G.R. No.

L-19201 June 16, 1965 xxx xxx xxx

REV. FR. CASIMIRO LLADOC, petitioner, The petitioner impugns the, fairness of the
vs. assessment with the argument that he should not
The COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE and The be held liable for gift taxes on donation which he
COURT of TAX APPEALS, respondents. did not receive personally since he was not yet the
parish priest of Victorias in the year 1957 when
Hilado and Hilado for petitioner. said donation was given. It is intimated that if
Office of the Solicitor General for respondents. someone has to pay at all, it should be petitioner's
predecessor, the Rev. Fr. Crispin Ruiz, who
PAREDES, J.: received the donation in behalf of the Catholic
parish of Victorias or the Roman Catholic Church.
Sometime in 1957, the M.B. Estate, Inc., of Bacolod City, Following petitioner's line of thinking, we should be
donated P10,000.00 in cash to Rev. Fr. Crispin Ruiz, then equally unfair to hold that the assessment now in
parish priest of Victorias, Negros Occidental, and question should have been addressed to, and
predecessor of herein petitioner, for the construction of a collected from, the Rev. Fr. Crispin Ruiz to be paid
new Catholic Church in the locality. The total amount was from income derived from his present parish where
actually spent for the purpose intended. ever it may be. It does not seem right to indirectly
burden the present parishioners of Rev. Fr. Ruiz for
On March 3, 1958, the donor M.B. Estate, Inc., filed the donee's gift tax on a donation to which they were
donor's gift tax return. Under date of April 29, 1960, the not benefited.
respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued an
assessment for donee's gift tax against the Catholic Parish xxx xxx xxx
of Victorias, Negros Occidental, of which petitioner was the
priest. The tax amounted to P1,370.00 including We saw no legal basis then as we see none now,
surcharges, interests of 1% monthly from May 15, 1958 to to include within the Constitutional exemption,
June 15, 1960, and the compromise for the late filing of the taxes which partake of the nature of an excise
return. upon the use made of the properties or upon the
exercise of the privilege of receiving the properties.
Petitioner lodged a protest to the assessment and (Phipps vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 91
requested the withdrawal thereof. The protest and the F [2d] 627; 1938, 302 U.S. 742.)
motion for reconsideration presented to the Commissioner
of Internal Revenue were denied. The petitioner appealed It is a cardinal rule in taxation that exemptions from
to the Court of Tax Appeals on November 2, 1960. In the payment thereof are highly disfavored by law, and
petition for review, the Rev. Fr. Casimiro Lladoc claimed, the party claiming exemption must justify his claim
among others, that at the time of the donation, he was not by a clear, positive, or express grant of such
the parish priest in Victorias; that there is no legal entity or privilege by law. (Collector vs. Manila Jockey Club,
juridical person known as the "Catholic Parish Priest of G.R. No. L-8755, March 23, 1956; 53 O.G. 3762.)
Victorias," and, therefore, he should not be liable for the
donee's gift tax. It was also asserted that the assessment The phrase "exempt from taxation" as employed in
of the gift tax, even against the Roman Catholic Church, Section 22(3), Article VI of the Constitution of the
would not be valid, for such would be a clear violation of Philippines, should not be interpreted to mean
the provisions of the Constitution. exemption from all kinds of taxes. Statutes
exempting charitable and religious property from
After hearing, the CTA rendered judgment, the pertinent taxation should be construed fairly though strictly
portions of which are quoted below: and in such manner as to give effect to the main
intent of the lawmakers. (Roman Catholic Church
... . Parish priests of the Roman Catholic Church vs. Hastrings 5 Phil. 701.)
under canon laws are similarly situated as its
Archbishops and Bishops with respect to the xxx xxx xxx
properties of the church within their parish. They
are the guardians, superintendents or WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing
administrators of these properties, with the right of considerations, the decision of the respondent
succession and may sue and be sued. Commissioner of Internal Revenue appealed from,

is hereby affirmed except with regard to the the merit of the above claim, and in order to put things in
imposition of the compromise penalty in the their proper light, this Court, in its Resolution of March 15,
amount of P20.00 (Collector of Internal Revenue v. 1965, ordered the parties to show cause why the Head of
U.S.T., G.R. No. L-11274, Nov. 28, 1958); ..., and the Diocese to which the parish of Victorias pertains,
the petitioner, the Rev. Fr. Casimiro Lladoc is should not be substituted in lieu of petitioner Rev. Fr.
hereby ordered to pay to the respondent the Casimiro Lladoc it appearing that the Head of such
amount of P900.00 as donee's gift tax, plus the Diocese is the real party in interest. The Solicitor General,
surcharge of five per centum (5%) as ad in representation of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue,
valorem penalty under Section 119 (c) of the Tax interposed no objection to such a substitution. Counsel for
Code, and one per centum (1%) monthly interest the petitioner did not also offer objection thereto.
from May 15, 1958 to the date of actual payment.
The surcharge of 25% provided in Section 120 for On April 30, 1965, in a resolution, We ordered the Head of
failure to file a return may not be imposed as the the Diocese to present whatever legal issues and/or
failure to file a return was not due to willful neglect.( defenses he might wish to raise, to which resolution
... ) No costs. counsel for petitioner, who also appeared as counsel for
the Head of the Diocese, the Roman Catholic Bishop of
The above judgment is now before us on appeal, petitioner Bacolod, manifested that it was submitting itself to the
assigning two (2) errors allegedly committed by the Tax jurisdiction and orders of this Court and that it was
Court, all of which converge on the singular issue of presenting, by reference, the brief of petitioner Rev. Fr.
whether or not petitioner should be liable for the assessed Casimiro Lladoc as its own and for all purposes.
donee's gift tax on the P10,000.00 donated for the
construction of the Victorias Parish Church. In view here of and considering that as heretofore stated,
the assessment at bar had been properly made and the
Section 22 (3), Art. VI of the Constitution of the Philippines, imposition of the tax is not a violation of the constitutional
exempts from taxation cemeteries, churches and provision exempting churches, parsonages or convents,
parsonages or convents, appurtenant thereto, and etc. (Art VI, sec. 22 [3], Constitution), the Head of the
all lands, buildings, and improvements used exclusively for Diocese, to which the parish Victorias Pertains, is liable for
religious purposes. The exemption is only from the the payment thereof.
payment of taxes assessed on such properties
enumerated, as property taxes, as contra distinguished The decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby
from excise taxes. In the present case, what the Collector affirmed insofar as tax liability is concerned; it is modified,
assessed was a donee's gift tax; the assessment was not in the sense that petitioner herein is not personally liable
on the properties themselves. It did not rest upon general for the said gift tax, and that the Head of the Diocese,
ownership; it was an excise upon the use made of the herein substitute petitioner, should pay, as he is presently
properties, upon the exercise of the privilege of receiving ordered to pay, the said gift tax, without special,
the properties (Phipps vs. Com. of Int. Rec. 91 F 2d 627). pronouncement as to costs.
Manifestly, gift tax is not within the exempting provisions of
the section just mentioned. A gift tax is not a property tax, Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes,
but an excise tax imposed on the transfer of property by J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., and
way of gift inter vivos, the imposition of which on property Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
used exclusively for religious purposes, does not constitute Barrera, J., took no part.
an impairment of the Constitution. As well observed by the
learned respondent Court, the phrase "exempt from
taxation," as employed in the Constitution (supra) should
not be interpreted to mean exemption from all kinds of
taxes. And there being no clear, positive or express grant
of such privilege by law, in favor of petitioner, the
exemption herein must be denied.

The next issue which readily presents itself, in view of
petitioner's thesis, and Our finding that a tax liability exists,
is, who should be called upon to pay the gift tax? Petitioner
postulates that he should not be liable, because at the time
of the donation he was not the priest of Victorias. We note

Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang
Petitioner, Kabataan Elections, amending RA No. 7160, as

- versus - Present: amended, otherwise known as the Local
Government Code of 1991):
Sec. 2. Term of Office. The
GO, RENATO F. BORBON, CARPIO, term of office of
LEVVINO CHING, CARLOS C. CORONA, all barangay and sangguniang kabat
aan officials after the effectivity of
this Act shall be three (3) years.
EMMANUEL M. CALMA, MANUEL NACHURA, No barangay elective official
shall serve for more than three (3)
EUFEMIO S. ALFONSO, JESUS M. BRION, consecutive terms in the same
LACANILAO, BONIFACIO N. PERALTA, position: Provided, however, That
ALCAPA, JOSE H. SILVERIO, BERSAMIN, the term of office shall be reckoned
from the
PAUNAN, MARIANO B. ESTUYE, ABAD 1994 barangay elections. Voluntary
renunciation of office for any length
ARTURO T. MANABAT, RICARDO of time shall not be considered as an
O. LIZARONDO, LETICIA C. interruption in the continuity of
MATURAN, RODRIGO A. ALAYAN, service for the full term for which the
LEONILO N. MIRANDA, elective official was elected.
FRANCISCO M. BAHIA, NESTOR The RTC granted the petition and declared the
R. FORONDA, VICENTE B. QUE, challenged proviso constitutionally infirm. The
JR., AURELIO A. BILUAN, DANILO present petition, filed by the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC), seeks a review of the
RTC decision.[1]
TANY V. CATACUTAN, AND November 20, 2009
x Before the October 29, 2007
----------------------------------------------------------- Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kaba
---------------------------- x taan (SK) Elections, some of the then incumbent
DECISION officials of several barangays of Caloocan
City[2] filed with the RTC a petition for
BRION, J.: declaratory relief to challenge the
constitutionality of the above-highlighted
We resolve in this Decision the
proviso, based on the following arguments:
constitutional challenge, originally filed before
the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, I. The term limit
Branch 128 (RTC), against the following of Barangay officials should be
highlighted portion of Section 2 of Republic Act applied prospectively and not
(RA) No. 9164 (entitled An Act Providing for retroactively.

II. Implementation of Clearly, the intent of the framers of
paragraph 2 Section 2 of RA No. the constitution (sic) is to exempt
9164 would be a violation of the the barangay officials from the three
equal protection of the law. (3) term limits (sic) which are
otherwise applicable to other elected
III. Barangay officials public officials from the Members of
have always been apolitical. the House of Representatives down
to the members of
the sangguniang bayan/panlungsod. I
t is up for the Congress whether the
The RTC agreed with the respondents
three (3) term limit should be applied
contention that the challenged by enacting a law for the purpose.
proviso retroactively applied the three-term limit
for barangay officials under the following The amendment introduced by R.A.
reasoning: No. 8524 merely increased the term
of office of barangay elective
When the Local Government officials from three (3) years to five
Code of 1991 took effect abrogating (5) years. Like the Local
all other laws inconsistent therewith, Government Code, it can be noted
a different term was ordained. Here, that no consecutive term limit for the
this Court agrees with the position of election of barangay elective
the petitioners that Section 43 of the officials was fixed therein.
Code specifically
exempted barangay elective officials The advent of R.A. 9164
from the coverage of the three (3) marked the revival of the consecutive
consecutive term limit rule term limit for the election
considering that the provision of barangay elective officials after
applicable to these (sic) class of the Local Government Code took
elective officials was significantly effect. Under the assailed provision
separated from the provisions of of this Act, the term of office
paragraphs (a) and (b) of barangay elective officials
thereof. Paragraph (b) is indeed reverted back to three (3) years from
intended to qualify paragraph (a) of five (5) years, and, this time, the
Section 43 as regards to (sic) all local legislators expressly declared that
elective officials no barangay elective official shall
except barangay officials. Had the serve for more than three (3)
intention of the framers of the Code consecutive terms in the same
is (sic) to include barangay elective position. The petitioners are very
officials, then no excepting proviso clear that they are not assailing the
should have been expressly made in validity of such provision fixing the
paragraph (a) thereof or, by three (3) consecutive term limit rule
implication, the contents of for the election of barangay elective
paragraph (c) should have been officials to the same position. The
stated ahead of the contents of particular provision the
paragraph (b). constitutionality of which is under
attack is that portion providing for
xxxx the reckoning of the three (3)

Congress amendment introduced by R. Section 43(c) of the Local Although the Constitution grants Government Code does not provide Congress the power to determine for the consecutive term limit rule such successive term limit of barangay elective officials.A. The 1994 barangay elections. violates the constitutionally 9164 is not a mere restatement of enshrined principle of equal Section 43(c) of the Local protection of the laws. Such of barangay elective officials. the specific provision of the Code has in exercise of the authority granted fact amended the previous shall not otherwise transgress other enactments (R. If we allow such In declaring this retroactive application premise.A.A. consecutive term limit Congress is [sic] to classify of barangay elective officials elective barangay officials as beginning from the belonging to the same class of public 1994 barangay elections. the barangay elective officials were singled out that their consecutive True. No. has violated not only the principle of 8524 would be rendered nugatory in prospective application of statutes view of such retroactive but also the equal protection clause application. paragraph 2 of R. a these barangay officials shall be cursory reading of the petition would counted retroactively while the show that the petitioners are not consecutive limit for other local and claiming vested right to their office national elective officials are counted but their right to be voted upon by prospectively. But. For if the purpose of . then the term of office for those officials elected in the unconstitutional. As discussed above. 9164 the three (3) consecutive term limit provides for a three-year term rule for barangay officials to the of barangay elective officials.A. 9164. constitutional and statutory 6679) providing for the consecutive privileges. [3] provision is valid and constitutional. 6653 and R. which legislature clearly intended that the reverted back to the previous policy provision of RA No. However. such specific provision This Court cannot subscribe to the of the Local Government Code was position of the respondent that the amended by R. officers whose term of office are limited to three (3) consecutive xxx terms. then to discriminate them by applying the proviso retroactively Section 2. Government Code. no person has a vested right to term limit shall be counted a public office.A. term limit rule of barangay elective officials. the RTC explained that: 1997 barangay elections should have ended in year 2000 and not year By giving a retroactive reckoning of 2002 considering that RA No. the same not being retroactively. This is absurd and of the Constitution inasmuch as illusory. There is no rhyme or property within the contemplation of reason why the consecutive limit for constitutional guarantee. 9164 be made of fixing consecutive term limits effective in 1994 and that such of barangay elective officials.

Hence. The COMELEC lastly argues that enactments no such restrictions were there is no violation of the one subject-one title imposed. The COMELEC also argues that the RTCs invalidation of RA No. It further asserts that laws which are xxxx not penal in character may be applied retroactively when expressly so provided and To this court. constitution [sic] that every bill must 9164. As there is title of the act on the retroactivity of no vested right to public office.the electorate without being retroactivity of the term limits be burdened by the assailed provision of germane to the synchronization of an the law that. particularly on the provision of the the alleged retroactive application of RA No. has been AS THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT specifically provided in RA No. embrace only one subject to be expressed in the title thereof. hence. the challenged law would still be THE COURTS RULING insufficient for how can a . and RA CODE OF 1991 AND FOR OTHER No. 7160 (the PROVIDING FOR THE SYNCHRONIZED BARANGAY AN Local Government Code of 1991 or LGC) and is D SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN ELE not a penal law. there can be no valid objection to posed a serious constitutional breach. rendered them election x x x x. ACT 7160 OTHERWISE KNOWN according to the COMELEC. 7160. The three-term limit. 9164 merely restated the three-term PURPOSES. sufficiency of the title of the bill.[4] ineligible to run for their incumbent positions. the non-inclusion in the when it does not impair vested rights. it cannot be considered CTIONS. by assailing the otherwise unconstitutional provision. as the matters covered by RA No. much less to an the reckoning of the term limits elective post. 9164 are related. RA No. The challenged laws title is AN ACT 9164 is an amendatory law to RA No. the Court likewise agrees The Petition with the petitioners that the law violated the one-act-one subject rule The COMELEC takes the position that the embodied in the Constitution. Such right to run for office and be voted for by the electorate is The COMELEC moved to reconsider this the right being sought to be protected decision but the RTC denied the motion. x x x x assailed law is valid and constitutional. AMENDING REPUBLIC an ex post facto law. x x x x limitation. in effect. the assailed provision is actually Even if this Court would apply the usual test in determining the embraced within the title of the law. the present petition on a pure question of law. when under the previous principle. rule. Moreover. 9164 essentially involves x x x the Court is of the view that the the wisdom of the law the aspect of the law that affected barangay officials were not sufficiently given notice that they the RTC has no right to inquire into under the were already disqualified by a new constitutional separation of powers act.

power was shall constitute the presiding officer centralized nationally in the governor and members of the Sangguniang general and locally in Barangay (Barangay Council) the encomiendero and later. 557. the Philippines. the chief who needed a salary. really to their pre-Spanish names -- [5] and we quote: by PD. The RTC found in the Revised Administrative legally erred when it declared the challenged Code of 1916 and later in the Revised Administrative Code of proviso unconstitutional. six elective sangguniang barangay me After the Americans colonized mbers. 1917. Quoting from Juan de ilman. They had a term of the gobernadorcillo. COMELEC. were word barangay is derived from the retained. barangay counc these shores. powers of government. barangay secretary Plasencia. Historian Conrado Benitez wrote that the barangay was ruled by Pursuant to Sec. the titles of the Malay balangay. 1577. a boat which officials were changed transported them (the Malays) to to barangay captain. they six Kagawads ng Sangguniang Bara stripped the dato or rajah of his ngay (Barangay Councilmen). the laws a barangay treasurer. 86 and PD No. barrios were declared or history of the barangay political system as renamed barangays -. While the a Punong Barangay (Barangay Capta Spaniards kept the barangay as the in) and basic structure of government. in respectively were first elected the alcalde mayor and on May 17.a reversion outlined by this Court in David v. who powers. the kabataang barangay chairman. and formally recognized as quasi-municipal We find it appropriate. The the Barangay Charter.However. Under this Code. The position degenerated of 1983 also fixed the term of office from a title of honor to that of a mere of local elective officials at six government employee. 6 of Batas a dato who exercised absolute Pambansa Blg.We find the petition meritorious. 1982. During the martial law regime. barangay. who was elected by the local citizens possessing The Local Government Code property. governing barrio governments were . RA 3590. accepted the post. the punongbarangay. Only the poor years. to hark back to the pre-1987 Constitution Charter. functions under RA 3590. Instead. 222. RA 2370. Barrios were granted autonomy by the original Barrio Preliminary Considerations Charter. the barangays became known as a barangay secretary and barrios. a Franciscan missionary in and barangay treasurer. The dato or raja six years which began on June 7. No. h was much later renamed cabeza de 1982. Their basic organization and As a unit of government. which was the barangay antedated the Spanish expressly adopted as conquest of the Philippines. as a preliminary corporations by the Revised Barrio matter. no matter how officials of the barangay were low. For some time.

RODRIGO: Madam clarificator President.] proposed new section as The Constitutional Commissions deliberations submitted by on Section 8 show that the authority of Congress Commissi to legislate relates not only to the fixing of the oner term of office of barangayofficials. s as [Emphasis supplied. Madam B.P. reiterated What will that barangay officials shall hold be the office for six years. and stated that term of the their election was to be held on the office second Monday of May nineteen of barang hundred and eighty eight and on the ay official same day every six years thereafter. to barangays under Article X. except barangay officials.] provided for? The 1987 Philippine Constitution MR. which provides: nt Code? SEC. DAVIDE: As may be extended constitutional recognition determined by law. elective local officials. . DAVIDE: Yes. Blg. 881. shall be three years and no such THE PRESIDENT: Is there official shall serve for more than any other three consecutive terms. y question. The and following deliberations of the Constitutional accepted Commission are particularly instructive on this by the Committe point: e? MR. but also to Davide the application of the three-term limit. xxxxxxxxx which shall be determined by law. Voluntary comment? renunciation of the office for any Is there length of time shall not be considered any as an interruption in the continuity of objection his service for the full term for which to this he was elected. Election Code. [Emphasis supplied. The term of office of MR. Local supplemented by Section 8 of the same Article Governme X. NOLLEDO: As provided specifying barangays as one of the territorial for in the and political subdivisions of the country. NOLLEDO: One MR. 8. the Omnibus President. Section 1 by MR.

however. and n on the they in turn. 6653. MR. That determine no kagawad shall serve for more d by than two (2) consecutive law. the barangay election originally it was scheduled by Batas Pambansa Blg. 881[7] on the then the stand of second Monday of May 1988 was reset to the the second Monday of November 1988 and every Chairman five years thereafter by RA No. the the punong barangay was to be chosen by restrictio seven kagawads from among themselves. So it terms. The term of office the term of barangay officials shall be for five of barang (5) years from the first day of ay official January following their s must be election. RODRIGO: I just wanted had on that clear in the the terms record. 2. 6653 changed the term of office Committe of barangayofficials and introduced a term e on Local limitation as follows: Governm ents that SEC. DAVIDE: Yes. were to be elected at large by .[6] [Empha of office did not sis supplied. RODRIGO: So that is up to Congress to decide. does this number prohibitio of n to serve reelection for more s will be than three included consecuti in the ve terms Local apply Governm to barang ent Code. [Emphasis supplied] is now for the law to determine whether Under Section 5 of RA No. 6653.[8] Section of the 2 of RA No. MR. DAVIDE: Madam President. Provided. ay official s? MR.] include the baran gay officia After the effectivity of the 1987 ls because Constitution. the voting that we MR.

postponed and reset to March 28. That no barangay official shall serve for (b) No local elective official more than three (3) consecutive shall serve for more than three (3) terms. full term for which the elective official concerned was elected. 1992 or such date as may be election of barangay officials on the provided for by law. may be recalled for votes shall be the punong barangay and in the loss of confidence by an absolute majority vote event of a tie. 6653 are hereby therein. except that of second Monday of May 1994 and on elective barangay officials: Provided. the manner of election of (c) The term of office the punong barangay was changed of barangay officials and members Section 5 of the law provided that while the of the sangguniang kabataan shall seven kagawads were to be elected by the be for three (3) years. More than two (2) years after the The election date set by RA No. the same day every five (5) years That all local officials first elected thereafter. Term of Office. -. Their term shall be for five during the local elections (5) years which shall begin on the immediately following the first day of June following the ratification of the 1987 Constitution election and until their successors shall serve until noon of June 30. the second Monday of November 1988 was 7160 (the LGC) introduced the following postponed yet again to March 28. The punong barangay. which shall registered voters of the barangay. qualified: Provided. The elections Election. 1. (a) The x x of barangay officials set on the x punong barangay shall be elected second Monday of November 1988 at large x x x by the qualified voters by Republic Act No. RA No. effectivity of this Code shall be three (3) years. Manner of SEC. shall have been elected and 1992. there shall be a drawing of lots of the Sangguniang Barangay. 6679 whose pertinent provision states: SEC. They shall serve a term SEC. consecutive terms in the same position. 1989 by RA changes in the law: No. (t)he begin after the regular election .embodied in a under the supervision of the Commission on resolution that shall necessarily include Elections. 41. the punong barangays successor. 6653 on 1989 barangay elections. Significantly.the barangay electorate. 1989. .(a) which shall begin on the first day The term of office of all local of May 1989 and ending on the elective officials elected after the thirty-first day of May 1994. candidate who obtains the highest number of under Section 6 of the law. starting from noon of June There shall be held a regular 30. Voluntary renunciation of The barangay elections shall the office for any length of time shall be nonpartisan and shall be not be considered as an interruption conducted in an expeditious and in the continuity of service for the inexpensive manner. 43.

The three-year seven (7) sangguniang term limitation provision survived all these barangay members. 2007. -. Congress has plenary authority under the Constitution to Subsequently or on February 14. RA No. 2005 under RA No. Composition. determine by legislation not only the duration of 1998.The Sangguniang barangay. a barangay secretary and a barangay treasurer. election shall be the reckoning point for the Given the textually demonstrable commitment application of the three-term limit.] In passing upon the issues posed to us. which states that the 1994 of barangay officials and their term limitation. we clarify at the outset the parameters of our This law started the direct and separate powers. but also the of office of barangay officials under Section 43 application to them of a consecutive term of the LGC to five (5) years. 387. 2005 when RA No. 9164 introduced the following authority when it enacted no less than six significant changes: (1) the term of office (6) barangay-related laws since 1987. three years after or on July 25. Chief Officials and incumbent barangay officials due to expire at Offices. Congress invariably exercised this 2002. RA No. Term -. the barangay officials should not serve a longer Congress had determined at its discretion both term than their supervisors. 390. [Emphasis supplied. election of the punong barangay by the qualified voters in the barangay and not by the seven As reflected in the above-quoted (7) kagawads from among themselves. was by the 1987 Constitution to Congress of the . On March 19. of barangay officials on the second introduced. the sangguniang changes. Yet another change was introduced Monday of May 1994. to noon of November 30. Barangay shall be composed of the punong Officials barangay as presiding officer. the Limits for legislative body of the barangay. of barangay officials was again fixed at three years on the reasoning that Through all these statutory changes. kabataanchairman.(a) There shall be in noon of November 30. Congress Plenary xxxxxxxxx Power to Legislate SEC. 9340 extended the term of the then SEC. limit. 9164 each barangay a punong barangay.[10] and (2) the the length of the term of office challenged proviso.[9] deliberations of the 1987 Constitution. 8524 changed the three-year term the term of barangay officials. and and the seven (7) regular sanguniang Judicial barangay members elected at large Power and the sanguniang kabataan chairman as members.

Estrada v. courts can declare a law invalid when it is judicial scrutiny can now be inquired into under contrary to any provision of the the limited window provided by Section 1. as every law enjoys a strong expanded the power of judicial presumption of constitutionality.[12] trimming the so called political thicket. in its wisdom. Article VIII of the Constitution power of doing nothing. It is from this prism that we shall government. xxxx Political questions refer to those questions which. courts are given a greater and limition of barangay officials under the prerogative to determine what it can do to prevent grave abuse of Constitution. previously impervious to route. as framed by the to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion respondents. the therefore resolve this case.authority to determine the term duration however. Other than the Section 1. are to be decided Thus. In sync and symmetry with this intent are other and to the judicial authority to invalidate any law provisions of the 1987 Constitution contrary to the Constitution. decides on excess of jurisdiction on the part of these matters are political questions beyond the any branch or instrumentality of pale of judicial scrutiny. regard to which full discretionary although the window provided us is narrow. not legalityof a particular measure. The legal issues posed jurisdiction on the part of any branch relate strictly to compliance with constitutional or instrumentality of standards. the breach of the Constitution must To a great degree. Heretofore. Constitution. we consider it established that discretion amounting to lack or whatever Congress. the 1987 be clear and unequivocal. To justify its nullification. concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom. or in enactment despite the political question doctrine. not a doubtful or Constitution has narrowed the reach of the political doctrine when it equivocal one. which are legally demandable and enforceable but also The present case. not on the basis of we quote: the wisdom of the enactment. it is to justify our intervention. and provided by the Constitution.[15] These are the review of this court not only to settle hurdles that those challenging the constitutional actual controversies involving rights validity of a law must overcome. Desierto[14] best challenged law against the legal standards describes this constitutional development. Article VIII [13] These questions.[11] subject only to government. judiciary has focused on the thou shalt nots of the Constitution directed The against the exercise of its jurisdiction. under the Constitution. we can inquire into a congressional by the people in their sovereign capacity. the new the certiorari jurisdiction of the courts provided provision did not just grant the Court under Section 1. the authority has been delegated to the legislative challenge must show grave abuse of discretion or executive branch of the government. This requires the appraisal of the Article VIII. poses no challenge on the issue of amounting to lack or excess of grave abuse of discretion. With the new provision. Retroacti ve . Clearly.

was of subject matters. 1994 barangay elections. expressly relate to one another. Qualifications and previous barangay election laws. b. the three-term limit under Section second barangay law (RA No. it was to all local elective officials who must perforce continued under the LGC and can still be include barangay officials. Congress. it applies 1987 Constitution took effect. After only six months. 7160 when it amended all officials. 43(a). changed the two- on Issue term limit by providing for a three-consecutive term limit. of the law. apply to all local elective officials. 7160 the LGC challenged provisos constitutionality is its followed. except to the extent that they limitation for barangay officials was RA No. Thereafter. Title II is divided The respondents argued that the term into several chapters dealing with a wide range limit. provided. the RTC fully agreed with These Title II provisions are intended to the respondents position. Disciplinary Actions (signed into law on March 19.Applicati under RA No. unless the contrary is clearly provided. limit. 9164 Succession (Chapter II). as originally worded. 43(a) 6653 (1988). it imposed a two-consecutive term relates to the term of local elective officials. Our apply to barangay officials whose length of term own reading shows that no retroactive is specifically provided by Section 43(c). This consistent imposition of the term a. A contrary Our first point of disagreement with the application is provided with respect to the length respondents and with the RTC is on their of the term of office under Section 43(a). as follows: a. it does not limitation was made under RA No. Title II applied retroactively when it made the term likewise contains a chapter on Local Legislation limitation effective from the (Chapter III). RA No. except barangay officials whose term of office is . for a three-term term limit when it set the limit for barangay officials. while position that a retroactive application of the term it applies to all local elective officials. 9164. 6679) after the 43(b) does not contain any exception. Interpretative / Historical Consideration limit gives no hint of any equivocation in the congressional intent to provide a term The respondents first objection to the limitation. We differ with the 1994 barangay elections as a reckoning point in RTC analysis of this issue. (b) and (c) separately from one another as independently standing and self-contained The first law that provided a term provisions. c. As the appealed ruling quoted above shows. We find this obvious from a reading of the historical development An alternative perspective is to view Sec. Thus. Vacancies and re-introduced for the first time by RA No. found in the current law.Hence. bringing with it the issue of whether it purported retroactive application of the three. Sec. In application was made because the three-term contrast to this clear case of an exception to a limit has been there all along as early as the general rule. the application of the three-term limit. 6679 (1988). Recall (Chapter V). Section 43 is a provision under Title II of the LGC on Elective Officials. 2002) and was (Chapter IV) and d. allrelating to local elective not in RA No. it was Election (Chapter I). although present in the previous laws.

43(c). Thus. the term background of Section 43(c) a backdrop that we limitation applies to all local elective officials painstakingly outlined above. In comparison. so that in the to the term of office while Section 43(b) refers absence of any term limitation proviso under this to the three-term limit. these same RA No. From a historical perspective of the law. The real concern was how To be sure. Either perspective. the term of office of barangay officials was five (5) years. We fully resolved the issue in the Section 43(b) refers to all local elective officials cited David v. both of which speak of the inclusion of Section 43(c) in the LGC is an the same resulting interpretation. Section 43(a) plainly refers to local brought to us via a petition filed by no less than elective officials. a general three-year term and paragraph (c) is the specific law for all local elective officials under Section on barangay officials. That Congress had the read together as one organic whole in the way LGCs three-term limit in mind when it enacted the RTC suggested. without any exclusion or qualification. standing alone. Their separate topics additionally that it intended to provide the complete rule for strengthen their distinction. Recall that under RA No. 6679. Their respective coverages therefore vary so that one Section 43(c) should therefore be cannot be said to be of the same kind as the understood in this context and not in the sense other. categorical three-year term for these officials. is not notwithstanding. is flawed for two reasons. Section 43(a) refers the election of barangay officials. Comelec. 43(b). Without a categorical statement on the and (b) of Section 43 are the general law for length of the term of office elective officials (other than barangay officials). which it is found in Title II of the LGC. may not readily and paragraph (c) on term limitation completely erase doubts on the intended for barangay officials indicates the legislative abrogation of the 5-year term intent to exclude barangay officials from the for barangay officials under RA No.separately provided under Sec. 1997. application of the three-term limit. 6679. as the Section 43 would interface with RA No. without exclusions or exceptions. of barangay officials. it may be argued. that the First. except the President of the Liga ng Mga Barangay in elective barangay officials. relates to all local elective because of its total disregard of the historical officials without any exception. Sec. the RTC interpretation is flawed by its express terms. Second. 9164 is clear from the following distinctions apply between Sec. deliberations in the House of Representatives . These differences alone subsection. History tells us. reading Section 43(a) and (b) unequivocal provision of Section 43(c) together to the exclusion of Section 43(c). an issue on what is the exact justified by the plain texts of these term of office of barangay officials was still provisions. 43(b) and (c). Congress added Section 43(c) which provided a however. that paragraphs (a) 6679. Significantly. respondents and the RTC did. This reading. Thus. such that the silence of 43(a). no term limitation applies indicate that Sections 43(a) and (b) cannot be to barangay officials. is the correct absolute necessity to clarify the length of term legal import of Section 43 in the context in of barangay officials. of course.

REP. LOBREGAT. Majority Leader. this REP. E. It says in Section 4.R. LOBREGAT. So that the first election is to limits has been placed.(House) on House Bill No. REP. E. the term of permission of my Chairman. with the clarification. The Honorable will be the third. E.) The Honorable Gentleman from Zamboanga City. REP. REP. There was an REP. points of REP. MACIAS. The term like to address the question of of office of all Barangay Congressman Lobregat. ESCUDERO. supplied. LOBREGAT. as far as the Barangay election is concerned. Your where the three consecutive term Honor. After the adoption of but in the Local Government Code the Local Government Code. is just THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. [Emphasis be reckoned on. Please proceed. Mr. xxx xxx REP. which led to the following exchanges in the House Committee on Amendments: . I would office.). So there was an election in 1994. Yes. MACIAS. Speaker. Thank you very much. No Barangay elective official shall serve for more than three (3) REP. became RA No. And there will be next to interpellate is the Gentleman an election this year from Zamboanga City. THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. REP. Speaker. 9164: Speaker. Espinosa. I think it is the position Constitution and that is why the of the committee that the first term election prior to 1991 during the should be reckoned from election of enactment of the Local what year. 2002: REP.] 1994. This Espinosa. Again. SUMULONG.R. election in 1997. Speaker. and sangguniang kabataan officials after the effectivity of this Act shall THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. Espinosa. MACIAS. limits of Barangay Captains that is not provided for in the Mr. Mr. Lobregat is recognized. LOBREGAT. 4456 which later REP. Mr.R. MARCH 5. I ask that the Honorable Lobregat be recognized.R. Speaker? Government Code is not counted because it is not in the Constitution REP. 1997. Mr.). SUMULONG. Then an election in THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. MACIAS. Sumulong is recognized. Willingly to the Espinosa. LOBREGAT. Mr. Mr. With respect to consecutive terms in the same the three-year consecutive term position. SUMULONG. Speaker. would be May 8. be three years. Speaker. election this year. Speaker. Then it says. Mr.). That is correct. E.

Gonzalez). the of this Act shall be three (3) years. Speaker. law. Speaker. SEC. proviso is its way of addressing any confusion that may arise from the numerous changes in the THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Rep. more than three (3) consecutive terms in the Retroactivity of laws is a matter of civil same position COLON (:) PROVIDED. So that the amended constitutional challenge to the proviso based on Section 4 now reads as follows: retroactivity must fail. COMMITTEE ON AMENDMENTS The House therefore clearly operated on the premise that the LGC imposed a three-term limit REP. Term of b. GONZALES. HOWEVER. The Chair recognizes the distinguished Chairman of the All these inevitably lead to the conclusion that Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms. the respondents ELECTIONS. the challenged proviso has been there all along and does not simply retroact the application of REP. Mr. if any. 1994.) and add the statutory changes into a seamless whole by following: PROVIDED HOWEVER coming up with the challenged proviso. line 7. Article 4 of the Civil Code RECKONED FROM THE provides that laws shall have no retroactive 1994 BARANGAY ELECTIO effect unless the contrary is provided. law. 4. and the challenged amendment. as its governing THAT THE TERM OF law is the Civil Code. not of a constitutional law. The term of office of Constitutional Standard all barangay and sangguniang kabataan officials after the effectivity Separately from the above reason. Mr. on page the three-term limit to the barangay elections of 2. Voluntary renunciation application of the Civil Code is of course self- of office for any length of time shall not be considered explanatory laws enacted by Congress may as an interruption in the permissibly provide that they shall have continuity of service for the . Congress merely integrated the past substitute the period (. 2002 elective official was elected. No Involvement of Any Office.[16] not the OFFICE SHALL BE Constitution. SYJUCO. full term for which the March 6. THAT THE TERM OF OFFICE SHALL BE RECKONED FROM THE 1994 BARANGAY With this conclusion. The NS. constitutional challenge must fail for a more fundamental reason the respondents retroactivity No barangay elective objection does not involve a violation of any local official shall serve for constitutional standard. May we now proceed to committee for barangay officials. after the word position.

however. there is no vested right to an statutory right conferred by law. It elective local posts. the RTC agreed with this holding a public office. Elections where we ruled that SK membership which was claimed as a property right within the The closest the issue of retroactivity of meaning of the Constitution is a mere statutory laws can get to a genuine constitutional issue is right conferred by if a laws retroactive application will impair law. contention. Commission on [19] statutory norm. is a vested right to life. Aware of this legal reality. Montesclarosinstructively tells us: vested rights. Only those who qualify as SK members can contest. as we find Again. any act In the present case. too.Congress may amend at any elective post in view of the uncertainty inherent time the law to change or even in electoral exercises. As the Constitution voted upon by the electorate without being expressly states. as these are the ones that may in the law cannot complain of being be considered protected by the due process deprived of a proprietary right to SK clause of the Constitution. Otherwise stated. petition to come under this claimed right is merely a restatement of a the due process of law claim of vested right to a public office.retroactive effect. No one has a vested burdened by a law that effectively rendered them right to any public office. One who is no longer involved. it would be Constitution clearly provides is the power of necessary to consider Congress to prescribe the qualifications for an office a property. qualified because of an amendment liberty or property. much less ineligible to run for their incumbent a vested right to an expectancy of positions.[18] thus. if a right has already vested in an individual and a subsequent Congress exercises the power to prescribe the law effectively takes it away. What the prohibition. not a constitutional standard. a [P]ublic office is a public trust. the respondents never disqualifying them from SK raised due process as an issue. well settled x x x that a eligibility for an elective local post is a matter public office is not for Congress. decided in 1920. to decide. Gabriel. a genuine due qualifications for SK process issue may arise. In Cornejo v. But even membership or from voting in the SK assuming that they did. Again. based on a statutory right. the respondents elections. withdraw the statutory right. We property within the dealt with a strikingly similar issue . the Court already ruled: We do not agree with the RTC. not for the courts. if at all. membership. the respondents A public office is not a theorized instead that they had a right to be property right. for this no such right under the Constitution. The Civil Code established a in Montesclaros v. however. the question of is. SK membership is not a themselves concede that there is no vested right property right protected by the to public office.[17] As the COMELEC correctly Constitution because it is a mere pointed out. What should be membership.

[Emphasis supplied. but where maximum age for membership in the every officer accepts SK. equality among equals. sense of the involvement in public affairs. x define who are the youth qualified to x x The basic idea of join the SK. the insist on being part of the youth. Those who do not that of a popular qualify because they are past the age representative group defined as the youth cannot government. the equality guaranteed under cannot bestow on petitioners a this clause is equality under the same conditions proprietary right to SK membership and among persons similarly situated. Section 43(b) of RA No. he cannot invoke any no one man or set of property right to cling to his men has a proprietary office. should the three-term limit. treatment of persons who are different from one Moreover. one where retirement age. Essentially. they cannot invoke any property office pursuant to the right to cling to their SK provisions of the law membership. In officers being mere government service. the challenged proviso did not provide for the Petitioners. while the State another on the basis of substantial distinctions policy is to encourage the youths related to the objective of the law. which itself is a creation the government x x x is of Congress. which provides: Nor shall any person be directing equal access to denied the equal protection of the opportunities for public service laws. In the same manner. not similarity of officio public offices. and (2) the constitutional challenge office. who apparently retroactive application to barangay officials of desire to hold public office. since or contractual right to petitioners are now past the an office. It is or a proprietary expectancy to ex. a proprietary right or even a proprietary expectancy to sit in local The Equal Protection Clause Issue legislative councils. this constitutional policy refers to those who belong to guaranties of due the class of people defined as the process of law.Congress has the power to public trust or agency. when things . we find no merit in the trust for the people he respondents retroactivity arguments because: (1) represents. Article proprietary claim to public office. but is a youth. The constitutional principle of a public The equal protection guarantee under the office as a public trust precludes any Constitution is found under its Section 2. Even the State policy III. once an agents and not rulers of employee reaches mandatory the people. the law does not confer on petitioners norm. realize from the very start that no one 9164 simply continued what had been there has a proprietary right to public before. While the law makes an SK based on retroactivity was not anchored on a officer an ex-officio member of a constitutional standard but on a mere statutory local government legislative council.] and holds the office as a To recapitulate.

The provision merely calls for all parts of other local elective officials because the an act relating to its subject finding Constitution itself provides a significant expression in its title. No equal protection violation can requirement that the subject of an act shall be expressed exist under these conditions.[20] constitutional requirement and the test for its application. The law legislation as well as surreptitious can treat barangay officials differently from and/or unconsidered encroaches. not be an abstract or index of the Act. no matter . it left the length rule that of term and the application of the three-term limit or any form of term limitation for Constitutional provisions relating to the determination by Congress through legislation. expressed in the has been compliance with the Constitution itself. we see no sufficient if the title be reason to apply the equal protection clause as a comprehensive enough standard because the challenged proviso did not reasonably to include the general object which a statute result in any differential treatment seeks to effect. subject matter and titles of Not only does this disparate treatment recognize statutes should not be so substantial distinctions. Violation of the Constitutional xxxx One Subject. the Court laid down the limit for local elective officials. without between barangay officials and all other elective expressing each and every end and means necessary or officials. Executive circumstances. The clear distinction. This conclusion proceeds from our convenient for the ruling on the retroactivity issue that the accomplishing of that object. distinction between these elective officials with respect to length of term and term To determine whether there limitation. is that while the Constitution constitutional requirement that the subject of an act shall be expressed provides for a three-year term and three-term in its title. Every bill passed by the Congress shall indicated in the title. The treatment. it recognizes as well that narrowly construed as to cripple or impede the power the Constitution itself allows a non-uniform of legislation.or persons are different in facts or expressed in the title thereof. may contain embrace only one subject which shall be any number of provisions. Farias v. as follows: Appreciation of how the constitutional The proscription is aimed equality provision applies inevitably leads to the against the evils of the so-called conclusion that no basis exists in the present omnibus bills and log-rolling case for an equal protection challenge. they may be treated differently in Secretary[21] provides the reasons for this law. The title need retroactive application.Mere details need not challenged proviso does not involve any be set forth.One Title Rule x x x This Court has held that an act having a single general subject. in its title should receive a reasonable and not a technical construction. It is From another perspective.

public. that the accordingly AFFIRM the constitutionality of challenged proviso does not violate the one the challenged proviso under Section 2. subject-one title rule. This natural linkage demonstrates that term limitation is not foreign . Costs against the respondents. WHEREFORE. First. as amended. premises considered. To achieve synchronization of the barangay and SK elections. otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991. to require the inclusion of term of the purposes. this is not what the constitutional have not received the notice. action and study of the legislators and the requirement contemplates. nature and scope of the laws xxxx provisions. An Act Providing for SO ORDERED. the nature and scope limitation in the title of RA No. Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kaba ARTURO D. the congressional debates we method and means of carrying out cited above show that the legislators and the the general subject. how diverse they may be. and may be considered in furtherance of such subject by providing for the Second. 7160. paragraph 2 of Republic Act No. 9164. the reconciliation of the varying lengths of the terms of office of barangayofficials and SK officials is necessary. states the laws general subject matter the amendment of the LGC to synchronize the barangay and SK elections and for other purposes. so long as to the general subject expressed in the title of the they are not inconsistent with or law. and prevent the the title an index of all the subject matters dealt enactment into law of matters which with by law. BRION Associate Justice taang Elections. amending Republic Act No. public they represent were fully informed of the purposes. the avowed purpose of the constitutional directive that the the legislators and the public. Term limitation therefore received the notice. subject of a bill should be embraced in its title is to apprise the legislators Finally. we GRANT the petition and We find. under these settled parameters. 9164. consideration. and action from both x x x Moreover. 9164 is to make of its provisions. foreign to the general subject. the title of RA No. Closely related with length of term is term limitation which defines the total number of terms for which a barangay official may run for and hold office.

headed by COMELEC copies of the MCOCs have been lost. Due to the consistent denial by the SPBOC-Maguindanao of the repeated and On 4 July 2007. Maguindanao.G. Pimentel assailed the proceedings before the NBC and its constituted Special Provincial Board of Canvassers for f) there was no evidence or indication that the copy Maguindanao (SPBOC-Maguindanao) in which the 2 MCOCs had been posted as intended by law. ZUBIRI. and the unworthy and unfit for canvass. In particular. respondents. 2008 Nicodemo T. Abalos. the 11 a) the proceedings were illegal. Board of Canvassers for Maguindanao (PBOC- Maguindanao). petitioner Aquilino L. k) that it has not been established that the other Task Force Maguindanao. Maguindanao was then tasked to re-canvass the MCOCs THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC SITTING submitted by Task Force Maguindanao.R. retrieved and collected 21 MCOCs from the municipalities of Maguindanao. candidates with the highest number of votes had already been officially proclaimed and had taken their oaths of b) the MCOCs were palpably manufactured. and conducted by the NBC. stamped. At the time of filing of the Petition. Pimentel’s Quo Ante Order). the candidates’ legal counsels were not CHICO-NAZARIO. 178413 March 13. were marred by irregularities. around two months after the said elections.: allowed to ask them any questions.2 Chairman Benjamin S. Although PES Bedol and the SANTOS. acting as the National d) there is no basis for saying the MCOCs were Board of Canvassers (NBC). PCOC (Bedol PCOC) and other electoral documents submitted by the said PBOC-Maguindanao were tainted j) that the manner the "re-canvassing" which was with fraud and statistical improbabilities. Public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc. The re-canvassing AS THE NATIONAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS. THE of the Maguindanao MCOCs was conducted by the SPECIAL PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS FOR SPBOC-Maguindanao from 25 to 26 June 2007 at Shariff MAGUINDANAO CHAIRED BY ATTY. No. The SPBOC- vs. Zubiri (Zubiri). chaired by Provincial Election Supervisor i) that the MCOCs are therefore. improper. or AQUILINO L. Aguak. Ferrer. and Commissioner . Miguel F. Sr. the copy intended to be posted on the wall. office as Senators. The SPBOC-Maguindanao was created because the h) copy 2 of the MCOCs cannot be used for canvass proceedings held before the original Provincial canvass.] no watcher signed. Senator-elect in the 14 May 2007 elections. With other candidates conceding. Hence. Pimentel’s The Petition stemmed from the 14 May 2007 national counsel objected to the Maguindanao MCOCs because: elections for 12 senatorial posts. the Bedol being done where the parties are not allowed to PCOC was excluded from the national canvass then being ask questions was patently illegal. (PES) Lintang Bedol. e) in most of the MCOCs[. Chairpersons of the Municipal Boards of Canvassers of Maguindanao (MBOCs-Maguindanao) were present during DECISION the canvass proceedings before the SPBOC- Maguindanao. J. mostly copy 2. continued to conduct canvass authentic because there were no other available proceedings so as to determine the twelfth and last copies for comparison purposes.1 counsel manifested her continuing objection to the canvassing of the said MCOCs. PIMENTEL III. Provincial and Municipal Certificates of Canvass (PCOC and MCOCs) from the province of Maguindanao were g) the serial numbers of the MCOCs are not clearly respectively canvassed. and JUAN MIGUEL F. the only remaining contenders for the twelfth and final c) the results reflected in the MCOCs were senatorial post were Pimentel and private respondent Juan statistically improbable. Pimentel III persistent motions made by Pimentel’s counsel to (Pimentel) filed the present Petition propound questions to PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of for Certiorari and Mandamus (with Urgent Prayer for the MBOCs-Maguindanao regarding the due execution and Temporary Restraining Order and/or Status authenticity of the Maguindanao MCOCs. EMILIO S. petitioner.

allowing petitioner III. conducted by the NBC and SPBOC-Maguindanao in violation of his constitutional rights to substantive and 2. In the 1. to perform their from the procedure adopted in the canvass of ministerial constitutional duty of fully determining COCs from other provinces/areas. and adopted a procedure of "no questions" in the (b) COMPELLING or ORDERING respondent NBC canvass of COCs from Maguindanao. however. the SPBOC-Maguindanao submitted to the NBC the second PCOC for Maguindanao.All of the foregoing observations. and she was ordered to sit down before the application for a TRO is acted or she would be forcibly evicted from the session hall. After proper proceedings. The respondent NBC acted with manifest grave [Pimentel] to substantiate his claim of abuse of discretion when it refused to exercise its manufactured results and propound questions to broad. including. in the event that motion to exclude made by Pimentel’s counsel was once the proclamation of Respondent Zubiri is made again denied by the NBC. The upon. the due execution and authenticity of the MCOCs. Pimentel’s lead over Zubiri was significantly to maintain and preserve the situation of the parties reduced from 133. refused to May 14. JUDGMENT: (a) ANNULLING AND SETTING and in obvious partiality to Zubiri. The NBC. but not limited to. plenary powers in fully or accurately the officers concerned. The petitioner [Pimentel] was denied his right to canvassing" the collected MCOCs. ISSUE A STATUS QUO ANTE second Maguindanao PCOC was thus included in the ORDER requiring the parties to observe the status canvass proceedings conducted by the NBC and. 2007 I.000 votes to only 4. were simply noted petitioner [Pimentel] of the right to ventilate and by the SPBOC-Maguindanao without specific action prove his objections to the Maguindanao COCs. Pimentel’s counsel reiterated RESTRAINING ORDER enjoining the respondent her request to propound questions to PES Bedol and the Commission on Elections en banc sitting as the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and the National Board of Canvassers for Senators for the SPBOC-Maguindanao.3 thereon. until further orders from due execution of which had not been duly established. RENDER procedural due process and equal protection of the laws. 2007. Pimentel seeks from this Court the following remedies: On 29 June 2007. maintaining that the said PCOC did not reflect the based on the on-going senatorial canvass which true results of the elections because it was based on the includes the new/second Provincial Certificate of manufactured Maguindanao MCOCs. so as not to render the issues raised in this Petition moot and Pimentel averred that said canvass proceedings were academic. the Chairpersons ascertaining due execution. The petitioner [Pimentel] was denied his right to elections ("NBC") of including. on June 25. Pimentel’s counsel thereafter moved for with any proclamation (of the twelfth and last the exclusion of the second Maguindanao PCOC from the winner of the May 14. and Comelec in the exercise of such broad plenary objections made by Pimentel’s counsel. manifestations. or. in due process of law when the respondent SPBOC the national canvass of votes for Senators the and the respondent NBC adopted an results from the Province of Maguindanao as unconstitutional procedure which disallowed the reflected in its new/second Provincial Certificate of petitioner [Pimentel] the opportunity to raise Canvass as well as the proceedings and acts of the questions on the COCs subject of the canvass. as well as those powers. Pimentel thus filed the ASIDE for being unconstitutional and illegal the Petition at bar on 4 July 2007. Forthwith ISSUE A TEMPORARY proceedings before the NBC. It violated its own rules when it deprived made by the other candidates’ counsels. The this Court. the SPBOC. 2007. leading to the preparation of the SPBOC and the respondent NBC unconstitutionally new/second PCOC for Maguindanao. anchored on the following proceedings and acts of respondent Commission grounds: on Elections en banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for Senators for the May 14. at the time of the filing of this Petition. different and its deputy. quo at the time of the filing of the Petition. in order resultantly. on June 29. 2007 elections ("NBC") from proceeding grant her request. in the alternative. primarily. authenticity and fitness of the former PBOC and SPBOC of Maguindanao for the canvass of the MCOCs collected by the . respondent Special Provincial Board of Canvassers for Maguindanao ("SPBOC") in canvassing or "re- II. 2007 Elections for Senators) canvass. the authenticity and Canvass of Maguindanao.000 votes. 26 equal protection of the law when the respondent and 27.

Pimentel argued resolution. Court rules to dismiss the present Petition. for the annulment of Zubiri’s chaired by Atty. docketed as SET Case No. with Motion to Dismiss. but the conduct of the canvass proceedings thirteenth Senatorial candidates with the highest number of before the NBC and SPBOC-Maguindanao. Zubiri the proclamation of Zubiri as Senator. among other remedies.13 Zubiri sought the dismissal of the Petition at bar arguing that.984. duly elected Senator of the Philippines in the 14 May 2007 7166. Pimentel prays. Petition before this Court after the proclamation of therein private respondent Miranda as Congressman for the In the meantime. SET on 30 July 2007. filed their joint proclamation as the twelfth winning Senator in the 14 May Comment7 on even date. Moreover. After hearing the parties’ oral arguments. and proclamation pursuant to Resolution No. controversies involving his election and qualification as a Senator are now within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Pre-proclamation controversy/case Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET). Zubiri called the attention of the Court to and SPBOC-Maguindanao collectively sought the denial of the "glaring reality" that with G.292 dismissal. without any TRO and/or Status Quo Fourth District of Isabela. In Aggabao. while in the present case. Pimentel prayed for the denial of Zubiri’s On 19 July 2007. 001-07 before the SET. the case would be deemed submitted for Commission on Elections.17 amending Sections 30 and 15 of Republic Act No. NBC 07. Counter-Protest and Petition for a Pursuant to the Resolution5 dated 10 July 2007 issued by Preliminary Hearing on the Affirmative Defenses) on 13 this Court.16 However. proclaiming Zubiri as the twelfth 9369. thus. this his formal assumption of office on 16 July 2007. Ante Order from the Court. 001-07 and the 2007. just and equitable. The respondents Zubiri.15 Pimentel alleged were then directed to submit their respective Memoranda. that Zubiri’s Motion to Dismiss solely relied on Aggabao v. that Pimentel filed an Election Protest (Ex Abudante Ad Cautelam) before the Petitioner [Pimentel] also prays for other reliefs.004. He maintained votes in the 14 May 2007 elections. . "there (TRO) and/or Status Quo Ante Order and the dismissal of are now two cases involving the same parties with the instant Petition.R. arguments. Pimentel then reiterated his arguments in his votes over Pimentel. Memorandum that Sections 37 and 38 of Republic Act No. significantly affected and changed the elections. the canvass proceedings Pimentel already filed his Petition before this Court prior to before the NBC continued. Since the NBC found that his case was one of first impression and no existing that the remaining uncanvassed certificates of canvass jurisprudence could be used as precedent for its summary would no longer materially affect Zubiri’s lead of 19. it issued Resolution No. while the NBC and SPBOC-Maguindano. on 12 July 2007. and the NBC and SPBOC-Maguindanao. Emilio S. after which. to serve for a term of six years beginning 30 nature of canvass proceedings.14 dated 16 August 2007. The parties Manifestation with Motion to Dismiss). 178413 before this Pimentel’s application for Temporary Restraining Order Court and SET Case No. NBC 07-67 and evidence presented by all the parties before this Court. and the extent of allowable pre- Constitution. NBC. 001-07. Pimentel. In his election protest. in consideration of his After a close scrutiny of the allegations. Based on the foregoing. with Zubiri submitting that Aggabao cannot be applied to the instant Petition his Memorandum9 on 31 July 2007. voted seven for the grant and seven for the denial of Pimentel’s prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or Status On 23 August 2007." Zubiri Pimentel’s prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or Status also pointed out Pimentel’s ostensible failure to inform this Quo Ante Order was set for oral arguments on 13 July Court of his institution of SET Case No. Manifestation. the Court subsequent developments therein.10 on 1 August because of the difference in the factual backgrounds of the 2007. Zubiri filed with this Court a Manifestation Motion to Dismiss.11 on 10 two cases. Pimentel filed before this Court his Quo Ante Order. Zubiri filed his Comment6 on the Petition at bar August 2007. 67. and by 14 July 2007. said prayer was deemed denied for Comment/Opposition (to Private Respondent’s failure to garner the required majority vote.807 asserted that his Petition questioned not Zubiri’s votes) were respectively ranked as the twelfth and proclamation.099 votes) and Pimentel (with 10. Santos.18 respectively. practically the same issues and similar remedies sought filed before the two (2) separate courts/tribunals.12 dated 14 July 2007. 2007 elections. No. and the Chairpersons of the Municipal Boards of Zubiri further informed the Court through a Canvassers of Maguindanao. proclamation controversies in Senatorial elections.8 All the parties complied. Pimentel (with 11. under the premises. the nature of the duty of June 2007 in accordance with the provisions of the canvassing boards.4 to which Zubiri filed his Answer Ad Cautelam (With Special Affirmative Defenses. therein petitioner Aggabao filed his August 2007.

Vice-President. transmission. – intimidation. or and Member of the House of Representatives. 19. However. – Pre- affecting the proceeding of the board of canvassers proclamation cases involving provincial. the aggrieved candidate or candidates. City and Municipal Offices. and Member of the House of Representatives. the returns and certificates of canvass. but adding the reference to the certificates of order has been issued by the Supreme Court in a canvass. to wit: SEC. 241. identified the issues that may be subject of a pre- proclamation controversy. providing for synchronized be deemed affirmed. 21 and 22 parties before the board or directly with the hereof. Pre-proclamation Cases Not Allowed in 3) The election returns/certificates of canvass were Elections for President. – A pre-proclamation SEC. 2007. or contain However. custody and appreciation of results of which materially affected the standing of the election returns or the certificates of canvass. contain material defects. 16. Section 15 of Sections 233. without prejudice to the filing national and local elections. pre-proclamation of a regular election protest by the aggrieved party. 15. and the certificates of canvass shall be brought in the first 2) The canvassed election returns/certificates of instance before the board of canvassers only. dated 17 April petition for certiorari. as to elections for President. otherwise known as the Omnibus controversies are allowed in local elections.19 Commission determines that the petition appears meritorious and accordingly issues an order for the Essentially reiterating Section 243 of the Omnibus Election proceeding to continue or when an appropriate Code. Pre-proclamation Controversies: How Commenced. SEC. or they are obviously manufactured or For purposes of the elections for President. custody and Commission shall be deemed terminated at the appearance of the election returns. Issues that may be raised in pre. the transmission. 17. and President. – Questions affecting the SEC. or any matter raised under Sections 233. custody and appearance of election basis of the evidence thus far presented. the other authentic copies thereof as mentioned in pre-proclamation cases are prohibited. coercion. Definition. with the Commission. 235 and 236 of the Omnibus Republic Act No. receipt. 37. transmission. Vice- not authentic. However. custody and of Canvassers. receipt. threats. Commission. 7166. 7166. prepared under duress. receipt. controversies refer to matters relating to the preparation. 234. Vice-President. matters raised proclamation controversy: under Sections 233. appear to be tampered with or falsified. city and which may be raised by any candidate or by any municipal officer shall be allowed and shall be registered political party or coalition of political governed by Sections 17. 234. read: Election Code. 235 and 236 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to the 1) Illegal composition or proceedings of the Board preparation. as the case may be. COMELEC Resolution No. as follows: Section 16 of Republic Act No. 7166: SEC. According to Election Code of the Philippines. proceedings may continue when on the transmission. appreciation of the election returns. beginning of the term of the office involved and the rulings of the boards of canvassers concerned shall Under Republic Act No. receipt. 881. return/certificates of canvass were canvassed.A pre-proclamation controversy has been defined by Batas Pre-proclamation cases to resolve pre-proclamation Pambansa Blg. 7859. and Members of the House of Representatives. 235 and 236 in relation to the All pre-proclamation cases pending before the preparation. no pre-proclamation cases shall 4) When substitute or fraudulent election be allowed on matters relating to the preparation. 20. prior to its amendment. Pre-proclamation Cases Involving controversy is any question pertaining to or Provincial. However. canvass are incomplete. this does not preclude the authority of the appropriate canvassing body motu propio or upon written . 234. Senator. – The following shall be canvassers may be initiated in the board or directly proper issues that may be raised in a pre. composition or proceedings of the board of proclamation controversy. 18. Senator. discrepancies in the same returns/certificates or in Senators.

– . transmission. transmission. in the canvassers in Metro Manila Area. Vice-President. complaint of an interested person to correct Section 15 of Republic Act No. when these cases question the composition or proceedings of SEC. which was likewise cases in elections for President.22 To be manifest.21 respective proceedings. except as provided by must have been made before the board of canvassers and Section 30 of the same statute. senator. nonetheless. Vice-President. no pre-proclamation reason that the correction of manifest error will not prolong cases on matters relating to the preparation. it would appear that any pre-proclamation case relating to the preparation. and Member of of the board of canvassers may be initiated in the the House of Representatives. accordance with Section 19 hereof. 9369 significantly amended Section 15 of the canvassing body motu proprio or an interested person Republic Act No. 7166 was then worded. written complaint of an interested person to correct manifest errors in the certificate of canvass or As Section 15 of Republic Act No. after the amendment manifest errors in the certificate of canvass or introduced by Republic Act No. specifically noted in the minutes of their respective proceedings. 15. Senators and Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Senators and Members of the returns sought to be corrected and/or objections thereto House of Representatives. Members of the House of Representatives. which delay might result in a Any objection on the election returns before the city vacuum in these sensitive posts. recognizes an exception and allows Republic Act No. Vice-President. custody and appreciation of election returns or the the winner in the election. Pre-proclamation Cases in Elections for Questions affecting the composition or proceedings President. or on the custody and appreciation of election returns or the municipal certificates of canvass before the certificates of canvass. and member of the House of Representatives. Vice-President. transmission. considering that the effect of said delay is. 7166. custody and Questions affecting the composition or proceedings appreciation of election returns or certificates of canvass. to specifically noticed in the minutes of their leave the office without any incumbent. provides: and Members of the House of Representatives. The prohibition aims to avoid delay in the proclamation of the winner in the election. receipt. accordance with Section 19 hereof. board or directly with the Commission in Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. except provincial board of canvassers or district boards of as provided for in Section 30 hereof. Senators amended by Republic Act No. 30. receipt. for the simple According to the amended Section 15. Senator. Congress as the National Board of the board of canvassers before the board itself or the Canvassers for the Election of President and Vice COMELEC. in elections for President. However. shall be case of national offices for which there is no hold over. or on the delay the proclamation of the winning candidate beyond municipal certificates of canvass before the the date20 set for the beginning of his term of office must be provincial board of canvassers or district board of avoided. the process of canvassing nor delay the proclamation of receipt. vice-president.23 The law likewise permits pre-proclamation Section 30 of Republic Act No. National Board of Canvassers for the election of senators:Determination of Authenticity and Due Execution of Certificates of Canvass. 9369. no pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed on matters Any objection on the election returns before the city relating to the preparation. (Emphasis supplied. now reads: election returns before it. – For purposes of board or directly with the Commission in the elections for president.) The law. Proceedings which may or municipal board of canvassers. Vice-President. as the case may be. 7166. 9369. Vice-President. canvassers in Metro Manila Area. the errors must certificates of canvass shall be allowed in elections for appear on the face of the certificates of canvass or election President. 7166 by adding an excepting phrase to to file a written complaint for the correction of manifest the general prohibition against pre-proclamation errors in the election returns or certificates of canvass even controversies in elections for President. shall be this does not preclude the authority of the specifically noted in the minutes of their respective appropriate canvassing body motu propio or upon proceedings. SEC. election returns before it. or municipal board of canvassers. since such cases do not directly relate to the President: The Commission en banc as the certificate of canvass or election returns. of the board of canvassers may be initiated in the was prohibited in elections for President.

Congress and the Commission en banc shall votes as they appear in the copies of the election determine the authenticity and due execution of the returns submitted to it. canvass requires the absence of discrepancy in comparison not only with other authentic copies of the said When the certificate of canvass. but also on That certified print copies of election returns or COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC for the election for certificates of canvass may be used for the Senators. not only on Congress acting as the NBC for the covered by the certificate of canvass: Provided. vice- presidential or senatorial candidate concerned or Indeed. (4) pursuant to the supporting statements. pre-proclamation cases shall adopt and apply the procedure provided in Sections 17 to 20 of the same When it appears that any certificate of canvass or statute. for the sole purpose of Sections 15 and 30 of Republic Act No. certificate of corresponding votes in words and figures. and Senators. and (4) there exists The highlighted portions in the afore-quoted section no discrepancy in the votes of any candidate in identify the amendments introduced by Republic Act No. such the board of canvassers of each province. (2) the third criterion for the determination of the purpose of verifying the existence of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of discrepancy. or a or by precinct bears erasures or alterations which printed copy of said election documents bearing a may cast doubt as to the veracity of the number of simulated certification or image shall be penalized as an votes stated herein and may affect the result of the election offense. the board of canvassers. 19 and 20. and their copy of an election return. The . or statement of vote. specifically: (1) the duty to determine the authenticity against the aggregate number of votes and due execution of certificates of canvass is now appearing in the election returns of precincts imposed. or a printed senator. election. upon request of the presidential. election for President and Vice-President. and (5) the use of a simulated copy of an election supporting statement of votes by city/municipality return. certificate of canvass.) discrepancy in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the certificate. words and figures in the certificate of canvass 9369. Congress or the Commission en banc. on a showing that: (1) each procedure on pre-proclamation controversies certificate of canvass was executed. shall. city or as the statements of votes. respectively. pre- verifying the actual number of votes cast for proclamation cases involving the authenticity and due President and Vice-President or senator. certificates of canvass was added. Vice-President. incompleteness. the certificates of canvass or in any of its shall be guilty of an election offense and shall supporting documents such as statement of be penalized in accordance with Batas votes by city/municipality/by precinct or Pambansa Blg. accomplished and transmitted to it by the local erasure or alteration as mentioned above. 9369 to as the case may be. 9369. appears to be incomplete the Senate determination of the authenticity and due execution of the President or the Chairman of the Commission. signed and shall be adopted and applied as provided in thumbmarked by the chairman and members of the Sections 17. permissible days from receipt of notice. (2) each Any person who presents in evidence a certificate of canvass contains the names of all of simulated copy of an election return. (Emphasis supplied. board of canvassers and transmitted or caused to be transmitted to Congress by them. be submitted by personal delivery within two (2) 7166. 18. 7166. count the execution of certificates of canvass are now allowed in elections for President. mandating the absence as the case may be shall require the board of of discrepancy between the number of votes of a candidate canvassers concerned to transmit by personal in a certificate when compared with the aggregate number delivery the election returns from polling places that of votes appearing in the election returns of the precincts were not included in the certificate of canvass and covered by the same certificate. Said election returns shall exception now provided in Section 15 of Republic Act No. but also with the supporting documents. this Court recognizes that by virtue of the his party. as the case may be. certificate the candidates for president and vice-president or of canvass or statement of votes. as amended by Republic Act No. (3) a fourth criterion for the district. (3) there canvass or statement of votes bearing a exists no discrepancy in other authentic copies of simulated certification or a simulated image. as In case of any discrepancy. duly certified by certificates. certificate of canvass for president and vice- president and senators. 881. amendments introduced by Republic Act No.

A pre- and rule on his objections to the Maguindanao MCOCs in proclamation case under Section 30 is allowed only as an what would undeniably be a pre-proclamation case. Undeniably. argues that No. receipt. The SPBOC-Maguindanao. He given criteria. canvassers. 7166 9369. He suspects the authenticity en banc acting as the NBC. the Proceedings before the SPBOC-Maguindanao general rule still is that pre-proclamation cases on matters relating to the preparation. in elections for President. decries the denial by the SPBOC-Maguindanao and the at least. with the duty to determine the mostly copy 2 or the copy for the wall. It is quite substantiate his claim that the Maguindanao MCOCs are explicit. as amended by Republic Act No. as amended by Pimentel insists that the SPBOC-Maguindanao and the Republic Act No. and (2) COMELEC en banc as the NBC for that copy 2 come from. which were Republic Act No. 9369. namely: NBC of the opportunity to question PES Bedol and the (1) Congress as the NBC for the election for President and Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao on "where did Vice-President. accept his evidence. custody and appreciation" of the said MCOCs by SPBOC-Maguindanao is not Congress nor COMELEC the SPBOC-Maguindanao. 7166. are strictly. the Maguindanao MCOCs at that stage by questioning there are recognized exceptions to the prohibition. namely: PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs- (1) correction of manifest errors.30 He is needed. There is no ambiguity in the said provision. 9369. the receipt. 7166. Where a general rule . what was the basis. on pre-proclamation controversies. as its name suggests. when was it the election for Senators. however. 9369. 9369.32 or discrepancies in the Maguindanao MCOCs. of applies to such a case the same procedure provided under Republic Act No. exceptions. custody The SPBOC-Maguindanao. what Pimentel seeks is that his pre. was The Petition at bar constituted to be of the same stature and to perform the same function as the PBOC-Maguindano: to canvass the Pimentel’s objections to the Maguindanao MCOCs delve Maguindanao MCOCs and prepare the Maguindanao into "matters relating to the preparation. it still cannot extend the scope of NBC should hear his observations. for such and (3) determination of the authenticity and due execution would be tantamount to a pre-proclamation case still of certificates of canvass as provided in Section 30 of prohibited by Section 15 of Republic Act No. falsification of. provisions rather than the exception. which are properly the subject of a pre-proclamation controversy. Respondents contend that Pimentel cannot initiate and and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general pursue a pre-proclamation case before the SPBOC. transmission. exception to the prohibition under Section 15 of Republic Ultimately.25 1926 and 2027 of Republic Act No. even Republic Act No. 7166. specifically charged by and due execution of the Maguindanao MCOCs used by Section 30 of Republic Act No. Sections 17. as a pre-proclamation case is apparent in the his pre-proclamation case is an exception to the prohibition fourth paragraph of the said provision which adopts and pursuant to Section 30. This Court rules for the respondents.28 because of the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of supposed mysterious circumstances surrounding the loss canvass submitted to it in accordance with the four or unavailability of any other copy of the said MCOCs. but reasonably construed. Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. in the conduct of its canvass and appreciation of election returns or certificates of proceedings. 7166. 7166. This is a case where the law is accomplished. alleged manufactured nature of the said MCOCs. how was it posted x x x". 9369. transmission. In sum. they extend only so far as their language fairly warrants. said provision to local boards of canvassers. as amended by the SPBOC-Maguindanao in its canvass. command. All that is called for is to apply the statutory raising issues related to the tampering with. 9369. 7166. properly refused to allow Pimentel to contest canvass are still prohibited. as amended by Republic Act in elections for Senators. 7166. in relation to Section 15.31 Even if there is still a need for this Court to construe Section 30 of Republic Act No. as amended by Republic Act No. as amended by Republic Act No. as to whom it imposes the duty.24 18.intention of Congress to treat a case falling under Section Maguindanao or the NBC. As with other general rules. Act No. No interpretation is palpably manufactured and are not fit for canvass. (2) questions affecting the Maguindanao and presenting evidence to prove the composition or proceedings of the board of canvassers. Pimentel. It speaks in a language that is categorical.29 and to clear. it is too plain to be misread. proclamation case be given due course by the boards of According to the rules of statutory construction. PCOC to be submitted to the NBC. since such a case is prohibited 30 of Republic Act No. as a general rule. Vice-President. after its amendment by Republic Act No.

the exception applies unlike regular courts or the COMELEC itself or the only to Congress or the COMELEC en banc acting as electoral tribunals (Presidential. only to The burden is upon Pimentel to establish that the Congress or the COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC Maguindanao MCOCs are manufactured. as amended by Republic Act No. the court will not canvassing of the election returns or certificates of canvass curtail the former nor add to the latter by implication. Pimentel’s insistence on being provision does not apply to elections for Members of the allowed to propound questions to PES Bedol and the House of Representatives. 7166. even to the canvass posted on the wall.is established by statute with exceptions. According to Section 43 of COMELEC proceedings before local boards of canvassers. They do not other exceptions. The SPBOC- before local boards of canvassers in elections for Senators Maguindanao was compelled to use copy 2 of the are unaffected by the amendment of Republic Act No.36 expressed exception or exemption excludes others. Vice-President. 9369. and not to local boards of canvassers who which are regular agencies of government tasked and must still be deemed covered by the prohibition on equipped for the purpose. 7166. positions. conversely. falsified or tampered with. Vice. falsification. as well as the tampering.38 Just For the same reasons stated in the preceding paragraphs. like copy 1 of the MCOCs. Moreover. copy 2 should be afforded the the four criteria enumerated by Section 30 of Republic Act presumption of authenticity as an official document No. as amended is that they are mostly copy 2 or the copy intended to be by Republic Act No. and that it is thus becomes even more evident. or settled that the local boards of canvassers. it recognizes the very limited No. Pimentel’s main objection to the Maguindanao Therefore. or tampering of SPBOC-Maguindanao in this case.33 A for as long as they appear to be authentic and duly maxim of recognized practicality is the rule that the accomplished on their face. 9369. Senate. nonetheless. and Members of the House of summary exclusion of clearly unacceptable certificates of Representatives. examine and decide on alleged election irregularities. Unless Pimentel is able pre-proclamation cases in elections for President.37 confine the application of Section 30 of Republic Act No. and Senators are canvassed by he has yet no actual evidence that the Maguindanao the NBC. Resolution No.35 copies of the MCOCs required to be prepared by the MBOCs should be considered duplicate originals. are not prepared by the MBOCs-Maguindanao in the regular mandatory on local boards of canvassers in their performance of their official functions. the . end with the local boards of canvassers. While this Court has time and pre-proclamation controversies. 7859. the time and even the competence to the enumerated exceptions are deemed included in the hear. in this case. The canvassing of votes for local elective MCOCs were indeed manufactured. refers only to elections for President. 7166. general rule. the NBC. The intent of the Legislature to functions and authenticity of official documents. 9369. Boards of canvassers are ad hoc bodies that exist only for The express mention of exceptions operates to exclude the interim task of canvassing election returns. it may be more susceptible to manufacture. as amended by Republic Act No. 9369. Senators. by Republic Act No. President. prohibits jurisdiction of MBOCs and PBOCs. although he has his suspicions. If the manufacture. considering that the said evident on the face thereof. those which are not within have the facilities. it would be contrary to the legislative intent to MCOCs used in the canvass by the SPBOC-Maguindanao extend Section 30 of Republic Act No. the MBOCs must transmit copy 1 of the MCOCs to the PBOC for use in This Court can only conclude that the canvass proceedings the provincial canvassing of votes. again expressed its abhorrence of the nefarious "grab the proclamation and prolong the protest" strategy of some It is also significant to note that Section 15 of Republic Act candidates. as amended by Republic Act No. may proceed with the copy 2 of the MCOCs is not apparent on its face. falsification. canvass. and House). It is already well. 7166.34 And. so as to guard against the the copy meant for the PBOC-Maguindanao does not paralyzation of canvassing and proclamation proceedings necessarily mean that copy 2 of the said MCOCs was that would lead to a vacuum in so important and sensitive manufactured. while Section 30 of the same statute. Copy 2 is no less determination of authenticity and due execution of the authentic than all the other copies of the MCOCs although certificates of canvass submitted to them. this Court must uphold the constitutional and as amended. They still remain administrative The fact that copy 2 of the Maguindanao MCOCs was not and summary in nature. 9369. dated 17 April 2007. to show cogently and clearly his entitlement to the President. legal presumption of regularity in the performance of official President and Senators. Exceptio firmat regulim in casibus non exceptis. 7166 Maguindanao MCOCs in the absence of copy 1 thereof. It must be borne in mind that Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and SPBOC- only the votes for national elective positions such as the Maguindanao reveals that. All the seven office as that of Senator of the Republic. including those for Members of the House of Representatives. Vice.

as amended by Republic Act No. this Court’s ruling in Pangarungan v. are more appropriate in a regular election submitted by the PBOC-Maguindanao after it found the protest. 9369. According to this criterion for authenticity and due PCOC contains any discrepancy when compared with its . election for Senators. the piercing of the veil of the said MCOCs. Maguindanao PCOC. To allow Pimentel to revive again exclude the second Maguindanao PCOC. NBC excluded from the national canvass the Bedol PCOC however. as accomplished and transmitted to them by irregularities and suspicious circumstances surrounding the local boards of canvassers. as this Court amended by Republic Act No. While it is true that having only one copy of the certificate of canvass may raise problems as to the determination by The SPBOC-Maguindanao determined that copy 2 of the the NBC of its authenticity and due execution since there Maguindanao MCOCs is authentic and duly executed on are no other copies to compare it with. as amended by Republic Act No. must be applied by the NBC to the second Act No. which. the SPBOC-Maguindanao was may deem necessary or appropriate. the COMELEC en banc acting as the NBC for the Republic Act No. as amended by Republic Act No. 7166. For the 14 May 2007 senatorial elections. PCOC. did not violate Section 30 of Republic 9369. while Pimentel insists otherwise. Thereafter. are no longer in SPBOC-Maguindanao. acting as the NBC. These issues. Pimentel posits that without any other copies certificates of canvass be taken into account and available for comparison. the NBC has the duty to by the SPBOC-Maguindanao is like granting him an determine the authenticity and due execution of the appeal. such is not the its face. as amended by Republic Act No. there must exist no the allegation in a regular election protest. wherein the parties may litigate all the legal and same to be tainted by irregularities and statistical factual issues raised by them in as much detail as they improbabilities. The authenticity and due execution when it denied Pimentel’s request to question PES Bedol of the Maguindanao MCOCs. 7166. compels or necessitates the the NBC. determined to be authentic. before the NBC the issue of authenticity and due execution of the Maguindanao MCOCs after a determination thereof As already declared by this Court. is still prohibited in proceedings before COMELEC en banc. All the six other copies are in existence and Pimentel asserts that in the absence of all the other copies have been distributed to the intended recipients. 9369. it is the PBOC which transmits the PCOC to facie regular on their face. the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass for President. then copy 2 of the Maguindanao compared with one another before one of them. the NBC for elections for Senators Hence. the proper subject According to Section 30 of Republic Act No. which re-canvassed the Maguindanao MCOCs and prepared and submitted to the NBC the second Proceedings before the COMELEC en banc acting as Maguindanao PCOC. 9369. as of a pre-proclamation controversy. may be used or included in the canvass. For the province of the Maguindanao MCOCs. there is no no allegation or proof that there is a discrepancy among way to apply the third criterion under Section 30 of the seven authentic copies of the second Maguindanao Republic Act No. involves the appreciation of copy 2 of the Maguindanao MCOCs by the SPBOC-Maguindanao. This issue situation in the Petition at bar. At least as far discrepancy in other authentic copies of the certificate or in as the proceedings before the local boards of canvassers any of its supporting documents such as the statement of are concerned.burden to prove the same falls on the candidate making execution of a certificate of canvass. except copy 2. shall determine local boards of canvassers for elections for Senators. It properly submitted the the NBC failed to comply with its duty under said provision.40 created. It has The SPBOC-Maguindanao prepared all seven copies of not been established to the satisfaction of this Court that the second Maguindanao PCOC. which had already been and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and determined by the SPBOC-Maguindanao. 7166. which appear prima Maguindanao. The resolution of the issues raised by Pimentel as to the respectively. a remedy which is without any statutory or certificates of canvass submitted to it in accordance with regulatory basis. the four criteria enumerated in Section 30 of Republic Act No. the four criteria enumerated in Section 30 of Similarly. first copy to the NBC for national canvassing of the votes for Senators. Vice-President and Senators. MCOCs cannot be deemed authentic and duly executed. votes by city/municipality/precinct and no discrepancy in Commission on Elections39 still holds true: it is not required the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the that all the other copies of the election returns or certificate. 7166. Neither is it shown that the second Maguindanao 9369. There is of the Maguindanao MCOCs. and his subsequent motion to issue before the NBC. 7166. Congress and the already declared.

deprived him of his right to due reason for taking away a person’s life. that the NBC benefit of the general law. as the phrase implies. It would thus appear to this Court to protect property from confiscation by legislative that the second Maguindanao PCOC passed the third enactments. Classic procedural due process issues are concerned with what kind of notice and what Pimentel alleges that the proceedings before the NBC and form of hearing the government must provide when the SPBOC-Maguindanao disallowing him from asking it takes a particular action. Laguio. There separate limits on government. This clause has been interpreted as imposing two Maguindanao regarding the Maguindanao MCOCs. liberty canvassing of votes. described as a responsiveness to the supremacy of reason. refers to the procedures that the government must follow before it deprives a person of life. Jr. or Due process and equal protection of the law property. and may . substantive due process looks to whether there is a sufficient justification for In City of Manila v. This standard is aptly purpose. there is indeed no merit in Pimentel’s guaranty insofar as their property is concerned. usually called is also no reason to exclude the second Maguindanao "procedural due process" and "substantive due PCOC from the national canvass of votes for Senators process. such as for protecting fundamental rights.S. of life. liberty or property. 7166. Maguindanao. and private corporations and partnerships are "persons" within the scope of the Given the foregoing. is being deprived of: life. Hon. But if it is an area where strict scrutiny is There is no controlling and precise definition of due used. and as This Court finds Pimentel’s argument of deprivation of due such it is a limitation upon the exercise of the police process problematic since he has not established what he power. process. For example. forfeiture. liberty. property. in each necessary to achieve a compelling government appropriate case. he might have been leading in the governmental encroachment against the life. to wit: States (U. questions regarding the Maguindanao asks whether the government has an adequate PCOC and MCOCs. liberty. At the time he filed The purpose of the guaranty is to prevent the instant Petition.) tells us that whether there is such a justification depends very much on the level of The constitutional safeguard of due process is scrutiny used. liberty or property without due process of law substantive due process is met so long as the law x x x. from seizure. obedience to the dictates of justice. did not apply them to the second Maguindanao PCOC or that the second Maguindanao PCOC actually failed to The guaranty serves as a protection against meet any of them. there to all persons equal and impartial justice and the is no sufficient allegation. to secure the individual ongoing. In other words.. As for the three other criteria. and no winner for the twelfth and last senatorial from the arbitrary exercise of the powers of the post had been proclaimed. unrestrained by the established the elective post prior to the termination of the canvass principles of private rights and distributive justice. liberty. request before the NBC to still question PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and SPBOC. provided by the law. arbitrary regulation. be valid. 9369. much less proof. certain election officials. or property. Substantive due process. yet the canvass proceedings were still and property of individuals. and to secure Republic Act No. and criterion for its authenticity and due execution as provided destruction without a trial and conviction by the in Section 30 of Republic Act No.41 this Court already the government’s action." after its authenticity and due execution had been determined by the NBC in accordance with the criteria Procedural due process.supporting documents. if a law is in an area embodied in the fiat "(N)o person shall be deprived where only rational basis review is applied." is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose. Case law in the United provided a discourse on due process. May he already claim a right to government. as amended by ordinary mode of judicial procedure. He was a candidate in the senatorial elections. as that phrase connotes. such as PES Bedol and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao and SPBOC. It furnishes though a standard to which then the government will meet substantive due governmental action should conform in order that process only if it can prove that the law is deprivation of life. or process. proceedings and his proclamation as winner.

such a right be considered a property right which he The afore-described procedure does not provide any party cannot be deprived of without due process? These were the opportunity to question and confront election officials clearly substantial and weighty issues which Pimentel did and other witnesses. manifestation. Within 24 hours from the submission of the governing the same. manifestation. Simultaneous respect to his observations. and objections. or contest shall also admitted that he did not submit his written observations. Pimentel can claim that he was denied procedural canvassers are meant to avoid any delay in the due process when he was not allowed by the NBC and the proclamation of the elected official. and banc. supposedly the criteria provided in Section 30 of Republic Act No. contest. or contest in the form presented in the canvass proceedings. which were duly noted. But even on this point. it shall automatically defer the manifestations. in elections for proceedings of the Maguindanao votes before the NBC Senators. 7166. he was still able. Within the equal protection of the laws was violated when the NBC same 24-hour period. through his counsel. As for the COMELEC en substantive. the NBC or the local different from the procedure adopted in the canvass of the board of canvassers shall take up the assailed election certificates of canvass from other provinces/areas. It may have been allowed on not address. as the case may be. this Court notes that although Pimentel was not able to propound questions to the election officials involved in the Any objection or manifestation concerning a certificate of preparation and canvassing of the Maguindanao MCOCs canvass before the NBC. The limitations on the powers and duties of the boards of At most. as amended by Republic Act No. deprived him of life. this Court cannot argue and occasion by the boards of canvassers. . After going over his allegations. Asking election officials questions and protest. liberty. There is no statute or regulation expressly And as a final observation on the matter of due process. must be the said certificates. acting as the NBC. necessarily ripen into a legally demandable right. this Court finds authenticity and due execution of the certificates of that Pimentel cannot invoke denial of substantive due canvass shall be limited only to those submitted before it process because he is not assailing any law. the party concerned must submit but Pimentel cannot deny that these were heard and his written objection. Upon receipt of the evidence. Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that no objection. manifestation. Pimentel further required. or contest submitted. In the event manifestations. with the oral submission. or property. Similar subjects. equal protection summarily and immediately rule thereon. or questions" in the canvass of the Maguindanao MCOCs. confronting them with evidence are not part of the canvass proceedings. manifestation. both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. but it does not settle them for him. Issues whose SPBOC-Maguindanao to propound questions to certain resolution would require the presentation and examination election officials. canvass proceedings are administrative and summary in Pimentel only made a sweeping claim that in the canvass nature. any party may file a written and and the SPBOC-Maguindanao adopted a procedure of "no verified opposition to the objection. Pimentel fails to of witnesses are more properly raised in a regular election convince this Court. manifestations. manifestation. Article return or certificate of canvass. by the local boards of canvassers and in accordance with arbitrarily or without sufficient justification. manifestations. shall According to a long line of decisions. As for local boards of canvassers. both procedural and canvass on the face thereof. the party concerned shall submit his evidence which shall be attached to his Equally baseless is Pimentel’s averment that his right to written objection. and after considering the III. he was deprived of his due execution of the election returns or certificates of constitutional right to due process. manifestation. which. require. manifestation or contest. together with the person shall be denied equal protection of the laws.42 simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike. opposition thereto and the evidences submitted. and objections regarding of canvass before a local board of canvassers.44 He cannot now decry that his observations. to state the inclusion or exclusion of an election return or certificate his observations. Again. 9369. or contest. in other words. The objection. and objections as the rules of procedure that the NBC or local board of canvassers shall determine before the NBC and the local boards of canvassers that there is a proper case for the objection. be recorded in the minutes of the canvass. providing for such a procedure. or contest. however. objection.43 He may not orally submitted to the Chairperson of the NBC or the local have received the response or action that he wanted with board of canvassers. and objections were not given due course canvass of the assailed election return or certificate of when he himself failed to comply with the procedure canvass. the determination of the the definition of substantive due process. they only need to determine the authenticity and and the SPBOC-Maguindanao. Unfortunately. as well as any contest involving and PCOC.

board or officer exercising judicial or discharge requires neither the exercise of official discretion quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in nor judgment. alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be It must be kept in mind that Zubiri was proclaimed the rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of twelfth Senator-elect in the 14 May 2007 elections on 14 such tribunal. SECTION 3. gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a Pimentel compared his own experiences in the canvass virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in proceedings for different provinces or districts. alleging the facts with for Maguindanao were concerned. It lies only to compel an officer to perform a ministerial duty. board. and in this. Petition for certiorari. – When any discretionary one. a person aggrieved thereby may file Petition falters. contemplation of law. but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of This Court elucidated in Aggabao48 that: jurisdiction on the part of the public respondent issuing the . while he was not. A special civil action for certiorari may be filed under the The writ of mandamus shall be issued only if the legal right following circumstances: to be enforced is well defined. officer or favor.46 however.45 According to Pimentel. speedy and senatorial candidates. although he was allowed to do so for passion or personal hostility. This Court. to do (SET) the act required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner. In support of his claim. or station. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course speedy. What would have been essential for Pimentel to allege and prove The extraordinary remedy of mandamus. Grave abuse of discretion means a to some and unjustly discriminate against capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is others. both by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of governed by Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.47 excess of its or his jurisdiction. and there is no other plain. plain. and RULE 65. part of petitioner to prove not merely reversible error. and must be so patent and so other provinces or districts. not a SECTION 1. the questioning of election unlawfully excludes another from the use and officials involved in the preparation and canvassing of the enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is Maguindanao MCOCs and PCOC. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of To avail of both special civil actions. Pimentel’s Petition must be dismissed. Petition for mandamus. 2007. It seems apparent to this Court that the position of act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty the SPBOC-Maguindanao and the NBC not to allow. Pimentel’s course of law. a verified petition in the proper court. or any plain. on the other was that other senatorial candidates were allowed during hand. The duty is ministerial only when its tribunal. board or officer. he was deprived of equal equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. finds Pimentel’s assessment misplaced. and granting such July 2007. and that he formally assumed office on 16 July incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. there must be no other jurisdiction. clear and certain. may be availed of under the conditions provided the canvass proceedings to question the election officials below: involved in the preparation and canvassing of the Maguindanao MCOCs and PCOC. for his recourse In a special civil action for certiorari. during resulting from an office. Hence. or the canvass proceedings. Mere abuse of discretion protection of the laws when he was not allowed to question is not enough. corporation. the respondent. In accordance with this Court’s ruling in Aggabao. while he was the only one unjustly discriminated person unlawfully neglects the performance of an against. the burden is on the lies. not with this Court. trust. – that the other senatorial candidates were given undue When any tribunal. so as to give undue favor impugned order.should not be treated differently. was consistent for all entitled. and adequate remedy in the ordinary of law available to the petitioner. petitioner was similarly adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. and there is no appeal. it must be so grave as when the power is the election officials involved in the canvass proceedings exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of for Maguindanao. the situated with all the other senatorial candidates and they person aggrieved thereby may file a verified were all treated alike insofar as the canvass proceedings petition in the proper court. but with the SET. and to pay the damages sustained Pimentel’s Petition is for Certiorari and Mandamus. immediately or at Electoral protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal some other time to be specified by the court. certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the respondent.

for it avoids duplicity of Representatives now have their respective proceedings and a clash of jurisdiction Electoral Tribunals which are the "sole between constitutional bodies. returns. Each taken his oath of office and assumed his Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine duties as representative. the COMELEC is cases pertaining to the election of the divested of its jurisdiction to hear the protest. Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution the HRET. and assumed proclamation (which has been previously office as a Member of the House of ordered by the COMELEC itself) despite Representatives. that is also addressed. and electoral protest against him would be to qualifications of members of the House of usurp the functions of the House Electoral Representatives. and assumed his duties as Congressman. 2004. thereby divesting the In Lazatin v. who shall be chosen on the basis of The allegation that Miranda’s proclamation is null proportional representation from the political parties and void ab initio does not divest the HRET of its and the parties or organization registered under the jurisdiction. certiorari will not lie considering that would have been to file an electoral protest before there is an available and adequate remedy in the . and qualifications of their respective Members. COMELEC’s jurisdiction over alleged irregularities in connection election contests relating to his election. returns. petitioner’s recourse In this case. hence. The Senate and the House of Finally. upon proclamation of the winning candidate under the 1973 Constitution over election and despite its alleged invalidity. to the sound judgment of the It is undisputed that Miranda has already been Electoral Tribunal. The alleged invalidity of the has been proclaimed. regard to the people’s mandate. and despite the pendency of the and qualifications ends. Thus: party-list system represented therein. the Members. once a winning candidate Tribunal. and the remaining six shall be Members of Tribunal of the House of Representatives. as well as of the Senate. three of whom shall be Justices of the remedy open to the petitioner was to have Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief filed an electoral protest with the Electoral Justice. His remedy is not this petition for provides: certiorari. returns. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its (I)n an electoral contest where the validity Chairman. therewith. 17. Commission on Elections we ruled Commission on Elections of its jurisdiction that. It follows that the COMELEC is The petition is impressed with merit now bereft of jurisdiction to hear and decide because the petitioner has been pre-proclamation controversies against proclaimed winner of the Congressional members of the House of Representatives elections in the first district of Pampanga. Thus. with due judge of all contests relating to the election. as the case may be. As such. Thus: Sec. He has qualifications of their respective Members. For The HRET has sole and exclusive jurisdiction over this Court to take cognizance of the all contests relative to the election.Article VI. taken his oath. the Senate or the House of Representatives. and the HRET’s own protests of the rival candidates. Jr. proclaimed. that issue is best addressed to the HRET. Thus: Members of the Batasang Pambansa (Congress). returns. the private respondent Feliciano Representatives shall each have an Electoral Belmonte. and in the fourth district of Quezon City. has taken his oath of office as such. taken his oath and assumed office on June 14. The reason for this ruling is self- The Senate and the House of evident. of the proclamation of a winning candidate who has taken his oath of office and In Pangilinan v. has already been proclaimed Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all as the winner in the congressional elections contests relating to the election. is a matter jurisdiction begins. Commission on Elections we ruled assumed his post as Congressman is that: raised. considering the premises.

and discretion of the electoral tribunal. the occurrence of "grab the proclamation and prolong the protest" situations. This Court deems it necessary to stress that attempts to The afore-quoted pronouncements are likewise applicable delay the canvass proceedings. which merely interprets faithfully petition for certiorari and mandamus on matters which may existing statutory norms. the appropriate recourse is not to ask this Court to clear that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain a abandon case law. Commission on Elections. SO ORDERED. the purpose of canvassing the votes and determining the The resolution of the issues presented in this elected official with as little delay as possible and in time petition is best addressed to the sound judgment for the commencement of the new term of office. No That Pimentel filed the present Petition prior to Zubiri’s costs. the present Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus is hereby DISMISSED. but to no avail. with the references therein to the pre-proclamation controversies. For those who disagree with that public relating to their respective members. COMELEC. The appropriate recourse is. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. of course.51 Pimentel attempts to bring his case outside the jurisprudential precedent set by Aggabao. It is therefore crystal policy. proclamation is insignificant. 9369. now a member of the Senate. however. After the proclamation. except for the permissible to the Petition at bar. Since Pimentel’s prayer for a TRO and/or Status Quo Ante Order had been denied. while Section 15. Zubiri was proclaimed the twelfth winning Senator in the 2007 Senatorial Elections. balances In Chavez v. This is just a roundabout argument. to the Pimentel involving. must be shunned. ordinary course of law for the purpose of annulling provisions in question did not materially change the nature or modifying the proceedings before the of canvass proceedings before the boards of canvassers. and Senators. petitioner’s which still remain summary and administrative in nature for remedy was an electoral protest before the HRET. Department to strike a new and different equilibrium in the balancing of the public interests at stake. The . jurisdiction of the House of Representatives Electoral Grounds which are proper for electoral protests should not Tribunal over election protests involving members of the be allowed to delay the proclamation of the winners. did introduce an additional exception to the prohibition against pre-proclamation controversies in elections for President. this Court has already established in the preceding discussion that Pimentel cannot invoke the same in his Petition. Section 17 the period during which no winners are proclaimed. of Republic Act No. in relation to Section 30.49 this Court the possibility of such situations against the shortening of similarly ruled that the word "sole" in Article VI. Finally. Zubiri’s proclamation must also be annulled and set aside.50 It House of Representatives also being true for the SET as may well be true that public policy may occasionally permit regards election protests involving Senators. but rather the conduct of the proceedings before the NBC and the SPBOC-Maguindanao. that public policy. then logically and necessarily. 7166. Vice-President. as it does. a contest relating to the Legislative Department of the Government and to ask that election of Zubiri. a of the 1987 Constitution underscores the exclusivity of the period commonly fraught with tension and danger for the electoral tribunals' jurisdiction over election contests public at large. to engage in judicial legislation be threshed out in an election contest. Pimentel cannot deny that he assails the canvass proceedings because he believes that the annulment and setting aside thereof would result in his winning as the twelfth Senator in the 14 May 2007 elections. as amended by Republic Act No. Pimentel further claims that he is not challenging Zubiri’s proclamation. It is the SET which and in effect to rewrite portions of the Omnibus Election has exclusive jurisdiction to act on the complaint of Code. and if he is the rightful winner.

lodging houses. M. was filed on July 5. one of its also for being vague. approved on June 14. keeper or duly authorized representative MANILA." against the due process clause for being arbitrary. No. adjudged it "unconstitutional. ground that in the revised charter of the City of Manila or in . cause the automatic cancellation of the beyond the powers of the Municipal Board of the City of license of the offended party. 1963 by the petitioners. motels and P4. L-24693 July 31. who was at the counter to the due process guaranty for lack of certainty time acting as Mayor of the City of Manila. 2). Ermita-Malate not only for being arbitrary. if any. motels and lodging houses would requisite showing to sustain an attack against its validity.G. the Municipal Board of the City of Manila representative of such establishments to lease any room or enacted Ordinance No. employing and giving livelihood to not less motels. The lower court held that it is and owner. 1963 portion thereof more than twice every 24 hours. 1). null and void. (par. manager. or lodging house to refrain from VICTOR ALABANZA. with data furnished as to his residence certificate The principal question in this appeal from a judgment of as well as his passport number. or the Chief of Police. restaurant and laundry similarly offends faithful execution and enforcement of such ordinances. and GO as it would impose P6. 4760 of the City of Manila is violative of the filled it up and affixed his signature in the presence of such due process clause. It was alleged that the petitioner non-stock unreasonable and oppressive. J. 4760 unconstitutional and void again on due process grounds. paying taxes. that the vs. provision in the same section which would require the THE HONORABLE CITY MAYOR OF owner. and that insofar as the penalty provided for in After which the alleged grievances against the ordinance Section 4 of the challenged ordinance for a subsequent were set forth in detail. keeper or duly authorized representative. therefore. and for its unreasonable. on the destruction of the business and loss of its investments. the appellee. Tenchavez and Associates for intervenor. no reference is made to motels. the date of birth.. that the provision of Section and motels. the occupation. manager. petitioners-appellees. it also being provided that the premises and judgment must be reversed.500.: with the name. given name and middle name. and likewise members. runs by the then Vice-Mayor Herminio Astorga. entertaining or accepting any guest or customer or letting any room or other quarter to any person or persons without Panganiban. Aruego. be open for inspection either by the City Mayor." with such registration forms and records kept and bound For reasons to be more specifically set forth. Hotel del Mar Inc. there being a failure of the facilities of such hotels. if any.00 fee per annum for first class CHIU. J. Abad and Associates Law Office for his filling up the prescribed form in a lobby open to public respondent-appellant. age and sex would be specified. relationship.000. tavern or common inn unless than 2. a City of Manila and to give the necessary orders for the dining room or. It was then alleged that on June unlawful for the owner. regularly than 18 years old from being accepted in such hotels. who for the alleged invasion of the right to privacy and the is "the president and general manager of the second guaranty against self-incrimination. unreasonable or oppressive but Hotel and Motel Operators Association. wherein the surname. or their duly authorized representatives is The petition for prohibition against Ordinance No. There was the assertion of its being conviction would. that Section 2 of the petitioner" against the respondent Mayor of the City of challenged ordinance classifying motels into two classes Manila who was sued in his capacity as such "charged with and requiring the maintenance of certain minimum facilities the general power and duty to enforce ordinances of the in first class motels such as a telephone in each room. 4760. view at all times and in his presence. in effect causing the Manila to enact insofar as it would regulate motels. and a certain Go Chiu.R. indefinite and uncertain. (par. the length of stay and the number of companions in the room. 1963. a conclusion which applies corporation is dedicated to the promotion and protection of to the portion of the ordinance requiring second class the interest of its eighteen (18) members "operating hotels motels to have a dining room.00 for second class motels. keeper or duly authorized 13. manager. the sex. the nationality. characterized as legitimate businesses duly 2 of the challenged ordinance prohibiting a person less licensed by both national and city authorities. HOTEL DEL MAR INC. address. FERNANDO. intervenor-appellee. of a hotel. INC. respondent-appellant. such together.500 person and representing an investment of more accompanied by parents or a lawful guardian and making it than P3 million. motel. 1967 any other law. coupled with a the lower court in an action for prohibition is whether certification that a person signing such form has personally Ordinance No.. and. 3)."1 (par. arbitrary and oppressive character. that Section 1 of the challenged ordinance is unconstitutional and void ERMITA-MALATE HOTEL AND MOTEL OPERATORS for being unreasonable and violative of due process insofar ASSOCIATION.

and Hotel del memorandum for petitioners was filed reiterating in detail Mar Inc. 4760. City of Manila to regulate motels. 1963 issued a writ of preliminary injunction ordering 668-a. 1963. by Vice- There was a plea for the issuance of preliminary injunction Mayor Herminio Astorga. The lower court on July 6. v. That the petitioners are duly licensed to engage dismissing as is undoubtedly right and proper the in the business of operating hotels and motels in untenable objection on the alleged lack of authority of the Malate and Ermita districts in Manila. 4760 of the . That the City of Manila derived in 1963 an exercise of the police power and that only the guests or annual income of P101. which reads: Such a memorandum likewise refuted point by point the arguments advanced by petitioners against its validity. with the nod of and duty to enforce ordinances of the City of the Court. its January 22. therein three new sections. copy of which is attached hereto did fail to state a cause of action and that the challenged as Annex C. This ordinance is similar to the one vetoed by the respondent Mayor In the a answer filed on August 3. That on June 13." It does appear faithful execution and enforcement of such obvious then that without any evidence submitted by the ordinances. presumption of the validity of the challenged ordinance. 1963. to a proper purpose. of the provisions of the cited Ordinance but Councilor Herminio Astorga was submitted with the a denial of its alleged nullity. citing not only U. Inc. a valid and proper 6. 668-b and 669 of the compilation of the respondent Mayor to refrain from enforcing said Ordinance ordinances of the City of Manila besides inserting No. 1963 (Annex B). whether on statutory or proposed ordinance (now Ordinance 4760) to the constitutional grounds. which are members of the petitioners association. the decision passed upon the alleged infirmity on constitutional grounds of the challenged ordinance. and came to the conclusion that "the challenged Ordinance No.there is once again a transgression of the due process 4. 4760 from and after July 8. but likewise applicable American authorities.. there was an (Annex A) for the reasons stated in its 4th admission of the personal circumstances regarding the Indorsement dated February 15. After setting forth that the petition Municipal Board. the parties. all having the capacity to sue and be sued. with the assertion that the issuance of the preliminary injunction ex parte was Thereafter came a memorandum for respondent on contrary to law. respondent Mayor and of the fact that petitioners are licensed to engage in the hotel or motel business in the 5. in the absence of the respondent and void and unenforceable. parties. agreed to file memoranda and thereafter. the burden of showing its lack of conformity to the Constitution Instead of evidence being offered by both parties. which was approved on June 14. while the petitioner Go Chin is the praying for a judgment declaring the challenged ordinance president and general manager of Hotel del Mar "null and void and unenforceable" and making permanent Inc. 1. 3. 1965. on February 4.904. then the acting City and for a final judgment declaring the above ordinance null Mayor of Manila. After referring to the motels and hotels. 662. there resting on the party who assails it. and the intervenor Victor Alabanza is a the writ of preliminary injunction issued. ordinance bears a reasonable relation. both with offices in the City they considered to be applicable American authorities and of Manila. with citations of what laws of the Philippines. to Manila and to give the necessary orders for the submit the case for decision of the Court. the Motel Operators Association. the Municipal Board of clause. That the explanatory note signed by then City of Manila. That the respondent Mayor is the duly elected alleged constitutional questions raised by the party. the City of Manila enacted Ordinance No. respondent Mayor prayed for. 1äwphï1.S. 1965. regular City Mayor.05 from license fees customers not before the court could complain of the paid by the 105 hotels and motels (including herein alleged invasion of the right to privacy and the guaranty petitioners) operating in the City of Manila.ñët against self incrimination. amending sections 661. which is to curb immorality. 1964. That the petitioners Ermita-Malate Hotel and Then barely two weeks later. resident of Baguio City. the and incumbent City Mayor and chief executive of lower court observed: "The only remaining issue here the City of Manila charged with the general power being purely a question of law. 1963. Salaveria. was submitted a stipulation of facts dated September 28. wherein stress was laid on the dissolution and the dismissal of the petition. and referring to the 2. 1963. are duly organized and existing under the what was set forth in the petition.

the maintenance or operation of public dance halls. 9 prohibiting presumption of validity must prevail and the judgment gambling. has been properly characterized as the most essential. to destroy the very purpose of the state if it could be deprived or allowed itself Primarily what calls for a reversal of such a decision is the to be deprived of its competence to promote public health. safety." No such factual foundation vagrancy and classifying a pimp or procurer as a being laid in the present case.2 exit" and thus become the "ideal haven for prostitutes and thrill-seekers. the resumption of constitutionality must It is a fact worth noting that this Court has invariably prevail in the absence of some factual foundation of record stamped with the seal of its approval. the lower court deciding the vagrant. not cover petitioners. the increase in the Brandeis tersely and succinctly summed up the matter licensed fees was intended to discourage "establishments thus: The statute here questioned deals with a subject of the kind from operating for purpose other than legal" and clearly within the scope of the police power. in a lobby open to public view at all times. unless the statute or ordinance is void on guests to fill up a registration form. public safety and the genera validity that attaches to a challenged statute or ordinance." It made permanent the preliminary the ordinance is fatally defective as being repugnant to the injunction issued against respondent Mayor and his agents due process clause of the Constitution. therefore.7 set aside. A safeguard public morals is immune from such imputation of decent regard for constitutional doctrines of a fundamental nullity resting purely on conjecture and unsupported by character ought to have admonished the lower court anything of substance.12prohibiting against the ordinance set aside. This particular manifestation of a police power measure being specifically aimed to As noted at the outset. in both procedural does "to all the great public needs. the judgment must be reversed. The mantle of "to restrain him from enforcing the ordinance in question. speaks of the alarming increase in the rate of being of the people x x x . absence of any evidence to offset the presumption of public morals. adultery and fornication in Manila traceable in set aside legislative action when there is not a clear great part to the existence of motels. police power is "that inherent and As was expressed categorically by Justice Malcolm: "The plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all presumption is all in favor of validity x x x . by enacting the ordinance. presence and police regulation." protection associated with the due process guaranty does Hence this appeal. would be unconstitutional and.4extending as it standards of constitutional adjudication. We are asked at the same time. Nor may petitioners assert with plausibility that on its face null and void. prepared for the its face which is not the case here. The action of that is hurt full to the comfort.13 prohibiting the operation of pinball . As underlying questions of the ordinance. The councilors must. and by nowhere better expressed than in the leading case introducing several other amendatory provisions calculated of O'Gorman & Young v. the necessity for evidence to rebut these establishments by requiring these transients and it is unavoidable. Hartford Fire Insurance to shatter the privacy that characterizes the registration of Co. Its decision cannot be allowed to stand.. which "provide a invasion of personal or property rights under the guise of necessary atmosphere for clandestine entry. The principle has been purpose. The explanatory note of the Councilor legislative body. The local public morals. ordinances punishing for overthrowing the statute."5 It would be. has in effect Herminio Astorga included as annex to the stipulation of given notice that the regulations are essential to the well facts.8 provide a license tax for and regulating the matter on the pleadings and the stipulation of facts." Moreover.6 Negatively put. playing of panguingui on days other than Sundays or legal holidays. in the very nature of things." It would appear therefore that the stipulation regulation prescribed is unreasonable and hence deprives of facts." The challenged ordinance then proposes to It admits of no doubt therefore that there being a check the clandestine harboring of transients and guests of presumption of validity.City of Manila.11 and monte. argues eloquently for it. to increase "the income of the city to declare it void on the ground that the specific method of government. far from sustaining any attack against the validity the plaintiff of due process of law. consistently with what has hitherto been the accepted insistent and the least limitable of powers. be familiar with the necessities of their particular There is no question but that the challenged ordinance was municipality and with all the facts and circumstances which precisely enacted to minimize certain practices hurtful to surround the subject and necessitate action. of fact may condition the constitutionality of legislation of this character. welfare.10 prohibiting jueteng.3 where the American Supreme Court through Justice transients and guests. and welfare of the elected representatives of the people cannot be lightly society. paraphrase another leading decision. To hold otherwise would be to against such a sweeping condemnation of the challenged unduly restrict and narrow the scope of police power which ordinance. The Judiciary should not lightly prostitution. to and substantive aspects.

in each appropriate imposed for regulating occupations or regular enterprises. as a action marred by lack of reasonableness. records."19 decisions based on such the fees have rarely been declared unreasonable. which. it cannot be too often emphasized. be valid.machines. declined to interfere with such discretion. It furnishes though a standard to which the been the settled law however. 4760 on due process grounds to single out person is subject to judicial inquiry. In view of the requirements of due process. or any explained more in detail in the above Cu Unjieng case: (2) governmental action for that matter. or tyrannical. liberty or property. Correctly it has general rule.17 It exacts persons who might otherwise engage in non-useful fealty "to those strivings for justice" and judges the act of enterprises is.500 yearly.15 all of which and what would amount to an abdication of the power to are intended to protect public morals. Where such exercise of such features as the increased fees for motels and hotels. oppressive. A strong case must be found in the power to prescribe regulations to promote the health. in the latter cases time. good order. in which the objection is raised to the question of due the latter.16 There is no controlling and precise definition of annual fee and second-class motels. Admittedly there was a decided increase of the annual license fees provided for by the challenged ordinance for We are thus led to considering the insistent. or a violation of any other applicable constitutional guaranty may call for correction by the courts."20 Questions of due Moreover in the equally leading case of Lutz v. Only It would thus be an affront to reason to stigmatize an the other day. govern is inaction in the face of an admitted deterioration of the state of public morals. liberty or property of any Ordinance No. generally an important factor in officialdom of whatever branch "in the light of reason drawn the determination of the amount of this kind of license fee. especially in of or "technical conception with fixed content unrelated to licenses for the sale of liquors. It provided it with the enactment of the power. What then is the standard of due process for the regulation or restriction of non-useful occupations or which must exist both as a procedural and a substantive enterprises and for revenue purposes only. almost shrill hotels and motels. in whimsical. police power may be considered as either capricious. place and circumstances. this Court had occasion to affirm that the ordinance enacted precisely to meet what a municipal broad taxing authority conferred by the Local Autonomy Act lawmaking body considers an evil of rather serious of 1959 to cities and municipalities is sufficiently plenary to . peace. It is the desirability of imposing restraint upon the number of embodiment of the sporting idea of fair play. It has due process.21 announced by the American Supreme Court that taxation may be made to implement the state's police power. primarily rest the exercise of the police remedial measure. first-class motels being required to pay a P6. must in the former. the taint of nullity for an alleged failure to meet the due equal protection and other applicable constitutional process requirement. To satisfy the due process allowed a much wider discretion in this class of cases than requirement. To be more specific. The been identified as freedom from arbitrariness. the On the legislative organs of the government. the curtailment of the area of freedom to contract. and aside from applying the well-known legal not outrun the bounds of reason and result in sheer principle that municipal ordinances must not be oppression."18 It is not a narrow for revenue have frequently been upheld. 150% for the former and over 200% for tone. its alleged vagueness. unjust or unreasonable. In fact. of course. Due process is thus hostile to any official unreasonable. none is even morals. from considerations of fairness that reflect [democratic] Hence license fees clearly in the nature of privilege taxes traditions of legal and political thought.000 process. courts have. to paraphrase Cardozo. as has been set forth. and. P4. Nor does it lend any semblance even guaranties however. 23 a clause requiring a "close and perceptive inquiry into fundamental principles of our society. whether Municipal Board of the City of Manila felt the need for a national or local. process are not to be treated narrowly or pedantically in Araneta24 this Court affirmed the doctrine earlier slavery to form or phrases. the exercise of such police power of deceptive plausibility to petitioners' indictment of insofar as it may affect the life. safety and general welfare of attempted here to attach to an ordinance of such character the people. proportion an arbitrary and capricious exercise of authority. and. arbitrariness is ruled amount of the license fees the municipal corporations are out and unfairness avoided. Negatively put. case. as far back as 1922 that governmental action should conform in order that municipal license fees could be classified into those deprivation of life. but in fixing the dictates of justice. from the imputation of Licenses for non-useful occupations are also incidental to legal infirmity sufficient to spell its doom? It is the police power and the right to exact a fee may be responsiveness to the supremacy of reason. a denial of due process certain particulars.22 As was requisite to free the challenged ordinance. official action. is the challenged ordinance.14 and prohibiting any person from keeping. conducting or maintaining an opium joint or visiting a place It would seem that what should be deemed unreasonable where opium is smoked or otherwise used. obedience to implied from the power to license and regulate.

were freedom of the mind or the person. it is companions as indefinite and uncertain in view of the 'liberty regulated by law. persons licensed to pursue occupations personal discipline. are being devoted. 25 is necessarily subject to reasonable restraint by general law for the common good x x x The liberty of the citizen As a matter of fact. even if it were viewed purely welfare. the sale of blessing without which life is a misery. Moreover. People v.31 What twice every 24 hours. call for a different conclusion. lies at the bottom of the enactment of said as a police power measure. such a limitation cannot be viewed as a the validity of governmental acts is much more rigorous transgression against the command of due process. with property. Neither should authority be made to individuals in the community may be deprived of their prevail over liberty because then the individual will fall into present business or a particular mode of earning a living slavery. the mere fact. manager. and. or of latitude enjoyed by the City of Manila in imposing licenses the public order and safety. Every man room With him at about the same time or coming at any . or otherwise within the proper for revenue. just and uniform. the permissible scope of regulatory intended to curb the opportunity for the immoral or measure is wider. keeper or duly authorized representative faire has to some extent given way to the assumption by of any hotel. Liberty is a dealers in refrigerated or cold storage meat. then. customer or guest at the time of the registry or entering the being."27 It is noteworthy that the only decision of this Court nullifying legislation because of undue deprivation of Nor does the restriction on the freedom to contract. No man can do exactly as he pleases." here the license fee of the A similar observation was made by Justice Laurel: "Public operator of a massage clinic. age and sex of the companion or 'Liberty' as understood in democracies. motel. Petitioners. It would appear from a recital in correction. Thus: "One thought which runs through all these however. so that there may be established the which may in the public need and interest be affected by resultant equilibrium. The right of the individual the tax so levied is for public purposes. It is this: the name. it has been explicitly held in one case that scope of the police power. How could it then be arbitrary or oppressive when there appears Lastly. common inn or the government of the right of intervention even in the like. health. Precisely it was most rights of property. tavern. As was liberty and authority in his mind through education and said in a case. Pomar.32 How justify then the allegation of a illegitimate use to which such premises could be.' Implied in the term is restraint by necessity for determining whether the companion or law for the good of the individual and for the greater good companions referred to are those arriving with the of the peace and order of society and the general well. And surely. but where the liberty curtailed affects at the neither unreasonable nor arbitrary.26 The discussion of this law. absolute.30 no longer "retains as the challenged ordinance makes it unlawful for the its virtuality as a living principle. The policy of laissez owner. point to the requirement that a guest should give different conceptions of liberty is plainly apparent. that some will fall into anarchy. with a proviso that in all cases full may be stressed sufficiently is that if the liberty involved payment shall be charged. Persons and property may be of the plaintiffs-appellees that the enforcement of the subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens. but liberty should which outside the city markets under certain conditions is not be made to prevail over authority because then society permitted x x x . petitioners cannot be unaware that the petition itself that what seems to be the gravamen of every regulation of conduct amounts to curtailment of the alleged grievance is that the provisions are too detailed liberty which as pointed out by Justice Malcolm cannot be and specific rather than vague or uncertain. lodging house. But it appears that plaintiffs are also rights of the individual are subordinated. relationship. to lease or rent room or portion thereof more than contractual relations affected with public interest. is not license.29 occupations subject to the disadvantages which may result from the legal exercise of that power. there is the attempt to impugn the ordinance on a correspondence between the undeniable existence of an another due process ground by invoking the principles of undesirable situation and the legislative attempt at vagueness or uncertainty. denial of due process? according to the explanatory note. It is and exacting. in order to ordinance could deprive them of their lawful occupation secure the general comfort. which means peace and order and the exercise of the police power embark in these happiness for all. and with from another decision of significance: "It is urged on behalf business and occupations. The citizen should achieve the required balance of cannot prevent the exercise of the police power. and prosperity of the and means of livelihood because they can not rent stalls in state x x x To this fundamental aim of our Government the the public markets. insofar freedom to contract."28 "much discretion is given to municipal corporations in determining the amount.cover a wide range of subjects with the only limitation that must renounce unbridled license. the standard for Again. even without reference to the wide may be restrained in the interest of the public health. and the state in order to promote the general welfare particular matter may fitly close with this pertinent citation may interfere with personal liberty.

J. the attack against the validity of the thereof means a full day's or merely a half-day's rate. Florida. situation before us? A citation from Justice Holmes would Concepcion.P... General Construction Co. J.33 to Adderley v. Court compels a reversal of the appealed decision. concur. Zaldivar. C. Bengzon. As it stands.L. From Connally v. the judgment of the lower court is reversed and what makes a statute susceptible to such a charge is an the injunction issued lifted forthwith. do these allegations suffice to render the from it. J...34 the principle has been consistently upheld that Wherefore. enactment either forbidding or requiring the doing of an act that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at Reyes. Respect for constitutional law principles so ordinance void on its face for alleged vagueness or uniformly held and so uninterruptedly adhered to by this uncertainty? To ask the question is to answer it. another proviso which from their That is all then that this case presents. with all standpoint would require a guess as to whether the "full due allowance for the arguments pressed with such vigor rate of payment" to be charged for every such lease and determination. and Dizon.B.J. a proviso in one of its no canon against using common sense in construing laws sections which cast doubt as to whether the maintenance as saying what they obviously mean. are on leave. Castro and Angeles."35 of a restaurant in a motel is dependent upon the discretion of its owners or operators. Makalintal. It challenged ordinance cannot be considered a success. prove illuminating: "We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal laws with what they omit but there is . its meaning and differ as to its application. With costs. Is this the Sanchez. JJ. Far may be asked.indefinite time later to join him.