Gutierrez v.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE (HRCJ) Petitioner invokes the Court’s expanded certiorari jurisdiction, using the
G.R. No. 193459 : February 15, 2011 special civil actions of certiorari and prohibition as procedural vehicles.

FACTS: ISSUES:

Before the 15th Congress opened its first session, private respondents known Whether or not petition is premature and not yet ripe for adjudication.
as the Baraquel group filed an impeachment complaint against petitioner,
upon the endorsement of Party-List Representatives Arlene Bag-ao and Whether or not the simultaneous complaints violate the one-year bar rule.
Walden Bello.
HELD: The petition lacks mert. Petition is DISMISSED.
A day after the opening of the 15th Congress, the Secretary General of the
House of Representatives transmitted the impeachment complaint to House CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Impeachment
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. who directed the Committee on Rules to
include it in the Order of Business. First issue:

Private respondents collectively known as the Reyes group filed another The unusual act of simultaneously referring to public respondent two
impeachment complaint against petitioner with a resolution of endorsement impeachment complaints presents a novel situation to invoke judicial power.
by Party-List Representatives Neri Javier Colmenares, et al. Petitioner cannot thus be considered to have acted prematurely when she
took the cue from the constitutional limitation that only one impeachment
The Secretary General transmitted the Reyes group’s complaint to Speaker proceeding should be initiated against an impeachable officer within a period
Belmonte who also directed the Committee on Rules to include it in the Order of one year.
of Business.
Second issue:
After hearing, public respondent, by Resolution, found the two complaints,
which both allege culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public Article XI, Section 3, paragraph (5) of the Constitution reads: “No
trust, sufficient in substance. impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more
than once within a period of one year.” However, the term “initiate” means
Petitioner filed with this Court the present petition with application for to file the complaint and take initial action on it. The initiation starts with the
injunctive reliefs. The Court En Banc RESOLVED to direct the issuance of a filing of the complaint which must be accompanied with an action to set the
status quo ante order and to require respondents to comment on the petition complaint moving. It refers to the filing of the impeachment complaint
in 10 days. coupled with Congress’ taking initial action of said complaint. The initial
action taken by the House on the complaint is the referral of the complaint
Respondents raise the impropriety of the remedies of certiorari and to the Committee on Justice.
prohibition. They argue that public respondent was not exercising any
judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial function in taking cognizance of the two DOCTRINES:
impeachment complaints as it was exercising a political act that is
discretionary in nature, and that its function is inquisitorial that is akin to a Narration of facts
preliminary investigation.
Petitioner urged the Court to look into the narration of facts constituting the
offenses vis-à-vis her submissions disclaiming the allegations in the

no second the sound discretion of the legislature. which faithfully comply with the determination of sufficiency of form and substance of an impeachment relevant self-executing provisions of the Constitution. The SC denied this as that would require the Court to make a one-year bar from the filing of the first impeachment complaint against her determination of what constitutes an impeachable offense. With a simultaneous referral of multiple complaints filed.complaints. 2010 of the 15th determination is a purely political question. more than which directs that “Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to one lighted matchstick light the candle at the same time. Article XI of the Constitution Justice. There the SC held that the term “initiate” means to file the complaint and take initial Petitioner contended that she was deprived of due process since the action on it. absent any contravention of the minimum impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more constitutional guidelines. such that once the candle starts burning. paragraph (5) of the Constitution reads: “No constitutional purpose. subsequent matchsticks can their usage. The initial action taken by the public respondent ruled on the sufficiency of form of the complaints. Contrary to petitioner’s of government how to promulgate when the Constitution itself has not position that the Impeachment Rules do not provide for comprehensible prescribed a specific method of promulgation. the SC found that the previous case of Publication requirement Francisco v. This requirement is not explicitly found in the organic law. generally understood. it could have stated so as categorically as it did in the case of the the substance requirement is met if there is “a recital of facts constituting the rules of procedure in legislative inquiries. The SC observed that it is in no standards in determining the sufficiency of form and substance. Even assuming that publication is offense charged and determinative of the jurisdiction of the committee. 2010 or four days before the opening on July 26. Between the restricted sense and the general Sufficiency of form and substance meaning of a word. which the Constitution has left to Congress. to make known. The SC found this claim to be of Congress to determine on how to promulgate its Impeachment Rules. According to the SC.” required. complaint is made necessary.” there is a statutory difference in year.” Prudential considerations behooved the Supreme Court to respect the compliance by the House of its duty to effectively carry out the Article XI. the general must prevail unless it was clearly intended that the restricted sense was to be used.” While “promulgation” what is important is that there should only be one candle that is kindled in a would seem synonymous to “publication.” Petitioner reckoned the start of the . than once within a period of one year. Such a on July 22. It refers to the filing of the impeachment complaint coupled with Impeachment Rules was published only on September 2. House of Representatives was applicable to this case. Since the Constitutional Commission Petitioner claimed that Congress failed to ascertain the sufficiency of form did not restrict “promulgation” to “publication. lack of it does not nullify the proceedings taken prior to the Notatu dignum is the fact that it is only in the Impeachment Rules where a effectiveness of the Impeachment Rules. in untenable. as Section 3(2). Article XI of the Constitution basically merely One-Year Bar Rule requires a “hearing. effectively carry out the purpose of this section. Promulgation must thus be used in the context in which it is no longer rekindle the candle. the position to dictate a mode of promulgation beyond the dictates of the Impeachment Rules are clear in echoing the constitutional requirements and Constitution. It is not for the Supreme Court to tell a co-equal branch determinative function to public respondent. Had the Constitution intended to have the Impeachment Rules providing that there must be a “verified complaint or resolution. She posited that within one year from July 22. Section 3. The determination of sufficiency of form and substance of an much the same way that the Judiciary is permitted to determine that to impeachment complaint is an exponent of the express constitutional grant of promulgate a decision means to deliver the decision to the clerk of court for rule-making powers of the House of Representatives which committed such filing and publication.” the former should be and substance of the complaints on the basis of the standards set by the understood to have been used in its general sense. 2010 a day after Congress’ taking initial action of said complaint. that is. It is within the discretion Constitution and its own Impeachment Rules. She House on the complaint is the referral of the complaint to the Committee on likewise tacked her contention on Section 3(8). impeachment complaint may be accepted and referred to public respondent. 2010.” and that published. Contrary to petitioner’s claim. What is generally spoken shall be generally understood.

Mark Jimenez the simultaneous referral of the two complaints and on the need to publish as a mode of promulgating the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment  Gross inexcusable inaction on the cases filed by the Senate. several figures of the prohibition. cognizance of the two impeachment complaints as it was exercising a political among others. The unusual act of journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat on theFertilizer Fund scam worth simultaneously referring to public respondent two impeachment complaints PHP1 billion.  Filing late and defective information that undermined the cases against adverse effect on an individual by the challenged conduct. who was charged with petition. The question of ripeness is especially relevant in light of the direct. Director Eliseo de la Paz DETAILED FACTS FROM WIKI:  Committing grave abuse in dismissing and suspending local government officials. After her appointment. President Jovito Salonga filed an impeachment case against Gutierrez on as the expanded certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme Court reflects. worth US$33 million  Deliberately ignoring the Supreme Court's ruling dismissing the deal Judicial Review. the Fertilizer Fund scam. 2009 CASE Sr. therefore. cited these issues: power to determine whether Congress committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused its discretion in the exercise of its functions  Deliberate and inordinate action in the World Bank road project and prerogatives that could translate as lack or excess of jurisdiction. includes the power to “determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of March 2. and that its function is inquisitorial that is akin to a preliminary investigation. and Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia. In the present former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez. which would require corrective measures from the Court. a group of civil society personalities led by former Senate Representatives characterizes the power of judicial review as a duty which. succeeding outgoing Simeon Respondents raised the impropriety of the remedies of certiorari and Marcelo who had resigned. specifically Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas. Petitioner was. inter alia. quasi-judicial or ministerial function in taking ZTE controversy. the Euro Generals scandal. Jr. expanded certiorari jurisdiction Macapagal-Arroyo as ombudsman. . In 2005. House of In 2009.” The SC found it well-within its City.3 billion ripeness. The complaint. the SC found no doubt that questions on. referred to the Committee on Justice headed by discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any Arroyo's partymate at Lakas Kampi CMD Matias Defensor. They argued that public respondent (the Congress) was not Arroyo administration were involved in political scandals such as the NBN- exercising any judicial. Proceedings of the House (Impeachment Rules) present constitutional former solicitor general Francisco Chavez and murdered vagaries which call for immediate interpretation. the validity of extorting money from former Manila Rep. Merceditas Gutierrez was appointed by President Gloria Judicial Review. ripeness between Mega Pacific Corporation and then Commission on An aspect of the “case-or-controversy” requirement is the requisite of Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos worth PHP1. initiated against an impeachable officer within a period of one year. The case of Francisco v. of Quezon branch or instrumentality of the Government. found not to have acted prematurely when she took the cue from the  Failing to promptly resolve the Euro Generals scandal case despite constitutional limitation that only one impeachment proceeding should be evidence and admission by the Philippine National Police comptroller. presents a novel situation to invoke judicial power. act that is discretionary in nature.

at best. BAYAN cited these issues on their complaint: These two complaints were referred to the Committee on Justice which is Failure to act on the Fertilizer Fund scam now chaired by Iloilo's 5th districtrepresentative Niel Tupas. the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN.  Legitimized the arrest of Hontiveros by the police at the height of while deeming the complaint "sufficient in form.  Failure to act on the Euro Generals scandal  Failure to act on the Mega Pacific scandal While Akbayan and BAYAN are both left-leaning parties. The complaint cited these issues:  Low conviction rate of the ombudsman  Failure to act promptly on the Philippine National Broadband Network controversy  Incurred inexcusable delay in the investigation on the death of ensign Philip Pestaño . among others Garcia were justifiable. The report was brought to the plenary on  Refusal to grant ready access to public records such as the Statement November 18." The committee report stated that "The factual  Failure to investigate Arroyo's PHP1 million dinner at New York's Le allegations are. Jr. Net Worth and Liabilities of former Pampanga Rep.On November 18. they are ideological rivals. Led by Renato Reyes. Mikey Arroyo." and that the suspensions of Tupas and  Failure to act on the Mega Pacific scandal. New Patriotic Alliance). of President Aquino's Liberal Party at August 22. the House Committee on Justice dismissed the case." it was deemed as not the Hello Garci scandal "sufficient in substance. Akbayan complaint On July 2010. former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros- Baraquel led the filing of an impeachment complaint against Gutierrez. of Assets. two impeachment cases were filed against Gutierrez. 2010 CASE BAYAN complaint In 2010. a rehash of the allegations for the impeachable Cirque restaurant offense of betrayal of public trust. both by left- leaning parties: first from Akbayan Citizens' Action Party and one from BAYAN filed their own case on early August 2010.