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5/25/2017 G.R.Nos.

192935&193036

G.R. No. 192935 LOUIS BAROK C. BIRAOGO v. THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH


COMMISSIONOF2010.

G.R. No. 193036 REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN, REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP.
SIMEON A. DATUMANONG and REP. ORLANDO B. FUA, SR. v.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT SECRETARY
FLORENCIOB.ABAD.

xx


SEPARATEOPINION

BERSAMIN,J.:

IregistermyfullconcurrencewiththeMajorityswellreasonedconclusiontostrikedown
ExecutiveOrderNo.1(E.O.No.1)foritsincurableunconstitutionality.

IshareandadopttheperspectivesofmycolleaguesintheMajorityonwhytheissuance
hastobestruckdown.IrenderthisSeparateOpiniononlytoexpresssomethoughtsonafew
matters.

I
LocusStandiofPetitioners

Iholdthatthepetitionershavelocusstandi.

In particular reference to the petitioners in G.R. No. 193036, I think that their being
incumbentMembersoftheHouseofRepresentativesgavethemtherequisitelegalstandingto
challenge E. O. No. 1 as an impermissible intrusion of the Executive into the domain of the
Legislature.Indeed,totheextentthatthepowersofCongressareimpaired,soisthepowerof
eachMember,whoseofficeconfersarighttoparticipateintheexerciseofthepowersofthat
institutionconsequently,anactoftheExecutivethatinjurestheinstitutionofCongresscausesa
[1]
derivativebutnonethelesssubstantialinjurythataMemberofCongresscanassail. Moreover,
anyintrusionofoneDepartmentinthedomainofanotherDepartmentdiminishestheenduring

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idea underlying the incorporation in the Fundamental Law of the timehonored republican
conceptofseparationofpowers.

Justice Mendozas main opinion, which well explains why the petitioners have locus
standi,iscongruentwithmyviewonthematterthatIexpressedinDeCastrov.Judicialand
[2]
BarCouncil,etal., viz:

Blackdefineslocusstandiasarightofappearanceinacourtofjusticeonagivenquestion.
Inpublicorconstitutionallitigations,theCourtisoftenburdenedwiththedeterminationofthe
locus standi of the petitioners due to the everpresent need to regulate the invocation of the
interventionoftheCourttocorrectanyofficialactionorpolicyinordertoavoidobstructingthe
efficient functioning of public officials and offices involved in public service. It is required,
therefore,thatthepetitionermusthaveapersonalstakeintheoutcomeofthecontroversy,for,as
indicatedinAgan,Jr.v.PhilippineInternationalAirTerminalsCo.,Inc.:

The question on legal standing is whether such parties have alleged such a
personalstakeintheoutcomeofthecontroversyastoassurethatconcreteadverseness
whichsharpensthepresentationofissuesuponwhichthecourtsolargelydependsfor
illuminationofdifficultconstitutionalquestions.Accordingly,ithasbeenheldthatthe
interest of a person assailing the constitutionality of a statute must be direct and
personal. He must be able to show, not only that the law or any government act is
invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining some direct
injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some
indefinite way. It must appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be
deniedsomerightorprivilegetowhichheislawfullyentitledorthatheisabouttobe
subjectedtosomeburdensorpenaltiesbyreasonofthestatuteoractcomplainedof.
Itistruethatasearlyasin1937,inPeoplev.Vera,theCourtadoptedthedirectinjurytest
for determining whether a petitioner in a public action had locusstandi.There, the Court held
that the person who would assail the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial
interestinthecasesuchthathehassustained,orwillsustaindirectinjuryasaresult.Vera was
followedinCustodiov.PresidentoftheSenate,ManilaRaceHorseTrainersAssociationv.Dela
Fuente, AntiChinese League of the Philippines v. Felix, and Pascual v. Secretary of Public
Works.

Yet,theCourthasalsoheldthattherequirementoflocusstandi,beingamereprocedural
technicality,canbewaivedbytheCourtintheexerciseofitsdiscretion.Forinstance,in1949,in
Araneta v. Dinglasan, the Court liberalized the approach when the cases had transcendental
importance.Somenotablecontroversieswhosepetitionersdidnotpassthedirectinjurytestwere
allowedtobetreatedinthesamewayasinAranetav.Dinglasan.

Inthe1975decisioninAquinov.CommissiononElections, thisCourtdecided to resolve
theissuesraisedbythepetitionduetotheirfarreachingimplications,evenifthepetitionerhad
no personality to file the suit. The liberal approach of Aquino v. Commission on Elections has
been adopted in several notable cases, permitting ordinary citizens, legislators, and civic
organizationstobringtheirsuitsinvolvingtheconstitutionalityorvalidityoflaws,regulations,
andrulings.

However,theassertionofapublicrightasapredicateforchallengingasupposedlyillegal
orunconstitutionalexecutiveorlegislativeactionrestsonthetheorythatthepetitionerrepresents
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the public in general. Although such petitioner may not be as adversely affected by the action
complainedagainstasareothers,itisenoughthathesufficientlydemonstratesinhispetitionthat
heisentitledtoprotectionorrelieffromtheCourtinthevindicationofapublicright.

Quiteoften,ashere,thepetitionerinapublicactionsuesasacitizenortaxpayertogain
locusstandi.Thatisnotsurprising,foreveniftheissuemayappeartoconcernonlythepublicin
general,suchcapacitiesnonethelessequipthepetitionerwithadequateinteresttosue.InDavidv.
MacapagalArroyo,theCourtaptlyexplainswhy:

Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both citizen and taxpayer standing in
publicactions.ThedistinctionwasfirstlaiddowninBeauchampv.Silk, where it was
heldthattheplaintiffinataxpayerssuitisinadifferentcategoryfromtheplaintiffina
citizenssuit.Intheformer,theplaintiffisaffectedbytheexpenditureofpublicfunds,
whileinthelatter,heisbutthemereinstrumentofthepublicconcern.Asheldbythe
New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v. Collins: In matter of mere public
right, howeverthe people are the real partiesIt is at least the right, if not the duty, of
every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly pursued and
punished,andthatapublicgrievanceberemedied.Withrespecttotaxpayerssuits,Terr
v.Jordanheldthattherightofacitizenandataxpayertomaintainanactionincourtsto
restraintheunlawfuluseofpublicfundstohisinjurycannotbedenied.
xxx
In any event, the Court retains the broad discretion to waive the requirement of legal
standing in favor of any petitioner when the matter involved has transcendental importance, or
otherwiserequiresaliberalizationoftherequirement.

Yet,ifanydoubtstilllingersaboutthelocusstandiofanypetitioner,wedispelthedoubt
now in order to remove any obstacle or obstruction to the resolution of the essential issue
squarelypresentedherein.Wearenottoshirkfromdischargingoursolemndutybyreasonalone
of an obstacle more technical than otherwise. In Agan, Jr. v. Philippine International Air
TerminalsCo.,Inc.,wepointedout:Standingisapeculiarconceptinconstitutionallawbecause
insomecases,suitsarenotbroughtbypartieswhohavebeenpersonallyinjuredbytheoperation
ofalaworanyothergovernmentactbutbyconcernedcitizens,taxpayersorvoterswhoactually
sue in the public interest. But even if, strictly speaking, the petitioners are not covered by the
definition, it is still within the wide discretion of the Court to waive the requirement and so
removetheimpedimenttoitsaddressingandresolvingtheseriousconstitutionalquestionsraised.


II
ThePresidentHasNoPowertoCreateAPublicOffice

Apublicofficemaybecreatedonlythroughanyofthefollowingmodes,namely:(a)by
the Constitution or (b) by statute enacted by Congress or (c) by authority of law (through a
[3]
validdelegationofpower).

Thepowertocreateapublicofficeisessentiallylegislative,and,therefore,itbelongsto
Congress. It is not shared by Congress with the President, until and unless Congress enacts
legislationthatdelegatesapartofthepowertothePresident,oranyotherofficeroragency.

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Yet,theSolicitorGeneralcontendsthatthelegalbasisforthePresidentscreationofthe
Truth Commission through E. O. No. 1 is Section 31, Chapter 10, Book III, of the
AdministrativeCodeof1987.

Section31,Chapter10,BookIII,oftheAdministrativeCodeof1987,whichreads:

Section31.ContinuingAuthorityofthePresidenttoReorganizehisOffice.ThePresident,
subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and
efficiency,shallhavecontinuingauthoritytoreorganizetheadministrativestructureoftheOffice
ofthePresident.Forthispurpose,hemaytakeanyofthefollowingactions:

1.RestructuretheinternalorganizationoftheOfficeofthePresidentProper,includingthe
immediate Offices, the Presidential Special Assistants/Advisers System, by abolishing,
consolidatingormergingunitsthereofortransferringfunctionsfromoneunittoanother

2. Transfer any function under the Office of the President to any other Department or
AgencyaswellastransferfunctionstotheOfficeofthePresidentfromotherDepartmentsand
Agenciesand

3.TransferanyagencyundertheOfficeofthePresidenttoanyotherdepartmentoragency
aswellastransferagenciestotheOfficeofthePresidentfromotherdepartmentsoragencies.

nowherereferstothecreationofapublicofficebythePresident.Onthecontrary,onlyalittle
effort is needed to know from reading the text of the provision that what has been granted is
limitedtoanauthorityforreorganizationthroughanyofthemodesexpresslymentionedinthe
provision.

TheTruthCommissionhasnotexistedbeforeE.O.No.1gaveitlifeonJuly30,2010.
Withoutadoubt,itisanewoffice,somethingwecometoknowfromtheplainwordsofSection
1ofE.O.No.1itself,towit:

Section 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH
COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the COMMISSION, which shall primarily seek and
findthetruthon,andtowardthisend,investigatereportsofgraftandcorruptionofsuchscaleand
magnitudethatshockandoffendthemoralandethicalsensibilitiesofthepeople,committedby
publicofficersandemployees,theircoprincipals,accomplicesandaccessoriesfromtheprivate
sector, if any, during the previous administration and thereafter recommend the appropriate
actionormeasuretobetakenthereontoensurethatthefullmeasureofjusticeshallbeserved
withoutfearorfavor.

TheCommissionshallbecomposedofaChairmanandfour(4)memberswhowillactasan
independentcollegialbody.

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If the Truth Commission is an entirely new office, then it is not the result of any
reorganizationundertakenpursuanttoSection31,Chapter10,BookIII,oftheAdministrative
Codeof1987.Thus,thecontentionoftheSolicitorGeneralisabsolutelyunwarranted.

NeithermaythecreationoftheTruthCommissionbemadetorestforitsvalidityonthe
factthattheConstitution,throughitsSection17,ArticleVII,investsthePresidentwiththeduty
toensurethatthelawsarefaithfullyexecuted.Inmyview,thedutyoffaithfulexecutionofthe
laws necessarily presumes the prior existence of a law or rule to execute on the part of the
President.But,here,thereisnolaworrulethatthePresidenthasbasedhisissuanceofE.O.No.
1.

IcannotalsobringmyselftoacceptthenotionthatthecreationoftheTruthCommission
is traceable to the Presidents power of control over the Executive Department. It is already
settled that the Presidents power of control can only mean the power of an officer to alter,
modify,orsetasidewhatasubordinateofficerhaddoneintheperformanceofhisduties,andto
[4]
substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter. As such, the creation by the
President of a public office like the Truth Commission, without either a provision of the
Constitutionoraproperlawenactedby

Congressauthorizingsuchcreation,isnotanactthatthepowerofcontrolincludes.

III
TruthCommissionReplicatesandUsurpsthe
DutiesandFunctionsofthe
OfficeoftheOmbudsman

IfindthattheTruthCommissionreplicatesandusurpsthedutiesandfunctionsoftheOfficeof
the Ombudsman. Hence, the Truth Commission is superfluous and may erode the public trust
andconfidenceintheOfficeoftheOmbudsman.

The Office of the Ombudsman is a constitutionallycreated quasijudicial body
established to investigate and prosecute illegal acts and omissions of those who serve in the
Government.Section5,ArticleXIofthe1987Constitutionenumeratesthepowers,functions,
anddutiesoftheOfficeoftheOmbudsman,includingthepowerto:
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(1)Investigateonitsown,oroncomplaintbyanyperson,anyactoromissionofanypublic
official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust,
improper,orinefficient.

xxx

(5) Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the
dischargeofitsresponsibilities,andtoexamine,ifnecessary,pertinentrecordsanddocuments.

xxx

(7)Determinethecausesofinefficiency,redtape,mismanagement,fraud,andcorruptionin
the Government and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high
standardsofethicsandefficiency.
TheFramersoftheConstitution,particularlythoseofthemwhocomposedtheCommittee
onAccountabilityofPublicOfficers,intendedtheOfficeoftheOmbudsmantobestrongand
effective, in order to enable the Office of the Ombudsman to carry out its mandate as the
ProtectorofthePeopleagainsttheinept,abusive,andcorruptintheGovernment.Thisintentis
clearfromtheproceedingsontheestablishmentoftheOfficeoftheOmbudsman,asfollows:
SPONSORSHIPSPEECH
OFCOMMISSIONERMONSOD

MR.MONSOD.MadamPresident,theCommitteeonAccountabilityofPublicOfficersis
respectfullysubmittingitsproposedArticleintheConstitution,andwewouldjustwanttomakea
fewremarksonthearticlesandsectionsthatwehaveincluded.

xxx

WithrespecttotheSandiganbayanandtheTanodbayan,theCommitteedecidedtomakea
distinctionbetweenthepurelyprosecutoryfunctionoftheTanodbayanandthefunctionofapure
Ombudsmanwhowillusetheprestigeandpersuasivepowersofhisoffice.Tocalltheattention
of government officials to any impropriety, misconduct or injustice, we conceive the
Ombudsman as a champion of the citizens x x x The concept of the Ombudsman here is
admittedly a little bit different from the 1973 concept x x x The idea here is to address
ourselvestotheproblemthatthosewhohaveunlawfullybenefittedfromtheacquisitionof
publicpropertyovertheyears,throughtechnicalitiesorpractice,havegainedimmunityand
[5]
that,therefore,therightofthepeopletorecovershouldberespectedxxx.

xxx

SPONSORSHIPSPEECH
OFCOMMISSIONERCOLAYCO

MR.COLAYCO.Thankyou,MadamPresident.

The Committee is proposing the creation of an office which can act in a quick,
inexpensiveandeffectivemanneroncomplaintsagainsttheadministrativeinaction,abuse
andarbitrarinessofgovernmentofficialsandemployeesindealingwiththepeople.xxx.

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xxx


[W]ehaveproposedasbrieflyaspossibleinourresolutionanofficewhichwillnotrequire
any formal condition for the filing of a complaint. Under our proposal, a person can file a
complaint even by telephone and without much ado, the office of the Ombudsman is under
obligationtoseetoitthatthecomplaintisactedupon,notmerelyattendedtobutactedupon.xx
x.Iftheemployeeadmitsthattherewasreasonbehindthecomplaint,heistoldtodowhatthe
complainant wanted him to do without much ado. And then that is followed up by the
corresponding report to the department of the government which has supervision over the
employeeatfault,withtheproperrecommendation.

xxx

Under our proposal, the Ombudsman is empowered to investigate, to inquire into and to
demand the production of documents involving transactions and contracts of the
government where disbursement of public funds is reported. x x x [t]he main thrust is
action the disciplinary or punitive remedy is secondary. On a higher level then, the
Ombudsman is going to be the eyes and ears of the people. Where administrative action
demandedisnotforthcomingxxxhe(Ombudsman)isauthorizedtomakepublicthenatureof
[6]
thecomplaintandtheinactionoftheofficialconcerned,xxx.

xxx

SPONSORSHIPSPEECH
OFCOMMISSIONERNOLLEDO

MR.NOLLEDO.Thankyou,MadamPresident.

xxx

MadamPresident,thecreationofanOmbudsmanxxxisinanswertothecryingneedof
ourpeopleforanhonestandresponsivegovernment.TheofficeoftheOmbudsmanasproposed
bytheCommitteeonAccountabilityofPublicOfficers,xxxisreallyaninstitutionprimarily
forthecitizensasagainstthemalpracticesandcorruptioninthegovernment.Asanofficial
critic, the Ombudsman will study the law, the procedure and practice in the government,
and make appropriate recommendations for a more systematic operation of the
governmental machinery, free from bureaucratic inconveniences. As a mobilizer, the
Ombudsmanwillseetoitthattherebeasteadyflowofservicestotheindividualconsumersof
government. And as a watchdog, the Ombudsman will look after the general, as well as
specific,performancesofallgovernmentofficialsandemployeessothatthelawmaynotbe
[7]
administeredwithanevileyeoranunevenhand.


On the other hand, E. O. No. 1 enumerates the objectives of the creation of the Truth
Commission,thus:

EXECUTIVEORDERNO.1

CREATINGTHEPHILIPPINETRUTHCOMMISSIONOF2010

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WHEREAS,ArticleXI,Section1ofthe1987ConstitutionofthePhilippinessolemnlyenshrines
the principle that a public office is a public trust and mandates that public officers and
employees, who are servants of the people, must at all times be accountable to the latter,
serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism
andjustice,andleadmodestlives

xxx

WHEREAS,thereisanurgentcallforthedeterminationofthetruthregardingcertainreports
of large scale graft and corruption in the government and to put a closure to them by the
filing of the appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from
committingtheevil,restorethepeoplesfaithandconfidenceintheGovernmentandintheirpublic
servants

WHEREAS,thereisaneedforaseparatebodydedicatedsolelytoinvestigatingandfinding
out the truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous
administration, and which will recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure
justiceforall

WHEREAS,BookIII,Chapter10,Section31ofExecutiveOrderNo.292,otherwiseknownas
theRevisedAdministrativeCodeofthePhilippines,givesthePresidentthecontinuingauthorityto
reorganizetheOfficeofthePresident.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the
Philippines,byvirtueofthepowersvestedinmebylaw,doherebyorder:

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH
COMMISSION, hereinafterreferred to as theCOMMISSION,which shall primarily seek and
find the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such
scaleandmagnitudethatshockandoffendthemoralandethicalsensibilitiesofthepeople,
committedbypublicofficersandemployees,theircoprincipals,accomplicesandaccessories
from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration and thereafter
recommend the appropriate action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full
measureofjusticeshallbeservedwithoutfearorfavor.

xxx

AcomparisonbetweentheaforequotedobjectivesoftheOfficeoftheOmbudsmanand
the Truth Commission quickly reveals that the Truth Commission is superfluous, because it
replicates or imitates the work of the Office of the Ombudsman. The result is that the Truth
Commission can even usurp the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the Office of the
Ombudsman.Thatusurpationisnotadesirableresult,consideringthatthepublicfaithandtrust
in the Office of the Ombudsman, as a constitutionallycreated office imbued with specific
powersanddutiestoinvestigateandprosecutegraftandcorruption,maybeeroded.

ACCORDINGLY,Ivotetograntthepetitions.

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LUCASP.BERSAMIN
AssociateJustice

[1]
PhilippineConstitutionAssociationv.Hon.Enriquez,G.R.Nos.113105,113174,113766and113888,August19,1994,235
SCRA506.
[2]
G.R.Nos.191002,191032,191057,191149,191342and191420,andA.M.No.1025SC,March17,2010.
[3]
SecretaryoftheDepartmentofTransportationandCommunicationsv.Malabot,G.R.No.138200,February27,2002,378SCRA
128.
[4]
Mondanov.Silvosa,97Phil.143.
[5]
RecordoftheDeliberationofthe1986ConstitutionalCommission,R.C.C.No.40,Saturday,July26,1986,pp.265.
[6]
Id.,at265266.
[7]
Id.,at267.

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