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Interpretation/Construction of the Constitution.

Francisco vs. House of Representatives
G.R. No. 160261
On 2 June 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices of the
Supreme Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public
trust and other high crimes." The complaint was endorsed by House
Representatives, and was referred to the House Committee on Justice on 5 August
2003 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. The House
Committee on Justice ruled on 13 October 2003 that the first impeachment
complaint was "sufficient in form," but voted to dismiss the same on 22 October
2003 for being insufficient in substance.

The following day or on 23 October 2003, the second impeachment complaint
was filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B. Fuentebella
with the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representative against
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative
inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. The second impeachment
complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed
by at least 1/3 of all the Members of the House of Representatives. Various petitions
for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus were filed with the Supreme Court against
the House of Representatives, et. al., most of which petitions contend that the filing
of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it violates the provision
of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment proceedings
shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one

Issue: Whether or not the filing of the second impeachment complaint against Chief
Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives is constitutional.


No, because the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario
G. Davide, Jr. is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.
Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the
impeachment complaint and referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial
action taken thereon. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the
foregoing manner, another may not be filed against the same official within a one
year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court made reference to the use of well settled principles of
constitutional construction, namely: First, verba legis. i.e., whenever possible, the
words used in the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except where
technical terms are employed. Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis et

. The words of the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the intent of the framers.anima.. the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. ut magis valeat quam pereat. i.e. Third.