Dante Liban, et al v Richard J. Gordon, G.R.NO.

175352 January 18, 2011

The Case: Petition to declare Senator Richard J. Gordon (Respondent) as having forfeited his seat in
the senate


Dante V. Liban , Reynaldo M. Bernardo and Salvador M. Viani (Petioners), who were officers of
the board of directors of Quezon City Red Cross Chapter, filed a petition to the supreme court to declare
the respondent Senator Richard J. Gordon as “having forfeited his seat in the senate,” who was elected
Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Board of Governors during his incumbency as a

On February 23, 2006, the respondent was elected Chairman of the PNRC Board of Governors.
Petitioners Dante LIban , et al alleged that by accepting the chairmanship of the PNRC Board of
Governors , respondent has ceased to be an incumbent member of the senate pursuant to Sec. 13,
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution , which states that “ No Senator or member of the house of
representatives may hold any other office or employment in the Govn’t , or any subdivision , agency or
instrumentality thereof, including government –owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries,
during his term without forfeiting his seat. Neither shall he be appointed to any office which has been
created on the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.’ Petitioners also
cited the case of Comporedondo v NLRC GR No. 129094, decided August 06,1999, which stated that the
PNRC is a GOCC, in support to their argument that respondent automatically forfeit his seat in the senate
when he accepted the position as chairman of the PNRC Board of Governors.

On the contrary, respondent commented that PNRC is not a government owned or controlled
corporation and that the prohibition under section 13, Article VI of the constitution does not apply in the
present case since volunteer service to the PNRC is not an office or an employment.

The court however, issued its decision dated July 15, 2009, votes 7-5 {1} held that the office of the PNRC
Chairman is not a government Office or as an office in a GOCC for purpose of the prohibition in Section
13, Article VI of the 1967 Constitution. The PNRC Chairman is elected by the PNRC Board of Governors:
he is not appointed by the President or by any subordinate government official. In addition, the PNRC is
not a GOCC because it is a privately-owned, privately-funded and privately run charitable organization,
since it is controlled by a Board of Governors four-fifths of which are private sector individuals.
Therefore, respondent Gordon did not forfeit his legislative seat when he was elected as PNRC Chairman
during his incumbency as senator.


1. Whether the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) is a government –owned or controlled
2. Whether the respondent should be automatically be ousted from his seat as a Senator pursuant
to Section 13, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution


“To ensure and maintain autonomy, neutrality and independence, the PNRC cannot be owned or
controlled by the government. The Philippine government does not own the PNRC. The PNRC does not
have government assets and does not receive any appropriation from the Philippine congress. (13) The
PNRC is financed primarily by the contributions from private individuals and private entities obtained
through solicitations campaign organized by its Board of Governors, as provided under Sec. 11 of the
PNRC Charter which stated ; Section 11 as a national voluntary organization , the Philippine National Red
Cross shall be financed primarily by contribution obtained through solicitation campaign throughout the
year which shall be organized by the Board of Governors and conducted by the Chapter in their

We declare that the office of the Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross is not a Government Office or an Office in a Government-owned or controlled corporation for purpose of the prohibition in Section 13. “This court cannot all of a sudden refuse to recognize its existence.95 remains valid and constitutional in its entirety.respective Jurisdiction. to now read as follows: WHEREFORE.] . It bears emphasizing that the PNRC has respondent to almost all national disasters since 1947 and is widely known to provide a substantial portion of the country’s blood requirements.A. especially since the issue of the constitutionality of the PNRC Charter was raised by the parties. These fund raising shall be conducted independently on other fund drives by other organization (Emphasis supplied).” [Thus. No. The PNRC is sui geberis in nature and thus enjoys special status as an important partner and auxiliary of the government in the humanitarian filed in accordance with its commitments under the internal law. R. The court modified the dispositive portion of the Decision by deleting the second sentence . Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.