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G.R. No. 158088

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
ENBANC
G.R.No.158088July6,2005
SENATOR AQUILINO PIMENTEL, JR., REP. ETTA ROSALES, PHILIPPINE COALITION FOR THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, TASK FORCE DETAINEES OF THE
PHILIPPINES, FAMILIES OF VICTIMS OF INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCES, BIANCA HACINTHA R.
ROQUE, HARRISON JACOB R. ROQUE, AHMED PAGLINAWAN, RON P. SALO,* LEAVIDES G. DOMINGO,
EDGARDO CARLO VISTAN, NOEL VILLAROMAN, CELESTE CEMBRANO, LIZA ABIERA, JAIME ARROYO,
MARWILLLASOS,CRISTINAATENDIDO,ISRAFELFAGELA,andROMELBAGARES,Petitioners,
vs.
OFFICEOFTHEEXECUTIVESECRETARY,HON.ALBERTOROMULO,andtheDEPARTMENTOFFOREIGN
AFFAIRS,representedbyHON.BLASOPLE,Respondents.
DECISION
PUNOJ.:
Thisisapetitionformandamusfiledbypetitionerstocompelthe
Office of the Executive Secretary and the Department of Foreign Affairs to transmit the signed copy of the Rome
Statute of the International Criminal Court to the Senate of the Philippines for its concurrence in accordance with
Section21,ArticleVIIofthe1987Constitution.
The Rome Statute established the International Criminal Court which "shall have the power to exercise its
jurisdictionoverpersonsforthemostseriouscrimesofinternationalconcernxxxandshallbecomplementarytothe
nationalcriminaljurisdictions."1 Its jurisdiction covers the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes
andthecrimeofaggressionasdefinedintheStatute.2TheStatutewasopenedforsignaturebyallstatesinRome
onJuly17,1998andhadremainedopenforsignatureuntilDecember31,2000attheUnitedNationsHeadquarters
in New York. The Philippines signed the Statute on December 28, 2000 through Charge d Affairs Enrique A.
Manalo of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations.3 Its provisions, however, require that it be subject to
ratification,acceptanceorapprovalofthesignatorystates.4
Petitioners filed the instant petition to compel the respondents the Office of the Executive Secretary and the
Department of Foreign Affairs to transmit the signed text of the treaty to the Senate of the Philippines for
ratification.
It is the theory of the petitioners that ratification of a treaty, under both domestic law and international law, is a
functionoftheSenate.Hence,itisthedutyoftheexecutivedepartmenttotransmitthesignedcopyoftheRome
StatutetotheSenatetoallowittoexerciseitsdiscretionwithrespecttoratificationoftreaties.Moreover,petitioners
submit that the Philippines has a ministerial duty to ratify the Rome Statute under treaty law and customary
international law. Petitioners invoke the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties enjoining the states to refrain
fromactswhichwoulddefeattheobjectandpurposeofatreatywhentheyhavesignedthetreatypriortoratification
unlesstheyhavemadetheirintentionclearnottobecomepartiestothetreaty.5
TheOfficeoftheSolicitorGeneral,commentingfortherespondents,questionedthestandingofthepetitionersto
file the instant suit. It also contended that the petition at bar violates the rule on hierarchy of courts. On the
substantiveissueraisedbypetitioners,respondentsarguethattheexecutivedepartmenthasnodutytotransmitthe
RomeStatutetotheSenateforconcurrence.
Apetitionformandamusmaybefiledwhenanytribunal,corporation,board,officerorpersonunlawfullyneglectsthe
performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station.6 We
haveheldthattobegivenduecourse,apetitionformandamusmusthavebeeninstitutedbyapartyaggrievedby
the alleged inaction of any tribunal, corporation, board or person which unlawfully excludes said party from the
enjoymentofalegalright.Thepetitionerineverycasemustthereforebeanaggrievedpartyinthesensethathe
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possessesaclearlegalrighttobeenforcedandadirectinterestinthedutyoracttobeperformed.7TheCourtwill
exercise its power of judicial review only if the case is brought before it by a party who has the legal standing to
raise the constitutional or legal question. "Legal standing" means a personal and substantial interest in the case
such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the government act that is being
challenged. The term "interest" is material interest, an interest in issue and to be affected by the decree, as
distinguishedfrommereinterestinthequestioninvolved,oramereincidentalinterest.8
The petition at bar was filed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. who asserts his legal standing to file the suit as
member of the Senate Congresswoman Loretta Ann Rosales, a member of the House of Representatives and
Chairperson of its CommitteeonHumanRightsthe PhilippineCoalitionfor theEstablishment of the International
CriminalCourtwhichiscomposedofindividualsandcorporateentitiesdedicatedtothePhilippineratificationofthe
RomeStatutetheTaskForceDetaineesofthePhilippines,ajuridicalentitywiththeavowedpurposeofpromoting
the cause of human rights and human rights victims in the country the Families of Victims of Involuntary
Disappearances,ajuridicalentitydulyorganizedandexistingpursuanttoPhilippineLawswiththeavowedpurpose
ofpromotingthecauseoffamiliesandvictimsofhumanrightsviolationsinthecountryBiancaHacinthaRoqueand
HarrisonJacobRoque,agedtwo(2)andone(1),respectively,atthetimeoffilingoftheinstantpetition,andsuing
underthedoctrineofintergenerationalrightsenunciatedinthecaseofOposavs.Factoran,Jr.9andagroupof
fifthyearworkinglawstudentsfromtheUniversityofthePhilippinesCollegeofLawwhoaresuingastaxpayers.
Thequestioninstandingiswhetherapartyhasallegedsuchapersonalstakeintheoutcomeofthecontroversyas
to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely
dependsforilluminationofdifficultconstitutionalquestions.10
Wefindthatamongthepetitioners,onlySenatorPimentelhasthelegalstandingtofiletheinstantsuit.Theother
petitionersmaintaintheirstandingasadvocatesanddefendersofhumanrights,andascitizensofthecountry.They
have not shown, however, that they have sustained or will sustain a direct injury from the nontransmittal of the
signedtextoftheRomeStatutetotheSenate.Theircontentionthattheywillbedeprivedoftheirremediesforthe
protectionandenforcementoftheirrightsdoesnotpersuade.TheRomeStatuteisintendedtocomplementnational
criminal laws and courts. Sufficient remedies are available under our national laws to protect our citizens against
humanrightsviolationsandpetitionerscanalwaysseekredressforanyabuseinourdomesticcourts.
AsregardsSenatorPimentel,ithasbeenheldthat"totheextentthepowersofCongressareimpaired,soisthe
powerofeach member thereof,since his officeconfersarightto participate inthe exerciseof the powers of that
institution."11 Thus, legislators have the standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges
vestedbytheConstitutionintheirofficeandareallowedtosuetoquestionthevalidityofanyofficialactionwhich
theyclaiminfringestheirprerogativesaslegislators.ThepetitionatbarinvokesthepoweroftheSenatetograntor
withhold its concurrence to a treaty entered into by the executive branch, in this case, the Rome Statute. The
petitionseekstoordertheexecutivebranchtotransmitthecopyofthetreatytotheSenatetoallowittoexercise
such authority. Senator Pimentel, as member of the institution, certainly has the legal standing to assert such
authorityoftheSenate.
Wenowgotothesubstantiveissue.
The core issue in this petition for mandamus is whether the Executive Secretary and the Department of Foreign
AffairshaveaministerialdutytotransmittotheSenatethecopyoftheRomeStatutesignedbyamemberofthe
PhilippineMissiontotheUnitedNationsevenwithoutthesignatureofthePresident.
Weruleinthenegative.
Inoursystemofgovernment,thePresident,beingtheheadofstate,isregardedasthesoleorganandauthorityin
external relations and is the countrys sole representative with foreign nations.12 As the chief architect of foreign
policy,thePresidentactsasthecountrysmouthpiecewithrespecttointernationalaffairs.Hence,thePresidentis
vested with the authority to deal with foreign states and governments, extend or withhold recognition, maintain
diplomatic relations, enter into treaties, and otherwise transact the business of foreign relations.13 In the realm of
treatymaking,thePresidenthasthesoleauthoritytonegotiatewithotherstates.
Nonetheless,whilethePresidenthasthesoleauthoritytonegotiateandenterintotreaties,theConstitutionprovides
alimitationtohispowerbyrequiringtheconcurrenceof2/3ofallthemembersoftheSenateforthevalidityofthe
treatyenteredintobyhim.Section21,ArticleVIIofthe1987Constitutionprovidesthat"notreatyorinternational
agreementshallbevalidandeffectiveunlessconcurredinbyatleasttwothirdsofalltheMembersoftheSenate."
The1935andthe1973Constitutionalsorequiredtheconcurrencebythelegislaturetothetreatiesenteredintoby
theexecutive.Section10(7),ArticleVIIofthe1935Constitutionprovided:
Sec. 10. (7) The President shall have the power, with the concurrence of twothirds of all the Members of the
Senate,tomaketreatiesxxx.
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Section14(1)ArticleVIIIofthe1973Constitutionstated:
Sec.14.(1)ExceptasotherwiseprovidedinthisConstitution,notreatyshallbevalidandeffectiveunlessconcurred
inbyamajorityofalltheMembersoftheBatasangPambansa.
Theparticipationofthelegislativebranchinthetreatymakingprocesswasdeemedessentialtoprovideacheckon
theexecutiveinthefieldofforeignrelations.14Byrequiringtheconcurrenceofthelegislatureinthetreatiesentered
intobythePresident,theConstitutionensuresahealthysystemofchecksandbalancenecessaryinthenations
pursuitofpoliticalmaturityandgrowth.15
Infilingthispetition,thepetitionersinterpretSection21,ArticleVIIofthe1987Constitutiontomeanthatthepower
toratifytreatiesbelongstotheSenate.
Wedisagree.
JusticeIsaganiCruz,inhisbookonInternationalLaw,describesthetreatymakingprocessinthiswise:
The usual steps in the treatymaking process are: negotiation, signature, ratification, and exchange of the
instrumentsofratification.ThetreatymaythenbesubmittedforregistrationandpublicationundertheU.N.Charter,
althoughthisstepisnotessentialtothevalidityoftheagreementasbetweentheparties.
Negotiationmaybeundertakendirectlybytheheadofstatebuthenowusuallyassignsthistasktohisauthorized
representatives.Theserepresentativesareprovidedwithcredentialsknownasfullpowers,whichtheyexhibittothe
othernegotiatorsatthestartoftheformaldiscussions.Itisstandardpracticeforoneofthepartiestosubmitadraft
oftheproposedtreatywhich,togetherwiththecounterproposals,becomesthebasisofthesubsequent
negotiations.Thenegotiationsmaybebrieforprotracted,dependingontheissuesinvolved,andmayeven
"collapse"incasethepartiesareunabletocometoanagreementonthepointsunderconsideration.
Ifandwhenthenegotiatorsfinallydecideonthetermsofthetreaty,thesameisopenedforsignature.Thisstepis
primarilyintendedasameansofauthenticatingtheinstrumentandforthepurposeofsymbolizingthegoodfaithof
thepartiesbut,significantly,itdoesnotindicatethefinalconsentofthestateincaseswhereratificationof
the treaty is required. The document is ordinarily signed in accordance with the alternat, that is, each of the
severalnegotiatorsisallowedtosignfirstonthecopywhichhewillbringhometohisownstate.
Ratification,whichisthenextstep,istheformalactbywhichastateconfirmsandacceptstheprovisionsofatreaty
concludedbyitsrepresentatives.Thepurposeofratificationistoenablethecontractingstatestoexaminethe
treatymorecloselyandtogivethemanopportunitytorefusetobeboundbyitshouldtheyfinditinimical
totheirinterests.Itisforthisreasonthatmosttreatiesaremadesubjecttothescrutinyandconsentofa
departmentofthegovernmentotherthanthatwhichnegotiatedthem.
xxx
The last step in the treatymaking process is the exchange of the instruments of ratification, which usually also
signifiestheeffectivityofthetreatyunlessadifferentdatehasbeenagreeduponbytheparties.Whereratificationis
dispensed with and no effectivity clause is embodied in the treaty, the instrument is deemed effective upon its
signature.16[emphasissupplied]
PetitionersargumentsequatethesigningofthetreatybythePhilippinerepresentativewithratification.Itshouldbe
underscoredthatthesigningofthetreatyandtheratificationaretwoseparateanddistinctstepsinthetreatymaking
process.Asearlierdiscussed,thesignatureisprimarilyintendedasameansofauthenticatingtheinstrumentand
asasymbolofthegoodfaithoftheparties.Itisusuallyperformedbythestatesauthorizedrepresentativeinthe
diplomatic mission. Ratification, on the other hand, is the formal act by which a state confirms and accepts the
provisionsofatreatyconcludedbyitsrepresentative.Itisgenerallyheldtobeanexecutiveact,undertakenbythe
headofthestateorofthegovernment.17Thus,ExecutiveOrderNo.459issuedbyPresidentFidelV.Ramoson
November 25, 1997 provides the guidelines in the negotiation of international agreements and its ratification. It
mandatesthatafterthetreatyhasbeensignedbythePhilippinerepresentative,thesameshallbetransmittedtothe
Department of Foreign Affairs. The Department of Foreign Affairs shall then prepare the ratification papers and
forwardthesignedcopyofthetreatytothePresidentforratification.AfterthePresidenthasratifiedthetreaty,the
DepartmentofForeignAffairsshallsubmitthesametotheSenateforconcurrence.Uponreceiptoftheconcurrence
oftheSenate,theDepartmentofForeignAffairsshallcomplywiththeprovisionsofthetreatytorenderiteffective.
Section7ofExecutiveOrderNo.459reads:
Sec.7.DomesticRequirementsfortheEntryintoForceofaTreatyoranExecutiveAgreement.The
domesticrequirementsfortheentryintoforceofatreatyoranexecutiveagreement,oranyamendmentthereto,
shallbeasfollows:
A.ExecutiveAgreements.
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i. All executive agreements shall be transmitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs after their signing for the
preparationoftheratificationpapers.Thetransmittalshallincludethehighlightsoftheagreementsandthebenefits
whichwillaccruetothePhilippinesarisingfromthem.
ii. The Department of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to the endorsement by the concerned agency, shall transmit the
agreementstothePresidentofthePhilippinesforhisratification.Theoriginalsignedinstrumentofratificationshall
thenbereturnedtotheDepartmentofForeignAffairsforappropriateaction.
B.Treaties.
i.Alltreaties,regardlessoftheirdesignation,shallcomplywiththerequirementsprovidedinsubparagraph[s]1and
2, item A (Executive Agreements) of this Section. In addition, the Department of Foreign Affairs shall submit the
treatiestotheSenateofthePhilippinesforconcurrenceintheratificationbythePresident.Acertifiedtruecopyof
thetreaties,insuchnumbersasmayberequiredbytheSenate,togetherwithacertifiedtruecopyoftheratification
instrument,shallaccompanythesubmissionofthetreatiestotheSenate.
ii.UponreceiptoftheconcurrencebytheSenate,theDepartmentofForeignAffairsshallcomplywiththeprovision
ofthetreatiesineffectingtheirentryintoforce.
PetitionerssubmissionthatthePhilippinesisboundundertreatylawandinternationallawtoratifythetreatywhich
it has signed is without basis. The signature does not signify the final consent of the state to the treaty. It is the
ratificationthatbindsthestatetotheprovisionsthereof.Infact,theRomeStatuteitselfrequiresthatthesignatureof
the representatives of the states be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval of the signatory states.
RatificationistheactbywhichtheprovisionsofatreatyareformallyconfirmedandapprovedbyaState.Byratifying
atreatysignedinitsbehalf,astateexpressesitswillingnesstobeboundbytheprovisionsofsuchtreaty.Afterthe
treatyissignedbythestatesrepresentative,thePresident,beingaccountabletothepeople,isburdenedwiththe
responsibilityandthedutytocarefullystudythecontentsofthetreatyandensurethattheyarenotinimicaltothe
interestofthestateanditspeople.Thus,thePresidenthasthediscretionevenafterthesigningofthetreatybythe
Philippinerepresentativewhetherornottoratifythesame.TheViennaConventionontheLawofTreatiesdoesnot
contemplatetodefeatorevenrestrainthispoweroftheheadofstates.Ifthatwereso,therequirementofratification
of treaties would be pointless and futile. It has been held that a state has no legal or even moral duty to ratify a
treaty which has been signed by its plenipotentiaries.18There is no legal obligation to ratify a treaty, but it goes
withoutsayingthattherefusalmustbebasedonsubstantialgroundsandnotonsuperficialorwhimsicalreasons.
Otherwise,theotherstatewouldbejustifiedintakingoffense.19
It should be emphasized that under our Constitution, the power to ratify is vested in the President, subject to the
concurrenceoftheSenate.TheroleoftheSenate,however,islimitedonlytogivingorwithholdingitsconsent,or
concurrence,totheratification.20Hence,itiswithintheauthorityofthePresidenttorefusetosubmitatreatytothe
Senateor,havingsecureditsconsentforitsratification,refusetoratifyit.21Althoughtherefusalofastatetoratifya
treatywhichhasbeensignedinitsbehalfisaseriousstepthatshouldnotbetakenlightly,22suchdecisioniswithin
the competence of the President alone, which cannot be encroached by this Court via a writ of mandamus. This
CourthasnojurisdictionoveractionsseekingtoenjointhePresidentintheperformanceofhisofficialduties.23The
Court,therefore,cannotissuethewritofmandamusprayedforbythepetitionersasitisbeyonditsjurisdictionto
compeltheexecutivebranchofthegovernmenttotransmitthesignedtextofRomeStatutetotheSenate.
INVIEWWHEREOF,thepetitionisDISMISSED.
SOORDERED.
REYNATOS.PUNO
AssociateJustice
WECONCUR:
HILARIOG.DAVIDE,JR.
ChiefJustice
ARTEMIOV.PANGANIBANLEONARDOA.QUISUMBING
AssociateJusticeAssociateJustice
(onofficialleave)
CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGOANGELINASANDOVALGUTIERREZ
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AssociateJusticeAssociateJustice
(onofficialleave)
ANTONIOT.CARPIOMA.ALICIAAUSTRIAMARTINEZ
AssociateJusticeAssociateJustice
(onofficialleave)
RENATOC.CORONACONCHITACARPIOMORALES
AssociateJusticeAssociateJustice
ROMEOJ.CALLEJO,SR.ADOLFOS.AZCUNA
AssociateJusticeAssociateJustice
DANTEO.TINGAMINITAV.CHICONAZARIO
AssociateJusticeAssociateJustice
CANCIOC.GARCIA
AssociateJustice

CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above
DecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourt.
HILARIOG.DAVIDE,JR.
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
*Onofficialleave.
1Article1,RomeStatute.
2Article5,RomeStatute.
3Annex"B"ofPetition,Rollo,p.101.
4Article25,RomeStatute.
5Article18,ViennaConventionontheLawofTreatiesreads:

Article18
Obligationnottodefeattheobjectandpurposeofatreatypriortoitsentryintoforce
AStateisobligedtorefrainfromactswhichwoulddefeattheobjectandpurposeofatreatywhen:
(a) it has signed the treaty or has exchanged instruments constituting the treaty subject to ratification,
acceptanceorapproval,untilitshallhavemadeitsintentionclearnottobecomeapartytothetreatyor
(b) it has expressed its consent to be bound by the treaty, pending the entry into force of the treaty and
providedthatsuchentryintoforceisnotundulydelayed.
6Section3,Rule65,1997RulesofCivilProcedure.
7Legaspivs.CivilServiceCommission,150SCRA530(1987).
8Joyavs.PresidentialCommissiononGoodGovernment,225SCRA568(1993).
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9224SCRA792(1993).
10Gonzalesvs.Narvasa,337SCRA733(2000).
11DelMarvs.PhilippineAmusementandGamingCorporation,346SCRA485(2000).
12Cortes,ThePhilippinePresidency:AStudyofExecutivePower(1966),p.187.
13Cruz,PhilippinePoliticalLaw(1996Ed.),p.223.
14Cortes,supranote12,p.189.
15Bayanvs.Zamora,342SCRA449(2000).
16Cruz,InternationalLaw(1998Ed.),pp.172174.
17Bayanvs.Zamora,supranote15.
18SalongaandYap,PublicInternationalLaw(5thEdition),p.138.
19Cruz,InternationalLaw,supranote16,p.174.
20Bayanvs.Zamora,supranote15.
21Cruz,InternationalLaw,supranote16,p.174.
22SalongaandYap,supranote18.
23SeeSeverinovs.GovernorGeneral,16Phil.366(1910).
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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