consent to submit to the
Church government and they are bound to submit
to it.
In the leading case of Fonacier v. Court of Appeals, we enunciated the
doctrine that in disputes involving religious institutions or
organizations, there is one area which the Court should not touch:
doctrinal and disciplinary differences. Thus,
The amendments of the constitution, restatement
of articles of religion and abandonment of faith or
abjuration alleged by appellant, having to do with

faith, practice, doctrine, form


of worship,
ecclesiastical law, custom and rule of a church and
having reference to the power of excluding from the
church those allegedly unworthy of membership,
are unquestionably ecclesiastical matters which are
outside the province of the civil courts. (emphasis
ours)
Section 10
Calalang vs. Williams [G.R. No. 47800, December 2, 1940]
SOCIAL JUSTICE. Social justice is "neither communism, nor
despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the humanization of laws
and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so
that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at
least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the
welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of
measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the component
elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic
and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the
community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally
justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers
underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored
principle of salus populi est suprema lex. Social justice, therefore,
must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of
interdependence among divers and diverse units of a society and of
the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all
groups as a combined force in our social and economic life, consistent
with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of
promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of
bringing about "the greatest good to the greatest number."
Almeda vs. CA [G.R. No. L-43800, July 29, 1977]
IN THE PROMOTION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE, THE STATE MAY REGULATE
PROPERTY OWNERSHIP. - It is to be noted that under the new
Constitution, property ownership is impressed with social function.
Property use must not only be for the benefit of the owner but of
society as well. The State, in the promotion of social justice, may
"regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, enjoyment and disposition
of private property, and equitably diffuse property . . . ownership and
profits." 7 One governmental policy of recent date projects the
emancipation of tenants from the bondage of the soil and the transfer
to them of the ownership of the land they till. This is Presidential
Decree No. 27 of October 21, 1972, ordaining that all tenant farmers
"of private agricultural lands devoted to rice and corn under a system
of sharecrop or lease-tenancy, whether classified as landed estates or
not" shall be deemed "owner of a portion constituting a family-size
farm of five (5) hectares if not irrigated and there (3) hectares if
irrigated."
Ondoy vs. Ignacio [G.R. No. L-47178, May 16, 1980]

22

SOCIAL JUSTICE IS NOT EQUALITY, BUT PROTECTION. - Lastly, to


quote from the opinion therein rendered: "To be more specific, the
principle of social justice is in this sphere strengthened and vitalized.
A realistic view is that expressed in Agustin v. Workmen's
Compensation Commission: 'As between a laborer, usually poor and
unlettered, and the employer, who has resources to secure able legal
advice, the law has reason to demand from the latter stricter
compliance. Social justice in these cases is not equality but
protection."
Salonga vs. Farrales [G.R. No. L-47088, July 10, 1981]
SOCIAL JUSTICE CANNOT NULLIFY THE LAW ON OBLIGATIONS AND
CONTRACTS. Social Justice provided for in Sec. 6, Article II of the
New Constitution cannot be invoked to trample on the rights of
property owners who under the Constitution and laws are also
entitled to protection. The Social justice consecrated in our
constitution was not intended to take away rights from a person and
give them to another who is not entitled thereto. Evidently, the plea
for social justice cannot nullify the law on obligations and contracts,
and is, therefore, beyond the power of the Courts to grant.
Section 11
Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo, G.R. No. 180906,
October 7, 2008
The writ of Amparo then spread throughout the Western Hemisphere,
gradually evolving into various forms, in response to the particular
needs of each country. It became, in the words of a justice of the
Mexican Federal Supreme Court, one piece of Mexico's self-attributed
"task of conveying to the world's legal heritage that institution which,
as a shield of human dignity, her own painful history conceived." 84
What began as a protection against acts or omissions of public
authorities in violation of constitutional rights later evolved for several
purposes: (1) Amparo libertad for the protection of personal freedom,
equivalent to the habeas corpus writ; (2) Amparo contra leyes for the
judicial review of the constitutionality of statutes; (3) Amparo
casacion for the judicial review of the constitutionality and legality of
a judicial decision; (4) Amparo administrativo for the judicial review
of administrative actions; and (5) Amparo agrario for the protection
of peasants' rights derived from the agrarian reform process.
In sum, respondents assert that their cause of action consists in the
threat to their right to life and liberty, and a violation of their
right to security.
Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if
it has indeed been violated as respondents assert. The right to
security or the right to security of person finds a textual hook in
Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which provides, viz:

Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their


persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any
purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to
be determined personally by the judge...
At the core of this guarantee is the immunity of one's person,
including the extensions of his/her person - houses, papers, and
effects - against government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the
state's power over a person's home and possessions, but more
importantly, protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself.117
The purpose of this provision was enunciated by the Court in People
v. CFI of Rizal, Branch IX, Quezon City, viz:
While the right to life under Article III, Section 1 guarantees
essentially the right to be alive - upon which the enjoyment of all
other rights is preconditioned - the right to security of person is a
guarantee of the secure quality of this life, viz: "The life to which
each person has a right is not a life lived in fear that his person and
property may be unreasonably violated by a powerful ruler. Rather, it
is a life lived with the assurance that the government he established
and consented to, will protect the security of his person and property.
The ideal of security in life and property... pervades the whole history
of man. It touches every aspect of man's existence." In a broad
sense, the right to security of person "emanates in a person's legal
and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his
health, and his reputation. It includes the right to exist, and the right
to enjoyment of life while existing, and it is invaded not only by a
deprivation of life but also of those things which are necessary to the
enjoyment of life according to the nature, temperament, and lawful
desires of the individual." 123
Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of
protection of one's rights by the government. In the context of
the writ of Amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the
right to life and liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987
Constitution and the right to security of person (as freedom from
threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity) under
Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third
sense is a corollary of the policy that the State "guarantees full
respect for human rights" under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987
Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and
security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and
security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not
afford protection to these rights especially when they are under
threat. Protection includes conducting effective investigations,
organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to
victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats
thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of
justice. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights stressed the
importance of investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez Case, viz:

(The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a


serious manner and not as a mere formality
preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have
an objective and be assumed by the State as its own
legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests
that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his
family or upon their offer of proof, without an effective
search for the truth by the government.135
This third sense of the right to security of person as a guarantee of
government protection has been interpreted by the United Nations'
Human Rights Committee 136 in not a few cases involving Article 9 137 of
the ICCPR. While the right to security of person appears in
conjunction with the right to liberty under Article 9, the Committee
has ruled that the right to security of person can exist
independently of the right to liberty. In other words, there need
not necessarily be a deprivation of liberty for the right to security of
person to be invoked. In Delgado Paez v. Colombia,138 a case
involving death threats to a religion teacher at a secondary school in
Leticia, Colombia, whose social views differed from those of the
Apostolic Prefect of Leticia, the Committee held, viz:

Section 12
1978]

Virtouso vs. Municipal Judge [G.R. No. L-47841, March 21,

THE STATE SAFEGUARDS THE RIGHTS OF THE YOUTH. - This Court


should, whenever appropriate, give vitality and force to the Youth and
Welfare Code, which is an implementation of this specific
constitutional mandate: "The State recognizes the vital role of the
youth in nation-building and shall promote their physical, intellectual,
and social well-being."
Section 16
Oposa vs. Factoran [G.R. No. 101083, July 30, 1993]
THE RIGHT TO A BALANCED AND HEALTHFUL ECOLOGY, THOUGH
NOT INCLUDED IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS, IS A SOURCE OF CIVIL AND
POLITICAL RIGHTS. The complaint focuses on one specific
fundamental legal right the right to a balanced and healthful
ecology which, for the first time in our nation's constitutional history,
is solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law. Section 16, Article II
of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides: "SEC. 16. The State shall
protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature."
This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the
preceding section of the same article: "SEC. 15. The State shall
protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill
health consciousness among them." While the right to a balanced and

23

healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of Principles


and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow
that it is less important than any of the civil and political rights
enumerated in the latter. Such a right belongs to a different category
of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation
and self-perpetuation aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners
the advancement of which may even be said to predate all
governments and constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights
need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to
exist from the inception of humankind. If they are now explicitly
mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because of the wellfounded fear of its framers that unless the rights to a balanced and
healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies by the
Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance
and imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first
and protect and advance the second, the day would not be too far
when all else would be lost not only for the present generation, but
also for those to come generations which stand to inherit nothing
but parched earth incapable of sustaining life. The right to a balanced
and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain
from impairing the environment.
Laguna Lake Development Authority vs. CA [G.R. No. 110120,
March 16, 1994]
The immediate response to the demands of "the necessities of
protecting vital public interests" gives vitality to the statement on
ecology embodied in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies or
the 1987 Constitution. Article II, Section 16 which provides:
"The State shall protect and advance the right of
the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in
accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature."
As a constitutionally guaranteed right of every person, it carries the
correlative duty of non-impairment. This is but in consonance with
the declared policy of the state "to protect and promote the right to
health of the people and instill health consciousness among them." It
is to be borne in mind that the Philippines is party to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the Alma Conference Declaration of
1978 which recognize health as a fundamental human right.
The issuance, therefore, of the cease and desist order by the LLDA,
as a practical matter of procedure under the circumstances of the
case, is a proper exercise of its power and authority under its charter
and its amendatory laws. Had the cease and desist order issued by
the LLDA been complied with by the City Government of Caloocan as
it did in the first instance, no further legal steps would have been
necessary.
Section 19

Garcia vs. Board of Investments [G.R. No. 92024,


November 9, 1990]
In the light of all the clear advantages manifest in the plant's
remaining in Bataan, practically nothing is shown to justify the
transfer to Batangas except a near-absolute discretion given by BOI
to investors not only to freely choose the site but to transfer it from
their own first choice for reasons which remain murky to say the
least.
And this brings us to a prime consideration which the Court cannot
rightly ignore.
Section 1, Article XII of the Constitution provides that:
xxx
xxx
xxx
"The State shall promote industrialization and full
employment
based
on
sound
agricultural
development
and
agrarian
reform,
through
industries that make full and efficient use of human
and natural resources, and which are competitive in
both domestic and foreign markets. However, the
State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair
foreign competition and trade practices."
xxx
xxx
xxx
Every provision of the Constitution on the national economy and
patrimony is infused with the spirit of national interest. The nonalienation of natural resources, the State's full control over the
development and utilization of our scarce resources, agreements with
foreigners being based on real contributions to the economic growth
and general welfare of the country and the regulation of foreign
investments in accordance with national goals and priorities are too
explicit not to be noticed and understood.
A petrochemical industry is not an ordinary investment opportunity. It
should not be treated like a garment or embroidery firm, a shoemaking venture, or even an assembler of cars or manufacturer of
computer chips, where the BOI reasoning may be accorded fuller
faith and credit. The petrochemical industry is essential to the
national interest. In other ASEAN countries like Indonesia and
Malaysia, the government superintends the industry by controlling
the upstream or cracker facility.
Section 21
Association of Small Landowners in the Phils. vs. Sec. of DAR
[G.R. No. 78742, July 14, 1989]
The CARP Law and the other enactments also involved in these cases
have been the subject of bitter attack from those who point to the
shortcomings of these measures and ask that they be scrapped
entirely. To be sure, these enactments are less than perfect; indeed,
they should be continuously re-examined and rehoned, that they may

be sharper instruments for the better protection of the farmer's


rights. But we have to start somewhere. In the pursuit of agrarian
reform, we do not tread on familiar ground but grope on terrain
fraught with pitfalls and expected difficulties. This is inevitable. The
CARP Law is not a tried and tested project. On the contrary, to use
Justice Holmes's words, "it is an experiment, as all life is an
experiment," and so we learn as we venture forward, and, if
necessary, by our own mistakes. We cannot expect perfection
although we should strive for it by all means. Meantime, we struggle
as best we can in freeing the farmer from the iron shackles that have
unconscionably, and for so long, fettered his soul to the soil.
By the decision we reach today, all major legal obstacles to the
comprehensive agrarian reform program are removed, to clear the
way for the true freedom of the farmer. We may now glimpse the day
he will be released not only from want but also from the exploitation
and disdain of the past and from his own feelings of inadequacy and
helplessness. At last his servitude will be ended forever. At last the
farm on which he toils will be his farm. It will be his portion of the
Mother Earth that will give him not only the staff of life but also the
joy of living. And where once it bred for him only deep despair, now
can he see in it the fruition of his hopes for a more fulfilling future.
Now at last can he banish from his small plot of earth his insecurities
and dark resentments and "rebuild in it the music and the dream."
Section 25
Basco vs PAGCOR [G.R. No. 91649, May 14, 1991]
LOCAL AUTONOMY SIMPLY MEANS DECENTRALIZATION. - The power
of local government to "impose taxes and fees" is always subject to
"limitations" which Congress may provide by law. Since PD 1869
remains an "operative" law until "amended, repealed or revoked"
(Sec. 3, Art. XVIII, 1987 Constitution), its "exemption clause"
remains as an exception to the exercise of the power of local
governments to impose taxes and fees. It cannot therefore be
violative but rather is consistent with the principle of local autonomy.
Besides, the principle of local autonomy under the 1987 Constitution
simply means "decentralization" (III Records of the 1987
Constitutional Commission, pp. 436-436, as cited in Bernas, The
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Vol. II, First Ed., 1988,
p. 374). It does not make local governments sovereign within the
state or an "imperium in imperio." "Local Government has been
described as a political subdivision of a nation or state which is
constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs. In a
unitary system of government, such as the government under the
Philippine Constitution, local governments can only be an intra
sovereign subdivision of one sovereign nation, it cannot be an
imperium in imperio. Local government in such a system can only
mean a measure of decentralization of the function of government.
(emphasis supplied) As to what state powers should be
"decentralized" and what may be delegated to local government units
remains a matter of policy, which concerns wisdom. It is therefore a

24

political question. (Citizens Alliance for Consumer Protection v.


Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA 539). What is settled is that the
matter of regulating, taxing or otherwise dealing with gambling is a
State concern and hence, it is the sole prerogative of the State to
retain it or delegate it to local governments.
Limbona vs. Mangelin [G.R. No. 80391, February 28, 1989]
DECENTRALIZATION OF ADMINISTRATION DISTINGUISHED FROM
DECENTRALIZATION
OF
POWER.

Autonomy
is
either
decentralization of administration or decentralization of power. There
is decentralization of administration when the central government
delegates administrative powers to political subdivisions in order to
broaden the base of government power and in the process to make
local governments "more responsive and accountable," and "ensure
their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them
more effective partners in the pursuit of national development and
social progress." At the same time, it relieves the central government
of the burden of managing local affairs and enables it to concentrate
on national concerns. The President exercises "general supervision"
over them, but only to "ensure that local affairs are administered
according to law." He has no control over their acts in the sense that
he can substitute their judgments with his own. Decentralization of
power, on the other hand, involves an abdication of political power in
the favor of local governments units declared to be autonomous. In
that case, the autonomous government is free to chart its own
destiny and shape its future with minimum intervention from central
authorities. According to a constitutional author, decentralization of
power amounts to "self-immolation," since in that event, the
autonomous government becomes accountable not to the central
authorities but to its constituency.
Under the 1987 Constitution, local government units enjoy autonomy
in these two senses, thus: Section 1. The territorial and political
subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces,
cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous
regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter
provided. Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy
local autonomy . . . Sec. 15. There shall be created autonomous
regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of
provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing
common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and
social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the
framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as
territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. An autonomous
government that enjoys autonomy of the latter category [CONST.
(1987), art. X sec. 15.] is subject alone to the decree of the organic
act creating it and accepted principles on the effects and limits of
"autonomy." On the other hand, an autonomous government of the
former class is, as we noted, under the supervision of the national
government acting through the President (and the Department of
Local Government).

Section 26
Pamatong vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 161872, April 13, 2004]
THE STATES PRINCIPLE OF EQUAL ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITIES IS
NOT JUDICIALLY ENFORCEABLE. - Implicit in the petitioners
invocation of the constitutional provision ensuring equal access to
opportunities for public office is the claim that there is a
constitutional right to run for or hold public office and, particularly in
his case, to seek the presidency. There is none. What is recognized is
merely a privilege subject to limitations imposed by law. Section 26,
Article II of the Constitution neither bestows such a right nor elevates
the privilege to the level of an enforceable right. There is nothing in
the plain language of the provision which suggests such a thrust or
justifies an interpretation of the sort.
The equal access provision is a subsumed part of Article II of the
Constitution, entitled Declaration of Principles and State Policies.
The provisions under the Article are generally considered not selfexecuting, and there is no plausible reason for according a different
treatment to the equal access provision. Like the rest of the policies
enumerated in Article II, the provision does not contain any judicially
enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for
legislative or executive action. The disregard of the provision does
not give rise to any cause of action before the courts.
An inquiry into the intent of the framers
produces the same
determination that the provision is not self-executory. The original
wording of the present Section 26, Article II had read, The State
shall broaden opportunities to public office and prohibit public
dynasties. Commissioner (now Chief Justice) Hilario Davide, Jr.
successfully brought forth an amendment that changed the word
broaden to the phrase ensure equal access, and the substitution
of the word office to service. He explained his proposal in this
wise:
I changed the word broaden to ENSURE EQUAL
ACCESS TO because what is important would be
equal access to the opportunity. If you broaden, it
would necessarily mean that the government would
be mandated to create as many offices as are
possible to accommodate as many people as are
also possible. That is the meaning of broadening
opportunities to public service. So, in order that we
should not mandate the State to make the
government the number one employer and to limit
offices only to what may be necessary and
expedient yet offering equal opportunities to access
to it, I change the word broaden. (emphasis
supplied)
Obviously, the provision is not intended to compel the State to enact
positive measures that would accommodate as many people as
possible into public office. The approval of the Davide amendment

indicates the design of the framers to cast the provision as simply


enunciatory of a desired policy objective and not reflective of the
imposition of a clear State burden.
Moreover, the provision as written leaves much to be desired if it is to
be regarded as the source of positive rights. It is difficult to interpret
the clause as operative in the absence of legislation since its effective
means and reach are not properly defined. Broadly written, the
myriad of claims that can be subsumed under this rubric appear to be
entirely open-ended. Words and phrases such as equal access,
opportunities, and public service are susceptible to countless
interpretations owing to their inherent impreciseness. Certainly, it
was not the intention of the framers to inflict on the people an
operative but amorphous foundation from which innately
unenforceable rights may be sourced.
As earlier noted, the privilege of equal access to opportunities to
public office may be subjected to limitations. Some valid limitations
specifically on the privilege to seek elective office are found in the
provisions of the Omnibus Election Code on Nuisance Candidates
and COMELEC Resolution No. 6452 dated December 10, 2002
outlining the instances wherein the COMELEC may motu proprio
refuse to give due course to or cancel a Certificate of Candidacy.
As long as the limitations apply to everybody equally without
discrimination, however, the equal access clause is not violated.
Equality is not sacrificed as long as the burdens engendered by the
limitations are meant to be borne by any one who is minded to file a
certificate of candidacy. In the case at bar, there is no showing that
any person is exempt from the limitations or the burdens which they
create.
Section 28
Legaspi vs. Civil Service Commission [G.R. No. 72119, May
29, 1987]
AGENCIES CAN ONLY REGULATE THE MANNER OF INSPECTION, BUT
MAY NOT PROHIBIT ACCESS. - It is clear from the foregoing
pronouncements of this Court that government agencies are without
discretion in refusing disclosure of, or access to, information of public
concern. This is not to lose sight of the reasonable regulations which
may be imposed by said agencies in custody of public records on the
manner in which the right to information may be exercised by the
public. In the Subido case, We recognized the authority of the
Register of Deeds to regulate the manner in which persons desiring to
do so, may inspect, examine or copy records relating to registered
lands. However, the regulations which the Register of Deeds may
promulgate are confined to:
. . . prescribing the manner and hours of
examination to the end that damage to or loss of,
the records may be avoided, that undue

25

interference with the duties of the custodian of the


books and documents and other employees may be
prevented, that the right of other persons entitled
to make inspection may be insured . . . (Subido vs.
Ozaeta, 80 Phil. 383, 387).

governmental functions are accountable to the people, the Court is


convinced that transactions entered into by the GSIS, a governmentcontrolled corporation created by special legislation are within the
ambit of the people's right to be informed pursuant to the
constitutional policy of transparency in government dealings.

Applying the Subido ruling by analogy, We recognized a similar


authority in a municipal judge, to regulate the manner of inspection
by the public of criminal docket records in the case of Baldoza vs.
Dimaano (Adm. Matter No. 1120-MJ, May 5, 1976, 71 SCRA 14). Said
administrative case was filed against the respondent judge for his
alleged refusal to allow examination of the criminal docket records in
his sala. Upon a finding by the Investigating Judge that the
respondent had allowed the complainant to open and view the
subject records, We absolved the respondent. In effect, We have also
held that the rules and conditions imposed by him upon the manner
of examining the public records were reasonable.

In fine, petitioners are entitled to access to the documents evidencing


loans granted by the GSIS, subject to reasonable regulations that the
latter may promulgate relating to the manner and hours of
examination, to the end that damage to or loss of the records may be
avoided, that undue interference with the duties of the custodian of
the records may be prevented and that the right of other persons
entitled to inspect the records may be insured [Legaspi v. Civil
Service Commission, supra at p. 538, quoting Subido v. Ozaeta, 80
Phil. 383, 387.] The petition, as to the second and third alternative
acts sought to be done by petitioners, is meritorious.

In both the Subido and the Baldoza cases, We were emphatic in Our
statement that the authority to regulate the manner of examining
public records does not carry with it the power to prohibit. A
distinction has to be made between the discretion to refuse outright
the disclosure of or access to a particular information and the
authority to regulate the manner in which the access is to be
afforded. The first is a limitation upon the availability of access to the
information sought, which only the Legislature may impose (Art. III,
Sec. 6, 1987 Constitution). The second pertains to the government
agency charged with the custody of public records. Its authority to
regulate access is to be exercised solely to the end that damage to,
or loss of, public records may be avoided, undue interference with the
duties of said agencies may be prevented, and more importantly, that
the exercise of the same constitutional right by other persons shall be
assured (Subido vs. Ozaeta, supra).
Thus, while the manner of examining public records may be subject
to reasonable regulation by the government agency in custody
thereof, the duty to disclose the information of public concern, and to
afford access to public records cannot be discretionary on the part of
said agencies. Certainly, its performance cannot be made contingent
upon the discretion of such agencies. Otherwise, the enjoyment of
the constitutional right may be rendered nugatory by any whimsical
exercise of agency discretion. The constitutional duty, not being
discretionary, its performance may be compelled by a writ of
Mandamus in a proper case.
Valmonte vs. Belmonte [G.R. No. 74930, February 13, 1989]
GOVERNMENT OWNED AND CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS ARE
LIKEWISE SUBJECT TO THE PRINCIPLE OF FULL PUBLIC
DISCLOSURE. - Considering the intent of the framers of the
Constitution which, though not binding upon the Court, are
nevertheless persuasive, and considering further that governmentowned and controlled corporations, whether performing proprietary or

THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ON MATTERS OF PUBLIC CONCERN


DOES NOT CARRY WITH IT THE RIGHT TO DEMAND COPIES OF THE
DOCUMENTS SOUGHT TO BE INSPECTED. - However, the same
cannot be said with regard to the first act sought by petitioners, i.e.,
"to furnish petitioners the list of the names of the Batasang
Pambansa members belonging to the UNIDO and PDP-Laban who
were able to secure clean loans immediately before the February 7
election thru the intercession/marginal note of the then First Lady
Imelda Marcos."
Although citizens are afforded the right to information and, pursuant
thereto, are entitled to "access to official records," the constitution
does not accord them a right to compel custodians of official records
to prepare lists, abstracts, summaries and the like in their desire to
acquire information or matters of public concern.
Aquino-Sarmiento vs. Morato
13, 1991]

[G.R. No. 92541, November

RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO INFORMATION ON MATTERS OF PUBLIC


CONCERN IS SELF-EXECUTORY. As We held in Legaspi v. Civil
Service Commission (150 SCRA 530 [1987]), the constitutional
provision "The right of the people to information on matters of public
concern" is self-executory and supplies "the rules by means of which
the right to information may be enjoyed (Cooley, A Treatise on
Constitutional Limitations 167 [1927]) by guaranteeing the right and
mandating the duty to afford access to sources of information. Hence,
the fundamental right therein recognized may be asserted by the
people upon the ratification of the constitution without need for any
ancillary act of the Legislature. What may be provided for by the
Legislature are reasonable conditions and limitations upon the access
to be afforded which must, of necessity, be consistent with the
declared State policy of full public disclosure of all transactions
involving public interest (Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 28)." (See also
Taada v. Tuvera, 136 SCRA 27 [1985]; Valmonte v. Belmonte, Jr.,
170 SCRA 256 [1989]).

Respondents contend, however, that what is rendered by the


members of the board in reviewing films and reflected in their
individual voting slip is their individual vote of conscience on the
motion picture or television program and as such, makes the
individual voting slip purely private and personal; an exclusive
property of the member concerned.
The term private has been defined as "belonging to or concerning, an
individual person, company, or interest"; whereas, public means
"pertaining to, or belonging to, or affecting a nation, state, or
community at large" (People v. Powell, 274 NW 372 [1937]). May the
decisions of respondent Board and the individual members
concerned, arrived at in an official capacity, be considered private?
Certainly not. As may be gleaned from the decree (PD 1986) creating
the respondent classification board, there is no doubt that its very
existence is public in character; it is an office created to serve public
interest. It being the case, respondents can lay no valid claim to
privacy. The right to privacy belongs to the individual acting in his
private capacity and not to a governmental agency or officers tasked
with, and acting in, the discharge of public duties (See Valmonte v.
Belmonte, Jr., supra.) There can be no invasion of privacy in the case
at bar since what is sought to be divulged is a product of action
undertaken in the course of performing official functions. To declare
otherwise would be to clothe every public official with an impregnable
mantle of protection against public scrutiny for their official acts.
SEPARATION OF POWERS
In re: Manzano [A.M. No. 88-7-1861-RTC, October 5, 1988]
IN DEFERENCE TO THE CONCEPT OF SEPARATION OF POWERS,
JUDICIAL OFFICERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE APPOINTED TO
POSITIONS PERFORMING NON-JUDICIAL FUNCTIONS. - Under the
Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court and other courts
established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing
quasi-judicial or administrative functions (Section 12, Art. VIII,
Constitution).
Considering that membership of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte
Provincial Committee on Justice, which discharges administrative
functions, will be in violation of the Constitution, the Court is
constrained to deny his request.
Former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando in his concurring opinion in
the case of Garcia vs. Macaraig (39 SCRA 106) ably sets forth:
"While the doctrine of separation of powers is a
relative theory not to be enforced with pedantic
rigor, the practical demands of government
precluding its doctrinaire application, it cannot
justify a member of the judiciary being required to
assume a position or perform a duty non-judicial in

26

character. That is implicit in the principle. Otherwise


there is a plain departure from its command. The
essence of the trust reposed in him is to decide.
Only a higher court, as was emphasized by Justice
Barredo, can pass on his actuation. He is not a
subordinate of an executive or legislative official,
however eminent. It is indispensable that there be
no exception to the rigidity of such a norm if he is,
as expected, to be confined to the task of
adjudication. Fidelity to his sworn responsibility no
less than the maintenance of respect for the
judiciary can be satisfied with nothing less."
This declaration does not mean that RTC Judges should adopt an
attitude of monastic insensibility or unbecoming indifference to
Province/City Committee on Justice. As incumbent RTC Judges, they
form part of the structure of government. Their integrity and
performance in the adjudication of cases contribute to the solidity of
such structure. As public officials, they are trustees of an orderly
society. Even as non-members of Provincial/City Committees on
Justice, RTC judges should render assistance to said Committees to
help promote the laudable purposes for which they exist, but only
when such assistance may be reasonably incidental to the fulfillment
of their judicial duties.
Angara vs. Electoral Commission [G.R. No. 45081, July 15,
1936]
CONCEPTS OF SEPARATION OF POWERS AND CHECKS AND
BALANCES - The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in
our system of government. It obtains not through express provision
but by actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the
government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its
jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not
follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate
and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely
unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has
provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure
coordination in the workings of the various departments of the
government. For example, the Chief Executive under our Constitution
is so far made a check on the legislative power that this assent is
required in the enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to the
further check that a bill may become a law notwithstanding the
refusal of the President to approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or
three-fourths, as the case may be, of the National Assembly. The
President has also the right to convene the Assembly in special
session whenever he chooses. On the other hand, the National
Assembly operates as a check on the Executive in the sense that its
consent through its Commission on Appointments is necessary in the
appointment of certain officers; and the concurrence of a majority of
all its members is essential to the conclusion of treaties. Furthermore,
in its power to determine what courts other than the Supreme Court
shall be established, to define their jurisdiction and to appropriate

funds for their support, the National Assembly controls the judicial
department to a certain extent. The Assembly also exercises the
judicial power of trying impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, with
the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other
departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and
hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the
Constitution.
But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes
and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative
and the judicial departments of the government. The overlapping and
interlacing of functions and duties between the several departments,
however, sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves
off and the other begins. In times of social disquietude or political
excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be
forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict,
the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be
called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the
several departments and among the integral or constituent units
thereof.
As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking
perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power
of our people, acting through their delegates to so provide, that
instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however
limited, has established a republican government intended to operate
and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and
balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided
in the said instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain
language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers
and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it
would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a
mechanism by which to direct the course of government along
constitutional channels, for then the distribution of powers would be
mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of sentiment, and
the principles of good government mere political apothegms.
Certainly, the limitations and restrictions embodied in our
Constitution are real as they should be in any living constitution. In
the United States where no express constitutional grant is found in
their constitution, the possession of this moderating power of the
courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there,
has been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more
than one and a half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is
granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article
VIII of our Constitution.
JUDICIAL SUPREMACY - The Constitution is a definition of the powers
of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of
such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the
instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the
judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not
assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in
reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts

the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to


determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and
to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which
that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all
that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly
is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even then, this
power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to
be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and
limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis
mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to
dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions of
wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts
accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments,
not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the
Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of
actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of
the people as expressed through their representatives in the
executive and legislative departments of the government.
But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power
provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less to be remembered
that, in the language of James Madison, the system itself is not "the
chief palladium of constitutional liberty . . . the people who are
authors of this blessing must also be its guardians . . . their eyes
must be ever ready to mark, their voice to pronounce . . . aggression
on the authority of their constitution." In the last and ultimate
analysis, then, must the success of our government in the unfolding
years to come be tested in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts
than in consultation rooms and court chambers.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL GRANT OF POWER TO JUDGE ALL
CONTROVERSIES RELATING TO THE ELECTION, RETURNS AND
QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
CARRIES WITH IT THE POWER TO ISSUE REGULATIONS RELATIVE TO
THE EXERCISE OF THE POWERS EXPRESSLY CONFERRED. - The grant
of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to
the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National
Assembly, is intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had
remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of that
power in the Electoral Commission is an implied denial of the exercise
of that power by the National Assembly. And this is as effective a
restriction upon the legislative power as an express prohibition in the
Constitution (Ex parte Lewis, 45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1; State vs.
Whisman, 36 S. D., 260; L. R. A., 1917B, 1). If we concede the power
claimed in behalf of the National Assembly that said body may
regulate the proceedings of the Electoral Commission and cut off the
power of the commission to lay down the period within which protests
should be filed, the grant of power to the commission would be
ineffective. The Electoral Commission in such case would be invested
with the power to determine contested cases involving the election,
returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly
but subject at all times to the regulative power of the National
Assembly. Not only would the purpose of the framers of our

27

Constitution of totally transferring this authority from the legislative


body be frustrated, but a dual authority would be created with the
resultant inevitable clash of powers from time to time. A sad
spectacle would then be presented of the Electoral Commission
retaining the bare authority of taking cognizance of cases referred to,
but in reality without the necessary means to render that authority
effective whenever and wherever the National Assembly has chosen
to act, a situation worse than that intended to be remedied by the
framers of our Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the
National Assembly in procedural matters will inevitably lead to the
ultimate control by the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the
Electoral Commission, and, by indirection, to the entire abrogation of
the constitutional grant. It is obvious that this result should not be
permitted.
We are not insensible to the impassioned argument of the learned
counsel for the petitioner regarding the importance and necessity of
respecting the dignity and independence of the National Assembly as
a coordinate department of the government and of according validity
to its acts, to avoid what he characterized would be practically an
unlimited power of the commission in the admission of protests
against members of the National Assembly. But as we have pointed
out hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral Commission carried
with it ex necesitate rei the power regulative in character to limit the
time within which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed.
It is a settled rule of construction that where a general power is
conferred or duty enjoined, every particular power necessary for the
exercise of the one or the performance of the other is also conferred
(Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eighth ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139).
In the absence of any further constitutional provision relating to the
procedure to be followed in filing protests before the Electoral
Commission, therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules
necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary
implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.
Casibang vs. Aquino [G.R. No. L-38025, August 20, 1979]
POLITICAL QUESTION - The term "political question" connotes what it
means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to
those questions which under the Constitution, are to be decided by
the people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full
discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or
executive branch of the government. It is concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure"
(Taada vs. Cuenco, L-1052, Feb. 28, 1957). A broader definition was
advanced by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brennan in Baker vs. Carr
(369 U.S. 186 [1962): "Prominent on the surface of any case held to
involve a political question is found a textually demonstrable
constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political
department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable
standards for resolving it; or the impossibility of deciding without an

initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion;


or the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution
without expressing lack of respect due coordinate branches of the
government; or an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a
political decision already made; or the potentiality of embarrassment
from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one
question" (p. 217). And Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, then an
Associate Justice, of this Court fixed the limits of the term, thus: "The
term has been made applicable to controversies clearly non-judicial
and therefore beyond its jurisdiction or to an issue involved in a case
appropriately subject to its cognizance, as to which there has been a
prior legislative or executive determination to which deference must
be paid (Cf. Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil. 192 [1946]; Lopez vs. Roxas, L25716, July 28, 1966, 17 SCRA 756; Gonzales vs. Commission on
Elections, L-28196, Nov. 9, 1967, 21 SCRA 774). It has likewise been
employed loosely to characterize a suit where the party proceeded
against is the President or Congress, or any branch thereof (Cf.
Planas vs. Gil, 67 Phil. 62 [1937]; Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil. 192
[1946]). If to be delimited with accuracy; 'political questions should
refer to such as would under the Constitution be decided by the
people in their sovereign capacity or in regard to which full
discretionary authority is vested either in the President or Congress.
It is thus beyond the competence of the judiciary to pass upon. . . ."
(Lansang vs. Garcia, 42 SCRA 448, 504-505 [1971])
JUSTICEABLE QUESTION - A purely justiciable question or
controversy as it implies a given right, legally demandable and
enforceable, an act or omission violative of said right, and a remedy,
granted or sanctioned by law, for said breach of right (Tan vs.
Republic, 107 Phil. 632-633 [1960]). Before and after the ratification
and effectivity of the New Constitution, the nature of the aforesaid
issue as well as the consequences of its resolution by the Court,
remains the same as above-stated.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN TERM OF OFFICE AND RIGHT TO OFFICE.
- That "there is a difference between the 'term' of office and the
'right' to hold an office. A 'term' of office is the period during which
an elected officer or appointee is entitled to hold office, perform its
functions and enjoy its privileges and emoluments. A 'right' to hold a
public office is the just and legal claim to hold and enjoy the powers
and responsibilities of the office. In other words, the 'term' refers to
the period, duration of length of time during which the occupant of an
office is entitled to stay therein whether such period be definite or
indefinite. Hence, although Section 9, Article XVII of the New
Constitution made the term of the petitioners indefinite, it did not
foreclose any challenge by the herein petitioners, in an election
protest, of the 'right' of the private respondents to continue holding
their respective office. What has been directly affected by said
constitutional provision is the 'term' to the office, although the 'right'
of the incumbent to an office which he is legally holding is coextensive with the 'term' thereof," and that "it is erroneous to
conclude that under Section 9, Article XVII of the New Constitution,
the term of office of the private respondents expired, and that they

are now holding their respective offices under a new term. We are of
the opinion that they hold their respective offices still under the term
to which they have been elected, although the same is now
indefinite" (Paredes, Sunga and Valley cases, supra).
Taada vs. Cuenco [G.R. No. L-10520, February 28, 1957]
THE COMPOSITION OF THE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL IS A JUSTICEABLE
QUESTION - Respondents assail our jurisdiction to entertain the
petition, upon the ground that the power to choose six (6) Senators
as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal has been expressly
conferred by the Constitution upon the Senate, despite the fact that
the draft submitted to the constitutional convention gave to the
respective political parties the right to elect their respective
representatives in the Electoral Commission provided for in the
original Constitution of the Philippines, and that the only remedy
available to petitioners herein "is not in the judicial forum", but "to
bring the matter to the bar of public opinion."
We cannot agree with the conclusion drawn by respondents from the
foregoing facts. To begin with, unlike the cases of Alejandrino vs.
Quezon (46 Phil., 83) and Vera vs. Avelino (77 Phil., 192) relied
upon by the respondents this is not an action against the Senate,
and it does not seek to compel the latter, either directly or indirectly,
to allow the petitioners to perform their duties as members of said
House. Although the Constitution provides that the Senate shall
choose six (6) Senators to be members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal, the latter is part neither of Congress nor of the Senate.
(Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil., 139; Suanes vs. Chief
Accountant, 81 Phil., 818; 46 Off. Gaz., 462.)
Secondly, although the Senate has, under the Constitution, the
exclusive power to choose the Senators who shall form part of the
Senate Electoral Tribunal, the fundamental law has prescribed the
manner in which the authority shall be exercised. As the author of a
very enlightening study on judicial self-limitation has aptly put it:
"The courts are called upon to say, on the one
hand, by whom certain powers shall be exercised,
and on the other hand, to determine whether the
powers thus possessed have been validly exercised.
In performing the latter function, they do not
encroach upon the powers of a coordinate branch of
the government, since the determination of the
validity of an act is not the same thing as the
performance of the act. In the one case we are
seeking to ascertain upon whom devolves the duty
of the particular service. In the other case we are
merely seeking to determine whether the
Constitution has been violated by anything done or
attempted by either an executive official or the
legislative." (Judicial Self-Limitation by Finkelstein,

28

pp. 221, 224, 244, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 39;


emphasis supplied.)
Again, under the Constitution, "the legislative power" is vested
exclusively in the Congress of the Philippines. Yet, this does not
detract from the power of the courts to pass upon the
constitutionality of acts of Congress And, since judicial power includes
the authority to inquire into the legality of statutes enacted by the
two Houses of Congress, and approved by the Executive, there can
be no reason why the validity of an act of one of said Houses, like
that of any other branch of the Government, may not be determined
in the proper actions. Thus, in the exercise of the so- called "judicial
supremacy", this Court declared that a resolution of the defunct
National Assembly could not bar the exercise of the powers of the
former Electoral Commission under the original Constitution. 2
(Angara vs. Electoral Commission, supra), and annulled certain acts
of the Executive 3 as incompatible with the fundamental law.
Sanidad vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. L-44640, October 12, 1976]
POWER TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION IS
JUSTICEABLE CONTROVERSY. - Political questions are neatly
associated with the wisdom, not the legality of a particular act. Where
the vortex of the controversy refers to the legality or validity of the
contested act, that matter is definitely justiciable or non-political.
What is in the heels of the Court is not the wisdom of the act of the
incumbent President in proposing amendments to the Constitution,
but his constitutional authority to perform such act or to assume the
power of a constituent assembly. Whether the amending process
confers on the President that power to propose amendments is
therefore a downright justiciable question. Should the contrary be
found, the actuation of the President would merely he a brutum
fulmen. If the Constitution provides how it may be amended, the
judiciary as the interpreter of that Constitution, can declare whether
the procedure followed or the authority assumed was valid or not.
We cannot accept the view of the Solicitor General, in pursuing his
theory of non-justiciability, that the question of the President's
authority to propose amendments and the regularity of the procedure
adopted for submission of the proposals to the people ultimately lie in
the judgment of the latter. A clear Descartes fallacy of vicious circle.
Is it not that the people themselves, by their sovereign act, provided
for the authority and procedure for the amending process when they
ratified the present Constitution in 1973? Whether, therefore, that
constitutional provision has been followed or not is indisputably a
proper subject of inquiry, not by the people themselves of course
who exercise no power of judicial review, but by the Supreme
Court in whom the people themselves vested that power, a power
which includes the competence to determine whether the
constitutional norms for amendments have been observed or not.
And, this inquiry must be done a priori not a posteriori, i.e., before
the submission to and ratification by the people.

Indeed, the precedents evolved by the Court on prior constitutional


cases underline the preference of the Court's majority to treat such
issue of Presidential role in the amending process as one of nonpolitical impression. In the Plebiscite Cases,
the contention of the
Solicitor General that the issue on the legality of Presidential Decree
No. 73 "submitting to the Filipino people (on January 15, 1973) for
ratification or rejection the Constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention and
appropriating funds therefor, "is a political one, was rejected and the
Court unanimously considered the issue as justiciable in nature.
Subsequently, in the Ratification Cases
involving the issue of
whether or not the validity of Presidential Proclamation No. 1102,
"announcing the Ratification by the Filipino people of the Constitution
proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention," partakes of the
nature of a political question, the affirmative stand of the Solicitor
General was dismissed, the Court ruled that the question raised is
justiciable. Chief Justice Concepcion, expressing the majority view,
said, "(T)hus, in the aforementioned plebiscite cases, We rejected the
theory of the respondents therein that the question-whether
Presidential Decree No. 73 calling a plebiscite to be held on January
15, 1973, for the ratification or rejection of the proposed new
Constitution, was valid or not, was not a proper subject of judicial
inquiry because, they claimed, it partook of a political nature, and We
unanimously declared that the issue was a justiciable one. With
identical unanimity. We overruled the respondent's contention in the
1971 habeas corpus cases, questioning Our authority to determine
the constitutional sufficiency of the factual bases of the Presidential
proclamation suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus on
August 21, 1971, despite the opposite view taken by this Court in
Barcelon vs. Baker and Montenegro vs. Castaeda, insofar as it
adhered to the former case, which view We, accordingly, abandoned
and refused to apply. For the same reason, We did not apply and
expressly modified, in Gonzales vs. Commission on Elections, the
political-question thereby adopted in Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito."
13
The return to Barcelon vs. Baker and Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, urged
by the Solicitor General, was decisively refused by the Court. Chief
Justice Concepcion continued: "The reasons adduced in support
thereof are, however, substantially the same as those given in
support of the political question theory advanced in said habeas
corpus and plebiscite cases, which were carefully considered by this
Court and found by it to be legally unsound and constitutionally
untenable. As consequence. Our decisions in the aforementioned
habeas corpus cases partakes of the nature and effect of a stare
decisis which gained added weight by its virtual reiteration."
Daza vs. Singson [G.R. No. 86344, December 21, 1989]
THE COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS IS A
JUSTICIEABLE ISSUE - Ruling first on the jurisdictional issue, we hold
that, contrary to the respondent's assertion, the Court has the
competence to act on the matter at bar. Our finding is that what is
before us is not a discretionary act of the House of Representatives
that may not be reviewed by us because it is political in nature. What

is involved here is the legality, not the wisdom, of the act of that
chamber in removing the petitioner from the Commission on
Appointments. That is not a political question because, as Chief
Justice Concepcion explained in Taada v. Cuenco:
. . . the term "political question" connotes, in legal
parlance, what it means in ordinary parlance,
namely, a question of policy. In other words, . . . it
refers "to those questions which, under the
Constitution, are to be decided by the people in
their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full
discretionary authority has been delegated to the
Legislature
or
executive
branch
of
the
Government." It is
concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a
particular measure.
By way of special and affirmative defenses, the respondents
contended inter alia that the subject of the petition was an internal
matter that only the Senate could resolve. The Court rejected this
argument, holding that what was involved was not the wisdom of the
Senate in choosing the respondents but the legality of the choice in
light of the requirement of the Constitution. The petitioners were
questioning the manner of filling the Tribunal, not the discretion of
the Senate in doing so. The Court held that this was a justiciable and
not a political question, thus:
Such is not the nature of the question for
determination in the present case. Here, we are
called upon to decide whether the election of
Senators Cuenco and Delgado by the Senate, as
members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, upon
nomination by Senator Primicias a member and
spokesman of the party having the largest number
of votes in the Senate on behalf of its Committee
on Rules, contravenes the constitutional mandate
that said members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal
shall be chosen "upon nomination . . . of the party
having the second largest number of votes" in the
Senate and hence, is null and void. The Senate is
not clothed with "full discretionary authority" in the
choice of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
The exercise of its power thereon is subject to
constitutional limitations which are claimed to be
mandatory in nature. It is clearly within the
legitimate province of the judicial department to
pass upon the validity of the proceeding in
connection therewith.
'. . . whether an election of public officers has been
in accordance with law is for the judiciary.
Moreover, where the legislative department has by
statute prescribed election procedure in a given

29

situation, the judiciary may determine whether a


particular election has been in conformity with such
statute, and particularly, whether such statute has
been applied in a way to deny or transgress on
constitutional or statutory rights . . . .' (16 C.J.S.,
439; emphasis supplied).
It is, therefore, our opinion that we have, not only
jurisdiction but also the duty, to consider and
determine the principal issue raised by the parties
herein."
DELEGATION OF POWER
People vs. Vera [G.R. No. 45685, November 16, 1937]
THE PRINCIPLE OF NON-DELEGATION OF POWER. - Any attempt to
abdicate the power is unconstitutional and void, on the principle that
potestas delegata non delegare potest. This principle is said to have
originated with the glossators, was introduced into English law
through a misreading of Bracton, there developed as a principle of
agency, was established by Lord Coke in the English public law in
decisions forbidding the delegation of judicial power, and found its
way into America as an enlightened principle of free government. It
has since become an accepted corollary of the principle of separation
of powers. (5 Encyc. of the Social Sciences, p. 66.) The classic
statement of the rule is that of Locke, namely: "The legislative
neither must nor can transfer the power of making laws to anybody
else, or place it anywhere but where the people have." (Locke on Civil
Government, sec 142.) Judge Cooley enunciates the doctrine in the
following oft-quoted language: "One of the settled maxims in
constitutional law is, that the power conferred upon the legislature to
make laws cannot be delegated by that department to any other body
or authority. Where the sovereign power of the state has located the
authority, there it must remain; and by the constitutional agency
alone the laws must be made until the Constitution itself is changed.
The power to whose judgment, wisdom, and patriotism this high
prerogative has been intrusted cannot relieve itself of the
responsibility by choosing other agencies upon which the power shall
be devolved, nor can it substitute the judgment, wisdom, and
patriotism of any other body for those to which alone the people have
seen fit to confide this sovereign trust." (Cooley on Constitutional
Limitations, 8th ed., Vol. I, p. 224. Quoted with approval in U. S. vs.
Barrias [1908], 11 Phil., 327.) This court posits the doctrine "on the
ethical principle that such a delegated power constitutes not only a
right but a duty to be performed by the delegate by the
instrumentality of his own judgment acting immediately upon the
matter of legislation and not through the intervening mind of another.
(U. S. vs. Barrias, supra, at p. 330.)
EXCEPTION OF NON-DELEGATION, PERMISSIBLE DELEGATION OF
LEGISLATIVE POWERS. The rule, however, which forbids the
delegation of legislative power is not absolute and inflexible. It admits

of exceptions. An exception sanctioned by immemorial practice


permits the central legislative body to delegate legislative powers to
local authorities. "It is a cardinal principle of our system of
government, that local affairs shall be managed by local authorities,
and general affairs by the central authority; and hence while the rule
is also fundamental that the power to make laws cannot be
delegated, the creation of municipalities exercising local self
government has never been held to trench upon that rule. Such
legislation is not regarded as a transfer of general legislative power,
but rather as the grant of the authority to prescribe local regulations,
according to immemorial practice, subject of course to the
interposition of the superior in cases of necessity." On quite the same
principle, Congress is empowered to delegate legislative power to
such agencies in the territories of the United States as it may select.
A territory stands in the same relation to Congress as a municipality
or city to the state government. Courts have also sustained the
delegation of legislative power to the people at large. Some
authorities maintain that this may not be done. However, the
question of whether or not a state has ceased to be republican in
form because of its adoption of the initiative and referendum has
been held not to be a judicial but a political question, and as the
constitutionality of such laws has been looked upon with favor by
certain progressive courts, the sting of the decisions of the more
conservative courts has been pretty well drawn. Doubtless, also,
legislative power may be delegated by the Constitution itself. Section
14, paragraph 2, of article VI of the Constitution of the Philippines
provides that "The National Assembly may by law authorize the
President, subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may
impose, to fix within specified limits, tariff rates, import or export
quotas, and tonnage and wharfage dues." And section 16 of the same
article of the Constitution provides that "In times of war or other
national emergency, the National Assembly may by law authorize the
President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it
may prescribe, to promulgate rules and regulations to carry out a
declared national policy." It is beyond the scope of this decision to
determine whether or not, in the absence of the foregoing
constitutional provisions, the President could be authorized to
exercise the powers thereby vested in him. Upon the other hand,
whatever doubt may have existed has been removed by the
Constitution itself.
TESTS TO DETERMINE VALIDITY OF DELEGATION. In testing whether
a statute constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power or not,
it is usual to inquire whether the statute was complete in all its terms
and provisions when it left the hands of the legislature so that
nothing was left to the judgment of any other appointee or delegate
of the legislature. (6 R. C. L., p. 165.) In United States vs. Ang Tang
Ho ([1922], 43 Phil., 1), this court adhered to the foregoing rule
when it held an act of the legislature void in so far as it undertook to
authorize the Governor-General, in his discretion, to issue a
proclamation fixing the price of rice and to make the sale of it in
violation of the proclamation a crime. (See and cf. Compaia General
de Tabacos vs. Board of Public Utility Commissioners [1916], 34 Phil.,

136.) The general rule, however, is limited by another rule that to a


certain extent matters of detail may be left to be filled in by rules and
regulations to be adopted or promulgated by executive officers and
administrative boards. (6 R. C. L., pp. 177-179.)
For the purposes of the Probation Act, the provincial boards may be
regarded as administrative bodies endowed with power to determine
when the Act should take effect in their respective provinces. They
are the agents or delegates of the legislature in this respect. The
rules governing delegation of legislative power to administrative and
executive officers are applicable or are at least indicative of the rule
which should be here adopted. An examination of a variety of cases
on delegation of power to administrative bodies will show that the
ratio decidendi is at variance but, it can be broadly asserted that the
rationale revolves around the presence or absence of a standard or
rule of action or the sufficiency thereof in the statute, to aid the
delegate in exercising the granted discretion. In some cases, it is held
that the standard is sufficient; in others that it is insufficient; and in
still others that it is entirely lacking. As a rule, an act of the
legislature is incomplete and hence invalid if it does not lay down any
rule or definite standard by which the administrative officer or board
may be guided in the exercise of the discretionary powers delegated
to it. In the case at bar, what rules are to guide the provincial boards
in the exercise of their discretionary power to determine whether or
not the Probation Act shall apply in their respective provinces? What
standards are fixed by the Act? We do not find any and none has
been pointed to us by the respondents. The probation Act does not,
by the force of any of its provisions, fix and impose upon the
provincial boards any standard or guide in the exercise of their
discretionary power. What is granted, if we may use the language of
Justice Cardozo in the recent case of Schecter, supra, is a "roving
commission" which enables the provincial boards to exercise arbitrary
discretion. By section 11 of the Act, the legislature does seemingly on
its own authority extend the benefits of the Probation Act to the
provinces but in reality leaves the entire matter for the various
provincial boards to determine. In other words, the provincial boards
of the various provinces are to determine for themselves, whether
the Probation Law shall apply to their provinces or not at all. The
applicability and application of the Probation Act are entirely placed in
the hands of the provincial boards. If a provincial board does not wish
to have the Act applied in its province, all that it has to do is to
decline to appropriate the needed amount for the salary of a
probation officer. The plain language of the Act is not susceptible of
any other interpretation. This, to our minds, is a virtual surrender of
legislative power to the provincial boards.
Eastern Shipping Lines vs. POEA [G.R. No. L-76633, October
18, 1988]
TESTS IN DETERMINING VALIDITY OF DELEGATION. There are two
accepted tests to determine whether or not there is a valid delegation
of legislative power, viz,, the completeness test and the sufficient
standard test. Under the first test, the law must be complete in all its

30

terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such that when it
reaches the delegate the only thing he will have to do is enforce it
Under the sufficient standard test, there must be adequate guidelines
or limitations in the law to map out the boundaries of the delegate's
authority and prevent the delegation from running riot.
Both tests
are intended to prevent a total transference of legislative authority to
the delegate, who is not allowed to step into the shoes of the
legislature and exercise a power essentially legislative.
The principle of non-delegation of powers is applicable to all the three
major powers of the Government but is especially important in the
case of the legislative power because of the many instances when its
delegation is permitted. The occasions are rare when executive or
judicial powers have to be delegated by the authorities to which they
legally pertain. In the case of the legislative power, however, such
occasions have become more and more frequent, if not necessary.
This had led to the observation that the delegation of legislative
power has become the rule and its non-delegation the exception.
REASON FOR PERMISSIBLE DELEGATION.
The reason is the
increasing complexity of the task of government and the growing
inability of the legislature to cope directly with the myriad problems
demanding its attention. The growth of society has ramified its
activities and created peculiar and sophisticated problems that the
legislature cannot be expected reasonably to comprehend.
Specialization even in legislation has become necessary. To many of
the problems attendant upon present-day undertakings, the
legislature may not have the competence to provide the required
direct and efficacious, not to say, specific solutions. These solutions
may, however, be expected from its delegates, who are supposed to
be experts in the particular fields assigned to them.
The reasons given above for the delegation of legislative powers in
general are particularly applicable to administrative bodies. With the
proliferation of specialized activities and their attendant peculiar
problems, the national legislature has found it more and more
necessary to entrust to administrative agencies the authority to issue
rules to carry out the general provisions of the statute. This is called
the "power of subordinate legislation."
With this power, administrative bodies may implement the broad
policies laid down in a statute by "filling in" the details which the
Congress may not have the opportunity or competence to provide.
This is effected by their promulgation of what are known as
supplementary regulations, such as the implementing rules issued by
the Department of Labor on the new Labor Code. These regulations
have the force and effect of law.
SUFFICIENT STANDARDS. Memorandum Circular No. 2 is one such
administrative regulation. The model contract prescribed thereby has
been applied in a significant number of the cases without challenge
by the employer. The power of the POEA (and before it the National
Seamen Board) in requiring the model contract is not unlimited as

there is a sufficient standard guiding the delegate in the exercise of


the said authority. That standard is discoverable in the executive
order itself which, in creating the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration, mandated it to protect the rights of overseas Filipino
workers to "fair and equitable employment practices."
Parenthetically, it is recalled that this Court has accepted as sufficient
standards "public interest" in People v. Rosenthal,
"justice and
equity" in Antamok Gold Fields v. CIR,
"public convenience and
welfare" in Calalang v. Williams,
and "simplicity, economy and
efficiency" in Cervantes v. Auditor General, to mention only a few
cases. In the United States, the "sense and experience of men" was
accepted in Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission,
and
"national security" in Hirabayashi v. United States.
United States vs. Ang Tang Ho (43 PHIL 1 [1922])

Ynot vs. IAC [G.R. No. 74457, March 20, 1987]


DELEGATION MUST SET UP STANDARDS AND MUST BE CANALIZED
WITHIN THE BANKS AND PREVENT IT FROM OVERFLOWING. We also
mark, on top of all this, the questionable manner of the disposition of
the confiscated property as prescribed in the questioned executive
order. It is there authorized that the seized property shall "be
distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as
the Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commission may see
fit, in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through
dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may see fit, in the case
of carabaos." (Emphasis supplied.) The phrase "may see fit" is an
extremely generous and dangerous condition, if condition it is. It is
laden with perilous opportunities for partiality and abuse, and even
corruption. One searches in vain for the usual standard and the
reasonable guidelines, or better still, the limitations that the said
officers must observe when they make their distribution. There is
none. Their options are apparently boundless. Who shall be the
fortunate beneficiaries of their generosity and by what criteria shall
they be chosen? Only the officers named can supply the answer, they
and they alone may choose the grantee as they see fit, and in their
own exclusive discretion. Definitely, there is here a "roving
commission," a wide and sweeping authority that is not "canalized
within banks that keep it from overflowing," in short, a clearly
profligate and therefore invalid delegation of legislative powers.
Tablarin vs. Gutierrez [G.R. No. 78164, July 31, 1987]
STANDARDS SET FOR SUBORDINATE LEGISLATION NECESSARILY
BROAD AND HIGHLY ABSTRACT. The general principle of nondelegation of legislative power, which both flows from the reinforces
the more fundamental rule of the separation and allocation of powers
among the three great departments of government, must be applied
with circumspection in respect of statutes which like the Medical Act

of 1959, deal with subjects as obviously complex and technical as


medical education and the practice of medicine in our present day
world. Mr. Justice Laurel stressed this point 47 years ago in
Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc. vs. The Public Service
Commission: "One thing, however, is apparent in the development of
the principle of separation of powers and that is that the maxim of
delegatus non potest delegare or delegati potestas non potest
delegare, adopted this practice (Delegibus et Consuetudiniis Anglia
edited by G.E. Woodbine, Yale University Press, 1922, Vol. 2, p. 167)
but which is also recognized in principle in the Roman Law
(d.17.18,3) has been made to adapt itself to the complexities of
modern government, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits,
of the principle of 'subordinate legislation,' not only in the United
States and England but in practically all modern governments.
(People vs. Rosenthal and Osmena [68 Phil. 318, 1939]. Accordingly,
with the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the
subjects of governmental regulation, and the increased difficulty of
administering the laws, there is a constantly growing tendency
toward the delegation of greater power by the legislature, and toward
the approval of the practice by the courts." The standards set for
subordinate legislation in the exercise of rule making authority by an
administrative agency like the Board of Medical Education are
necessarily broad and highly abstract. As explained by then Mr.
Justice Fernando in Edu v. Ericta
"The standard may be either expressed or implied.
If the former, the non-delegation objection is easily
met. The standard though does not have to be
spelled out specifically. It could be implied from the
policy and purpose of the act considered as a
whole. In the Reflector Law, clearly the legislative
objective is public safety. What is sought to be
attained as in Calalang v. Williams is 'safe transit
upon the roads.'"
We believe and so hold that the necessary standards are set forth in
Section 1 of the 1959 Medical Act: "the standardization and
regulation of medical education" and in Section 5 (a) and 7 of the
same Act, the body of the statute itself, and that these considered
together are sufficient compliance with the requirements of the nondelegation principle.
1965]

Pelaez vs. Auditor General [G.R. No. L-23825, December 24,

INVALID DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER. Although Congress


may delegate to another branch of the government the power to fill
in the details in the execution, enforcement or administration of a
law, it is essential, to forestall a violation of the principle of
separation of powers, that said law: (a) be complete in itself it
must set forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out or
implemented by the delegate and (b) fix a standard the limits of
which are sufficiently determinate or determinable to which the

31

delegate must conform in the performance of his functions. Indeed,


without a statutory declaration of policy, the delegate would, in
effect, make or formulate such policy, which is the essence of every
law; and, without the aforementioned standard, there would be no
means to determine, with reasonable certainty, whether the delegate
has acted within or beyond the scope of his authority. Hence, he
could thereby arrogate upon himself the power, not only to make the
law, but, also and this is worse to unmake it, by adopting
measures inconsistent with the end sought to be attained by the Act
of Congress, thus nullifying the principle of separation of powers and
the system of checks and balances, and, consequently undermining
the very foundation of our Republican system.
Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code does not meet these
well settled requirements for a valid delegation of the power to fix the
details in the enforcement of a law. It does not enunciate any policy
to be carried out or implemented by the President. Neither does it
give a standard sufficiently precise to avoid the evil effects above
referred to. In this connection, we do not overlook the fact that,
under the last clause of the first sentence of Section 68, the
President:
". . . may change the seat of the government within
any subdivision to such place therein as the public
welfare may require."
It is apparent, however, from the language of this clause, that the
phrase "as the public welfare may require" qualifies, not the clauses
preceding the one just quoted, but only the place to which the seat of
the government may be transferred. This fact becomes more
apparent when we consider that said Section 68 was originally
Section 1 of Act No. 1748, 3 which provided, that "whenever in the
judgment of the Governor-General the public welfare requires, he
may, by executive order", effect the changes enumerated therein (as
well as in said Section 68), including the change of the seat of the
government "to such place . . . as the public interest requires". The
opening statement of said Section 1 of Act No. 1748 which was not
included in Section 68 of the Revised Administrative Code
governed the time at which, or the conditions under which, the
powers therein conferred could be exercised; whereas the last part of
the first sentence of said section referred exclusively to the place to
which the seat of the government was to be transferred.
At any rate, the conclusion would be the same, insofar as the case at
bar is concerned, even if we assumed that the phrase "as the public
welfare may require", in said Section 68, qualifies all other clauses
thereof. It is true that in Calalang vs. William (70 Phil. 726) and
People vs. Rosenthal (68 Phil. 328), this Court had upheld "public
welfare" and "public interest", respectively, as sufficient standards for
a valid delegation of the authority to execute the law. But, the
doctrine laid down in these cases as all judicial pronouncements
must be construed in relation to the specific facts and issues involved
therein, outside of which they do not constitute precedents and have

no binding effect. 4 The law construed in the Calalang case conferred


upon the Director of Public Works, with the approval of the Secretary
of Public Works and Communications, the power to issue rules and
regulations to promote safe transit upon national roads and streets.
Upon the other hand, the Rosenthal case referred to the authority of
the Insular Treasurer, under Act No. 2581, to issue and cancel
certificates or permits for the sale of speculative securities. Both
cases involved grants to administrative officers of powers related to
the exercise of their administrative functions, calling for the
determination of questions of fact.
Garcia vs. Executive Secretary

[G.R. No. 101273, July 3,

Section under this section except as otherwise


specifically provided for in this Code: Provided,
that, the maximum rate shall not exceed one
hundred per cent ad valorem.
The rates of duty herein provided or subsequently
fixed pursuant to Section Four Hundred One of this
Code shall be subject to periodic investigation by
the Tariff Commission and may be revised by the
President upon recommendation of the National
Economic and Development Authority.

1992]

xxx

TARIFF POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT - Turning first to the question of


constitutionality, under Section 24, Article VI of the Constitution, the
enactment of appropriation, revenue and tariff bills, like all other bills
is, of course, within the province of the Legislative rather than the
Executive Department. It does not follow, however, that therefore
Executive Orders Nos. 475 and 478, assuming they may be
characterized as revenue measures, are prohibited to the President,
that they must be enacted instead by the Congress of the Philippines.
Section 28(2) of Article VI of the Constitution provides as follows:

(Emphasis supplied)

"(2)
The Congress may, by law, authorize the
President to fix within specified limits, and subject
to such limitations and restrictions as it may
impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas,
tonage and wharfage dues, and other duties or
imposts within the framework of the national
development
program
of
the
Government."(Emphasis supplied)
There is thus explicit constitutional permission to Congress to
authorize the President "subject to such limitations and restrictions as
[Congress] may impose" to fix "within specific limits" "tariff rates . . .
and other duties or imposts . . . ."
The relevant congressional statute is the Tariff and Customs Code of
the Philippines, and Sections 104 and 401, the pertinent provisions
thereof. These are the provisions which the President explicitly
invoked in promulgating Executive Orders Nos. 475 and 478. Section
104 of the Tariff and Customs Code provides in relevant part:
"Sec. 104.
All
tariff
sections,
chapters,
headings and subheadings and the rates of import
duty under Section 104 of Presidential Decree No.
34 and all subsequent amendments issued under
Executive Orders and Presidential Decrees are
hereby adopted and form part of this Code.
There shall be levied, collected, and paid upon all
imported articles the rates of duty indicated in the

xxx

xxx

Section 401 of the same Code needs to be quoted


in full:
"Sec. 401. Flexible Clause.
a.
In the interest of national economy,
general welfare and/or national security, and
subject to the limitations herein prescribed, the
President, upon recommendation of the National
Economic and Development Authority (hereinafter
referred to as NEDA), is hereby empowered: (1) to
increase, reduce or remove existing protective rates
of import duty (including any necessary change in
classification). The existing rates may be increased
or decreased but in no case shall the reduced rate
of import duty be lower than the basic rate of ten
(10) per cent ad valorem, nor shall the increased
rate of import duty be higher than a maximum of
one hundred (100) per cent ad valorem; (2) to
establish import quota or to ban imports of any
commodity, as may be necessary; and (3) to
impose an additional duty on all imports not
exceeding ten (10) per cent ad valorem whenever
necessary;
Provided,
That
upon
periodic
investigations by the Tariff Commission and
recommendation of the NEDA, the President may
cause a gradual reduction of protection levels
granted in Section One hundred and four of this
Code, including those subsequently granted
pursuant to this section.
b.
Before any recommendation is submitted
to the President by the NEDA pursuant to the
provisions of this section, except in the imposition
of an additional duty not exceeding ten (10) per
cent ad valorem, the Commission shall conduct an
investigation in the course of which they shall hold

32

public hearings wherein interested parties shall be


afforded reasonable opportunity to be present,
produce evidence and to be heard. The Commission
shall also hear the views and recommendations of
any government office, agency or instrumentality
concerned. The Commission shall submit their
findings and recommendations to the NEDA within
thirty (30) days after the termination of the public
hearings.

In the second place, petitioner's singular theory collides with a very


practical fact of which this Court may take judicial notice that the
Bureau of Customs which administers the Tariff and Customs Code, is
one of the two (2) principal traditional generators or producers of
governmental revenue, the other being the Bureau of Internal
Revenue. (There is a third agency, non-traditional in character, that
generates lower but still comparable levels of revenue for the
government The Philippine Amusement and Games Corporation
[PAGCOR].)

of our population, is at the very least as important a dimension of


"the national economy, general welfare and national security" as the
protection of local industries. And so customs duties may be reduced
or even removed precisely for the purpose of protecting consumers
from the high prices and shoddy quality and inefficient service that
tariff-protected and subsidized local manufacturers may otherwise
impose upon the community.

c.
The power of the President to increase or
decrease rates of import duty within the limits fixed
in subsection `a' shall include the authority to
modify the form of duty. In modifying the form of
duty, the corresponding ad valorem or specific
equivalents of the duty with respect to imports from
the principal competing foreign country for the most
recent representative period shall be used as bases.

In the third place, customs duties which are assessed at the


prescribed tariff rates are very much like taxes which are frequently
imposed for both revenue-raising and for regulatory purposes. Thus,
it has been held that "customs duties" is "the name given to taxes on
the importation and exportation of commodities, the tariff or tax
assessed upon merchandise imported from, or exported to, a foreign
country." The levying of customs duties on imported goods may have
in some measure the effect of protecting local industries where
such local industries actually exist and are producing comparable
goods. Simultaneously, however, the very same customs duties
inevitably have the effect of producing governmental revenues.
Customs duties like internal revenue taxes are rarely, if ever,
designed to achieve one policy objective only. Most commonly,
customs duties, which constitute taxes in the sense of exactions the
proceeds of which become public funds have either or both the
generation of revenue and the regulation of economic or social
activity as their moving purposes and frequently, it is very difficult to
say which, in a particular instance, is the dominant or principal
objective. In the instant case, since the Philippines in fact produces
ten (10) to fifteen percent (15%) of the crude oil consumed here, the
imposition of increased tariff rates and a special duty on imported
crude oil and imported oil products may be seen to have some
"protective" impact upon indigenous oil production. For the effective
price of imported crude oil and oil products is increased. At the same
time, it cannot be gainsaid that substantial revenues for the
government are raised by the imposition of such increased tariff rates
or special duty.

THE GRANT OF EMERGENCY POWERS IS INTENDED TO BE LIMITED


AND DOES NOT NEED A LAW FOR ITS WITHDRAWAL. - It is to be
presumed that Commonwealth Act No. 671 was approved with this
limitation in view. The opposite theory would make the law repugnant
to the Constitution, and is contrary to the principle that the
legislature is deemed to have full knowledge of the constitutional
scope of its powers. The assertion that new legislation is needed to
repeal the act would not be in harmony with the Constitution either. If
a new and different law were necessary to terminate the delegation,
the period for the delegation, it has been correctly pointed out, would
be unlimited, indefinite, negative and uncertain; "that which was
intended to meet a temporary emergency may become permanent
law," (Peck vs. Fink, 2 Fed. [2d], 912); for Congress might not enact
the repeal, and even if it would, the repeal might not meet with the
approval of the President, and the Congress might not be able to
override the veto. Furthermore, this would create the anomaly that,
while Congress might delegate its powers by simple majority, it might
not be able to recall them except by a two-third vote. In other words,
it would be easier for Congress to delegate its powers than to take
them back. This is not right and is not, and ought not to be, the law.
Corwin, President: Office and Powers, 1948 ed., p. 160, says:

d.
The Commissioner of Customs shall
regularly furnish the Commission a copy of all
customs import entries as filed in the Bureau of
Customs. The Commission or its duly authorized
representatives shall have access to, and the right
to copy all liquidated customs import entries and
other documents appended thereto as finally filed in
the Commission on Audit.
e.
The NEDA shall promulgate rules and
regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of
this section.
f.
Any Order issued by the President
pursuant to the provisions of this section shall take
effect thirty (30) days after promulgation, except in
the imposition of additional duty not exceeding ten
(10) per cent ad valorem which shall take effect at
the discretion of the President." (Underscoring
supplied)
THE GRANT OF TARIFF POWERS TO THE PRESIDENT IS NOT ONLY
INTENDED TO PROTECT LOCAL INDUSTRIES, BUT ALSO TO RAISE
REVENUE. - The Court is not persuaded. In the first place, there is
nothing in the language of either Section 104 or of 401 of the Tariff
and Customs Code that suggest such a sharp and absolute limitation
of authority. The entire contention of petitioner is anchored on just
two (2) words, one found in Section 401 (a) (1): "existing protective
rates of import duty," and the second in the proviso found at the end
of Section 401 (a): " protection levels granted in Section 104 of this
Code . . . ." We believe that the words "protective" and "protection"
are simply not enough to support the very broad and encompassing
limitation which petitioner seeks to rest on those two (2) words.

In the fourth place, petitioner's concept which he urges us to build


into our constitutional and customs law, is a stiflingly narrow one.
Section 401 of the Tariff and Customs Code establishes general
standards with which the exercise of the authority delegated by that
provision to the President must be consistent: that authority must be
exercised in "the interest of national economy, general welfare and/or
national security." Petitioner, however, insists that the "protection of
local industries" is the only permissible objective that can be secured
by the exercise of that delegated authority, and that therefore
"protection of local industries" is the sum total or the alpha and the
omega of "the national economy, general welfare and/or national
security." We find it extremely difficult to take seriously such a
confined and closed view of the legislative standards and policies
summed up in Section 401. We believe, for instance, that the
protection of consumers, who after all constitute the very great bulk

Araneta vs. Dinglasan [G.R. No. L-2044, August 26, 1949]

"It is generally agreed that the maxim that the


legislature may not delegate its powers signifies at
the very least that the legislature may not abdicate
its powers. Yet how, in view of the scope that
legislative delegations take nowadays, is the line
between
delegation
and
abdication
to
be
maintained? Only, I urge, by rendering the
delegated powers recoverable without the consent
of the delegate; . . ."
Section 4 goes far to settle the legislative intention of this phase of
Act No. 671. Section 4 stipulates that "the rules and regulations
promulgated thereunder shall be in full force and effect until the
Congress of the Philippines shall otherwise provide." The silence of
the law regarding the repeal of the authority itself, in the face of the
express provision for the repeal of the rules and regulations issued in
pursuance of it, a clear manifestation of the belief held by the
National Assembly that there was no necessity to provide for the
former. It would be strange if having no idea about the time the
Emergency Powers Act was to be effective the National Assembly
failed to make a provision for its termination in the same way that it

33

did for the termination of the effects and incidents of the delegation.
There would be no point in repealing or annulling the rules and
regulations promulgated under a law if the law itself was to remain in
force, since, in that case, the President could not only make new
rules and regulations but he could restore the ones already annulled
by the legislature.
As a contemporary construction, President Quezon's statement
regarding the duration of Act No. 671 is enlightening and should carry
much weight, considering his part in the passage and in the carrying
out of the law. Mr. Quezon, who called the National Assembly to a
special session, who recommended the enactment of the Emergency
Powers Act, if indeed he was not its author, and who was the very
President to be entrusted with its execution, stated in his
autobiography, "The Good Fight," that Act No. 671 was only "for a
certain period" and "would become invalid unless reenacted." These
phrases connote automatical extinction of the law upon the
conclusion of a certain period. Together they denote that a new
legislation was necessary to keep alive (not to repeal) the law after
the expiration of that period. They signify that the same law, not a
different one, had to be repassed if the grant should be prolonged.
What then was the contemplated period? President Quezon in the
same paragraph of his autobiography furnished part of the answer.
He said he issued the call for a special session of the National
Assembly "when it became evident that we were completely helpless
against air attack, and that it was most unlikely the Philippine
Legislature would hold its next regular session which was to open on
January 1, 1942." (Italics ours.) It can easily be discerned in this
statement that the conferring of enormous powers upon the President
was decided upon with specific view to the inability of the National
Assembly to meet. Indeed no other factor than this inability could
have motivated the delegation of powers so vast as to amount to an
abdication by the National Assembly of its authority. The enactment
and continuation of a law so destructive of the foundations of
democratic institutions could not have been conceived under any
circumstance short of a complete disruption and dislocation of the
normal processes of government. Anyway, if we are to uphold the
constitutionality of the act on the basis of its duration, we must start
with the premise that it fixed a definite, limited period. As we have
indicated, the period that best comports with the constitutional
requirements and limitations, with the general context of the law and
with what we believe to be the main if not the sole raison d'etre for
its enactment, was a period coextensive with the inability of Congress
to function, a period ending with the convening of that body.
THE CONTINUED EXERCISE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE EMERGENCY
POWER WHEN THE CONGRESS HAS ALREADY CONVENED SHALL
CREATE AN ANOMALOUS SITUATION OF TWO LEGISLATIVE BODIES.
- More anomalous than the exercise of legislative functions by the
Executive when Congress is in the unobstructed exercise of its
authority is the fact that there would be two legislative bodies
operating over the same field, legislating concurrently and

simultaneously, mutually nullifying each other's actions. Even if the


emergency powers of the President, as suggested, be suspended
while Congress was in session and be revived after each
adjournment, the anomaly would not be eliminated. Congress by a
two-third vote could repeal executive orders promulgated by the
President during congressional recess, and the President in turn could
treat in the same manner, between sessions of Congress, laws
enacted by the latter. This is not a fantastic apprehension; in two
instances it materialized. In entire good faith, and inspired only by
the best interests of the country as they saw them, a former
President promulgated an executive order regulating house rentals
after he had vetoed a bill on the subject enacted by Congress, and
the present Chief Executive issued an executive order on export
control after Congress had refused to approve the measure.
Quite apart from these anomalies, there is good basis in the language
of Act No. 671 for the inference that the National Assembly restricted
the life of the emergency powers of the President to the time the
Legislature was prevented from holding sessions due to enemy action
or other causes brought on by the war. Section 3 provides:
"The President of the Philippines shall as soon as
practicable upon the convening of the Congress of
the Philippines report thereto all the rules and
regulations promulgated by him under the powers
herein granted."
The clear tenor of this provision is that there was to be only one
meeting of Congress at which the President was to give an account of
his trusteeship. The section did not say each meeting, which it could
very well have said if that had been the intention. If the National
Assembly did not think that the report mentioned in section 3 was to
be the first and last and did not think that upon the convening of the
first Congress Act No. 671 would lapse, what reason could there be
for its failure to provide in appropriate and clear terms for the filing of
subsequent reports? Such reports, if the President was expected to
continue making laws in the form of rules, regulations and executive
orders, were as important, or as unimportant, as the initial one.
EMERGENCY POWERS CEASE WHEN THE CONGRESS MEET IN
REGULAR SESSION. - It is our considered opinion, and we so hold,
that Commonwealth Act No. 671 became inoperative when Congress
met in regular session on May 25, 1946, and that Executive Orders
Nos. 62, 192, 225 and 226 were issued without authority of law. In
setting the first regular session of Congress instead of the first special
session which preceded it as the point of expiration of the Act, we
think we are giving effect to the purpose and intention of the National
Assembly. In a special session, the Congress may "consider general
legislation or only such subjects as he (President) may designate."
(Section 9, Article VI of the Constitution.) In a regular session, the
power of Congress to legislate is not circumscribed except by the
limitations imposed by the organic law.

Act No. 671, as we have stressed, ended ex proprio vigore with the
opening of the regular session of Congress on May 25, 1946. Acts
Nos. 600 and 620 contain stronger if not conclusive indication that
they were self-liquidating. By express provision the rules and
regulations to be eventually made in pursuance of Acts Nos. 600 and
620, respectively approved on August 19, 1940 and June 6, 1941,
were to be good only up to the corresponding dates of adjournment
of the following sessions of the Legislature, "unless sooner amended
or repealed by the National Assembly." The logical deduction to be
drawn from this provision is that in the minds of the lawmakers the
idea was fixed that the Acts themselves would lapse not later than
the rules and regulations. The design to provide for the automatic
repeal of those rules and regulations necessarily was predicated on
the consciousness of a prior or at best simultaneous repeal of their
source. Were not this the case, there would arise the curious
spectacle, already painted, and easily foreseen, of the Legislature
amending or repealing rules and regulations of the President while
the latter was empowered to keep or return them into force and to
issue new ones independently of the National Assembly. For the rest,
the reasoning heretofore adduced against the asserted indefinite
continuance of the operation of Act No. 671 equally applies to Acts
Nos. 600 and 620.
Rodriguez vs. Gella [G.R. No. L-6266, February 2, 1953]
WITHDRAWAL OF THE EMERGENCY POWERS DOES NOT NEED THE
CONSENT OF THE DELEGATE. - As the Act was expressly in pursuance
of the constitutional provision, it has to be assumed that the National
Assembly intended it to be only for a limited period. If it be
contended that the Act has not yet been duly repealed, and such step
is necessary to a cessation of the emergency powers delegated to the
President, the result would be obvious unconstitutionality, since it
may never be repealed by the Congress, or if the latter ever attempts
to do so, the President may wield his veto. This eventuality has in
fact taken place when the President disapproved House Bill No. 727,
repealing all Emergency Powers Acts. The situation will make the
Congress and the President or either as the principal authority to
determine the indefinite duration of the delegation of legislative
powers, in palpable repugnance to the constitutional provision that
any grant thereunder must be for a limited period, necessarily to be
fixed in the law itself and not dependent upon the arbitrary or elastic
will of either the Congress or the President.
Although House Bill No. 727, had been vetoed by the President and
did not thereby become a regular statute, it may at least be
considered as a concurrent resolution of the Congress formally
declaring the termination of the emergency powers. To contend that
the Bill needed presidential acquiescence to produce effect, would
lead to the anomalous, if not absurd, situation that, "while Congress
might delegate its powers by a simple majority, it might not be able
to recall them except by two-third vote. In other words, it would be
easier for Congress to delegate its powers than to take them back.
This is not right and is not, and ought not to be the law."

34

Act No. 671 may be likened to an ordinary contract of agency,


whereby the consent of the agent is necessary only in the sense that
he cannot be compelled to accept the trust, in the same way that the
principal cannot be forced to keep the relation in eternity or at the
will of the agent. Neither can it be suggested that the agency created
under the Act is coupled with interest.
The logical view consistent with constitutionality is to hold that the
powers lasted only during the emergency resulting from the last
world war which factually involved the Philippines when Act No. 671
was passed on December 16, 1941. That emergency, which naturally
terminated upon the ending of the last world war, was contemplated
by the members of the National Assembly on the foresight that the
actual state of war could prevent it from holding its next regular
session. This is confirmed by the following statement of President
Quezon: "When it became evident that we were completely helpless
against air attack and that it was most unlikely the Philippine
Legislature would hold its next regular session which was to open on
January 1, 1942, the National Assembly passed into history approving
a resolution which reaffirmed the abiding faith of the Filipino people
in, and their loyalty to, the United States. The Assembly also enacted
a law granting the President of the Philippines all the powers that
under the Philippine Constitution may be delegated to him in time of
war." 3 When President Quezon said "in time of war", he undoubtedly
meant such factual war as that then raging.
OTHER NATIONAL EMERGENCIES, MEANING. - Moreover, section 26
of Article VI of the Constitution, in virtue of which Act No. 671 was
passed, authorizes the delegation of powers by the Congress (1) in
times of war or (2) other national emergency. The emergency
expressly spoken of in the title and in section 1 of the Act is one "in
time of war," as distinguished from "other national emergency" that
may arise as an after-effect of war or from natural causes such as
widespread earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and the like. Certainly the
typhoons that hit some provinces and cities in 1952 not only did not
result from the last world war but were and could not have been
contemplated by the legislators. At any rate, the Congress is available
for necessary special sessions, and it cannot let the people down
without somehow being answerable thereover.
EMERGENCY DOES NOT CREATE POWER. - The framers of the
Constitution, however, had the vision of and were careful in allowing
delegation of legislative powers to the President for a limited period
"in times of war or other national emergency." They had thus
entrusted to the good judgment of the Congress the duty of coping
with any national emergency by a more efficient procedure; but it
alone must decide because emergency in itself cannot and should not
create power. In our democracy the hope and survival of the nation
lie in the wisdom and unselfish patriotism of all officials and in their
faithful adherence to the Constitution.
ARTICLE VI LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

Section 1
R.A. No. 6735 (System of Initiative and Referendum)
Section 5
Tobias vs. Abalos [G.R. No. 114783, December 8, 1994]
THE INCREASE OF DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE BY CONVERTING A
MUNICIPALITY TO A HIGHLY URBANIZED CITY IS COVERED BY THE
PROVISIONS OF ART VI, SEC. 5 (1). As to the contention that the
assailed law violates the present limit on the number of
representatives as set forth in the Constitution, a reading of the
applicable provision, Article VI, Section 5 (1), as aforequoted, shows
that the present limit of 250 members is not absolute. The
Constitution clearly provides that the House of Representatives shall
be composed of not more than 250 members, "unless otherwise
provided by law." The inescapable import of the latter clause is that
the present composition of Congress may be increased, if Congress
itself so mandates through a legislative enactment. Therefore, the
increase in congressional representation mandated by R.A. No. 7675
is not unconstitutional.
Mariano, Jr. vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 118577, March 7, 1995]
REAPPORTIONMENT OF LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS MAY BE MADE
THROUGH A SPECIAL LAW. Reapportionment of legislative districts
may be made through a special law, such as in the charter of a new
city. The Constitution (Section 5(1), Article VI) clearly provides that
Congress shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty (250)
members, unless otherwise fixed by law. As thus worded, the
Constitution did not preclude Congress from increasing its
membership by passing a law, other than a general reapportionment
law. This is exactly what was done by Congress in enacting R.A. No.
7854 and providing for an increase in Makati's legislative district.
Moreover, to hold that reapportionment can only be made through a
general apportionment law, with a review of all the legislative districts
allotted to each local government unit nationwide, would create an
unequitable situation where a new city or province created by
Congress will be denied legislative representation for an
indeterminate period of time. That intolerable situation will deprive
the people of a new city or province a particle of their sovereignty.
Sovereignty cannot admit of any kind of subtraction. It is indivisible.
It must be forever whole or it is not sovereignty.
Montejo vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 118702, March 16, 1995]
REAPPORTIONMENT OF LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS BELONGS TO THE
CONGRESS. It may well be that the conversion of Biliran from a
sub-province to a regular province brought about an imbalance in the
distribution of voters and inhabitants in the five (5) legislative
districts of the province of Leyte. This imbalance, depending on its
degree, could devalue a citizen's vote in violation of the equal
protection clause of the Constitution. Be that as it may, it is not

proper at this time for petitioner to raise this issue using the case at
bench as his legal vehicle. The issue involves a problem of
reapportionment of legislative districts and petitioner's remedy lies
with Congress. Section 5(4), Article VI of the Constitution
categorically gives Congress the power to reapportion, thus: "Within
three (3) years following the return of every census, the Congress
shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the
standards provided in this section." In Macias vs. COMELEC, (No. L18684, September 14, 1961, 3 SCRA 1) we ruled that the validity of
a legislative apportionment is a justiciable question. But while this
Court can strike down an unconstitutional reapportionment, it cannot
itself make the reapportionment as petitioner would want us to do by
directing respondent COMELEC to transfer the municipality of Tolosa
from the First District to the Second District of the province of Leyte.
COMELEC HAS NO POWER TO REAPPORTION LEGISLATIVE
DISTRICTS. Our first inquiry relate to the constitutional power of the
respondent COMELEC to transfer municipalities from one legislative
district to another legislative district in the province of Leyte. The
basic powers of respondent COMELEC, as enforcer and administrator
of our election laws, are spelled out in black and white in section 2(c),
Article IX of the Constitution. Respondent COMELEC does not invoke
this provision but relies on the Ordinance appended to the 1987
Constitution as the source of its power of redistricting which is
traditionally regarded as part of the power to make laws. The
Ordinance is entitled "Apportioning the Seats of the House of
Representatives of the Congress of the Philippines to the Different
Legislative Districts in Provinces and Cities and the Metropolitan
Manila Area." The Ordinance was made necessary because
Proclamation No. 3 of President Corazon C. Aquino, ordaining the
Provisional Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, abolished
the Batasang Pambansa. She then exercised legislative powers under
the Provisional Constitution. The Ordinance was the principal
handiwork of then Commissioner Hilario G. Davide, Jr., now a
distinguished member of this Court. The records reveal that the
Constitutional Commission had to resolve several prejudicial issues
before authorizing the first congressional elections under the 1987
Constitution. Among the vital issues were: whether the members of
the House of Representatives would be elected by district or by
province; who shall undertake the apportionment of the legislative
districts; and, how the apportionment should be made. Commissioner
Davide, Jr., offered three (3) options for the Commission to consider:
(1) allow President Aquino to do the apportionment by law; (2)
empower the COMELEC to make the apportionment; or (3) let the
Commission exercise the power by way of an Ordinance appended to
the Constitution. The different dimensions of the options were
discussed by Commissioners Davide, Felicitas S. Aquino and Blas F.
Ople. On the basis of their extensive debate, the Constitutional
Commission denied to the COMELEC the major power of legislative
apportionment as it itself exercised the power. Section 2 of the
Ordinance only empowered the COMELEC "to make minor
adjustments of the reapportionment herein made." The meaning of
the phrase "minor adjustments" was again clarified in the debates of

35

the Commission. That consistent with the limits of its power to make
minor adjustments, Section 3 of the Ordinance did not also give the
respondent COMELEC any authority to transfer municipalities from
one legislative district to another district. The power granted by
section 3 to the respondent COMELEC is to adjust the number of
members (not municipalities) "apportioned to the province out of
which such new province was created...." Prescinding from these
premises, we hold that respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it promulgated
section 1 of its Resolution No. 2736 transferring the municipality of
Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of
the Fourth District to the Third District of Leyte.
Aquino vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 189793, April 7, 2010]
There is no specific provision in the Constitution that fixes a 250,000
minimum population that must compose a legislative district.
As already mentioned, the petitioners rely on the second sentence of
Section 5(3), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, coupled with what
they perceive to be the intent of the framers of the Constitution to
adopt a minimum population of 250,000 for each legislative district.
The second sentence of Section 5(3), Article VI of the Constitution,
succinctly provides: Each city with a population of at least two
hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one
representative.
The provision draws a plain and clear distinction between the
entitlement of a city to a district on one hand, and the entitlement of
a province to a district on the other. For while a province is entitled
to at least a representative, with nothing mentioned about
population, a city must first meet a population minimum of 250,000
in order to be similarly entitled.
The use by the subject provision of a comma to separate the phrase
each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand
from the phrase or each province point to no other conclusion than
that the 250,000 minimum population is only required for a city, but
not for a province.
Plainly read, Section 5(3) of the Constitution requires a 250,000
minimum population only for a city to be entitled to a
representative, but not so for a province.
The 250,000 minimum population requirement for legislative districts
in cities was, in turn, the subject of interpretation by this Court in
Mariano, Jr. v. COMELEC.1
In Mariano, the issue presented was the constitutionality of Republic
Act No. 7854, which was the law that converted the Municipality of
1[27]

Makati into a Highly Urbanized City. As it happened, Republic Act No.


7854 created an additional legislative district for Makati, which at
that time was a lone district. The petitioners in that case argued that
the creation of an additional district would violate Section 5(3),
Article VI of the Constitution, because the resulting districts would be
supported by a population of less than 250,000, considering that
Makati had a total population of only 450,000. The Supreme Court
sustained the constitutionality of the law and the validity of the newly
created district, explaining the operation of the Constitutional phrase
each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand,
to wit:
Petitioners cannot insist that the addition of another
legislative district in Makati is not in accord with
section 5(3), Article VI of the Constitution for as of
the latest survey (1990 census), the population of
Makati stands at only four hundred fifty thousand
(450,000). Said section provides, inter alia, that a
city with a population of at least two hundred fifty
thousand (250,000) shall have at least one
representative.
Even
granting
that
the
population of Makati as of the 1990 census
stood
at
four
hundred
fifty
thousand
(450,000), its legislative district may still be
increased since it has met the minimum
population requirement of two hundred fifty
thousand (250,000). In fact, Section 3 of the
Ordinance appended to the Constitution
provides that a city whose population has
increased to more than two hundred fifty
thousand (250,000) shall be entitled to at
least
one
congressional
representative .
(Emphasis supplied)
The Mariano case limited the application of the 250,000 minimum
population requirement for cities only to its initial legislative district.
In other words, while Section 5(3), Article VI of the Constitution
requires a city to have a minimum population of 250,000 to be
entitled to a representative, it does not have to increase its
population by another 250,000 to be entitled to an additional district.
There is no reason why the Mariano case, which involves the
creation of an additional district within a city, should not be applied
to additional districts in provinces. Indeed, if an additional legislative
district created within a city is not required to represent a population
of at least 250,000 in order to be valid, neither should such be
needed for an additional district in a province, considering moreover
that a province is entitled to an initial seat by the mere fact of its
creation and regardless of its population.

entitled to at least a legislative district.


Local Government Code states:

Thus, Section 461 of the

Requisites for Creation. (a) A province may be


created if it has an average annual income, as
certified by the Department of Finance, of not less
than Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) based
on 1991 constant prices and either of the following
requisites:
(i)
a contiguous territory of at
least two thousand (2,000) square
kilometers, as certified by the Lands
Management Bureau; or
(ii)
a population of not less than
two hundred fifty thousand (250,000)
inhabitants as certified by the National
Statistics Office.
Notably, the requirement of population is not an indispensable
requirement, but is merely an alternative addition to the
indispensable income requirement.
Mariano, it would turn out, is but a reflection of the pertinent ideas
that ran through the deliberations on the words and meaning of
Section 5 of Article VI.
The whats, whys, and wherefores of the population requirement of
at least two hundred fifty thousand may be gleaned from the
records of the Constitutional Commission which, upon framing the
provisions of Section 5 of Article VI, proceeded to form an ordinance
that would be appended to the final document. The Ordinance is
captioned APPORTIONING THE SEATS OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES TO THE
DIFFERENT LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS IN PROVINCES AND CITIES AND
THE METROPOLITAN MANILA AREA. Such records would show that
the 250,000 population benchmark was used for the 1986 nationwide
apportionment of legislative districts among provinces, cities and
Metropolitan Manila. Simply put, the population figure was used to
determine how many districts a province, city, or Metropolitan Manila
should have. Simply discernible too is the fact that, for the purpose,
population had to be the determinant. Even then, the requirement of
250,000 inhabitants was not taken as an absolute minimum for one
legislative district. And, closer to the point herein at issue, in the
determination of the precise district within the province to which,
through the use of the population benchmark, so many districts have
been apportioned, population as a factor was not the sole, though it
was among, several determinants.

Apropos for discussion is the provision of the Local Government Code


on the creation of a province which, by virtue of and upon creation, is

312 Phil. 259 (1995).


36

Consistent with Mariano and with the framer deliberations on district


apportionment, we stated in Bagabuyo v. COMELEC2[39] that:
x x x Undeniably, these figures show a disparity in
the population sizes of the districts.
The
Constitution, however, does not require
mathematical exactitude or rigid equality as a
standard
in
gauging
equality
of
representation.
x x x.
To ensure quality
representation through commonality of interests
and ease of access by the representative to the
constituents, all that the Constitution requires is
that every legislative district should comprise, as
far as practicable, contiguous, compact and
adjacent territory. (Emphasis supplied).
This 2008 pronouncement is fresh reasoning against the
uncompromising stand of petitioner that an additional provincial
legislative district, which does not have at least a 250,000 population
is not allowed by the Constitution.
The foregoing reading and review lead to a clear lesson.
Neither in the text nor in the essence of Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution can, the petition find support. And the formulation of
the Ordinance in the implementation of the provision, nay, even the
Ordinance itself, refutes the contention that a population of 250,000
is a constitutional sine qua non for the formation of an additional
legislative district in a province, whose population growth has
increased beyond the 1986 numbers.
To be clear about our judgment, we do not say that in the
reapportionment of the first and second legislative districts of
Camarines Sur, the number of inhabitants in the resulting additional
district should not be considered. Our ruling is that population is not
the only factor but is just one of several other factors in the
composition of the additional district. Such settlement is in accord
with both the text of the Constitution and the spirit of the letter, so
very clearly given form in the Constitutional debates on the exact
issue presented by this petition.
Veterans Federation Party vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 136781,
October 6, 2000]
FOUR INVIOLABLE PARAMETERS OF THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM. To
determine the winners in a Philippine-style party-list election, the
Constitution and Republic Act (RA) No. 7941 mandate at least four
inviolable parameters. These are:

2[39]

G.R. No. 176970, 8 December 2008, 573 SCRA 290,


309-310.

First, the twenty percent allocation the combined number of all


party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of
the total membership of the House of Representatives,
including those elected under the party list.
Second, the two percent threshold only those parties garnering a
minimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the
party-list system are "qualified" to have a seat in the House
of Representatives;
Third, the three-seat limit each qualified party, regardless of the
number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a
maximum of three seats; that is, one "qualifying" and two
additional seats.
Fourth, proportional representation the additional seats which a
qualified party is entitled to shall be computed "in proportion
to their total number of votes."
FORMULA IN COMPUTING THE ALLOCATING SEATS TO THE PARTYLIST REPRESENTATIVES. Clearly, the Constitution makes the number
of district representatives the determinant in arriving at the number
of seats allocated for party-list lawmakers, who shall comprise
"twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including
those under the party-list." We thus translate this legal provision into
a mathematical formula, as follows:
No. of district representatives

x .20 =
.80
representatives

No. of party-list

This formulation means that any increase in the number of district


representatives, as may be provided by law, will necessarily result in
a corresponding increase in the number of party-list seats. To
illustrate, considering that there were 208 district representatives to
be elected during the 1998 national elections, the number of partylist seats would be 52, computed as follows:
208

.80

x .20 = 52

The foregoing computation of seat allocation is easy enough to


comprehend. The problematic question, however, is this: Does the
Constitution require all such allocated seats to be filled up all the time
and under all circumstances? Our short answer is "No."
ALLOCATION OF PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES. Having determined
that the twenty percent seat allocation is merely a ceiling, and having
upheld the constitutionality of the two percent vote threshold and the
three-seat limit imposed under RA 7941, we now proceed to the
method of determining how many party-list seats the qualified
parties, organizations and coalitions are entitled to. The very first

step there is no dispute on this is to rank all the participating


parties, organizations and coalitions (hereafter collectively referred to
as "parties") according to the votes they each obtained. The
percentage of their respective votes as against the total number of
votes cast for the party-list system is then determined. All those that
garnered at least two percent of the total votes cast have an assured
or guaranteed seat in the House of Representatives. Thereafter,
"those garnering more than two percent of the votes shall be entitled
to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes." The
problem is how to distribute additional seats "proportionally," bearing
in mind the three-seat limit further imposed by the law.
After careful deliberation, we now explain such formula, step by step.
Step One. There is no dispute among the petitioners, the public and
the private respondents, as well as the members of this
Court, that the initial step is to rank all the participating
parties, organizations and coalitions from the highest to the
lowest based on the number of votes they each received.
Then the ratio for each party is computed by dividing its
votes by the total votes cast for all the parties participating
in the system. All parties with at least two -percent of the
total votes are guaranteed one seat each. Only these parties
shall be considered in the computation of additional seats.
The party receiving the highest number of votes shall
thenceforth be referred to as the "first" party.
Step Two. The next step is to determine the number of seats the first
party is entitled to, in order to be able to compute that for
the other parties. Since the distribution is based on
proportional representation, the number of seats to be
allotted to the other parties cannot possibly exceed that to
which the first party is entitled by virtue of its obtaining the
most number of votes.
If the proportion of votes received by the first party without
rounding it off is equal to at least six percent of the total
valid votes cast for all the party list groups, then the first
party shall be entitled to two additional seats or a total of
three seats overall. If the proportion of votes without a
rounding off is equal to or greater than four percent, but less
than six percent, then the first party shall have one
additional or a total of two seats. And if the proportion is
less than four percent, then the first party shall not be
entitled to any additional seat.
Step Three The next step is to solve for the number of additional
seats that the other qualified parties are entitled to, based
on proportional representation. The formula is encompassed
by the following complex fraction:
No. of votes of
concerned party

37

Additional seats
for concerned
=
to
party
first party

Total no. of votes


for party-list system
No. of additional
x
seats allocated
No. of votes of

the

first party

Total no. of votes


for party list system

In simplified form, it is written as follows:


Additional seats
for concerned
=
to
party
first party

No. of votes of
concerned party
x

No. of additional
seats allocated

No. of votes of

the

first party (APEC)


THE 20% ALLOCATION IS ONLY THE CEILING AND DOES NOT NEED
TO BE FILLED UP. The Constitution simply states that "[t]he party-list
representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total
number of representatives including those under the party-list."
In the exercise of its constitutional prerogative, Congress enacted RA
7941. As said earlier, Congress declared therein a policy to promote
"proportional
representation"
in
the
election
of
party-list
representatives in order to enable Filipinos belonging to the
marginalized and underrepresented sectors to contribute legislation
that would benefit them. It however deemed it necessary to require
parties, organizations and coalitions participating in the system to
obtain at least two percent of the total votes cast for the party-list
system in order to be entitled to a party-list seat. Those garnering
more than this percentage could have "additional seats in proportion
to their total number of votes." Furthermore, no winning party,
organization or coalition can have more than three seats in the House
of Representatives. Thus the relevant portion of Section 11(b) of the
law provides:
"(b)
The parties, organizations, and coalitions
receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total
votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled
to one seat each; Provided, That those garnering
more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be
entitled to additional seats in proportion to their
total number of votes; Provided, finally, That each
party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to
not more than three (3) seats."

Considering the foregoing statutory requirements, it will be shown


presently that Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution is not
mandatory. It merely provides a ceiling for party-list seats in
Congress.
On the contention that a strict application of the two percent
threshold may result in a "mathematical impossibility," suffice it to
say that the prerogative to determine whether to adjust or change
this percentage requirement rests in Congress. Our task now, as
should have been the Comelec's, is not to find fault in the wisdom of
the law through highly unlikely scenarios of clinical extremes, but to
craft an innovative mathematical formula that can, as far as
practicable, implement it within the context of the actual election
process.
Indeed, the function of the Supreme Court, as well as of all judicial
and quasi-judicial agencies, is to apply the law as we find it, not to
reinvent or second-guess it. Unless declared unconstitutional,
ineffective, insufficient or otherwise void by the proper tribunal, a
statute remains a valid command of sovereignty that must be
respected and obeyed at all times. This is the essence of the rule of
law.
TWO PERCENT RATIO.
In imposing a two percent threshold,
Congress wanted to ensure that only those parties, organizations and
coalitions having a sufficient number of constituents deserving of
representation are actually represented in Congress. This intent can
be gleaned from the deliberations on the proposed bill.
We quote below a pertinent portion of the Senate discussion:
"SENATOR GONZALES: For purposes of continuity, I
would want to follow up a point that was raised by,
I think, Senator Osmea when he said that a
political party must have obtained at least a
minimum percentage to be provided in this law in
order to qualify for a seat under the party-list
system.
They do that in many other countries. A party must
obtain at least 2 percent of the votes cast, 5
percent or 10 percent of the votes cast. Otherwise,
as I have said, this will actually proliferate political
party groups and those who have not really been
given by the people sufficient basis for them to
represent their constituents and, in turn, they will
be able to get to the Parliament through the
backdoor under the name of the party-list system,
Mr. President."
A similar intent is clear from the statements of the bill sponsor in the
house of Representatives, as the following shows:

"MR. ESPINOSA. There is a mathematical formula


which this computation is based at, arriving at a
five percent ratio which would distribute equitably
the number of seats among the different sectors.
There is a mathematical formula which is, I think,
patterned after that of the party list of the other
parliaments or congresses, more particularly the
Bundestag of Germany."
Moreover, even the framers of our Constitution had in mind a
minimum-vote requirement, the specification of which they left to
Congress to properly determine. Constitutional Commissioner
Christian S. Monsod explained:
"MR. MONSOD. . . . We are amenable to
modifications in the minimum percentage of votes.
Our proposal is that anybody who has two-and-ahalf percent of the votes gets a seat. There are
about 20 million who cast their votes in the last
elections. Two-and-a-half percent would mean
500,000 votes. Anybody who has a constituency of
500,000 votes nationwide deserves a seat in the
Assembly. If we bring that down to two percent, we
are talking about 400,000 votes. The average vote
per family is three. So, here we are talking about
134,000 families. We believe that there are many
sectors who will be able to get seats in the
Assembly
because
many
of
them
have
memberships of over 10,000. In effect, that is the
operational implication of our proposal. What we
are trying to avoid is this selection of sectors, the
reserve seat system. We believe that it is our job to
open up the system and that we should not have
within that system a reserve seat. We think that
people should organize, should work hard, and
should earn their seats within that system."
The two percent threshold is consistent not only with the intent of the
framers of the Constitution and the law, but with the very essence of
"representation." Under a republican or representative state, all
government authority emanates from the people, but is exercised by
representatives chosen by them. But to have meaningful
representation, the elected persons must have the mandate of a
sufficient number of people. Otherwise, in a legislature features the
party-list system, the result might be the proliferation of small groups
which are incapable of contributing significant legislation, and which
might even pose a threat to the stability of Congress. Thus, even
legislative districts are apportioned according to "the number of their
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive
ratio" 22 to ensure meaningful local representation.
All in all, we hold that the statutory provision on this two percent
requirement is precise and crystalline. When the law is clear, the

38

function of courts
circumvention.

is simple

application, not interpretation or

THE THREE-SEAT LIMIT. An important consideration in adopting the


party-list system is to promote and encourage a multiparty system of
representation. Again, we quote Commissioner Monsod:
"MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say
that we suggested or proposed the party list system
because we wanted to open up the political system
to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system.
But we also wanted to avoid the problems of
mechanics and operation in the implementation of a
concept that has very serious shortcomings of
classification and of double or triple votes. We are
for opening up the system, and we would like very
much for the sectors to be there. That is why one of
the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the
number of representatives from any single party
that can sit within the 50 allocated under the party
list system. This way, we will open it up and enable
sectoral groups, or maybe regional groups, to earn
their seats among the fifty. . . ."
Consistent with the Constitutional Commission's pronouncements,
Congress set the seat-limit to three (3) for each qualified party,
organization or coalition. "Qualified" means having hurdled the two
percent vote threshold. Such three-seat limit ensures the entry of
various interest-representations into the legislature; thus, no single
group, no matter how large its membership, would dominate the
party-list seats, if not the entire House.
We shall not belabor this point, because the validity of the three seat
limit is not seriously challenged in these consolidated cases.
BANAT vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 179171, APRIL 21, 2009]
FORMULA FOR COMPUTING PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES.
We
therefore strike down the two percent threshold only in relation to the
distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of
Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941. The two percent threshold presents
an unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of Section 5(2),
Article VI of the Constitution and prevents the attainment of "the
broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests
in the House of Representatives."
In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives
under Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941, the following procedure shall be
observed:

1.

The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be


ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the
number of votes they garnered during the elections.

2.

The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving


at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for
the party-list system shall be entitled to one
guaranteed seat each.

3.

Those garnering sufficient number of votes,


according to the ranking in paragraph 1, shall be
entitled to additional seats in proportion to their
total number of votes until all the additional seats
are allocated.

4.

Each party, organization, or coalition shall be


entitled to not more than three (3) seats.

In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no


longer be included because they have already been allocated, at one
seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, the remaining available
seats for allocation as "additional seats" are the maximum seats
reserved under the Party List System less the guaranteed seats.
Fractional seats are disregarded in the absence of a provision in R.A.
No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats.
In declaring the two percent threshold unconstitutional, we do not
limit our allocation of additional seats in Table 3 below to the twopercenters. The percentage of votes garnered by each party-list
candidate is arrived at by dividing the number of votes garnered by
each party by 15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for partylist candidates. There are two steps in the second round of seat
allocation. First, the percentage is multiplied by the remaining
available seats, 38, which is the difference between the 55 maximum
seats reserved under the Party-List System and the 17 guaranteed
seats of the two-percenters. The whole integer of the product of the
percentage and of the remaining available seats corresponds to a
partys share in the remaining available seats. Second, we assign one
party-list seat to each of the parties next in rank until all available
seats are completely distributed. We distributed all of the remaining
38 seats in the second round of seat allocation. Finally, we apply the
three-seat cap to determine the number of seats each qualified partylist candidate is entitled. Thus:
Applying the procedure of seat allocation as illustrated in Table 3
above, there are 55 party-list representatives from the 36 winning
party-list organizations. All 55 available party-list seats are filled. The
additional seats allocated to the parties with sufficient number of
votes for one whole seat, in no case to exceed a total of three seats
for each party, are shown in column (D).
Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party vs. COMELEC [G.R. No.
147589, June 26, 2001]

POLITICAL PARTIES REPRESENTING THE MARGINALIZED AND


UNDERREPRESENTED SECTORS MAY PARTICIPATE IN THE PARTYLIST SYSTEM. That political parties may participate in the party-list
elections does not mean, however, that any political party or any
organization or group for that matter may do so. The requisite
character of these parties or organizations must be consistent with
the purpose of the party-list system, as laid down in the Constitution
and RA 7941. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, provides as
follows:
"(1)
The House of Representatives shall be
composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall
be elected from legislative districts apportioned
among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan
Manila area in accordance with the number of their
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as
provided by law, shall be elected through a partylist system of registered national, regional, and
sectoral parties or organizations.
(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute
twenty per centum of the total number of
representatives including those under the party list.
For three consecutive terms after the ratification of
this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to
party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided
by law, by selection or election from the labor,
peasant,
urban
poor,
indigenous
cultural
communities, women, youth, and such other
sectors as may be provided by law, except the
religious sector." (Emphasis supplied.)
Notwithstanding the sparse language of the provision, a distinguished
member of the Constitutional Commission declared that the purpose
of the party-list provision was to give "genuine power to our people"
in Congress. Hence, when the provision was discussed, he exultantly
announced: "On this first day of August 1986, we shall, hopefully,
usher in a new chapter to our national history, by giving genuine
power to our people in the legislature."
The foregoing provision on the party-list system is not self-executory.
It is, in fact, interspersed with phrases like "in accordance with law"
or "as may be provided by law"; it was thus up to Congress to sculpt
in granite the lofty objective of the Constitution. Hence, RA 7941 was
enacted. It laid out the statutory policy in this wise:
"SECTION 2.
Declaration of Policy. The State
shall promote proportional representation in the
election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of

39

registered national, regional and sectoral parties or


organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable
Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and
underrepresented
sectors,
organizations
and
parties, and who lack well-defined political
constituencies but who could contribute to the
formulation
and
enactment
of
appropriate
legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to
become members of the House of Representatives.
Towards this end, the State shall develop and
guarantee a full, free and open party system in
order to attain the broadest possible representation
of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of
Representatives by enhancing their chances to
compete for and win seats in the legislature, and
shall provide the simplest scheme possible."
The foregoing provision mandates a state policy of promoting
proportional representation by means of the Filipino-style party-list
system, which will "enable" the election to the House of
Representatives of Filipino citizens,
1.
2.
3.

who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,


organizations and parties; and
who lack well-defined constituencies; but
who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of
appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a
whole.

The key words in this policy are "proportional representation,"


"marginalized and underrepresented," and "lack [of] well-defined
constituencies."
"Proportional representation" here does not refer to the number of
people in a particular district, because the party-list election is
national in scope. Neither does it allude to numerical strength in a
distressed or oppressed group. Rather, it refers to the representation
of the "marginalized and underrepresented" as exemplified by the
enumeration in Section 5 of the law; namely, "labor, peasant,
fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly,
handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and
professionals."
However, it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation of
the marginalized and underrepresented, because representation is
easy to claim and to feign. The party-list organization or party must
factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented
constituencies mentioned in Section 5. Concurrently, the persons
nominated by the party-list candidate-organization must be "Filipino
citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties."

Finally, "lack of well-defined constituenc[y]" refers to the absence of


a traditionally identifiable electoral group, like voters of a
congressional district or territorial unit of government. Rather, it
points again to those with disparate interests identified with the
"marginalized or underrepresented."
In the end, the role of the Comelec is to see to it that only those
Filipinos who are "marginalized and underrepresented" become
members of Congress under the party-list system, Filipino-style.
8, 2010]

Ang Ladlad LGBT Party vs. COMELEC, [G.R. No.190582, April

Respondent mistakenly opines that our ruling in Ang Bagong Bayani stands
for the proposition that only those sectors specifically enumerated in the law
or related to said sectors (labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous
cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans,
overseas workers, and professionals) may be registered under the party-list
system. As we explicitly ruled in Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v.
Commission on Elections, the enumeration of marginalized and underrepresented sectors is not exclusive. The crucial element is not whether a
sector is specifically enumerated, but whether a particular organization
complies with the requirements of the Constitution and RA 7941.
Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that [n]o law shall be
made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof. At bottom, what our non-establishment clause calls for is
government neutrality in religious matters. Clearly, governmental reliance
on religious justification is inconsistent with this policy of neutrality. We thus
find that it was grave violation of the non-establishment clause for the
COMELEC to utilize the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang
Ladlad.
Rather than relying on religious belief, the legitimacy of the Assailed
Resolutions should depend, instead, on whether the COMELEC is able to
advance some justification for its rulings beyond mere conformity to religious
doctrine. Otherwise stated, government must act for secular purposes and in
ways that have primarily secular effects. As we held in Estrada v. Escritor:
x x x The morality referred to in the law is public and
necessarily secular, not religious as the dissent of Mr.
Justice Carpio holds. "Religious teachings as expressed in
public debate may influence the civil public order but
public moral disputes may be resolved only on grounds
articulable in secular terms." Otherwise, if government
relies upon religious beliefs in formulating public policies
and morals, the resulting policies and morals would
require conformity to what some might regard as
religious programs or agenda. The non-believers would
therefore be compelled to conform to a standard of
conduct buttressed by a religious belief, i.e., to a
"compelled religion," anathema to religious freedom.
Likewise, if government based its actions upon religious

beliefs, it would tacitly approve or endorse that belief and


thereby also tacitly disapprove contrary religious or nonreligious views that would not support the policy. As a
result, government will not provide full religious freedom
for all its citizens, or even make it appear that those
whose beliefs are disapproved are second-class citizens.
In other words, government action, including its proscription of immorality as
expressed in criminal law like concubinage, must have a secular purpose.
That is, the government proscribes this conduct because it is "detrimental (or
dangerous) to those conditions upon which depend the existence and
progress of human society" and not because the conduct is proscribed by the
beliefs of one religion or the other. Although admittedly, moral judgments
based on religion might have a compelling influence on those engaged in
public deliberations over what actions would be considered a moral
disapprobation punishable by law. After all, they might also be adherents of a
religion and thus have religious opinions and moral codes with a compelling
influence on them; the human mind endeavors to regulate the temporal and
spiritual institutions of society in a uniform manner, harmonizing earth with
heaven. Succinctly put, a law could be religious or Kantian or Aquinian or
utilitarian in its deepest roots, but it must have an articulable and discernible
secular purpose and justification to pass scrutiny of the religion clauses. x x x
Recognizing the religious nature of the Filipinos and the elevating influence of
religion in society, however, the Philippine constitution's religion clauses
prescribe not a strict but a benevolent neutrality. Benevolent neutrality
recognizes that government must pursue its secular goals and interests but
at the same time strive to uphold religious liberty to the greatest extent
possible within flexible constitutional limits. Thus, although the morality
contemplated by laws is secular, benevolent neutrality could allow for
accommodation of morality based on religion, provided it does not offend
compelling state interests.
Palparan v. HRET [G.R. No. 189506, February 11, 2010]
Petitioners Abayon and Palparan have a common theory: Republic Act
(R.A.) 7941, the Party-List System Act, vests in the COMELEC the
authority to determine which parties or organizations have the
qualifications to seek party-list seats in the House of Representatives
during the elections. Indeed, the HRET dismissed the petitions for
quo warranto filed with it insofar as they sought the disqualifications
of Aangat Tayo and Bantay. Since petitioners Abayon and Palparan
were not elected into office but were chosen by their respective
organizations under their internal rules, the HRET has no jurisdiction
to inquire into and adjudicate their qualifications as nominees.
If at all, says petitioner Abayon, such authority belongs to the
COMELEC which already upheld her qualification as nominee of
Aangat Tayo for the women sector. For Palparan, Bantays personality
is so inseparable and intertwined with his own person as its nominee
so that the HRET cannot dismiss the quo warranto action against
Bantay without dismissing the action against him.

40

But, although it is the party-list organization that is voted for in the


elections, it is not the organization that sits as and becomes a
member of the House of Representatives. Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution, identifies who the "members" of that House are:
Sec. 5. (1). The House of Representatives shall be
composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall
be elected from legislative districts apportioned
among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan
Manila area in accordance with the number of their
respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as
provided by law, shall be elected through a
party-list system of registered national, regional,
and sectoral parties or organizations. (Underscoring
supplied)
Clearly, the members of the House of Representatives are of two
kinds: "members x x x who shall be elected from legislative districts"
and "those who x x x shall be elected through a party-list
system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
organizations." This means that, from the Constitutions point of
view, it is the party-list representatives who are "elected" into office,
not their parties or organizations. These representatives are elected,
however, through that peculiar party-list system that the Constitution
authorized and that Congress by law established where the voters
cast their votes for the organizations or parties to which such partylist representatives belong.
Once elected, both the district representatives and the party-list
representatives are treated in like manner. They have the same
deliberative rights, salaries, and emoluments. They can participate in
the making of laws that will directly benefit their legislative districts
or sectors. They are also subject to the same term limitation of three
years for a maximum of three consecutive terms.
It may not be amiss to point out that the Party-List System Act itself
recognizes party-list nominees as "members of the House of
Representatives," thus:
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. - The State shall
promote proportional representation in the election
of representatives to the House of Representatives
through a party-list system of registered national,
regional and sectoral parties or organizations or
coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens
belonging
to
the
marginalized
and
underrepresented
sectors,
organizations
and
parties, and who lack well-defined political
constituencies but who could contribute to the
formulation
and
enactment
of
appropriate
legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to

become members of the House of Representatives.


Towards this end, the State shall develop and
guarantee a full, free and open party system in
order to attain the broadest possible representation
of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of
Representatives by enhancing their chances to
compete for and win seats in the legislature, and
shall provide the simplest scheme possible.
(Underscoring supplied)
As this Court also held in Bantay Republic Act or BA-RA 7941 v.
Commission on Elections, a party-list representative is in every sense
"an elected member of the House of Representatives." Although the
vote cast in a party-list election is a vote for a party, such vote, in the
end, would be a vote for its nominees, who, in appropriate cases,
would eventually sit in the House of Representatives.
Both the Constitution and the Party-List System Act set the
qualifications and grounds for disqualification of party-list nominees.
Section 9 of R.A. 7941, echoing the Constitution, states:
Sec. 9. Qualification of Party-List Nominees.
No person shall be nominated as party-list
representative unless he is a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a
resident of the Philippines for a period of not
less than one (1) year immediately preceding
the day of the election, able to read and write,
bona fide member of the party or organization
which he seeks to represent for at least ninety
(90) days preceding the day of the election,
and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age
on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he
must at least be twenty-five (25) but not
more than thirty (30) years of age on the day
of
the
election.
Any
youth
sectoral
representative who attains the age of thirty
(30) during his term shall be allowed to
continue until the expiration of his term.
In the cases before the Court, those who challenged the qualifications
of petitioners Abayon and Palparan claim that the two do not belong
to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors that they ought to
represent. The Party-List System Act provides that a nominee must
be a "bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks
to represent."
It is for the HRET to interpret the meaning of this particular
qualification of a nomineethe need for him or her to be a bona fide
member or a representative of his party-list organizationin the
context of the facts that characterize petitioners Abayon and

Palparans relation to Aangat Tayo and Bantay, respectively, and the


marginalized and underrepresented interests that they presumably
embody.
Petitioners Abayon and Palparan of course point out that the authority
to determine the qualifications of a party-list nominee belongs to the
party or organization that nominated him. This is true, initially. The
right to examine the fitness of aspiring nominees and, eventually, to
choose five from among them after all belongs to the party or
organization that nominates them. But where an allegation is made
that the party or organization had chosen and allowed a disqualified
nominee to become its party-list representative in the lower House
and enjoy the secured tenure that goes with the position, the
resolution of the dispute is taken out of its hand.
Parenthetically, although the Party-List System Act does not so state,
the COMELEC seems to believe, when it resolved the challenge to
petitioner Abayon, that it has the power to do so as an incident of its
authority to approve the registration of party-list organizations. But
the Court need not resolve this question since it is not raised here
and has not been argued by the parties.
What is inevitable is that Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution
provides that the HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating
to, among other things, the qualifications of the members of the
House of Representatives. Since, as pointed out above, party-list
nominees are "elected members" of the House of Representatives
no less than the district representatives are, the HRET has jurisdiction
to hear and pass upon their qualifications. By analogy with the cases
of district representatives, once the party or organization of the
party-list nominee has been proclaimed and the nominee has taken
his oath and assumed office as member of the House of
Representatives, the COMELECs jurisdiction over election contests
relating to his qualifications ends and the HRETs own jurisdiction
begins.
R.A. No. 7941 (Party List System)
Section 6
Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 119976,
September 18, 1995]
RESIDENCE IS SYNONYMOUS WITH DOMICILE IN ELECTION LAWS.
Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil
rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of natural
persons is their place of habitual residence." In Ong vs. Republic this
court, took the concept of domicile to mean an individual's
"permanent home", "a place to which, whenever absent for business
or for pleasure, one intends to return, and depends on facts and
circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent." Based on the
foregoing, domicile includes the twin elements of "the fact of residing

41

or physical presence in a fixed place" and animus manendi, or the


intention of returning there permanently.
Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship
of an individual to a certain place. It is the physical presence of a
person in a given area, community or country. The essential
distinction between residence and domicile in law is that residence
involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the resident
has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes
such as pleasure, business, or health. If a person's intent be to
remain, it becomes his domicile; if his intent is to leave as soon as his
purpose is established it is residence. It is thus, quite perfectly
normal for an individual to have different residences in various
places. However, a person can only have a single domicile, unless, for
various reasons, he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of
another domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic, we laid this
distinction quite clearly:
"There is a difference between domicile and
residence. Residence is used to indicate a place of
abode, whether permanent or temporary; 'domicile'
denotes a fixed permanent residence to which,
when absent, one has the intention of returning. A
man may have a residence in one place and a
domicile in another. Residence is not domicile, but
domicile is residence coupled with the intention to
remain for an unlimited time. A man can have but
one domicile for the same purpose at any time, but
he may have numerous places of residence. His
place of residence is generally his place of domicile,
but it is not by any means necessarily so since no
length of residence without intention of remaining
will constitute domicile."
For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are
dictated by the peculiar criteria of political laws. As these concepts
have evolved in our election law, what has clearly and unequivocally
emerged is the fact that residence for election purposes is used
synonymously with domicile.
MODE OF LOSING DOMICILE OF ORIGIN. First, a minor follows the
domicile of his parents. As domicile, once acquired is retained until a
new one is gained, it follows that in spite of the fact of petitioner's
being born in Manila, Tacloban, Leyte was her domicile of origin by
operation of law. This domicile was not established only when she
reached the age of eight years old, when her father brought his
family back to Leyte contrary to private respondent's averments.
Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a
change of domicile, one must demonstrate:
1.

An actual removal or an actual change of domicile;

2.
3.

A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of


residence and establishing a new one; and
Acts which correspond with the purpose.

In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the
residence of origin should be deemed to continue. Only with evidence
showing concurrence of all three requirements can the presumption
of continuity or residence be rebutted, for a change of residence
requires an actual and deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have
two legal residences at the same time. In the case at bench, the
evidence adduced by private respondent plainly lacks the degree of
persuasiveness required to convince this court that an abandonment
of domicile of origin in favor of a domicile of choice indeed occurred.
To effect an abandonment requires the voluntary act of relinquishing
petitioner's former domicile with an intent to supplant the former
domicile with one of her own choosing (domicilium voluntarium).
In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost
her domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage
to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For there is a
clearly established distinction between the Civil Code concepts of
"domicile" and "residence."
The presumption that the wife
automatically gains the husband's domicile by operation of law upon
marriage cannot be inferred from the use of the term "residence" in
Article 110 of the Civil Code because the Civil Code is one area where
the two concepts are well delineated. Dr. Arturo Tolentino, writing on
this specific area explains:
In the Civil Code, there is an obvious difference between domicile and
residence. Both terms imply relations between a person and a place;
but in residence, the relation is one of fact while in domicile it is legal
or juridical, independent of the necessity of physical presence.
Article 110 of the Civil Code provide:
ARTICLE 110.
The
husband
shall
fix
the
residence of the family. But the court may exempt
the wife from living with the husband if he should
live abroad unless in the service of the Republic.
A survey of jurisprudence relating to Article 110 or to the concepts of
domicile or residence as they affect the female spouse upon marriage
yields nothing which would suggest that the female spouse
automatically loses her domicile of origin in favor of the husband's
choice of residence upon marriage.
Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish Civil
Code of 1889 which states:
La mujer esta obligada a seguir a su marido donde
quiera que fije su residencia. Los Tribunales, sin
embargo, podran con justa causa eximirla de esta

obligacion cuando el marido transende su residencia


a ultramar o' a pais extranjero.
Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in the
aforequoted article, which means wherever (the husband) wishes to
establish residence. This part of the article clearly contemplates only
actual residence because it refers to a positive act of fixing a family
home or residence. Moreover, this interpretation is further
strengthened by the phrase "cuando el marido translade su
residencia" in the same provision which means, "when the husband
shall transfer his residence," referring to another positive act of
relocating the family to another home or place of actual residence.
The article obviously cannot be understood to refer to domicile which
is a fixed, fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the
possibility of transferring from one place to another not only once,
but as often as the husband may deem fit to move his family, a
circumstance more consistent with the concept of actual residence.
The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony
with the intention of the law to strengthen and unify the family,
recognizing the fact that the husband and the wife bring into the
marriage different domiciles (of origin). This difference could for the
sake of family unity, be reconciled only by allowing the husband a
single place of actual residence.
Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under Title V
under the heading: RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS BETWEEN HUSBAND
AND WIFE. Immediately preceding Article 110 is Article 109 which
obliges the husband and wife to live together, thus:
ARTICLE 109.
The husband and wife are
obligated to live together, observe mutual respect
and fidelity and render mutual help and support.
The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife
are physically together. This takes into account the situations where
the couple has many residences (as in the case of petitioner). If the
husband has to stay in or transfer to any one of their residences, the
wife should necessarily be with him in order that they may "live
together." Hence, it is illogical to conclude that Art. 110 refers to
domicile" and not to "residence." Otherwise, we shall be faced with a
situation where the wife is left in the domicile while the husband, for
professional or other reasons, stays in one of their (various)
residences. As Dr. Tolentino further explains:
Residence and Domicile. Whether the word
"residence" as used with reference to particular
matters is synonymous with "domicile" is a question
of some difficulty, and the ultimate decision must
be made from a consideration of the purpose and
intent with which the word is used. Sometimes they
are used synonymously, at other times they are
distinguished from one another.

42

Residence in the civil law is a material fact, referring to the physical


presence of a person in a place. A person can have two or more
residences, such as a country residence and a city residence.
Residence is acquired by living in a place; on the other hand, domicile
can exist without actually living in the place. The important thing for
domicile is that, once residence has been established in one place,
there be an intention to stay there permanently, even if residence is
also established in some other place.
1995]

Aquino vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 120265, September 18,

WHILE RESIDENCE IS EQUIVALENT TO DOMICILE FOR ELECTION


PURPOSES, DOMICILE IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH RESIDENCE. We
agree with COMELEC's contention that in order that petitioner could
qualify as a candidate for Representative of the Second District of
Makati City the latter "must prove that he has established not just
residence but domicile of choice."
The Constitution requires that a person seeking election to the House
of Representatives should be a resident of the district in which he
seeks election for a period of not less than one (I) year prior to the
elections.
Residence, for election law purposes, has a settled
meaning in our jurisdiction.
In Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives this Court
held that the term "residence" has always been understood as
synonymous with "domicile" not only under the previous
Constitutions but also under the 1987 Constitution. The Court there
held:
The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission
reveal that the meaning of residence vis-a-vis the
qualifications of a candidate for Congress continues
to remain the same as that of domicile, to wit:
Mr. Nolledo: With respect to
Section 5, I remember that in the
1971 Constitutional Convention,
there was an attempt to require
residence in the place not less
than
one
year
immediately
preceding the day of elections. So
my question is: What is the
Committee's concept of residence
for the legislature? Is it actual
residence or is it the concept of
domicile
or
constructive
residence?
Mr. Davide: Madame President,
insofar as the regular members of

the
National
Assembly
are
concerned, the proposed section
merely provides, among others,
and a resident thereof', that is, in
the district, for a period of not
less than one year preceding the
day of the election. This was in
effect lifted from the 1973
Constitution, the interpretation
given
to
it
was
domicile
(underscoring ours) Records of
the
1987
Constitutional
Convention, Vol. II, July 22, 1986,
p. 87).
xxx
xxx

xxx

Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next


question is on section 7, page 2. I
think Commissioner Nolledo has
raised the same point that
'resident' has been interpreted at
times as a matter of intention
rather than actual residence.
Mr. De Los Reyes: Domicile.
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would
the gentlemen consider at the
proper time to go back to actual
residence
rather
than
mere
intention to reside?
Mr. De los Reyes: But we might
encounter
some
difficulty
especially considering that the
provision in the Constitution in
the Article on Suffrage says that
Filipinos living abroad may vote
as enacted by law. So, we have to
stick to the original concept that it
should be by domicile and not
physical and actual residence.
(Records
of
the
1987
Constitutional Commission, Vol.
II, July 22, 1986, p. 110).
The framers of the Constitution adhered to the
earlier definition given to the word "residence"
which regarded it as having the same meaning as
domicile.

Clearly, the place "where a party actually or constructively has his


permanent home," where he, no matter where he may be found at
any given time, eventually intends to return and remain, i.e., his
domicile, is that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of
residence for the purposes of election law. The manifest purpose of
this deviation from the usual conceptions of residency in law as
explained in Gallego vs Vera is "to exclude strangers or newcomers
unfamiliar with the conditions and needs of the community from
taking advantage of favorable circumstances existing in that
community for electoral gain. While there is nothing wrong with the
practice of establishing residence in a given area for meeting election
law requirements, this nonetheless defeats the essence of
representation, which is to place through the assent of voters those
most cognizant and sensitive to the needs of a particular district, if a
candidate falls short of the period of residency mandated by law for
him to qualify. That purpose could be obviously best met by
individuals who have either had actual residence in the area for a
given period or who have been domiciled in the same area either by
origin or by choice. It would, therefore, be imperative for this Court
to inquire into the threshold question as to whether or not petitioner
actually was a resident for a period of one year in the area now
encompassed by the Second Legislative District of Makati at the time
of his election or whether or not he was domiciled in the same.
BEFORE PROCLAMATION AND BEFORE TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE,
THE QUALIFICATIONS OF CANDIDATES IN CONGRESS SHALL BE
WITHIN THE JURISIDICTION OF THE COMELEC. Under the abovestated provision, the electoral tribunal clearly assumes jurisdiction
over all contests relative to the election, returns and qualifications of
candidates for either the Senate or the House only when the latter
become members of either the Senate or the House of
Representatives. A candidate who has not been proclaimed and who
has not taken his oath of office cannot be said to be a member of the
House of Representatives subject to Section 17 of Article VI of the
Constitution. While the proclamation of a winning candidate in an
election is ministerial, B .P. 881 in conjunction with Sec. 6 of R.A.
6646 allows suspension of proclamation under circumstances
mentioned therein. Thus, petitioner's contention that "after the
conduct of the election and (petitioner) has been established the
winner of the electoral exercise from the moment of election, the
COMELEC is automatically divested of authority to pass upon the
question of qualification" finds no basis in law, because even after the
elections the COMELEC is empowered by Section 6 (in relation to
Section 7) of R.A. 6646 to continue to hear and decide questions
relating to qualifications of candidates. Section 6 states:
SECTION 6.
Effect of Disqualification Case.
Any candidate who has been declared by final
judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for,
and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If
for any reason a candidate is not declared by final
judgment before an election to be disqualified and
he is voted for and receives the winning number of

43

votes in such election, the Court or Commission


shall continue with the trial and hearing of the
action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the
complainant or any intervenor, may during the
pendency thereof order the suspension of the
proclamation of such candidate whenever the
evidence of guilt is strong.
Under the above-quoted provision, not only is a disqualification case
against a candidate allowed to continue after the election (and does
not oust the COMELEC of its jurisdiction), but his obtaining the
highest number of votes will not result in the suspension or
termination of the proceedings against him when the evidence of guilt
is strong. While the phrase "when the evidence of guilt is strong"
seems to suggest that the provisions of Section. 6 ought to be
applicable only to disqualification cases under Section 68 of the
Omnibus Election Code, Section 7 of R.A. 6646 allows the application
of the provisions of Section 6 to cases involving disqualification based
on ineligibility under Section 78 of B .P. 881. Section 7 states:
SECTION 7.
Petition to Deny Due Course or to
Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. The procedure
hereinabove provided shall apply to petition to deny
due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy
based on Sec 78 of Batas Pambansa 881.
Co vs. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal [G.R. Nos.
92191-92, July 30, 1991]
Section 7
Dimaporo vs. Mitra [G.R. No. 96859, October 15, 1991]
In theorizing that the provision under consideration cuts short the
term of office of a Member of Congress, petitioner seems to confuse
"term" with "tenure" of office. As succinctly distinguished by the
Solicitor General:
The term of office prescribed by the Constitution
may not be extended or shortened by the
legislature (22 R.C.L.), but the period during which
an officer actually holds the office (tenure) may be
affected by circumstances within or beyond the
power of said officer. Tenure may be shorter than
the term or it may not exist at all. These situations
will not change the duration of the term of office
(see Topacio Nueno vs. Angeles, 76 Phil 12).
Under the questioned provision, when an elective official covered
thereby files a certificate of candidacy for another office, he is
deemed to have voluntarily cut short his tenure, not his term. The

term remains and his successor, if any, is allowed to serve its


unexpired portion.
That the ground cited in Section 67, Article IX of B.P. Blg. 881 is not
mentioned in the Constitution itself as a mode of shortening the
tenure of office of members of Congress, does not preclude its
application to present members of Congress. Section 2 of Article XI
provides that "(t)he President, the Vice-President, the Members of
the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions,
and the Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment
for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason,
bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public
trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from
office as provided by law, but not by impeachment. Such
constitutional expression clearly recognizes that the four (4) grounds
found in Article VI of the Constitution by which the tenure of a
Congressman may be shortened are not exclusive. As held in the
case of State ex rel. Berge vs. Lansing, the expression in the
constitution of the circumstances which shall bring about a vacancy
does not necessarily exclude all others. Neither does it preclude the
legislature from prescribing other grounds. Events so enumerated in
the constitution or statutes are merely conditions the occurrence of
any one of which the office shall become vacant not as a penalty but
simply as the legal effect of any one of the events. And would it not
be preposterous to say that a congressman cannot die and cut his
tenure because death is not one of the grounds provided for in the
Constitution? The framers of our fundamental law never intended
such absurdity.
Section 11
Jimenez vs. Cabangbang [G.R. No. 15905, August 3, 1966]
THE SPEECH OR EXPRESSION MUST BE MADE WHILE THE CONGRESS
IS IN SESSION AND IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE MEMBERS
OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS. Said expression refers to utterances made by
Congressmen in the performance of their official functions, such as
speeches delivered, statements made, or votes cast in the halls of
Congress, while the same is in session as well as bills introduced in
Congress, whether the same is in session or not, and other acts
performed by Congressmen, either in Congress or outside the
premises housing its offices, in the official discharge of their duties as
members of Congress and of Congressional Committees duly
authorized to perform its functions as such at the time of the
performance of the acts in question.
The publication involved in this case does not belong to this category.
According to the complaint herein, it was an open letter to the
President of the Philippines, dated November 14, 1958, when
Congress presumably was not in session, and defendant caused said
letter to be published in several newspapers of general circulation in
the Philippines, on or about said date. It is obvious that, in thus
causing the communication to be so published, he was not

performing his official duty, either as a member of Congress or as


officer of any Committee thereof. Hence, contrary to the finding made
by His Honor, the trial Judge, said communication is not absolutely
privileged.
Osmea vs. Pendatun [G.R. No. L-17144, October 28, 1960]
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ENJOY ABSOLUTE PARLIAMENTARY
IMMUNITY OF PRIVILEGED SPEECH, BUT THEY MAY BE HELD
ANSWERABLE BY THE CONGRESS ITSELF. Section 15, Article VI of
our Constitution provides that "for any speech or debate" in
Congress, the Senators or Members of the House of Representatives
"shall not be questioned in any other place." This section was taken
or is a copy of sec. 6, clause 1 of Art. 1 of the Constitution of the
United States. In that country, the provision has always been
understood to mean that although exempt from prosecution or civil
actions for their words uttered in Congress, the members of Congress
may, nevertheless, be questioned in Congress itself. Observe that
"they shall not be questioned in any other place" than Congress.
Furthermore, the Rules of the House which petitioner himself has
invoked (Rule XVII, sec. 7), recognize the House's power to hold a
member responsible "for words spoken in debate."
Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity which is a
fundamental privilege cherished in every legislative assembly of the
democratic world. As old as the English Parliament, its purpose "is to
enable and encourage a representative of the public to discharge his
public trust with firmness and success" for "it is indispensably
necessary that he should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech, and that
he should be protected from the resentment of every one, however
powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion offense."
Such immunity has come to this country from the practices of
Parliament as construed and applied by the Congress of the United
States. Its extent and application remain no longer in doubt in so far
as related to the question before us. It guarantees the legislator
complete freedom of expression without fear of being made
responsible in criminal or civil actions before the courts or any other
forum outside of the Congressional Hall. But it does not protect him
from responsibility before the legislative body itself whenever his
words and conduct are considered by the latter disorderly or
unbecoming a member thereof. In the United States Congress,
Congressman Fernando Wood of New York was censured for using the
following language on the floor of the House: "A monstrosity, a
measure the most infamous of the many infamous acts of the
infamous Congress." (Hinds' Precedents, Vol. 2, pp. 798-799). Two
other congressmen were censured for employing insulting words
during debate. (2 Hinds' Precedents, 799-801). In one case, a
member of Congress was summoned to testify on a statement made
by him in debate, but invoked his parliamentary privilege. The
Committee rejected his plea. (3 Hinds' Precedents 123124.)

44

For unparliamentary conduct, members of Parliament or of Congress


have been, or could be censured, committed to prison, suspended,
even expelled by the votes of their colleagues. The appendix to this
decision amply attests to the consensus of informed opinion
regarding the practice and the traditional power of legislative
assemblies to take disciplinary action against its members, including
imprisonment, suspension or expulsion. It mentions one instance of
suspension of a legislator in a foreign country.
And to cite a local illustration, the Philippine Senate, in April 1949,
suspended a senator for one year.
Needless to add, the Rules of Philippine House of Representatives
provide that the parliamentary practices of the Congress of the
United States shall apply in a supplementary manner to its
proceedings.
Pobre vs. Defensor-Santiago, [A.C. No. 7399, August 25,
2009]
As American jurisprudence puts it, this legislative privilege is founded
upon long experience and arises as a means of perpetuating inviolate
the functioning process of the legislative department. Without
parliamentary immunity, parliament, or its equivalent, would
degenerate into a polite and ineffective debating forum. Legislators
are immune from deterrents to the uninhibited discharge of their
legislative duties, not for their private indulgence, but for the public
good. The privilege would be of little value if they could be subjected
to the cost and inconvenience and distractions of a trial upon a
conclusion of the pleader, or to the hazard of a judgment against
them based upon a judges speculation as to the motives.
This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the forefront
in upholding the institution of parliamentary immunity and promotion
of free speech. Neither has the Court lost sight of the importance of
the legislative and oversight functions of the Congress that enable
this representative body to look diligently into every affair of
government, investigate and denounce anomalies, and talk about
how the country and its citizens are being served. Courts do not
interfere with the legislature or its members in the manner they
perform their functions in the legislative floor or in committee rooms.
Any claim of an unworthy purpose or of the falsity and mala fides of
the statement uttered by the member of the Congress does not
destroy the privilege. The disciplinary authority of the assembly and
the voters, not the courts, can properly discourage or correct such
abuses committed in the name of parliamentary immunity.
For the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal
of the complaint for disbarment or disciplinary action is well taken.
Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable criminally or in a
disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt, however,
that this could not be the last word on the matter.

Lawyers may be disciplined even for any conduct committed in their


private capacity, as long as their misconduct reflects their want of
probity or good demeanor,3[15] a good character being an essential
qualification for the admission to the practice of law and for
continuance of such privilege.
When the Code of Professional
Responsibility or the Rules of Court speaks of conduct or
misconduct, the reference is not confined to ones behavior
exhibited in connection with the performance of lawyers professional
duties, but also covers any misconduct, whichalbeit unrelated to
the actual practice of their professionwould show them to be unfit
for the office and unworthy of the privileges which their license and
the law invest in them.4[16]
This Court, in its unceasing quest to promote the peoples faith in
courts and trust in the rule of law, has consistently exercised its
disciplinary authority on lawyers who, for malevolent purpose or
personal malice, attempt to obstruct the orderly administration of
justice, trifle with the integrity of courts, and embarrass or, worse,
malign the men and women who compose them. We have done it in
the case of former Senator Vicente Sotto in Sotto, in the case of Atty.
Noel Sorreda in Sorreda, and in the case of Atty. Francisco B. Cruz in
Tacordan v. Ang5[17] who repeatedly insulted and threatened the Court
in a most insolent manner.
The Court is not hesitant to impose some form of disciplinary
sanctions on Senator/Atty. Santiago for what otherwise would have
constituted an act of utter disrespect on her part towards the Court
and its members. The factual and legal circumstances of this case,
however, deter the Court from doing so, even without any sign of
remorse from her. Basic constitutional consideration dictates this kind
of disposition.
We, however, would be remiss in our duty if we let the Senators
offensive and disrespectful language that definitely tended to
denigrate the institution pass by. It is imperative on our part to reinstill in Senator/Atty. Santiago her duty to respect courts of justice,
especially this Tribunal, and remind her anew that the parliamentary
non-accountability thus granted to members of Congress is not to
protect them against prosecutions for their own benefit, but to
enable them, as the peoples representatives, to perform the
functions of their office without fear of being made responsible before
the courts or other forums outside the congressional hall. 6[18] It is
intended to protect members of Congress against government
pressure and intimidation aimed at influencing the decision-making
prerogatives of Congress and its members.

3
4

The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on


Unparliamentary Acts and Language that enjoins a Senator from
using, under any circumstance, offensive or improper language
against another Senator or against any public institution.7[19] But
as to Senator Santiagos unparliamentary remarks, the Senate
President had not apparently called her to order, let alone referred
the matter to the Senate Ethics Committee for appropriate
disciplinary action, as the Rules dictates under such circumstance. 8[20]
The lady senator clearly violated the rules of her own chamber. It is
unfortunate that her peers bent backwards and avoided imposing
their own rules on her.
Section 13
1938]

Zandueta vs. De la Costa [G.R. No. 46267, November 28,

The rule of equity, sanctioned by jurisprudence, is that when a public


official voluntarily accepts an appointment to an office newly created
or reorganized by law, which new office is incompatible with the
one formerly occupied by him , qualifies for the discharge of the
functions thereof by taking the necessary oath, and enters into the
performance of his duties by executing acts inherent in said newly
created or reorganized office and receiving the corresponding salary,
he will be considered to have abandoned the office he was occupying
by virtue of his former appointment (46 Corpus Juris, 947, sec. 55),
and he can not question the constitutionality of the law by virtue of
which he was last appointed (11 American Jurisprudence, 166, par.
121; id., 767, par. 123). He is excepted from said rule only when his
non-acceptance of the new appointment may affect public interest or
when he is compelled to accept it by reason of legal exigencies (11
American Jurisprudence, 770, par. 124).
In the case under consideration, the petitioner was free to accept or
not the ad interim appointment issued by the President of the
Commonwealth in his favor, in accordance with said Commonwealth
Act No. 145. Nothing or nobody compelled him to do so. While the
office of judge of first instance of public interest, being one of the
means employed by the Government to carry out one of its purposes,
which is the administration of justice, considering the organization of
the courts of justice in the Philippines and the creation of the
positions of judges-at-large or substitutes, the temporary disability of
a judge may be immediately remedied without detriment to the
smooth running of the judicial machinery. If the petitioner believed,
as he now seems to believe, that Commonwealth Act No. 145 is
unconstitutional, he should have refused to accept the appointment
offered him or, at least, he should have accepted it with reservation,
had he believed that his duty of obedience to the laws compelled him
to do so, and afterwards resort to the power entrusted with the final
determination of the question whether a law is unconstitutional or

45

not. The petitioner, being aware of his constitutional and legal rights
and obligations, by implied order of the law (art. 2, Civil Code),
accepted the office of judge of first instance of the Fourth Judicial
District, with authority to preside over the Fifth Branch of the Court of
First Instance of Manila and the Court of First Instance of Palawan
and entered into the performance of the duties inherent therein, after
taking the necessary oath, thereby acting with full knowledge that if
he voluntarily accepted the office to which he was appointed, he
would later be estopped from questioning the validity of said
appointment by alleging that the law, by virtue of which his
appointment was issued, is unconstitutional. He likewise knew, or at
least he should know, that his ad interim appointment was subject to
the approval of the Commission on Appointments of the National
Assembly and that if said commission were to disapprove the same, it
would become ineffective and he would cease discharging the office.
Section 14
Puyat vs. De Guzman [G.R. No. 51122, March 25, 1982]
THE DISQUALIFICATION OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CANNOT BE
CIRCUMVENTED BY INTERVENING IN THEIR PERSONAL CAPACITY. In
an election for the eleven Directors of the International Pipe
Industries Corporation (IPI), the Puyat Group won six seats to gain
control of the Board and of the management of the company. The
Acero Group which won only five seats, questioned the said election
in a quo warranto proceeding filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) wherein they claimed that the stockholders' votes
were not properly counted. In the said case, Assemblyman Estanislao
Fernandez, then member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa, orally
entered his appearance as counsel for respondent Acero to which the
Puyat Group objected on constitutional grounds, thus discouraging
Assemblyman Fernandez from further appearing therein as counsel.
Subsequently, however, Assemblyman Fernandez acquired P200.00
worth of stock in the subject company representing ten (10) shares
out of 262,843 outstanding shares, on the basis of which he filed an
Urgent Motion for Intervention in the SEC Case alleging legal interest
therein. The respondent Associate Commissioner of the SEC granted
leave to intervene on the basis of Atty. Fernandez ownership of the
said ten shares.
The Supreme Court, finding that under the facts and circumstances,
there had been an indirect "appearance as counsel before any
administrative body" which is a circumvention of the prohibition
under Section 11, Article VIII, of the 1973 Constitution, held that the
intervention of Assemblyman Fernandez in the Securities and
Exchange Commission case falls within the ambit of the said
constitutional prohibition.
Certain salient circumstances militate against the intervention of
Assemblyman Estanislao Fernandez in the quo warranto case filed
before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He had
acquired a mere P200.00 worth of stock in the subject company,

representing ten (10) shares out of 262,843 outstanding shares. He


acquired them "after the fact," that is, on May 30, 1979, after the
contested election of Directors on May 14, 1979, after the quo
warranto suit had been filed on May 25, 1979 before the SEC on May
31, 1979. And what is more, before he moved to intervene, he had
signified his intention to appear as counsel for respondent Eustaquio
T. C. Acero, but which was objected to by petitioners. Realizing
perhaps, the validity of the objection, he decided, instead, to
"intervene" on the ground of legal interest in the matter under
litigation. And it may be noted that in the case filed before the Rizal
Court of First Instance (L-51928), he appeared as counsel for
defendant Excelsior, co-defendant of respondent Acero therein. Under
those facts and circumstances, we are constrained to find that there
has been an indirect "appearance as counsel before . . . any
administrative body" and in our opinion, that is a circumvention of
the prohibition contained in Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973
Constitution. That which the Constitution directly prohibits may not
be done by indirection or by a general legislative act which is
intended to accomplish the objects specifically or implied prohibited.
(Am. Digest, 2d Dicennial Ed., Vol. 5, citing Atkinson vs. Board, etc.,
108 P1046.)
Section 16
1998]

Santiago vs. Guingona, Jr. [G.R. No. 134577, November 18,

DEFINITION OF MAJORITY AND MINORITY. Petitioners answer the


above question in the affirmative. They contend that the
constitutional provision requiring the election of the Senate President
"by majority vote of all its members" carries with it a judicial duty to
determine the concepts of "majority" and "minority", as well as who
may elect a minority leader. They argue that "majority" in the
aforequoted constitutional provision refers to that group of senators
who (1) voted for the winning Senate President and (2) accepted
committee chairmanships. Accordingly, those who voted for the losing
nominee and accepted no such chairmanships comprise the minority,
to whom the right to determine the minority leader belongs. As a
result, petitioners assert, Respondent Guingona cannot be the
legitimate minority leader, since he voted for Respondent Fernan as
Senate President. Furthermore, the members of the Lakas-NUCDUMDP cannot choose the minority leader, because they did not belong
to the minority, having voted for Fernan and accepted committee
chairmanships.
We believe, however, that the interpretation proposed by petitioners
finds no clear support from the Constitution, the laws, the Rules of
the Senate or even from practices of the Upper House.
The term "majority" has been judicially defined a number of times.
When referring to a certain number out of a total or aggregate, it
simply "means the number greater than half or more than half of any
total." The plain and unambiguous words of the subject constitutional

clause simply mean that the Senate President must obtain the votes
of more than one half of all the senators. Not by any construal does it
thereby delineate who comprise the "majority", much less the
"minority," in the said body. And there is no showing that the framers
of our Constitution had in mind other than the usual meanings of
these terms.
In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the
Senate must be elected by a number constituting more than one half
of all the members thereof, it does not provide that the members who
will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the "minority", who
could thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, no law or regulation
states that the defeated candidate shall automatically become the
minority leader.
The Comment of Respondent Guingona furnishes some relevant
precedents, which were not contested in petitioner's Reply. During
the eighth Congress, which was the first to convene after the
ratification of the 1987 Constitution, the nomination of Sen. Jovito R.
Salonga as Senate President was seconded by a member of the
minority, then Sen. Joseph E. Estrada. During the ninth regular
session, when Sen. Edgardo J. Angara assumed the Senate
presidency in 1993, a consensus was reached to assign committee
chairmanships to all senators, including those belonging to the
minority. This practice continued during the tenth Congress, where
even the minority leader was allowed to chair a committee. History
would also show that the "majority" in either house of Congress has
referred to the political party to which the most number of lawmakers
belonged, while the "minority" normally referred to a party with a
lesser number of members.
Let us go back to the definitions of the terms "majority" and
"minority". Majority may also refer to "the group, party, or faction
with the larger number of votes," not necessarily more than one half.
This is sometimes referred to as plurality. In contrast, minority is "a
group, party, or faction with a smaller number of votes or adherents
than the majority." Between two unequal parts or numbers
comprising a whole or totality, the greater number would obviously
be the majority, while the lesser would be the minority. But where
there are more than two unequal groupings, it is not as easy to say
which is the minority entitled to select the leader representing all the
minorities. In a government with a multi-party system such as in the
Philippines (as pointed out by petitioners themselves), there could be
several minority parties, one of which has to be identified by the
Comelec as the "dominant minority party" for purposes of the general
elections. In the prevailing composition of the present Senate,
members either belong to different political parties or are
independent. No constitutional or statutory provision prescribe which
of the many minority groups or the independents or a combination
thereof has the right to select the minority leader.
While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate
President and a House Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the

46

manner of selecting the other officers in both chambers of Congress.


All that the Charter says is that "[e]ach House shall choose such
other officers as it may deem necessary." To our mind, the method of
choosing who will be such other officers is merely a derivative of the
exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted
constitutional provision. Therefore, such method must be prescribed
by the Senate itself, not by this Court.
Avelino vs. Cuenco [G.R. No. L-2821, March 4, 1949]
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAJORITY OF THE HOUSE AND MAJORITY OF
THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE. If the rump session was not a
continuation of the morning session, was it validly constituted? In
other words, was there the majority required by the Constitution for
the transaction of the business of the Senate? Justices Paras, Feria,
Pablo and Bengzon say there was, firstly because the minutes say so,
secondly, because at the beginning of such session there were at
least fourteen senators including Senators Pendatun and Lopez, and
thirdly because in view of the absence from the country of Senator
Tomas Confesor twelve senators constitute a majority of the Senate
of twenty three senators. When the Constitution declares that a
majority of "each House" shall constitute a quorum, "the House" does
not mean "all" the members. Even a majority of all the members
constitute "the House". (Missouri Pac. vs. Kansas, 63 Law ed. [U. S.],
p. 239). There is a difference between a majority of "all the members
of the House" and a majority of "the House", the latter requiring less
number than the first. Therefore an absolute majority (12) of all the
members of the Senate less one (23), constitutes constitutional
majority of the Senate for the purpose of a quorum. Mr. Justice Pablo
believes furthermore that even if the twelve did not constitute a
quorum, they could have ordered the arrest of one, at least, of the
absent members; if one had been so arrested, there would be no
doubt Quorum then, and Senator Cuenco would have been elected
just the same inasmuch as there would be eleven for Cuenco, one
against and one abstained.
In fine, all the four justices agree that the Court being confronted
with the practical situation that of the twenty three senators who may
participate in the Senate deliberations in the days immediately after
this decision, twelve senators will support Senator Cuenco and, at
most, eleven will side with Senator Avelino, it would be most
injudicious to declare the latter as the rightful President of the
Senate, that office being essentially one that depends exclusively
upon the will of the majority of the senators, the rule of the Senate
about tenure of the President of that body being amendable at any
time by that majority. And at any session hereafter held with thirteen
or more senators, in order to avoid all controversy arising from the
divergence of opinion here about quorum and for the benefit of all
concerned, the said twelve senators who approved the resolutions
herein involved could ratify all their acts and thereby place them
beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Arroyo vs. De Venecia [G.R. No. 127255, August 14, 1997]

RULES OF PROCEDURE ADOPTED BY CONGRESS MAY BE


DISREGARDED BY THE CONGRESS ITSELF WITHOUT VIOLATING THE
CONSTITUTION. First. It is clear from the foregoing facts that what
is alleged to have been violated in the enactment of R.A. No. 8240
are merely internal rules of procedure of the House rather than
constitutional requirements for the enactment of a law, i.e., Art. VI,
26-27. Petitioners do not claim that there was no quorum but only
that, by some maneuver allegedly in violation of the rules of the
House, Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the
presence of a quorum.
Petitioners contend that the House rules were adopted pursuant to
the constitutional provision that "each House may determine the rules
of its proceedings" and that for this reason they are judicially
enforceable. To begin with, this contention stands the principle on its
head. In the decided cases, the constitutional provision that "each
House may determine the rules of its proceedings" was invoked by
parties, although not successfully, precisely to support claims of
autonomy of the legislative branch to conduct its business free from
interference by courts. Here petitioners cite the provision for the
opposite purpose of invoking judicial review.
But the cases, both here and abroad, in varying forms of expression,
all deny to the courts the power to inquire into allegations that, in
enacting a law, a House of Congress failed to comply with its own
rules, in the absence of showing that there was a violation of a
constitutional provision or the rights of private individuals. In Osmea
v. Pendatun, it was held: "At any rate, courts have declared that 'the
rules adopted by deliberative bodies are subject to revocation,
modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them.'
And it has been said that 'Parliamentary rules are merely procedural,
and with their observance, the courts have no concern. They may be
waived or disregarded by the legislative body.' Consequently, 'mere
failure to conform to parliamentary usage will not invalidate the
action (taken by a deliberative body) when the requisite number of
members have agreed to a particular measure.'"
We conclude this survey with the useful summary of the rulings by
former Chief Justice Fernando, commenting on the power of each
House of Congress to determine its rules of proceedings. He wrote:
Rules are hardly permanent in character. The prevailing view is that
they are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure
of the body adopting them as they are primarily procedural. Courts
ordinarily have no concern with their observance. They may be
waived or disregarded by the legislative body. Consequently, mere
failure to conform to them does not have the effect of nullifying the
act taken if the requisite number of members have agreed to a
particular measure. The above principle is subject, however, to this
qualification. Where the construction to be given to a rule affects
persons other than members of the legislative body the question

presented is necessarily judicial in character. Even its validity is open


to question in a case where private rights are involved.
Osmea vs. Pendatun [G.R. No. L-17144, October 28, 1960]
WHAT CONSTITUTES DISORDERLY BEHAVIOUR IS A PURELY
POLITICAL QUESTION. On the question whether delivery of speeches
attacking the Chief Executive constitutes disorderly conduct for which
Osmea may be disciplined, many arguments pro and con have been
advanced. We believe, however, that the House is the judge of what
constitutes disorderly behaviour, not only because the Constitution
has conferred jurisdiction upon it, but also because the matter
depends mainly on factual circumstances of which the House knows
best but which can not be depicted in black and white for
presentation to, and adjudication by the Courts. For one thing, if this
Court assumed the power to determine whether Osmea's conduct
constituted disorderly behaviour, it would thereby have assumed
appellate jurisdiction, which the Constitution never intended to confer
upon a coordinate branch of the Government. The theory of
separation of powers fastidiously observed by this Court, demands in
such situation a prudent refusal to interfere. Each department, it has
been said, has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction
and is supreme within its own sphere. (Angara vs. Electoral
Commission, 63 Phil., 139.)
"SEC. 200.
Judicial
Interference
with
Legislature. The principle is well established that
the courts will not assume a jurisdiction in any case
which will amount to an interference by the judicial
department with the legislature since each
department is equally independent within the
powers conferred upon it by the Constitution. . . ."
"The general rule has been applied in other cases to cause the courts
to refuse to intervene in what are exclusively legislative functions.
Thus, where the state Senate is given the power to expel a member,
the courts will not review its action or revise even a most arbitrary or
unfair decision." (11 Am. Jur., Const. Law, sec. 200, p. 902.) [Italics
Ours.]
The above statement of American law merely abridged the landmark
case of Clifford vs. French. 7 In 1905, several senators who had been
expelled by the State Senate of California for having taken a bribe,
filed mandamus proceedings to compel reinstatement, alleging the
Senate had given them no hearing, nor a chance to make defense,
besides falsity of the charges of bribery. The Supreme Court of
California declined to interfere, explaining in orthodox juristic
language:
"Under our form of government, the judicial
department has no power to revise even the most
arbitrary and unfair action of the legislative
department, or of either house thereof, taking in

47

pursuance of the power committed exclusively to


that department by the Constitution. It had been
held by high authority that, even in the absence of
an express provision conferring the power, every
legislative body in which is vested the general
legislative power of the state has the implied power
to expel a member for any cause which it may
deem sufficient. In Hiss vs. Barlett. 3 Gray 473. 63
Am. Dec. 768, the supreme court of Mass. says, in
substance, that this power is inherent in every
legislative body; that it is necessary to enable the
body 'to perform its high functions, and is
necessary to the safety of the state;' 'That it is a
power of self-protection, and that the legislative
body must necessarily be the sole judge of the
exigency which may justify and require its exercise.
'. . . There is no provision authorizing courts to
control, direct, supervise, or forbid the exercise by
either house of the power to expel a member. These
powers are functions of the legislative department
and therefore, in the exercise of the power thus
committed to it, the senate is supreme. An attempt
by this court to direct or control the legislature, or
either house thereof, in the exercise of the power,
would be an attempt to exercise legislative
functions, which it is expressly forbidden to do."
We have underscored in the above quotation these lines which in our
opinion emphasize the principles controlling this litigation. Although
referring to expulsion, they may as well be applied to other
disciplinary action. Their gist as applied to the case at bar: the House
has exclusive power; the courts have no jurisdiction to interfere.
Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan [G.R. No. 128055, April 18,
2001]
The order of suspension prescribed by Republic Act No. 3019 is
distinct from the power of Congress to discipline its own ranks under
the Constitution which provides that each
"x x x . house may determine the rules of its
proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly
behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of
all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A
penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not
exceed sixty days." 17
The suspension contemplated in the above constitutional provision is
a punitive measure that is imposed upon determination by the Senate
or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, upon an erring
member. Thus, in its resolution in the case of Ceferino Paredes, Jr.
vs. Sandiganbayan, et al., 18 the Court affirmed the order of
suspension of Congressman Paredes by the Sandiganbayan, despite

his protestations on the encroachment


prerogatives of Congress. The Court ruled:

by

the

court

on

the

"x x x . Petitioner's invocation of Section 16 (3),


Article VI of the Constitution which deals with the
power of each House of Congress inter alia to
'punish its Members for disorderly behavior,' and
'suspend or expel a Member' by a vote of two-thirds
of all its Members subject to the qualification that
the penalty of suspension, when imposed, should
not exceed sixty days is unavailing, as it appears
to be quite distinct from the suspension spoken of
in Section 13 of RA 3019, which is not a penalty but
a preliminary, preventive measure, prescinding
from the fact that the latter is not being imposed on
petitioner for misbehavior as a Member of the
House of Representatives."
The doctrine of separation of powers by itself may not be deemed to
have effectively excluded members of Congress from Republic Act No.
3019 nor from its sanctions. The maxim simply recognizes each of
the three co-equal and independent, albeit coordinate, branches of
the government the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary
has exclusive prerogatives and cognizance within its own sphere of
influence and effectively prevents one branch from unduly intruding
into the internal affairs of either branch.
Parenthetically, it might be well to elaborate a bit. Section 1, Article
VIII, of the 1987 Constitution, empowers the Court to act not only in
the settlement of "actual controversies involving rights which are
legally demandable and enforceable," but also in the determination of
"whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch
or instrumentality of the Government. The provision allowing the
Court to look into any possible grave abuse of discretion committed
by any government instrumentality has evidently been couched in
general terms in order to make it malleable to judicial interpretation
in the light of any emerging milieu. In its normal concept, the term
has been said to imply an arbitrary, despotic, capricious or whimsical
exercise of judgment amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
When the question, however, pertains to an affair internal to either of
Congress or the Executive, the Court subscribes to the view 19 that
unless an infringement of any specific Constitutional proscription
thereby inheres the Court should not deign substitute its own
judgment over that of any of the other two branches of government.
It is an impairment or a clear disregard of a specific constitutional
precept or provision that can unbolt the steel door for Judicial
intervention. If any part of the Constitution is not, or ceases to be,
responsive to contemporary needs, it is the people, not the Court,
who must promptly react in the manner prescribed by the Charter
itself.

Republic Act No. 3019 does not exclude from its coverage the
members of Congress and that, therefore, the Sandiganbayan did not
err in thus decreeing the assailed preventive suspension order.
Paredes, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan [G.R. No. 118364, August 8,
1995] 252 SCRA 541
U.S. vs. Pons [G.R. No. 11530, August 12, 1916]
THE CONTENTS OF THE LEGISLATIVE JOURNALS ARE CONCLUSIVE
UPON THE COURTS OF JUSTICE, AND THE LATTER MAY NOT GO
BEYOND THESE JOURNALS IN VERIFYING THE FACTS CONTAINED
THEREIN. Passing over the question whether the printed Act (no.
2381), published by authority of law, is conclusive evidence as to the
date when it was passed, we will inquire whether the courts may go
behind the legislative journals for the purpose of determining the
date of adjournment when such journals are clear and explicit. From
the foregoing it is clear that this investigation belongs entirely to that
branch of legal science which embraces and illustrates the laws of
evidence. On the one hand, it is maintained that the Legislature did
not, as we have indicated, adjourn at midnight on February 28, 1914,
but on March 1st, and that this allegation or alleged fact may be
established by extraneous evidence; while, on the other hand, it is
urged that the contents of the legislative journals are conclusive
evidence as to the date of adjournment. In order to understand these
opposing positions, it is necessary to consider the nature and
character of the evidence thus involved. Evidence is understood to be
that which proves or disproves "any matter in question or to influence
the belief respecting it," and "conclusive evidence is that which
establishes the fact, as in the instance of conclusive presumptions."
(Bouvier's Law Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 701 et seq. ) Counsel for the
appellant, in order to establish his contention, must necessarily
depend upon the memory or recollection of witnesses, while the
legislative journals are the acts of the Government or sovereign itself.
From their very nature and object the records of the Legislature are
as important as those of the judiciary, and to inquire into the veracity
of the journals of the Philippine Legislature, when they are, as we
have said, clear and explicit, would be to violate both the letter and
the spirit of the organic laws by which the Philippine Government was
brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and independent
department of the Government, and to interfere with the legitimate
powers and functions of the Legislature. But counsel in his argument
says that the public knows that the Assembly's clock was stopped on
February 28, 1914, at midnight and left so until the determination of
the discussion of all pending matters. Or, in other words, the hands of
the clock were stayed in order to enable the Assembly to effect an
adjournment apparently within the time fixed by the Governor's
proclamation for the expiration of the special session, in direct
violation of the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902. If the clock was, in
fact, stopped, as here suggested, "the resultant evil might be slight
as compared with that of altering the probative force and character of
legislative records, and making the proof of legislative action depend
upon entertain oral evidence, liable to loss by death or absence, and

48

so imperfect on account of the treachery of memory. Long, long


centuries ago, these considerations of public policy led to the
adoption of the rule giving verity and unimpeachability to legislative
records. If that character is to be taken away for one purpose, it must
be taken for all, and the evidence of the laws of the state must rest
upon a foundation less certain and durable than that afforded by the
law to many contracts between private individuals concerning
comparatively trifling matters." (Capito vs. Topping, W. Va., 22 L. R.
A. [N. S.], 1089.) Upon the same point the court, in the State ex rel.
Heron vs. Smith (44 Ohio, 348), decided in 1886, said:
"Counsel have exhibited unusual industry in looking
up the various cases upon this question; and, out of
multitude of citations, not one is found in which any
court has assumed to go beyond the proceedings of
the legislature, as recorded in the journal a law has
been adopted. And if reasons for this limitation
upon judicial inquiry in such matters have not
generally been stated, it doubtless arises from the
fact that they are apparent. Imperative reasons of
public policy require that the authentic of laws
should rest upon public memorials of the most
permanent character. They should be public,
because all are required to conform to them; they
should be permanent, that rights acquired to-day
upon the faith of what has been declared to be law
shall not be destroyed to-morrow, or at some
remote period of time, by facts resting only in the
memory of individuals."
In the case from which this last quotation is taken the court cited
numerous decisions of the various states in the American Union in
support of the rule therein laid down, and we have been unable to
find a single case of a later date where the rule has been in the least
changed or modified when the legislative journals cover the point. As
the Constitution of the Philippine Government is modeled after those
of the Federal Government and the various states we do not hesitate
to follow the courts in that country in the matter now before us. The
journals say that the Legislature adjourned at 12 midnight on
February 28, 1914. This settles the question, and the court did not
err in declining to go behind these journals.
Casco Philippine Chemical Co. vs. Gimenez [G.R. No. L17931, February 28, 1963]
THE TERMS OF THE ENROLLED BILL ARE CONCLUSIVE UPON THE
COURTS ON THE TENOR THEREOF. Hence, "urea formaldehyde" is
clearly a finished product, which is patently distinct and different from
"urea" and "formaldehyde", as separate articles used in the
manufacture of the synthetic resin known as "urea formaldehyde".
Petitioner contends, however, that the bill approved in Congress
contained the copulative conjunction "and" between the terms "urea"
and, "formaldehyde", and that the members of Congress intended to

exempt "urea" and "formaldehyde" separately as essential elements


in the manufacture of the synthetic resin glue called "urea
formaldehyde", not the latter a finished product, citing in support of
this view the statements made on the floor of the Senate, during the
consideration of the bill before said House, by members thereof. But,
said individual statements do not necessarily reflect the view of the
Senate. Much less do they indicate the intent of the House of
Representatives (see Song Kiat Chocolate Factory vs. Central Bank,
54 Off. Gaz., 615; Mayon Motors, Inc. vs. Acting Commissioner of
Internal Revenue, L-15000 [March 29, 1961]; Manila Jockey Club,
Inc. vs. Games & Amusement Board, L-12727 [February 27, 1960].
Furthermore, it is well settled that the enrolled bill which uses the
term "urea formaldehyde" instead of "urea and formaldehyde" is
conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure
passed by Congress and approved by the President (Primicias vs.
Paredes, 61 Phil., 118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil., 1;
Macias vs. Comm. on Elections, L-18684, September 14, 1961 ). If
there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was
certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive
on which we cannot speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of
separation of powers and undermining one of the cornerstones of our
democratic system the remedy is by amendment or curative
legislation, not by judicial decree.
Philippine Judges Association vs. Prado [G.R. No. 105371,
November 11, 1993]
CONCLUSIVENESS OF THE ENROLLED BILL AND THE CERTIFICATION
OF THE CONGRESS. It is a matter of record that the Conference
Committee Report on the bill in question was returned to and duly
approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Thereafter, the bill was enrolled with its certification by Senate
President Neptali A. Gonzales and Speaker Ramon V. Mitra of the
House of Representatives as having been duly passed by both Houses
of Congress. It was then presented to and approved by President
Corazon C. Aquino on April 3, 1992.
Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the Court may not inquire
beyond the certification of the approval of a bill from the presiding
officers of Congress. Casco Philippine Chemical Co. v. Gimenez laid
down the rule that the enrolled bill is conclusive upon the Judiciary
(except in matters that have to be entered in the journals like the
yeas and nays on the final reading of the bill). The journals are
themselves also binding on the Supreme Court, as we held in the old
(but still valid) case of U.S. vs. Pons, 9 where we explained the
reason thus:
To inquire into the veracity of the journals of the
Philippine legislature when they are, as we have
said, clear and explicit, would be to violate both the
letter and spirit of the organic laws by which the
Philippine Government was brought into existence,
to invade a coordinate and independent department

of the Government, and to interfere with the


legitimate powers and functions of the Legislature.
Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners'
charges that an amendment was made upon the last reading of the
bill that eventually became R.A. No. 7354 and that copies thereof in
its final form were not distributed among the members of each
House. Both the enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify that
the measure was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with Article VI, Sec.
26(2) of the Constitution. We are bound by such official assurances
from a coordinate department of the government, to which we owe,
at the very least, a becoming courtesy.
Section 17
Robles vs. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal [G.R.
No. 86647, February 5, 1990]
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE POWERS OF THE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL.
Where the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter, its orders
upon all questions pertaining to the cause are orders within its
jurisdiction, and however erroneous they may be, they cannot be
corrected by certiorari (Santos v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 56614,
July 28, 1987, 152 SCRA 378; Paramount Insurance Corp. v. Luna,
G.R. No. 61404, March 16, 1987, 148 SCRA 564). This rule more
appropriately applies to respondent HRET whose independence as a
constitutional body has time and again been upheld by Us in many
cases. As explained in the case of Lazatin v. The House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Timbol, G.R. No. 84297,
December 8, 1988, thus:
"The use of the word 'sole' emphasizes the
exclusive character of the jurisdiction conferred
[Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra, at 162].
The exercise of the Power by the Electoral
Commission under the 1935 Constitution has been
described as `intended to be complete and
unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the
legislature' [Id. at 175]. Earlier, this grant of power
to the legislature was characterized by Justice
Malcolm as 'full, clear and complete' [Veloso v.
Board of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, 39 Phil.
886
(1919)].
Under
the
amended
1935
Constitution, the power was unqualifiedly reposed
upon the Electoral Tribunal [Suanes v. Chief
Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818 (1948)] and
it remained as full, clear and complete as that
previously granted the legislature and the Electoral
Commission [Lachica v. Yap, G.R. No. L-25379,
September 25, 1968, 25 SCRA 140]. The same may
be said with regard to the jurisdiction of the
Electoral Tribunals under the 1987 Constitution.
Thus, 'judicial review of decisions or final

49

resolutions of the House Electoral Tribunal is (thus)


possible only in the exercise of this Court's so-called
extraordinary jurisdiction, . . . upon a determination
that the tribunal's decision or resolution was
rendered without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or
with grave abuse of discretion or, paraphrasing
Morrera, upon a clear showing of such arbitrary and
improvident use by the Tribunal of its power as
constitutes a denial of due process of law, or upon a
demonstration of a very clear unmitigated ERROR,
manifestly constituting such a GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION that there has to be a remedy for such
abuse."
Angara vs. Electoral Commission [G.R. No. 45081, July 15,
1936]
THE CONSTITUTIONAL GRANT OF POWER TO JUDGE ALL
CONTROVERSIES RELATING TO THE ELECTION, RETURNS AND
QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
CARRIES WITH IT THE POWER TO ISSUE REGULATIONS RELATIVE TO
THE EXERCISE OF THE POWERS EXPRESSLY CONFERRED. - The grant
of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to
the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National
Assembly, is intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had
remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of that
power in the Electoral Commission is an implied denial of the exercise
of that power by the National Assembly. And this is as effective a
restriction upon the legislative power as an express prohibition in the
Constitution (Ex parte Lewis, 45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1; State vs.
Whisman, 36 S. D., 260; L. R. A., 1917B, 1). If we concede the power
claimed in behalf of the National Assembly that said body may
regulate the proceedings of the Electoral Commission and cut off the
power of the commission to lay down the period within which protests
should be filed, the grant of power to the commission would be
ineffective. The Electoral Commission in such case would be invested
with the power to determine contested cases involving the election,
returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly
but subject at all times to the regulative power of the National
Assembly. Not only would the purpose of the framers of our
Constitution of totally transferring this authority from the legislative
body be frustrated, but a dual authority would be created with the
resultant inevitable clash of powers from time to time. A sad
spectacle would then be presented of the Electoral Commission
retaining the bare authority of taking cognizance of cases referred to,
but in reality without the necessary means to render that authority
effective whenever and wherever the National Assembly has chosen
to act, a situation worse than that intended to be remedied by the
framers of our Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the
National Assembly in procedural matters will inevitably lead to the
ultimate control by the Assembly of the entire proceedings of the
Electoral Commission, and, by indirection, to the entire abrogation of

the constitutional grant. It is obvious that this result should not be


permitted.
We are not insensible to the impassioned argument of the learned
counsel for the petitioner regarding the importance and necessity of
respecting the dignity and independence of the National Assembly as
a coordinate department of the government and of according validity
to its acts, to avoid what he characterized would be practically an
unlimited power of the commission in the admission of protests
against members of the National Assembly. But as we have pointed
out hereinabove, the creation of the Electoral Commission carried
with it ex necesitate rei the power regulative in character to limit the
time within which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed.
It is a settled rule of construction that where a general power is
conferred or duty enjoined, every particular power necessary for the
exercise of the one or the performance of the other is also conferred
(Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eighth ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139).
In the absence of any further constitutional provision relating to the
procedure to be followed in filing protests before the Electoral
Commission, therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules
necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary
implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.
Lazatin vs. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal [8
SCRA 391 (1988)]
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION VESTS THE POWER TO BE THE SOLE
JUDGE ON ALL CONTESTS RELATING TO THE ELECTION, RETURNS,
AND QUALIFICATION OF THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO THE
ELECTORAL TRIBUNALS. Petitioner's reliance on Sec. 250 of the
Omnibus Election Code is misplaced. Sec. 250 is couched in
unambiguous terms and needs no interpretation. It applies only to
petitions filed before the COMELEC contesting the election of any
Member of the Batasang Pambansa, or any regional, provincial or city
official. Furthermore, Sec. 250 should be read together with Sec. 249
of the same code which provides that the COMELEC "shall be the sole
judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and
qualifications of all Members of the Batasang Pambansa, elective
regional, provincial and city officials," reiterating Art. XII-C, Sec. 2(2)
of the 1973 Constitution. It must be emphasized that under the 1973
Constitution there was no provision for an Electoral Tribunal, the
jurisdiction over election contests involving Members of the Batasang
Pambansa having been vested in the COMELEC.
That Sec. 250 of the Omnibus Election Code, as far as contests
regarding the election, returns and qualifications of Members of the
Batasang Pambansa is concerned, had ceased to be effective under
the 1987 Constitution is readily apparent. First, the Batasang
Pambansa has already been abolished and the legislative power is
now vested in a bicameral Congress. Second, the Constitution vests
exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relating to the election, returns

and qualifications of the Members of the Senate and the House of


Representatives in the respective Electoral Tribunals [Art. VI, Sec.
17]. The exclusive original jurisdiction of the COMELEC is limited by
constitutional fiat to election contests pertaining to election regional,
provincial and city offices and its appellate jurisdiction to those
involving municipal and barangay offices [Art. IX-C, Sec. 2(2)].
The power of the HRET, as the sole judge of all contests relating to
the election, returns and qualifications of the Members of the House
of Representatives, to promulgate rules and regulations relative to
matters within its jurisdiction, including the period for filing election
protests before it, is beyond dispute. Its rule-making power
necessarily flows from the general power granted it by the
Constitution. This is the import of the ruling in the landmark case of
Angara v. Electoral Commission [63 Phil. 139 (1936)], where the
Court, speaking through Justice Laurel, declared in no uncertain
terms:
. . . [T]he creation of the Electoral Commission
carried with it ex necesitate rei the power regulative
in character to limit the time within which protests
intrusted to its cognizance should be filed. It is a
settled rule of construction that where a general
power is conferred or duly enjoined, every
particular power necessary for the exercise of the
one or the performance of the other is also
conferred (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eighth
ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any
further constitutional provision relating to the
procedure to be followed in filing protests before
the Electoral Commission, therefore, the incidental
power to promulgate such rules necessary for the
proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all
contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly,
must be deemed by necessary implication to have
been lodged also in the Electoral Commission. [At p.
177; emphasis supplied.]
A short review of our constitutional history reveals that, except under
the 1973 Constitution, the power to judge all contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of the members of the legislative
branch has been exclusively granted either to the legislative body
itself [i.e., the Philippine Assembly under the Philippine Bill of 1902
and the Senate and the House of Representatives under the
Philippine Autonomy Act (Jones Law)] or to an independent, impartial
and non-partisan body attached to the legislature [i.e., the Electoral
Commission under the 1935 Constitution and the Electoral Tribunals
under the amended 1935 and the 1987 Constitutions].
Except under the 1973 Constitution, the power granted is that of
being the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns

50

and qualifications of the members of the legislative body. Article VI of


the 1987 Constitution states it in this wise:
Sec. 17. The
Senate
and
the
House
of
Representatives shall each have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications
of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal
shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom
shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be
designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining
six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of
Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be
chosen on the basis of proportional representation
from the political parties and the parties or
organizations registered under the party-list system
represented therein. The senior Justice in the
Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
The use of the word "sole" emphasizes the exclusive character of the
jurisdiction conferred [Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra, at
162]. The exercise of the power by the Electoral Commission under
the 1935 Constitution has been described as "intended to be as
complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the
legislature" [Id. at 175]. Earlier, this grant of power to the legislature
was characterized by Justice Malcolm as " full, clear and complete"
[Veloso v. Board of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, 39 Phil. 886
(1919)]. Under the amended 1935 Constitution, the power was
unqualifiedly reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal [Suanes v. Chief
Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818 (1948)] and it remained as
full, clear and complete as that previously granted the legislature and
the Electoral Commission [Lachica v. Yap, G.R. No. L-25379,
September 25, 1968, 25 SCRA 140]. The same may be said with
regard to the jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunals under the 1987
Constitution.
The 1935 and 1987 Constitutions, which separate and distinctly
apportion the powers of the three branches of government, lodge the
power to judge contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the legislature in an independent,
impartial and non-partisan body attached to the legislature and
specially created for that singular purpose (i.e., the Electoral
Commission and the Electoral Tribunals) [see Suanes v. Chief
Accountant of the Senate, supra]. It was only under the 1973
Constitution where the delineation between the powers of the
Executive and the Legislature was blurred by constitutional
experimentation that the jurisdiction over election contests involving
members of the Legislature was vested in the COMELEC, an agency
with general jurisdiction over the conduct of elections for all elective
national and local officials.
That the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended to restore fully to
the Electoral Tribunals exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relating

to the election, returns and qualifications of its Members, consonant


with the return to the separation of powers of the three branches of
government under the presidential system, is too evident to escape
attention. The new Constitution has substantially retained the
COMELEC's purely administrative powers, namely, the exclusive
authority to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative
to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and
recall; to decide, except those involving the right to vote, all
questions affecting elections; to deputize law enforcement agencies
and government instrumentalities for election purposes; to register
political parties and accredit citizens' arms; to file in court petitions
for inclusion and exclusion of voters and prosecute, where
appropriate, violations of election laws [Art. IX(C), Sec. 2(1), (3)(6)], as well as its rule-making power. In this sense, and with regard
to these areas of election law, the provisions of the Omnibus Election
Code are fully applicable, except where specific legislation provides
otherwise. But the same cannot be said with regard to the jurisdiction
of the COMELEC to hear and decide election contests. This has been
trimmed down under the 1987 Constitution. Whereas the 1973
Constitution vested the COMELEC with jurisdiction to be the sole
judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and
qualifications of all Members of the Batasang Pambansa and elective
provincial and city officials [Art. XII(C), Sec. 2(2)], the 1987
Constitution, while lodging in the COMELEC exclusive original
jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns and
qualifications of all elective regional, provincial and city officials and
appellate jurisdiction over contests relating to the election of
municipal and barangay officials [Art. IX(C), Sec. 2(2)], expressly
makes the Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House of
Representatives the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of their respective Members [Art. VI, Sec.
17]. LLpr
The inescapable conclusion from the foregoing is that it is well within
the power of the HRET to prescribe the period within which protests
may be filed before it. This is founded not only on historical
precedents and jurisprudence but, more importantly, on the clear
language of the Constitution itself.
Abbas vs. Senate Electoral Tribunal [G.R. No. L-83767,
October 27, 1988]
THE MEMBERS OF THE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL REPRESENTING THE
CONGRESS CANNOT BE DISQUALIFIED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
PROCEEDINGS OF THE TRIBUNAL MERELY BECAUSE THEY ARE
PERSONALLY INTERESTED IN THE PETITION.
The proposed
amendment to the Tribunal's Rules (Section 24) requiring the
concurrence of five (5) members for the adoption of resolutions of
whatever nature is a proviso that where more than four (4)
members are disqualified, the remaining members shall constitute a
quorum, if not less than three (3) including one (1) Justice, and may
adopt resolutions by majority vote with no abstentions. Obviously
tailored to fit the situation created by the petition for disqualification,

this would, in the context of that situation, leave the resolution of the
contest to the only three Members who would remain, all Justices of
this Court, whose disqualification is not sought.
We do not agree with petitioners' thesis that the suggested device is
neither unfeasible nor repugnant to the Constitution. We opine that in
fact the most fundamental objection to such proposal lies in the plain
terms and intent of the Constitution itself which, in its Article VI,
Section 17, creates the Senate Electoral Tribunal, ordains its
composition and defines its jurisdiction and powers.
"Sec. 17.
The Senate and the House of
Representatives shall each have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications
of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal
shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom
shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be
designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining
six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of
Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be
chosen on the basis of proportional representation
from the political parties and the parties or
organizations registered under the party-list system
represented therein. The senior Justice in the
Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman."
It seems quite clear to us that in thus providing for a Tribunal to be
staffed by both Justices of the Supreme Court and Members of the
Senate, the Constitution intended that both those "judicial" and
"legislative" components commonly share the duty and authority of
deciding all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of Senators. The respondent Tribunal correctly stated
one part of this proposition when it held that said provision ". . . is a
clear expression of an intent that all (such) contests . . . shall be
resolved by a panel or body in which their (the Senators') peers in
that Chamber are represented." The other part, of course, is that the
constitutional provision just as clearly mandates the participation in
the same process of decision of a representative or representatives of
the Supreme Court.
Said intent is even more clearly signalled by the fact that the
proportion of Senators to Justices in the prescribed membership of
the Senate Electoral Tribunal is 2 to 1 an unmistakable indication
that the "legislative component" cannot be totally excluded from
participation in the resolution of senatorial election contests, without
doing violence to the spirit and intent of the Constitution.
Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the
substitution of any Senator sitting in the Tribunal by any of his other
colleagues in the Senate without inviting the same objections to the
substitute's competence, the proposed mass disqualification, if
sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative but

51

to abandon a duty that no other court or body can perform, but which
it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire
membership of Senators.
To our mind, this is the overriding consideration that the Tribunal
be not prevented from discharging a duty which it alone has the
power to perform, the performance of which is in the highest public
interest as evidenced by its being expressly imposed by no less than
the fundamental law.
It is aptly noted in the first of the questioned Resolutions that the
framers of the Constitution could not have been unaware of the
possibility of an election contest that would involve all 24 Senators
elect, six of whom would inevitably have to sit in judgment thereon.
Indeed, such possibility might surface again in the wake of the 1992
elections when once more, but for the last time, all 24 seats in the
Senate will be at stake. Yet the Constitution provides no scheme or
mode for settling such unusual situations or for the substitution of
Senators designated to the Tribunal whose disqualification may be
sought. Litigants in such situations must simply place their trust and
hopes of vindication in the fairness and sense of justice of the
Members of the Tribunal. Justices and Senators, singly and
collectively.
Let us not be misunderstood as saying that no Senator-Member of
the Senate Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or disqualify himself from
sitting in judgment on any case before said Tribunal. Every Member
of the Tribunal may, as his conscience dictates, refrain from
participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely feels that
his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an
objective and impartial judgment. What we are merely saying is that
in the light of the Constitution, the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot
legally function as such, absent its entire membership of Senators
and that no amendment of its Rules can confer on the three JusticesMembers alone the power of valid adjudication of a senatorial election
contest.
Bondoc vs. Pineda [G.R. No. 97710, September 26, 1991]
MEMBERS OF THE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL ENJOY SECURITY OF
TENURE.
The independence of the House Electoral Tribunal so
zealously guarded by the framers of our Constitution, would,
however, by a myth and its proceedings a farce if the House of
Representatives, or the majority party therein, may shuffle and
manipulate the political (as distinguished from the judicial)
component of the electoral tribunal, to serve the interests of the
party in power.
The resolution of the House of Representatives removing
Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal for
disloyalty to the LDP, because he cast his vote in favor of the
Nacionalista Party's candidate, Bondoc, is a clear impairment of the
constitutional prerogative of the House Electoral Tribunal to be the
sole judge of the election contest between Pineda and Bondoc.

To sanction such interference by the House of Representatives in the


work of the House Electoral Tribunal would reduce the tribunal to a
mere tool for the aggrandizement of the party in power (LDP) which
the three justices of the Supreme Court and the lone NP member
would be powerless to stop. A minority party candidate may as well
abandon all hope at the threshold of the tribunal.
As judges, the members of the tribunal must be non-partisan. They
must discharge their functions with complete detachment,
impartiality, and independence even independence from the
political party to which they belong. Hence, "disloyalty to party" and
"breach of party discipline," are not valid grounds for the expulsion of
a member of the tribunal. In expelling Congressman Camasura from
the HRET for having cast a "conscience vote" in favor of Bondoc,
based strictly on the result of the examination and appreciation of the
ballots and the recount of the votes by the tribunal, the House of
Representatives committed a grave abuse of discretion, an injustice,
and a violation of the Constitution. Its resolution of expulsion against
Congressman Camasura is, therefore, null and void.
Another reason for the nullity of the expulsion resolution of the House
of Representatives is that it violates Congressman Camasura's right
to security of tenure. Members of the HRET, as sole judge" of
congressional election contests, are entitled to security of tenure just
as members of the judiciary enjoy security of tenure under our
Constitution (Sec. 2, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). Therefore,
membership in the House Electoral Tribunal may not be terminated
except for a just cause, such as, the expiration of the member's
congressional term of office, his death, permanent disability,
resignation from the political party he represents in the tribunal,
formal affiliation with another political party, or removal for other
valid cause. A member may not be expelled by the House of
Representatives for "party disloyalty" short of proof that he has
formally affiliated with another political group. As the records of this
case fail to show that Congressman Camasura has become a
registered member of another political party, his expulsion from the
LDP and from the HRET was not for a valid cause, hence, it violated
his right to security of tenure.
Chavez vs. COMELEC [211 SCRA 315 (1992)]
PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSIES ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE
ELECTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS. It is clear from the
above-quoted provision of the law that "pre-proclamation cases (are)
not allowed in elections for President, Vice-President, Senator and
Member of the House of Representatives." What is allowed is the
correction of "manifest errors in the certificate of canvass or election
returns." To be manifest, the errors must appear on the face of the
certificates of canvass or election returns sought to be corrected
and/or objections thereto must have been made before the board of
canvassers and specifically noted in the minutes of their respective
proceedings.

In the case at bar, however, petitioner prays not only for a restraining
order enjoining "the proclamation of the 24th highest ranking
senatorial candidate without first acting upon petitioner's
letter/complaint dated May 14, 1992 and urgent petition dated May
22, 1992" but also prays that judgment be rendered requiring the
Comelec to re-open the ballot boxes in 80,348 precincts in 13
provinces therein enumerated (Petition, p. 9) including Metro Manila,
scan the ballots for "Chavez" votes which were invalidated or
declared stray and credit said scanned "Chavez" votes in favor of
petitioner.
It is quite obvious that petitioner's prayer does not call for the
correction of "manifest error's in the certificates of canvass or
election returns" before the Comelec but for the re-opening of the
ballot boxes and appreciation of the ballots contained therein.
Indeed, petitioner has not even pointed to any "manifest error" in the
certificates of canvass or election returns he desires to be rectified.
There being none, petitioner's proper recourse is to file a regular
election protest which, under the Constitution and the Omnibus
Election Code, exclusively pertains to the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Thus, Sec. 17, Art. VI of the Constitution provides that "(t)he Senate
and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. . . ."
(emphasis supplied). The word "sole" underscores the exclusivity of
the Tribunals' jurisdiction over election contests relating to their
respective Members (Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of
Representatives, 199 SCRA 692 [1991]; Lazatin v. House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal, 168 SCRA 391 [1988]; Angara v.
Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139 [1936]). It is therefore crystal
clear that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the instant
petition. It is the Senate Electoral Tribunal which has exclusive
jurisdiction to act on the complaint of petitioner involving, as it does,
contest relating to the election of a member of the Senate. As
aforesaid, petitioner's proper recourse is to file a regular election
protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal after the winning
senatorial candidates have been proclaimed.
Petitioner argues, on the other hand, that a recount before the
Senate Electoral Tribunal where he would be forced to shell out the
expenses imposes not only a property requirement for the enjoyment
of the right to be voted upon but also a price on the right of suffrage
which would ultimately stifle the sovereign will.
The argument, however, is beside the point. The law is very clear on
the matter and it is not right for petitioner to ask this Court to
abandon settled jurisprudence, engage in judicial legislation, amend
the Constitution and alter the Omnibus Election Code. The mandatory
procedures laid down by the existing law in cases like the one at bar
must be faithfully followed lest we allow anarchy to reign. The proper

52

recourse is for petitioner to ask not this Court but the Legislature to
enact remedial measures.
Section 18
Daza vs. Singson [G.R. No. 86344, December 21, 1989]
Coseteng vs. Mitra [G.R. No. 86649, July 12, 1990]
APPOINTMENT OF THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION ON
APPOINTMENTS SHOULD BE MADE BY THE HOUSE CONCERNED. The
composition of the House membership in the Commission on
Appointments was based on proportional representation of the
political parties in the House. There are 160 members of the LDP in
the House. They represent 79% of the House membership (which
may be rounded out to 80%). Eighty percent (80%) of 12 members
in the Commission on Appointments would equal 9.6 members, which
may be rounded out to ten (10) members from the LDP. The
remaining two seats were apportioned to the LP (respondent Lorna
Verano-Yap) as the next largest party in the Coalesced Majority and
the KBL (respondent Roque Ablan) as the principal opposition party in
the House. There is no doubt that this apportionment of the House
membership in the Commission on Appointments was done "on the
basis of proportional representation of the political parties therein."
The other political parties or groups in the House, such as petitioner's
KAIBA (which is presumably a member also of the Coalesced
Majority), are bound by the majority's choices. Even if KAIBA were to
be considered as an opposition party, its lone member (petitioner
Coseteng) represents only .4% or less than 1% of the House
membership, hence, she is not entitled to one of the 12 House seats
in the Commission on Appointments. To be able to claim proportional
membership in the Commission on Appointments, a political party
should represent at least 8.4% of the House membership, i.e., it
should have been able to elect at least 17 congressmen or
congresswomen.
The indorsements of the nine (9) congressmen and congresswomen
in favor of the petitioner's election to the Commission are
inconsequential because they are not members of her party and they
signed identical indorsements in favor of her rival, respondent
Congresswoman Verano-Yap.
There is no merit in the petitioner's contention that the House
members in the Commission on Appointments should have been
nominated and elected by their respective political parties. The
petition itself shows that they were nominated by their respective
floor leaders in the House. They were elected by the House (not by
their party) as provided in Section 18, Article VI of the Constitution.
The validity of their election to the Commission on Appointments
eleven (11) from the Coalesced Majority and one from the minority
is unassailable.

Guingona vs. Gonzales [G.R. No. 106971, October 20, 1992]


RULE IN THE APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION ON
APPOINTMENTS. It is also a fact accepted by all such parties that
each of them is entitled to a fractional membership on the basis of
the rule on proportional representation of each of the political parties.
A literal interpretation of Section 18 of Article VI of the Constitution
leads to no other manner of application than as above. The problem
is what to do with the fraction of .5 or 1/2 to which each of the
parties is entitled. The LDP majority in the Senate converted a
fractional half membership into a whole membership of one senator
by adding one half or .5 to 7.5 to be able to elect Senator Romulo. In
so
doing
one
other
party's
fractional
membership
was
correspondingly reduced leaving the latter's representation in the
Commission on Appointments to less than their proportional
representation in the Senate. This is clearly a violation of Section 18
because it is no longer in compliance with its mandate that
membership in the Commission be based on the proportional
representation of the political parties. The election of Senator Romulo
gave more representation to the LDP and reduced the representation
of one political party either the LAKAS NUCD or the NPC.
On the claim of Senator Taada that under the ruling in the case of
Senator Lorenzo Taada, and the case of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile,
he has a right to be elected as a member of the Commission on
Appointments because of: (a) the physical impossibility of dividing a
person, so that the fractional membership must be rounded up into
one senator, (b) being the sole elected senator of his party, his party
is entitled to be represented in the Commission on Appointments; (c)
having been elected senator, rounding up into one full senator his
fractional membership is consistent with the provision and spirit of
the Constitution and would be in full accord, with the principle of
republicanism that emphasizes democracy.
The cases of the two former senators mentioned cannot be invoked
as a precedent in support of incumbent Senator Taada's claim to a
membership in the present Commission on Appointments. In the time
of his illustrious father, out of 24 elected senators in the upper
chamber of Congress, 23 belonged to the Nacionalista Party, while
Senator Lorenzo Taada, who belonged to the Citizens' Party, was the
lone opposition. By force of circumstance, he became a member of
the Commission on Appointments because he alone represented the
minority party. Had there been another senator belonging to a party
other than the Citizens' Party, this problem of who should sit as the
sole representative of the opposition party would have arisen. In the
case of Senator Ponce Enrile, there were two senators elected from
the opposition party, namely, he and Senator Estrada. Applying the
rule of proportional representation mentioned earlier (see formula),
the opposition was entitled to one full member (not a fractional
membership). Senator Enrile was thus legally nominated and elected
as the minority representative in the Senate. In the present case, if
there were a political party other than the present four political
parties is the Senate. and We follow Senator Taada's claim that he is

entitled to full membership as lone representative of his party, We


would have the anomaly of having 13 senators, where the
Constitution allows only twelve (12) in the Commission on
Appointments.
We find the respondents' claim to membership in the Commission on
Appointments by nomination and election of the LDP majority in the
Senate as not in accordance with Section 18 of Article VI of the 1987
Constitution and therefore violative of the same because it is not in
compliance with the requirement that twelve senators shall be
elected on the basis of proportional representation of the political
parties represented therein. To disturb the resulting fractional
membership of the political parties in the Commission on
Appointments by adding together two halves to make a whole is a
breach of the rule on proportional representation because it will give
the LDP an added member in the Commission by utilizing the
fractional membership of the minority political party, who is deprived
of half a representation.
The provision of Section 18 on proportional representation is
mandatory in character and does not leave any discretion to the
majority party in the Senate to disobey or disregard the rule on
proportional representation; otherwise, the party with a majority
representation in the Senate or the House of Representatives can by
sheer force of numbers impose its will on the hapless minority. By
requiring a proportional representation in the Commission on
Appointments, Section 18 in effect works as a check on the majority
party in the Senate and helps to maintain the balance of power. No
party can claim more than what it is entitled to under such rule. To
allow it to elect more than its proportional share of members is to
confer upon such a party a greater share in the membership in the
Commission on Appointments and more power to impose its will on
the minority, who by the same token, suffers a diminution of its
rightful membership in the Commission.
Section 18 also assures representation in the Commission on
Appointments of any political party who succeeds in electing
members to the Senate, provided that the number of senators so
elected enables it to put a representative in the Commission on
Appointments. Drawing from the ruling in the case of Coseteng vs.
Mitra, Jr., 12 a political party must have at least two senators in the
Senate to be able to have a representative in the Commission on
Appointments, so that any number less than 2 will not entitle such a
party a membership in the Commission on Appointments. This applies
to the respondent Senator Taada.
We lay down the following guidelines accordingly:
1)

In the Senate, a political party or coalition must have at


least two duly elected senators for every seat in the
Commission on Appointments.

53

2)

Where there are more than two political parties represented


in the Senate, a political party/coalition with a single senator
in the Senate cannot constitutionally claim a seat in the
Commission.

We do not agree with respondents' claim that it is mandatory to elect


12 Senators to the Commission on Appointments. The Constitution
does not contemplate that the Commission on Appointments must
necessarily include twelve (12) senators and twelve (12) members of
the House of Representatives. What the Constitution requires is that
there be at least a majority of the entire membership. Under Section
18, the Commission shall rule by majority vote of all the members
and in Section 19, the Commission shall meet only while Congress is
in session, at the call of its Chairman or a majority of all its members
"to discharge such powers and functions herein conferred upon it".
Implementing the above provisions of the Constitution, Section 10,
Chapter 3 of the Rules of the Commission on Appointments, provides
as follows:
SECTION 10. Place of Meeting and Quorum: The
Commission shall meet at either the session hall of
the Senate or the House of Representatives upon
call of the Chairman or as the Commission may
designate. The presence of at least thirteen (13)
members is necessary to constitute a quorum.
Provided, however, that at least four (4) of the
members constituting the quorum should come
from either house . . ."
It is quite evident that the Constitution does not require the election
and presence of twelve (12) senators and twelve (12) members of
the House of Representatives in order that the Commission may
function. Other instances may be mentioned of Constitutional collegial
bodies which perform their functions even if not fully constituted and
even if their composition is expressly specified by the Constitution.
Among these are the Supreme Court, Civil Service Commission,
Commission on Election, Commission on Audit. They perform their
functions so long as there is the required quorum, usually a majority
of its membership. The Commission on Appointments may perform its
functions and transact its business even if only ten (10) senators are
elected thereto as long as a quorum exists.
Section 21
Bengzon vs. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee [G.R. No. 89914,
November 20, 1991]
THE POWER OF THE CONGRESS TO CONDUCT INQUIRIES IN AID OF
LEGISLATION IS NOT ABSOLUTE. The power of both houses of
Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore,
absolute or unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the aforequoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein, the
investigation must be "in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly

published rules of procedure" and that "the rights of persons


appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It
follows then that the rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must
be respected, including the right to due vprocess and the right not to
be compelled to testify against one's self.
The power to conduct formal inquiries or investigations is specifically
provided for in Sec. 1 of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing
Inquiries in Aid of Legislation. Such inquiries may refer to the
implementation or re-examination of any law or in connection with
any proposed legislation or the formulation of future legislation. They
may also extend to any and all matters vested by the Constitution in
Congress and/or in the Senate alone.
As held in Jean L. Aznault vs. Leon Nazareno, et al., the inquiry, to be
within the jurisdiction of the legislative body making it, must be
material or necessary to the exercise of a power in it vested by the
Constitution, such as to legislate or to expel a member.
Under Sec. 4 of the aforementioned Rules, the Senate may refer to
any committee or committees any speech or resolution filed by any
Senator which in its judgment requires an appropriate inquiry in aid
of legislation. In order therefore to ascertain the character or nature
of an inquiry, resort must be had to the speech or resolution under
which such an inquiry is proposed to be made.
It cannot, therefore, be said that the contemplated inquiry on the
subject of the privilege speech of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, i.e., the
alleged sale of the 36 (or 39) corporations belonging to Benjamin
"Kokoy" Romualdez to the Lopa Group is to be conducted pursuant to
Senate Resolution No. 212, because, firstly, Senator Enrile did not
indict the PCGG, and, secondly, neither Mr. Ricardo Lopa nor the
herein petitioners are connected with the government but are private
citizens.
It appears, therefore, that the contemplated inquiry by respondent
Committee is not really "in aid of legislation" because it is not related
to a purpose within the jurisdiction of Congress, since the aim of the
investigation is to find out whether or not the relatives of the
President or Mr. Ricardo Lopa had violated Section 5 of RA No. 3019,
the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act", a matter that appears
more within the province of the courts rather than of the legislature.
Besides, the Court may take judicial notice that Mr. Ricardo Lopa died
during the pendency of this case. In John T . Watkins vs. United
States, 20 it was held:
" . . . . The power of congress to conduct
investigations is inherent in the legislative process.
That power is broad. It encompasses inquiries
concerning the administration of existing laws as
well as proposed or possibly needed statutes. It
includes surveys of defects in our social, economic,
or political system for the purpose of enabling

Congress to remedy them. It comprehends probes


into departments of the Federal Government to
expose corruption, inefficiency or waste. But broad
as is this power of inquiry, it is not unlimited. There
is no general authority to expose the private affairs
of individuals without justification in terms of the
functions of congress. This was freely conceded by
the Solicitor General in his argument in this case.
Nor is the Congress a law enforcement or trial
agency. These are functions of the executive and
judicial departments of government. No inquiry is
an end in itself; it must be related to and in
furtherance of a legitimate task of Congress.
Investigations conducted solely for the personal
aggrandizement of the investigators or to 'punish'
those investigated are indefensible." (emphasis
supplied)
It can not be overlooked that when respondent Committee decided to
conduct its investigation of the petitioners, the complaint in Civil Case
No. 0035 had already been filed with the Sandiganbayan. A perusal of
that complaint shows that one of its principal causes of action against
herein petitioners, as defendants therein, is the alleged sale of the 36
(or 39) corporations belonging to Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez.
Since the issues in said complaint had long been joined by the filing
of petitioners' respective answers thereto, the issue sought to be
investigated by the respondent Committee is one over which
jurisdiction had been acquired by the Sandiganbayan. In short, the
issue has been pre-empted by that court. To allow the respondent
Committee to conduct its own investigation of an issue already before
the Sandiganbayan would not only pose the possibility of conflicting
judgments between a legislative committee and a judicial tribunal,
but if the Committee's judgment were to be reached before that of
the Sandiganbayan, the possibility of its influence being made to bear
on the ultimate judgment of the Sandiganbayan can not be
discounted.
In fine, for the respondent Committee
same justiciable controversy already
would be an encroachment into the
jurisdiction that had much earlier set
States, 21 it was held that:

to probe and inquire into the


before the Sandiganbayan,
exclusive domain of judicial
in. In Baremblatt vs. United

"Broad as it is, the power is not, however, without


limitations. Since Congress may only investigate
into those areas in which it may potentially legislate
or appropriate, it cannot inquire into matters which
are within the exclusive province of one of the other
branches of the government. Lacking the judicial
power given to the Judiciary, it cannot inquire into
matters that are exclusively the concern of the
Judiciary. Neither can it supplant the Executive in
what exclusively belongs to the Executive. . . . ."

54

CONGRESSIONAL
INQUIRIES
ARE
SUBJECT
TO
THE
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE PARTIES. Now to another matter.
It has been held that "a congressional committee's right to inquire is
'subject to all relevant limitations placed by the Constitution on
governmental action,' including 'the relevant limitations of the Bill of
Rights'."
In another case
" . . . the mere semblance of legislative purpose
would not justify an inquiry in the face of the Bill of
Rights. The critical element is the existence of, and
the weight to be ascribed to, the interest of the
Congress in demanding disclosures from an
unwilling witness. We cannot simply assume,
however, that every congressional investigation is
justified by a public need that over-balances any
private rights affected. To do so would be to
abdicate
the
responsibility
placed
by
the
Constitution upon the judiciary to insure that the
Congress does not unjustifiably encroach upon an
individual's right to privacy nor abridge his liberty of
speech, press, religion or assembly."
One of the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution to an
individual is the right against self-incrimination. This right construed
as the right to remain completely silent may be availed of by the
accused in a criminal case; but it may be invoked by other witnesses
only as questions are asked of them.
This distinction was enunciated by the Court in Romeo Chavez vs. The
Honorable Court of Appeals, et al. thus
Petitioner, as accused, occupies a different tier of
protection from an ordinary witness. Whereas an
ordinary witness may be compelled to take the
witness stand and claim the privilege as each
question requiring an incriminating answer is shot
at him, an accused may altogether refuse to take
the witness stand and refuse to answer any and all
questions."
Moreover, this right of the accused is extended to respondents
administrative investigations but only if they partake of the nature of
a criminal proceeding or analogous to a criminal proceeding. In
Galman vs. Pamaran, the Court reiterated the doctrine in Cabal vs.
Kapunan (6 SCRA 1059) to illustrate the right of witnesses to invoke
the right against self-incrimination not only in criminal proceedings
but also in all other types of suit.
It was held that:

"We did not therein state that since he is not an


accused and the case is not a criminal case, Cabal
cannot refuse to take the witness stand and testify,
and that he can invoke his right against selfincrimination only when a question which tends to
elicit an answer that will incriminate him is
propounded to him. Clearly then, it is not the
character of the suit involved but the nature of the
proceedings that controls. The privilege has
consistently been held to extend to all proceedings
sanctioned by law and to all cases in which
punishment is sought to be visited upon a witness,
whether a party or not."
We do not here modify these doctrines. If we presently rule that
petitioners may not be compelled by the respondent Committee to
appear, testify and produce evidence before it, it is only because we
hold that the questioned inquiry is not in aid of legislation and, If
pursued, would be violative of the principle of separation of powers
between the legislative and the judicial departments of government,
ordained by the Constitution.
Arnault vs. Nazareno [G.R. No. L-3820, July 18, 1950]
POWER OF THE CONGRESS TO ISSUE CONTEMPT ORDER. Although
there is no provision in the Constitution expressly investing either
House of Congress with power to make investigations and exact
testimony to the end that it may exercise its legislative functions
advisedly and effectively, such power is so far incidental to the
legislative function as to be implied. In other words, the power of
inquiry with process to enforce it is an essential and appropriate
auxiliary to the legislative function. A legislative body cannot legislate
wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the
conditions which the legislations is intended to affect or change; and
where the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite
information which is not frequently true recourse must be had
to others who do possess it. Experience has shown that mere
requests for such information are often unavailing, and also that
information which is volunteered is not always accurate or complete;
so some means of compulsion is essential to obtain what is needed.
(McGrain vs. Daugherty, 273 U.S., 135; 71 L. ed., 580; 50 A. L. R.,
1.) The fact that the Constitution expressly hives to congress the
power to punish its Members for disorderly behaviour, does not by
necessary implication exclude the power to punish for contempt any
other person. (Anderson vs. Dunn, 6 Wheaton. 204; 5 L ed., 242.)
But no person can punish for contumacy as a witness before either
House, unless his testimony is required in a matter into which that
House has jurisdiction to inquire. (Killbourn vs. Thompson, 26 L. ed.,
377.)
Since, as we noted, the Congress of the Philippines has a wider range
of legislative field than either the congress of the United States or a

State Legislature, we think it is correct to say that the field of inquiry


into which it may enter is also wider. It would be difficult to define
any limits by which the subject matter of its inquiry can be bounded.
It is necessary for us to do so in this case. Suffice it to say it must be
coextensive with the range of the legislative power.
EXTENT OF THE POWER OF INQUIRY OF THE CONGRESS. Once an
inquiry is admitted or established to be within the jurisdiction of a
legislative body to make, we think the investigating committee has
the power to require a witness to answer any question pertinent to
that inquiry, subject of course to his constitutional right against selfincrimination. The inquiry, to be within the jurisdiction of the
legislative body to make, must be material or necessary to the
exercise of a power in it vested by the Constitution, such as to
legislate, or to expel a Member; and every question which the
investigator is empowered to coerce a witness to answer must be
material or pertinent to the subject of the inquiry or investigation. So
a witness may not be coerced to answer a question that obviously
has no relation to the subject of the inquiry. But from this it does not
follow that every question that may be pounded to a witness must be
material to any proposed or possible legislation. In other words, the
materiality of the question must be determined by its direct relation
to the subject of the inquiry and not by its indirect relation to any
proposed or possible legislation. The reason is, that the necessity or
lack of necessity for legislative action and the form and character of
the action itself are determined by the sum total of the information to
be gathered as a result of the investigation, and not by a fraction of
such information elicited from a single question.
Senate vs. Ermita [G.R. No. 169777, April 20, 2006]
POWER TO CONDUCT INQUIRY IN AID OF LEGISLATION IS AN
INHERENT POWER OF CONGRESS. The Congress power of inquiry is
expressly recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution
which reads:
SECTION 21.
The Senate or the House of
Representatives or any of its respective committees
may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in
accordance with its duly published rules of
procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or
affected by such inquiries shall be respected.
(Underscoring supplied)
This provision is worded exactly as Section 8 of Article VIII of the
1973 Constitution except that, in the latter, it vests the power of
inquiry in the unicameral legislature established therein the
Batasang Pambansa and its committees.
The 1935 Constitution did not contain a similar provision.
Nonetheless, in Arnault v. Nazareno, a case decided in 1950 under
that Constitution, the Court already recognized that the power of
inquiry is inherent in the power to legislate.

55

Arnault involved a Senate investigation of the reportedly anomalous


purchase of the Buenavista and Tambobong Estates by the Rural
Progress Administration. Arnault, who was considered a leading
witness in the controversy, was called to testify thereon by the
Senate. On account of his refusal to answer the questions of the
senators on an important point, he was, by resolution of the Senate,
detained for contempt. Upholding the Senate's power to punish
Arnault for contempt, this Court held:
Although there is no provision in the Constitution
expressly investing either House of Congress with
power to make investigations and exact testimony
to the end that it may exercise its legislative
functions advisedly and effectively, such power is so
far incidental to the legislative function as to be
implied. In other words, the power of inquiry
with process to enforce it is an essential and
appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. A
legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively
in the absence of information respecting the
conditions which the legislation is intended to affect
or change; and where the legislative body does not
itself possess the requisite information which is
not infrequently true recourse must be had to
others who do possess it. Experience has shown
that mere requests for such information are often
unavailing, and also that information which is
volunteered is not always accurate or complete; so
some means of compulsion is essential to obtain
what is needed. . . . (Emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
That this power of inquiry is broad enough to cover officials of the
executive branch may be deduced from the same case. The power of
inquiry, the Court therein ruled, is co-extensive with the power to
legislate. The matters which may be a proper subject of legislation
and those which may be a proper subject of investigation are one. It
follows that the operation of government, being a legitimate subject
for legislation, is a proper subject for investigation.

As discussed in Arnault, the power of inquiry, "with process to enforce


it," is grounded on the necessity of information in the legislative
process. If the information possessed by executive officials on the
operation of their offices is necessary for wise legislation on that
subject, by parity of reasoning, Congress has the right to that
information and the power to compel the disclosure thereof.
LIMITATIONS ON THE POWER OF INQUIRY. As evidenced by the
American experience during the so-called "McCarthy era," however,
the right of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is, in
theory, no less susceptible to abuse than executive or judicial power.
It may thus be subjected to judicial review pursuant to the Court's
certiorari powers under Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution.
For one, as noted in Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the
inquiry itself might not properly be in aid of legislation, and thus
beyond the constitutional power of Congress. Such inquiry could not
usurp judicial functions. Parenthetically, one possible way for
Congress to avoid such a result as occurred in Bengzon is to indicate
in its invitations to the public officials concerned, or to any person for
that matter, the possible needed statute which prompted the need for
the inquiry. Given such statement in its invitations, along with the
usual indication of the subject of inquiry and the questions relative to
and in furtherance thereof, there would be less room for speculation
on the part of the person invited on whether the inquiry is in aid of
legislation.
Section 21, Article VI likewise establishes crucial safeguards that
proscribe the legislative power of inquiry. The provision requires that
the inquiry be done in accordance with the Senate or House's duly
published rules of procedure, necessarily implying the constitutional
infirmity of an inquiry conducted without duly published rules of
procedure. Section 21 also mandates that the rights of persons
appearing in or affected by such inquiries be respected, an imposition
that obligates Congress to adhere to the guarantees in the Bill of
Rights.

Thus, the Court found that the Senate investigation of the


government transaction involved in Arnault was a proper exercise of
the power of inquiry. Besides being related to the expenditure of
public funds of which Congress is the guardian, the transaction, the
Court held, "also involved government agencies created by Congress
and officers whose positions it is within the power of Congress to
regulate or even abolish."

These abuses are, of course, remediable before the courts, upon the
proper suit filed by the persons affected, even if they belong to the
executive branch. Nonetheless, there may be exceptional
circumstances, none appearing to obtain at present, wherein a clear
pattern of abuse of the legislative power of inquiry might be
established, resulting in palpable violations of the rights guaranteed
to members of the executive department under the Bill of Rights. In
such instances, depending on the particulars of each case, attempts
by the Executive Branch to forestall these abuses may be accorded
judicial sanction.

Since Congress has authority to inquire into the operations of the


executive branch, it would be incongruous to hold that the power of
inquiry does not extend to executive officials who are the most
familiar with and informed on executive operations.

Even where the inquiry is in aid of legislation, there are still


recognized exemptions to the power of inquiry, which exemptions fall
under the rubric of "executive privilege." Since this term figures
prominently in the challenged order, it being mentioned in its

provisions, its preambular clauses, and in its very title, a discussion


of executive privilege is crucial for determining the constitutionality of
E.O. 464.
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE. The phrase "executive privilege" is not new
in this jurisdiction. It has been used even prior to the promulgation of
the 1986 Constitution. Being of American origin, it is best understood
in light of how it has been defined and used in the legal literature of
the United States.
Schwartz defines executive privilege as "the power of the
Government to withhold information from the public, the courts, and
the Congress." Similarly, Rozell defines it as "the right of the
President and high-level executive branch officers to withhold
information from Congress, the courts, and ultimately the public."
Executive privilege is, nonetheless, not a clear or unitary concept. It
has encompassed claims of varying kinds. Tribe, in fact, comments
that while it is customary to employ the phrase "executive privilege,"
it may be more accurate to speak of executive privileges "since
presidential refusals to furnish information may be actuated by any of
at least three distinct kinds of considerations, and may be asserted,
with differing degrees of success, in the context of either judicial or
legislative investigations."
One variety of the privilege, Tribe explains, is the state secrets
privilege invoked by U.S. Presidents, beginning with Washington, on
the ground that the information is of such nature that its disclosure
would subvert crucial military or diplomatic objectives. Another
variety is the informer's privilege, or the privilege of the Government
not to disclose the identity of persons who furnish information of
violations of law to officers charged with the enforcement of that law.
Finally, a generic privilege for internal deliberations has been said to
attach to intragovernmental documents reflecting advisory opinions,
recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by
which governmental decisions and policies are formulated.
Tribe's comment is supported by the ruling in In re Sealed Case,
thus:
Since the beginnings of our nation, executive
officials have claimed a variety of privileges to resist
disclosure of information the confidentiality of which
they felt was crucial to fulfillment of the unique role
and responsibilities of the executive branch of our
government. Courts ruled early that the executive
had a right to withhold documents that might reveal
military or state secrets. The courts have also
granted the executive a right to withhold the
identity of government informers in some
circumstances and a qualified right to withhold
information related to pending investigations. . . ."
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

56

The entry in Black's Law Dictionary on "executive privilege" is


similarly instructive regarding the scope of the doctrine.
This privilege, based on the constitutional doctrine of separation of
powers, exempts the executive from disclosure requirements
applicable to the ordinary citizen or organization where such
exemption is necessary to the discharge of highly important executive
responsibilities involved in maintaining governmental operations, and
extends not only to military and diplomatic secrets but also to
documents integral to an appropriate exercise of the executive'
domestic decisional and policy making functions, that is, those
documents reflecting the frank expression necessary in intragovernmental advisory and deliberative communications. (Emphasis
and underscoring supplied)
That a type of information is recognized as privileged does not,
however, necessarily mean that it would be considered privileged in
all instances. For in determining the validity of a claim of privilege,
the question that must be asked is not only whether the requested
information falls within one of the traditional privileges, but also
whether that privilege should be honored in a given procedural
setting.
From the above discussion on the meaning and scope of executive
privilege, both in the United States and in this jurisdiction, a clear
principle emerges. Executive privilege, whether asserted against
Congress, the courts, or the public, is recognized only in relation to
certain types of information of a sensitive character. While executive
privilege is a constitutional concept, a claim thereof may be valid or
not depending on the ground invoked to justify it and the context in
which it is made. Noticeably absent is any recognition that executive
officials are exempt from the duty to disclose information by the mere
fact of being executive officials. Indeed, the extraordinary character
of the exemptions indicates that the presumption inclines heavily
against executive secrecy and in favor of disclosure.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INQUIRY IN AID OF LEGISLATION AND
QUESTION HOUR. Sections 21 and 22, therefore, while closely
related and complementary to each other, should not be considered
as pertaining to the same power of Congress. One specifically relates
to the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation, the aim of
which is to elicit information that may be used for legislation, while
the other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour, the
objective of which is to obtain information in pursuit of Congress'
oversight function.
When Congress merely seeks to be informed on how department
heads are implementing the statutes which it has issued, its right to
such information is not as imperative as that of the President to
whom, as Chief Executive, such department heads must give a report
of their performance as a matter of duty. In such instances, Section
22, in keeping with the separation of powers, states that Congress

may only request their appearance. Nonetheless, when the inquiry in


which Congress requires their appearance is "in aid of legislation"
under Section 21, the appearance is mandatory for the same reasons
stated in Arnault.
In fine, the oversight function of Congress may be facilitated by
compulsory process only to the extent that it is performed in pursuit
of legislation. This is consistent with the intent discerned from the
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.
Ultimately, the power of Congress to compel the appearance of
executive officials under Section 21 and the lack of it under Section
22 find their basis in the principle of separation of powers. While the
executive branch is a co-equal branch of the legislature, it cannot
frustrate the power of Congress to legislate by refusing to comply
with its demands for information.
When Congress exercises its power of inquiry, the only way for
department heads to exempt themselves therefrom is by a valid claim
of privilege. They are not exempt by the mere fact that they are
department heads. Only one executive official may be exempted from
this power the President on whom executive power is vested,
hence, beyond the reach of Congress except through the power of
impeachment. It is based on her being the highest official of the
executive branch, and the due respect accorded to a co-equal branch
of government which is sanctioned by a long-standing custom.
By the same token, members of the Supreme Court are also exempt
from this power of inquiry. Unlike the Presidency, judicial power is
vested in a collegial body; hence, each member thereof is exempt on
the basis not only of separation of powers but also on the fiscal
autonomy and the constitutional independence of the judiciary. This
point is not in dispute, as even counsel for the Senate, Sen. Joker
Arroyo, admitted it during the oral argument upon interpellation of
the Chief Justice.
Gudani vs. Senga [G.R. No. 170165, August 15, 2006]
THE PRESIDENT MAY VALIDLY PREVENT MEMBERS OF THE ARMED
FORCES FROM ATTENDING CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS
WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL. Preliminarily, we must discuss the effect
of E.O. 464 and the Court's ruling in Senate on the present petition.
Notably, it is not alleged that petitioners were in any way called to
task for violating E.O. 464, but instead, they were charged for
violating the direct order of Gen. Senga not to appear before the
Senate Committee, an order that stands independent of the executive
order. Distinctions are called for, since Section 2(b) of E.O. 464 listed
"generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and
such other officers who in the judgment of the Chief of Staff are
covered by the executive privilege," as among those public officials
required in Section 3 of E.O. 464 "to secure prior consent of the

President prior to appearing before either House of Congress." The


Court in Senate declared both Section 2(b) and Section 3 void, and
the impression may have been left following Senate that it settled as
doctrine, that the President is prohibited from requiring military
personnel from attending congressional hearings without having first
secured prior presidential consent. That impression is wrong.
Senate turned on the nature of executive privilege, a presidential
prerogative which is encumbered by significant limitations. Insofar as
E.O. 464 compelled officials of the executive branch to seek prior
presidential approval before appearing before Congress, the notion of
executive control also comes into consideration. However, the ability
of the President to require a military official to secure prior consent
before appearing before Congress pertains to a wholly different and
independent specie of presidential authority the commander-inchief powers of the President. By tradition and jurisprudence, the
commander-in-chief powers of the President are not encumbered by
the same degree of restriction as that which may attach to executive
privilege or executive control.
During the deliberations in Senate, the Court was very well aware of
the pendency of this petition as well as the issues raised herein. The
decision in Senate was rendered with the comfort that the
nullification of portions of E.O. 464 would bear no impact on the
present petition since petitioners herein were not called to task for
violating the executive order. Moreover, the Court was then cognizant
that Senate and this case would ultimately hinge on disparate legal
issues. Relevantly, Senate purposely did not touch upon or rule on
the faculty of the President, under the aegis of the commander-inchief powers to require military officials from securing prior consent
before appearing before Congress. The pertinent factors in
considering that question are markedly outside of those which did
become relevant in adjudicating the issues raised in Senate. It is in
this petition that those factors come into play.
The commander-in-chief provision in the Constitution is denominated
as Section 18, Article VII, which begins with the simple declaration
that "[t]he President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed
forces of the Philippines . . ." Outside explicit constitutional
limitations, such as those found in Section 5, Article XVI, the
commander-in-chief clause vests on the President, as commander-inchief, absolute authority over the persons and actions of the
members of the armed forces. Such authority includes the ability of
the President to restrict the travel, movement and speech of military
officers, activities which may otherwise be sanctioned under civilian
law.
Reference to Kapunan, Jr. v. De Villa is useful in this regard. Lt. Col.
Kapunan was ordered confined under "house arrest" by then Chief of
Staff (later President) Gen. Fidel Ramos. Kapunan was also ordered,
as a condition for his house arrest, that he may not issue any press
statements or give any press conference during his period of
detention. The Court unanimously upheld such restrictions, noting:

57

[T]he Court is of the view that such is justified by


the requirements of military discipline. It cannot be
gainsaid that certain liberties of persons in the
military service, including the freedom of speech,
may be circumscribed by rules of military discipline.
Thus, to a certain degree, individual rights may be
curtailed, because the effectiveness of the military
in fulfilling its duties under the law depends to a
large extent on the maintenance of discipline within
its ranks. Hence, lawful orders must be followed
without question and rules must be faithfully
complied with, irrespective of a soldier's personal
views on the matter. It is from this viewpoint that
the restrictions imposed on petitioner Kapunan, an
officer in the AFP, have to be considered.
Any good soldier, or indeed any ROTC cadet, can attest to the fact
that the military way of life circumscribes several of the cherished
freedoms of civilian life. It is part and parcel of the military package.
Those who cannot abide by these limitations normally do not pursue
a military career and instead find satisfaction in other fields; and in
fact many of those discharged from the service are inspired in their
later careers precisely by their rebellion against the regimentation of
military life. Inability or unwillingness to cope with military discipline
is not a stain on character, for the military mode is a highly
idiosyncratic path which persons are not generally conscripted into,
but volunteer themselves to be part of. But for those who do make
the choice to be a soldier, significant concessions to personal
freedoms are expected. After all, if need be, the men and women of
the armed forces may be commanded upon to die for country, even
against their personal inclinations.
Thus, we have to consider the question: may the President prevent a
member of the armed forces from testifying before a legislative
inquiry? We hold that the President has constitutional authority to do
so, by virtue of her power as commander-in-chief, and that as a
consequence a military officer who defies such injunction is liable
under military justice. At the same time, we also hold that any
chamber of Congress which seeks the appearance before it of a
military officer against the consent of the President has adequate
remedies under law to compel such attendance. Any military official
whom Congress summons to testify before it may be compelled to do
so by the President. If the President is not so inclined, the President
may be commanded by judicial order to compel the attendance of the
military officer. Final judicial orders have the force of the law of the
land which the President has the duty to faithfully execute.
Explication of these principles is in order.
As earlier noted, we ruled in Senate that the President may not issue
a blanket requirement of prior consent on executive officials
summoned by the legislature to attend a congressional hearing. In

doing so, the Court recognized the considerable limitations on


executive privilege, and affirmed that the privilege must be formally
invoked on specified grounds. However, the ability of the President to
prevent military officers from testifying before Congress does not turn
on executive privilege, but on the Chief Executive's power as
commander-in-chief to control the actions and speech of members of
the armed forces. The President's prerogatives as commander-inchief are not hampered by the same limitations as in executive
privilege.
Our ruling that the President could, as a general rule, require military
officers to seek presidential approval before appearing before
Congress is based foremost on the notion that a contrary rule unduly
diminishes the prerogatives of the President as commander-in-chief.
Congress holds significant control over the armed forces in matters
such as budget appropriations and the approval of higher-rank
promotions, yet it is on the President that the Constitution vests the
title as commander-in-chief and all the prerogatives and functions
appertaining to the position. Again, the exigencies of military
discipline and the chain of command mandate that the President's
ability to control the individual members of the armed forces be
accorded the utmost respect. Where a military officer is torn between
obeying the President and obeying the Senate, the Court will without
hesitation affirm that the officer has to choose the President. After
all, the Constitution prescribes that it is the President, and not the
Senate, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
At the same time, the refusal of the President to allow members of
the military to appear before Congress is still subject to judicial relief.
The Constitution itself recognizes as one of the legislature's functions
is the conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation. Inasmuch as it is illadvised for Congress to interfere with the President's power as
commander-in-chief, it is similarly detrimental for the President to
unduly interfere with Congress's right to conduct legislative inquiries.
The impasse did not come to pass in this petition, since petitioners
testified anyway despite the presidential prohibition. Yet the Court is
aware that with its pronouncement today that the President has the
right to require prior consent from members of the armed forces, the
clash may soon loom or actualize.
We believe and hold that our constitutional and legal order sanctions
a modality by which members of the military may be compelled to
attend legislative inquiries even if the President desires otherwise, a
modality which does not offend the Chief Executive's prerogatives as
commander-in-chief. The remedy lies with the courts.
The fact that the executive branch is an equal, coordinate branch of
government to the legislative creates a wrinkle to any basic rule that
persons summoned to testify before Congress must do so. There is
considerable interplay between the legislative and executive
branches, informed by due deference and respect as to their various
constitutional
functions.
Reciprocal
courtesy
idealizes
this
relationship; hence, it is only as a last resort that one branch seeks to

compel the other to a particular mode of behavior. The judiciary, the


third coordinate branch of government, does not enjoy a similar
dynamic with either the legislative or executive branches. Whatever
weakness inheres on judicial power due to its inability to originate
national policies and legislation, such is balanced by the fact that it is
the branch empowered by the Constitution to compel obeisance to its
rulings by the other branches of government.
In re Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus of
Camilo L. Sabio [G.R. No. 174340, October 17,
2006]
THE POWER OF THE CONGRESS TO CONDUCT INQUIRIES IN AID OF
LEGISLATION CANNOT BE RESTRICTED BY MERE LEGISLATIVE FIAT.
Dispelling any doubt as to the Philippine Congress' power of inquiry,
provisions on such power made their maiden appearance in Article
VIII, Section 12 of the 1973 Constitution. Then came the 1987
Constitution incorporating the present Article VI, Section 12. What
was therefore implicit under the 1935 Constitution, as influenced by
American jurisprudence, became explicit under the 1973 and 1987
Constitutions.
Notably, the 1987 Constitution recognizes the power of investigation,
not just of Congress, but also of "any of its committee." This is
significant because it constitutes a direct conferral of investigatory
power upon the committees and it means that the mechanisms which
the Houses can take in order to effectively perform its investigative
function are also available to the committees.
It can be said that the Congress' power of inquiry has gained more
solid existence and expansive construal. The Court's high regard to
such power is rendered more evident in Senate v. Ermita, where it
categorically ruled that "the power of inquiry is broad enough to
cover officials of the executive branch." Verily, the Court reinforced
the doctrine in Arnault that "the operation of government, being a
legitimate subject for legislation, is a proper subject for investigation"
and that "the power of inquiry is co-extensive with the power to
legislate."
Considering these jurisprudential instructions, we find Section 4(b)
directly repugnant with Article VI, Section 21. Section 4(b) exempts
the PCGG members and staff from the Congress' power of inquiry.
This cannot be countenanced. Nowhere in the Constitution is any
provision granting such exemption. The Congress' power of inquiry,
being
broad,
encompasses
everything
that
concerns
the
administration of existing laws as well as proposed or possibly needed
statutes.
It even extends "to government agencies created by
Congress and officers whose positions are within the power of
Congress to regulate or even abolish." PCGG belongs to this class.
Certainly, a mere provision of law cannot pose a limitation to the
broad power of Congress, in the absence of any constitutional basis.

58

Furthermore, Section 4(b) is also inconsistent with Article XI, Section


1 of the Constitution stating that: "Public office is a public trust.
Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the
people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives."
The provision presupposes that since an incumbent of a public office
is invested with certain powers and charged with certain duties
pertinent to sovereignty, the powers so delegated to the officer are
held in trust for the people and are to be exercised in behalf of the
government or of all citizens who may need the intervention of the
officers. Such trust extends to all matters within the range of duties
pertaining to the office. In other words, public officers are but the
servants of the people, and not their rulers.
Section 4(b), being in the nature of an immunity, is inconsistent with
the principle of public accountability. It places the PCGG members
and staff beyond the reach of courts, Congress and other
administrative bodies. Instead of encouraging public accountability,
the same provision only institutionalizes irresponsibility and nonaccountability. In Presidential Commission on Good Government v.
Pea, Justice Florentino P. Feliciano characterized as "obiter" the
portion of the majority opinion barring, on the basis of Sections 4(a)
and (b) of E.O. No. 1, a civil case for damages filed against the PCGG
and its Commissioners. He eloquently opined:
The above underscored portions are, it is
respectfully submitted, clearly obiter. It is important
to make clear that the Court is not here
interpreting, much less upholding as valid and
constitutional, the literal terms of Section 4 (a), (b)
of Executive Order No. 1. If Section 4 (a) were
given its literal import as immunizing the PCGG or
any member thereof from civil liability "for anything
done or omitted in the discharge of the task
contemplated by this Order," the constitutionality of
Section 4 (a) would, in my submission, be open to
most serious doubt. For so viewed, Section 4 (a)
would institutionalize the irresponsibility and nonaccountability of members and staff of the PCGG, a
notion that is clearly repugnant to both the 1973
and 1987 Constitution and a privileged status not
claimed by any other official of the Republic under
the 1987 Constitution. . . . .
It would seem constitutionally offensive to suppose
that a member or staff member of the PCGG could
not be required to testify before the Sandiganbayan
or that such members were exempted from
complying with orders of this Court.
Neri v. Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers
and Investigations, [G.R.

No. 180643, March 25, 2008]

Executive privilege is not a personal privilege, but one that adheres


to the Office of the President. It exists to protect public interest, not
to benefit a particular public official. Its purpose, among others, is to
assure that the nation will receive the benefit of candid, objective and
untrammeled communication and exchange of information between
the President and his/her advisers in the process of shaping or
forming policies and arriving at decisions in the exercise of the
functions of the Presidency under the Constitution. The confidentiality
of the Presidents conversations and correspondence is not unique. It
is akin to the confidentiality of judicial deliberations. It possesses the
same value as the right to privacy of all citizens and more, because it
is dictated by public interest and the constitutionally ordained
separation of governmental powers.
Section 22
Senate vs. Ermita [G.R. No. 169777, April 20, 2006]
QUESTION HOUR. Section 1 specifically applies to department heads.
It does not, unlike Section 3, require a prior determination by any
official whether they are covered by E.O. 464. The President herself
has, through the challenged order, made the determination that they
are. Further, unlike also Section 3, the coverage of department heads
under Section 1 is not made to depend on the department heads'
possession of any information which might be covered by executive
privilege. In fact, in marked contrast to Section 3 vis--vis Section 2,
there is no reference to executive privilege at all. Rather, the required
prior consent under Section 1 is grounded on Article VI, Section 22 of
the Constitution on what has been referred to as the question hour.
SECTION 22.
The heads of departments may
upon their own initiative, with the consent of the
President, or upon the request of either House, as
the rules of each House shall provide, appear before
and be heard by such House on any matter
pertaining to their departments. Written questions
shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or
the Speaker of the House of Representatives at
least three days before their scheduled appearance.
Interpellations shall not be limited to written
questions, but may cover matters related thereto.
When the security of the State or the public interest
so requires and the President so states in writing,
the appearance shall be conducted in executive
session.
Determining the validity of Section 1 thus requires an examination of
the meaning of Section 22 of Article VI. Section 22 which provides for
the question hour must be interpreted vis--vis Section 21 which
provides for the power of either House of Congress to "conduct
inquiries in aid of legislation." As the following excerpt of the
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission shows, the framers

were aware that these two provisions involved distinct functions of


Congress.
MR. MAAMBONG. . . . When we amended Section
20 [now Section 22 on the Question Hour]
yesterday, I noticed that members of the
Cabinet cannot be compelled anymore to
appear
before
the
House
of
Representatives or before the Senate. I
have a particular problem in this regard,
Madam
President,
because
in
our
experience in the Regular Batasang
Pambansa as the Gentleman himself has
experienced in the interim Batasang
Pambansa one of the most competent
inputs that we can put in our committee
deliberations, either in aid of legislation or
in congressional investigations, is the
testimonies of Cabinet ministers. We
usually invite them, but if they do not
come
and
it
is
a
congressional
investigation, we usually issue subpoenas.
I want to be clarified on a statement made
by Commissioner Suarez when he said that
the fact that the Cabinet ministers may
refuse to come to the House of
Representatives or the Senate [when
requested under Section 22] does not
mean that they need not come when they
are invited or subpoenaed by the
committee of either House when it comes
to inquiries in aid of legislation or
congressional investigation. According to
Commissioner Suarez, that is allowed and
their presence can be had under Section
21. Does the gentleman confirm this,
Madam President?
MR. DAVIDE. We confirm that, Madam President,
because Section 20 refers only to what
was originally the Question Hour, whereas,
Section 21 would refer specifically to
inquiries in aid of legislation, under which
anybody for that matter, may be
summoned and if he refuses, he can be
held in contempt of the House. 83
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
A distinction was thus made between inquiries in aid of legislation and
the question hour. While attendance was meant to be discretionary in
the question hour, it was compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation.
The reference to Commissioner Suarez bears noting, he being one of

59

the proponents of the amendment to make the appearance of


department heads discretionary in the question hour.
So clearly was this distinction conveyed to the members of the
Commission that the Committee on Style, precisely in recognition of
this distinction, later moved the provision on question hour from its
original position as Section 20 in the original draft down to Section
31, far from the provision on inquiries in aid of legislation. This gave
rise to the following exchange during the deliberations:
MR. GUINGONA. [speaking in his capacity as
Chairman of the Committee on Style] We
now go, Mr. Presiding Officer, to the Article
on Legislative and may I request the
chairperson of the Legislative Department,
Commissioner Davide, to give his reaction.
THE

PRESIDING
OFFICER
(Mr.
Jamir).
Commissioner Davide is recognized.

MR. DAVIDE. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer. I


have only one reaction to the Question
Hour. I propose that instead of putting it as
Section 31, it should follow Legislative
Inquiries.
THE

PRESIDING OFFICER.
committee say?

What

does

the

MR. GUINGONA. I ask Commissioner Maambong to


reply, Mr. Presiding Officer.
MR. MAAMBONG. Actually, we considered that
previously when we sequenced this but we
reasoned that in Section 21, which is
Legislative Inquiry, it is actually a power of
Congress in terms of its own lawmaking;
whereas, a Question Hour is not actually a
power in terms of its own lawmaking
power because in Legislative Inquiry, it is
in aid of legislation. And so we put
Question Hour as Section 31. I hope
Commissioner Davide will consider this.
MR. DAVIDE. The Question Hour is closely related
with the legislative power, and it is
precisely as a complement to or a
supplement of the Legislative Inquiry. The
appearance of the members of Cabinet
would be very, very essential not only in
the application of check and balance but
also, in effect, in aid of legislation.

MR.

MAAMBONG. After conferring with the


committee, we find merit in the suggestion
of Commissioner Davide. In other words,
we are accepting that and so this Section
31 would now become Section 22. Would it
be, Commissioner Davide?

MR. DAVIDE. Yes. 84 (Emphasis and underscoring


supplied)
Consistent with their statements earlier in the deliberations,
Commissioners Davide and Maambong proceeded from the same
assumption that these provisions pertained to two different functions
of the legislature. Both Commissioners understood that the power to
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is different from the power to
conduct inquiries during the question hour. Commissioner Davide's
only concern was that the two provisions on these distinct powers be
placed closely together, they being complementary to each other.
Neither Commissioner considered them as identical functions of
Congress.
The foregoing opinion was not the two Commissioners' alone. From
the above-quoted exchange, Commissioner Maambong's committee
the Committee on Style shared the view that the two provisions
reflected distinct functions of Congress. Commissioner Davide, on the
other hand, was speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the
Committee on the Legislative Department. His views may thus be
presumed as representing that of his Committee.
In the context of a parliamentary system of government, the
"question hour" has a definite meaning. It is a period of confrontation
initiated by Parliament to hold the Prime Minister and the other
ministers accountable for their acts and the operation of the
government, corresponding to what is known in Britain as the
question period. There was a specific provision for a question hour in
the 1973 Constitution 86 which made the appearance of ministers
mandatory. The same perfectly conformed to the parliamentary
system established by that Constitution, where the ministers are also
members of the legislature and are directly accountable to it.
An essential feature of the parliamentary system of government is
the immediate accountability of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to
the National Assembly. They shall be responsible to the National
Assembly for the program of government and shall determine the
guidelines of national policy. Unlike in the presidential system where
the tenure of office of all elected officials cannot be terminated before
their term expired, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet remain in
office only as long as they enjoy the confidence of the National
Assembly. The moment this confidence is lost the Prime Minister and
the Cabinet may be changed.
The framers of the 1987 Constitution removed the mandatory nature
of such appearance during the question hour in the present

Constitution so as to conform more fully to a system of separation of


powers. 88 To that extent, the question hour, as it is presently
understood in this jurisdiction, departs from the question period of
the parliamentary system. That department heads may not be
required to appear in a question hour does not, however, mean that
the legislature is rendered powerless to elicit information from them
in all circumstances. In fact, in light of the absence of a mandatory
question period, the need to enforce Congress' right to executive
information in the performance of its legislative function becomes
more imperative. As Schwartz observes:
Indeed, if the separation of powers has anything to
tell us on the subject under discussion, it is that the
Congress has the right to obtain information from
any source even from officials of departments
and agencies in the executive branch. In the United
States there is, unlike the situation which prevails
in a parliamentary system such as that in Britain, a
clear separation between the legislative and
executive branches. It is this very separation that
makes the congressional right to obtain information
from the executive so essential, if the functions of
the Congress as the elected representatives of the
people are adequately to be carried out. The
absence of close rapport between the legislative
and executive branches in this country, comparable
to those which exist under a parliamentary system,
and the nonexistence in the Congress of an
institution such as the British question period have
perforce made reliance by the Congress upon its
right to obtain information from the executive
essential, if it is intelligently to perform its
legislative tasks. Unless the Congress possesses the
right to obtain executive information, its power of
oversight of administration in a system such as ours
becomes a power devoid of most of its practical
content, since it depends for its effectiveness solely
upon information parceled out ex gratia by the
executive. 89 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Section 24
Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance [G.R. No. 115544, August
25, 1994]
WHAT IS NEEDED TO ORIGINATE FROM THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES IS ONLY THE BILL AND NOT THE LAW. Petitioners'
contention is that Republic Act No. 7716 did not "originate
exclusively" in the House of Representatives as required by Art. VI,
24 of the Constitution, because it is in fact the result of the
consolidation of two distinct bills, H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630. In
this connection, petitioners point out that although Art. VI, 24 was
adopted from the American Federal Constitution, it is notable in two

60

respects: the verb "shall originate" is qualified in the Philippine


Constitution by the word "exclusively" and the phrase "as on other
bills" in the American version is omitted. This means, according to
them, that to be considered as having originated in the House,
Republic Act No. 7716 must retain the essence of H. No. 11197.
This argument will not bear analysis. To begin with, it is not the law
but the revenue bill which is required by the Constitution to
"originate exclusively" in the House of Representatives. It is
important to emphasize this, because a bill originating in the House
may undergo such extensive changes in the Senate that the result
may be a rewriting of the whole. The possibility of a third version by
the conference committee will be discussed later. At this point, what
is important to note is that, as a result of the Senate action, a distinct
bill may be produced. To insist that a revenue statute and not only
the bill which initiated the legislative process culminating in the
enactment of the law must substantially be the same as the House
bill would be to deny the Senate's power not only to "concur with
amendments" but also to " propose amendments." It would be to
violate the coequality of legislative power of the two houses of
Congress and in fact make the House superior to the Senate.
The contention that the constitutional design is to limit the Senate's
power in respect of revenue bills in order to compensate for the grant
to the Senate of the treaty-ratifying power and thereby equalize its
powers and those of the House overlooks the fact that the powers
being compared are different. We are dealing here with the legislative
power, which under the Constitution is vested not in any particular
chamber but in the Congress of the Philippines, consisting of "a
Senate and a House of Representatives." The exercise of the treatyratifying power is not the exercise of legislative power. It is the
exercise of a check on the executive power. There is, therefore, no
justification for comparing the legislative powers of the House and of
the Senate on the basis of the possession of such non-legislative
power by the Senate. The possession of a similar power by the U.S.
Senate has never been thought of as giving it more legislative powers
than the House of Representatives.
Indeed, what the Constitution simply means is that the initiative for
filing revenue, tariff, or tax bills, bills authorizing an increase of the
public debt, private bills and bills of local application must come from
the House of Representatives on the theory that, elected as they are
from the districts, the members of the House can be expected to be
more sensitive to the local needs and problems. On the other hand,
the senators, who are elected at large, are expected to approach the
same problems from the national perspective. Both views are thereby
made to bear on the enactment of such laws.
Nor does the Constitution prohibit the filing in the Senate of a
substitute bill in anticipation of its receipt of the bill from the House,
so long as action by the Senate as a body is withheld pending receipt
of the House bill. The Court cannot, therefore, understand the alarm
expressed over the fact that on March 1, 1993, eight months before

the House passed H. No. 11197, S. No. 1129 had been filed in the
Senate. After all it does not appear that the Senate ever considered
it. It was only after the Senate had received H. No. 11197 on
November 23, 1993 that the process of legislation in respect of it
began with the referral to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means
of H. No. 11197 and the submission by the Committee on February 7,
1994 of S. No. 1630. For that matter, if the question were simply the
priority in the time of filing of bills, the fact is that it was in the House
that a bill (H. No. 253) to amend the VAT law was first filed on July
22, 1992. Several other bills had been filed in the House before S.
No. 1129 was filed in the Senate, and H. No. 11197 was only a
substitute of those earlier bills.
Alvarez vs. Guingona [G.R. No. 118303, January 31, 1996]
INTRODUCTION OF A BILL OF LOCAL APPLICATION IN THE SENATE
IN ANTICIPATION OF THE BILL TO BE PASSED BY THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES IS NOT PROHIBITED BY THE CONSTITUTION.
Although a bill of local application like HB No. 8817 should, by
constitutional prescription, originate exclusively in the House of
Representatives, the claim of petitioners that Republic Act No. 7720
did not originate exclusively in the House of Representatives because
a bill of the same import, SB No. 1243, was passed in the Senate, is
untenable because it cannot be denied that HB No. 8817 was filed in
the House of Representatives first before SB No. 1243 was filed in the
Senate. Petitioners themselves cannot disavow their own admission
that HB No. 8817 was filed on April 18, 1993 while SB No. 1243 was
filed on May 19, 1993. The filing of HB No. 8817 was thus precursive
not only of the said Act in question but also of SB No. 1243. Thus, HB
No. 8817, was the bill that initiated the legislative process that
culminated in the enactment of Republic Act No. 7720. No violation of
Section 24, Article VI, of the 1987 Constitution is perceptible under
the circumstances attending the instant controversy.
Furthermore, petitioners themselves acknowledge that HB No. 8817
was already approved on Third Reading and duly transmitted to the
Senate when the Senate Committee on Local Government conducted
its public hearing on HB No. 8817. HB No. 8817 was approved on the
Third Reading on December 17, 1993 and transmitted to the Senate
on January 28, 1994; a little less than a month thereafter or on
February 23, 1994, the Senate Committee on Local Government
conducted public hearings on SB No. 1243. Clearly, the Senate held in
abeyance any action on SB No. 1243 until it received HB No. 8817,
already approved on the Third Reading, from the House of
Representatives. The filing in the Senate of a substitute bill in
anticipation of its receipt of the bill from the House, does not
contravene the constitutional requirement that a bill of local
application should originate in the House of Representatives, for as
long as the Senate does not act thereupon until it receives the House
bill.
Section 25

Garcia vs. Mata [G.R. No. L-33713, July 30, 1975]


RIDER IN AN APPROPRIATION BILL. A perusal of the challenged
provision of R.A. 1600 fails to disclose its relevance or relation to any
appropriation item therein, or to the Appropriation Act as a whole.
From the very first clause of paragraph 11 itself, which reads,
"After the approval of this Act, and when there is no
emergency, no reserve officer of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines may be called to a tour of active
duty for more than two years during any period of
five consecutive years:"
the incongruity and irrelevancy are already evident. While R.A. 1600
appropriated money for the operation of the Government for the
fiscal year 1956-1957, the said paragraph 11 refers to the
fundamental governmental policy matters of the calling to active duty
and the reversion to inactive status of reserve officers in the AFP. The
incongruity and irrelevancy continue throughout the entire paragraph.
In the language of the respondents-appellees, "it was a nonappropriation item inserted in an appropriation measure in violation
of the constitutional inhibition against 'riders' to the general
appropriation act." It was indeed a new and completely unrelated
provision attached to the Appropriation Act.
The paragraph in question also violated Art. VI, Sec. 21, par. 1 5 of
the 1935 Constitution of the Philippines which provided that "No bill
which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject
which shall be expressed in the title of the bill." This constitutional
requirement nullified and rendered inoperative any provision
contained in the body of an act that was not fairly included in the
subject expressed in the title or was not germane to or properly
connected with that subject.
In determining whether a provision contained in an act is embraced in
the subject and is properly connected therewith, the subject to be
considered is the one expressed in the title of the act, and every fair
intendment and reasonable doubt should be indulged in favor of the
validity of the legislative enactment. But when an act contains
provisions which are clearly not embraced in the subject of the act, as
expressed in the title, such provisions are inoperative and without
effect.
We are mindful that the title of an act is not required to be an index
to the body of the act. Thus, in Sumulong vs. Comelec, 73 Phil. 288,
291, this Court held that it is "a sufficient compliance with such
requirement if the title expresses the general subject and all the
provisions of the statute are germane to that general subject." The
constitutional provision was intended to preclude the insertion of
riders in legislation, a rider being a provision not germane to the
subject-matter of the bill.

61

The subject of R.A. 1600, as expressed in its title, is restricted to


"appropriating funds for the operation of the government." Any
provision contained in the body of the act that is fairly included in this
restricted subject or any matter properly connected therewith is valid
and operative. But, if a provision in the body of the act is not fairly
included in this restricted subject, like the provision relating to the
policy matters of calling to active duty and reversion to inactive duty
of reserve officers of the AFP, such provision is inoperative and of no
effect.
Demetria vs. Alba [G.R. No. 71977, February 27, 1987]
REALLIGNMENT OF BUDGET MAY ONLY BE DONE WHEN THERE ARE
SAVINGS FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS OF A PARTICULAR
DEPARTMENT AND THE SAME IS TO BE DONE TO AUGMENT OTHER
ITEMS IN THEIR OWN APPROPRIATIONS. Paragraph 1 of Section 44
of P.D. No. 1177 unduly overextends the privilege granted under said
Section 16[5]. It empowers the President to indiscriminately transfer
funds from one department, bureau, office or agency of the Executive
Department to any program, project or activity of any department,
bureau or office included in the General Appropriations Act or
approved after its enactment, without regard as to whether or not the
funds to be transferred are actually savings in the item from which
the same are to be taken, or whether or not the transfer is for the
purpose of augmenting the item to which said transfer is to be made.
It does not only completely disregard the standards set in the
fundamental law, thereby amounting to an undue delegation of
legislative powers, but likewise goes beyond the tenor thereof.
Indeed, such constitutional infirmities render the provision in question
null and void.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: . . ." and money
belonging to no one in particular, i.e. public funds, provide an even
greater temptation for misappropriation and embezzlement. This,
evidently, was foremost in the minds of the framers of the
constitution in meticulously prescribing the rules regarding the
appropriation and disposition of public funds as embodied in Sections
16 and 18 of Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution. Hence, the
conditions on the release of money from the treasury [Sec. 18(1)];
the restrictions on the use of public funds for public purpose [Sec.
18(2)]; the prohibition to transfer an appropriation for an item to
another [Sec. 16(5) and the requirement of specifications [Sec.
16(2)], among others, were all safeguards designed to forestall
abuses in the expenditure of public funds. Paragraph 1 of Section 44
puts all these safeguards to naught. For, as correctly observed by
petitioners, in view of the unlimited authority bestowed upon the
President, ". . . Pres. Decree No. 1177 opens the floodgates for the
enactment of unfounded appropriations, results in uncontrolled
executive expenditures, diffuses accountability for budgetary
performance and entrenches the pork barrel system as the ruling
party may well expand [sic] public money not on the basis of
development priorities but on political and personal expediency." 5
The contention of public respondents that paragraph 1 of Section 44

of P.D. 1177 was enacted pursuant to Section 16(5) of Article VIII of


the 1973 Constitution must perforce fall flat on its face.
Another theory advanced by public respondents is that prohibition will
not lie from one branch of the government against a coordinate
branch to enjoin the performance of duties within the latter's sphere
of responsibility.
Thomas M. Cooley in his "A Treatise on the Constitutional
Limitations," Vol. I, Eight Edition, Little, Brown and Company, Boston,
explained:
". . . The legislative and judicial are coordinate
departments of the government, of equal dignity;
each is alike supreme in the exercise of its proper
functions, and cannot directly or indirectly, while
acting within the limits of its authority, be subjected
to the control or supervision of the other, without
an unwarrantable assumption by that other of
power which, by the Constitution, is not conferred
upon it. The Constitution apportions the powers of
government, but it does not make any one of the
three departments subordinate to another, when
exercising the trust committed to it. The courts may
declare legislative enactments unconstitutional and
void in some cases, but not because the judicial
power is superior in degree or dignity to the
legislative. Being required to declare what the law is
in the cases which come before them, they must
enforce the Constitution, as the paramount law,
whenever a legislative enactment comes in conflict
with it. But the courts sit, not to review or revise
the legislative action, but to enforce the legislative
will, and it is only where they find that the
legislature
has
failed
to
keep
within
its
constitutional limits, that they are at liberty to
disregard its action; and in doing so, they only do
what every private citizen may do in respect to the
mandates of the courts when the judges assume to
act and to render judgments or decrees without
jurisdiction. 'In exercising this high authority, the
judges claim no judicial supremacy; they are only
the administrators of the public will. If an act of the
legislature is held void, it is not because the judges
have any control over the legislative power, but
because the act is forbidden by the Constitution,
and because the will of the people, which is therein
declared,
is
paramount
to
that
of
their
representatives expressed in any law.' [Lindsay v.
Commissioners, & c., 2 Bay, 38, 61; People v.
Rucker, 5 Col. 5; Russ v. Com., 210 Pa. St. 544; 60
Atl. 169, 1 L.R.A. [N.S.] 409, 105 Am. St. Rep.
825]" (pp. 332-334).

Indeed, where the legislature or the executive branch is acting within


the limits of its authority, the judiciary cannot and ought not to
interfere with the former. But where the legislature or the executive
acts beyond the scope of its constitutional powers, it becomes the
duty of the judiciary to declare what the other branches of the
government had assumed to do as void. This is the essence of judicial
power conferred by the Constitution "in one Supreme Court and in
such lower courts as may be established by law" [Art. VIII, Section 1
of the 1935 Constitution; Art. X, Section 1 of the 1973 Constitution
and which was adopted as part of the Freedom Constitution, and Art.
VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitutional and which power this Court
has exercised in many instances.
Philconsa vs. Enriquez [G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994]
NECESSITY OF REALLIGNMENT MAY BE MADE BY A MEMBER OF
CONGRESS, BUT THE RE-ALLIGNMENT ITSELF MUST BE MADE WITH
THE APPROVAL OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE OR THE SPEAKER
OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
The appropriation for
operating expenditures for each House is further divided into
expenditures for salaries, personal services, other compensation
benefits, maintenance expenses and other operating expenses. In
turn, each member of Congress is allotted for his own operating
expenditure a proportionate share of the appropriation for the House
to which he belongs. If he does not spend for one item of expense,
the provision in question allows him to transfer his allocation in said
item to another item of expense.
Petitioners assail the special provision allowing a member of Congress
to realign his allocation for operational expenses to any other
expense category (Rollo, pp. 82-92), claiming that this practice is
prohibited by Section 25(5) Article VI of the Constitution. Said section
provides:
"No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of
appropriations: however, the President, the
President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House
of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional
Commissions may, by law, be authorized to
augment any item in the general appropriations law
for their respective offices from savings in other
items of their respective appropriations."
The proviso of said Article of the Constitution grants the President of
the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives the
power to augment items in an appropriation act for their respective
offices from savings in other items of their appropriations, whenever
there is a law authorizing such augmentation.
The special provision on realignment of the operating expenses of
members of Congress is authorized by Section 16 of the General
Provisions of the GAA of 1994, which provides:

62

"Expenditure Components. Except by act of the


Congress of the Philippines, no change or
modification shall be made in the expenditure items
authorized in this Act and other appropriation laws
unless in cases of augmentations from savings in
appropriations as authorized under Section 25(5) of
Article VI of the Constitution." (GAA of 1994, p.
1273).
Petitioners argue that the Senate President and the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, but not the individual members of
Congress are the ones authorized to realign the savings as
appropriated.
Under the Special Provisions applicable to the Congress of the
Philippines, the members of Congress only determine the necessity of
the realignment of the savings in the allotments for their operating
expenses. They are in the best position to do so because they are the
ones who know whether there are deficiencies in other items of their
operating expenses that need augmentation. However, it is the
Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
as the case may be, who shall approve the realignment. Before giving
their stamp of approval, these two officials will have to see to it that:
(1)

The funds to be realigned or transferred are


actually savings in the items of expenditures from
which the same are to be taken; and

(2)

The transfer or realignment is for the purpose of


augmenting the items of expenditure to which said
transfer or realignment is to be made.

Section 26
Philconsa vs. Gimenez [G.R. No. L-23326, December 18,
1965]
RULE ON THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE TITLE. Parenthetically, it may be
added that the purpose of the requirement that the subject of an act
should be expressed in its title is fully explained by Cooley, thus: (1)
to prevent surprise or fraud upon the Legislature; and (2) to fairly
apprise the people, through such publication of legislation that are
being considered, in order that they may have the opportunity of
being heard thereon by petition or otherwise, if they shall so desire.
(Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 8th ed., Vol. I, p. 162; See also
Martin, Political Law Reviewer, Book One [1965] p. 119)
With respect to sufficiency of title this Court has ruled in two cases:
"The Constitutional requirements with respect to
titles of statutes as sufficient to reflect their
contents is satisfied if all parts of a law relate to the

subject expressed in its title, and it is not necessary


that the title be a complete index of the content."
(People v. Carlos, 78 Phil. 535)

express each and every end that the statute wishes to accomplish.
The requirement is satisfied if all the parts of the statute are related,
and are germane to the subject matter expressed in the title, or as
long as they are not inconsistent with or foreign to the general
subject and title. An act having a single general subject, indicated in
the title, may contain any number of provisions, no matter how
diverse they may be, so long as they are not inconsistent with or
foreign to the general subject, and may be considered in furtherance
of such subject by providing for the method and means of carrying
out the general object." The rule also is that the constitutional
requirement as to the title of a bill should not be so narrowly
construed as to cripple or impede the power of legislation. It should
be given a practical rather than technical construction.

"The Constitutional requirement that the subject of


an act shall be expressed in its title should be
reasonably construed so as not to interfere unduly
with the enactment of necessary legislation. It
should be given a practical, rather than technical,
construction. It should be a sufficient compliance
with such requirement if the title expresses the
general subject and all the provisions of the statute
are germane to that general subject." (Sumulong v.
The Commission on Elections, 73 Phil. 288, 291)
The requirement that the subject of an act shall be expressed in its
title is wholly illustrated and explained in Central Capiz v. Ramirez, 40
Phil. 883. In this case, the question raised was whether
Commonwealth Act 2784, known as the Public Land Act, was limited
in its application to lands of the public domain or whether its
provisions also extended to agricultural lands held in private
ownership. The Court held that the act was limited to lands of the
public domain as indicated in its title, and did not include private
agricultural lands. The Court further stated that this provision of the
Constitution expressing the subject matter of an Act in its title, is not
a mere rule of legislative procedure, directory to Congress, but it is
mandatory. It is the duty of the Court to declare void any statute not
conforming to this constitutional provision. (See Walker v. State, 49
Alabama 329; Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, pp. 162-164 5 ; See
also Agcaoili v. Suguitan, 48 Phil. 676; Sutherland on Statutory
Construction, Sec. 111.)
In the light of the history and analysis of Republic Act 3836,
conclude that the title of said Republic Act 3836 is void as it is
germane to the subject matter and is a violation of
aforementioned paragraph 1, section 21, Article VI of
Constitution.

We
not
the
the

In short, Republic Act 3836 violates three constitutional provisions,


namely: first, the prohibition regarding increase in the salaries of
Members of Congress; second, the equal protection clause; and third,
the prohibition that the title of a bill shall not embrace more than one
subject.
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board [G.R. No. L-75697, June
18, 1987]
THE IMPOSITION OF A REGULATORY FEE IS GERMANE TO THE
PURPOSE OF THE LAW CREATING THE AGENCY. The Constitutional
requirement that "every bill shall embrace only one subject which
shall be expressed in the title thereof" is sufficiently complied with if
the title be comprehensive enough to include the general purpose
which a statute seeks to achieve. It is not necessary that the title

Tested by the foregoing criteria, petitioner's contention that the tax provision
of the DECREE is a rider is without merit. That section reads, inter alia:
"Section 10.
Tax on Sale, Lease or Disposition
of Videograms. Notwithstanding any provision of
law to the contrary, the province shall collect a tax
of thirty percent (30%) of the purchase price or
rental rate, as the case may be, for every sale,
lease or disposition of a videogram containing a
reproduction of any motion picture or audiovisual
program. Fifty percent (50%) of the proceeds of the
tax collected shall accrue to the province, and the
other fifty percent (50%) shall accrue to the
municipality where the tax is collected; PROVIDED,
That in Metropolitan Manila, the tax shall be shared
equally
by
the
City/Municipality
and
the
Metropolitan Manila Commission.
The foregoing provision is allied and germane to, and is reasonably
necessary for the accomplishment of, the general object of the
DECREE, which is the regulation of the video industry through the
Videogram Regulatory Board as expressed in its title. The tax
provision is not inconsistent with, nor foreign to that general subject
and title. As a tool for regulation it is simply one of the regulatory and
control mechanisms scattered throughout the DECREE. The express
purpose of the DECREE to include taxation of the video industry in
order to regulate and rationalize the heretofore uncontrolled
distribution of videograms is evident from Preambles 2 and 5, supra.
Those preambles explain the motives of the lawmaker in presenting
the measure. The title of the DECREE, which is the creation of the
Videogram Regulatory Board, is comprehensive enough to include the
purposes expressed in its Preamble and reasonably covers all its
provisions. It is unnecessary to express all those objectives in the
title or that the latter be an index to the body of the DECREE.
Philippine Judges Association vs. Prado [G.R. No. 105371, November
11, 1993]

63

PURPOSE OF THE ONE-SUBJECT ONE-BILL RULE. We consider first


the objection based on Article VI, Sec. 26(1), of the Constitution
providing that "Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only
one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof."
The purposes of this rule are: (1) to prevent hodge-podge or "logrolling" legislation; (2) to prevent surprise or fraud upon the
legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the title gives no
intimation, and which might therefore be overlooked and carelessly
and unintentionally adopted; and (3) to fairly apprise the people,
through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually
made, of the subject of legislation that is being considered, in order
that they may have opportunity of being heard thereon, by petition or
otherwise, if they shall so desire.
THE SUBJECT OF THE LAW NOT THE EFFECT THEREOF IS REQUIRED
TO BE STATED IN THE TITLE. The title of the bill is not required to be
an index to the body of the act, or to be as comprehensive as to
cover every single detail of the measure. It has been held that if the
title fairly indicates the general subject, and reasonably covers all the
provisions of the act, and is not calculated to mislead the legislature
or the people, there is sufficient compliance with the constitutional
requirement.
To require every end and means necessary for the accomplishment of
the general objectives of the statute to be expressed in its title would
not only be unreasonable but would actually render legislation
impossible. As has been correctly explained:
The details of a legislative act need not be
specifically stated in its title, but matter germane to
the subject as expressed in the title, and adopted to
the accomplishment of the object in view, may
properly be included in the act. Thus, it is proper to
create in the same act the machinery by which the
act is to be enforced, to prescribe the penalties for
its infraction, and to remove obstacles in the way of
its execution. If such matters are properly
connected with the subject as expressed in the title,
it is unnecessary that they should also have special
mention in the title (Southern Pac. Co. v. Bartine,
170 Fed. 725).
This is particularly true of the repealing clause, on which Cooley
writes: "The repeal of a statute on a given subject is properly
connected with the subject matter of a new statute on the same
subject; and therefore a repealing section in the new statute is valid,
notwithstanding that the title is silent on the subject. It would be
difficult to conceive of a matter more germane to an act and to the
object to be accomplished thereby than the repeal of previous
legislations
connected
therewith."

is the effect and not the subject of the statute; and it is the subject,
not the effect of a law, which is required to be briefly expressed in its
title. 5 As observed in one case, 6 if the title of an act embraces only
one subject, we apprehend it was never claimed that every other act
which it repeals or alters by implication must be mentioned in the
title of the new act. Any such rule would be neither within the reason
of the Constitution, nor practicable.
We are convinced that the withdrawal of the franking privilege from
some agencies is germane to the accomplishment of the principal
objective of R.A. No. 7354, which is the creation of a more efficient
and effective postal service system. Our ruling is that, by virtue of its
nature as a repealing clause, Section 35 did not have to be expressly
included in the title of the said law.

within seven days of the convening of Congress in emergency


session.
That upon the certification of a bill by the President the requirement
of three readings on separate days and of printing and distribution
can be dispensed with is supported by the weight of legislative
practice. For example, the bill defining the certiorari jurisdiction of
this Court which, in consolidation with the Senate version, became
Republic Act No. 5440, was passed on second and third readings in
the House of Representatives on the same day (May 14, 1968) after
the bill had been certified by the President as urgent.

There is, therefore, no merit in the contention that presidential


certification dispenses only with the requirement for the printing of
the bill and its distribution three days before its passage but not with
Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance [G.R. No. 115544, August 25, the requirement of three readings on separate days, also.

1994]
THE CERTIFICATION BY THE PRESIDENT DISPENSES WITH THE
PRINTING OF THE COPIES OF THE BILL AS WELL AS THE THREE
READINGS ON SEPARATE DAYS. Enough has been said to show that
it was within the power of the Senate to propose S. No. 1630. We not
pass to the next argument of petitioners that S. No. 1630 did not
pass three readings on separate days as required by the Constitution
8 because the second and third readings were done on the same day,
March 24, 1994. But this was because on February 24, 1994 9 and
again on March 22, 1994, 10 the President had certified S. No. 1630
as urgent. The presidential certification dispensed with the
requirement not only of printing but also that of reading the bill on
separate days. The phrase "except when the President certifies to the
necessity of its immediate enactment, etc." in Art. VI, 26(2)
qualified the two stated conditions before a bill can become a law: (i)
the bill has passed three readings on separate days and (ii) it has
been printed in its final form and distributed three days before it is
finally approved.
In other words, the "unless" clause must be read in relation to the
"except" clause, because the two are really coordinate clauses of the
same sentence. To construe the "except" clause as simply dispensing
with the second requirement in the "unless" clause (i.e., printing and
distribution three days before final approval) would not only violate
the rules of grammar. It would also negate the very premise of the
"except" clause: the necessity of securing the immediate enactment
of a bill which is certified in order to meet a public calamity or
emergency. For if it is only the printing that is dispensed with by
presidential certification, the time saved would be so negligible as to
be of any use in insuring immediate enactment. It may well be
doubted whether doing away with the necessity of printing and
distributing copies of the bill three days before the third reading
would insure speedy enactment of a law in the face of an emergency
requiring the calling of a special election for President and VicePresident. Under the Constitution such a law is required to be made

Tan vs. Del Rosario [G.R. No. 109289, October 3, 1994]


Article VI, Section 26(1), of the Constitution has been envisioned so
as (a) to prevent log-rolling legislation intended to unite the members
of the legislature who favor any one of unrelated subjects in the
support of the whole act, (b) to avoid surprises or even fruad upon
the legislature , and (c) to fairly apprise the people, through such
publications of its proceedings as are usually made, of the subjects of
legislation. 1 The above objectives of the fundamental law appear to
us to have been sufficiently met. Anything else would be to require a
virtual compendium of the law which could not have been the
intendment of the constitutional mandate.
Tobias vs. Abalos [G.R. No. 114783, December 8, 1994]
ABAKADA Guro Party List vs. Ermita [G.R. No. 168056,
September 1, 2005]
THE CONSTITUTIONAL RESTRICTION ON NO AMENDMENT UPON
THE LAST READING OF THE BILL APPLIES ONLY TO THE
PROCEEDINGS OF EACH HOUSE AND NOT TO THE BICAMERAL
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE. Petitioners' argument that the practice
where a bicameral conference committee is allowed to add or delete
provisions in the House bill and the Senate bill after these had passed
three readings is in effect a circumvention of the "no amendment
rule" (Sec. 26 (2), Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution), fails to convince
the Court to deviate from its ruling in the Tolentino case that:
Nor is there any reason for requiring that the
Committee's Report in these cases must have
undergone three readings in each of the two
houses. If that be the case, there would be no end
to negotiation since each house may seek
modification of the compromise bill. . . .

The reason is that where a statute repeals a former law, such repeal

64

Art. VI. 26 (2) must, therefore, be construed as


referring only to bills introduced for the first time in
either house of Congress, not to the conference
committee report. 32 (Emphasis supplied)
The Court reiterates here that the "no-amendment rule" refers only
to the procedure to be followed by each house of Congress with
regard to bills initiated in each of said respective houses, before said
bill is transmitted to the other house for its concurrence or
amendment. Verily, to construe said provision in a way as to
proscribe any further changes to a bill after one house has voted on it
would lead to absurdity as this would mean that the other house of
Congress would be deprived of its constitutional power to amend or
introduce changes to said bill. Thus, Art. VI, Sec. 26 (2) of the
Constitution cannot be taken to mean that the introduction by the
Bicameral Conference Committee of amendments and modifications
to disagreeing provisions in bills that have been acted upon by both
houses of Congress is prohibited.
Section 27
Gonzales vs. Macaraig [G.R. No. 87636, November 19,
1990]
VETO POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT. Paragraph (1) refers to the
general veto power of the President and if exercised would result in
the veto of the entire bill, as a general rule. Paragraph (2) is what is
referred to as the item-veto power or the line-veto power. It allows
the exercise of the veto over a particular item or items in an
appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill. As specified, the President may
not veto less than all of an item of an Appropriations Bill. In other
words, the power given the executive to disapprove any item or items
in an Appropriations Bill does not grant the authority to veto a part of
an item and to approve the remaining portion of the same item.
Originally, item veto exclusively referred to veto of items of
appropriation bills and first came into being in the former Organic
Act, the Act of Congress of 29 August 1916. This was followed by the
1935 Constitution, which contained a similar provision in its Section
11(2), Article VI, except that the veto power was made more
expansive by the inclusion of this sentence:
". . . When a provision of an appropriation bill
affects one or more items of the same, the
President can not veto the provision without at the
same time vetoing the particular item or items to
which it relates . . ."
The 1935 Constitution further broadened the President's veto power
to include the veto of item or items of revenue and tariff bills.
With the advent of the 1973 Constitution, the section took a more
simple and compact form, thus:

"Section 20 (2). The Prime Minister shall have the


power to veto any particular item or items in an
appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto
shall not affect the item or items to which he does
not object."
It is to be noted that the counterpart provision in the 1987
Constitution (Article VI, Section 27 [2], supra), is a verbatim
reproduction except for the public official concerned. In other words,
also eliminated has been any reference to the veto of a provision. The
vital question is: should this exclusion be interpreted to mean as a
disallowance of the power to veto a provision, as petitioners urge?
The terms item and provision in budgetary legislation and practice
are concededly different. An item in a bill refers to the particulars, the
details, the distinct and severable parts . . . of the bill (Bengzon,
supra, at 916). It is an indivisible sum of money dedicated to a stated
purpose (Commonwealth v. Dodson, 11 S.E., 2d 120, 124, 125, etc.,
176 Va. 281). The United States Supreme Court, in the case of
Bengzon v. Secretary of Justice (299 U.S. 410, 414, 57 S.Ct 252, 81
L. Ed., 312) declared "that an 'item' of an appropriation bill obviously
means an item which in itself is a specific appropriation of money, not
some general provision of law, which happens to be put into an
appropriation bill."
It is our considered opinion that, notwithstanding the elimination in
Article VI, Section 27 (2) of the 1987 Constitution of any reference to
the veto of a provision, the extent of the President's veto power as
previously defined by the 1935 Constitution has not changed. This is
because the eliminated proviso merely pronounces the basic principle
that a distinct and severable part of a bill may be the subject of a
separate veto (Bengzon v. Secretary of Justice, 62 Phil., 912, 916
(1926); 2 BERNAS, Joaquin, S.J., The Constitution of the Republic of
the Philippines, 1st ed., 154-155, [1988]).
The restrictive interpretation urged by petitioners that the President
may not veto a provision without vetoing the entire bill not only
disregards the basic principle that a distinct and severable part of a
bill may be the subject of a separate veto but also overlooks the
Constitutional mandate that any provision in the general
appropriations bill shall relate specifically to some particular
appropriation therein and that any such provision shall be limited in
its operation to the appropriation to which it relates (1987
Constitution, Article VI, Section 25 [2]). In other words, in the true
sense of the term, a provision in an Appropriations Bill is limited in its
operation to some particular appropriation to which it relates, and
does not relate to the entire bill.
Petitioners' further submission that, since the exercise of the veto
power by the President partakes of the nature of legislative powers it
should be strictly construed, is negative by the following dictum in
Bengzon, supra, reading:

"The Constitution is a limitation upon the power of


the legislative department of the government, but
in this respect it is a grant of power to the
executive department. The Legislature has the
affirmative power to enact laws; the Chief Executive
has the negative power by the constitutional
exercise of which he may defeat the will of the
Legislature. It follows that the Chief Executive must
find his authority in the Constitution. But in
exercising that authority he may not be confined to
rules of strict construction or hampered by the
unwise interference of the judiciary. The courts will
indulge every intendment in favor of the
constitutionality of a veto the same as they will
presume the constitutionality of an act as originally
passed by the Legislature" (Commonwealth v.
Barnett [1901], 199 Pa., 161; 55 L.R.A., 882;
People v. Board of Councilmen [1892], 20 N.Y.S.,
52; Fulmore v. Lane [1911], 104 Tex., 499; Texas
Co. v. State [1927], 53 A.L.R., 258 [at 917]).
INAPPROPRIATE PROVISIONS. Explicit is the requirement that a
provision in the Appropriations Bill should relate specifically to some "
particular appropriation" therein. The challenged "provisions" fall
short of this requirement. Firstly, the vetoed "provisions" do not
relate to any particular or distinctive appropriation. They apply
generally to all items disapproved or reduced by Congress in the
Appropriations Bill. Secondly, the disapproved or reduced items are
nowhere to be found on the face of the Bill. To discover them, resort
will have to be made to the original recommendations made by the
President and to the source indicated by petitioners themselves, i.e.,
the "Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office" (Annex B-1
and B-2, Petition). Thirdly, the vetoed Sections are more of an
expression of Congressional policy in respect of augmentation from
savings rather than a budgetary appropriation. Consequently, Section
55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90) although labelled as "provisions,"
are actually inappropriate provisions that should be treated as items
for the purpose of the President's veto power. (Henry v. Edwards
[1977] 346 S Rep. 2d, 157-158)
"Just as the President may not use his item-veto to
usurp constitutional powers conferred on the
legislature, neither can the legislature deprive the
Governor of the constitutional powers conferred on
him as chief executive officer of the state by
including in a general appropriation bill matters
more properly enacted in separate legislation. The
Governor's constitutional power to veto bills of
general legislation . . . cannot be abridged by the
careful placement of such measures in a general
appropriation bill, thereby forcing the Governor to
choose
between
approving
unacceptable

65

substantive legislation or vetoing 'items' of


expenditure
essential
to
the
operation
of
government. The legislature cannot by location of a
bill give it immunity from executive veto. Nor can it
circumvent the Governor's veto power over
substantive legislation by artfully drafting general
law measures so that they appear to be true
conditions
or
limitations
on
an
item
of
appropriation. Otherwise, the legislature would be
permitted
to
impair
the
constitutional
responsibilities and functions of a co-equal branch
of government in contravention of the separation of
powers doctrine . . . We are no more willing to allow
the legislature to use its appropriation power to
infringe on the Governor's constitutional right to
veto matters of substantive legislation than we are
to allow the Governor to encroach on the
constitutional powers of the legislature. In order to
avoid this result, we hold that, when the legislature
inserts inappropriate provisions in a general
appropriation bill, such provisions must be treated
as 'items' for purposes of the Governor's item veto
power over general appropriation bills.
". . . Legislative control cannot be exercised in such
a manner as to encumber the general appropriation
bill with veto-proof 'logrolling measure,' special
interest provisions which could not succeed if
separately enacted, or 'riders,' substantive pieces of
legislation incorporated in a bill to insure passage
without veto. . . ." (Emphasis supplied)
Bengzon vs. Drilon [G.R. No. 103524, April 15, 1992]
THE PRESIDENT CANNOT EXERCISE HER VETO POWER TO AMEND AN
EXISTING LAW. We need no lengthy justifications or citations of
authorities to declare that no President may veto the provisions of a
law enacted thirty-five (35) years before his or her term of office.
Neither may the President set aside or reverse a final and executory
judgment of this Court through the exercise of the veto power.
A few background facts may be reiterated to fully explain the
unhappy situation.
Republic Act No. 1797 provided for the adjustment of pensions of
retired Justices which privilege was extended to retired members of
Constitutional Commissions by Republic Act No. 3595.
On January 25, 1975, President Marcos issued Presidential Decree
No. 644 which repealed Republic Acts 1797 and 3595. Subsequently,
automatic readjustment of pensions for retired Armed Forces officers
and men was surreptitiously restored through Presidential Decree
Nos. 1638 and 1909.

It was the impression that Presidential Decree No. 644 had reduced
the pensions of Justices and Constitutional Commissioners which led
Congress to restore the repealed provisions through House Bill No.
16297 in 1990. When her finance and budget advisers gave the
wrong information that the questioned provisions is the 1992 General
Appropriations Act were simply an attempt to overcome her earlier
1990 veto, she issued the veto now challenged in this petition.
It turns out, however, that P. D. No. 644 never became valid law. If P.
D. No. 644 was not law, it follows that Rep. Act No. 1797 was not
repealed and continues to be effective up to the present. In the same
way that it was enforced from 1957 to 1975, so should it be enforced
today.
House Bill No. 16297 was superfluous as it tried to restore benefits
which were never taken away validly. The veto of House Bill No.
16297 in 1990 did not also produce any effect. Both were based on
erroneous and non-existent premises.
From the foregoing discussion, it can be seen that when the President
vetoed certain provisions of the 1992 General Appropriations Act, she
was actually vetoing Republic Act No. 1797 which, of course, is
beyond her power to accomplish.
Presidential Decree No. 644 which purportedly repealed Republic Act
No. 1797 never achieved that purpose because it was not properly
published. It never became a law.
Philconsa vs. Enriquez [G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994]
DOCTRINE OF INAPPROPRIATE PROVISION. In Gonzales, we made it
clear that the omission of that sentence of Section 16 (2) of the 1935
Constitution in the 1987 Constitution should not be interpreted to
mean the disallowance of the power of the President to veto a
"provision."
As the Constitution is explicit that the provision which Congress can
include in an appropriations bill must "relate specifically to some
particular appropriation therein" and "be limited in its operation to
the appropriation to which it relates," it follows that any provision
which does not relate to any particular item, or which extends in its
operation beyond an item of appropriation, is considered "an
inappropriate provision" which can be vetoed separately from an
item. Also to be included in the category of "inappropriate provisions"
are unconstitutional provisions and provisions which are intended to
amend other laws, because clearly these kind of laws have no place
in an appropriations bill. These are matters of general legislation
more appropriately dealt with in separate enactments. Former Justice
Irene Cortes, as Amicus Curiae, commented that Congress cannot by
law establish conditions for and regulate the exercise of powers of the
President given by the Constitution for that would be an
unconstitutional intrusion into executive prerogative.

The doctrine of "inappropriate provision" was well elucidated in Henry


v. Edwards, supra., thus:
"Just as the President may not use his item-veto to
usurp constitutional powers conferred on the
legislature, neither can the legislature deprive the
Governor of the constitutional powers conferred on
him as chief executive officer of the state by
including in a general appropriation bill matters
more properly enacted in separate legislation. The
Governor's constitutional power to veto bills of
general legislation . . . cannot be abridged by the
careful placement of such measures in a general
appropriation bill, thereby forcing the Governor to
choose
between
approving
unacceptable
substantive legislation or vetoing `items' of
expenditures essential to the operation of
government. The legislature cannot by location of a
bill give it immunity from executive veto. Nor can it
circumvent the Governor's veto power over
substantive legislation by artfully drafting general
law measures so that they appear to be true
conditions
or
limitations
on
an
item
of
appropriation. Otherwise, the legislature would be
permitted
to
impair
the
constitutional
responsibilities and functions of a co-equal
responsibilities and functions of a co-equal branch
of government in contravention of the separation of
powers doctrine . . . We are no more willing to allow
the legislature to use its appropriation power to
infringe on the Governor's constitutional right to
veto matters of substantive legislation than we are
to allow the Governor to encroach on the
constitutional powers of the legislature. In order to
avoid this result, we hold that, when the legislature
inserts inappropriate provisions in a general
appropriation bill, such provisions must be treated
as 'items' for purposes of the Governor's item veto
power over general appropriation bills.
". . . Legislative control cannot be exercised in such
a manner as to encumber the general appropriation
bill with veto-proof 'logrolling measures,' special
interest provisions which could not succeed if
separately enacted, or 'riders,' substantive pieces of
legislation incorporated in a bill to insure passage
without veto. . . ." (Emphasis supplied).
Section 28
Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas vs. Tan
[G.R. No. L-81311, June 30, 1988]

66

As the Court sees it, EO 273 satisfies all the requirements of a valid
tax. It is uniform. The Court, in City of Baguio vs. De Leon, said:
". . . In Philippine Trust Company v. Yatco (69 Phil.
420), Justice Laurel, speaking for the Court, stated:
'A tax is considered uniform when it operates with
the same force and effect in every place where the
subject may be found.'
"There was no occasion in that case to consider the
possible effect on such a constitutional requirement
where there is a classification. The opportunity
came in Eastern Theatrical Co. v. Alfonso (83 Phil.
852, 862). Thus: 'Equality and uniformity in
taxation means that all taxable articles or kinds of
property of the same class shall be taxed at the
same rate. The taxing power has the authority to
make reasonable and natural classifications for
purposes of taxation; . . .' About two years later,
Justice Tuason, speaking for this Court in Manila
Race Horses Trainers Assn. v. de la Fuente (88 Phil.
60, 65) incorporated the above excerpt in his
opinion and continued; 'Taking everything into
account, the differentiation against which the
plaintiffs complain conforms to the practical dictates
of justice and equity and is not discriminatory
within the meaning of the Constitution.'
"To satisfy this requirement then, all that is needed
as held in another case decided two years later, (Uy
Matias v. City of Cebu, 93 Phil. 300) is that the
statute or ordinance in question 'applies equally to
all persons, firms and corporations placed in similar
situation.' This Court is on record as accepting the
view in a leading American case (Carmichael v.
Southern Coal and Coke Co., 301 US 495) that
'inequalities which result from a singling out of one
particular class for taxation or exemption infringe
no constitutional limitation.' (Lutz v. Araneta, 98
Phil. 148, 153)."
The sales tax adopted in EO 273 is applied similarly on all goods and
services sold to the public, which are not exempt, at the constant
rate of 0% or 10%.
The disputed sales tax is also equitable. It is imposed only on sales of
goods or services by persons engage in business with an aggregate
gross annual sales exceeding P200,000.00. Small corner sari-sari
stores are consequently exempt from its application. Likewise exempt
from the tax are sales of farm and marine products, so that the costs
of basic food and other necessities, spared as they are from the

incidence of the VAT, are expected to be relatively lower and within


the reach of the general public.
Province of Abra vs. Hernando [G.R. No. L-49336, August 31,
THE USE OF THE PROPERTY AND NOT THE OWNERSHIP IS THE
CONTROLLING FACTOR IN DETERMINING THE EXEMPTION.
Respondent Judge would not have erred so grievously had
he merely compared the provisions of the present Constitution with
that appearing in the 1935 Charter on the tax exemption of "lands,
buildings, and improvements." There is a marked difference. Under
the 1935 Constitution: "Cemeteries, churches, and parsonages or
convents appurtenant thereto, and all lands, buildings, and
improvements used exclusively for religious, charitable, or
educational purposes shall be exempt from taxation." The present
Constitution added "charitable institutions, mosques, and non-profit
cemeteries" and required that for the exemption of "lands, buildings,
and improvements," they should not only be "exclusively" but also
"actually" and "directly" used for religious or charitable purposes. The
Constitution is worded differently. The change should not be ignored.
It must be duly taken into consideration. Reliance on past decisions
would have sufficed were the words "actually" as well as "directly"
not added. There must be proof therefore of the actual and direct use
of the lands, buildings, and improvements for religious or charitable
purposes to be exempt from taxation. According to Commissioner of
Internal Revenue v. Guerrero: "From 1906, in Catholic Church v.
Hastings to 1966, in Esso Standard Eastern, Inc. v. Acting
Commissioner of Customs, it has been the constant and uniform
holding that exemption from taxation is not favored and is never
presumed, so that if granted it must be strictly construed against the
taxpayer. Affirmatively put, the law frowns on exemption from
taxation, hence, an exempting provision should be construed
strictissimi juris." In Manila Electric Company v. Vera, a 1975
decision, such principle was reiterated, reference being made to
Republic Flour Mills, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue; 15
Commissioner of Customs v. Philippine Acetylene Co. & CTA; 16 and
Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. v. Commissioner of Customs.

appropriation by Congress shall be made, except that it be 'made by


law,' such as precisely the authorization or appropriation under the
questioned presidential decrees. In other words, in terms of time
1981]
horizons, an appropriation may be made impliedly (as by past but
subsisting legislations) as well as expressly for the current fiscal year
(as by enactment of laws by the present Congress), just as said
appropriation may be made in general as well as in specific terms.
The Congressional authorization may be embodied in annual laws,
such as a general appropriations act or in special provisions of laws of
general or special application which appropriate public funds for
specific public purposes, such as the questioned decrees. An
appropriation measure is sufficient if the legislative intention clearly
and certainly appears from the language employed (In re Continuing
Appropriations, 32 P. 272), whether in the past or in the present."
Osmea vs. Orbos [G.R. No. 99886, March 31, 1993]
THE RULE ON SECTION 29 (3) APPLIES ONLY TO MONIES COLLECTED
IN THE EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF TAXATION AND NOT THOSE
LEVIED FOR REGULATORY PURPOSES. Also of relevance is this
Court's ruling in relation to the sugar stabilization fund the nature of
which is not far different from the OPSF. In Gaston v. Republic
Planters Bank, this Court upheld the legality of the sugar stabilization
fees and explained their nature and character, viz.:

Abra Valley College vs. Aquino [G.R. No. L-39086, June 15, 1988]
Section 29
Pascual vs. Secretary of Public Works [G.R. No. L-10405, December
29, 1960]
Aglipay vs. Ruiz [G.R. No. 45459, March 13, 1937]
Guingona vs. Carague [G.R. No. 94571, April 22, 1991]
AUTOMATIC BUDGET ALLOCATION FOR DEBT SERVICING IS
ALLOWED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. More significantly, there is no
provision in our Constitution that provides or prescribes any particular
form of words or religious recitals in which an authorization or

"The stabilization fees collected are in the nature of


a tax, which is within the power of the State to
impose for the promotion of the sugar industry
(Lutz v. Araneta, 98 Phil. 148). The tax collected is
not in a pure exercise of the taxing power. It is
levied with a regulatory purpose, to provide a
means for the stabilization of the sugar industry.
The levy is primarily in the exercise of the police
power of the State (Lutz v. Araneta, supra).
"The stabilization fees in question are levied by the
State upon sugar millers, planters and producers
for a special purpose that of 'financing the
growth and development of the sugar industry and
all its components, stabilization of the domestic
market including the foreign market.' The fact that
the State has taken possession of moneys pursuant
to law is sufficient to constitute them state funds,
even though they are held for a special purpose
(Lawrence v. American Surety Co. 263 Mich. 586,
249 ALR 535, cited in 42 Am Jur Sec. 2, p. 718).
Having been levied for a special purpose, the
revenues collected are to be treated as a special
fund, to be, in the language of the statute,
'administered in trust' for the purpose intended.
Once the purpose has been fulfilled or abandoned,
the balance if any, is to be transferred to the
general funds of the Government. That is the

67

essence of the trust intended (SEE 1987


Constitution, Article VI, Sec. 29(3), lifted from the
1935 Constitution, Article VI, Sec. 23(1). 17

enacted or approved by such law-making authority. Said referendum


shall be conducted also under the control and direction of the
Commission on Elections.

The character of the Stabilization Fund as a special kind of fund is


emphasized by the fact that the funds are deposited in the Philippine
National Bank and not in the Philippine Treasury, moneys from which
may be paid out only in pursuance of an appropriation made by law
(1987) Constitution, Article VI, Sec. 29 (3), lifted from the 1935
Constitution, Article VI, Sec. 23(1)." (emphasis supplied.)

In other words, while initiative is entirely the work of the electorate,


referendum is begun and consented to by the law-making body.
Initiative is a process of law-making by the people themselves
without the participation and against the wishes of their elected
representatives, while referendum consists merely of the electorate
approving or rejecting what has been drawn up or enacted by a
legislative body. Hence, the process and the voting in an initiative are
understandably more complex than in a referendum where
expectedly the voters will simply write either "Yes" or "No" in the
ballot.

Hence, it seems clear that while the funds collected may be referred
to as taxes, they are exacted in the exercise of the police power of
the State. Moreover, that the OPSF is a special fund is plain from the
special treatment given it by E.O. 137. It is segregated from the
general fund; and while it is placed in what the law refers to as a
"trust liability account," the fund nonetheless remains subject to the
scrutiny and review of the COA. The Court is satisfied that these
measures comply with the constitutional description of a "special
fund." Indeed, the practice is not without precedent.

[Note: While the above quoted laws variously refer to initiative and
referendum as "powers" or "legal processes", these can also be
"rights", as Justice Cruz terms them, or "concepts", or "the proposal"
itself (in the case of initiative) being referred to in this Decision.]

From the above differentiation, it follows that there is need for the
Comelec to supervise an initiative more closely, its authority thereon
extending not only to the counting and canvassing of votes but also
Section 30
to seeing to it that the matter or act submitted to the people is in the
proper form and language so it may be easily understood and voted
First Lepanto Ceramics, Inc. vs. CA [G.R. No. 110571, March 10, by the electorate. This is especially true where the proposed
1994]
legislation is lengthy and complicated, and should thus be broken
Diaz vs. CA [G.R. No. 109698, December 5, 1994]
down into several autonomous parts, each such part to be voted
upon separately. Care must also be exercised that "(n)o petition
Section 32
embracing more than one subject shall be submitted to the
electorate," although "two or more propositions may be submitted in
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority vs. COMELEC [G.R. No.
an initiative".
125416, September 26, 1996]
It should be noted that under Sec. 13 (c) of RA 6735, the "Secretary
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM. Prescinding
of Local Government or his designated representative shall extend
from these definitions, we gather that initiative is resorted to (or
assistance in the formulation of the proposition."
initiated) by the people directly either because the law-making body
fails or refuses to enact the law, ordinance, resolution or act that they
In initiative and referendum, the Comelec exercises administration
desire or because they want to amend or modify one already existing.
and supervision of the process itself, akin to its powers over the
Under Sec. 13 of R.A. 6735, the local legislative body is given the
conduct of elections. These law-making powers belong to the people,
opportunity to enact the proposal. If it refuses/neglects to do so
hence the respondent Commission cannot control or change the
within thirty (30) days from its presentation, the proponents through
substance or the content of legislation. In the exercise of its
their duly-authorized and registered representatives may invoke their
authority, it may (in fact it should have done so already) issue
power of initiative, giving notice thereof to the local legislative body
relevant and adequate guidelines and rules for the orderly exercise of
concerned. Should the proponents be able to collect the number of
these "people-power" features of our Constitution.
signed conformities with the period granted by said statute, the
Commission Elections "shall then set a date for the initiative (not
ARTICLE VII EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT
referendum) at which the proposition shall be submitted to the
registered voters in the local government unit concerned . . .".
Section 1
Philconsa vs. Enriquez [G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994]

On the other hand, in a local referendum, the law-making body


submits to the registered voters of its territorial jurisdiction, for
approval or rejection, any ordinance or resolution which is duly

Marcos vs. Manglapus [G.R. No. 88211, September 15, 1989]


[G.R. No. 88211, October 27, 1989]
Soliven vs. Makasiar [G.R. No. 82585, November 14, 1988]

Section 4
Brillantes vs COMELEC [G.R. No. 163193, June 15, 2004]
THE COMELEC CANNOT MAKE UNOFFICIAL COUNT FOR THE
PRESIDENTIAL AND VICE-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The assailed
resolution usurps, under the guise of an "unofficial" tabulation of
election results based on a copy of the election returns, the sole and
exclusive authority of Congress to canvass the votes for the election
of President and Vice-President. Article VII, Section 4 of the
Constitution provides in part:
The returns of every election for President and Vice-President duly
certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city, shall be
transmitted to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate.
Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the President of the
Senate shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election,
open all the certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House
of Representatives in joint public session, and the Congress, upon
determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the
manner provided by law, canvass the votes.
As early as January 28, 2004, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon
already conveyed to Chairman Benjamin S. Abalos, Sr. his deepseated concern that the respondent COMELEC could not and should
not conduct any "quick count" of the votes cast for the positions of
President and Vice-President. In his Letter dated February 2, 2004
addressed to Chairman Abalos, Senate President Drilon reiterated his
position emphasizing that "any quick count to be conducted by the
Commission on said positions would in effect constitute a canvass of
the votes of the President and Vice-President, which not only would
be pre-emptive of the authority of Congress, but would also be
lacking of any constitutional authority."
Nonetheless, in disregard of the valid objection of the Senate
President, the COMELEC proceeded to promulgate the assailed
resolution. Such resolution directly infringes the authority of
Congress, considering that Section 4 thereof allows the use of the
third copy of the Election Returns (ERs) for the positions of President,
Vice-President, Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives, intended for the COMELEC, as basis for the encoding
and transmission of advanced precinct results, and in the process,
canvass the votes for the President and Vice-President, ahead of the
canvassing of the same votes by Congress.
Parenthetically, even the provision of Rep. Act No. 8436 confirms the
constitutional undertaking of Congress as the sole body tasked to
canvass the votes for the President and Vice-President. Section 24
thereof provides:
SEC. 24. Congress as the National Board of
Canvassers for President and Vice-President. The

68

Senate and the House of Representatives, in joint


public session, shall compose the national board of
canvassers for president and vice-president. The
returns of every election for president and vicepresident duly certified by the board of canvassers
of each province or city, shall be transmitted to the
Congress, directed to the president of the Senate.
Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the
president of the Senate shall, not later than thirty
(30) days after the day of the election, open all the
certificates in the presence of the Senate and the
House of Representatives in joint public session,
and the Congress upon determination of the
authenticity and the due execution thereof in the
manner provided by law, canvass all the results for
president and vice-president by consolidating the
results contained in the data storage devices
submitted by the district, provincial and city boards
of canvassers and thereafter, proclaim the winning
candidates for president and vice-president.

So as far as the Senatorial candidates


involved are concerned, but you don't give this
assurance with respect to the Presidential and VicePresidential elections which are more important?
COMM. SADAIN:
In deference to the request of the Senate
President and the House Speaker, Your Honor.
According to them, they will be the ones canvassing
and proclaiming the winner, so it is their view that
we will be pre-empting their canvassing work and
the proclamation of the winners and we gave in to
their request.
xxx
xxx
xxx
JUSTICE CALLEJO, [SR.]:
Perhaps what you are saying is that the
system will minimize "dagdag-bawas" but not
totally eradicate "dagdag-bawas"?
COMM. SADAIN:
Yes, Your Honor.

The contention of the COMELEC that its tabulation of votes is not


prohibited by the Constitution and Rep. Act No. 8436 as such
tabulation is "unofficial," is puerile and totally unacceptable. If the
COMELEC is proscribed from conducting an official canvass of the
votes cast for the President and Vice-President, the COMELEC is, with
more reason, prohibited from making an "unofficial" canvass of said
votes.

JUSTICE CALLEJO, [SR.]:


Now, I heard either Atty. Bernas or Atty.
Brillantes say (sic) that there was a conference
between the Speaker and the Senate President and
the Chairman during which the Senate President
and the Speaker voice[d] their objections to the
electronic transmission results system, can you
share with us the objections of the two gentlemen?

The COMELEC realized its folly and the merits of the objection of the
Senate President on the constitutionality of the resolution that it
decided not to conduct an "unofficial" quick count of the results of the
elections for President and Vice-President. Commissioner Sadain so
declared during the hearing:

COMM. SADAIN:
These was relayed to us Your Honor and
their objection or request rather was for us to
refrain from consolidating and publishing the results
for presidential and vice-presidential candidates
which we have already granted Your Honors. So,
there is going to be no consolidation and no
publication of the . . .

JUSTICE PUNO:
The word you are saying that within 36
hours after election, more or less, you will be able
to tell the people on the basis of your quick count,
who won the election, is that it?
COMM. SADAIN:
Well, it's not exactly like that, Your Honor.
Because the fact of winning the election would
really depend on the canvassed results, but
probably, it would already give a certain degree of
comfort to certain politicians to people rather, as to
who are leading in the elections, as far as Senator
down are concerned, but not to President and VicePresident.
JUSTICE PUNO:

COMM. SADAIN:
Reason behind being that it is actually
Congress that canvass that the official canvass for
this and proclaims the winner.
Section 13
1989]

Doromal vs. Sandiganbayan [G.R. No. 85468, September 7,

DISQUALIFICATION OF THE OFFICIAL FAMILY OF THE PRESIDENT.


Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution provides that "the

President, Vice-President, the members of the Cabinet and their


deputies or assistants shall not . . . during (their) tenure, . . . directly
or indirectly . . . participate in any business." The constitutional ban is
similar to the prohibition in the Civil Service Law (PD No. 807, Sec.
36, subpar. 24) that "pursuit of private business . . . without the
permission required by Civil Service Rules and Regulations" shall be a
ground for disciplinary action against any officer or employee in the
civil service.
On the suspension of the petitioner from office, Section 13 of the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019) provides:
"SECTION 13.
Suspension and loss of benefits.
Any public officer against whom any criminal
prosecution under a valid information under this Act
or under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code
on bribery is pending in court, shall be suspended
from office. Should he be convicted by final
judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity
benefits under any law, but if he is acquitted, he
shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the
salaries and benefits which he failed to receive
during suspension, unless in the meantime
administrative proceedings have been filed against
him."
Since the petitioner is an incumbent public official charged in a valid
information with an offense punishable under the Constitution and
the laws (RA 3019 and PD 807), the law's command that he "shall be
suspended from office" pendente lite must be obeyed. His approved
leave of absence is not a bar to his preventive suspension for as
indicated by the Solicitor General, an approved leave, whether it be
for a fixed or indefinite period, may be cancelled or shortened at will
by the incumbent.
Civil Liberties Union vs. Executive Secretary [G.R. No.
83896, February 22, 1991]
THE PRESIDENT AND HIS OFFICIAL FAMILY CANNOT BE APPOINTED
TO ANY OTHER OFFICE IN THE GOVERNMENT EXCEPT IN THOSE
INSTANCES ALLOWED BY THE CONSITUTION AND IN THOSE
PROVIDED BY LAW IN AN EX OFFICIO CAPACITY WITHOUT
ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION AND REQUIRED BY THE PRIMARY
FUNCTIONS OF HIS POSITION. Going further into Section 13, Article
VII, the second sentence provides: "They shall not, during said
tenure, directly or indirectly, practice any other profession, participate
in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in
any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any
subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including governmentowned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries." These
sweeping, all-embracing prohibitions imposed on the President and
his official family, which prohibitions are not similarly imposed on
other public officials or employees such as the Members of Congress,

69

members of the civil service in general and members of the armed


forces, are proof of the intent of the 1987 Constitution to treat the
President and his official family as a class by itself and to impose
upon said class stricter prohibitions.
Such intent of the 1986 Constitutional Commission to be stricter with
the President and his official family was also succinctly articulated by
Commissioner Vicente Foz after Commissioner Regalado Maambong
noted during the floor deliberations and debate that there was no
symmetry between the Civil Service prohibitions, originally found in
the General Provisions and the anticipated report on the Executive
Department. Commissioner Foz Commented, "We actually have to be
stricter with the President and the members of the Cabinet because
they exercise more powers and, therefore, more checks and
restraints on them are called for because there is more possibility of
abuse in their case."
Thus, while all other appointive officials in the civil service are
allowed to hold other office or employment in the government during
their tenure when such is allowed by law or by the primary functions
of their positions, members of the Cabinet, their deputies and
assistants may do so only when expressly authorized by the
Constitution itself. In other words, Section 7, Article IX-B is meant to
lay down the general rule applicable to all elective and appointive
public officials and employees, while Section 13, Article VII is meant
to be the exception applicable only to the President, the VicePresident, Members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants.
This being the case, the qualifying phrase "unless otherwise provided
in this Constitution" in Section 13, Article VII cannot possible refer to
the broad exceptions provided under Section 7, Article IX-B of the
1987 Constitution. To construe said qualifying phrase as respondents
would have us do, would render nugatory and meaningless the
manifest intent and purpose of the framers of the Constitution to
impose a stricter prohibition on the President, Vice-President,
Members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants with respect to
holding other offices or employment in the government during their
tenure. Respondents' interpretation that Section 13 of Article VII
admits of the exceptions found in Section 7, par. (2) of Article IX-B
would obliterate the distinction so carefully set by the framers of the
Constitution as to when the high-ranking officials of the Executive
Branch from the President to Assistant Secretary, on the one hand,
and the generality of civil servants from the rank immediately below
Assistant Secretary downwards, on the other, may hold any other
office or position in the government during their tenure.
The prohibition against holding dual or multiple offices or
employment under Section 13, Article VII of the Constitution must
not, however, be construed as applying to posts occupied by the
Executive officials specified therein without additional compensation
in an ex-officio capacity as provided by law and as required by the
primary functions of said officials' office. The reason is that these
posts do no comprise "any other office" within the contemplation of

the constitutional prohibition but are properly an imposition of


additional duties and functions on said officials. To characterize these
posts otherwise would lead to absurd consequences, among which
are: The President of the Philippines cannot chair the National
Security Council reorganized under Executive Order No. 115
(December 24, 1986). Neither can the Vice-President, the Executive
Secretary, and the Secretaries of National Defense, Justice, Labor and
Employment and Local Government sit in this Council, which would
then have no reason to exist for lack of a chairperson and members.
The respective undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, would also
be prohibited.
Section 15
Aytona vs. Castillo [G.R. No. L-19313, January 19, 1962]
MIDNIGHT APPOINTMENTS.
Of course, nobody will assert that
President Garcia ceased to be such earlier than at noon at December
30, 1961. But it is common sense to believe that after the
proclamation of the election of President Macapagal, his was no more
than a "care-taker" administration. He was duty bound to prepare of
the orderly transfer of authority to the incoming President, and he
should not do acts which he ought to know, would embarrass or
obstruct the policies of his successor. The time for debate had
passed; the electorate had spoken. It was not for him to use his
powers as incumbent President to continue the political warfare that
had ended or to avail himself of presidential prerogatives to serve
partisan purposes. The filing up of vacancies in important positions, if
few, and so spaced as to afford some assurance of deliberate action
and careful consideration of the need for the appointment and the
appointee's qualifications may undoubtedly be permitted. But the
issuance of 350 appointments in one night and the planned induction
of almost all of them a few hours before the inauguration of the new
President may, with some reason, be regarded by the latter as an
abuse of Presidential prerogatives, the steps taken being apparently a
mere partisan effort to fill all vacant positions irrespective of fitness
and other conditions, and thereby to deprive the new administration
of an opportunity to make the corresponding appointments.
Normally, when the President makes appointments with the consent
of the Commission on Appointments, he has the benefit of their
advice. When he makes ad interim appointments, he exercises a
special prerogative and is bound to be prudent to insure approval of
his selection either by previous consultation with the members of the
Commission or by thereafter explaining to them the reason for such
selection. Where, however, as in this case, the Commission on
Appointments that will consider the appointees is different from that
existing at the time of the appointment and where the names are to
be submitted by his successor, who may not wholly approve of the
selections, the President should be doubly careful in extending such
appointments. Now, it is hard to believe that in signing 350
appointments in one night, President Garcia exercised such "double
care" which was required and expected of him; and therefore, there

seems to be force to the contention that these appointments fall


beyond the intent and spirit of the constitutional provision granting to
the Executive authority to issue ad interim appointments.
Under the circumstances above described, what with the separation
of powers, this Court resolves that it must decline to disregard the
Presidential Administrative Order No. 2, cancelling such "midnight" or
"last-minute" appointments.
Of course, the Court is aware of many precedents to the effect that
once an appointment has been issued, it cannot be reconsidered,
specially where the appointee has qualified. But none of them refer to
mass ad interim appointments (three hundred and fifty), issued in the
last hours of an outgoing Chief Executive, in a setting similar to that
outlined herein. On the other hand, the authorities admit of
exceptional circumstances justify revocation and if any circumstances
justify revocation, those described herein should fit the exception.
Incidentally, it should be stated that the underlying reason for
denying the power to revoke after the appointee has qualified is the
latter's equitable rights. Yet it is doubtful if such equity might be
successfully set up in the present situation, considering the rush
conditional appointments, hurried maneuvers and other happenings
detracting from that degree of good faith, morality and propriety
which form the basic foundation of claims to equitable relief. The
appointees, it might be argued, wittingly or unwittingly cooperated
with the stratagem to beat the deadline, whatever the resultant
consequences to the dignity and efficiency of the public service.
Needless to say, there are instances of the public service. Needless to
say, there are instances wherein not only strict legality, but also
fairness, justice and righteousness should be taken into account.
In

re

Appointments dated March 30, 1998 of Hon.


Valenzuela and Hon. Vallarta [A.M. No. 98-5-01-SC.
November 9, 1998.]

THE PRESIDENT CANNOT MAKE APPOINTMENTS TO THE JUDICIARY


DURING THE TWO-MONTH PERIOD DESPITE THE CONSTITUTIONAL
MANDATE TO FILL VACANCIES IN THE JUDICIARY WITHIN NINETY
DAYS FROM SUBMISSION OF THE NOMINEES. The Court's view is
that during the period stated in Section 15, Article VII of the
Constitution "(t)wo months immediately before the next
presidential elections and up to the end of his terms" the President
is neither required to make appointments to the courts nor allowed to
do so; and that Sections 4(1) and 9 of Article VIII simply mean that
the President is required to fill vacancies in the courts within the time
frames provided therein unless prohibited by Section 15 of Article VII.
It is noteworthy that the prohibition on appointments comes into
effect only once every six years.
Now, it appears that Section 15, Article VII is directed against two
types of appointments: (1) those made for buying votes and (2)
those made for partisan considerations. The first refers to those

70

appointments made within the two months preceding a Presidential


election and are similar to those which are declared election offenses
in the Omnibus Election Code, viz.:
SEC. 261.
Prohibited Acts. The following
shall be guilty of an election offense:
(a)
Vote-buying and vote-selling. (1) Any
person who gives, offers or promises money or
anything of value, gives or promises any office or
employment, franchise or grant, public or private,
or makes or offers to make an expenditure, directly
or indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to
any person, association, corporation, entity, or
community in order to induce anyone or the public
in general to vote for or against any candidate or
withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or
against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of
a candidate in a convention or similar selection
process of a political party.
(g)
Appointment of new employees, creation
of new position, promotion, or giving salary
increases. During the period of forty-five days
before a regular election and thirty days before a
special election, (1) any head, official or appointing
officer of a government office, agency or
instrumentality, whether national or local, including
government-owned or controlled corporations, who
appoints or hires any new employee, whether
provisional, temporary, or casual, or creates and
fills any new position, except upon prior authority of
the Commission. The Commission shall not grant
the authority sought unless, it is satisfied that the
position to be filled is essential to the proper
functioning of the office or agency concerned, and
that the position shall not be filled in a manner that
may influence the election.
The second type of appointments prohibited by Section 15, Article VII
consists of the so-called "midnight" appointments. In Aytona v.
Castillo, it was held that after the proclamation of Diosdado
Macapagal as duly elected President, President Carlos P. Garcia, who
was defeated in his bid for reelection, became no more than a
"caretaker" administrator whose duty was to "prepare for the orderly
transfer of authority to the incoming President." Said the Court:
"The filling up of vacancies in important positions, if
few, and so spaced as to afford some assurance of
deliberate action and careful consideration of the
need for the appointment and the appointee's
qualifications may undoubtedly be permitted. But
the issuance of 350 appointments in one night and

the planned induction of almost all of them a few


hours before the inauguration of the new President
may, with some reason, be regarded by the latter
as an abuse of Presidential prerogatives, the steps
taken being apparently a mere partisan effort to fill
all vacant positions irrespective of fitness and other
conditions, and thereby to deprive the new
administration of an opportunity to make the
corresponding appointments."
As indicated, the Court recognized that there may well be
appointments to important positions which have to be made even
after the proclamation of the new President. Such appointments, so
long as they are "few and so spaced as to afford some assurance of
deliberate action and careful consideration of the need for the
appointment and the appointee's qualifications," can be made by the
outgoing President. Accordingly, several appointments made by
President Garcia, which were shown to have been well considered,
were upheld.
Section 15, Article VII has a broader scope than the Aytona ruling. It
may not unreasonably be deemed to contemplate not only "midnight"
appointments those made obviously for partisan reasons as shown
by their number and the time of their making but also
appointments presumed made for the purpose of influencing the
outcome of the Presidential election.
On the other hand, the exception in the same Section 15 of Article
VII allowing appointments to be made during the period of the ban
therein provided is much narrower than that recognized in Aytona.
The exception allows only the making of temporary appointments to
executive positions when continued vacancies will prejudice public
service or endanger public safety. Obviously, the article greatly
restricts the appointing power of the President during the period of
the ban.
Section 16
Binamira vs. Garucho [G.R. No. 92008, July 30, 1990]
DISTTINCTION BETWEEN APPOINTMENT AND DESIGNATION. It is
not disputed that the petitioner was not appointed by the President of
the Philippines but only designated by the Minister of Tourism. There
is a clear distinction between appointment and designation that the
petitioner has failed to consider.
Appointment may be defined as the selection, by the authority vested
with the power, of an individual who is to exercise the functions of a
given office. When completed, usually with its confirmation, the
appointment results in security of tenure for the person chosen
unless he is replaceable at pleasure because of the nature of his
office. Designation, on the other hand, connotes merely the
imposition by law of additional duties on an incumbent official, as

where, in the case before us, the Secretary of Tourism is designated


Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Tourism
Authority, or where, under the Constitution, three Justices of the
Supreme Court are designated by the Chief Justice to sit in the
Electoral Tribunal of the Senate or the House of Representatives. It is
said that appointment is essentially executive while designation is
legislative in nature.
Designation may also be loosely defined as an appointment because
it likewise involves the naming of a particular person to a specified
public office. That is the common understanding of the term.
However, where the person is merely designated and not appointed,
the implication is that he shall hold the office only in a temporary
capacity and may be replaced at will by the appointing authority. In
this sense, the designation is considered only an acting or temporary
appointment, which does not confer security of tenure on the person
named.
MAY THE POWER OF APPOINTMENT BE EXERCISED BY ANY OFFICER
OTHER THAN THE ONE TO WHOM IT IS VESTED.
Even if so
understood, that is, as an appointment, the designation of the
petitioner cannot sustain his claim that he has been illegally removed.
The reason is that the decree clearly provides that the appointment of
the General Manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority shall be
made by the President of the Philippines, not by any other officer.
Appointment involves the exercise of discretion, which because of its
nature cannot be delegated. Legally speaking, it was not possible for
Minister Gonzales to assume the exercise of that discretion as an
alter ego of the President. The appointment (or designation) of the
petitioner was not a merely mechanical or ministerial act that could
be validly performed by a subordinate even if he happened as in this
case to be a member of the Cabinet.
An officer to whom a discretion is entrusted cannot
delegate it to another, the presumption being that
he was chosen because he was deemed fit and
competent to exercise that judgment and
discretion, and unless the power to substitute
another in his place has been given to him, he
cannot delegate his duties to another.
In those cases in which the proper execution of the
office requires, on the part of the officer, the
exercise of judgment or discretion, the presumption
is that he was chosen because he was deemed fit
and competent to exercise that judgment and
discretion, and, unless power to substitute another
in his place has been given to him, he cannot
delegate his duties to another.
Indeed, even on the assumption that the power conferred on the
President could be validly exercised by the Secretary, we still cannot
accept that the act of the latter, as an extension or "projection" of the

71

personality of the President, made irreversible the petitioner's title to


the position in question. The petitioner's conclusion that Minister
Gonzales's act was in effect the act of President Aquino is based only
on half the doctrine he vigorously invokes. Justice Laurel stated that
doctrine clearly in the landmark case of Villena v. Secretary of the
Interior, where he described the relationship of the President of the
Philippines and the members of the Cabinet as follows:

Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may


by law vest in the President alone.

. . . all executive and administrative organizations


are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the
heads of the various executive departments are
assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and,
except in cases where the Chief Executive is
required by the Constitution or the law to act in
person or the exigencies of the situation demand
that he act personally, the multifarious executive
and administrative functions of the Chief Executive
are performed by and through the executive
departments, and the acts of the secretaries of such
departments, performed and promulgated in the
regular course of business, are, unless disapproved
or reprobated by the Chief Executive, presumptively
the acts of the Chief Executive.

The second, third and fourth groups of officers are the present bone
of contention. Should they be appointed by the President with or
without the consent (confirmation) of the Commission on
Appointments? By following the accepted rule in constitutional and
statutory construction that an express enumeration of subjects
excludes others not enumerated, it would follow that only those
appointments to positions expressly stated in the first group require
the consent (confirmation) of the Commission on Appointments. But
we need not rely solely on this basic rule of constitutional
construction. We can refer to historical background as well as to the
records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission to determine, with
more accuracy, if not precision, the intention of the framers of the
1987 Constitution and the people adopting it, on whether the
appointments by the President, under the second, third and fourth
groups, require the consent (confirmation) of the Commission on
Appointments. Again, in this task, the following advice of Mr. Chief
Justice J. Abad Santos in Gold Creek is apropos:

The doctrine presumes the acts of the Department Head to be the


acts of the President of the Philippines when "performed and
promulgated in the regular course of business," which was true of the
designation made by Minister Gonzales in favor of the petitioner. But
it also adds that such acts shall be considered valid only if not
"disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive," as also happened
in the case at bar.
Sarmiento vs. Mison [G.R. No. L-79974, December 17,
1987]
APPOINTMENTS WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION BY THE
COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS. It is readily apparent that under
the provisions of the 1987 Constitution, just quoted, there are four
(4) groups of officers whom the President shall appoint. These four
(4) groups, to which we will hereafter refer from time to time, are:
First, the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other
public ministers and consuls, officers of the armed forces from the
rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose
appointments are vested in him in this Constitution;
Second, all other officers of the Government whose appointments are
not otherwise provided for by law;
Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to
appoint;

The first group of officers is clearly appointed with the consent of the
Commission on Appointments. Appointments of such officers are
initiated by nomination and, if the nomination is confirmed by the
Commission on Appointments, the President appoints.

"In deciding this point, it should be borne in mind


that a constitutional provision must be presumed to
have been framed and adopted in the light and
understanding of prior and existing laws and with
reference to them. "Courts are bound to presume
that the people adopting a constitution are familiar
with the previous and existing laws upon the
subjects to which its provisions relate, and upon
which they express their judgment and opinion in
its adoption." (Barry vs. Truax, 13 N.D., 131; 99
N.W., 769; 65 L. R. A., 762.) "
Bautista vs. Salonga [G.R. No. 86439, April 13, 1989]
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS MAY BE
APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT WITHOUT THE CONFIRMATION OF
THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS.
Since the position of
Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights is not among the
positions mentioned in the first sentence of Sec. 16, Art. VII of the
1987 Constitution, appointments to which are to be made with the
confirmation of the Commission on Appointments, it follows that the
appointment by the President of the Chairman of the CHR is to be
made without the review or participation of the Commission on
Appointments.
To be more precise, the appointment of the Chairman and Members
of the Commission on Human Rights is not specifically provided for in

the Constitution itself, unlike the Chairmen and Members of the Civil
Service Commission, the Commission on Elections and the
Commission on Audit, whose appointments are expressly vested by
the Constitution in the President with the consent of the Commission
on Appointment.
The President appoints the Chairman and Members of the
Commission on Human Rights pursuant to the second sentence in
Section 16, Art. VII, that is, without the confirmation of the
Commission on Appointments because they are among the officers of
government "whom he (the President) may be authorized by law to
appoint." And Section 2(c), Executive Order No. 163, 5 May 1987,
authorizes the President to appoint the Chairman and Members of the
Commission on Human Rights. It provides:
"(c) The Chairman and the Members of the
Commission on Human Rights shall be appointed by
the President for a term of seven years without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be
only for the unexpired term of the predecessor."
THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT CANNOT EXERCISE ITS
CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS TO CONFIRM OR DENY APPOINTMENTS
TO OFFICES WHICE ARE EXCLUDED BY THE CONSTITUTION EVEN IF
THE PRESIDENT VOLUNTARILY SUBMITS SUCH APPOINTMENT FOR
ITS CONFIRMATION. Respondent Commission vigorously contends
that, granting that petitioner's appointment as Chairman of the
Commission on Human Rights is one that, under Sec. 16, Art. VII of
the Constitution, as interpreted in the Mison case, is solely for the
President to make, yet, it is within the president's prerogative to
voluntarily submit such appointment to the Commission on
Appointment for confirmation. The mischief in this contention, as the
Court perceives it, lies in the suggestion that the President (with
Congress agreeing) may, from time to time move power boundaries,
in the Constitution differently from where they are placed by the
Constitution.
The Court really finds the above contention difficult of acceptance.
Constitutional Law, to begin with, is concerned with power not
political convenience, wisdom, exigency, or even necessity. Neither
the Executive nor the Legislative (Commission on Appointments) can
create power where the Constitution confers none. The evident
constitutional intent is to strike a careful and delicate balance, in the
matter of appointments to public office, between the President and
Congress (the latter acting through the Commission on
Appointments). To tilt one side or the other of the scale is to disrupt
or alter such balance of power. In other words, to the extent that the
Constitution has blocked off certain appointments for the President to
make with the participation of the Commission on Appointments, so
also has the Constitution mandated that the President can confer no
power of participation in the Commission on Appointments over other
appointments exclusively reserved for her by the Constitution. The

72

exercise of political options that finds no support in the Constitution


cannot be sustained.
Nor can the Commission on Appointments, by the actual exercise of
its constitutionally delimited power to review presidential
appointments, create power to confirm appointments that the
Constitution has reserved to the President alone. Stated differently,
when the appointment is one that the Constitution mandates is for
the President to make without the participation of the Commission on
Appointments, the executive's voluntary act of submitting such
appointment to the Commission on Appointments and the latter's act
of confirming or rejecting the same, are done without or in excess of
jurisdiction.
EVEN IF THE PRESIDENT MAY VOLUNTARILY SUBMIT TO THE
COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS AN APPOINTMENT THAT UNDER
THE CONSTITUTION SOLELY BELONGS TO HER, STILL, THERE WAS
NO VACANCY TO WHICH AN APPOINTMENT COULD BE MADE ON 14
JANUARY 1989. Under this heading, we will assume, ex gratia
argumenti, that the Executive may voluntarily allow the Commission
on Appointments to exercise the power of review over an
appointment otherwise solely vested by the Constitution in the
President. Yet, as already noted, when the President appointed
petitioner Bautista on 17 December 1988 to the position of Chairman
of the Commission on Human Rights with the advice to her that by
virtue of such appointment (not, until confirmed by the Commission
on Appointments), she could qualify and enter upon the performance
of her duties after taking her oath of office, the presidential act of
appointment to the subject position which, under the Constitution, is
to be made, in the first place, without the participation of the
Commission on Appointments, was then and there a complete and
finished act, which, upon the acceptance by Bautista, as shown by
her taking of the oath of office and actual assumption of the duties of
said office, installed her, indubitably and unequivocally, as the lawful
Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights for a term of seven
(7) years. There was thus no vacancy in the subject office on 14
January 1989 to which an appointment could be validly made. In fact,
there is no vacancy in said office to this day.
To insist on such a posture is akin to deluding oneself that day is
night just because the drapes are drawn and the lights are on. For,
aside from the substantive questions of constitutional law raised by
petitioner, the records clearly show that petitioner came to this Court
in timely manner and has not shown any indication of abandoning her
petition.
THE CONCEPT OF AD INTERIM APPOINTMENTS APPLIES ONLY TO
APPOINTMENTS SUBJECT TO THE CONFIRMATION OF THE
COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS. Nor can respondents impressively
contend that the new appointment or re-appointment on 14 January
1989 was an ad interim appointment, because, under the
Constitutional design, ad interim appointments do not apply to
appointments solely for the President to make, i.e., without the

participation of the Commission on Appointments. Ad interim


appointments, by their very nature under the 1987 Constitution,
extend only to appointments where the review of the Commission on
Appointments is needed. That is why ad interim appointments are to
remain valid until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or
until the next adjournment of Congress; but appointments that are
for the President solely to make, that is, without the participation of
the Commission on Appointments, can not be ad interim
appointments.
Quintos-Deles vs. Commission on Appointments [G.R. No.
83216, September 4, 1989]
SECTORAL REPRESENTATIVES IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ARE TO BE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT SUBJECT TO THE
CONFIRMATION OF THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS. Since the
seats reserved for sectoral representatives in paragraph 2, Section 5,
Art. VI may be filled by appointment by the President by express
provision of Section 7, Art. XVIII of the Constitution, it is indubitable
that sectoral representatives to the House of Representatives are
among the "other officers whose appointments are vested in the
President in this Constitution," referred to in the first sentence of
Section 16, Art. VII whose appointments are-subject to confirmation
by the Commission on Appointments (Sarmiento v. Mison, supra).
Nevertheless, there are appointments vested in the President in the
Constitution which, by express mandate of the Constitution, require
no confirmation such as appointments of members of the Supreme
Court and judges of lower courts (Sec. 9, Art. VIII) and the
Ombudsman and his deputies (Sec. 9, Art. XI). No such exemption
from confirmation had been extended to appointments of sectoral
representatives in the Constitution.
The power of the President to appoint sectoral representatives
remains directly derived from Section 7, Article XVIII of the
Constitution which is quoted in the second "Whereas" clause of
Executive Order No. 198. Thus, appointments by the President of
sectoral representatives require the consent of the Commission on
Appointments in accordance with the first sentence of Section 16, Art.
VII of the Constitution. More to the point, petitioner Deles'
appointment was issued not by virtue of Executive Order No. 198 but
pursuant to Art. VII, Section 16, paragraph 2 and Art. XVIII, Section
7 of the Constitution which require submission to the confirmation
process.
AD INTERIM APPOINTMENTS ARE VALID ONLY UNTIL DISAPPROVED
BY THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS OR AFTER THE NEXT
ADJOURNMENT OF CONGRESS.
Implicit in the invocation of
paragraph 2, Section 16, Art. VII as authority for the appointment of
petitioner is, the recognition by the President as appointing authority
that petitioner's appointment requires confirmation by the
Commission on Appointments. Under paragraph 2, Section 16, Art.
VII, appointments made by the President pursuant thereto "shall be

effective only until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments


or until the next adjournment of the Congress." If indeed
appointments of sectoral representatives need no confirmation, the
President need not make any reference to the constitutional
provisions above-quoted in appointing the petitioner. As a matter of
fact, the President in a letter dated April 11, 1989 had expressly
submitted petitioner's appointment for confirmation by the
Commission on Appointments. Considering that Congress had
adjourned without respondent Commission on Appointments having
acted on petitioner's appointment, said appointment/nomination had
become moot and academic pursuant to Section 23 of the Rules of
respondent Commission and "unless resubmitted shall not again be
considered by the Commission."
Calderon vs. Carale [G.R. No. 91636, April 23, 1992]
THE CONGRESS CANNOT BY LEGISLATIVE FIAT EXPAND THE LIST OF
OFFICERS SUBJECT TO THE CONFIRMATION OF THE COMMISSION
ON APPOINTMNETS APPOINTMENTS OF NLRC CHAIRMAN AND
COMMISSIONERS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION BY THE
COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS. Indubitably, the NLRC Chairman
and Commissioners fall within the second sentence of Section 16,
Article VII of the Constitution, more specifically under the "third
groups" of appointees referred to in Mison, i.e. those whom the
President may be authorized by law to appoint. Undeniably, the
Chairman and Members of the NLRC are not among the officers
mentioned in the first sentence of Section 16, Article VII whose
appointments requires confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments. To the extent that RA 6715 requires confirmation by
the Commission on Appointments of the appointments of respondents
Chairman and Members of the National Labor Relations Commission,
it is unconstitutional because:
1)

it amends by legislation, the first sentence of Sec. 16, Art.


VII of the Constitution by adding thereto appointments
requiring confirmation by the Commission on Appointments;
and

2)

it amends by legislation the second sentence of Sec. 16, Art.


VII of the Constitution, by imposing the confirmation of the
Commission on Appointments on appointments which are
otherwise entrusted only with the President.

Deciding on what law to pass is a legislative prerogative. Determining


their constitutionality is a judicial function. The Court respects the
laudable intention of the legislature. Regretfully, however, the
constitutional infirmity of Sec. 13 of RA 6715 amending Art. 215 of
the Labor Code, insofar as it requires confirmation of the Commission
on Appointments over appointments of the Chairman and Members of
the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) is, as we see it,
beyond redemption if we are to render fealty to the mandate of the
Constitution in Sec. 16, Art. VII thereof.

73

It can not be overlooked that Sec. 16, Art. VII of the 1987
Constitution was deliberately, not unconsciously, intended by the
framers of the 1987 Constitution to be a departure from the system
embodied in the 1935 Constitution where the Commission on
Appointments exercised the power of confirmation over almost all
presidential appointments, leading to many cases of abuse of such
power of confirmation. Subsection 3, Section 10, Art. VII of the 1935
Constitution provided:
"3.
The President shall nominate and with the
consent of the Commission on Appointments, shall
appoint the heads of the executive departments
and bureau, officers of the Army from the rank of
the colonel, of the Navy and Air Forces from the
rank of captain or commander, and all other officers
of the Government whose appointments are not
herein otherwise provided for, and those whom he
may be authorized by law to appoint; . . ."
The deliberate limitation on the power of confirmation of the
Commission on Appointments over presidential appointments,
embodied in Sec. 16, Art. VII of the 1987 Constitution, has
undoubtedly evoked the displeasure and disapproval of members of
the Congress. The solution to the apparent problem, if indeed a
problem, is not judicial or legislative but constitutional. A future
constitutional convention or Congress sitting as a constituent
(constitutional) assembly may then consider either a return to the
1935 Constitutional provisions or the adoption of a hybrid system
between the 1935 and 1987 constitutional provisions. Until then, it is
the duty of the Court to apply the 1987 Constitution in accordance
with what it says and not in accordance with how the legislature or
the executive would want it interpreted.
Tarrosa vs. Singson [G.R. No. 111243, May 25, 1994]
THE APPOINTMENT OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE BANKO SENTRAL IS
NOT SUBJECT TO THE CONFIRMATION OF THE COMMISSION ON
APPOINTMENTS. However for the information of all concerned, we
call attention to our decision in Calderon v. Carale, 208 SCRA 254
(1992), with Justice Isagani A. Cruz dissenting, where we ruled that
Congress cannot by law expand the confirmation powers of the
Commission on Appointments and require confirmation of
appointment of other government officials not expressly mentioned in
the first sentence of Section 16 of Article VII of the Constitution.
Flores vs. Drilon [G.R. No. 104732, June 22, 1993]
THE POWER OF APPOINTMENT INVOLVES THE EXERCISE OF
DISCRETION, AND ONCE CONFERRED, SUCH MAY NOT BE
RESTRICTED BY THE CONGRESS TO A POINT THAT THE APPOINTING
AUTHORITY LOSES ANY DISCRETION ON WHO TO APPOINT. As may
be defined, an "appointment" is "[t]he designation of a person, by the
person or persons having authority therefor, to discharge the duties

of some office or trust," or "[t]he selection or designation of a person,


by the person or persons having authority therefor, to fill an office or
public function and discharge the duties of the same." In his treatise,
Philippine Political Law, Senior Associate Justice Isagani A. Cruz
defines appointment as "the selection, by the authority vested with
the power, of an individual who is to exercise the functions of a given
office."
Considering that appointment calls for a selection, the appointing
power necessarily exercises a discretion. According to Woodbury, J.,
"the choice of a person to fill an office constitutes the essence of his
appointment," and Mr. Justice Malcolm adds that an "[a]pointment to
office is intrinsically an executive act involving the exercise of
discretion." In Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila v. Intermediate
Appellate Court we held:
The power to appoint is, in essence, discretionary.
The appointing power has the right of choice which
he may exercise freely according to his judgment,
deciding for himself who is best qualified among
those who have the necessary qualifications and
eligibilities. It is a prerogative of the appointing
power . . . ."
Indeed, the power of choice is the heart of the power to appoint.
Appointment involves an exercise of discretion of whom to appoint; it
is not a ministerial act of issuing appointment papers to the
appointee. In other words, the choice of the appointee is a
fundamental component of the appointing power.
Hence, when Congress clothes the President with the power to
appoint an officer, it (Congress) cannot at the same time limit the
choice of the President to only one candidate. Once the power of
appointment is conferred on the President, such conferment
necessarily carries the discretion of whom to appoint. Even on the
pretext of prescribing the qualifications of the officer, Congress may
not abuse such power as to divest the appointing authority, directly
or indirectly, of his discretion to pick his own choice. Consequently,
when the qualifications prescribed by Congress can only be met by
one individual, such enactment effectively eliminates the discretion of
the appointing power to choose and constitutes an irregular
restriction on the power of appointment.
In the case at bar, while Congress willed that the subject posts be
filled with a presidential appointee for the first year of its operations
from the effectivity of R.A. 7227, the proviso nevertheless limits the
appointing authority to only one eligible, i.e., the incumbent Mayor of
Olongapo City. Since only one can qualify for the posts in question,
the President is precluded from exercising his discretion to choose
whom to appoint. Such supposed power of appointment, sans the
essential element of choice, is no power at all and goes against the
very nature itself of appointment.

While it may be viewed that the proviso merely sets the qualifications
of the officer during the first year of operations of SBMA, i.e., he must
be the Mayor of Olongapo City, it is manifestly an abuse of
congressional authority to prescribe qualifications where only one,
and no other, can qualify. Accordingly, while the conferment of the
appointing power on the President is a perfectly valid legislative act,
the proviso limiting his choice to one is certainly an encroachment on
his prerogative.
Matibag vs. Benipayo [G.R. No. 149036, April 2, 2002]
AD INTERIM APPOINTMENT IS A PERMANENT APPOINTMENT. An ad
interim appointment is a permanent appointment because it takes
effect immediately and can no longer be withdrawn by the President
once the appointee has qualified into office. The fact that it is subject
to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments does not alter its
permanent character. The Constitution itself makes an ad interim
appointment permanent in character by making it effective until
disapproved by the Commission on Appointments or until the next
adjournment of Congress. The second paragraph of Section 16,
Article VII of the Constitution provides as follows:
"The President shall have the power to make
appointments during the recess of the Congress,
whether voluntary or compulsory, but such
appointments shall be effective only until
disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or
until the next adjournment of the Congress."
(Emphasis supplied)
Thus, the ad interim appointment remains effective until such
disapproval or next adjournment, signifying that it can no longer be
withdrawn or revoked by the President. The fear that the President
can withdraw or revoke at any time and for any reason an ad interim
appointment is utterly without basis.
More than half a century ago, this Court had already ruled that an ad
interim appointment is permanent in character. In Summers vs.
Ozaeta, 25 decided on October 25, 1948, we held that:
". . . . an ad interim appointment is one made in
pursuance of paragraph (4), Section 10, Article VII
of the Constitution, which provides that the
'President shall have the power to make
appointments during the recess of the Congress,
but such appointments shall be effective only until
disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or
until the next adjournment of the Congress.' It is an
appointment permanent in nature, and the
circumstance that it is subject to confirmation by
the Commission on Appointments does not alter its
permanent character. An ad interim appointment is
disapproved certainly for a reason other than that

74

its provisional period has expired. Said appointment


is of course distinguishable from an 'acting'
appointment which is merely temporary, good until
another permanent appointment is issued."
(Emphasis supplied)
The Constitution imposes no condition on the effectivity of an ad
interim appointment, and thus an ad interim appointment takes effect
immediately. The appointee can at once assume office and exercise,
as a de jure officer, all the powers pertaining to the office. In Pacete
vs. Secretary of the Commission on Appointments, this Court
elaborated on the nature of an ad interim appointment as follows:
"A distinction is thus made between the exercise of
such presidential prerogative requiring confirmation
by the Commission on Appointments when
Congress is in session and when it is in recess. In
the former, the President nominates, and only upon
the consent of the Commission on Appointments
may the person thus named assume office. It is not
so with reference to ad interim appointments. It
takes effect at once. The individual chosen may
thus qualify and perform his function without loss of
time. His title to such office is complete. In the
language of the Constitution, the appointment is
effective 'until disapproval by the Commission on
Appointments or until the next adjournment of the
Congress.'"
Petitioner cites Black's Law Dictionary which defines the term "ad
interim" to mean "in the meantime" or "for the time being." Hence,
petitioner argues that an ad interim appointment is undoubtedly
temporary in character. This argument is not new and was answered
by this Court in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila vs. Intermediate
Appellate Court, 27 where we explained that:
". . . . From the arguments, it is easy to see why
the petitioner should experience difficulty in
understanding the situation. Private respondent had
been extended several 'ad interim' appointments
which petitioner mistakenly understands as
appointments temporary in nature. Perhaps, it is
the literal translation of the word 'ad interim' which
creates such belief. The term is defined by Black to
mean "in the meantime" or "for the time being".
Thus, an officer ad interim is one appointed to fill a
vacancy, or to discharge the duties of the office
during the absence or temporary incapacity of its
regular incumbent (Black's Law Dictionary, Revised
Fourth Edition, 1978). But such is not the meaning
nor the use intended in the context of Philippine
law. In referring to Dr. Esteban's appointments, the
term is not descriptive of the nature of the

appointments given to him. Rather, it is used to


denote the manner in which said appointments
were made, that is, done by the President of the
Pamantasan in the meantime, while the Board of
Regents, which is originally vested by the University
Charter with the power of appointment, is unable to
act. . . . ." (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, the term "ad interim appointment", as used in letters of
appointment signed by the President, means a permanent
appointment made by the President in the meantime that Congress is
in recess. It does not mean a temporary appointment that can be
withdrawn or revoked at any time. The term, although not found in
the text of the Constitution, has acquired a definite legal meaning
under Philippine jurisprudence. The Court had again occasion to
explain the nature of an ad interim appointment in the more recent
case of Marohombsar vs. Court of Appeals, 28 where the Court
stated:
"We have already mentioned that an ad interim
appointment is not descriptive of the nature of the
appointment, that is, it is not indicative of whether
the appointment is temporary or in an acting
capacity, rather it denotes the manner in which the
appointment was made. In the instant case, the
appointment extended to private respondent by
then MSU President Alonto, Jr. was issued without
condition nor limitation as to tenure. The
permanent
status
of
private
respondent's
appointment as Executive Assistant II was
recognized and attested to by the Civil Service
Commission Regional Office No. 12. Petitioner's
submission that private respondent's ad interim
appointment is synonymous with a temporary
appointment which could be validly terminated at
any time is clearly untenable. Ad interim
appointments are permanent but their terms are
only until the Board disapproves them." (Emphasis
supplied)
Luego vs. Civil Service Commission [G.R. No. L-69137,
August 5, 1986]
NATURE OF THE POWER OF APPOINTMENT.
The Civil Service
Commission is not empowered to determine the kind or nature of the
appointment extended by the appointing officer, its authority being
limited to approving or reviewing the appointment in the light of the
requirements of the Civil Service Law. When the appointee is qualified
and all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the Commission
has no choice but to attest to the appointment in accordance with the
Civil Service Laws.
As Justice Ramon C. Fernandez declared in an earlier case:

"It is well settled that the determination of the kind


of appointment to be extended lies in the official
vested by law with the appointing power and not
the Civil Service Commission. The Commissioner of
Civil Service is not empowered to determine the
kind or nature of the appointment extended by the
appointing officer. When the appointee is qualified,
as in this case, the Commissioner of Civil Service
has no choice but to attest to the appointment.
Under the Civil Service Law, Presidential Decree No.
807, the Commissioner is not authorized to curtail
the discretion of the appointing official on the
nature or kind of the appointment to be extended."
Indeed, the approval is more appropriately called an attestation, that
is, of the fact that the appointee is qualified for the position to which
he has been named. As we have repeatedly held, such attestation is
required of the Commissioner of Civil Service merely as a check to
assure compliance with Civil Service Laws.
Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be
performed by the officer in which it is vested according to his best
lights, the only condition being that the appointee should possess the
qualifications required by law. If he does, then the appointment
cannot be faulted on the ground that there are others better qualified
who should have been preferred. This is a political question involving
considerations of wisdom which only the appointing authority can
decide.
It is different where the Constitution or the law subjects the
appointment to the approval of another officer or body, like the
Commission
on
Appointments
under
1935
Constitution.
Appointments made by the President of the Philippines had to be
confirmed by that body and could not be issued or were invalidated
without such confirmation. In fact, confirmation by the Commission
on Appointments was then considered part of the appointing process,
which was held complete only after such confirmation.
Moreover, the Commission on Appointments could review the wisdom
of the appointment and had the power to refuse to concur with it
even if the President's choice possessed all the qualifications
prescribed by law. No similar arrangement is provided for in the Civil
Service Decree. On the contrary, the Civil Service Commission is
limited only to the non-discretionary authority of determining
whether or not the person appointed meets all the required
conditions laid down by the law.
Pobre vs. Mendieta [G.R. No. 106677, July 23, 1993]
THE POWER OF APPOINTMENT CANNOT BE RESTRICTED TO THE
POINT THAT THE OFFICER LOSES THE DISCRETION. The Court finds
unacceptable the view that every vacancy in the Commission (except

75

the position of "junior" Associate Commissioner) shall be filled by


"succession" or by "operation of law" for that would deprive the
President of his power to appoint a new PRC Commissioner and
Associate Commissioners "all to be appointed by the President"
under P.D. No. 223. The absurd result would be that the only occasion
for the President to exercise his appointing power would be when the
position of junior (or second) Associate Commissioner becomes
vacant. We may not presume that when the President issued P.D. No.
223, he deliberately clipped his prerogative to choose and appoint the
head of the PRC and limited himself to the selection and appointment
of only the associate commissioner occupying the lowest rung of the
ladder in that agency. Since such an absurdity may not be presumed,
the Court should so construe the law as to avoid it.

Supervision does not cover such authority. The supervisor or


superintendent merely sees to it that the rules are followed, but he
himself does not lay down such rules, nor does he have the discretion
to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may
order the work done or re-done but only to conform to the prescribed
rules. He may not prescribe his own manner for the doing of the act.
He has no judgment on this matter except to see to it that the rules
are followed. In the opinion of the Court, Secretary Drilon did
precisely this, and no more nor less than this, and so performed an
act not of control but of mere supervision.

"The duty devolves on the court to ascertain the


true meaning where the language of a statute is of
doubtful meaning, or where an adherence to the
strict letter would lead to injustice, absurdity, or
contradictory provisions, since an ambiguity calling
for construction may arise when the consequence of
a literal interpretation of the language is an unjust,
absurd, unreasonable, or mischievous result, or one
at variance with the policy of the legislation as a
whole; and the real meaning of the statute is to be
ascertained and declared, even though it seems to
conflict with the words of the statute." (82 CJS 589590; Emphasis supplied.)

DOCTRINE OF QUALIFIED POLITICAL AGENCY.


After serious
reflection, we have decided to sustain the contention of the
government in this case on the broad proposition, albeit not
suggested, that under the presidential type of government which we
have adopted and considering the departmental organization
established and continued in force by paragraph 1, section 12, Article
VII, of our Constitution, all executive and administrative organizations
are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the heads of the various
executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief
Executive, and, except in cases where the Chief Executive is required
by the Constitution or the law to act in person or the exigencies of
the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious
executive and administrative functions of the Chief Executive are
performed by and through the executive departments, and the acts of
the secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in
the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated
by the Chief Executive, presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive.

Section 17
Drilon vs. Lim [G.R. No. 112497, August 4, 1994]
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONTROL AND SUPERVISION. Section 187
authorizes the Secretary of Justice to review only the constitutionality
or legality of the tax ordinance and, if warranted, to revoke it on
either or both of these grounds. When he alters or modifies or sets
aside a tax ordinance, he is not also permitted to substitute his own
judgment for the judgment of the local government that enacted the
measure. Secretary Drilon did set aside the Manila Revenue Code, but
he did not replace it with his own version of what the Code should be.
He did not pronounce the ordinance unwise or unreasonable as a
basis for its annulment. He did not say that in his judgment it was a
bad law. What he found only was that it was illegal. All he did in
reviewing the said measure was determine if the petitioners were
performing their functions is accordance with law, that is, with the
prescribed procedure for the enactment of tax ordinances and the
grant of powers to the city government under the Local Government
Code. As we see it, that was an act not of control but of mere
supervision.
An officer in control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. It they
are not followed, he may, in his discretion, order the act undone or
re-done by his subordinate or he may even decide to do it himself.

Villena vs. Secretary of Interior [G.R. No. 46570, April 21,


1939]

With reference to the Executive Department of the government, there


is one purpose which is crystal-clear and is readily visible without the
projection of judicial searchlight, and that is, the establishment of a
single, not plural, Executive. The first section of Article VII of the
Constitution, dealing with the Executive Department, begins with the
enunciation of the principle that "The executive power shall be vested
in a President of the Philippines." This means that the President of the
Philippines is the Executive of the Government of the Philippines, and
no other. The heads of the executive departments occupy political
positions and hold office in an advisory capacity, and, in the language
of Thomas Jefferson, "should be of the President's bosom confidence"
(7 Writings, Ford ed., 498), and, in the language of Attorney-General
Cushing (7 Op., Attorney-General, 453), "are subject to the direction
of the President." Without minimizing the importance of the heads of
the various departments, their personality is in reality but the
projection of that of the President. Stated otherwise, and as forcibly
characterized by Chief Justice Taft of the Supreme Court of the United
States, "each head of a department is, and must be, the President's
alter ego in the matters of that department where the President is
required by law to exercise authority" (Myers vs. United States, 47
Sup. Ct. Rep., 21 at 30; 272 U. S., 52 at 133; 71 Law. ed., 160).

Secretaries of departments, of course, exercise certain powers under


the law but the law cannot impair or in any way affect the
constitutional power of control and direction of the President. As a
matter of executive policy, they may be granted departmental
autonomy as to certain matters but this is by mere concession of the
executive, in the absence of valid legislation in the particular field. If
the President, then, is the authority in the Executive Department, he
assumes the corresponding responsibility. The head of a department
is a man of his confidence; he controls and directs his acts; he
appoints him and can remove him at pleasure; he is the executive,
not any of his secretaries. It is therefore logical that he, the
President, should be answerable for the acts of administration of the
entire executive Department before his own conscience no less than
before that undefined power of public opinion which, in the language
of Daniel Webster, is the last repository of popular government. These
are the necessary corollaries of the American presidential type of
government, and if there is any defect, it is attributable to the system
itself. We cannot modify the system unless we modify the
Constitution, and we cannot modify the Constitution by any subtle
process of judicial interpretation or construction.
Lacson-Magallanes Co., Inc. vs. Pao [G.R. No. L-27811, November
17, 1967]
THE PRESIDENT CAN REVOKE THE ACTS OF DEPARTMENT HEADS.
Plaintiff's position is incorrect. The President's duty to execute the law
is of constitutional origin. So, too, is his control of all executive
departments. Thus it is, that department heads are men of his
confidence. His is the power to appoint them; his, too, is the privilege
to dismiss them at pleasure. Naturally, he controls and directs their
acts. Implicit then is his authority to go over, confirm, modify or
reverse the action taken by his department secretaries. In this
context, it may not be said that the President cannot rule on the
correctness of a decision of a department secretary.
Particularly in reference to the decisions of the Director of Lands, as
affirmed by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the
standard practice is to allow appeals from such decisions to the Office
of the President. This Court has recognized this practice in several
cases. In one, the decision of the Lands Director as approved by the
Secretary was considered superseded by that of the President's on
appeal. In other cases, failure to pursue or resort to this last remedy
of appeal was considered a fatal defect, warranting dismissal of the
case, for non-exhaustion of all administrative remedies.
Parenthetically, it may be stated that the right to appeal to the
President reposes upon the President's power of control over the
executive departments. And control simply means "the power of an
officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate
officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute
the judgment of the former for that of the latter."

76

This unquestionably negates the assertion that the President cannot


undo an act of his department secretary.
2. Plaintiff next submits that the decision of the Executive Secretary
herein is an undue delegation of power. The Constitution, petitioner
asserts, does not contain any provision whereby the presidential
power of control may be delegated to the Executive Secretary. It is
argued that it is the constitutional duty of the President to act
personally upon the matter.
It is correct to say that constitutional powers there are which the
President must exercise in person.10 Not as correct, however, is it so
say that the Chief Executive may not delegate to his Executive
Secretary acts which the Constitution does not command that he
perform in person.11 Reason is not wanting for this view. The
President is not expected to perform in person all the multifarious
executive and administrative functions. The Office of the Executive
Secretary is an auxiliary unit which assists the President. The rule
which has thus gained recognition is that "under our constitutional
setup the Executive Secretary who acts for and in behalf and by
authority of the President has an undisputed jurisdiction to affirm,
modify, or even reverse any order" that the Secretary of Agriculture
and Natural Resources, including the Director of Lands, may issue. 12
3. But plaintiff underscores the fact that the Executive Secretary is
equal in rank to the other department heads, no higher than anyone
of them. From this, plaintiff carves the argument that one
department head, on the pretext that he is an alter ego of the
President, cannot intrude into the zone of action allocated to another
department secretary. This argument betrays lack of appreciation of
the fact that where, as in this case, the Executive Secretary acts
"[b]y authority of the President," his decision is that of the
President's. Such decision is to be given full faith and credit by our
courts. The assumed authority of the Executive Secretary is to be
accepted. For, only the President may rightfully say that the Executive
Secretary is not authorized to do so. Therefore, unless the action
taken is "disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive," 13 that
remains the act of the Chief Executive, and cannot be successfully
assailed.14 No such disapproval or reprobation is even intimated in the
record of this case.

portions of the public domain as his subordinates, the Director of


Lands, and his alter ego the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural
Resources.
Such power of the President is recognized under Section 69
aforecited of the Public Land Act as it provides:
"Sec. 69.
Whenever
any
province,
municipality, or other branch or subdivision of the
Government shall need any portion of the land of
the public domain open to concession for
educational, charitable, or others similar purposes,
the President, upon recommendation of the
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources,
may execute contracts in favor of the same, in the
form of donation, sale, lease, exchange, or any
other form, under terms, and conditions to be
inserted in the contract; but land to be granted
shall in no case be encumbered or alienated, except
when the public service requires their being leased
or exchanged, with the approval of the President,
for other lands belonging to private parties, or if the
Congress disposes otherwise."
From the foregoing provision it is clear that the President of the
Philippines may execute contracts in favor of any province,
municipality or other branch or subdivision of the government who
shall need any portion of the land of the public domain open to
concession for educational, charitable or other similar purposes, in
the form of donation, sale, lease, exchange, or any other form.
Gascon vs. Arroyo [G.R. No. 78389, October 16, 1989]

ALTER EGO DOCTRINE. Under the Provisional Constitution of the


Republic of the Philippines (also known as the Freedom Constitution),
which was in force and effect when the "Agreement to Arbitrate" was
signed by the parties thereto on 6 January 1987, the President
exercised both the legislative and executive powers of the
Government. As Chief Executive, the President was (and even now)
"assisted by a Cabinet" composed of Ministers (now Secretaries), who
were appointed by and accountable to the President. In other words,
City of Iligan vs. Director of Lands [G.R. No. L-30852, February 26,
the Members of the cabinet, as heads of the various departments, are
1988]
the assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in cases
where the Chief Executive is required by the Constitution or the law
POWERS CONFERRED TO HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS MAY
to act in person, or where the exigencies of the situation demand that
BE EXERCISED DIRECTLY BY THE PRESIDENT. Since it is the Director
he act personally, the multifarious executive and administrative
of Lands who has direct executive control among others in the lease,
functions of the Chief Executive are performed by and through the
sale or any form of concession or disposition of the land of the public
executive departments, and the acts of the heads of such
domain subject to the immediate control of the Secretary of
departments, performed in the regular course of business, are, unless
Agriculture and Natural Resources, and considering that under the
disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive, presumptively the
Constitution the President of the Philippines has control over all
acts of the Chief Executive.
executive departments, bureaus, and offices, etc., the President of
the Philippines has therefore the same authority to dispose of

Respondent Executive Secretary had, therefore, the power and


authority to enter into the "Agreement to Arbitrate" with the ABSCBN Broadcasting Corporation, as he acted for and in behalf of the
President when he signed it; hence, the aforesaid agreement is valid
and binding upon the Republic of the Philippines, as a party thereto.
1992]

Kilusang Bayan vs. Dominguez [G.R. No. 85439, January 13,

CONTROL AND SUPERVISION. An administrative officer has only


such powers as are expressly granted to him and those necessarily
implied in the exercise thereof.
These powers should not be
extended by implication beyond what may be necessary for their just
and reasonable execution.
Supervision and control include only the authority to: (a) act directly
whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a
subordinate; (b) direct the performance of duty; restrain the
commission of acts; (c) review, approve, reverse or modify acts and
decisions of subordinate officials or units; (d) determine priorities in
the execution of plans and programs; and (e) prescribe standards,
guidelines, plans and programs. Specifically, administrative
supervision is limited to the authority of the department or its
equivalent to: (1) generally oversee the operations of such agencies
and insure that they are managed effectively, efficiently and
economically but without interference with day-to-day activities; (2)
require the submission of reports and cause the conduct of
management audit, performance evaluation and inspection to
determine compliance with policies, standards and guidelines of the
department; (3) take such action as may be necessary for the proper
performance of official functions, including rectification of violations,
abuses and other forms of mal-administration; (4) review and pass
upon budget proposals of such agencies but may not increase or add
to them.

1963]

Ang-Angco vs. Castillo [G.R. No. L-17169, November 30,

POWER OF CONTROL APPLIES ONLY TO THE ACT AND NOT TO THE


ACTOR. The extent of the power of control given to the President by
the Constitution over all officers and employees in the executive
department was interpreted by this Court in the case of Hebron vs.
Reyes 104 Phil., 175 to mean "the power of an officer to alter or
modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in
the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the
former for that of the latter", to distinguish it from the power of
general supervision over municipal government, but the decision does
not go to the extent of including the power to remove an officer or
employee in the executive department. The power merely applies to
the exercise of control over the acts of the subordinate and not over
the actor or agent himself of the act.

77

National Marketing Corp. vs. Arca [G.R. No. L-25743,


September 30, 1969]
PRESIDENTS CONTROL POWER COVERS GOVERNMENT OWNED AND
CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS. Petitioners, however, disagree, and
contend that the word "offices," interpreted in the light of the
preceding words "executive departments," and "bureaus," refers to
offices performing governmental functions which have no juridical
personality, and, therefore, does not include government-owned and
controlled corporations. They claim that the above-quoted
constitutional provision is not applicable and that what should apply is
Section 13(d) of Republic Act No. 1345, (NAMARCO Charter) which
vests in the General Manager the power and/or duty, with the
approval of the Board of Directors, to remove, suspend or otherwise
discipline for cause any subordinate employee of the NAMARCO. They
contend that in reversing the order of the NAMARCO Board of
Directors dismissing Juan T. Arive from the service, and in ordering
his reinstatement, the President of the Philippines arrogated unto
himself a power not authorized either by the Constitution or by law,
hence his actuations were legally ineffective and certainly could not
be a basis for issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction.
We hold that the President of the Philippines' authority to review and
reverse the decision of the NAMARCO Board of Directors dismissing
Juan T. Arive from his position in the NAMARCO and to order his
reinstatement falls within the constitutional power of the President
over all executive departments, bureaus and offices. Under our
governmental setup, corporations owned or controlled by the
government, such as the NAMARCO, partake of the nature of
government bureaus or offices, which are administratively supervised
by the Administrator of the Office of Economic Coordination, "whose
compensation and rank shall be that of a head of an Executive
Department" and who "shall be responsible to the President of the
Philippines under whose control his functions . . . shall be exercised."
(Executive Order No. 386 of December 22, 1950; section 1, issued
under the Reorganization Act of 1950).
Take Care Power
Biraogo vs. The Philippine Truth Commission [G.R. No. 192935,
December 7, 2010]
While the power to create a truth commission cannot pass muster on
the basis of P.D. No. 1416 as amended by P.D. No. 1772, the creation
of the PTC finds justification under Section 17, Article VII of the
Constitution, imposing upon the President the duty to ensure that the
laws are faithfully executed. Section 17 reads:
Section 17. The President shall have control of all
the executive departments, bureaus, and offices.
He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.
(Emphasis supplied).

As correctly pointed out by the respondents, the allocation of power


in the three principal branches of government is a grant of all powers
inherent in them. The Presidents power to conduct investigations to
aid him in ensuring the faithful execution of laws in this case,
fundamental laws on public accountability and transparency is
inherent in the Presidents powers as the Chief Executive. That the
authority of the President to conduct investigations and to create
bodies to execute this power is not explicitly mentioned in the
Constitution or in statutes does not mean that he is bereft of such
authority.[51] As explained in the landmark case of Marcos v.
Manglapus:[52]
x x x. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought
back the presidential system of government and
restored the separation of legislative, executive and
judicial powers by their actual distribution among
three distinct branches of government with
provision for checks and balances.
It would not be accurate, however, to state that
"executive power" is the power to enforce the laws,
for the President is head of state as well as head of
government and whatever powers inhere in such
positions pertain to the office unless the
Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the
Constitution itself provides that the execution of the
laws is only one of the powers of the President. It
also grants the President other powers that do not
involve the execution of any provision of law, e.g.,
his power over the country's foreign relations.
On these premises, we hold the view that although
the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the
exercise of specific powers of the President, it
maintains intact what is traditionally considered as
within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily,
the powers of the President cannot be said to be
limited only to the specific powers enumerated in
the Constitution. In other words, executive power is
more than the sum of specific powers so
enumerated.

of Health v. Camposano, the authority of the President to issue


Administrative Order No. 298, creating an investigative committee to
look into the administrative charges filed against the employees of
the Department of Health for the anomalous purchase of medicines
was upheld. In said case, it was ruled:
The Chief Executives power to create the Ad hoc
Investigating Committee cannot be doubted. Having
been constitutionally granted full control of the
Executive Department, to which respondents
belong, the President has the obligation to ensure
that all executive officials and employees faithfully
comply with the law. With AO 298 as mandate, the
legality of the investigation is sustained. Such
validity is not affected by the fact that the
investigating team and the PCAGC had the same
composition, or that the former used the offices and
facilities of the latter in conducting the inquiry.
[Emphasis supplied]
It should be stressed that the purpose of allowing ad hoc
investigating bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry into matters which
the President is entitled to know so that he can be properly advised
and guided in the performance of his duties relative to the execution
and enforcement of the laws of the land. And if history is to be
revisited, this was also the objective of the investigative bodies
created in the past like the PCAC, PCAPE, PARGO, the Feliciano
Commission, the Melo Commission and the Zenarosa Commission.
There being no changes in the government structure, the Court is not
inclined to declare such executive power as non-existent just because
the direction of the political winds have changed.
Section 18
Guazon vs. De Villa [G.R. No. 80508, January 30, 1990]

It has been advanced that whatever power inherent


in the government that is neither legislative nor
judicial has to be executive. x x x.

AREAL ZONING OR SATURATION DRIVES MAY BE ORDERED BY THE


PRESIDENT BY VIRTUE OF HIS MILITARY POWERS. There can be no
question that under ordinary circumstances, the police action of the
nature described by the petitioners would be illegal and blantantly
violative of the express guarantees of the Bill of Rights. If the military
and the police must conduct concerted campaigns to flush out and
catch criminal elements, such drives must be consistent with the
constitutional and statutory rights of all the people affected by such
actions.

Indeed, the Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws
are faithfully executed. As stated above, the powers of the President
are not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution. One
of the recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this
constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to create ad hoc
committees. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts and
determine if laws have been faithfully executed. Thus, in Department

There is, of course, nothing in the Constitution which denies the


authority of the Chief Executive, invoked by the Solicitor General, to
order police actions to stop unabated criminality, rising lawlessness,
and alarming communist activities. The Constitution grants to
Government the power to seek and cripple subversive movements
which would bring down constituted authority and substitute a regime
where individual liberties are suppressed as a matter of policy in the

78

name of security of the State. However, all police actions are


governed by the limitations of the Bill of Rights. The Government
cannot adopt the same reprehensible methods of authoritarian
systems both of the right and of the left, the enlargement of whose
spheres of influence it is trying hard to suppress. Our democratic
institutions may still be fragile but they are not in the least bit
strengthened through violations of the constitutional protections
which are their distinguishing features.
Ruffy vs. Chief of Staff [G.R. No. L-533, August 20, 1946]
COURT MARTIAL PERTAINS TO THE PRESIDENT IN EXERCISE OF HIS
MILITARY POWERS.
Courts martial are agencies of executive
character, and one of the authorities "for the ordering of courts
martial has been held to be attached to the constitutional functions of
the President as Commander in Chief, independently of legislation."
(Winthrop's Military Law and Precedents, 2d Edition, p. 49.) Unlike
courts of law, they are not a portion of the judiciary. "The Supreme
Court of the United States referring to the provisions of the
Constitution authorizing Congress to provide for the government of
the army, excepting military offenses from the civil jurisdiction, and
making the President Commander in Chief, observes as follows:
'These provisions show that Congress has the power to provide for
the trial and punishment of military and naval offenses in the manner
then and now practiced by civilized nations, and that the power to do
so is given without any connection between it and the 3d Article of
the Constitution defining the judicial power of the United States;
indeed that the two powers are entirely independent of each other.'
"Not belonging to the judicial branch of the government, it follows
that courts-martial must pertain to the executive department; and
they are in fact simply instrumentalities of the executive power,
provided by Congress for the President as Commander in Chief, to aid
him in properly commanding the army and navy and enforcing
discipline therein, and utilized under his orders or those of his
authorized military representatives.' (Winthrop's Military Law and
Precedents; 2d Edition, p. 49.) Of equal interest Clode, 2 M. F., 361,
says of these courts in the British law: "It must never be lost sight of
that the only legitimate object of military tribunals is to aid the Crown
to maintain the discipline and government of the Army." (Footnote
No. 24, p. 49, Winthrop's Military Law and Precedents, 2d Edition.).
Olaguer vs. Military Commission No. 34 [G.R. No. L-54558,
May 22, 1987]
COURT MARTIALS DO NOT HAVE JURISDICTION OVER CIVILIANS.
Due process of law demands that in all criminal prosecutions (where
the accused stands to lose either his life or his liberty), the accused
shall be entitled to, among others, a trial. The trial contemplated by
the due process clause of the Constitution, in relation to the Charter
as a whole, is a trial by judicial process, not by executive or military
process. Military commissions or tribunals, by whatever name they

are called, are not courts within the Philippine judicial system. As
explained by Justice Teehankee in his separate dissenting opinion

"The late Justice Black . . . added that '(A) CourtMartial is not yet an independent instrument of
justice but remains to a significant degree a
specialized part of the over-all mechanism by which
military discipline is preserved,' and that ex
servicemen should be given 'the benefits of a
civilian court trial when they are actually civilians . .
. Free countries of the world have tried to restrict
military tribunals to the narrowest jurisdiction
deemed absolutely essential to maintaining
discipline among troops in active service.' "

". . . Civilians like (the) petitioner placed on trial for


civil offenses under general law are entitled to trial
by judicial process, not by executive or military
process.
"Judicial power is vested by the Constitution
exclusively in the Supreme Court and in such
inferior courts as are duly established by law.
Judicial power exists only in the courts, which have
'exclusive power to hear and determine those
matters which affect the life or liberty or property of
a citizen.'
"Since we are not enemy-occupied territory nor are
we under a military government and even on the
premise that martial law continues in force, the
military
tribunals cannot
try and exercise
jurisdiction over civilians for civil offenses
committed by them which are properly cognizable
by the civil courts that have remained open and
have been regularly functioning. . . .
"And in Toth v. Quarles, the U.S. Supreme Court
further stressed that 'the assertion of military
authority over civilians cannot rest on the
President's power as Commander-in-Chief or on any
theory of martial law.'
"The U.S. Supreme Court aptly pointed out . . ., in
ruling that discharged army veterans (estimated to
number more than 22.5 million) could not be
rendered 'helpless before some latter-day revival of
old military charges' and subjected to military trials
for offenses committed while they were in the
military service prior to their discharge, that 'the
presiding officer at a court martial is not a judge
whose objectivity and independence are protected
by tenure and undiminished salary and nurture by
the judicial tradition, but is a military law officer.
Substantially different rules of evidence and
procedure apply in military trials. Apart from these
differences, the suggestion of the possibility of
influence on the actions of the court-martial by the
officer who convenes it, selects its members and
the counsel on both sides and who usually has
direct command authority over its members is a
pervasive one in military law, despite strenuous
efforts to eliminate the danger.'

Moreover, military tribunals pertain to the Executive Department of


the Government and are simply instrumentalities of the executive
power, provided by the legislature for the President as Commanderin-Chief to aid him in properly commanding the army and navy and
enforcing discipline therein, and utilized under his orders or those of
his authorized military representatives.
Following the principle of
separation of powers underlying the existing constitutional
organization of the Government of the Philippines, the power and the
duty of interpreting the laws (as when an individual should be
considered to have violated the law) is primarily a function of the
judiciary.
It is not, and it cannot be the function of the Executive
Department, through the military authorities. And as long as the civil
courts in the land remain open and are regularly functioning, as they
do so today and as they did during the period of martial law in the
country, military tribunals cannot try and exercise jurisdiction over
civilians for offenses committed by them and which are properly
cognizable by the civil courts.
To have it otherwise would be a
violation of the constitutional right to due process of the civilian
concerned.
1992]

Quiloa vs. General Court Martial [G.R. No. 96607, March 4,

COURT MARTIALS DO NOT APPLY TO MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE


NATIONAL POLICE. Republic Act No. 6975, creating the Philippine
National Police (PNP), which took effect on 1 January 1991, provides:
"SEC. 46. Jurisdiction in Criminal Cases. Any provision of law to
the contrary notwithstanding, criminal cases involving PNP members
shall be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the regular courts:
Provided, That the courts-martial appointed pursuant to Presidential
Decree No. 1850 shall continue to try PC-INP members who have
already been arraigned, to include appropriate actions thereon by the
reviewing authorities pursuant to Commonwealth Act No. 408,
otherwise known as, the Articles of War, as amended by Executive
Order No. 178, otherwise known as the Manual for Courts-Martial:
Provided, further, that criminal cases against PC-INP members who
may have not yet been arraigned upon the effectivity of this it shall
be transferred to the proper city or provincial prosecutor or municipal
trial court judge."
Gudani vs. Senga [G.R. No. 170165, August 15, 2006]

79

SANLAKAS vs. Reyes [G.R. No. 159085, February 3, 2004]


CALLING OUT POWER. The above provision grants the President, as
Commander-in-Chief, a "sequence" of "graduated power[s]." From
the most to the least benign, these are: the calling out power, the
power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and the
power to declare martial law. In the exercise of the latter two powers,
the Constitution requires the concurrence of two conditions, namely,
an actual invasion or rebellion, and that public safety requires the
exercise of such power. However, as we observed in Integrated Bar
of the Philippines v. Zamora, "[t]hese conditions are not required in
the exercise of the calling out power. The only criterion is that
'whenever it becomes necessary,' the President may call the armed
forces 'to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.'"
Nevertheless, it is equally true that Section 18, Article VII does not
expressly prohibit the President from declaring a state of rebellion.
Note that the Constitution vests the President not only with
Commander-in-Chief powers but, first and foremost, with Executive
powers.
Section 1, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states: "The
executive power shall be vested in the President. . . ." As if by
exposition, Section 17 of the same Article provides: "He shall ensure
that the laws be faithfully executed." The provisions trace their
history to the Constitution of the United States.
The lesson to be learned from the U.S. constitutional history is that
the Commander-in-Chief powers are broad enough as it is and
become more so when taken together with the provision on executive
power and the presidential oath of office. Thus, the plenitude of the
powers of the presidency equips the occupant with the means to
address exigencies or threats which undermine the very existence of
government or the integrity of the State.
The foregoing discussion notwithstanding, in calling out the armed
forces, a declaration of a state of rebellion is an utter superfluity. At
most, it only gives notice to the nation that such a state exists and
that the armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it.
Perhaps the declaration may wreak emotional effects upon the
perceived enemies of the State, even on the entire nation. But this
Court's mandate is to probe only into the legal consequences of the
declaration. This Court finds that such a declaration is devoid of any
legal significance. For all legal intents, the declaration is deemed not
written.
Should there be any "confusion" generated by the issuance of
Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4, we clarify that, as the
dissenters in Lacson correctly pointed out, the mere declaration of a
state of rebellion cannot diminish or violate constitutionally protected
rights. Indeed, if a state of martial law does not suspend the
operation of the Constitution or automatically suspend the privilege of

the writ of habeas corpus, then it is with more reason that a simple
declaration of a state of rebellion could not bring about these
conditions. At any rate, the presidential issuances themselves call for
the suppression of the rebellion "with due regard to constitutional
rights."
For the same reasons, apprehensions that the military and police
authorities may resort to warrantless arrests are likewise unfounded.
In Lacson vs. Perez, supra, majority of the Court held that "[i]n
quelling or suppressing the rebellion, the authorities may only resort
to warrantless arrests of persons suspected of rebellion, as provided
under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, if the circumstances
so warrant. The warrantless arrest feared by petitioners is, thus, not
based on the declaration of a 'state of rebellion.'" In other words, a
person may be subjected to a warrantless arrest for the crime of
rebellion whether or not the President has declared a state of
rebellion, so long as the requisites for a valid warrantless arrest are
present.
It is not disputed that the President has full discretionary power to
call out the armed forces and to determine the necessity for the
exercise of such power. While the Court may examine whether the
power was exercised within constitutional limits or in a manner
constituting grave abuse of discretion, none of the petitioners here
have, by way of proof, supported their assertion that the President
acted without factual basis.
The argument that the declaration of a state of rebellion amounts to
a declaration of martial law and, therefore, is a circumvention of the
report requirement, is a leap of logic. There is no indication that
military tribunals have replaced civil courts in the "theater of war" or
that military authorities have taken over the functions of civil
government. There is no allegation of curtailment of civil or political
rights. There is no indication that the President has exercised judicial
and legislative powers. In short, there is no illustration that the
President has attempted to exercise or has exercised martial law
powers.
Section 19
Torres vs. Gonzales [G.R. No. 76872, July 23, 1987]
A CONDITION IN THE GRANT OF PARDON THAT THE PARDONEE
SHALL NOT VIOLATE ANY OTHER LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE
CONVICTION BEFORE THE PARDON MAY BE WITHDRAWN. It may be
emphasized that what is involved in the instant case is not the
prosecution of the parolee for a subsequent offense in the regular
course of administration of the criminal law. What is involved is rather
the ascertainment of whether the convict has breached his
undertaking that he would "not again violate any of the penal laws of
the Philippines" for purposes of reimposition upon him of the remitted
portion of his original sentence. The consequences that we here deal
with are the consequences of an ascertained breach of the conditions

of a pardon. A convict granted conditional pardon, like the petitioner


herein, who is recommitted must of course be convicted by final
judgment of a court of the subsequent crime or crimes with which he
was charged before the criminal penalty for such subsequent
offense(s) can be imposed upon him. Again, since Article 159 of the
Revised Penal Code defines a distinct, substantive, felony, the parolee
or convict who is regarded as having violated the provisions thereof
must be charged, prosecuted and convicted by final judgment before
he can be made to suffer the penalty prescribed in Article 159.
Succinctly put, in proceeding against a convict who has been
conditionally pardoned and who is alleged to have breached the
conditions of his pardon, the Executive Department has two options:
(i) to proceed against him under Section 64 (i) of the Revised
Administrative Code; or (ii) to proceed against him under Article 159
of the Revised Penal Code which imposes the penalty of prision
correccional, minimum period, upon a convict who "having been
granted conditional pardon by the Chief Executive, shall violate any of
the conditions of such pardon." Here, the President has chosen to
proceed against the petitioner under Section 64 (i) of the Revised
Administrative Code. That choice is an exercise of the President's
executive prerogative and is not subject to judicial scrutiny.
Monsanto vs. Factoran [G.R. No. 78239, February 9, 1989]
PARDON EXTENDED AND ACCEPTED WHILE THE JUDGMENT OF
CONVICTION IS ON APPEAL RESULTS IN THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE
APPEAL. Pardon is defined as "an act of grace, proceeding from the
power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the
individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law
inflicts for a crime he has committed. It is the private, though official
act of the executive magistrate, delivered to the individual for whose
benefit it is intended, and not communicated officially to the Court. . .
. A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and
delivery is not complete without acceptance.
At the time the antecedents of the present case took place, the
pardoning power was governed by the 1973 Constitution as amended
in the April 7, 1981 plebiscite. The pertinent provision reads:
"The
President
may, except
in
cases
of
impeachment, grant reprieves, commutations and
pardon, remit fines and forfeitures, and with the
concurrence of the Batasang Pambansa, grant
amnesty."
The 1981 amendments had deleted the earlier rule that clemency
could be extended only upon final conviction, implying that clemency
could be given even before conviction. Thus, petitioner's
unconditional pardon was granted even as her appeal was pending in
the High Court. It is worth mentioning that under the 1987
Constitution, the former limitation of final conviction was restored.
But be that as it may, it is our view that in the present case, it is not

80

material when the pardon was bestowed, whether before or after


conviction, for the result would still be the same. Having accepted the
pardon, petitioner is deemed to have abandoned her appeal and her
unreversed conviction by the Sandiganbayan assumed the character
of finality.

Constitution, as amended, which authorized the exercise of the


pardoning power at anytime, either before or after conviction. Also, in
Monsanto vs. Factoran, this Court stated that the acceptance of a
pardon amounts to an abandonment of an appeal, rendering the
conviction final; thus:

so prevented by the Constitution, not even Congress can impose any


restriction to prevent a presidential folly. Hence, nothing but a
change in the constitutional provision consisting in the imposition of
"conviction by final judgment" requirement can change the rule. The
new Constitution did it.

EFFECTS OF PARDON. The better considered cases regard full pardon


(at least one not based on the offender's innocence) as relieving the
party from all the punitive consequences of his criminal act, including
the disqualifications or disabilities based on the finding of guilt. But it
relieves him from nothing more. "To say, however, that the offender is
a `new man', and `as innocent as if he had never committed the
offense;' is to ignore the difference between the crime and the
criminal. A person adjudged guilty of an offense is a convicted
criminal, though pardoned; he may be deserving of punishment,
though left unpunished; and the law may regard him as more
dangerous to society than one never found guilty of crime, though it
places no restraints upon him following his conviction."

The 1981 amendments had deleted the earlier rule


that clemency could be extended only upon final
conviction, implying that clemency could be given
even
before
conviction.
Thus,
petitioner's
unconditional pardon was granted even as her
appeal was pending in the High Court. It is worth
mentioning that under the 1987 Constitution, the
former limitation of final conviction was restored.
But be that as it may, it is our view that in the
present case, it is not material when the pardon
was bestowed, whether before or after conviction,
for the result would still be the same. Having
accepted the pardon, petitioner is deemed to have
abandoned her appeal and her unreversed
conviction by the Sandiganbayan assumed the
character of finality.

Hence, before an appellant may be validly granted pardon, he must


first ask for the withdrawal of his appeal, i.e., the appealed conviction
must first be brought to finality.

A pardon looks to the future. It is not retrospective. It makes no


amends for the past. It affords no relief for what has been suffered
by the offender. It does not impose upon the government any
obligation to make reparation for what has been suffered. "Since the
offense has been established by judicial proceedings, that which has
been done or suffered while they were in force is presumed to have
been rightfully done and justly suffered, and no satisfaction for it can
be required." This would explain why petitioner, though pardoned,
cannot be entitled to receive backpay for lost earnings and benefits.
People vs. Salle, Jr. [G.R. No. 103567, December 4, 1995]
INSTANCES WHEN A CONVICTION BECOMES FINAL. Where the
pardoning power is subject to the limitation of conviction, it may be
exercised at any time after conviction even if the judgment is on
appeal. It is, of course, entirely different where the requirement is
'"final conviction," as was mandated in the original provision of
Section 14, Article IX of the 1973 Constitution, or "conviction by final
judgment," as presently prescribed in Section 19, Article VII of the
1987 Constitution. In such a case, no pardon may be extended before
a judgment of conviction becomes final.
A judgment of conviction becomes final (a) when no appeal is
seasonably perfected, (b) when the accused commences to serve the
sentence, (C) when the right to appeal is expressly waived in writing,
except where the death penalty was imposed by the trial court, and
(d) when the accused applies for probation, thereby waiving his right
to appeal. Where the judgment of conviction is still pending appeal
and has not yet therefore attained finality, as in the instant case,
executive clemency may not yet be granted to the appellant.
THE GRANT OF PARDON WHILE THE APPEAL IS PENDING DOES NOT
AMOUNT TO A WITHDRAWAL OF THE APPEAL. It must, nevertheless,
be noted that the constitutional provision quoted is that of the 1973

This statement should not be taken as a guiding rule for it is nothing


but an obiter dictum. Moreover, the pardon involved therein was
extended on 17 December 1984 or under the regime of Section 11,
Article VII of the 1973 Constitution, as amended, which allowed the
grant of pardon either before or after conviction.
The reason the Constitutional Commission adopted the "conviction by
final judgment" requirement, reviving in effect the original provision
of the 1973 Constitution on the pardoning power, was, as expounded
by Commissioner Napoleon Rama, to prevent the President from
exercising executive power in derogation of the judicial power.
Indeed, an appeal brings the entire case within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the appellate court. A becoming regard for the doctrine
of separation of powers demands that such exclusive authority of the
appellate court be fully respected and kept unimpaired. For truly, had
not the present Constitution adopted the "conviction by final
judgment" limitation, the President could, at any time, and even
without the knowledge of the court, extend executive clemency to
any one whom he, in good faith or otherwise, believes to merit
presidential mercy. It cannot be denied that under the Jones Law and
the 1981 amendment to the 1973 Constitution on the pardoning
power which did no require conviction, the President had unimpeded
power to grant pardon even before the criminal case could be heard.
And under the 1935 Constitution which required "conviction" only, the
power could be exercised at any time after conviction and regardless
of the pendency of the appeal. In either case, there could be the risk
not only of a failure of justice but also of a frustration of the system
of administration of justice in view of the derogation of the
jurisdiction of the trial or appellate court. Where the President is not

Garcia vs. Commission on Audit [G.R. No. 75025, September


14, 1993]
THE GRANT OF PARDON ON THE GROUND THAT THE PARDONEE IS
INNOCENT OF THE CHARGE RESULTS IN THE OBLITERATION OF THE
ADMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY. Time and again this Court has unfolded
the effects of a pardon upon the individual to whom it is granted. In
Monsanto v. Factoran, we have firmly established the general rule
that while a pardon has generally been regarded as blotting out the
existence of guilt so that in the eyes of the law the offender is as
innocent as though he never committed the offense, it does not
operate for all purposes. The very essence of a pardon is forgiveness
or remission of guilt and not forgetfulness. It does not erase the fact
of the commission of the crime and the conviction thereof. Pardon
frees the individual from all the penalties and legal disabilities and
restores to him all his civil rights. Unless expressly grounded on the
person's innocence, it cannot bring back lost reputation for honesty,
integrity and fair dealing. The pardoned offender regains his eligibility
for appointment to public office which was forfeited by reason of the
conviction of the offense. But since pardon does not generally result
in automatic reinstatement because the offender has to apply for
reappointment, he is not entitled to back wages.
But, stated otherwise, if the pardon is based on the innocence of the
individual, it affirms this innocence and makes him a new man and as
innocent as if he had not been found guilty of the offense charged.
When a person is given pardon because he did not truly commit the
offense, the pardon relieves the party from all punitive consequences
of his criminal act, thereby restoring to him his clean name, good
reputation and unstained character prior to the finding of guilt.
In the case at bar, petitioner was found administratively liable for
dishonesty and consequently dismissed from the service. However, he
was later acquitted by the trial court of the charge of qualified theft
based on the very same acts for which he was dismissed. The
acquittal of petitioner by the trial court was founded not on lack of
proof beyond reasonable doubt but on the fact that petitioner did not
commit the offense imputed to him. Aside from finding him innocent
of the charge, the trial court commended petitioner for his concern
and dedication as a public servant. Verily, petitioner's innocence is the
primary reason behind the grant of executive clemency to him,
bolstered by the favorable recommendations for his reinstatement by

81

the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Civil


Service Commission.
The bestowal of executive clemency on petitioner in effect completely
obliterated the adverse effects of the administrative decision which
found him guilty of dishonesty and ordered his separation from the
service. This can be inferred from the executive clemency itself
exculpating petitioner from the administrative charge and thereby
directing his reinstatement, which is rendered automatic by the grant
of the pardon. This signifies that petitioner need no longer apply to
be reinstated to his former employment; he is restored to his office
ipso facto upon the issuance of the clemency.
Petitioner's automatic reinstatement to the government service
entitles him to back wages.
This is meant to afford relief to
petitioner who is innocent from the start and to make reparation for
what he has suffered as a result of his unjust dismissal from the
service. To rule otherwise would defeat the very intention of the
executive clemency, i.e., to give justice to petitioner. Moreover, the
right to back wages is afforded to those who have been illegally
dismissed and were thus ordered reinstated or to those otherwise
acquitted of the charges against them.
There is no doubt that
petitioner's case falls within the situations aforementioned to entitle
him to back wages.
Further, it is worthy to note that the dismissal of petitioner was not
the result of any criminal conviction that carried with it forfeiture of
the right to hold public office, but is the direct consequence of an
administrative decision of a branch of the Executive Department over
which the President, as its head, has the power of control. The
President's control has been defined to mean "the power of an officer
to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer
had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the
judgment of the former for the latter." In pardoning petitioner and
ordering his reinstatement, the Chief Executive exercised his power of
control and set aside the decision of the Ministry of Transportation
and Communications. The clemency nullified the dismissal of
petitioner and relieved him from administrative liability. The
separation of the petitioner from the service being null and void, he is
thus entitled to back wages.
Sabello vs. DECS [G.R. No. 87687, December 26, 1989]
THE GRANT OF PARDON, AND THE SUBSEQUENT APPOINTMENT OF
THE PARDONEE TO THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE SHOULD ENTITLE
THE PARDONEE TO HIS FORMER POSITION. As a general rule, the
question of whether or not petitioner should be reappointed to his
former position is a matter of discretion of the appointing authority,
but under the circumstances of this case, if the petitioner had been
unfairly deprived of what is rightfully his, the discretion is qualified by
the requirements of giving justice to the petitioner. It is no longer a
matter of discretion on the part of the appointing power, but
discretion tempered with fairness and justice.

As to the argument that the Department of Education, Culture and


Sports cannot be sued, the only answer is that its officials can be
sued for alleged grave errors in their official acts. Again, We ignore
technicality by considering this a suit against the officials of this
government agency.
In the present case after his absolute pardon, petitioner was
reinstated to the service as a classroom teacher by the Department
of Education, Culture and Sports.
As there are no circumstances that would warrant the diminution in
his rank, justice and equity dictate that he be returned to his former
position of Elementary School Principal I and not to that of a mere
classroom teacher.
However, the Court cannot grant his prayer for backwages from
September 1, 1971 to November 23, 1982 since in Monsanto this
Court said he is not entitled to automatic reinstatement. Petitioner
was lawfully separated from the government service upon his
conviction for an offense. Thus, although his reinstatement had been
duly authorized, it did not thereby entitle him to backwages. Such
right is afforded only to those who have been illegally dismissed and
were thus ordered reinstated or to those otherwise acquitted of the
charge against them.
In the same light, the Court cannot decree that his government
service be made continuous from September 10, 1948 to the present
when it is not. At any rate when he reaches the compulsory age of
retirement, he shall get the appropriate retirement benefits as an
Elementary School Principal I and not as a mere classroom teacher.
Llamas vs. Orbos [G.R. No. 99031, October 15, 1991]
EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY MAY BE EXTENDED TO ADMINISTRATIVE
CASES. Moreover, applying the doctrine "Ubi lex non distinguit, nec
nos distinguire debemos," We cannot sustain petitioner's view. In
other words, if the law does not distinguish, so We must not
distinguish. The Constitution does not distinguish between which
cases executive clemency may be exercised by the President, with
the sole exclusion of impeachment cases. By the same token, if
executive clemency may be exercised only in criminal cases, it would
indeed be unnecessary to provide for the exclusion of impeachment
cases from the coverage of Article VII, Section 19 of the Constitution.
Following petitioner's proposed interpretation, cases of impeachment
are automatically excluded inasmuch as the same do not necessarily
involve criminal offenses.
In the same vein, We do not clearly see any valid and convincing
reason why the President cannot grant executive clemency in
administrative cases. It is Our considered view that if the President
can grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, and remit fines and
forfeitures in criminal cases, with much more reason can she grant

executive clemency in administrative cases, which are clearly less


serious than criminal offenses.
A number of laws impliedly or expressly recognize or support the
exercise of executive clemency in administrative cases.
Under Sec. 43 of P.D. 807, "In meritorious cases, . . ., the President
may commute or remove administrative penalties or disabilities
issued upon officers and employees, in disciplinary cases, subject to
such terms and conditions as he may impose in the interest of the
service."
During the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, a subject
of deliberations was the proposed amendment to Art. VII, Sec. 19
which reads as follows: "However, the power to grant executive
clemency for violation of corrupt practices laws may be limited by
legislation." The Constitutional Commission, however, voted to
remove the amendment, since it was in derogation of the powers of
the President. As Mr. Natividad stated:
"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. . . ."
The proposal was primarily intended to prevent the President from
protecting his cronies. Manifestly, however, the Commission preferred
to trust in the discretion of Presidents and refrained from putting
additional limitations on his clemency powers. (II RECORD of the
Constitutional Commission, 392, 418-419, 524-525)
It is evident from the intent of the Constitutional Commission,
therefore, that the President's executive clemency powers may not be
limited in terms of coverage, except as already provided in the
Constitution, that is, "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 COMELEC" (Article IX, C, Section 5, Constitution). If those
already adjudged guilty criminally in court may be pardoned, those
adjudged guilty administratively should likewise be extended the
same benefit.
In criminal cases, the quantum of evidence required to convict an
individual is proof beyond reasonable doubt, but the Constitution
grants to the President the power to pardon the act done by the
proved criminal and in the process exempts him from punishment
therefor. On the other hand, in administrative cases, the quantum of

82

evidence required is mere substantial evidence to support a decision,


not to mention that as to the admissibility of evidence, administrative
bodies are not bound by the technical and rigid rules of admissibility
prescribed in criminal cases. It will therefore be unjust and unfair for
those found guilty administratively of some charge if the same effects
of pardon or executive clemency cannot be extended to them, even in
the sense of modifying a decision to subserve the interest of the
public. (p. 34, Comment of public respondent)

money orders, parcel post, etc., have been


concluded by the Post-master General with various
countries
under
authorization
by
Congress
beginning with the Act of February 20, 1792 (I Stat.
232, 239). Ten executive agreements were
concluded by the President pursuant to the
McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 (26 Stat. 567, 612), and
nine such agreements were entered into under the
Dingley Tariff Act of 1897 (30 Stat. 151, 203, 214).
A very much larger number of agreements, along
the lines of the one with Rumania previously
referred to, providing for most-favored-nation
treatment in customs and related matters have
been entered into since the passage of the Tariff Act
of 1922, not by direction of the Act but in harmony
with it.

We wish to stress however that when we say the President can grant
executive clemency in administrative cases, We refer only to all
administrative cases in the Executive branch, not in the Judicial or
Legislative branches of the government.
Section 21
Commissioner of Customs vs. Eastern Sea Trading [G.R. No. L-14279,
October 31, 1961]
EXECUTIVE AGREEMENTS DO NOT NEED THE CONCURRENCE OF THE
SENATE. The Court of Tax Appeals entertained doubts on the legality
of the executive agreement sought to be implemented by Executive
Order No. 328, owing to the fact that our Senate had not concurred
in the making of said executive agreement. The concurrence of said
House of Congress is required by our fundamental law in the making
of "treaties" (Constitution of the Philippines, Article VII, Section
10[7]), which are, however, distinct and different from "executive
agreements", which may be validly entered into without such
concurrence.
"Treaties are formal documents which require
ratification with the approval of two-thirds of the
Senate. Executive agreements become binding
through executive action without the need of a vote
by the Senate or by Congress.
". . . the right of the Executive to enter into binding
agreements without the necessity of subsequent
Congressional approval has been confirmed by long
usage. From the earliest days of our history we
have entered into executive agreements covering
such subjects as commercial and consular relations,
most-favored-nation
rights,
patent
rights,
trademark and copyright protection, postal and
navigation arrangements and the settlement of
claims. The validity of these has never been
seriously questioned by our courts.
"Agreements with respect to the registration of
trade-marks have been concluded by the Executive
with various countries under the Act of Congress of
March 3, 1881 (21 Stat. 502). Postal conventions
regulating the reciprocal treatment of mail matters,

"International agreements involving political issues


or changes of national policy and those involving
international
arrangements
of a permanent
character usually take the form of treaties. But
international agreements embodying adjustments
of detail carrying out well-established national
policies and traditions and those involving
arrangements of a more or less temporary nature
usually take the form of executive agreements.
"Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court has
expressly
recognized
the
validity
and
constitutionality of executive agreements entered
into without Senate approval." (39 Columbia Law
Review, pp. 753-754) (See, also, U.S. vs. CurtisWright Export Corporation, 299 U.S. 304, 81 L. ed.
255; U.S. vs. Belmont, 301 U.S. 324, 81 L. ed.
1134; U.S. vs. Pink, 315 U.S. 203, 86 L. ed. 796;
Ozanic vs. U.S. 188 F. 2d. 288; Yale Law Journal,
Vol. 15, pp. 1905-1906; California Law Review, Vol.
25, pp. 670-675; Hyde on International Law
[Revised Edition], Vol. 2, pp. 1405, 1416-1418;
Willoukhby on the U.S. Constitutional Law, Vol. I
[2d. ed.], pp. 537-540; Moore, International Law
Digest,
Vol.
V,
pp.
210-218;
Hackworth,
International Law Digest, Vol. V, pp. 390-407).
(Emphasis supplied.)

In this connection, Francis B. Sayre, former U. S. High Commissioner


to the Philippines, said in his work on "The Constitutionality of Trade
Agreement Acts":
"Agreements concluded by the President which fall
short of treaties are commonly referred to as
executive agreements and are no less common in
our scheme of government than are the more

formal instruments treaties and conventions.


They sometimes take the form of exchanges of
notes and at other times that of more formal
documents
denominated
'agreements'
or
'protocols'.
The
point
where
ordinary
correspondence
between
this
and
other
governments ends and agreements whether
denominated executive agreements or exchanges of
notes or otherwise begin, may sometimes be
difficult of ready ascertainment. It would be useless
to undertake to discuss here the large variety of
executive agreements as such, concluded from time
to time. Hundreds of executive agreements, other
than those entered into under the tradeagreements act, have been negotiated with foreign
governments. . . . It would seem to be sufficient, in
order to show that the trade agreements under the
act of 1934 are not anomalous in character, that
they are not treaties, and that they have abundant
precedent in our history, to refer to certain classes
of agreements heretofore entered into by the
Executive without the approval of the Senate. They
cover such subjects as the inspection of vessels,
navigation dues, income tax on shipping profits, the
admission of civil aircraft, customs matters, and
commercial relations generally, international claims,
postal matters, the registration of trade-marks and
copyrights, etc. Some of them were concluded not
by specific congressional authorization but in
conformity with policies declared in acts of
Congress with respect to the general subject
matter, such as tariff acts; while still others,
particularly those with respect to the settlement of
claims
against
foreign
governments,
were
concluded independently of any legislation." (39
Columbia Law Review, pp. 651, 755.)
Pimentel vs. Executive Secretary [G.R. No. 158088, July 6, 2005]
In our system of government, the President, being the head of state,
is regarded as the sole organ and authority in external relations and
is the country's sole representative with foreign nations. As the chief
architect of foreign policy, the President acts as the country's
mouthpiece with respect to international affairs. Hence, the President
is vested with the authority to deal with foreign states and
governments, extend or withhold recognition, maintain diplomatic
relations, enter into treaties, and otherwise transact the business of
foreign relations. 13 In the realm of treaty-making, the President has
the sole authority to negotiate with other states.
Nonetheless, while the President has the sole authority to negotiate
and enter into treaties, the Constitution provides a limitation to his
power by requiring the concurrence of 2/3 of all the members of the

83

Senate for the validity of the treaty entered into by him. Section 21,
Article VII of the 1987 Constitution provides that "no treaty or
international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred
in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate." The 1935
and the 1973 Constitution also required the concurrence by the
legislature to the treaties entered into by the executive.
The participation of the legislative branch in the treaty-making
process was deemed essential to provide a check on the executive in
the field of foreign relations. By requiring the concurrence of the
legislature in the treaties entered into by the President, the
Constitution ensures a healthy system of checks and balance
necessary in the nation's pursuit of political maturity and growth.
In filing this petition, the petitioners interpret Section 21, Article VII
of the 1987 Constitution to mean that the power to ratify treaties
belongs to the Senate.
We disagree.
Justice Isagani Cruz, in his book on International Law, describes the
treaty-making process in this wise:
The usual steps in the treaty-making process are:
negotiation, signature, ratification, and exchange of
the instruments of ratification. The treaty may then
be submitted for registration and publication under
the U.N. Charter, although this step is not essential
to the validity of the agreement as between the
parties.
Negotiation may be undertaken directly by the head
of state but he now usually assigns this task to his
authorized representatives. These representatives
are provided with credentials known as full powers,
which they exhibit to the other negotiators at the
start of the formal discussions. It is standard
practice for one of the parties to submit a draft of
the proposed treaty which, together with the
counter-proposals, becomes the basis of the
subsequent negotiations. The negotiations may be
brief or protracted, depending on the issues
involved, and may even "collapse" in case the
parties are unable to come to an agreement on the
points under consideration.
If and when the negotiators finally decide on the
terms of the treaty, the same is opened for
signature. This step is primarily intended as a
means of authenticating the instrument and for the
purpose of symbolizing the good faith of the
parties; but, significantly, it does not indicate the
final consent of the state in cases where ratification

of the treaty is required. The document is ordinarily


signed in accordance with the alternat, that is, each
of the several negotiators is allowed to sign first on
the copy which he will bring home to his own state.
Ratification, which is the next step, is the formal act
by which a state confirms and accepts the
provisions
of
a
treaty
concluded
by
its
representatives. The purpose of ratification is to
enable the contracting states to examine the treaty
more closely and to give them an opportunity to
refuse to be bound by it should they find it inimical
to their interests. It is for this reason that most
treaties are made subject to the scrutiny and
consent of a department of the government other
than that which negotiated them.
The last step in the treaty-making process is the
exchange of the instruments of ratification, which
usually also signifies the effectivity of the treaty
unless a different date has been agreed upon by
the parties. Where ratification is dispensed with and
no effectivity clause is embodied in the treaty, the
instrument is deemed effective upon its signature.
[emphasis supplied]
Petitioners' arguments equate the signing of the treaty by the
Philippine representative with ratification. It should be underscored
that the signing of the treaty and the ratification are two separate
and distinct steps in the treaty-making process. As earlier discussed,
the signature is primarily intended as a means of authenticating the
instrument and as a symbol of the good faith of the parties. It is
usually performed by the state's authorized representative in the
diplomatic mission. Ratification, on the other hand, is the formal act
by which a state confirms and accepts the provisions of a treaty
concluded by its representative. It is generally held to be an
executive act, undertaken by the head of the state or of the
government. Thus, Executive Order No. 459 issued by President Fidel
V. Ramos on November 25, 1997 provides the guidelines in the
negotiation of international agreements and its ratification. It
mandates that after the treaty has been signed by the Philippine
representative, the same shall be transmitted to the Department of
Foreign Affairs. The Department of Foreign Affairs shall then prepare
the ratification papers and forward the signed copy of the treaty to
the President for ratification. After the President has ratified the
treaty, the Department of Foreign Affairs shall submit the same to the
Senate for concurrence. Upon receipt of the concurrence of the
Senate, the Department of Foreign Affairs shall comply with the
provisions of the treaty to render it effective. Section 7 of Executive
Order No. 459 reads:
Sec. 7. Domestic Requirements for the Entry into
Force of a Treaty or an Executive Agreement. The

domestic requirements for the entry into force of a


treaty or an executive agreement, or any
amendment thereto, shall be as follows:
A.

Executive Agreements.

i.

All
executive
agreements
shall
be
transmitted to the Department of Foreign
Affairs
after their signing for the
preparation of the ratification papers. The
transmittal shall include the highlights of
the agreements and the benefits which will
accrue to the Philippines arising from
them.

ii.

The Department of Foreign Affairs,


pursuant to the endorsement by the
concerned agency, shall transmit the
agreements to the President of the
Philippines for his ratification. The original
signed instrument of ratification shall then
be returned to the Department of Foreign
Affairs for appropriate action.

B.

Treaties.

i.

All treaties, regardless of their designation,


shall comply with the requirements
provided in sub-paragraph[s] 1 and 2, item
A (Executive Agreements) of this Section.
In addition, the Department of Foreign
Affairs shall submit the treaties to the
Senate of the Philippines for concurrence
in the ratification by the President. A
certified true copy of the treaties, in such
numbers as may be required by the
Senate, together with a certified true copy
of the ratification instrument, shall
accompany the submission of the treaties
to the Senate.

ii.

Upon receipt of the concurrence by the


Senate, the Department of Foreign Affairs
shall comply with the provision of the
treaties in effecting their entry into force.

Petitioners' submission that the Philippines is bound under treaty law


and international law to ratify the treaty which it has signed is
without basis. The signature does not signify the final consent of the
state to the treaty. It is the ratification that binds the state to the
provisions thereof. In fact, the Rome Statute itself requires that the
signature of the representatives of the states be subject to
ratification, acceptance or approval of the signatory states.

84

Ratification is the act by which the provisions of a treaty are formally


confirmed and approved by a State. By ratifying a treaty signed in its
behalf, a state expresses its willingness to be bound by the provisions
of such treaty. After the treaty is signed by the state's representative,
the President, being accountable to the people, is burdened with the
responsibility and the duty to carefully study the contents of the
treaty and ensure that they are not inimical to the interest of the
state and its people. Thus, the President has the discretion even after
the signing of the treaty by the Philippine representative whether or
not to ratify the same. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
does not contemplate to defeat or even restrain this power of the
head of states. If that were so, the requirement of ratification of
treaties would be pointless and futile. It has been held that a state
has no legal or even moral duty to ratify a treaty which has been
signed by its plenipotentiaries. There is no legal obligation to ratify a
treaty, but it goes without saying that the refusal must be based on
substantial grounds and not on superficial or whimsical reasons.
Otherwise, the other state would be justified in taking offense.
It should be emphasized that under our Constitution, the power to
ratify is vested in the President, subject to the concurrence of the
Senate. The role of the Senate, however, is limited only to giving or
withholding its consent, or concurrence, to the ratification. Hence, it
is within the authority of the President to refuse to submit a treaty to
the Senate or, having secured its consent for its ratification, refuse to
ratify it. Although the refusal of a state to ratify a treaty which has
been signed in its behalf is a serious step that should not be taken
lightly, such decision is within the competence of the President alone,
which cannot be encroached by this Court via a writ of mandamus.
This Court has no jurisdiction over actions seeking to enjoin the
President in the performance of his official duties. The Court,
therefore, cannot issue the writ of mandamus prayed for by the
petitioners as it is beyond its jurisdiction to compel the executive
branch of the government to transmit the signed text of Rome
Statute to the Senate.
ARTICLE VIII JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Section 1
Santiago vs. Bautista [G.R. No. L-25024. March 30, 1970]
NATURE OF JUDICIAL POWER. The last point raised by appellees
deserves first consideration, for if really the said committee of
teachers does not fall within the category of the tribunal board, or
officer exercising judicial functions contemplated by Rule 65, further
discussion of the issues raised by appellant may no longer be
necessary. To resolve this problem the following tests may be
employed:
"In this jurisdiction certiorari is a special civil action
instituted against 'any tribunal, board, or officer
exercising judicial functions.' (Section 1, Rule 67.) A

judicial function is an act performed by virtue of


judicial powers; the exercise of a judicial function is
the doing of something in the nature of the action
of the court (34 C.J. 1182). In order that a special
civil action of certiorari may be invoked in this
jurisdiction the following circumstances must exist:
(1) that there must be a specific controversy
involving rights of persons or property and said
controversy is brought before a tribunal, board or
officer for hearing and determination of their
respective rights and obligations.
'Judicial action is an adjudication upon the rights of
parties who in general appear or are brought before
the tribunal by notice or process, and upon whose
claims some decision or judgment is rendered. It
implies impartiality, disinterestedness, a weighing of
adverse claims, and is inconsistent with discretion
on the one hand for the tribunal must decide
according to law and the rights of the parties or
with dictation on the other; for in the first instance
it must exercise its own judgment under the laws
and not act under a mandate from another
power . . . The character of its action in a given
case must decide whether that action is judicial,
ministerial, or legislative, or whether it be simply
that of a public agent of the country or State, as in
its varied jurisdictions it may by turns be each.' (In
Re Saline County Subscription, 100 Am. Dec. 337,
338, cited in Southeastern Greyhound Lines v.
Georgia Public Service Commission, 181 S. E. 836837.)
'It may be said generally that the exercise of
judicial function is to determine what the law is,
and what the legal rights of parties are, with
respect to a matter in controversy; and whenever
an officer is clothed with that authority, and
undertakes to determine those questions, he acts
judicially.' (State ex rel. Board of Commissioners of
St. Louis County, et al. v. Dunn, 90 N. W. 772-773.)
(2)
the tribunal, board or officer before whom
the controversy is brought must have the power
and authority to pronounce judgment and render a
decision on the controversy construing and applying
the laws to that end.
'The phrase "judicial power" is not capable of a
precise definition which would be applicable to all
cases. The term has been variously defined as the
authority to determine the rights of persons or
property by arbitrating between adversaries in

specific controversies at the instance of a party


thereto; the authority exercised by that department
of government which is charged with the
declaration of what the law is and its construction
so far as it is written law; the authority or power
vested in the judges or in the courts; the authority
vested in some court, officer, or persons to hear
and determine when the rights of persons or
property or the propriety of doing an act is the
subject matter of adjudication; the power belonging
to or emanating from a judge as such; the power
conferred upon a public officer, involving the
exercise of judgment and discretion in the
determination of questions of right in specific cases
affecting the interest of persons or property, as
distinguished from ministerial power or authority to
carry out the mandates of judicial power or the law;
the power exercised by courts in hearing and
determining cases before them, or some matter
incidental thereto, and of which they have
jurisdiction; the power of a court to decide and
pronounce
a
judgment;
the
power
which
adjudicates upon and protects the right and
interests of individual citizens, and to that end
construes and applies the law. "Judicial power"
implies the construction of laws and the
adjudication of legal rights. It includes the power to
hear and determine but not everyone who may
hear and determine has judicial power. The term
"judicial power" does not necessarily include the
power to hear and determine a matter that is not in
the nature of a suit or action between the parties.'
(34 C.J. 1183-1184.)
(3)
the tribunal, board or officer must pertain
to that branch of the sovereign power which
belongs to the judiciary, or at least, which does not
belong to the legislative or executive department.
". . . the distinction between legislative or
ministerial functions and judicial functions is difficult
to point out What is a judicial function does not
depend solely upon the mental operation by which
it is performed or the importance of the act. In
solving this question, due regard must be had to
the organic law of the state and the division of
power of government. In the discharge of executive
and legislative duties, the exercise of discretion and
judgment of the highest order is necessary, and
matters of the greatest weight and importance are
dealt with. It is not enough to make a function
judicial that it requires discretion, deliberation,
thought, and judgment. It must be the exercise of

85

discretion and judgment within the subdivision of


the sovereign power which belongs to the judiciary,
or, at least, which does not belong to the legislative
or executive department. If the matter, in respect
to which it is exercised, belongs to either of the two
last-named departments of government, it is not
judicial. As to what is judicial and what is not seems
to be better indicated by the nature of a thing, than
its definition.' (Whealing & Elm Grove Railroad Co.
Appt. v. Town of Philadelphia, et al., 4 L.R.A. (N.
S.), pp. 321, 328-329.) [Emphasis supplied] 1
" 'WHAT ARE JUDICIAL OR QUASI JUDICIAL ACTS.
It is difficult, if not impossible, precisely to define
what are judicial or quasi judicial acts, and there is
considerable conflict in the decisions in regard
thereto, in connection with the law as to the right to
a writ of certiorari. It is clear, however, that it is the
nature of the act to be performed, rather than of
the office, board, or body which performs it, that
determines whether or not it is the discharge of a
judicial or quasi-judicial function. It is not essential
that the proceedings should be strictly and
technically judicial, in the sense in which that word
is used when applied to courts of justice, but it is
sufficient if they are quasi judicial. It is enough if
the officers act judicially in making their decision,
whatever may be their public character . . .'
"In State ex rel. Board of Commrs. vs. Dunn (86
Minn. 301, 304), the following statements were
made:
'The precise line of demarcation between what are
judicial and what are administrative or ministerial
functions is often difficult to determine. The
exercise of judicial functions may involve the
performance of legislative or administrative duties,
and the performance of administrative or ministerial
duties, may, in a measure, involve the exercise of
judicial functions. It may be said generally that the
exercise of judicial functions is to determine what
the law is, and what the legal rights of parties are,
with respect to a matter in controversy; and
whenever an officer is clothed with that authority,
and undertakes to determine those questions, he
acts judicially.' "
It is evident, upon the foregoing authorities, that the so called
committee on the rating of students for honor whose actions are
questioned in this case exercised neither judicial nor quasi judicial
functions in the performance of its assigned task. From the abovequoted portions of the decisions cited, it will be gleaned that before a

tribunal board, or officer may exercise judicial or quasi judicial acts, it


is necessary that there be a law that gives rise to some specific rights
of persons or property under which adverse claims to such rights are
made, and the controversy ensuing therefrom is brought, in turn,
before the tribunal, board or officer clothed With power and authority
to determine what that law is and thereupon adjudicate the
respective rights of the contending parties. As pointed out by
appellees, however, there is nothing on record about any rule of law
that provides that when teachers sit down to assess the individual
merits of their pupils for purposes of rating them for honors, such
function involves the determination of what the law is and that they
are therefore automatically vested with judicial or quasi judicial
functions. Worse still, this Court has not even been appraised by
appellant of the pertinent provisions of the Service Manual of
Teachers for Public Schools appellees allegedly violated in the
composition of the committee they constituted thereunder, and, in
the performance of that committee's duties.
Daza vs. Singson [G.R. No. 86344, December 21, 1989]

Mantruste Systems, Inc. vs. CA [G.R. Nos. 86540-41,


November 6, 1989]
THE CONGRESS HAS THE POWER TO DEFINE THE EXTENT OF
JURISDICTION OF THE COURTS OF JUSTICE.
Section 31 of
Proclamation No. 50-A does not infringe any provision of the
Constitution. It does not impair the inherent power of courts "to
settle actual controversies 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 on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the government" (Sec. 1, Art.
VIII, 1987 Constitution). The power to define, prescribe and
apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts belongs to the
legislature, except that it may not deprive the Supreme Court of its
jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5, Article VIII of the
Constitution (Sec. 2, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution).
The President, in the exercise of her legislative power under the
Freedom Constitution, issued Proclamation No. 50-A prohibiting the
courts from issuing restraining orders and writs of injunction against
the APT and the purchasers of any assets sold by it, to prevent courts
from interfering in the discharge, by this instrumentality of the
executive branch of the Government, of its task of carrying out "the
expeditious disposition and privatization of certain government
corporations and/or the assets thereof" (Proc. No. 50), absent any
grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction
on its part. This proclamation, not being inconsistent with the
Constitution and not having been repealed or revoked by Congress,
has remained operative (Sec. 3, Art. XVIII, 1987 Constitution).

While the judicial power may appear to be pervasive, the truth is that
under the system of separation of powers set up in the Constitution,
the power of the courts over the other branches and instrumentalities
of the Government is limited only to the determination of "whether or
not there has been a grave abuse of discretion (by them) amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction" in the exercise of their authority and
in the performance of their assigned tasks (Sec. 1, Art. VIII, 1987
Constitution). Courts may not substitute their judgment for that of
the APT, nor block, by an injunction, the discharge of its functions and
the implementation of its decisions in connection with the acquisition,
sale or disposition of assets transferred to it.
There can be no justification for judicial interference in the business
of an administrative agency, except when it violates a citizen's
constitutional rights, or commits a grave abuse of discretion, or acts
in excess of, or without jurisdiction.
Malaga vs. Penachos, Jr. [G.R. No. 86695, September 3,
1992]
LAWS WHICH PREVENT COURTS FROM ISSUING RESTRAINING
ORDERS OR INJUNCTIONS ARE VALID BUT MAY ONLY APPLY TO
CONTROVERSIES INVOLVING FACTS OR THE EXERCISE OF
DISCRETION IN TECHNICAL CASES. In the case of Datiles and Co.
vs. Sucaldito, this Court interpreted a similar prohibition contained
in P.D. 605, the law after which P.D. 1818 was patterned. It was there
declared that the prohibition pertained to the issuance of injunctions
or restraining orders by courts against administrative acts in
controversies involving facts or the exercise of discretion in technical
cases. The Court observed that to allow the courts to judge these
matters would disturb the smooth functioning of the administrative
machinery. Justice Teodoro Padilla made it clear, however, that on
issues definitely outside of this dimension and involving questions of
law, courts could not be prevented by P.D. No. 605 from exercising
their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts.
P.D. 1818 was not intended to shield from judicial scrutiny
irregularities committed by administrative agencies such as the
anomalies above described. Hence, the challenged restraining order
was not improperly issued by the respondent judge and the writ of
preliminary injunction should not have been denied. We note from
Annex Q of the private respondent's memorandum, however, that the
subject project has already been "100% completed as to the
Engineering Standard." This fait accompli has made the petition for a
writ of preliminary injunction moot and academic.
PACU vs. Secretary of Education [G.R. No. L-5279, October
31, 1955]
PROPER PARTY. "It is an established principle that to entitle a private
individual immediately in danger of sustaining a direct injury as the
result of that action and it is not sufficient that he has merely a
general interest to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity

86

of executive or legislative action he must show that he has sustained


or his interest common to all members of the public." (Ex parte
Levitt, 302 U. S. 633 82 L. Ed. 493.)
"Courts will not pass upon the constitutionality of a law" upon the
complaint of one who fails to show that he is injured by its operation.
(Tyler vs. Judges, 179 U. S. 405; Hendrick vs. Maryland, 235 U. S.
610; Coffman vs. Breeze Corp., 323 U. S. 316-325.)
"The power of courts to declare a law unconstitutional arises only
when the interests of litigants require the use of that judicial
authority for their protection against actual interference, a
hypothetical threat being insufficient." (United Public Works vs.
Mitchell, 330 U. S. 75; 91 L. Ed. 754.)
"Bona fide suit. Judicial power is limited to the decision of actual
cases and controversies. The authority to pass on the validity of
statutes is incidental to the decision of such cases where conflicting
claims under the Constitution and under a legislative act assailed as
contrary to the Constitution are raised. It is legitimate only in the last
resort, and as necessity in the determination of real, earnest, and
vital controversy between litigants." (Taada and Fernando,
Constitution of the Philippines, p. 1138.)
JUSTICEABLE CONTROVERSY. Mere apprehension that the Secretary
of Education might under the law withdraw the permit of one of
petitioners does not constitute a justiciable controversy. (Cf. Com. ex
rel Watkins vs. Winchester Waterworks (Ky.) 197 S. W. 2d. 771.)
An action, like this, is brought for a positive purpose, nay, to obtain
actual and positive relief. (Salonga vs. Warner Barnes, L-2245,
January, 1951.) Courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic
questions to satisfy scholarly interest therein however intellectually
solid the problem may be. This is specially true where the issues
"reach constitutional dimensions, for then there comes into play
regard for the court's duty to avoid decision of constitutional issues
unless avoidance becomes evasion." (Rice vs. Sioux City, U. S. Sup.
Ct. Adv. Rep., May 23, 1955, Law Ed., Vol. 99, p. 511.)
Mariano, Jr. vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. 118577, March 7, 1995]
HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR JUDICIAL
DETERMINATION.
We cannot entertain this challenge to the
constitutionality of section 51. The requirements before a litigant can
challenge the constitutionality of a law are well-delineated. They are:
(1) there must be an actual case or controversy; (2) the question of
constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (3) the
constitutional question must be raised at the earliest possible
opportunity; and (4) the decision on the constitutional question must
be necessary to the determination of the case itself.
Petitioners have far from complied with these requirements. The
petition is premised on the occurrence of many contingent events,

i.e., that Mayor Binay will run again in this coming mayoralty
elections; that he would be re-elected in said elections; and that he
would seek re-election for the same post in the 1998 elections.
Considering that these contingencies may or may not happen,
petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen to
an actual case or controversy. Petitioners who are residents of Taguig
(except Mariano) are not also the proper parties to raise this abstract
issue. Worse, they hoist this futuristic issue in a petition for
declaratory relief over which this Court has no jurisdiction.
Macasiano vs. National Housing Authority [G.R. No. 107921,
July 1, 1993]
REQUISITIES OF JUDICIAL INQUIRY. It is a rule firmly entrenched in
our jurisprudence that the constitutionality of an act of the legislature
will not be determined by the courts unless that question is properly
raised and presented in appropriate cases and is necessary to a
determination of the case, i.e., the issue of constitutionality must be
the very lis mota presented. To reiterate, the essential requisites for
a successful judicial inquiry into the constitutionality of a law are: (a)
the existence of an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of
legal rights susceptible of judicial determination, (b) the
constitutional question must be raised by a proper party, (c) the
constitutional question must be raised at the earliest opportunity, and
(d) the resolution of the constitutional question must be necessary to
the decision of the case. A proper party is one who has sustained or
is in danger or sustaining an immediate injury as a result of the acts
or measures complained of.
It is easily discernible in the instant case that the first two (2)
fundamental requisites are absent. There is no actual controversy.
Moreover, petitioner does not claim that, in either or both of the
capacities in which he is filing the petition, he has been actually
prevented from performing his duties as a consultant and exercising
his rights as a property owner because of the assertion by other
parties of any benefit under the challenged sections of the said Act.
Judicial review cannot be exercised in vacuo. Judicial power is the
"right to determine actual controversies arising between adverse
litigants."

On the first requisite, we have held that one having no right or


interest to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court as
party-plaintiff in an action. This is premised on Sec. 2, Rule 3, of the
Rules of Court which provides that every action must be prosecuted
and defended in the name of the real party-in-interest, and that all
persons having interest in the subject of the action and in obtaining
the relief demanded shall be joined as plaintiffs. The Court will
exercise its power of judicial review only if the case is brought before
it by a party who has the legal standing to raise the constitutional or
legal question. "Legal standing" means a personal and substantial
interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain
direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being
challenged. The term "interest" is material interest, an interest in
issue and to be affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere
interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest.
Moreover, the interest of the party plaintiff must be personal and not
one based on a desire to vindicate the constitutional right of some
third and unrelated party.
There are certain instances however when this Court has allowed
exceptions to the rule on legal standing, as when a citizen brings a
case for mandamus to procure the enforcement of a public duty for
the fulfillment of a public right recognized by the Constitution, and
when a taxpayer questions the validity of a governmental act
authorizing the disbursement of public funds.
Legaspi vs. Civil Service Commission [G.R. No. 72119, May
29, 1987]
Dumlao vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. L-52245, January 22, 1980]
Bugnay Construction & Devt. Corp. vs. Laron [G.R. No. 79983,
August 10, 1989]
Kilosbayan, Inc. vs. Guingona [G.R. No. 113375, May 5,
1994]

Joya vs. PCGG [G.R. No. 96541, August 24, 1993]


LEGAL STANDING. The rule is settled that no question involving the
constitutionality or validity of a law or governmental act may be
heard and decided by the court unless there is compliance with the
legal requisites for judicial inquiry, namely: that the question must be
raised by the proper party; that there must be an actual case or
controversy; that the question must be raised at the earliest possible
opportunity; and, that the decision on the constitutional or legal
question must be necessary to the determination of the case itself.
But the most important are the first two (2) requisites.

Philconsa vs. Enriquez [G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994]


Tatad vs. Garcia, Jr. [G.R. No. 114222, April 6, 1995]
Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr. [G.R. No. 101083, July 30, 1993]
1995]

Kilosbayan vs. Morato [G.R. No. 118910, November 16,


Lozada vs. COMELEC [G.R. No. L-59068, January 27, 1983]

87

Section 3
Bengzon vs. Drilon [G.R. No. 103524, April 15, 1992]
THE VETO POWER OF THE PRESIDENT CANNOT BE EXERCISED TO
DEPRIVE THE SUPREME COURT OF ITS FISCAL AUTONOMY. There is
a matter of greater consequence arising from this petition. The
attempt to use the veto power to set aside a Resolution of this Court
and to deprive retirees of benefits given them by Rep. Act No. 1797
trenches upon the constitutional grant of fiscal autonomy to the
Judiciary.
Sec. 3 Art. VIII mandates that:
"SECTION 3.
The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal
autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not
be reduced by the legislature below the amount
appropriated for the previous year and, after
approval, shall be automatically and regularly
released."
We cannot overstress the importance of and the need for an
independent judiciary. The Court has on various past occasions
explained the significance of judicial independence. In the case of De
la Llana v. Alba (112 SCRA 294 [1982], it ruled:
"It is a cardinal rule of faith of our constitutional
regime that it is the people who are endowed with
rights, to secure which a government is instituted.
Acting as it does through public officials, it has to
grant them either expressly or implicitly certain
powers. These they exercise not for their own
benefit but for the body politic . . .
"A public office is a public trust. That is more than a
moral adjuration. It is a legal imperative. The law
may vest in a public official certain rights. It does
so to enable them to perform his functions and
fulfill his responsibilities more efficiently . . . It is an
added guarantee that justices and judges can
administer justice undeterred by any fear of reprisal
or untoward consequence. Their judgments then
are even more likely to be inspired solely by their
knowledge of the law and the dictates of their
conscience, free from the corrupting influence of
base or unworthy motives. The independence of
which they are assured is impressed with a
significance transcending that of a purely personal
right." (At pp. 338-339).

As envisioned in the Constitution, the fiscal autonomy enjoyed by the


Judiciary, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, the
Commission on Elections, and the Office of the Ombudsman
contemplates a guarantee of full flexibility to allocate and utilize their
resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs require. It
recognizes the power and authority to levy, assess and collect fees,
fix rates of compensation not exceeding the highest rates authorized
by law for compensation and play plans of the government and
allocate and disburse such sums as may be provided by law or
prescribed by them in the course of the discharge of their functions.
Fiscal autonomy means freedom from outside control. If the Supreme
Court says it needs 100 typewriters but DBM rules we need only 10
typewriters and sends its recommendations to Congress without even
informing us, the autonomy given by the Constitution becomes an
empty and illusory platitude.
The Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman
must have the independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of
their constitutional duties. The imposition of restrictions and
constraints on the manner the independent constitutional offices
allocate and utilize the funds appropriated for their operations is
anathema to fiscal autonomy and violative not only of the express
mandate of the Constitution but especially as regards the Supreme
Court, of the independence and separation of powers upon which the
entire fabric of our constitutional system is based. In the interest of
comity and cooperation, the Supreme Court, Constitutional
Commissions, and the Ombudsman have so far limited their
objections to constant reminders. We now agree with the petitioners
that this grant of autonomy should cease to be a meaningless
provision.
In the case at bar, the veto of these specific provisions in the General
Appropriations Act is tantamount to dictating to the Judiciary how its
funds should be utilized, which is clearly repugnant to fiscal
autonomy. The freedom of the Chief Justice to make adjustments in
the utilization of the funds appropriated for the expenditures of the
judiciary, including the use of any savings from any particular item to
cover deficits or shortages in other items of the judiciary is withheld.
Pursuant to the Constitutional mandate, the Judiciary must enjoy
freedom in the disposition of the funds allocated to it in the
appropriations law. It knows its priorities just as it is aware of the
fiscal restraints. The Chief Justice must be given a free hand on how
to augment appropriations where augmentation is needed.

composition of the Third Division which deliberated on private


respondents' motions for reconsideration and by a majority vote
reversed the unanimous decision of December 1, 1995. More
specifically, petitioner questions the assumption of Chief Justice
Narvasa of the chairmanship of the Third Division and arrogantly
rams its idea on how each Division should be chaired, i.e., the First
Division should have been chaired by Chief Justice Narvasa, the
Second Division by Mr. Justice Padilla, the next senior Justice, and the
Third Division by Mr. Justice Regalado, the third in line. We need only
to state that the change in the membership of the three divisions of
the Court with inevitable by reason of Mr. Justice Feliciano's
retirement. Such reorganization is purely an internal matter of the
Court to which petitioner certainly has no business at all. In fact, the
current "staggered" set-up in the chairmanships of the Divisions is
similar to that adopted in 1988. In the year, the Court's Third Division
was likewise chaired by then Chief Justice Fernan, while the First and
Second Divisions were headed by the next senior Justices Narvasa
and Melencio-Herrera, respectively.
Section 5
Drilon vs. Lim [G.R. No. 112497, August 4, 1994]
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS AUTHORITY TO RULE ON THE
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF ANY LAW, BUT TRIAL COURTS ARE ADVISED
TO BE MORE CIRCUMSPECT IN NULLIFYING LAWS. We stress at the
outset that the lower court had jurisdiction to consider the
constitutionality of Section 187, 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. Specifically, BP 129 vests in the regional trial courts
jurisdiction over all civil cases in which the subject of the litigation is
incapable of pecuniary estimation, even as the accused in a criminal
action has the right to question in his defense the constitutionality of
a law he is charged with violating and of the proceedings taken
against him, particularly as they contravene the Bill of Rights.
Moreover, Article X, Section 5(2), of the Constitution vests in the
Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction over final judgments and orders
of lower courts in 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.

In the exercise of this jurisdiction, lower courts are advised to act


with the utmost circumspection, bearing in mind the consequences of
Section 4
a declaration of unconstitutionality upon the stability of laws, no less
than on the doctrine of separation of powers. As the questioned act is
Limketkai Sons Milling, Inc. vs. CA [G.R. No. 118509, Septemberusually
5,
the handiwork of the legislative or the executive departments,
1996]
or both, it will be prudent for such courts, if only out of a becoming
modesty, to defer to the higher judgment of this Court in the
THE COMPOSITION OF THE DIVISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT IS
consideration of its validity, which is better determined after a
AN INTERNAL MATTER WHICH COULD NOT GIVE RISE TO ANY CAUSE
thorough deliberation by a collegiate body and with the concurrence
OF ACTION.
What petitioner bewails the most is the present
of the majority of those who participated in its discussion.

88

It is also emphasized that every court, including this Court, is


charged with the duty of a purposeful hesitation before declaring a
law unconstitutional, on the theory that the measure was first
carefully studied by the executive and the legislative departments
and determined by them to be in accordance with the fundamental
law before it was finally approved. To doubt is to sustain. The
presumption of constitutionality can be overcome only by the clearest
showing that there was indeed an infraction of the Constitution, and
only when such a conclusion is reached by the requipped majority
may the Court pronounce, in the discharge of the duty it cannot
escape, that the challenged act must be struck down.
Larranaga vs. CA [G.R. No. 130644, March 13, 1998]
THE POWER TO CHANGE VENUE AND PLACE OF TRIAL DOES NOT
INCLUDE THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION. As regards petitioner's
motion to change the venue and the authority to conduct the
preliminary investigation, we are constrained to dismiss the same for
lack of jurisdiction. The holding of a preliminary investigation is a
function of the Executive Department and not of the Judiciary.
Petitioner should therefore address their plea to the Department of
Justice that has control and supervision over the conduct of
preliminary investigations.
Bustos vs. Lucero [G.R. No. L-2068, October 20, 1948]
Separate Opinion
RIGHT
TO
CROSS-EXAMINATION
DURING
PRELIMINARY
INVESTIGATION IS A SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT WHICH CANNOT BE
WITHHELD BY THE SUPREME COURT BY VIRTUE OF ITS RULE
MAKING POWER.
Section 13, Article VIII, of the Constitution
prescribes that "the Supreme Court shall have power to promulgate
rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, but
said rules shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights."
The Constitution added the last part of the above-quoted
constitutional precept in order to emphasize that the Supreme Court
is not empowered, and therefore can not enact or promulgate
substantive laws or rules, for it is obvious that rules which diminish,
increase or modify substantive rights, are substantive and not
adjective laws or rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure.
It does not require an elaborate argument to show that the right
granted by law upon a defendant to be confronted with and crossexamine the witnesses for the prosecution in preliminary
investigation as well as in the trial of the case is a substantive right.
It is based on human experience, according to which a person is not
prone to tell a lie against another in his presence, knowing fully well
that the latter may easily contradict him, and that the credibility of a
person or veracity of his testimony may be efficaciously tested by a
cross-examination. It is a substantive right because by exercising it,
an accused person may show, even if he has no evidence in his favor,

that the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution are not
sufficient to indicate that there is a probability that a crime has been
committed and he is guilty thereof, and therefore the accused is
entitled to be released and not committed to prison, and thus avoid
an open and public accusation of crime, the trouble, expense, and
anxiety of a public trial, and the corresponding anxiety or moral
suffering which a criminal prosecution always entails.
This right is not a constitutional but a statutory right granted by law
to an accused outside of the City of Manila because of the usual delay
in the final disposition of criminal cases in provinces. The law does
not grant such right to a person charged with offenses triable by the
Court of First Instance in the City of Manila, because of the
promptness, actual or presumptive, with which criminal cases are
tried and disposed of in the Court of First Instance of said city. But
this right, though not a constitutional one, can not be modified,
abridged, or diminished by the Supreme Court, by virtue of the rule
making power conferred upon this Court by the Constitution.
Since the provisions of section 11 of Rule 108 as construed by this
Court in several cases, (in which the question of constitutionality or
validity of said section had not been squarely raised) do away with
the defendant's right under discussion, it follows that said section
diminishes the substantive right of the defendant in criminal case,
and this Court has no power or authority to promulgate it and
therefore is null and void.
First Lepanto Ceramics, Inc. vs. CA [G.R. No. 110571, March
10, 1994]
THE RULES OF COURT WILL TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER LAWS
REGULATING PROCEDURES OF COURTS. The argument that Article
82 of E.O. 226 cannot be validly repealed by Circular 1-91 because
the former grants a substantive right which, under the Constitution
cannot be modified, diminished or increased by this Court in the
exercise of its rule-making powers is not entirely defensible as it
seems. Respondent correctly argued that Article 82 of E.O. 226
grants the right of appeal from decisions or final orders of the BOI
and in granting such right, it also provided where and in what manner
such appeal can be brought. These latter portions simply deal with
procedural aspects which this Court has the power to regulate by
virtue of its constitutional rule-making powers.
The case of Bustos v. Lucero distinguished between rights created
by a substantive law and those arising from procedural law:
"Substantive law creates substantive rights . . . .
Substantive rights is a term which includes those
rights which one enjoys under the legal system
prior to the disturbance of normal relations (60 C.J.,
980). Substantive law is that part of the law which
creates, defines and regulates rights, or which
regulates rights and duties which give rise to a

cause of action, as opposed to adjective or remedial


law, which prescribes the method of enforcing
rights or obtains a redress for their invasion."
Indeed, the question of where and in what manner appeals from
decisions of the BOI should be brought pertains only to procedure or
the method of enforcing the substantive right to appeal granted by
E.O. 226. In other words, the right to appeal from decisions or final
orders of the BOI under E.O. 226 remains and continues to be
respected. Circular 1-91 simply transferred the venue of appeals from
decisions of this agency to respondent Court of Appeals and provided
a different period of appeal, i.e., fifteen (15) days from notice. It did
not make an incursion into the substantive right to appeal.
The fact that BOI is not expressly included in the list of quasi-judicial
agencies found in the third sentence of Section 1 of Circular 1-91
does not mean that said circular does not apply to appeals from final
orders or decision of the BOI. The second sentence of Section 1
thereof expressly states that "(T)hey shall also apply to appeal from
final orders or decisions of any quasi-judicial agency from which an
appeal is now allowed by statute to the Court of Appeals or the
Supreme Court." E.O. 266 is one such statute. Besides, the
enumeration is preceded by the words "(A)mong these agencies are .
. .," strongly implying that there are other quasi-judicial agencies
which are covered by the Circular but which have not been expressly
listed therein. More importantly, BOI does not fall within the purview
of the exclusions listed in Section 2 of the circular. Only the following
final decisions and interlocutory orders are expressly excluded from
the circular, namely, those of: (1) the National Labor Relations
Commission; (2) the Secretary of Labor and Employment; (3) the
Central Board of Assessment Appeals and (4) other quasi-judicial
agencies from which no appeal to the courts is prescribed or allowed
by statute. Since in DBP v. CA
13 we upheld the appellate
jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals over the Court of Tax Appeals
despite the fact that the same is not among the agencies reorganized
by B.P. 129, on the ground that B.P. 129 is broad and comprehensive,
there is no reason why BOI should be excluded from Circular 1-91,
which is but implementary of said law.
Clearly, Circular 1-91 effectively repealed or superseded Article 82 of
E.O. 226 insofar as the manner and method of enforcing the right to
appeal from decisions of the BOI are concerned. Appeals from
decisions of the BOI, which by statute was previously allowed to be
filed directly with the Supreme Court, should now be brought to the
Court of Appeals.
Aruelo vs. CA [G.R. No. 107852, October 20, 1993]
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTION CANNOT PROMULGATE RULES
GOVERNING PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COURTS OF JUSTICE.
Section 1, Rule 13, Part III of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure is not
applicable to proceedings before the regular courts. As expressly
mandated by Section 2, Rule 1, Part I of the COMELEC Rules of

89

Procedure, the filing of motions to dismiss and bill of particulars, shall


apply only to proceedings brought before the COMELEC. Section 2,
Rule 1, Part I provides:
"SEC. 2. Applicability. These rules, except Part
VI, shall apply to all actions and proceedings
brought before the Commission. Part VI shall apply
to election contests and quo warranto cases
cognizable by courts of general or limited
jurisdiction."
It must be noted that nowhere in Part VI of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure is it provided that motions to dismiss and bill of particulars
are not allowed in election protests or quo warranto cases pending
before the regular courts.
Constitutionally speaking, the COMELEC can not adopt a rule
prohibiting the filing of certain pleadings in the regular courts. The
power to promulgate rules concerning pleadings, practice and
procedure in all courts is vested on the Supreme Court (Constitution,
Art VIII, Sec. 5 [5]).
Private respondent received a copy of the order of the Regional Trial
Court denying his motion for a bill of particulars on August 6, 1992.
Under Section 1 (b), Rule 12 of the Revised Rules of Court, a party
has at least five days to file his answer after receipt of the order
denying his motion for a bill of particulars. Private respondent,
therefore, had until August 11, 1992 within which to file his answer.
The Answer with Counter-Protest and Counterclaim filed by him on
August 11, 1992 was filed timely.
Javellana vs. DILG [G.R. No. 102549, August 10, 1992]
REGULATIONS
ISSUED
BY
THE
DEPARTMENT
OF
LOCAL
GOVERNMENT REQUIRING THE ELECTIVE OFFICERS TO SEEK
AUTHORITY FIRST BEFORE EXERCISING A PROFESSION DOES NOT
VIOLATE THE RULE MAKING POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT.
Petitioner's contention that Section 90 of the Local Government Code
of 1991 and DLG Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 violate Article VIII,
Section 5 of the Constitution is completely off tangent. Neither the
statute nor the circular trenches upon the Supreme Court's power
and authority to prescribe rules on the practice of law. The Local
Government Code and DLG Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 simply
prescribe rules of conduct for public officials to avoid conflicts of
interest between the discharge of their public duties and the private
practice of their profession, in those instances where the law allows
it.
Section 90 of the Local Government Code does not discriminate
against lawyers and doctors. It applies to all provincial and municipal
officials in the professions or engaged in any occupation. Section 90
explicitly provides that sanggunian members "may practice their
professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in schools except

during session hours." If there are some prohibitions that apply


particularly to lawyers, it is because of all the professions, the
practice of law is more likely than others to relate to, or affect, the
area of public service.
Section 6
Maceda vs. Vasquez [G.R. No. 102781, April 22, 1993]
COMPLAINTS AGAINST JUDGES MUST BE REFERRED FIRST TO THE
SUPREME COURT BY VIRTUE OF THE COURTS ADMINISTRATIVE
SUPERVISION OVER THEM.
Petitioner also contends that the
Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over said case despite this Court's
ruling in Orap vs. Sandiganbayan, since the offense charged arose
from the judge's performance of his official duties, which is under the
control and supervision of the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the
investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes an encroachment into
the Supreme Court's constitutional duty of supervision over all
inferior courts.
The Court disagrees with the first Part of petitioner's basic argument.
There is nothing in the decision in Orap that would restrict it only to
offenses committed by a judge unrelated to his official duties. A judge
who falsifies his certificate of service is administratively liable to the
Supreme Court for serious misconduct and inefficiency under Section
1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and criminally liable to the State
under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.
However, We agree with petitioner that in the absence of any
administrative action taken against him by this Court with regard to
his certificates of service, the investigation being conducted by the
Ombudsman encroaches into the Court's power of administrative
supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of the
doctrine of separation of powers.
Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution exclusively vests in the
Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and court
personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to
the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only
the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges' and court
personnel's compliance with all laws, and take the proper
administrative action against them if they commit any violation
thereof. No other branch of government may intrude into this power,
without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers.
The Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on the
powers granted to it by the Constitution, for such a justification not
only runs counter to the specific mandate of the Constitution granting
supervisory powers to the Supreme Court over all courts and their
personnel, but likewise undermines the independence of the judiciary.
Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner's
certificates of service to this Court for determination of whether said

certificates reflected the true status of his pending case load, as the
Court has the necessary records to make such a determination. The
Ombudsman cannot compel this Court, as one of the three branches
of government, to submit its records, or to allow its personnel to
testify on this matter, as suggested by public respondent Abiera in his
affidavit-complaint.
The rationale for the foregoing pronouncement is evident in this case.
Administratively, the question before Us is this: should a judge,
having been granted by this Court an extension of time to decide
cases before him, report these cases in his certificate of service? As
this question had not yet been raised with, much less resolved by,
this Court, how could the Ombudsman resolve the present criminal
complaint that requires the resolution of said question?
In fine, where a criminal complaint against a Judge or other court
employee arises from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman
must defer action on said complaint and refer the same to this Court
for determination whether said Judge or court employee had acted
within the scope of their administrative duties.
Raquiza vs. Castaeda, Jr. [A.M. No. 1312-CFI, January 31,
1978]
IN ADMISNISTRATIVE CHARGES AGAINST JUDGES THE REQUIRED
QUANTUM OF EVIDENCE IS PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
The rules even in an administrative case demands that if the
respondent Judge should be disciplined for grave misconduct or any
graver offense, the evidence presented against him should be
competent and derived from direct knowledge. The judiciary, to which
respondent belongs, no less demands that before its member could
be faulted, it should be only after due investigation and based on
competent proofs, no less. This is all the more so when as in this case
the charges are penal in nature.
The ground for the removal of a judicial officer should be established
beyond reasonable doubt. Such is the rule where the charges on
which the removal is sought is misconduct in office, willful neglect,
corruption, incompetency, etc. The general rules in regard to
admissibility of evidence in criminal trials apply.
Section 7
Kilosbayan vs. Ermita [G.R. No. 177721, July 3, 2007]

Section 10
Nitafan vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue [G.R. No. L-78780, July
23, 1987]

90

SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY ARE SUBJECT TO TAX.


Besides, construing Section 10, Articles VIII, of the 1987
Constitution, which, for clarity, is again reproduced hereunder:
"The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court, and of judges of
lower courts shall be fixed by law. During their
continuance in office, their salary shall not be
decreased." (Emphasis supplied).
it is plain that the Constitution authorizes Congress to pass a law
fixing another rate of compensation of Justices and Judges but such
rate must be higher than that which they are receiving at the time of
enactment, or if lower, it would be applicable only to those appointed
after its approval. It would be a strained construction to read into the
provision an exemption from taxation in the light of the discussion in
the Constitutional Commission.
With the foregoing interpretation, and as stated heretofore, the ruling
that "the imposition of income tax upon the salary of judges is a
dimunition thereof, and so violates the Constitution" in Perfecto vs.
Meer, as affirmed in Endencia vs. David must be declared discarded.
The framers of the fundamental law, as the alter ego of the people,
have expressed in clear and unmistakable terms the meaning and
import of Section 10, Article VIII, of the 1987 Constitution that they
have adopted.
Stated otherwise, we accord due respect to the intent of the people,
through the discussions and deliberations of their representatives, in
the spirit that all citizens should bear their aliquot part of the cost of
maintaining the government and should share the burden of general
income taxation equitably.
Section 11
De la Llana vs. Alba [G.R. No. 57883, March 12, 1982]
DISSOLUTION OF OFFICE DOES NOT INFRINGE ON THE DICIPLINARY
AUTHORITY OF THE SUPREME COURT OVER JUDGES. Petitioners
contend that the abolition of the existing Inferior Courts collides with
the security of tenure enjoyed by incumbent Justices and judges
under Article X, Section 7 of the Constitution. There was a similar
provision the 1935 Constitution. It did not, however, go as far as
conferring on this Tribunal the power to supervise administratively
inferior courts. Moreover, this Court is empowered "to discipline
judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight members,
order their dismissal. "Thus it possesses the competence to remove
judges. Under the Judiciary Act, it was the President who was vested
with such power. Removal is, of course, to be, distinguished from
termination by virtue of the abolition of the office. After the abolition,
there is in law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with
an occupant who would thereby lose his position. It is in that sense
that from the stand-point of strict law, the question of any

impairment of security of tenure does not arise. Nonetheless, for the


incumbents of 'Inferior Courts abolished, the effect is one of
separation. As to its effect, no distinction exists between removal and
the abolition of the office. Realistically, it is devoid of significance. He
ceases to be a member of the Judiciary. In the implementation of the
assailed legislation, therefore, it would be in accordance with
accepted principles of constitutional construction that as far as
incumbent justices and judges are concerned, this Court be consulted
and that its view be accorded, the fullest consideration. No fear need
be entertained that there is a failure to accord respect to the basic
principle that this Court does not render advisory opinions. No
question of law is involved. If such were the case, certainly this Court
could not have its say prior to the action taken by either of the two
departments. Even then, it could do so but only by way of deciding a
case where the matter has been put in issue. Neither is there any
intrusion into who shall be appointed to the vacant positions created
by the reorganization. That remains in the hands of the Executive to
whom it properly belongs. There is no departure therefore from the
tried and tested ways of judicial power. Rather what is sought to be
achieved by this liberal interpretation is to preclude any plausibility to
the charge that in the exercise of the conceded power of reorganizing
the Inferior Courts, the power of removal of the present incumbents
vested in this Tribunal is ignored or disregarded. The challenged Act
would thus be free from any unconstitutional taint, even one not
readily discernible except to those predisposed to view it with
distrust. Moreover, such a construction would be in accordance with
the basic principle that in the choice of alternatives between one
which would save and another which would invalidate a statute, the
former is to be preferred. There is an obvious way to do so. The
principle that the Constitution enters into and forms part of every act
to avoid any unconstitutional taint must be applied.
People vs. Gacott, Jr. [G.R. No. 116049, July 13, 1995]
NOT ALL DISCIPLINARY ACTION PROCEEDINGS NEED TO BE HEARD
EN BANC. At any rate, the very text of the present Section 11 of
Article VIII clearly shows that there are actually two situations
envisaged therein. The first clause which states that "the Supreme
Court en banc shall have the power to discipline judges of lower
courts," is a declaration of the grant of that disciplinary power to, and
the determination of the procedure in the exercise thereof by, the
Court en banc. It was not therein intended that all administrative
disciplinary cases should be heard and decided by the whole Court
since it would result in an absurdity, as will hereafter be explained.
The second clause, which refers to the second situation contemplated
therein and is intentionally separated from the first by a comma,
declares on the other hand that the Court en banc can "order their
dismissal by a vote of a majority of the Members who actually took
part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted therein."
Evidently, in this instance, the administrative case must be
deliberated upon and decided by the full Court itself.

Pursuant to the first clause which confers administrative disciplinary


power to the Court en banc, on February 9, 1993 a Court En Banc
resolution was adopted, entitled "Bar Matter No. 209. In the Matter
of the Amendment and/or Clarification of various Supreme Courts
Rules and Resolutions," and providing inter alia:
For said purpose, the following are considered en banc cases:
6.
Cases where the penalty to be imposed is
the dismissal of a judge, officer or employee of the
Judiciary, disbarment of a lawyer, or either the
suspension of any of them for a period of more than
one (1) year or a fine exceeding P10,000.00, or
both.
This resolution was amended on March 16, 1993 and November 23,
1993, but the aforequoted provision was maintained.
Indeed, to require the entire Court to deliberate upon and participate
in all administrative matters or cases regardless of the sanctions,
imposable or imposed, would result in a congested docket and undue
delay in the adjudication of cases in the Court, especially in
administrative matters, since even cases involving the penalty of
reprimand would require action by the Court en banc. This would
subvert the constitutional injunction for the Court to adopt a
systematic plan to expedite the decision or resolution of cases or
matters pending in the Supreme Court of the lower courts, 9 and the
very purpose of authorizing the Court to sit en banc or in divisions of
three, five or seven members.
Yet, although as thus demonstrated, only cases involving dismissal of
judges of lower courts are specifically required to be decided by the
Court en banc, in cognizance of the need for a thorough and judicious
evaluation of serious charges against members of the judiciary, it is
only when the penalty imposed does not exceed suspension of more
than one year or a fine of P10,000.00, or both, that the
administrative matter may be decided in division.
It must not also be overlooked that as early as February 7, 1989, the
Court promulgated Circular No. 2-89 which clarifies that:
2.

A decision or resolution of a Division of the Court, when


concurred in by a majority of its members who actually
took part in the deliberations on the issues in a case and
voted thereon, and in no case without the concurrence
of at least three of such Members, is a decision or
resolution of the Supreme Court (Section 4[3], Article
VIII, 1987 Constitution).

That guideline or rule in the referral to the court en banc of cases


assigned to a division thereof rests on the same rationale and applies
with equal force to confute the antithetical theory of respondent
Judge Eustaquio Z. Gacott, Jr. Apropos thereto, it would indeed be

91

desirable for said respondent to hereafter deal with situations like the
one subject of this resolution with more perspicacity and
circumspection.
Section 12
In re Manzano [A.M. No. 88-7-1861-RTC, October 5, 1988]
Section 13
Prudential Bank vs. Castro [A.C. No. 2756, March 15, 1988]
THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT THAT A DECISION MUST
CONTAIN A CERTIFICATION THAT THE CASE HAS BEEN REACHED IN
CONSULTATION DOES NOT APPLY TO ADMINISTRATIVE CASES. The
challenge hurled against this Court's decision as violative of the 1987
Constitution due to lack of certification by the Chief Justice that the
conclusions of the Court were reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to a member for the writing of the opinion of the Court,
is bereft of basis. The certification requirement refers to decisions in
judicial, not administrative cases. From the very beginning,
resolutions/decisions of the Court in administrative cases have not
been accompanied by any formal certification. In fact, such a
certification would be a superfluity in administrative cases, which by
their very nature, have to be deliberated upon considering the
collegiate composition of this Court. The certification in AM No. R510-P entitled "Apolinario de Sarigumba vs. Deputy Sheriff Pasok,"
cited in the Petition, is but an oversight.
But even if such a certification were required, it is beyond doubt that
the conclusions of the Court in its decision were arrived at after
consultation and deliberation. The signatures of the members who
actually took part in the deliberations and voted attest to that.
Besides, being a per curiam decision, or an opinion of the Court as a
whole, there is no ponente although any member of the Court may be
assigned to write the draft. In such cases, a formal certification is
obviously not required.
Section 14
1992]

Nicos Industrial Corp. vs. CA [G.R. No. 88709, February 11,

THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT THAT A DECISION MUST


STATE CLEARLY AND DISTINCTLY THE FACTS AND THE LAW ON
WHICH IT IS BASED IS AN ADDITIONAL GUARANTEE OF DUE
PROCESS. It is a requirement of due process that the parties to a
litigation be informed of how it was decided, with an explanation of
the factual and legal reasons that led to the conclusions of the court.
The court cannot simply say that judgment is rendered in favor of X
and against Y and just leave it at that without any justification
whatsoever for its action. The losing party is entitled to know why he
lost, so he may appeal to a higher court, if permitted, should he

believe that the decision should be reversed. A decision that does not
clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based
leaves the parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is
especially prejudicial to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint the
possible errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal.
In one case, this Court, exasperated over the inordinate length of a
decision rife with irrelevant details, castigated the trial judge for his
"extraordinary verbiage." Kilometric decisions without much
substance must be avoided, to be sure, but the other extreme, where
substance is also lost in the wish to be brief, is no less unacceptable
either. The ideal decision is that which, with welcome economy of
words, arrives at the factual findings, reaches the legal conclusions,
renders its ruling and, having done so, ends.
INTERLOCUTORY ORDERS AND MINUTE RESOLUTIONS ARE
EXEMPTED FROM THE ABOVE-MENTIONED CONSTITUTIONAL
REQUIREMENT. It is important to observe at this point that the
constitutional provision does not apply to interlocutory orders, such
as one granting a motion for postponement or quashing a subpoena,
because it "refers only to decisions on the merits and not to orders of
the trial court resolving incidental matters."
As for the minute
resolutions of this Court, we have already observed in Borromeo v.
Court of Appeals 5 that
The Supreme Court disposes of the bulk of its cases
by minute resolutions and decrees them as final
and executory, as where a case is patently without
merit, where the issues raised are factual in nature,
where the decision appealed from is supported by
substantial evidence and is in accord with the facts
of the case and the applicable laws, where it is clear
from the records that the petitions were filed
merely to forestall the early execution of judgment
and for non-compliance with the rules. The
resolution denying due course or dismissing a
petition always gives the legal basis.
The Court is not duty bound to render signed
decisions all the time. It has ample discretion to
formulate decisions and/or minute resolutions,
provided a legal basis is given, depending on its
evaluation of a case.
DISMISSAL ON LACK OF JURISDICTION DOES NOT REQUIRE A
STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND THE LAW ON WHICH IT IS BASED,
BUT WHEN DISMISSAL IS COUPLED WITH OTHER GROUNDS LIKE
INSUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE, THE COURT MUST COMPLY WITH THE
CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTHS.
It may be argued that a
dismissal based on lack of jurisdiction is not considered a judgment
on the merits and so is not covered by the aforecited provision. There
is no quarrel with this established principle. However, the rule would

be applicable only if the case is dismissed on the sole ground of lack


of jurisdiction and not when some other additional ground is invoked.
A careful perusal of the challenged order will show that the complaint
was dismissed not only for lack of jurisdiction but also because of the
insufficiency of the evidence to prove the invalidity of the sheriff's
sale. Regarding this second ground, all the trial court did was
summarily conclude "from the very evidence adduced by the plaintiff"
that the sheriff's sale "was in complete accord with the requirements
of Section 3, Act 3135." It did not bother to discuss what that
evidence was or to explain why it believed that the legal
requirements had been observed. Its conclusion was remarkably
threadbare. Brevity is doubtless an admirable trait, but it should not
and cannot be substituted for substance. As the ruling on this second
ground was unquestionably a judgment on the merits, the failure to
state the factual and legal basis thereof was fatal to the order.
Mendoza vs. CFI [G.R. No. L-35612-14, June 27, 1973]
MINUTE RESOLUTIONS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH THE
CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT OF STATEMENT OF FACTS AND
LAW.
That brings us to the point raised in the motion for
reconsideration objecting to our dismissing the petition through a
minute resolution. It is his contention that there should be an
extended decision. As noted at the outset, reliance is had on the
constitutional provision requiring a decision by a court of record to
contain "clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is
based." According to a recent decision, Jose v. Santos, what is
expected of the judiciary "is that the decision rendered makes clear
why either party prevailed under the applicable law to the facts as
established. Nor is there any rigid formula as to the language to be
employed to satisfy the requirement of clarity and distinctness. The
discretion of the particular judge in this respect, while not unlimited,
is necessarily broad. There is no sacramental form of words which he
must use upon pain of being considered as having failed to abide by
what the Constitution directs." What must then be stressed is that
under such a provision as held in the early case of Soncuya v.
National Investment Board, the decision spoken of is the judgment
rendered after the previous presentation of the proof in an ordinary
civil or criminal case upon a stipulation of facts upon which its
disposition is to be based. In Bacolod Murcia Milling Co., Inc. v.
Henares, the above decision was cited with approval, with the
opinion of Justice J.B.L. Reyes containing the following: "Plaintiffappellant assigns as another error that the order appealed from does
not contain any statement of the facts and the law on which it is
based. Obviously, this is based on Section 1, Rule 35 of the Rules of
Court, and Section 12, Article VIII of the Constitution. The contention
is untenable, since these provisions have been held to refer only to
decisions of the merits and not to orders of the trial court resolving
incidental matters such as the one at bar."
It is thus not self-evident that petitioner could justly lay claim to a
grievance. For if the situation is subjected to a searching analysis, it

92

cannot be denied that what is really involved is just a mere incident


in the prosecution of petitioner. Had he prevailed, he would have
been entitled to provisional liberty. Under the circumstances, as the
facts of the case clearly demonstrate, with the plea for habeas corpus
being unavailing, we felt that a minute resolution which certainly
would require less time than a full-blown decision, was not
inappropriate. Precisely, the leniency shown the parties to dwell at
length on their respective contentions should disprove any suspicion
that the decision arrived at was reached without according the parties
the fundamental fairness to which they are entitled under the
Constitution. Since, at the most, the relief sought by petitioner will
not, in any way, foreclose the ultimate outcome of the cases against
him one way or the other, we deemed that the constitutional
provision invoked did not strictly call for application. In that sense, a
minute resolution certainly cannot be stigmatized as in any wise
failing to abide by a constitutional command.
Borromeo vs. CA [G.R. No. 82273, June 1, 1990]
MINUTE RESOLUTIONS ARE ALLOWED BY THE CONSTITUTION. The
Court reminds all lower courts, lawyers, and litigants that it disposes
of the bulk of its cases by minute resolutions and decrees them as
final and executory, as where a case is patently without merit, where
the issues raised are factual in nature, where the decision appealed
from is supported by substantial evidence and is in accord with the
facts of the case and the applicable laws, where it is clear from the
records that the petition is filed merely to forestall the early execution
of judgment and for non-compliance with the rules. The resolution
denying due course or dismissing the petition always gives the legal
basis. As emphasized in In Re: Wenceslao Laureta (148 SCRA 382,
417 [1987], "[T]he Court is not 'duty bound' to render signed
Decisions all the time. It has ample discretion to formulate Decisions
and/or Minute Resolutions, provided a legal basis is given, depending
on its evaluation of a case" (Italics supplied). This is the only way
whereby it can act on all cases filed before it and, accordingly,
discharge its constitutional functions. The Court ordinarily acts on the
incidents or basic merits of three hundred (300) to four hundred
(400) cases through its three Divisions every Monday and Wednesday
when the Divisions meet and on one hundred (100) to one hundred
twenty (120) cases every Tuesday and Thursday that it meets en
banc or around one thousand (1,000) cases a week. It is only on
Fridays and week-ends that the members of the Court work in their
separate chambers or at home because the Court does not meet in
session either in Divisions or En Banc.
For a prompt dispatch of actions of the Court, minute resolutions are
promulgated by the Court through the Clerk of Court, who takes
charge of sending copies thereof to the parties concerned by quoting
verbatim the resolution issued on a particular case. It is the Clerk of
Court's duty to inform the parties of the action taken on their cases
by quoting the resolution adopted by the Court. The Clerk of Court
never participates in the deliberations of a case. All decisions and
resolutions are actions of the Court. The Clerk of Court merely

transmits the Court's action. This was explained in the case G.R.
No. 56280, "Rhine Marketing Corp. v. Felix Gravante, et al.", where,
in a resolution dated July 6, 1981, the Court said "[M]inute
resolutions of this Court denying or dismissing unmeritorious petitions
like the petition in the case at bar, are the result of a thorough
deliberation among the members of this Court, which does not and
cannot delegate the exercise of its judicial functions to its Clerk of
Court or any of its subalterns, which should be known to counsel.
When a petition is denied or dismissed by this Court, this Court
sustains the challenged decision or order together with its findings of
facts and legal conclusions."
In G.R. No. 76355, Macario Tayamura, et al. v. Intermediate
Appellate Court, et al. (May 21, 1987), the Court clarified the
constitutional requirement that a decision must express clearly and
distinctly the facts and law on which it is based as referring only to
decisions. Resolutions disposing of petitions fall under the
constitutional provision which states that, "No petition for review . . .
shall be refused due course . . . without stating the legal basis
therefor" (Section 14, Article VIII, Constitution). When the Court,
after deliberating on a petition and any subsequent pleadings,
manifestations, comments, or motions decides to deny due course to
the petition and states that the questions raised are factual or no
reversible error in the respondent court's decision is shown or for
some other legal basis stated in the resolution, there is sufficient
compliance with the constitutional requirement.
MINUTE RESOLUTION DOES NOT NEED TO BE SIGNED BY THE
JUSTICES NOR TO CONTAIN A CERTIFICATION REQUIRED UNDER
SECTION 13, ART VIII. Minute resolutions need not be signed by the
members of the Court who took part in the deliberations of a case nor
do they require the certification of the Chief Justice. For to require
members of the Court to sign all resolutions issued would not only
unduly delay the issuance of its resolutions but a great amount of
their time would be spent on functions more properly performed by
the Clerk of Court and which time could be more profitably used in
the analysis of cases and the formulation of decisions and orders of
important nature and character. Even with the use of this procedure,
the Court is still struggling to wipe out the backlogs accumulated over
the years and meet the ever increasing number of cases coming to it.
Remedial legislation to meet this problem is also pending in Congress.
In discharging its constitutional duties, the Court needs the full time
and attention of its Clerks of Court and other key officials. Its officers
do not have the time to answer frivolous complaints filed by
disgruntled litigants questioning decisions and resolutions of the
Court and involving cases deliberated upon and resolved by the Court
itself. As earlier stated, all resolutions and decisions are actions of the
Court, not its subordinate personnel. The Court assumes full
responsibility for all its acts. Its personnel cannot answer and should
not be made to answer for acts of the Court.

Komatsu Industries (Phils.), Inc. vs. CA [G.R. No. 127682,


April 24, 1998]
MINUTE RESOLUTIONS. As early as Novino, et al. vs. Court of
Appeals, et al, it has been stressed that these "resolutions" are not
"decisions" within the above constitutional requirements; they merely
hold that the petition for review should not be entertained and even
ordinary lawyers have all this time so understood it; and the petition
to review the decision of the Court of Appeals is not a matter of right
but of sound judicial discretion, hence there is no need to fully
explain the Court's denial since, for one thing, the facts and the law
are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals' decision.
This was reiterated in Que vs. People, et al., and further clarified in
Munal vs. Commission on Audit, et al.
that the constitutional
mandate is applicable only in cases "submitted for decision," i.e.,
given due course and after the filing of briefs or memoranda and/or
other pleadings, but not where the petition is refused due course,
with the resolution therefor stating the legal basis thereof. Thus,
when the Court, after deliberating on a petition and subsequent
pleadings, decides to deny due course to the petition and states that
the questions raised "are factual or there is no reversible error in the
respondent court's decision, there is sufficient compliance with the
constitutional requirement.
Oil and Natural Gas Commission vs. CA [G.R. No. 114323,
July 23, 1998]
MEMORANDUM DECISION IS ALLOWED UNDER THIS JURISDICTION.
The constitutional mandate that no decision shall be rendered by any
court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and
the law on which it is based does not preclude the validity of
"memorandum decisions" which adopt by reference the findings of
fact and conclusions of law contained in the decisions of inferior
tribunals. In Francisco v. Permskul, this Court held that the following
memorandum decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati did not
transgress the requirements of Section 14 Article VIII of the
Constitution:
"MEMORANDUM DECISION
After a careful perusal, evaluation and study of the
records of this case, this Court hereby adopts
reference the findings conclusions of law contained
in the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 63 and finds that
there is no cogent reason to disturb the same.
"WHEREFORE, judgment appealed from is hereby
affirmed in toto." (Emphasis supplied.)

93

This Court had occasion to make a similar pronouncement in the


earlier case of Romero v. Court of Appeals, where the assailed
decision of the Court of Appeals adopted the findings and disposition
of the Court of Agrarian Relations in this wise:
"We have, therefore, carefully reviewed the
evidence and made a re-assessment of the same,
and We are persuaded, nay compelled, to affirm the
correctness of the trial court's factual findings and
the soundness of its conclusion. For judicial
convenience and expediency, therefore, We hereby
adopt by way of reference, the findings of facts and
conclusions of the court a spread in its decision, as
integral part of this Our decision." (Emphasis
supplied)
Hence, even in this jurisdiction, incorporation by reference is allowed
if only to avoid the cumbersome reproduction of the decision of the
lower courts, or portions thereof, in the decision of the higher court.
This is particularly true when the decision sought to be incorporated
is a lengthy and thorough discussion of the facts and conclusions
arrived at, as in this case, where Award Paper No. 3/B-1 consists of
eighteen (18) single spaced pages.
THE REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION APPLY ONLY TO
PHILIPPINE COURTS, BUT NOT TO FOREIGN COURTS. Furthermore,
the recognition to be accorded a foreign judgment is not necessarily
affected by the fact that the procedure in the courts of the country in
which such judgment was rendered differs from that of the courts of
the country in which the judgment is relied on. This Court has held
that matters of remedy and procedure are governed by the lex fori or
the internal law of the forum. Thus, if under the procedural rules of
the Civil Court of Dehra Dun, India, a valid judgment may be
rendered by adopting the arbitrators findings, then the same must be
accorded respect. In the same vein, if the procedure in the foreign
court mandates that an Order of the Court becomes final and
executory upon failure to pay the necessary docket fees, then the
courts in this jurisdiction cannot invalidate the order of the foreign
court simply because our rules provide otherwise.
Francisco vs. Permskul [G.R. No. 81006, May 12, 1989]
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE VALIDITY OF MEMORANDUM DECISIONS.
It is clear that where the decision of the appellate court actually
reproduces the findings of fact or the conclusions of law of the court
below, it is not a memorandum decision as envisioned in the above
provision. The distinctive features of the memorandum decision are,
first, it is rendered by an appellate court, and second, it incorporates
by reference the findings of fact or the conclusions of law contained in
the decision, order or ruling under review. Most likely, the purpose is
to affirm the decision, although it is not impossible that the approval
of the findings of fact by the lower court may lead to a different
conclusion of law by the higher court. At any rate, the reason for

allowing the incorporation by reference is evidently to avoid the


cumbersome reproduction of the decision of the lower court, or
portions thereof, in the decision of the higher court. The idea is to
avoid having to repeat in the body of the latter decision the findings
or conclusions of the lower court since they are being approved or
adopted anyway.
That same circumstance is what will move us now to lay down the
following requirement, as a condition for the proper application of
Section 40 of B.P. Blg. 129. The memorandum decision, to be valid,
cannot incorporate the findings of fact and the conclusions of law of
the lower court only by remote reference, which is to say that the
challenged decision is not easily and immediately available to the
person reading the memorandum decision. For the incorporation by
reference to be allowed, it must provide for direct access to the facts
and the law being adopted, which must be contained in a statement
attached to the said decision. In other words, the memorandum
decision authorized under Section 40 of B.P. Blg. 129 should actually
embody the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the lower court
in an annex attached to and made an indispensable part of the
decision.
It is expected that this requirement will allay the suspicion that no
study was made of the decision of the lower court and that its
decision was merely affirmed without a proper examination of the
facts and the law on which it was based. The proximity at least of the
annexed statement should suggest that such an examination has
been undertaken. It is, of course, also understood that the decision
being adopted should, to begin with, comply with Article VIII, Section
14 as no amount of incorporation or adoption will rectify its violation.
The Court finds it necessary to emphasize that the memorandum
decision should be sparingly used lest it become an addictive excuse
for judicial sloth. It is an additional condition for its validity that this
kind of decision may be resorted to only in cases where the facts are
in the main accepted by both parties or easily determinable by the
judge and there are no doctrinal complications involved that will
require an extended discussion of the laws involved. The
memorandum decision may be employed in simple litigations only,
such as ordinary collection cases, where the appeal is obviously
groundless and deserves no more than the time needed to dismiss it.
Valdez vs. CA [G.R. No. 85082, February 25, 1991]
THE DECISION SHOULD NOT ONLY MAKE A CONCLUSION OF LAW,
BUT SHOULD STATE THE FACTS AND THE APPLICATION OF THE LAW.
This is not what is contemplated under the Constitution and the Rules
as a clear and distinct statement of the facts on the basis of which
the decision is rendered. The foregoing one-paragraph statement
constitute a mere conclusion of facts and of law arrived at by the trial
court without stating the facts which serve as the basis thereof.
Indeed the conclusion of fact therein that petitioners had not
registered the sale to them is traversed by the records which show on

the contrary, petitioners earlier registered the sale to them. The court
statement in the decision that a party has proven his case while the
other has not, is not the findings of facts contemplated by the
Constitution and the rules to be clearly and distinctly stated.
Unfortunately, the appellate court overlooked this fatal defect in the
appealed decision. It merely adopted the alleged findings of facts of
the trial court. Although it made some findings on how the deed of
assignment in favor of respondent Viernes came about, it is far from
complete and is hardly a substantial compliance with the mandate
aforestated.
As it is now, this Court has before it a challenged decision that failed
to state clearly and distinctly the facts on which it is predicated. This
Court has said again and again that it is not a trier of facts and that it
relies, on the factual findings of the lower court and the appellate
court which are conclusive. But as it is, in this case, the Court has to
wade through the records and make its own findings of facts, rather
than further delay the disposition of the case by remanding the
records for further proceedings.

ARTICLE IX CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS


A.

COMMON PROVISIONS

Section 6
Aruelo vs. CA [G.R. No. 107852, October 20, 1993]
THE COMELEC CANNOT ADOPT RULES THAT MAY BE APPLIED TO
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COURTS OF LAW. Petitioner filed the
election protest (Civil Case No. 343-M-92) with the Regional Trial
Court, whose proceedings are governed by the Revised Rules of
Court.
Section 1, Rule 13, Part III of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure is not
applicable to proceedings before the regular courts. As expressly
mandated by Section 2, Rule 1, Part I of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure, the filing of motions to dismiss and bill of particulars, shall
apply only to proceedings brought before the COMELEC. Section 2,
Rule 1, Part I provides:
"SEC. 2. Applicability. These rules, except Part
VI, shall apply to all actions and proceedings
brought before the Commission. Part VI shall apply
to election contests and quo warranto cases
cognizable by courts of general or limited
jurisdiction."
It must be noted that nowhere in Part VI of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure is it provided that motions to dismiss and bill of particulars

94

are not allowed in election protests or quo warranto cases pending


before the regular courts.
Constitutionally speaking, the COMELEC can not adopt a rule
prohibiting the filing of certain pleadings in the regular courts. The
power to promulgate rules concerning pleadings, practice and
procedure in all courts is vested on the Supreme Court (Constitution,
Art VIII, Sec. 5 [5]).
Section 7
Cua vs. COMELEC [G.R. Nos. L-80519-21, December 17,
1987]
THE CONSTITUTIONAL RULE PROVIDING DECISION BY MAJORITY OF
EACH
COMMISSION
APPLIES
TO
PROCEEDINGS
OF
THE
COMMISSION EN BANC AND IN DIVISION DESPITE ANY RULE OF THE
COMMISSION TO THE CONTRARY. After considering the issues and
the arguments raised by the parties, the Court holds that the 2-1
decision rendered by the First Division was a valid decision under
Article IX-A, Section 7 of the Constitution. Furthermore, the three
members who voted to affirm the First Division constituted a majority
of the five members who deliberated and voted thereon en banc and
their decision is also valid under the aforecited constitutional
provision. Hence, the proclamation of Cua on the basis of the two
aforecited decisions was a valid act that entitles him now to assume
his seat in the House of Representatives.
It is expected that the above categorical rulings will put an end to the
seemingly interminable debates on this matter that have been
festering for quite some time now not only in this case but also in
other cases still pending in the COMELEC. The indecisiveness of the
public respondent in the appreciation and application of its own rules
has seriously prejudiced a considerable number of our people who
remain unrepresented to date in the House of Representatives
despite the fact that the congressional elections were held more than
seven months ago.
Acena vs. Civil Service Commission [G.R. No. 90780,
February 6, 1991]
DECISIONS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION MAY BE REVIEWED
BY THE COURT OF APPEALS THROUGH PETITION FOR REVIEW ON
CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF COURT. The proper
remedy which petitioner should have taken from the resolution of
public respondent Civil Service Commission is a petition for certiorari
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and not a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 of said rules. Although Rule 65 does not
provide for a period, the petition for certiorari assailing the resolution
of the Civil Service Commission should be filed within thirty (30) days
from receipt of the resolution as provided under Section 7, Article IX
of the 1987 Constitution. (Pacis v. Secretary of Science and
Technology, G.R. No. 89165, August 10, 1989). Error in the title of

the petition is a defect in form that may be disregarded as it does not


affect the merits of the case. Considering the jurisdictional issue
raised in this petition, we consider the same as a special civil action
under Rule 65.
DECISIONS OF THE MERIT SYSTEMS PROTECTION BOARD MAY BE
APPEALED TO THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION WITHIN 15 DAYS
FROM RECEIPT OF THE DECISION OR RESOLUTION. Based on the
above provisions of law, the decision of the MSPB is appealable to the
Civil Service Commission within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the
copy thereof. Perfection of the appeal within the prescribed period is
jurisdictional so that the failure to perfect an appeal within the
reglementary period has the effect of rendering the judgment final
and executory (De Los Santos v. NLRC, G.R. No. 83927, June 28,
1989; Andaya et al. v. NLRC, G.R. Nos. 73726-28, August 2, 1990).
Moreover, the right to appeal is a statutory right and the party who
seeks to avail himself of the same must comply with the
requirements of the law. Failure to do so, the right to appeal is lost
(Ozaeta v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 83281, December 4, 1989).
Ostensibly, public respondent Civil Service Commission has the
jurisdiction to review the decision of the MSPB. However, said
authority to review can only be exercised if the party adversely
affected by the decision of the MSPB has filed an appeal with the
Commission within the reglementary period.
Here, it is admitted by public respondent Commission and not
disputed by private respondent Estolas that the petition for review
which can be considered as an appeal from the decision of the MSPB
dated March 23, 1988 was filed outside the reglementary period. This
being so, the public respondent exceeded its jurisdiction when it
entertained the petition that was erroneously filed with the Office of
the President. Having exceeded its jurisdiction public respondent
committed a reversible error when it set aside the order dated March
23, 1988 of the MSPB which had long become final and executory.
Final decision or orders of the MSPB is an adjudication on the merits
conclusive on the parties, hence, it can no longer be subject to review
(San Luis, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 80160, June 26,
1989).
Vital-Gozon vs. CA [G.R. No. 101428, August 5, 1992]
THE COMMISSION HAS AUTHORITY TO ISSUE COERCIVE WRITS FOR
THE EXECUTION OF ITS DECISIONS. Now, final and executory
judgments are enforced by writ of execution and not by another,
separate action, whether of mandamus or otherwise. Hence,
execution of the Civil Service Commission's decision of August 9,
1988 should have been ordered and effected by the Commission
itself, when de la Fuente filed a motion therefor. It declined to do so,
however, on the alleged ground, as de la Fuente claims he was told,
that it "had no coercive powers unlike a court to enforce its final
decisions/resolutions."
That proposition, communicated to de la
Fuente, of the Commission's supposed lack of coercive power to

enforce its final judgments, is incorrect. It is inconsistent with


previous acts of the Commission of actually directing execution of its
decisions and resolutions, which this Court has sanctioned in several
cases; and it is not in truth a correct assessment of its powers under
the Constitution and the relevant laws.
In an En Banc Decision promulgated on October 15, 1991 in G.R. No.
96938 entitled "Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) versus
Civil Service Commission, et al.," this Court declared that in light of
the pertinent provisions of the Constitution and relevant statutes
" . . it would appear absurd to deny to the Civil
Service Commission the power or authority to
enforce or order execution of its decisions,
resolutions or orders which, it should be stressed, it
has been exercising through the years. It would
seem quite obvious that the authority to decide
cases is inutile unless accompanied by the authority
to see that what has been decided is carried out.
Hence, the grant to a tribunal or agency of
adjudicatory power, or the authority to hear and
adjudge cases, should normally and logically be
deemed to include the grant of authority to enforce
or execute the judgments it thus renders, unless
the law otherwise provides.
In any event, the Commission's exercise of that
power of execution has been sanctioned by this
Court in several cases."
Be this as it may, the fact is that by reason of the Commission's
mistaken refusal to execute its final and executory Resolution of
August 9, 1988, extended proceedings have taken place in the Court
of Appeals and certain issues have been expressly raised in relation
thereto, supra. Those issues appear to the Court to be important
enough to deserve serious treatment and resolution, instead of
simply being given short shrift by a terse ruling that the proceedings
in the Court of Appeals were totally unnecessary because the Civil
Service Commission actually had the power to execute its final and
executory Resolution.
Filipinas Engineering and Machine Shop vs. Ferrer [G.R. No.
L-31455, February 28, 1985]
FINAL ORDERS AND DECISIONS OF THE COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS WHICH ARE REVIEWABLE BY THE SUPREME COURT ON
CERTIORARI ARE THOSE RENDERED IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS
QUASI-JUDIACIAL POWER. We are however, far from convinced that
an order of the COMELEC awarding a contract to a private party, as a
result of its choice among various proposals submitted in response to
its invitation to bid comes within the purview of a "final order" which
is exclusively and directly appealable to this court on certiorari. What
is contemplated by the term "final orders, rulings and decisions" of

95

the COMELEC reviewable


provided by law are those
the COMELEC and taken
exercise of its adjudicatory

by certiorari by the Supreme Court as


rendered in actions or proceedings before
cognizance of by the said body in the
or quasi-judicial powers.

It cannot be gainsaid that the powers vested by the Constitution and


the law on the Commission on Elections may either be classified as
those pertaining to its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial functions, or
those which are inherently administrative and sometimes ministerial
in character.
We agree with petitioner's contention that the order of the
Commission granting the award to a bidder is not an order rendered
in a legal controversy before it wherein the parties filed their
respective pleadings and presented evidence after which the
questioned order was issued; and that this order of the commission
was issued pursuant to its authority to enter into contracts in relation
to election purposes. In short, the COMELEC resolution awarding the
contract in favor of Acme was not issued pursuant to its quasi-judicial
functions but merely as an incident of its inherent administrative
functions over the conduct of elections, and hence, the said resolution
may not be deemed as a "final order" reviewable by certiorari by the
Supreme Court. Being non-judicial in character, no contempt may be
imposed by the COMELEC from said order, and no direct and
exclusive appeal by certiorari to this Tribunal lie from such order. Any
question arising from said order may be well taken in an ordinary civil
action before the trial courts.
Mateo vs. CA [G.R. No. 113219, August 14, 1995]
APPEAL OF THE DECISIONS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
SHALL BE FILED WITH THE COURT OF APPEALS. Presidential Decree
No. 807, Executive Order No. 292, 10 and Rule II, section 1 of
Memorandum Circular No. 44 series of 1990 of the Civil Service
Commission spell out the initial remedy of private respondent against
illegal dismissal. They categorically provide that the party aggrieved
by a decision, ruling, order, or action of an agency of the government
involving termination of services may appeal to the Commission
within fifteen (15) days. Thereafter, private respondent could go on
certiorari to this Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court if he still
feels aggrieved by the ruling of the Civil Service Commission. So we
held in Mancita v. Barcinas, viz:
"[N]o appeal lies from the decision of the Civil
Service Commission, and that parties aggrieved
thereby may proceed to this Court alone on
certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
within thirty (30) days from receipt of a copy
thereof, pursuant to section 7, Article IX of the
1987 Constitution. We quote.
'SECTION 7.
Unless otherwise provided by this
Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling

of each Commission may be brought to the


Supreme Court on certiorari by the party within
t