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Tolentino vs COMELEC GR No 34150 16 October 1971

Facts: The Constitutional Convention of 1971 approved on 28 September
1971 The Organic Resolution No. 1, amending Section 1 Article V of the
Constitution in which lowers the voting age to 18 and that the plebiscite for
partial amendment to take place with the local elections on November 1971.
President Diosdado Macapagal called upon the COMELEC to help the
Convention implement the said resolution. On 30 September 1971 COMELEC
resolved to inform the Convention that it will hold the plebiscite. Succeeding
resolutions on campaigning and confirming the authority of the President of
the Convention to implement the Organic Resolution were approved.
Petitioner, Arturo Tolentino contended that under Section 1 Article XV of the
Constitution, the proposed amendment in question cannot be presented to
the people for ratification separately from each and all of the other
amendments to be drafted and proposed by the Convention.

Issue: Whether or not the Convention may call for a plebiscite on the sole
amendment contained in Organic Resolution 1 pursuant to Section 1 Article V
of the Constitution.

Decision: Petition is granted. Organic Resolution No. 1 and the implementing

acts and resolutions of the Convention, insofar as they provide for the
holding of a plebiscite on 08 November 1971, as well as the resolution of the
respondent COMELEC complying therewith are declared null and void.
By the reason of the condition and limitation, that all the amendments to be
proposed by the same Convention must be submitted to the people in a
single plebiscite pursuant to Section 1 Article V of the Constitution. The part
that the people play in its amendment becomes harder, when a whole
constitution is submitted to them, more or less they can assumed its
harmony as an integrated whole, and they can either accept or reject it in its
entirety. 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


49 SCRA 105; January 22, 1973
Ponente: Concepcion, C.J.

While the 1971 Constitution Convention was in session on September 21,
1972, the president issued Proclamation No. 1081 placing the Philippines
under martial law. On November 29, 1972 the Convention approved its
proposed constitution. The next day the president issued PD No. 73
submitting to the people for ratification or rejection the proposed constitution
as well as setting the plebiscite for said ratification. On December 7, 1972,
Charito Planas filed a petition to enjoin respondents from implemented PD
No. 73 because the calling of the plebiscite among others are lodged
exclusively in the Congress. On December 17, 1972, the president issued an
order temporarily suspending the effects of PD 1081 for the purpose of free
and open debate on the proposed constitution. On December 23, the
president announced the postponement of the plebiscite, as such, the Court
refrained from deciding the cases. On January 12, the petitioners filed for an
urgent motion praying that the case be decided as soon as possible.


Is validity of PD 73 justiciable?


Is PD 73 valid?

3. Does the 1971 Constitutional Convention have the authority to pass the
proposed constitution?

The Court may pass upon constitutionality of PD 73 not only because of a
long list of cases decided by the Court but also of subdivision (1) of Section
2, Article VIII of the 1935 Constitution which expressly provides for the
authority of the Court to review cases revolving such issue. The validity of
the decree itself was declared moot and academic by the Court. The

convention is free to postulate any amendment as long as it is not

inconsistent to what is known as Jus Cogens.

Mabanag vs Lopez Vito (G.R. NO. L-1123)

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Case Digests
Journal Adoption of the Enrolled Bill Theory

FACTS: Petitioners include 3 senators and 8 representatives. The three

senators were suspended by senate due to election irregularities. The 8
representatives were not allowed to take their seat in the lower House except
in the election of the House Speaker. They argued that some senators and
House Reps were not considered in determining the required vote (of each
house) in order to pass the Resolution (proposing amendments to the
Constitution) which has been considered as an enrolled bill by then. At the
same time, the votes were already entered into the Journals of the respective
House. As a result, the Resolution was passed but it could have been
otherwise were they allowed to vote. If these members of Congress had been
counted, the affirmative votes in favor of the proposed amendment would
have been short of the necessary three-fourths vote in either branch of
Congress. Petitioners filed or the prohibition of the furtherance of the said
resolution amending the constitution. Respondents argued that the SC
cannot take cognizance of the case because the Court is bound by the
conclusiveness of the enrolled bill or resolution.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Court can take cognizance of the issue at bar.
Whether or not the said resolution was duly enacted by Congress.

HELD: As far as looking into the Journals is concerned, even if both the
journals from each House and an authenticated copy of the Act had been
presented, the disposal of the issue by the Court on the basis of the journals
does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory, for, as already stated, the
due enactment of a law may be proved in either of the two ways specified in
section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended. The SC found in the journals no
signs of irregularity in the passage of the law and did not bother itself with

considering the effects of an authenticated copy if one had been introduced.

It did not do what the opponents of the rule of conclusiveness advocate,
namely, look into the journals behind the enrolled copy in order to determine
the correctness of the latter, and rule such copy out if the two, the journals
and the copy, be found in conflict with each other. No discrepancy appears to
have been noted between the two documents and the court did not say or so
much as give to understand that if discrepancy existed it would give greater
weight to the journals, disregarding the explicit provision that duly certified
copies shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the
due enactment thereof.

**Enrolled Bill that which has been duly introduced, finally passed by both
houses, signed by the proper officers of each, approved by the president and
filed by the secretary of state.

Section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure (Act 190), as amended by Act
No. 2210, provides: Official documents may be proved as follows: . . . (2) the
proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any legislatives body that
may be provided for in the Philippine Islands, or of Congress, by the journals
of those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or
resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk of secretary, or printed by their
order; Provided, That in the case of Acts of the Philippine Commission or the
Philippine Legislature, when there is an existence of a copy signed by the
presiding officers and secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof
of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof.

The SC is bound by the contents of a duly authenticated resolution (enrolled

bill) by the legislature. In case of conflict, the contents of an enrolled bill shall
prevail over those of the journals.


MARCH 28, 2013 ~ VBDIAZ


In their capacity and as members of the Malaya Lolas Organization,




G.R. No. 162230, April 28, 2010


This is an original Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
with an application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory
injunction against the Office of the Executive Secretary, the Secretary of the
DFA, the Secretary of the DOJ, and the OSG.

Petitioners are all members of the MALAYA LOLAS, a non-stock, non-profit

organization registered with the SEC, established for the purpose of providing
aid to the victims of rape by Japanese military forces in the Philippines during
the Second World War.

Petitioners claim that since 1998, they have approached the Executive
Department through the DOJ, DFA, and OSG, requesting assistance in filing a
claim against the Japanese officials and military officers who ordered the

establishment of the comfort women stations in the Philippines. But

officials of the Executive Department declined to assist the petitioners, and
took the position that the individual claims of the comfort women for
compensation had already been fully satisfied by Japans compliance with
the Peace Treaty between the Philippines and Japan.

Hence, this petition where petitioners pray for this court to (a) declare that
respondents committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of discretion in refusing to espouse their claims for the crimes against
humanity and war crimes committed against them; and (b) compel the
respondents to espouse their claims for official apology and other forms of
reparations against Japan before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and
other international tribunals.

Respondents maintain that all claims of the Philippines and its nationals
relative to the war were dealt with in the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951
and the bilateral Reparations Agreement of 1956.

On January 15, 1997, the Asian Womens Fund and the Philippine
government signed a Memorandum of Understanding for medical and
welfare support programs for former comfort women. Over the next five
years, these were implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and


WON the Executive Department committed grave abuse of discretion in not

espousing petitioners claims for official apology and other forms of
reparations against Japan.


Petition lacks merit. From a Domestic Law Perspective, the Executive

Department has the exclusive prerogative to determine whether to espouse
petitioners claims against Japan.

Political questions refer 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.

One type of case of political questions involves questions of foreign relations.

It is well-established that the conduct of the foreign relations of our
government is committed by the Constitution to the executive and
legislativethe politicaldepartments of the government, and the propriety
of what may be done in the exercise of this political power is not subject to
judicial inquiry or decision. are delicate, complex, and involve large
elements of prophecy. They are and should be undertaken only by those
directly responsible to the people whose welfare they advance or imperil.

But not all cases implicating foreign relations present political questions, and
courts certainly possess the authority to construe or invalidate treaties and
executive agreements. However, the question whether the Philippine
government should espouse claims of its nationals against a foreign
government is a foreign relations matter, the authority for which is
demonstrably committed by our Constitution not to the courts but to the
political branches. In this case, the Executive Department has already
decided that it is to the best interest of the country to waive all claims of its
nationals for reparations against Japan in the Treaty of Peace of 1951. The
wisdom of such decision is not for the courts to question.

The President, not Congress, has the better opportunity of knowing the
conditions which prevail in foreign countries, and especially is this true in
time of war. He has his confidential sources of information. He has his agents
in the form of diplomatic, consular and other officials.

The Executive Department has determined that taking up petitioners cause

would be inimical to our countrys foreign policy interests, and could disrupt
our relations with Japan, thereby creating serious implications for stability in
this region. For the to overturn the Executive Departments determination
would mean an assessment of the foreign policy judgments by a coordinate
political branch to which authority to make that judgment has been
constitutionally committed.

From a municipal law perspective, certiorari will not lie. As a general

principle, where such an extraordinary length of time has lapsed between the
treatys conclusion and our consideration the Executive must be given
ample discretion to assess the foreign policy considerations of espousing a
claim against Japan, from the standpoint of both the interests of the
petitioners and those of the Republic, and decide on that basis if apologies
are sufficient, and whether further steps are appropriate or necessary.

In the international sphere, traditionally, the only means available for

individuals to bring a claim within the international legal system has been
when the individual is able to persuade a government to bring a claim on the
individuals behalf. By taking up the case of one of its subjects and by
resorting to diplomatic action or international judicial proceedings on his
behalf, a State is in reality asserting its own right to ensure, in the person of
its subjects, respect for the rules of international law.

Within the limits prescribed by international law, a State may exercise

diplomatic protection by whatever means and to whatever extent it thinks fit,
for it is its own right that the State is asserting. Should the natural or legal
person on whose behalf it is acting consider that their rights are not
adequately protected, they have no remedy in international law. All they can
do is resort to national law, if means are available, with a view to furthering
their cause or obtaining redress. All these questions remain within the
province of municipal law and do not affect the position internationally.

Even the invocation of jus cogens norms and erga omnes obligations will not
alter this analysis. Petitioners have not shown that the crimes committed by
the Japanese army violated jus cogens prohibitions at the time the Treaty of
Peace was signed, or that the duty to prosecute perpetrators of international
crimes is an erga omnes obligation or has attained the status of jus cogens.

The term erga omnes (Latin: in relation to everyone) in international law has
been used as a legal term describing obligations owed by States towards the
community of states as a whole. Essential distinction should be drawn
between the obligations of a State towards the international community as a
whole, and those arising vis--vis another State in the field of diplomatic
protection. By their very nature, the former are the concern of all States. In

view of the importance of the rights involved, all States can be held to have
a legal interest in their protection; they are obligations erga omnes.

The term jus cogens (literally, compelling law) refers to norms that
command peremptory authority, superseding conflicting treaties and custom.
Jus cogens norms are considered peremptory in the sense that they are
mandatory, do not admit derogation, and can be modified only by general
international norms of equivalent authority

WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DISMISSED.

Imbong v. COMELEC
7/17/2014 1 Comment

Constitutional Law. Political Law. Constitutional Convention 1971.

G.R. No. L-32432; G.R. No. L-32443; September 11, 1970
Ponente: Makasiar, J.


Manuel Imbong and Raul Gonzales, filing separate cases and both interested
in running as candidates for delegates to the Constitutional Convention,
question the constitutionality of R.A. No. 6132, claiming that it prejudices
their rights as such candidates. On March 16, 1967, the Congress, acting as a
Constituent Assembly, passed Res. No. 2 which called for a Constitutional
Convention which shall have two delegates from each representative district.
On June 17, 1969, the Congress passed Resolution No. 4 amending
Resolution No. 2 by providing that the convention shall be composed of 320
delegates with at least two delegates from each representative district. On
August 24, 1970, the Congress, acting as a legislative body, enacted R.A.
6132, implementing Res Nos. 2 and 4 and expressly repealing R.A 4914
which previously implemented Res. No. 2. Gonzales assails the validity of
Sections 2, 4, 5, and par. 1 of 8(a), and the entire law, while Imbong
questions the constitutionality of par. 1 of Sec. 8(a) of said R.A. 6132.

1. Does the Congress have the right to call for a constitutional convention
and set the parameters of such convention?

Are the provisions of R.A. 6132 constitutional?

1. The Congress has authority to call a constitutional convention as the
constituent assembly. The Congress also has the authority to enact
implementing details, contained in Res. Nos. 2 and 4 and R.A. 6132, since
such details are within the competence of the Congress in exercise of its
legislative power.
2. The provisions are constitutional. Sec. 4 of R.A. 6132 is merely in
application with Sec. 2 of Art. XII of the Constitution and does not constitute
a denial of due process or equal protection of the law. Sec. 2 also merely
obeyed the intent of the Congress in Res. Nos. 2 and 4 regarding the
apportionment of delegates. The challenged disqualification of an elected
delegate from running for any public office in Sec. 5 is a valid limitation as it
is reasonable and not arbitrary. Lastly, par. 1 of Sec. 8(a) which is both
contested by the petitioners is still valid as the restriction contained in the
section is so narrow that basic constitutional rights remain substantially
intact and inviolate thus the limitation is a valid infringement of the
constitutional guarantees invoked by the petitioners.

Pablito Sanidad vs Commission on Elections

73 SCRA 333 Political Law Constitutional Law Amendment to the Constitution

On 2 Sept 1976, Marcos issued PD No. 991 calling for a national referendum on 16 Oct
1976 for the Citizens Assemblies (barangays) to resolve, among other things, the issues of
martial law, the interim assembly, its replacement, the powers of such replacement, the
period of its existence, the length of the period for the exercise by the President of his
present powers. Twenty days after, the President issued another related decree, PD No.
1031, amending the previous PD No. 991, by declaring the provisions of PD No. 229
providing for the manner of voting and canvass of votes in barangays applicable to the
national referendum-plebiscite of Oct 16, 1976. Quite relevantly, PD No. 1031 repealed inter
alia, Sec 4, of PD No. 991. On the same date of 22 Sept 1976, Marcos issued PD No. 1033,
stating the questions to he submitted to the people in the referendum-plebiscite on October
16, 1976. The Decree recites in its whereas clauses that the peoples continued opposition
to the convening of the interim National Assembly evinces their desire to have such body
abolished and replaced thru a constitutional amendment, providing for a new interim
legislative body, which will be submitted directly to the people in the referendum-plebiscite
of October 16.
On September 27, 1976, Sanidad filed a Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction seeking to
enjoin the Commission on Elections from holding and conducting the Referendum Plebiscite
on October 16; to declare without force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. 991 and 1033,
insofar as they propose amendments to the Constitution, as well as Presidential Decree No.
1031, insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to supervise, control, hold, and
conduct the Referendum-Plebiscite scheduled on October 16, 1976.Petitioners contend that
under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President to
exercise the constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution. As a
consequence, the Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16 has no constitutional or legal
basis. The Soc-Gen contended that the question is political in nature hence the court cannot
take cognizance of it.
ISSUE: Whether or not Marcos can validly propose amendments to the Constitution.
HELD: Yes. 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 Referendum-Plebiscite 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.
This petition is however dismissed. The President can propose amendments to the
Constitution and he was able to present those proposals to the people in sufficient time. The
President at that time also sits as the legislature.

On 6 Dec 1996, Atty. Jesus S. Delfin filed with COMELEC a Petition to Amend
the Constitution to Lift Term Limits of elective Officials by Peoples Initiative
The COMELEC then, upon its approval, a.) set the time and dates for
signature gathering all over the country, b.) caused the necessary
publication of the said petition in papers of general circulation, and c.)
instructed local election registrars to assist petitioners and volunteers in
establishing signing stations. On 18 Dec 1996, MD Santiago et al filed a
special civil action for prohibition against the Delfin Petition. Santiago argues
that 1.) the constitutional provision on peoples initiative to amend the
constitution can only be implemented by law to be passed by Congress and
no such law has yet been passed by Congress, 2.) RA 6735 indeed provides
for three systems of initiative namely, initiative on the Constitution, on
statues and on local legislation. The two latter forms of initiative were
specifically provided for in Subtitles II and III thereof but no provisions were
specifically made for initiatives on the Constitution. This omission indicates
that the matter of peoples initiative to amend the Constitution was left to
some future law as pointed out by former Senator Arturo Tolentino.

ISSUE: Whether or not RA 6735 was intended to include initiative on

amendments to the constitution and if so whether the act, as worded,
adequately covers such initiative.

HELD: RA 6735 is intended to include the system of initiative on

amendments to the constitution but is unfortunately inadequate to cover
that system. Sec 2 of Article 17 of the Constitution provides: Amendments
to this constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through
initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of
registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by
at least there per centum of the registered voters therein. . . The Congress
shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right This
provision is obviously not self-executory as it needs an enabling law to be
passed by Congress. Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Con-Con stated

without implementing legislation Section 2, Art 17 cannot operate. Thus,

although this mode of amending the constitution is a mode of amendment
which bypasses Congressional action in the last analysis is still dependent on
Congressional action. Bluntly stated, the right of the people to directly
propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of inititative
would remain entombed in the cold niche of the constitution until Congress
provides for its implementation. The people cannot exercise such right,
though constitutionally guaranteed, if Congress for whatever reason does not
provide for its implementation.

***Note that this ruling has been reversed on November 20, 2006 when ten
justices of the SC ruled that RA 6735 is adequate enough to enable such
initiative. HOWEVER, this was a mere minute resolution which reads in part:

Ten (10) Members of the Court reiterate their position, as shown by their
various opinions already given when the Decision herein was promulgated,
that Republic Act No. 6735 is sufficient and adequate to amend the
Constitution thru a peoples initiative.

As such, it is insisted that such minute resolution did not become stare

Lambino was able to gather the signatures of 6,327,952 individuals for an

initiative petition to amend the 1987 Constitution. That said number of votes
comprises at least 12 per centum of all registered voters with each
legislative district at least represented by at least 3 per centum of its
registered voters. This has been verified by local COMELEC registrars as well.
The proposed amendment to the constitution seeks to modify Secs 1-7 of Art

VI and Sec 1-4 of Art VII and by adding Art XVIII entitled Transitory
Provisions. These proposed changes will shift the president bicameralpresidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary form of government. The
COMELEC, on 31 Aug 2006, denied the petition of the Lambino group due to
the lack of an enabling law governing initiative petitions to amend the
Constitution this is in pursuant to the ruling in Santiago vs COMELEC.
Lambino et al contended that the decision in the aforementioned case is only
binding to the parties within that case.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for initiative met the requirements of Sec
2 ArtXVII of the 1987 Constitution.

HELD: The proponents of the initiative secure the signatures from the people.
The proponents secure the signatures in their private capacity and not as
public officials. The proponents are not disinterested parties who can
impartially explain the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed
amendments to the people. The proponents present favorably their proposal
to the people and do not present the arguments against their proposal. The
proponents, or their supporters, often pay those who gather the signatures.
Thus, there is no presumption that the proponents observed the
constitutional requirements in gathering the signatures. The proponents
bear the burden of proving that they complied with the constitutional
requirements in gathering the signatures that the petition contained, or
incorporated by attachment, the full text of the proposed amendments. The
proponents failed to prove that all the signatories to the proposed
amendments were able to read and understand what the petition contains.
Petitioners merely handed out the sheet where people can sign but they did
not attach thereto the full text of the proposed amendments.

Lambino et al are also actually proposing a revision of the constitution and

not a mere amendment. This is also in violation of the logrolling rule wherein
a proposed amendment should only contain one issue. The proposed
amendment/s by petitioners even includes a transitory provision which would
enable the would-be parliament to enact more rules.

There is no need to revisit the Santiago case since the issue at hand can be
decided upon other facts. The rule is, the Court avoids questions of
constitutionality so long as there are other means to resolve an issue at bar.

***NOTE: On November 20, 2006 in a petition for reconsideration submitted

by the Lambino Group 10 (ten) Justices of the Supreme Court voted that
Republic Act 6735 is adequate.

HOWEVER, this was a mere minute resolution which reads in part:

Ten (10) Members of the Court reiterate their position, as shown by their
various opinions already given when the Decision herein was promulgated,
that Republic Act No. 6735 is sufficient and adequate to amend the
Constitution thru a peoples initiative.

As such, it is insisted that such minute resolution did not become stare
****RA 6735: An Act Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum and
Appropriating Funds Therefor