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Luigis Part

Sunday, January 25, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes
Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Petitioner Teresita Fabian was the major stockholder and President of PROMAT Construction Development Corporation
which was engaged in the construction business. Private respondent Nestor Agustin was the District Engineer of the First Metro
Manila Engineering District. PROMAT participated in the bidding for government construction projects, and private respondent,
reportedly taking advantage of his official position, inveigled petitioner into an amorous relationship. Their affair lasted for some
time, in the course of which, private respondent gifted PROMAT with public works contracts and interceded for it in problems
concerning the same in his office. When petitioner tried to terminate their relationship, private respondent refused and resisted
her attempts to do so to the extent of employing acts of harassment, intimidation and threats. Petitioner filed an administrative
complaint against private respondent.

Ombudsman found private respondent guilty of misconduct and meted out the penalty of suspension without pay for 1 year. After
private respondent moved for reconsideration, the Ombudsman discovered that the private respondents new counsel had been his
classmate and close associate, hence, he inhibited himself. The case was transferred to respondent Deputy Ombudsman who
exonerated private respondent from the administrative charges.

Petitioner appealed to the SC by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. She averred that Section 27 of Republic Act No.
6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) pertinently provides that:
In all administrative diciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to the
Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or
decision or denial of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

Issue: Whether or not Section 27 of RA 6770 which provides for appeals in administrative disciplinary cases from the Office of
the Ombudsman to the SC in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is valid

Held: The revised Rules of Civil Procedure preclude appeals from quasi-judicial agencies to the SC via a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45. Under the present Rule 45, appeals may be brought through a petition for review on certiorari but only
from judgments and final orders of the courts enumerated in Sec. 1 thereof. Appeals from judgments and final orders of
quasi-judicial agencies are now required to be brought to the CA on a verified petition for review, under the requirements and
conditions in Rule 43 which was precisely formulated and adopted to provide for a uniform rule of appellate procedure for
quasi-judicial agencies.

Section 27 of RA 6770 cannot validly authorize an appeal to the SC from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in
administrative disciplinary cases. It consequently violates the proscription in Sec. 30, Art. VI of the Constitution against a law
which increases the appellate jurisdiction of the SC.

From another digest -ISSUE: Whether or not Section 27 of the Ombudsman Act is valid.

HELD: No. It is invalid for it illegally expanded the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Section 27 of RA 6770 cannot
validly authorize an appeal to the SC from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. It
consequently violates the proscription in Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution against a law which increases the Appellate
jurisdiction of the SC. No countervailing argument has been cogently presented to justify such disregard of the constitutional
prohibition. That constitutional provision was intended to give the SC a measure of control over cases placed under its appellate
jurisdiction. Otherwise, the indiscriminate enactment of legislation enlarging its appellate jurisdiction would unnecessarily
burden the SC.
Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution is clear when it states that the appellate jurisdiction of the SC contemplated therein is to
be exercised over final judgments and orders of lower courts, that is, the courts composing the integrated judicial system. It
does not include the quasi-judicial bodies or agencies.
But what is the proper remedy?
Appeals from judgments and final orders of quasi-judicial agencies are now required to be brought to the Court of Appeals on a
verified petition for review, under the requirements and conditions in Rule 43 of the Rules of Court which was precisely
formulated and adopted to provide for a uniform rule of appellate procedure for quasi-judicial agencies.

CARPIO-MORALES V CA, BINAY (This is the same case in Leg Method)
Issue: Whether the Court of Appeals (CA) has subject matter jurisdiction over the subject matter of the petition;
Section 14. Restrictions. No writ of injunction shall be issued by any court to delay an investigation being conducted by the
Ombudsman under this Act, unless there is a prima facie evidence that the subject matter of the investigation is outside the
jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman.

No court shall hear any appeal orapplication for remedy against the decision or findings of the Ombudsman, except the Supreme
Court, on pure question of law.
Now the SC ruled that the 2nd Paragraph of Sec. 14, RA 6770, is vague, unconstitutional and invalid. The SC relied on its ruling
in the landmark case of Fabian v. Desierto, 356 Phil. 787 (1998), which, in turn, held that the 4th Paragraph of Sec. 27, RA 6770,
is void, as it had the effect of increasing theappellate jurisdiction of the SC without its advice and concurrence, inviolation of Sec.
30, Art. VI of the 1987 Constitution. This tells us that lawyers should always be wary of reading RA 6770 since case law has
affected itso much maybe its time to update it.

Interestingly, the SC mentioned the Senate deliberations cited by the Ombudsman, in the crafting of RA 6770. It quoted the
exchanges between Senators Jovito Salonga, Edgardo Angara, Teofisto Guingona, Jr., and Neptali Gonzales, which merely led
the SC to be suspicious on whether said Senators were talking about Sec. 14, RA 6670, or some other provision. In other words,
while the throwback was appreciatedby the SC, the discussions were not really useful in this case.
Regardless, the SC still ruled thatthe remedy of Binay, Jr. the filing of petition for certiorari pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court, to assail the Ombudsmans preventive suspension order was valid, citing the cases of Office of the Ombudsman v.
Capulong, G.R.No. 201643, 12 March 2014, and Dagan v.Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 184083, 19 November 2013. Its

just sad that the sorry end of Second Paragraph of Sec. 14, RA 6770 came as collateral damage in this case. The SC justified its
taking up this issue on its own motion, or ex mero motu, which it canrightfully do, since it is, after all, the SC.


The value-added tax (VAT) is levied on the sale, barter or exchange of goods and properties as well as on the sale or exchange of
services. RA 7716 seeks to widen the tax base of the existing VAT system and enhance its administration by amending the
National Internal Revenue Code. There are various suits challenging the constitutionality of RA 7716 on various grounds.

One contention is that RA 7716 did not originate exclusively in the House of Representatives as required by Art. VI, Sec. 24 of
the Constitution, because it is in fact the result of the consolidation of 2 distinct bills, H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630. There is also
a contention that S. No. 1630 did not pass 3 readings as required by the Constitution.

Whether or not RA 7716 violates Art. VI, Secs. 24 and 26(2) ofthe Constitution

The argument that RA 7716 did not originate exclusively in the House of Representatives as required by Art. VI, Sec. 24 of the
Constitution 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. 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
Senates power not only to concur with amendments but also to propose amendments. 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. Nor does the
Constitutionprohibit 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 next argument of the petitioners was that S. No. 1630 did not pass 3 readings on separate days as required by the
Constitution because the second and third readings were done on the same day. But this was because 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. That upon the certification of a billby the President the requirement of 3 readings on separate days and
of printing and distribution can be dispensed with is supported by the weightof legislative practice.


Gonzales, together w/ 22 other senators, assailed the constitutionality of Corys veto of Section 55 of the 1989 Appropriations
Bill (Sec 55 FY 89, and subsequently of its counterpart Section 16 of the 1990 Appropriations Bill (Sec 16 FY 90). Gonzalez
averred the following: (1) the Presidents line-veto power as regards appropriation bills is limited to item/s and does not cover
provision/s; therefore, she exceeded her authority when she vetoed Section 55 (FY 89) and Section 16 (FY 90) which are
provision; (2) when the President objects to a provision of an appropriation bill, she cannot exercise the item-veto power but
should veto the entire bill; (3) the item-veto power does not carry with it the power to strike out conditions or restrictions for that
would be legislation, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers; and (4) the power of augmentation in Article VI,
Section 25 [5] of the 1987 Constitution, has to be provided for by law and, therefore, Congress is also vested with the prerogative
to impose restrictions on the exercise of that power.
ISSUE: Whether or not the President exceeded the item-veto power accorded by the Constitution. Or differently put, has the
President the power to veto `provisions of an Appropriations Bill.
HELD: SC ruled that Congress cannot include in a general appropriations bill matters that should be more properly enacted in
separate legislation, and if it does that, the inappropriate provisions inserted by it must be treated as item, which can be vetoed
by the President in the exercise of his item-veto power. The SC went one step further and rules that even assuming arguendo that
provisions are beyond the executive power to veto, and Section 55 (FY 89) and Section 16 (FY 90) were not provisions in
the budgetary sense of the term, they are inappropriate provisions that should be treated as items for the purpose of the
Presidents veto power.


G.R. 103524 April 15, 1992 208 SCRA 133
Gutierrez, J.:

Petitioners are retired justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals who are currently receiving pensions under RA 910 as
amended by RA 1797. President Marcos issued a decree repealing section 3-A of RA 1797 which authorized the adjustment of
the pension of retired justices and officers and enlisted members of the AFP. PD 1638 was eventually issued by Marcos which
provided for the automatic readjustment of the pension of officers and enlisted men was restored, while that of the retired justices
was not. RA 1797 was restored through HB 16297 in 1990. When her advisers gave the wrong information that the questioned
provisions in 1992 GAA were an attempt to overcome her earlier veto in 1990, President Aquino issued the veto now challenged
in this petition.
It turns out that PD 644 which repealed RA 1797 never became a valid law absent its publication, thus there was no law. It
follows that RA 1797 was still in effect and HB 16297 was superfluous because it tried to restore benefits which were never
taken away validly. The veto of HB 16297 did not also produce any effect.
Whether or not the veto of the President of certain provisions in the GAA of FY 1992 relating to the payment of the adjusted
pensions of retired Justices is constitutional or valid.


The veto of these specific provisions in the GAA is tantamount to dictating to the Judiciary ot its funds should be utilized, which
is clearly repugnant to fiscal autonomy. Pursuant to constitutional mandate, the Judiciary must enjoy freedom in the disposition
of the funds allocated to it in the appropriations law.
Any argument which seeks to remove special privileges given by law to former Justices on the ground that there should be no
grant of distinct privileges or preferential treatment to retired Justices ignores these provisions of the Constitution and in effect
asks that these Constitutional provisions on special protections for the Judiciary be repealed.
The petition is granted and the questioned veto is illegal and the provisions of 1992 GAA are declared valid and subsisting.

Isaacs Part
Miller v Mardo (1961)
These appeals are concerning the validity of Reorganisational Plan 20-A, prepared and submitted by the Government Survey and
Reorganization Commission under the authority of Republic Act No. 997, as amended by RA 1241 , insofar as it confers jurisdiction to
the Regional Offices of the Department of Labor created to decide claims of labourers for wages, overtime, and separation pay, etc,
These consolidated petitions are appealing decisions with regards Reorganization Plan No. 20-A, which gives jurisdiction to the Regional
Offices under the Department of Labor to decide money claims. The Plaintiffs are primarily labourers of different companies and going
to the DOL for their money claims. The Defendants are the ones who are going to the lower courts requesting for injections for the
proceedings of DOL. Some of the lower courts have said that the Reorg. Plan is null and void while others have said the Reorg. plan does
not divest the lower courts of hearing cases with regards money claims.
On the Procedure for Passing the Reorganizational Plan:

The Reorganisation Commission submitted the Plan to the President , then the President submitted it to Congress. Pursuant to
RA 997, Section 6(a) , reads that the non-action of Congress after 70 session days after the plan had been transmitted to them.
would deem that the plan had already been approved.

The provision of Section 6(a) of RA 997 reads :

Issue: W/N Reorganisation Plan 20-A is valid and constitutional?

(No , it is not because it failed to follow the procedure as provided for in the Constitution.)

Ruling: The Reorganization Plan 20-A is invalid and no effect. The various cases were dismissed, affirmed, or remanded , whatever the
case may be.

The Government Survey and Reorganization Commission, created under RA 997, can only create and organize the functions
and offices within its purview and jurisdiction. It cannot create judicial courts. It can only create quasi-judicial bodies to serve
out its functions.
The above-mentioned provision is in violation of the Constitution as it clearly disobeys the directives in the Constitution
concerning how a bill is to be passed into law : 1) passing of both Houses and 2) presentment to the President. There is
nothing in the Constitution which allows such means of legislating.

Kida v Senate - October 18,2011

Datu Michael Abas Kida v. Senate of the Philippines, et al., G.R. No.
196271, October 18, 2011
I. T
Several laws pertaining to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were enacted by
Congress. Republic Act (RA) No. 6734 is the organic act that established the ARMM and

scheduled the first regular elections for the ARMM regional officials. RA No. 9054 amended the
ARMM Charter and reset the regular elections for the ARMM regional officials to the second Monday
of September 2001. RA No. 9140 further reset the first regular elections to November 26, 2001. RA
No. 9333 reset for the third time the ARMM regional elections to the 2nd Monday of August 2005 and
on the same date every 3 years thereafter.
Pursuant to RA No. 9333, the next ARMM regional elections should have been held on August 8,

2011. COMELEC had begun preparations for these elections and had accepted certificates of
candidacies for the various regional offices to be elected. But on June 30, 2011, RA No. 10153 was

enacted, resetting the next ARMM regular elections to May 2013 to coincide with the regular national
and local elections of the country.

In these consolidated petitions filed directly with the Supreme Court, the petitioners assailed the
constitutionality of RA No. 10153.




the 1987 Constitution mandate the synchronization of elections [including the ARMM



the passage of RA No. 10153 violate the three-readings-on-separate-days rule under

Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution?

3. I s the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs constitutional?


[The Supreme Court] DISMISSED the petitions and UPHELD the constitutionality of RA No. 10153
in toto.]
1. Y
ES, the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections.
While the Constitution does not expressly state that Congress has to synchronize national and local
elections, the clear intent towards this objective can be gleaned from the Transitory Provisions
(Article XVIII) of the Constitution, which show the extent to which the Constitutional Commission, by
deliberately making adjustments to the terms of the incumbent officials, sought to attain
synchronization of elections. The Constitutional Commission exchanges, read with the provisions of
the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution, all serve as patent indicators of the constitutional
mandate to hold synchronized national and local elections, starting the second Monday of May 1992
and for all the following elections.
In this case, the ARMM elections, although called regional elections, should be included among the
elections to be synchronized as it is a local election based on the wording and structure of the
Thus, it is clear from the foregoing that the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of
elections, including the ARMM elections.

2. N
O, the passage of RA No. 10153 DOES NOT violate the three-readings-on-separate-days
requirement in Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
The general rule that before bills passed by either the House or the Senate can become laws they
must pass through three readings on separate days, is subject to the EXCEPTION when the
President certifies to the necessity of the bills immediate enactment. The Court, in Tolentino v.

Secretary of Finance, explained the effect of the Presidents certification of necessity in the following
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, Section 26[2] qualifies 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 the present case, the records show that the President wrote to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives to certify the necessity of the immediate enactment of a law synchronizing the
ARMM elections with the national and local elections. Following our Tolentino ruling, the Presidents
certification exempted both the House and the Senate from having to comply with the three separate
readings requirement.


the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs in the ARMM is

[During the oral arguments, the Court identified the three options open to Congress in order to
resolve the problem on who should sit as ARMM officials in the interim [in order to achieve
synchronization in the 2013 elections]: (1) allow the [incumbent] elective officials in the ARMM to
remain in office in a hold over capacity until those elected in the synchronized elections assume
office; (2) hold special elections in the ARMM, with the terms of those elected to expire when those

elected in the [2013] synchronized elections assume office; or (3) authorize the President to appoint
OICs, [their respective terms to last also until those elected in the 2013 synchronized elections
assume office.]
3.1. 1st option: Holdover is unconstitutional since it would extend the terms of
office of the incumbent ARMM officials

We rule out the [hold over] option since it violates Section 8, Article X of the Constitution. This
provision states:

Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be
determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive
terms. [emphases ours]

Since elective ARMM officials are local officials, they are covered and bound by the three-year term
limit prescribed by the Constitution; they cannot extend their term through a holdover. xxx.

If it will be claimed that the holdover period is effectively another term mandated by Congress, the
net result is for Congress to create a new term and to appoint the occupant for the new term. This
view like the extension of the elective term is constitutionally infirm because Congress cannot do
indirectly what it cannot do directly, i.e., to act in a way that would effectively extend the term of the

incumbents. Indeed, if acts that cannot be legally done directly can be done indirectly, then all laws
would be illusory. Congress cannot also create a new term and effectively appoint the occupant of
the position for the new term. This is effectively an act of appointment by Congress and an

unconstitutional intrusion into the constitutional appointment power of the President. Hence,
holdover whichever way it is viewed is a constitutionally infirm option that Congress could not
have undertaken.
Even assuming that holdover is constitutionally permissible, and there had been statutory basis for it
(namely Section 7, Article VII of RA No. 9054) in the past, we have to remember that the rule of

holdover can only apply as an available option where no express or implied legislative intent to the
contrary exists; it cannot apply where such contrary intent is evident.
Congress, in passing RA No. 10153, made it explicitly clear that it had the intention of suppressing
the holdover rule that prevailed under RA No. 9054 by completely removing this provision. The
deletion is a policy decision that is wholly within the discretion of Congress to make in the exercise of
its plenary legislative powers; this Court cannot pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or

expediency of legislation, except where an attendant unconstitutionality or grave abuse of discretion

3.2. 2nd option: Calling special elections is unconstitutional since COMELEC,
on its own, has no authority to order special elections.

The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in nature. [N]o elections may be held

on any other date for the positions of President, Vice President, Members of Congress and local
officials, except when so provided by another Act of Congress, or upon orders of a body or officer to
whom Congress may have delegated either the power or the authority to ascertain or fill in the
details in the execution of that power.
Notably, Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by postponing the scheduled August 2011
elections and setting another date May 13, 2011 for regional elections synchronized with the

presidential, congressional and other local elections. By so doing, Congress itself has made a policy
decision in the exercise of its legislative wisdom that it shall not call special elections as an
adjustment measure in synchronizing the ARMM elections with the other elections.
After Congress has so acted, neither the Executive nor the Judiciary can act to the contrary by
ordering special elections instead at the call of the COMELEC. This Court, particularly, cannot make
this call without thereby supplanting the legislative decision and effectively legislating. To be sure,
the Court is not without the power to declare an act of Congress null and void for being
unconstitutional or for having been exercised in grave abuse of discretion. But our power rests on
very narrow ground and is merely to annul a contravening act of Congress; it is not to supplant the
decision of Congress nor to mandate what Congress itself should have done in the exercise of its
legislative powers.
Thus, in the same way that the term of elective ARMM officials cannot be extended through a
holdover, the term cannot be shortened by putting an expiration date earlier than the three (3) years
that the Constitution itself commands. This is what will happen a term of less than two years if a
call for special elections shall prevail. In sum, while synchronization is achieved, the result is at the
cost of a violation of an express provision of the Constitution.
3.3. 3rd option: Grant to the President of the power to appoint ARMM OICs in
the interim is valid.
The above considerations leave only Congress chosen interim measure RA No. 10153 and the
appointment by the President of OICs to govern the ARMM during the pre-synchronization period
pursuant to Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this law as the only measure that Congress can make. This
choice itself, however, should be examined for any attendant constitutional infirmity.

At the outset, the power to appoint is essentially executive in nature, and the limitations on or
qualifications to the exercise of this power should be strictly construed; these limitations or
qualifications must be clearly stated in order to be recognized. The appointing power is embodied in
Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, which states:
Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments,
appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls or 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. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Government whose
appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to
appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President
alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards. [emphasis ours]

This provision classifies into four groups the officers that the President can appoint. These are:
First, the heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other public ministers and consuls;
officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from the rank of colonel or naval captain; and other officers
whose appointments are vested in the President in this Constitution;

Second, all other officers of the government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by

Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and
Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President

Since the Presidents authority to appoint OICs emanates from RA No. 10153, it falls under the third
group of officials that the President can appoint pursuant to Section 16, Article VII of the
Constitution. Thus, the assailed law facially rests on clear constitutional basis.
If at all, the gravest challenge posed by the petitions to the authority to appoint OICs under Section 3
of RA No. 10153 is the assertion that the Constitution requires that the ARMM executive and
legislative officials to be elective and representative of the constituent political units. This
requirement indeed is an express limitation whose non-observance in the assailed law leaves the
appointment of OICs constitutionally defective.
After fully examining the issue, we hold that this alleged constitutional problem is more apparent
than real and becomes very real only if RA No. 10153 were to be mistakenly read as a law that

changes the elective and representative character of ARMM positions. RA No. 10153, however,

does not in any way amend what the organic law of the ARMM (RA No. 9054) sets outs in terms of
structure of governance. What RA No. 10153 in fact only does is to appoint officers-in-charge for

the Office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional
Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials
duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office. This power is far
different from appointing elective ARMM officials for the abbreviated term ending on the assumption
to office of the officials elected in the May 2013 elections.
[T]he legal reality is that RA No. 10153 did not amend RA No. 9054. RA No. 10153, in fact, provides

only for synchronization of elections and for the interim measures that must in the meanwhile prevail.
And this is how RA No. 10153 should be read in the manner it was written and based on its
unambiguous facial terms. Aside from its order for synchronization, it is purely and simply an interim
measure responding to the adjustments that the synchronization requires.

Tanada v Tuvera

TANADA et al (Petitioners)
TUVERA, Executive Assistant to the President, et al (Respondents)
April 24, 1985
Invoking the right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern as well as the principle that laws to be valid and
enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette, petitioners filed for writ of mandamus to compel respondent public
officials to publish and/or cause to publish various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders,
proclamations, executive orders, letters of implementations and administrative orders.
Respondents requested that the case be dismissed outright as Petitioners have no legal standing, as they are not aggrieved
parties (Section 3, Rule 65, Rules of Court)
Petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition concerns a public right and its object is to compel the performance of a
public duty, they need not show any specific interest for their petition to be given due course. The Court has recognized such
before. (Severino v Governor General, 1910)
Respondents stated that while publication is necessary as a rule (Art. 2, Civil Code), it was not necessary when the Decree/Statute
itself declares when it becomes effective.

Whether publication in the Official Gazette is required before a law becomes valid and enforceable?


The Court held that it required. The Court declared that presidential issuances of general application which have not
been published have no force and effect.
1. The key point of the provision in Art. 2 of the Civil Code is to give the public adequate notice, to satisfy the
application of maxim ignorantia legis nominem excusat.
2. It would be injustice to punish a citizen for a crime they received no notice of.
3. The very first clause of Section 1 of CA 638 there shall be published, implying the necessary imperative to
make the information known.
4. For a person to be bound by law, he must first be officially informed and notified of its contents.

EO 200

Arnault v Nazareno




The Senate investigated the purchase by the government of two parcels of land, known as
Buenavista and Tambobong estates. An intriguing question that the Senate sought to resolve was
the apparent irregularity of the governments payment to one Ernest Burt, a non-resident American
citizen, of the total sum of Php1.5 million for his alleged interest in the two estates that only
amounted to Php20,000.00, which he seemed to have forfeited anyway long before. The Senate
sought to determine who were responsible for and who benefited from the transaction at the
expense of the government.

Petitioner Jean Arnault, who acted as agent of Ernest Burt in the subject transactions, was one of
the witnesses summoned by the Senate to its hearings. In the course of the investigation, the
petitioner repeatedly refused to divulge the name of the person to whom he gave the amount of
Php440,000.00, which he withdrew from the Php1.5 million proceeds pertaining to Ernest Burt.

Arnault was therefore cited in contempt by the Senate and was committed to the custody of the
Senate Sergeant-at-Arms for imprisonment until he answers the questions. He thereafter filed a
petition for habeas corpus directly with the Supreme Court questioning the validity of his detention.



1. Did the Senate have the power to punish the petitioner for contempt for refusing to reveal the
name of the person to whom he gave the Php440,000.00?
2. Did the Senate have the authority to commit petitioner for contempt for a term beyond its period
of legislative session?

May the petitioner rightfully invoke his right against self-incrimination?


[The Court DENIED the petition for habeas corpus filed by Arnault.]

1. Yes, the Senate had the power to punish the petitioner for contempt for refusing to reveal
the name of the person to whom he gave the Php440,000.00.

Although there is no provision in the [1935] 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 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 effect 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.




[W]e find that the question for the refusal to answer which the petitioner was held in contempt by the
Senate is pertinent to the matter under inquiry. In fact, this is not and cannot be disputed. Senate
Resolution No. 8, the validity of which is not challenged by the petitioner, requires the Special
Committee, among other things, to determine the parties responsible for the Buenavista and
Tambobong estates deal, and it is obvious that the name of the person to whom the witness gave
the P440,000 involved in said deal is pertinent to that determination it is in fact the very thing
sought to be determined. The contention is not that the question is impertinent to the subject of the
inquiry but that it has no relation or materiality to any proposed legislation. We have already
indicated that it is not necessary for the legislative body to show that every question propounded to a
witness is material to any proposed or possible legislation; what is required is that is that it be
pertinent to the matter under inquiry.




If the subject of investigation before the committee is within the range of legitimate legislative inquiry
and the proposed testimony of the witness called relates to that subject, obedience, to its process
may be enforced by the committee by imprisonment.

2. YES, the Senate had the authority to commit petitioner for contempt for a term beyond its
period of legislative session.

We find no sound reason to limit the power of the legislative body to punish for contempt to the end
of every session and not to the end of the last session terminating the existence of that body. The
very reason for the exercise of the power to punish for contempt is to enable the legislative body to
perform its constitutional function without impediment or obstruction. Legislative functions may be
and in practice are performed during recess by duly constituted committees charged with the duty of
performing investigations or conducting hearing relative to any proposed legislation. To deny to such
committees the power of inquiry with process to enforce it would be to defeat the very purpose for
which that the power is recognized in the legislative body as an essential and appropriate auxiliary to
is legislative function. It is but logical to say that the power of self-preservation is coexistent with the
life to be preserved.

But the resolution of commitment here in question was adopted by the Senate, which is a continuing
body and which does not cease exist upon the periodical dissolution of the Congress . . . There is no
limit as to time to the Senates power to punish for contempt in cases where that power may
constitutionally be exerted as in the present case.

3. NO, the petitioner may NOT rightfully invoke his right against self-incrimination.

Since according to the witness himself the transaction was legal, and that he gave the [P440,000.00]
to a representative of Burt in compliance with the latters verbal instruction, we find no basis upon
which to sustain his claim that to reveal the name of that person might incriminate him. There is no
conflict of authorities on the applicable rule, to wit:

Generally, the question whether testimony is privileged is for the determination of the Court. At least, it is not
enough for the witness to say that the answer will incriminate him as he is not the sole judge of his liability.
The danger of self-incrimination must appear reasonable and real to the court, from all the circumstances,
and from the whole case, as well as from his general conception of the relations of the witness. Upon the
facts thus developed, it is the province of the court to determine whether a direct answer to a question may

criminate or not. . . The fact that the testimony of a witness may tend to show that he has violated the law is
not sufficient to entitle him to claim the protection of the constitutional provision against self-incrimination,
unless he is at the same time liable to prosecution and punishment for such violation. The witness cannot
assert his privilege by reason of some fanciful excuse, for protection against an imaginary danger, or to
secure immunity to a third person.

It is the province of the trial judge to determine from all the facts and circumstances of the case whether the
witness is justified in refusing to answer. A witness is not relieved from answering merely on his own
declaration that an answer might incriminate him, but rather it is for the trial judge to decide that question.

-JPs Part
Citation: G.R. No. L-6749; 97 Phil. 358; July 30, 1955
Ponente: Labrador
Topic: Legislative investigation; may Senate hold a person in contempt as a punitive measure.
This was a petition for habeas corpus filed by Jean Arnault against the Director of Prisons, Balagtas. Arnault was incarcerated
pursuant to a resolution by the Senate finding Arnault in contempt for refusing to disclose the name of a person with whom he
transacted business in relation to a government purchase of of the Buenavista and Tambobong estates. The circumstances of
Arnault's incarceration are described in the companion case Arnaultvs. Nazareno (1950) which affirmed the Legislature's power
to hold a person in contempt for defying or refusing to comply with an order in a legislative inquiry.
Arnault eventually divulged that he had transacted with one Jess D. Santos in relation to the Buenavista and Tambobong deal.
Upon further inquiry, the Senate, obviously not satisfied with Arnault's explanations, adopted Resolution No. 114. The title of the
resolution states:
WHEREAS, the Senate holds and finds that the situation of the said Jean L. Arnault has not materially changed since he was
committed to prison for contempt of the Senate, and since the Supreme Court of the Philippines, in a judgment long since become
final, upheld the power and authority of the Senate to hold the said Jean L. Arnault in custody, detention, and confinement, said
power and authority having been held to be coercive rather than punitive, and fully justified until the said Jean L. Arnault should
have given the information which he had withheld and continues contumaciously to withhold;
WHEREAS, the insolent and manifest untruthful statements made by the said Jean L. Arnault on the occasions above referred to
constitute a continuing contempt of the Senate, and an added affront to its dignity and authority, such that , were they to be
condoned or overlooked, the power and authority of the Senate to conduct investigations would become futile and ineffectual
because they could be defied by any person of sufficient stubbornness and malice;
The Court of First Instance ruled in favor of Petitioner Arnault and ordered his release.
Whether or not Petitioner may be released from his Senate-imposed incarceration.

1. Whether or not the CFI has the right to review the findings of the Senate.
2. Whether or not the Senate may hold a person in contempt or incarcerate him as a punitive rather than as a coercive measure.
YES. The Senate may continue to keep Petitioner incarcerated.
1. NO. In the first place, the CFI did NOT have the right to review the findings of the Senate. In the above quoted resolution, the
Senate in stating that petitioner has failed and refused, and continues to fail and refuse, to reveal the person to whom he gave the
amount of P440,000 and that the situation of petitioner has not materially charged since he was committed to prison, clearly
shows that the Senate believes that Arnault was still trying to deceive them. The CFI on the other hand arrogated unto itself to
review such finding and held that Arnault satisfactorily answered the questions of the Senate in its investigation of the Buenavista
and Tambobong deal.
There is an inherent fundamental error in the course of action that the lower court followed. It assumed that courts have the right
to review the findings of legislative bodies in the exercise of the prerogative of legislation, or interfere with their proceedings or
their discretion in what is known as the legislative process. The Judicial department has no right or power or authority to do this,
in the same manner that the legislative department may not invade the judicial realm in the ascertainment of truth and in the
application and interpretation of the law, in what is known as the judicial process, because that would be in direct conflict with
the fundamental principle of separation of powers established by the Constitution. The only instances when judicial
intervention may lawfully be invoke are when there has been a violation of a constitutional inhibition, or when there has
been an arbitrary exercise of the legislative discretion.
2. YES. The legislature may hold a person in contempt or incarcerate him as a punitive measure.
Although the resolution studiously avoids saying that the confinement is a punishment, but merely seeks to coerce the petitioner
into telling the truth, the intention is evident that the continuation of the imprisonment ordered is in fact partly punitive. This may
be inferred from the confining made in the resolution that petitioner's acts were arrogant and contumacious and constituted an
affront to the Senate's dignity and authority.
The legislature has the power to punish recalcitrant witnesses. This power is founded upon reason and policy. Said power must be
considered implied or incidental to the exercise of legislative power, or necessary to effectuate said power. How could a
legislative body obtain the knowledge and information on which to base intended legislation if it cannot require and compel the
disclosure of such knowledge and information, if it is impotent to punish a defiance of its power and authority? The legislative
department should not be constrained to look to the courts whenever for every act of refusal, every act of defiance, every act of
contumacy with which it is faced.
The exercise of the legislature's authority to deal with the defiant and contumacious witness should be supreme and is not subject
to judicial interference, except when there is a manifest and absolute disregard of discretion and a mere exertion of arbitrary
power coming within the reach of constitutional limitations.
The judgment appealed from should be, as it hereby is, reversed, and the petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus
denied. The order of the court allowing the petitioner to give bail is declared null and void and the petitioner is hereby ordered to
be recommitted to the custody of the respondent. With cost against the petitioner-appellee.
In the Matter of the Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus of CAMILO L. SABIO v.
G.R. No. 174340 17 October 2006,
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J. (En Banc)
[Congress Power of Inquiry]
Pursuant to Senate Resolution No. 455, Senator Gordon requested PCGG Chairman Sabio and his Commissioners to appear as
resource persons in the public meeting jointly conducted by the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises
and Committee on Public Services.

Chairman Sabio declined the invitation because of prior commitment, and at the same time invoked Section 4(b) of EO No. 1:
No member or staff of the Commission shall be required to testify or produce evidence in any judicial, legislative or
administrative proceeding concerning matters within its official cognizance.
Whether or not Section 4(b) of E.O. No.1 limits power of legislative inquiry by exempting all PCGG members or staff from
testifying in any judicial, legislative or administrative proceeding.
No. Article VI, Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution grants the power of inquiry not only to the Senate and the House of
Representatives, but also to any of their respective committees. Clearly, there is a direct conferral of investigatory power to
the committees and it means that the mechanism which the Houses can take in order to effectively perform its investigative
functions 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 Courts 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, Section 4(b) is 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.
A statute may be declared unconstitutional because it is not within the legislative power to enact; or it creates or establishes
methods or forms that infringe constitutional principles; or its purpose or effect violates the Constitution or its basic principles.
Moreover, Sec. 4(b) of E.O. No. 1 has been repealed by the Constitution because it is inconsistent with the constitutional
provisions on the Congress power of inquiry (Art. VI, Sec. 21), the principle of public accountability (Art. XI, Sec. 1), the
policy of full disclosure (Art. II, Sec. 28), and the right of access to public information (Art. III, Sec. 7).
Certainly, a mere provision of law cannot pose a limitation to the broad power of Congress, in the absence of any constitutional
G.R. No. 89914 November 20, 1991 [Section 21, Article 6: Aids in Legislation: On Legislative Investigation]
PCGG filed with the Sandiganbayan against Benjamin Romualdez, et al for engaging in devices, schemes and stratagems to
unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of plaintiff and the Filipino people.
The Senate Minority Floor Leader Enrile delivered a speech before the Senate on the alleged take-over personal privilege before
the Senate on the alleged "takeover of SOLOIL Inc," the FlagShip of the First Manila Management of Companies or FMMC by
Ricardo Lopa and called upon the Senate to look into the possible violation of the law in the case with regard to RA 3019 (Anti
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (Committee on Accountability of Public Officers [SBRC]) started its investigation on the
matter. Petitioners and Ricardo Lopa were subpoenaed by the SBRC to appear before it and testify on what they know regarding
the sale of 36 corporations belonging to Benjamin Romualdez. Lopa and Bengzon refused to testify, invoking their rights to due
process, and that their testimony may unduly prejudice the defendants and petitioners in case before the Sandiganbayan.
SBRC rejected the petitioner's plea to be excused from testifying and the SBRC continued its investigation of the matter.

The petitioners filed for prohibition with a prayer for TRO and/or injunctive relief, claiming that the SBRC in requiring their
attendance and testimony, acted in excess of its jurisdiction and legislative purpose.
The Supreme Court intervened upon a motion for reconsideration filed by one of the defendants of the civil case.
1. Whether or not the court has jurisdiction over the case.
2. Whether or not the SBRC's inquiry has valid legislative purpose.
3. whether or not the civil case of Sandiganbayan is beyond the power of the SBRC to inquire into.
4. Whether or not the inquiry violates the petitioners' right to due process.


1. Yes. In Angara vs Electoral Commission, the Constitution provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure
coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. The Court has provided that the allocation of
constitutional boundaries is a task which the judiciary must perform under the Constitution. Moreover, as held in a recent case,
"(t)he political question doctrine neither interposes an obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The jurisdiction to
delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court. It cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by the 1987
Constitution, although said provision by no means does away with the applicability of the principle in appropriate cases."
The Court is thus of the considered view that it has jurisdiction over the present controversy for the purpose of determining the
scope and extent of the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to conduct inquiries into private affairs in purported aid of
2. No.
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.
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 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.
3. No. It cannot 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.
4. Yes. The Constitution expressly provides that "the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be

It should be emphasized that the constitutional restriction does not call for the banning or prohibition of investigations where a
violation of a basis rights is claimed. It only requires that in the course of the proceedings, the right of persons should be
What the majority opinion mandates is a blanket prohibition against a witness testifying at all, simply because he is already
facing charges before the Sandiganbayan. To my mind, the Constitution allows him to interpose objections whenever an
incriminating question is posed or when he is compelled to reveal his court defenses, but not to refuse to take the witness stand

Senate vs. Ermita (G.R. No. 169777) - Digest

This case is regarding the railway project of the North Luzon Railways Corporation with the China National Machinery
and Equipment Group as well as the Wiretapping activity of the ISAFP, and the Fertilizer scam.
The Senate Committees sent invitations to various officials of the Executive Department and AFP officials for them to
appear before Senate on Sept. 29, 2005. Before said date arrived, Executive Sec. Ermita sent a letter to Senate President
Drilon, requesting for a postponement of the hearing on Sept. 29 in order to afford said officials ample time and
opportunity to study and prepare for the various issues so that they may better enlighten the Senate Committee on its
investigation. Senate refused the request.
On Sept. 28, 2005, the President issued EO 464, effective immediately, which, among others, mandated that all heads of
departments of the Executive Branch of the government shall secure the consent of the President prior to appearing
before either House of Congress. Pursuant to this Order, Executive Sec. Ermita communicated to the Senate that the
executive and AFP officials would not be able to attend the meeting since the President has not yet given her consent.
Despite the lack of consent, Col. Balutan and Brig. Gen. Gudani, among all the AFP officials invited, attended the
investigation. Both faced court marshal for such attendance.
Whether E.O. 464 contravenes the power of inquiry vested in Congress.
To determine the constitutionality of E.O. 464, the Supreme Court discussed the two different functions of the
Legislature: The power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation and the power to conduct inquiry during question hour.
Question Hour:
The power to conduct inquiry during question hours is recognized in Article 6, Section 22 of the 1987 Constitution, which
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.
The objective of conducting a question hour 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 had issued, the
department heads appearance is merely requested.
The Supreme Court construed Section 1 of E.O. 464 as those in relation to the appearance of department heads during
question hour as it explicitly referred to Section 22, Article 6 of the 1987 Constitution.
In aid of Legislation:

The Legislatures power to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation is expressly recognized in Article 6, section21 of the 1987
Constitution, which reads:
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.
The power of inquiry in aid of legislation is inherent in the power to legislate. 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, recourse must be had to others who do
possess it.
But 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. This is the power of the government to withhold information
from the public, the courts, and the Congress. This is recognized only to certain types of information of a sensitive
character. When Congress exercise 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
official may be exempted from this power -- the President.
Section 2 & 3 of E.O. 464 requires that all the public officials enumerated in Section 2(b) should secure the consent of the
President prior to appearing before either house of Congress. The enumeration is broad. In view thereof, whenever an
official invokes E.O.464 to justify the failure to be present, such invocation must be construed as a declaration to
Congress that the President, or a head of office authorized by the President, has determined that the requested
information is privileged.
The letter sent by the Executive Secretary to Senator Drilon does not explicitly invoke executive privilege or that the
matter on which these officials are being requested to be resource persons falls under the recognized grounds of the
privilege to justify their absence. Nor does it expressly state that in view of the lack of consent from the President under
E.O. 464, they cannot attend the hearing. The letter assumes that the invited official possesses information that is covered
by the executive privilege. Certainly, Congress has the right to know why the executive considers the requested
information privileged. It does not suffice to merely declare that the President, or an authorized head of office, has
determined that it is so.
The claim of privilege under Section 3 of E.O. 464 in relation to Section 2(b) is thus invalid per se. It is not asserted. It is
merely implied. Instead of providing precise and certain reasons for the claim, it merely invokes E.O. 464, coupled with
an announcement that the President has not given her consent.
When an official is being summoned by Congress on a matter which, in his own judgment, might be covered by executive
privilege, he must be afforded reasonable time to inform the President or the Executive Secretary of the possible need for
invoking the privilege. This is necessary to provide the President or the Executive Secretary with fair opportunity to
consider whether the matter indeed calls for a claim of executive privilege. If, after the lapse of that reasonable time,
neither the President nor the Executive Secretary invokes the privilege, Congress is no longer bound to respect the failure
of the official to appear before Congress and may then opt to avail of the necessary legal means to compel his appearance.
Wherefore, the petitions are partly granted. Sections 2(b) and 3 of E.O. 464 are declared void. Section 1(a) are however
Johns Part


GR No. 170165, August 15, 2006 [Article VI Sec. 22: Congress' Power of Inquiry; Legislative Investigation]


The Senate invited Gen. Gudani and Lt. Col. Balutan to clarify allegations of 2004 election fraud and the
surfacing of the Hello Garci tapes. PGMA issued EO 464 enjoining officials of the executive department
including the military establishment from appearing in any legislative inquiry without her consent. AFP Chief
of Staff Gen. Senga issued a Memorandum, prohibiting Gen. Gudani, Col. Balutan et al from appearing
before the Senate Committee without Presidential approval. However, the two appeared before the Senate
in spite the fact that a directive has been given to them. As a result, the two were relieved of their
assignments for allegedly violating the Articles of War and the time honoured principle of the Chain of
Command. Gen. Senga ordered them to be subjected before the General Court Martial proceedings for
willfuly violating an order of a superior officer.

Whether or not the President has the authority to issue an order to the members of the AFP preventing them
from testifying before a legislative inquiry.

Yes. The SC hold that 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, 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.
SC ruled in Senate v. Ermita 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 Executives power as
commander-in-chief to control the actions and speech of members of the armed forces. The Presidents
prerogatives as commander-in-chief are not hampered by the same limitations as in executive privilege.

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 legislatures functions is the
conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation. Inasmuch as it is ill-advised for Congress to interfere with the
Presidents power as commander-in-chief, it is similarly detrimental for the President to unduly interfere with
Congresss 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.

The duty falls on the shoulders of the President, as commander-in-chief, to authorize the appearance of the
military officers before Congress. Even if the President has earlier disagreed with the notion of officers
appearing before the legislature to testify, the Chief Executive is nonetheless obliged to comply with the final
orders of the courts.


G.R. No. 180643, March 25, 2008

FACTS: On April 21, 2007, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) entered into a
contract with Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) for the supply of equipment and services
for the National Broadband Network (NBN) Project in the amount of U.S. $ 329,481,290 (approximately P16
Billion Pesos). The Project was to be financed by the Peoples Republic of China.
The Senate passed various resolutions relative to the NBN deal. In the September 18, 2007 hearing Jose de
Venecia III testified that several high executive officials and power brokers were using their influence to push
the approval of the NBN Project by the NEDA.
Neri, the head of NEDA, was then invited to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon. He appeared in one
hearing wherein he was interrogated for 11 hrs and during which he admitted that Abalos of COMELEC tried
to bribe him with P200M in exchange for his approval of the NBN project. He further narrated that he
informed President Arroyo about the bribery attempt and that she instructed him not to accept the bribe.
However, when probed further on what they discussed about the NBN Project, petitioner refused to answer,
invoking executive privilege. In particular, he refused to answer the questions on:
(a) whether or not President Arroyo followed up the NBN Project,
(b) whether or not she directed him to prioritize it, and
(c) whether or not she directed him to approve.
He later refused to attend the other hearings and Ermita sent a letter to the senate averring that the
communications between GMA and Neri are privileged and that the jurisprudence laid down in Senate vs
Ermita be applied. He was cited in contempt of respondent committees and an order for his arrest and
detention until such time that he would appear and give his testimony.

Are the communications elicited by the subject three (3) questions covered by executive privilege?


The communications are covered by executive privilege

The revocation of EO 464 (advised executive officials and employees to follow and abide by the
Constitution, existing laws and jurisprudence, including, among others, the case of Senate v. Ermita when
they are invited to legislative inquiries in aid of legislation.), does not in any way diminish the concept of
executive privilege. This is because this concept has Constitutional underpinnings.
The claim of executive privilege is highly recognized in cases where the subject of inquiry relates to a power
textually committed by the Constitution to the President, such as the area of military and foreign relations.
Under our Constitution, the President is the repository of the commander-in-chief, appointing, pardoning,
and diplomatic powers. Consistent with the doctrine of separation of powers, the information relating to
these powers may enjoy greater confidentiality than others.
Several jurisprudence cited provide the elements of presidential communications privilege:
1) The protected communication must relate to a quintessential and non-delegable presidential power.
2) The communication must be authored or solicited and received by a close advisor of the President or
the President himself. The judicial test is that an advisor must be in operational proximity with the
3) The presidential communications privilege remains a qualified privilege that may be overcome by a
showing of adequate need, such that the information sought likely contains important evidence and by the
unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating authority.
In the case at bar, Executive Secretary Ermita premised his claim of executive privilege on the ground that
the communications elicited by the three (3) questions fall under conversation and correspondence
between the President and public officials necessary in her executive and policy decision-making process
and, that the information sought to be disclosed might impair our diplomatic as well as economic relations
with the Peoples Republic of China. Simply put, the bases are presidential communications privilege and
executive privilege on matters relating to diplomacy or foreign relations.
Using the above elements, we are convinced that, indeed, the communications elicited by the three (3)
questions are covered by the presidential communications privilege. First, the communications relate to a
quintessential and non-delegable power of the President, i.e. the power to enter into an executive
agreement with other countries. This authority of the President to enter into executive agreements without
the concurrence of the Legislature has traditionally been recognized in Philippine jurisprudence. Second, the
communications are received by a close advisor of the President. Under the operational proximity test,
petitioner can be considered a close advisor, being a member of President Arroyos cabinet. And third, there
is no adequate showing of a compelling need that would justify the limitation of the privilege and of the
unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating authority.
Respondent Committees further contend that the grant of petitioners claim of executive privilege violates the
constitutional provisions on the right of the people to information on matters of public concern.50 We might
have agreed with such contention if petitioner did not appear before them at all. But petitioner made himself
available to them during the September 26 hearing, where he was questioned for eleven (11) hours. Not

only that, he expressly manifested his willingness to answer more questions from the Senators, with the
exception only of those covered by his claim of executive privilege.
The right to public information, like any other right, is subject to limitation. Section 7 of Article III provides:
The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official
records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to
government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to
such limitations as may be provided by law.

Garcillano v. The House of Representatives Committee on Public Information 2008

Facts: During the hype of Arroyo administration, a new controversy arises. During the 2007 election the
conversation of President Arroyo and the herein petitioner Virgilio Garciliano, COMELEC regional director,
regarding the desire of the president to have a favourable outcome in terms of his senatoriables. Such
conversation was recorded and was played during the house of representative investigation. Because of
such turn of events, a petition was filed before the court praying that such playing of the illegally seized
communication was in violation of RA 4200 or the anti-wire tapping law. Also such petition for injunction
prays that the Senate committee be prevented from further conducting such investigation for the basic
reason that there was no proper publication of the senate rules, empowering them to make such
investigation of the unlawfully seized documents.

Issue: Whether or not there was proper publication of the rules as to empower the senate to further proceed
with their investigation?

Held: No, the Supreme Court mentioned the following:

The Senate cannot be allowed to continue with the conduct of the questioned legislative inquiry without duly
published rules of procedure, in clear derogation of the constitutional requirement.
Section 21, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "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 requisite of publication of the rules is intended to

satisfy the basic requirements of due process.Publication is indeed imperative, for it will be the height of
injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law or rule of which he had no
notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.What constitutes publication is set forth in Article 2 of the
Civil Code, which provides that "laws shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of their
publication either in the Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines."

Respondents justify their non-observance of the constitutionally mandated publication by arguing that the
rules have never been amended since 1995 and, despite that, they are published in booklet form available
to anyone for free, and accessible to the public at the Senates internet web page.

The Court does not agree. The absence of any amendment to the rules cannot justify the Senates defiance
of the clear and unambiguous language of Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution. The organic law
instructs, without more, that the Senate or its committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation only in
accordance with duly published rules of procedure, and does not make any distinction whether or not these
rules have undergone amendments or revision. The constitutional mandate to publish the said rules prevails
over any custom, practice or tradition followed by the Senate.

The invocation by the respondents of the provisions of R.A. No. 8792,otherwise known as the Electronic
Commerce Act of 2000, to support their claim of valid publication through the internet is all the more
incorrect. R.A. 8792 considers an electronic data message or an electronic document as the functional
equivalent of a written document only for evidentiary purposes.In other words, the law merely recognizes the
admissibility in evidence (for their being the original) of electronic data messages and/or electronic
documents.It does not make the internet a medium for publishing laws, rules and regulations.

Given this discussion, the respondent Senate Committees, therefore, could not, in violation of the
Constitution, use its unpublished rules in the legislative inquiry subject of these consolidated cases. The
conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation by the Senate has to be deferred until it shall have caused the
publication of the rules, because it can do so only "in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure."

Indeed the inquiry to be conducted by the senate in aid of legislation cannot proceed for the reason that the
rules that they will observe was not properly published as provided by the Fundamental Law of the land.
Such inquiry if allowed without observance of the required publication will put a persons life, liberty and
property at stake without due process of law. Also, the further assertion of the senate that they already
published such rules through their web page, in observance of the RA 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Act

was only viewed by the court as matter of evidence and still does not conforme with what the constitution
In this regard the high court granted the petition for injunction preventing the senate to conduct such inquiry
in aid of legislation.

Akbayan vs Aquino July 16 2008

Petition for mandamus and prohibition was filed by the petitioners, as congresspersons, citizens and
taxpayers, requesting respondents to submit to them the full text of the Japan-Philippines Economic
Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Petitioner emphasize that the refusal of the government to disclose the said agreement violates there right to
information on matters of public concern and of public interest. That the non-disclosure of the same
documents undermines their right to effective and reasonable participation in all levels of social, political and
economic decision making.

Respondent herein invoke executive privilege. They relied on the ground that the matter sought involves a
diplomatic negotiation then in progress, thus constituting an exception to the right to information and the
policy of full disclosure of matters that are of public concern like the JPEPA. That diplomatic negotiation are
covered by the doctrine of executive privilege.

Whether or not the petition has been entirely rendered moot and academic because of the subsequent event
that occurred?

Whether the information sought by the petitioners are of public concern and are still covered by the doctrine
of executive privilege?

On the first issue, the Supreme Court ruled that t]he principal relief petitioners are praying for is the
disclosure of the contents of the JPEPA prior to its finalization between the two States parties, public
disclosure of the text of the JPEPA after its signing by the President, during the pendency of the present
petition, has been largely rendered moot and academic.

The text of the JPEPA having then been made accessible to the public, the petition has become moot and
academic to the extent that it seeks the disclosure of the full text thereof.
The petition is not entirely moot, however, because petitioners seek to obtain, not merely the text of the
JPEPA, but also the Philippine and Japanese offers in the course of the negotiations.

Moving on to the second issue, The Supreme Court Ruled that Diplomatic negotiations, therefore, are
recognized as privileged in this jurisdiction, the JPEPA negotiations constituting no exception. It bears
emphasis, however, that such privilege is only presumptive. For as Senate v. Ermita holds, recognizing a
type of information as privileged does not mean that it will be considered privileged in all instances. Only
after a consideration of the context in which the claim is made may it be determined if there is a public
interest that calls for the disclosure of the desired information, strong enough to overcome its traditionally
privileged status.
The court adopted also the doctrine in PMPF v. Manglapus, Wherein petitioners were seeking information
from the Presidents representatives on the state of the then on-going negotiations of the RP-US Military
Bases Agreement. The Court denied the petition, stressing that secrecy of negotiations with foreign
countries is not violative of the constitutional provisions of freedom of speech or of the press nor of the
freedom of access to information.