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THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 107271. September 10, 2003]

CITY OF CALOOCAN and NORMA M. ABRACIA, petitioners, vs. HON. MAURO T. ALLARDE, Presiding Judge of Branch 123, RTC of
Caloocan City, ALBERTO A. CASTILLO, Deputy Sheriff of Branch 123, RTC of Caloocan City, and DELFINA HERNANDEZ
SANTIAGO and PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK (PNB), respondents.

DECISION
CORONA, J.:

Assailed in this petition for certiorari is the decision[1] dated August 31, 1992, of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 27423,
ordering the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 123, to implement an alias writ of execution dated January 16, 1992. The
dispositive portion read as follows:

WHEREFORE the petition is hereby granted ordering the Regional Trial Court of Kaloocan City, Branch 123, to immediately effect the
alias writ of execution dated January 16, 1992 without further delay.

Counsel for the respondents are warned that a repetition of their contemptuous act to delay the execution of a final and executory
judgment will be dealt with more severely.

SO ORDERED.[2]

It is important to state at the outset that the dispute between petitioner and private respondent has been litigated thrice before this
Court: first, in G.R. No. L-39288-89, entitled Heirs of Abelardo Palomique, et al. vs. Marcial Samson, et al., decided on January 31,
1985; second, in G.R. No. 98366, entitled City Government of Caloocan vs. Court of Appeals, et al., resolved on May 16, 1991, and
third, in G.R. No. 102625, entitled Santiago vs. Sto. Tomas, et al., decided on August 1, 1995. This is not to mention the numerous
concurrent efforts by the City Government of Caloocan to seek relief from other judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. The present petition
for certiorari is the fourth time we are called upon to resolve the dispute.

The factual and procedural antecedents follow.

Sometime in 1972, Marcial Samson, City Mayor of Caloocan City, through Ordinance No. 1749, abolished the position of Assistant
City Administrator and 17 other positions from the plantilla of the local government of Caloocan. Then Assistant City Administrator
Delfina Hernandez Santiago and the 17 affected employees of the City Government assailed the legality of the abolition before the then
Court of First Instance (CFI) of Caloocan City, Branch 33.

In 1973, the CFI declared the abolition illegal and ordered the reinstatement of all the dismissed employees and the payment of
their back salaries and other emoluments. The City Government of Caloocan appealed to the Court of Appeals. Respondent Santiago and
her co-parties moved for the dismissal of the appeal for being dilatory and frivolous but the appellate court denied their motion. Thus,
they elevated the case on certiorari before this Court, docketed as G.R. No. L-39288-89, Heirs of Abelardo Palomique, et al. vs. Marcial
Samson, et al. In our Resolution dated January 31, 1985, we held that the appellate court erred in not dismissing the appeal, and that the
appeal of the City Government of Caloocan was frivolous and dilatory. In due time, the resolution lapsed into finality and entry of
judgment was made on February 27, 1985.

In 1986, the City Government of Caloocan paid respondent Santiago P75,083.37 in partial payment of her backwages, thereby
leaving a balance of P530,761.91. Her co-parties were paid in full.[3] In 1987, the City of Caloocan appropriated funds for her unpaid
back salaries. This was included in Supplemental Budget No. 3 for the fiscal year 1987. Surprisingly, however, the City later refused to
release the money to respondent Santiago.

Respondent Santiago exerted effort for the execution of the remainder of the money judgment but she met stiff opposition from
the City Government of Caloocan. On February 12, 1991, Judge Mauro T. Allarde, RTC of Caloocan City, Branch 123, issued a writ of
execution for the payment of the remainder of respondent Santiagos back salaries and other emoluments.[4]

For the second time, the City Government of Caloocan went up to the Court of Appeals and filed a petition for certiorari,
prohibition and injunction to stop the trial court from enforcing the writ of execution. The CA dismissed the petition and affirmed the
order of issuance of the writ of execution.[5] One of the issues raised and resolved therein was the extent to which back salaries and
emoluments were due to respondent Santiago. The appellate court held that she was entitled to her salaries from October, 1983 to
December, 1986.
And for the second time, the City Government of Caloocan appealed to this Court in G.R. No. 98366, City Government of
Caloocan vs. Court of Appeals, et al. The petition was dismissed, through our Resolution of May 16, 1991, for having been filed late and
for failure to show any reversible error on the part of the Court of Appeals. The resolution subsequently attained finality and the
corresponding entry of judgment was made on July 29, 1991.

On motion of private respondent Santiago, Judge Mauro T. Allarde ordered the issuance of an alias writ of execution on March 3,
1992. The City Government of Caloocan moved to reconsider the order, insisting in the main that respondent Santiago was not entitled
to backwages from 1983 to 1986. The court a quo denied the motion and forthwith issued the alias writ of execution. Unfazed, the City
Government of Caloocan filed a motion to quash the writ, maintaining that the money judgment sought to be enforced should not have
included salaries and allowances for the years 1983-1986. The trial court likewise denied the motion.

On July 27, 1992, Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo levied and sold at public auction one of the motor vehicles of the City Government of
Caloocan, with plate no. SBH-165, for P100,000. The proceeds of the sale were turned over to respondent Santiago in partial
satisfaction of her claim, thereby leaving a balance of P439,377.14, inclusive of interest. Petitioners filed a motion questioning the
validity of the auction sale of the vehicle with plate no. SBH-165, and a supplemental motion maintaining that the properties of the
municipality were exempt from execution. In his Order dated October 1, 1992, Judge Allarde denied both motions and directed the
sheriff to levy and schedule at public auction three more vehicles of the City of Caloocan - [6]

ONE (1) Unit Motor Vehicle (Hunter Station Wagon); Motor No. C-240-199629; Chassis No. MBB-910369C;

ONE (1) Unit Motor Vehicle (Hunter Series 11-Diesel); Engine No. 4FB1-174328, Chassis No. MBB-910345C; Plate No. SDL-653;

ONE (1) Unit Motor Vehicle (Hunter Series 11-Diesel); Engine No. 4FB-165196; Chassis No. MBB 910349C.

All the vehicles, including that previously sold in the auction sale, were owned by the City and assigned for the use of herein
petitioner Norma Abracia, Division Superintendent of Caloocan City, and other officials of the Division of City Schools.

Meanwhile, the City Government of Caloocan sought clarification from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on whether respondent
Santiago was considered to have rendered services from 1983-1986 as to be entitled to backwages for that period. In its Resolution No.
91-1124, the CSC ruled in the negative.
On November 22, 1991, private respondent Santiago challenged the CSC resolution before this Court in G.R. No. 102625, Santiago
vs. Sto. Tomas, et al. On July 8, 1993, we initially dismissed the petition for lack of merit; however, we reconsidered the dismissal of the
petition in our Resolution dated August 1, 1995, this time ruling in favor of respondent Santiago:

The issue of petitioner Santiagos right to back salaries for the period from October 1983 to December 1986 having been resolved in G.R.
No. 98366 on 16 May 1991, CSC Resolution No. 91-1124 promulgated later on 24 September 1991 in particular, its ruling on the extent
of backwages due petitioner Santiago was in fact moot and academic at the time of its promulgation. CSC Resolution No. 91-1124 could
not, of course, set aside what had been judicially decided with finality x x x x the court considers that resort by the City Government of
Caloocan to respondent CSC was but another attempt to deprive petitioner Santiago of her claim to back salaries x x x and a
continuation of the Citys abuse and misuse of the rules of judicial procedure. The Citys acts have resulted in wasting the precious time
and resources of the courts and respondent CSC. (Underscoring supplied).

On October 5, 1992, the City Council of Caloocan passed Ordinance No. 0134, Series of 1992, which included the amount
of P439,377.14 claimed by respondent Santiago as back salaries, plus interest.[7]Pursuant to the subject ordinance, Judge Allarde issued an
order dated November 10, 1992, decreeing that:

WHEREFORE, the City Treasurer (of Caloocan), Norberto Azarcon is hereby ordered to deliver to this Court within five (5) days from
receipt hereof, (a) managers check covering the amount of P439,378.00 representing the back salaries of petitioner Delfina H. Santiago
in accordance with Ordinance No. 0134 S. 1992 and pursuant to the final and executory decision in these cases.

Then Caloocan Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr., however, refused to sign the check intended as payment for respondent Santiagos
claims. This, despite the fact that he was one of the signatories of the ordinance authorizing such payment. On April 29, 1993, Judge
Allarde issued another order directing the Acting City Mayor of Caloocan, Reynaldo O. Malonzo, to sign the check which had been
pending before the Office of the Mayor since December 11, 1992. Acting City Mayor Malonzo informed the trial court that he could not
comply with the order since the subject check was not formally turned over to him by the City Mayor who went on official leave of
absence on April 15, 1993, and that he doubted whether he had authority to sign the same.[8]

Thus, in an order dated May 7, 1993, Judge Allarde ordered Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo to immediately garnish the funds of the City
Government of Caloocan corresponding to the claim of respondent Santiago.[9] On the same day, Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo served a
copy of the Notice of Garnishment on the Philippine National Bank (PNB), Sangandaan Branch, Caloocan City. When PNB immediately
notified the City of Caloocan of the Notice of Garnishment, the City Treasurer sent a letter-advice informing PNB that the order of
garnishment was illegal, with a warning that it would hold PNB liable for any damages which may be caused by the withholding of the
funds of the city. PNB opted to comply with the order of Judge Allarde and released to the Sheriff a managers check amounting
to P439,378. After 21 long years, the claim of private respondent Santiago was finally settled in full.
On June 4, 1993, however, while the instant petition was pending, the City Government of Caloocan filed yet another motion
with this Court, a Motion to Declare in Contempt of Court; to Set Aside the Garnishment and Administrative Complaint against Judge
Allarde, respondent Santiago and PNB. Subsequently, the City Government of Caloocan filed a Supplemental Petition formally
impleading PNB as a party-respondent in this case.

The instant petition for certiorari is directed this time against the validity of the garnishment of the funds of the City of Caloocan,
as well as the validity of the levy and sale of the motor vehicles belonging to the City of Caloocan. More specifically, petitioners insist
that Judge Allarde gravely abused his discretion in:

(a) ordering the garnishment of the funds of the City of Caloocan deposited with the PNB, since it is settled that public funds are beyond
the reach of garnishment and even with the appropriation passed by the City Council, the authority of the Mayor is still needed for the
release of the appropriation;

(b) ordering the levy and sale at public auction of three (3) motor vehicles owned by the City of Caloocan, which vehicles are necessary
for public use and cannot be attached nor sold in an execution sale to satisfy a money judgment against the City of Caloocan;

(c) peremptorily denying petitioner City of Caloocans urgent motions to vacate and set aside the auction sale of the motor vehicle with
PLATE NO. SBH-165, notwithstanding that the auction sale by the Sheriff was tainted with serious irregularities, more particularly:

i. non-compliance with the mandatory posting of the notice of sale;

ii. non-observance of the procedure that a sale through public auction has to be made and consummated at the time of the auction, at
the designated place and upon actual payment of the purchase price by the winning bidder;

iii. violation of Sec. 21, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court to the effect that sale of personal property capable of manual delivery must be sold
within the view of those attending the sale; and,

iv. the Sheriffs Certificate of Sale contained false narration of facts respecting the actual time of the public auction;

(d) the enforcement of the levy made by the Sheriff covering the three (3) motor vehicles based on an alias writ that has long expired.

The petition has absolutely no merit. The trial court committed no grave abuse of discretion in implementing the alias writ of
execution to settle the claim of respondent Santiago, the satisfaction of which petitioner had been maliciously evading for 21 years.

Petitioner argues that the garnishment of its funds in PNB was invalid inasmuch as these were public funds and thus exempt from
execution. Garnishment is considered a specie of attachment by means of which the plaintiff seeks to subject to his claim property of the
defendant in the hands of a third person, or money owed by such third person or garnishee to the defendant.[10]

The rule is and has always been that all government funds deposited in the PNB or any other official depositary of the Philippine
Government by any of its agencies or instrumentalities, whether by general or special deposit, remain government funds and may not be
subject to garnishment or levy, in the absence of a corresponding appropriation as required by law:[11]

Even though the rule as to immunity of a state from suit is relaxed, the power of the courts ends when the judgment is rendered.
Although the liability of the state has been judicially ascertained, the state is at liberty to determine for itself whether to pay the judgment
or not, and execution cannot issue on a judgment against the state. Such statutes do not authorize a seizure of state property to satisfy
judgments recovered, and only convey an implication that the legislature will recognize such judgment as final and make provision for
the satisfaction thereof.[12]

The rule is based on obvious considerations of public policy. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be
allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific objects, as appropriated by
law.[13]

However, the rule is not absolute and admits of a well-defined exception, that is, when there is a corresponding appropriation as
required by law. Otherwise stated, the rule on the immunity of public funds from seizure or garnishment does not apply where the funds
sought to be levied under execution are already allocated by law specifically for the satisfaction of the money judgment against the
government. In such a case, the monetary judgment may be legally enforced by judicial processes.
Thus, in the similar case of Pasay City Government, et al. vs. CFI of Manila, Br. X, et al.,[14] where petitioners challenged the trial
courts order garnishing its funds in payment of the contract price for the construction of the City Hall, we ruled that, while government
funds deposited in the PNB are exempt from execution or garnishment, this rule does not apply if an ordinance has already been enacted
for the payment of the Citys obligations

Upon the issuance of the writ of execution, the petitioner-appellants moved for its quashal alleging among other things the exemption of
the government from execution. This move on the part of petitioner-appellants is at first glance laudable for all government funds
deposited with the Philippine National Bank by any agency or instrumentality of the government, whether by way of general or special
deposit, remain government funds and may not be subject to garnishment or levy. But inasmuch as an ordinance has already been
enacted expressly appropriating the amount of P613,096.00 as payment to the respondent-appellee, then the herein case is covered by
the exception to the general rule x x x x

In the instant case, the City Council of Caloocan already approved and passed Ordinance No. 0134, Series of 1992, allocating the
amount of P439,377.14 for respondent Santiagos back salaries plus interest. Thus this case fell squarely within the exception. For all
intents and purposes, Ordinance No. 0134, Series of 1992, was the corresponding appropriation as required by law. The sum indicated in
the ordinance for Santiago were deemed automatically segregated from the other budgetary allocations of the City of Caloocan and
earmarked solely for the Citys monetary obligation to her. The judgment of the trial court could then be validly enforced against such
funds.

Indeed, this conclusion is further buttressed by the Certification issued on December 23, 1992 by Norberto C. Azarcon, City
Treasurer of Caloocan:

CERTIFICATION

This is to certify that according to the records available in this Office the claim for backwages of the HON. JUDGE DELFINA H.
SANTIAGO has been properly obligated and can be collected in accordance with existing accounting and auditing rules and regulations.

This is to certify further that in case the claim is not collected within the present fiscal year, such claim shall be entered in the books of
Accounts Payable and can still be collected in the next fiscal year x x x x (Underscoring supplied)

Petitioners reliance on Municipality of Makati vs. Court of Appeals, et al.,[15] and Commissioner of Public Highways vs. San
Diego,[16] does not help their cause.[17] Both cases implicitly affirmed that public funds may be garnished if there is a statute which
appropriated the amount so garnished. Thus, in Municipality of Makati, citing San Diego, we unequivocally held that:

In this jurisdiction, well-settled is the rule that public funds are not subject to levy and execution, unless otherwise provided by statute x
xxx

Similarly, we cannot agree with petitioners argument that the appropriation ordinance of the City Council did not authorize PNB to
release the funds because only the City Mayor could authorize the release thereof. A valid appropriation of public funds lifts its
exemption from execution. Here, the appropriation passed by the City Council of Caloocan providing for the payment of backwages to
respondent was duly approved and signed by both the council and then Mayor Macario Asistio, Jr. The mayors signature approving the
budget ordinance was his assent to the appropriation of funds for respondent Santiagos backwages. If he did not agree with such
allocation, he could have vetoed the item pursuant to Section 55 of the Local Government Code.[18] There was no such veto.

In view of the foregoing discourse, we dismiss petitioners unfounded assertion, probably made more out of sheer ignorance of
prevailing jurisprudence than a deliberate attempt to mislead us, that the rule that public funds (are) beyond the reach of levy and
garnishment is not qualified by any condition.[19]

We now come to the issue of the legality of the levy on the three motor vehicles belonging to the City of Caloocan which
petitioners claimed to be exempt from execution, and which levy was based on an alias writ that had purportedly expired. Suffice it to
say that Judge Allarde, in his Order dated November 10, 1992,[20] already lifted the levy on the three vehicles, thereby formally
discharging them from the jurisdiction of the court and turning them over to the City Government of Caloocan:

x x x x the levy of the three (3) vehicles made by Sheriff Alberto Castillo pursuant to the Orders of this Court dated October 1 and 8,
1992 is hereby lifted and the said Sheriff is hereby ordered to return the same to the City Government in view of the satisfaction of the
decision in these cases x x x x

It is thus unnecessary for us to discuss a moot issue.

We turn to the third issue raised by petitioners that the auction sale by Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo of the motor vehicle with plate no.
SBH-165 was tainted with serious irregularities. We need not emphasize that the sheriff enjoys the presumption of regularity in the
performance of the functions of his office. This presumption prevails in the absence of substantial evidence to the contrary and cannot be
overcome by bare and self-serving allegations. The petitioners failed to convince us that the auction sale conducted by the sheriff indeed
suffered from fatal flaws. No evidence was adduced to prove that the sheriff had been remiss in the performance of his duties during the
public auction sale. Indeed it would be injudicious for us to assume, as petitioners want us to do, that the sheriff failed to follow the
established procedures governing public auctions.
On the contrary, a review of the records shows that the sheriff complied with the rules on public auction. The sale of the Citys
vehicle was made publicly in front of the Caloocan City Hall on the date fixed in the notice July 27, 1992. In fact, petitioners in their
Motion to Declare in Contempt of Court; to Set Aside the Garnishment and Administrative Complaint admitted as much:
On July 27, 1992, by virtue of an alias writ of execution issued by the respondent court, a vehicle owned by the petitioner xxx was
levied and sold at public auction for the amount of P100,000.00 and which amount was immediately delivered to the private
respondent x x x x[21]

Hence, petitioners cannot now be heard to impugn the validity of the auction sale.

Petitioners, in desperation, likewise make much of the proceedings before the trial court on October 8, 1992, wherein petitioner
Norma Abracia, Superintendent of the Division of City Schools of Caloocan, was commanded to appear and show cause why she should
not be cited in contempt for delaying the execution of judgment. This was in connection with her failure (or refusal) to surrender the
three motor vehicles assigned to the Division of City Schools to the custody of the sheriff. Petitioner Abracia, assisted by Mr. Ricardo
Nagpacan of the Division of City Schools, appeared during the hearing but requested a ten-day period within which to refer the matter
of contempt to a counsel of her choice. The request was denied by Judge Allarde in his assailed order dated October 8, 1992. Thus
petitioner Abracia claimed, inter alia, that: (a) she was denied due process; (b) the silence of the order of Judge Allarde on her request
for time violated an orderly and faithful recording of the proceedings, and (c) she was coerced into agreeing to surrender the vehicles.

We do not think so. What violates due process is the absolute lack of opportunity to be heard. That opportunity, the Court is
convinced, was sufficiently accorded to petitioner Abracia. She was notified of the contempt charge against her; she was effectively
assisted by counsel when she appeared during the hearing on October 8, 1992; and she was afforded ample opportunity to answer and
refute the charge against her. The circumstance that she opted not to avail of her chance to be heard on that occasion by asking for an
extension of time within which to hire a counsel of her choice, a request denied by the trial court, did not transgress nor deprive her of
her right to due process.

Significantly, during the hearing on October 8, 1992, Mr. Nagpacan manifested in open court that, after conferring with petitioner
Abracia, the latter was willing to surrender these vehicles into the custody of the sheriff on the condition that the standing motion (for
contempt) be withdrawn.[22] Her decision was made freely and voluntarily, and after conferring with her counsel. Moreover, it was
petitioner Abracia herself who imposed the condition that respondent Santiago should withdraw her motion for contempt in exchange
for her promise to surrender the subject vehicles. Thus, petitioner Abracias claim that she was coerced into surrendering the vehicles had
no basis.

Even assuming ex gratia argumenti that there indeed existed certain legal infirmities in connection with the assailed orders of Judge
Allarde, still, considering the totality of circumstances of this case, the nullification of the contested orders would be way out of line. For
21 long years, starting 1972 when this controversy started up to 1993 when her claim was fully paid out of the garnished funds of the
City of Caloocan, respondent Santiago was cruelly and unjustly deprived of what was due her. It would be, at the very least, merciless
and unchristian to make private respondent refund the City of Caloocan the amount already paid to her, only to force her to go through
the same nightmare all over again.

At any rate, of paramount importance to us is that justice has been served. No right of the public was violated and public interest
was preserved.

Finally, we cannot simply pass over in silence the deplorable act of the former Mayor of Caloocan City in refusing to sign the check
in payment of the Citys obligation to private respondent. It was an open defiance of judicial processes, smacking of political arrogance,
and a direct violation of the very ordinance he himself approved. Our Resolution in G.R. No. 98366, City Government of Caloocan vs.
Court of Appeals, et al., dated May 16, 1991, dismissing the petition of the City of Caloocan assailing the issuance of a writ of execution
by the trial court, already resolved with finality all impediments to the execution of judgment in this case. Yet, the City Government of
Caloocan, in a blatant display of malice and bad faith, refused to comply with the decision. Now, it has the temerity to come to this
Court once more and continue inflicting injustice on a hapless citizen, as if all the harm and prejudice it has already heaped upon
respondent Santiago are still not enough.

This Court will not condone the repudiation of just obligations contracted by municipal corporations. On the contrary, we will
extend our aid and every judicial facility to any citizen in the enforcement of just and valid claims against abusive local government units.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for utter lack of merit. The assailed orders of the trial court dated October 1, 1992,
October 8, 1992 and May 7, 1993, respectively, are AFFIRMED.
Petitioners and their counsels are hereby warned against filing any more pleadings in connection with the issues already resolved
with finality herein and in related cases.

Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

City of Caloocan vs. Allarde

Facts: Sometime in 1972, Marcial Samson, City Mayor of Caloocan City, through Ordinance 1749, abolished the position of Assistant City
Administrator and 17 other positions from the plantilla of the local government of Caloocan. Then Assistant City Administrator Delfina
Hernandez Santiago and the 17 affected employees of the City Government assailed the legality of the abolition before the then Court of
First Instance (CFI) of Caloocan City, Branch 33. In 1973, the CFI declared the abolition illegal and ordered the reinstatement of all the
dismissed employees and the payment of their back salaries and other emoluments. The City Government of Caloocan appealed to the
Court of Appeals. Santiago and her co-parties moved for the dismissal of the appeal for being dilatory and frivolous but the appellate
court denied their motion. Thus, they elevated the case on certiorari before the Supreme Court (GR L-39288-89, Heirs of Abelardo
Palomique, et al. vs. Marcial Samson, et al.) In the Supreme Court's Resolution dated 31 January 1985, it held that the appellate court
"erred in not dismissing the appeal," and "that the appeal of the City Government of Caloocan was frivolous and dilatory." In due time,
the resolution lapsed into finality and entry of judgment was made on 27 February 1985.

In 1986, the City Government of Caloocan paid Santiago P75,083.37 in partial payment of her backwages, thereby leaving a balance of
P530,761.91. Her co-parties were paid in full. In 1987, the City of Caloocan appropriated funds for her unpaid back salaries. This was
included in Supplemental Budget 3 for the fiscal year 1987. Surprisingly, however, the City later refused to release the money to Santiago.
Santiago exerted effort for the execution of the remainder of the money judgment but she met stiff opposition from the City
Government of Caloocan. On 12 February 1991, Judge Mauro T. Allarde, RTC of Caloocan City, Branch 123, issued a writ of execution
for the payment of the remainder of Santiagos back salaries and other emoluments. For the second time, the City Government of
Caloocan went up to the Court of Appeals and filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction to stop the trial court from
enforcing the writ of execution. The CA dismissed the petition and affirmed the order of issuance of the writ of execution. One of the
issues raised and resolved therein was the extent to which back salaries and emoluments were due to respondent Santiago. The appellate
court held that she was entitled to her salaries from October, 1983 to December, 1986. For the second time, the City Government of
Caloocan appealed to the Supreme Court (GR 98366, City Government of Caloocan vs. Court of Appeals, et al.) The petition was
dismissed, through its Resolution of 16 May 1991, for having been filed late and for failure to show any reversible error on the part of the
Court of Appeals. The resolution subsequently attained finality and the corresponding entry of judgment was made on 29 July 1991.

On motion of Santiago, Judge Mauro T. Allarde ordered the issuance of an alias writ of execution on 3 March 1992. The City
Government of Caloocan moved to reconsider the order, insisting in the main that Santiago was not entitled to backwages from 1983 to
1986. The lower court denied the motion and forthwith issued the alias writ of execution. Unfazed, the City Government of Caloocan
filed a motion to quash the writ, maintaining that the money judgment sought to be enforced should not have included salaries and
allowances for the years 1983-1986. The trial court likewise denied the motion. On 27 July 1992, Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo levied and
sold at public auction one of the motor vehicles of the City Government of Caloocan (SBH-165) for P100,000. The proceeds of the sale
were turned over to Santiago in partial satisfaction of her claim, thereby leaving a balance of P439,377.14, inclusive of interest. The City
of Caloocan and Norma M. Abracia filed a motion questioning the validity of the auction sale of the vehicle with plate SBH-165, and a
supplemental motion maintaining that the properties of the municipality were exempt from execution. In his Order dated 1 October
1992, Judge Allarde denied both motions and directed the sheriff to levy and schedule at public auction three more vehicles of the City
of Caloocan. All the vehicles, including that previously sold in the auction sale, were owned by the City and assigned for the use of
Norma Abracia, Division Superintendent of Caloocan City, and other officials of the Division of City Schools.

Meanwhile, the City Government of Caloocan sought clarification from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on whether Santiago was
considered to have rendered services from 1983-1986 as to be entitled to backwages for that period. In its Resolution 91-1124, the CSC
ruled in the negative. On 22 November 1991, Santiago challenged the CSC resolution before the Supreme Court (GR 102625, Santiago
vs. Sto. Tomas, et al.) On 8 July 1993, the Supreme Court initially dismissed the petition for lack of merit; however, it reconsidered the
dismissal of the petition in its Resolution dated 1 August 1995, this time ruling in favor of Santiago, holding that CSC Resolution 91-1124
could not set aside what had been judicially decided with finality.

On 5 October 1992, the City Council of Caloocan passed Ordinance 0134, Series of 1992, which included the amount of P439,377.14
claimed by respondent Santiago as back salaries, plus interest. Pursuant to the subject ordinance, Judge Allarde issued an order dated 10
November 1992, decreeing that the City Treasurer (of Caloocan), Norberto Azarcon be ordered to deliver to the Court within 5 days
from receipt, (a) managers check covering the amount of P439,378.00 representing the back salaries of Delfina H. Santiago in
accordance with Ordinance 0134 S. 1992 and pursuant to the final and executory decision in these cases. Then Caloocan Mayor Macario
A. Asistio, Jr., however, refused to sign the check intended as payment for Santiagos claims. This, despite the fact that he was one of the
signatories of the ordinance authorizing such payment. On 29 April 1993, Judge Allarde issued another order directing the Acting City
Mayor of Caloocan, Reynaldo O. Malonzo, to sign the check which had been pending before the Office of the Mayor since 11 December
1992. Acting City Mayor Malonzo informed the trial court that "he could not comply with the order since the subject check was not
formally turned over to him by the City Mayor" who went on official leave of absence on 15 April 1993, and that "he doubted whether
he had authority to sign the same." Thus, in an order dated 7 May 1993, Judge Allarde ordered Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo to immediately
garnish the funds of the City Government of Caloocan corresponding to the claim of Santiago. On the same day, Sheriff Alberto A.
Castillo served a copy of the Notice of Garnishment on the Philippine National Bank (PNB), Sangandaan Branch, Caloocan City. When
PNB immediately notified the City of Caloocan of the Notice of Garnishment, the City Treasurer sent a letter-advice informing PNB that
the order of garnishment was "illegal," with a warning that it would hold PNB liable for any damages which may be caused by the
withholding of the funds of the city. PNB opted to comply with the order of Judge Allarde and released to the Sheriff a managers check
amounting to P439,378. After 21 long years, the claim of Santiago was finally settled in full.

On 4 June 1993, however, while the present petition was pending, the City Government of Caloocan filed yet another motion with the
Supreme Court, a Motion to Declare in Contempt of Court; to Set Aside the Garnishment and Administrative Complaint against Judge
Allarde, Santiago and PNB. Subsequently, the City Government of Caloocan filed a Supplemental Petition formally impleading PNB as a
party-respondent in this case. The petition for certiorari is directed this time against the validity of the garnishment of the funds of the
City of Caloocan, as well as the validity of the levy and sale of the motor vehicles belonging to the City of Caloocan.

Issue: Whether the funds of City of Caloocan, in PNB, may be garnished (i.e. exempt from execution), to satisfy Santiagos claim.

Held: Garnishment is considered a specie of attachment by means of which the plaintiff seeks to subject to his claim property of the
defendant in the hands of a third person, or money owed by such third person or garnishee to the defendant. The rule is and has always
been that all government funds deposited in the PNB or any other official depositary of the Philippine Government by any of its agencies
or instrumentalities, whether by general or special deposit, remain government funds and may not be subject to garnishment or levy, in
the absence of a corresponding appropriation as required by law. Even though the rule as to immunity of a state from suit is relaxed, the
power of the courts ends when the judgment is rendered. Although the liability of the state has been judicially ascertained, the state is at
liberty to determine for itself whether to pay the judgment or not, and execution cannot issue on a judgment against the state. Such
statutes do not authorize a seizure of state property to satisfy judgments recovered, and only convey an implication that the legislature
will recognize such judgment as final and make provision for the satisfaction thereof. The rule is based on obvious considerations of
public policy. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of
public funds from their legitimate and specific objects, as appropriated by law. However, the rule is not absolute and admits of a well-
defined exception, that is, when there is a corresponding appropriation as required by law. Otherwise stated, the rule on the immunity of
public funds from seizure or garnishment does not apply where the funds sought to be levied under execution are already allocated by
law specifically for the satisfaction of the money judgment against the government. In such a case, the monetary judgment may be legally
enforced by judicial processes. Herein, the City Council of Caloocan already approved and passed Ordinance 0134, Series of 1992,
allocating the amount of P439,377.14 for Santiagos back salaries plus interest. This case, thus, fell squarely within the exception. For all
intents and purposes, Ordinance 0134, Series of 1992, was the "corresponding appropriation as required by law." The sum indicated in
the ordinance for Santiago were deemed automatically segregated from the other budgetary allocations of the City of Caloocan and
earmarked solely for the Citys monetary obligation to her. The judgment of the trial court could then be validly enforced against such
funds.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 173034 October 9, 2007

PHARMACEUTICAL AND HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
HEALTH SECRETARY FRANCISCO T. DUQUE III; HEALTH UNDER SECRETARIES DR. ETHELYN P. NIETO, DR. MARGARITA M.
GALON, ATTY. ALEXANDER A. PADILLA, & DR. JADE F. DEL MUNDO; and ASSISTANT SECRETARIES DR. MARIO C. VILLAVERDE,
DR. DAVID J. LOZADA, AND DR. NEMESIO T. GAKO,respondents.

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

The Court and all parties involved are in agreement that the best nourishment for an infant is mother's milk. There is nothing greater than
for a mother to nurture her beloved child straight from her bosom. The ideal is, of course, for each and every Filipino child to enjoy the
unequaled benefits of breastmilk. But how should this end be attained?

Before the Court is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to nullify Administrative Order (A.O.) No.
2006-0012 entitled, Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Executive Order No. 51, Otherwise Known as The "Milk Code,"
Relevant International Agreements, Penalizing Violations Thereof, and for Other Purposes (RIRR). Petitioner posits that the RIRR is not
valid as it contains provisions that are not constitutional and go beyond the law it is supposed to implement.

Named as respondents are the Health Secretary, Undersecretaries, and Assistant Secretaries of the Department of Health (DOH). For
purposes of herein petition, the DOH is deemed impleaded as a co-respondent since respondents issued the questioned RIRR in their
capacity as officials of said executive agency.1

Executive Order No. 51 (Milk Code) was issued by President Corazon Aquino on October 28, 1986 by virtue of the legislative powers
granted to the president under the Freedom Constitution. One of the preambular clauses of the Milk Code states that the law seeks to
give effect to Article 112 of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (ICMBS), a code adopted by the World Health
Assembly (WHA) in 1981. From 1982 to 2006, the WHA adopted several Resolutions to the effect that breastfeeding should be
supported, promoted and protected, hence, it should be ensured that nutrition and health claims are not permitted for breastmilk
substitutes.

In 1990, the Philippines ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 24 of said instrument provides that State
Parties should take appropriate measures to diminish infant and child mortality, and ensure that all segments of society, specially parents
and children, are informed of the advantages of breastfeeding.

On May 15, 2006, the DOH issued herein assailed RIRR which was to take effect on July 7, 2006.

However, on June 28, 2006, petitioner, representing its members that are manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes, filed the present
Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary
Injunction.

The main issue raised in the petition is whether respondents officers of the DOH acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and in violation of the provisions of the Constitution in promulgating the
RIRR.3

On August 15, 2006, the Court issued a Resolution granting a TRO enjoining respondents from implementing the questioned RIRR.

After the Comment and Reply had been filed, the Court set the case for oral arguments on June 19, 2007. The Court issued an Advisory
(Guidance for Oral Arguments) dated June 5, 2007, to wit:

The Court hereby sets the following issues:

1. Whether or not petitioner is a real party-in-interest;

2. Whether Administrative Order No. 2006-0012 or the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (RIRR) issued by the
Department of Health (DOH) is not constitutional;

2.1 Whether the RIRR is in accord with the provisions of Executive Order No. 51 (Milk Code);

2.2 Whether pertinent international agreements1 entered into by the Philippines are part of the law of the land and may be
implemented by the DOH through the RIRR; If in the affirmative, whether the RIRR is in accord with the international
agreements;

2.3 Whether Sections 4, 5(w), 22, 32, 47, and 52 of the RIRR violate the due process clause and are in restraint of trade; and

2.4 Whether Section 13 of the RIRR on Total Effect provides sufficient standards.

_____________

1 (1) United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; (2) the WHO and Unicef "2002 Global Strategy on Infant and
Young Child Feeding;" and (3) various World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolutions.

The parties filed their respective memoranda.

The petition is partly imbued with merit.

On the issue of petitioner's standing

With regard to the issue of whether petitioner may prosecute this case as the real party-in-interest, the Court adopts the view enunciated
in Executive Secretary v. Court of Appeals,4 to wit:

The modern view is that an association has standing to complain of injuries to its members. This view fuses the legal identity of
an association with that of its members. An association has standing to file suit for its workers despite its lack of direct interest if
its members are affected by the action. An organization has standing to assert the concerns of its constituents.

xxxx
x x x We note that, under its Articles of Incorporation, the respondent was organized x x x to act as the representative of any
individual, company, entity or association on matters related to the manpower recruitment industry, and to perform other acts
and activities necessary to accomplish the purposes embodied therein. The respondent is, thus, the appropriate party to assert
the rights of its members, because it and its members are in every practical sense identical. x x x The respondent [association] is
but the medium through which its individual members seek to make more effective the expression of their voices and the
redress of their grievances. 5 (Emphasis supplied)

which was reasserted in Purok Bagong Silang Association, Inc. v. Yuipco,6 where the Court ruled that an association has the legal
personality to represent its members because the results of the case will affect their vital interests.7

Herein petitioner's Amended Articles of Incorporation contains a similar provision just like in Executive Secretary, that the association is
formed "to represent directly or through approved representatives the pharmaceutical and health care industry before the Philippine
Government and any of its agencies, the medical professions and the general public."8 Thus, as an organization, petitioner definitely has
an interest in fulfilling its avowed purpose of representing members who are part of the pharmaceutical and health care industry.
Petitioner is duly authorized9 to take the appropriate course of action to bring to the attention of government agencies and the courts
any grievance suffered by its members which are directly affected by the RIRR. Petitioner, which is mandated by its Amended Articles of
Incorporation to represent the entire industry, would be remiss in its duties if it fails to act on governmental action that would affect any
of its industry members, no matter how few or numerous they are. Hence, petitioner, whose legal identity is deemed fused with its
members, should be considered as a real party-in-interest which stands to be benefited or injured by any judgment in the present action.

On the constitutionality of the provisions of the RIRR

First, the Court will determine if pertinent international instruments adverted to by respondents are part of the law of the land.

Petitioner assails the RIRR for allegedly going beyond the provisions of the Milk Code, thereby amending and expanding the coverage of
said law. The defense of the DOH is that the RIRR implements not only the Milk Code but also various international
instruments10 regarding infant and young child nutrition. It is respondents' position that said international instruments are deemed part of
the law of the land and therefore the DOH may implement them through the RIRR.

The Court notes that the following international instruments invoked by respondents, namely: (1) The United Nations Convention on the
Rights of the Child; (2) The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and (3) the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, only provide in general terms that steps must be taken by State Parties to diminish infant
and child mortality and inform society of the advantages of breastfeeding, ensure the health and well-being of families, and ensure that
women are provided with services and nutrition in connection with pregnancy and lactation. Said instruments do not contain specific
provisions regarding the use or marketing of breastmilk substitutes.

The international instruments that do have specific provisions regarding breastmilk substitutes are the ICMBS and various WHA
Resolutions.

Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either
by transformation or incorporation.11 The transformation method requires that an international law be transformed into a domestic
law through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation. The incorporation method applies when, by mere constitutional
declaration, international law is deemed to have the force of domestic law.12

Treaties become part of the law of the land through transformation pursuant to Article VII, Section 21 of the Constitution which
provides that "[n]o treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the
members of the Senate." Thus, treaties or conventional international law must go through a process prescribed by the Constitution for it
to be transformed into municipal law that can be applied to domestic conflicts.13

The ICMBS and WHA Resolutions are not treaties as they have not been concurred in by at least two-thirds of all members of the Senate
as required under Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.

However, the ICMBS which was adopted by the WHA in 1981 had been transformed into domestic law through local legislation, the
Milk Code. Consequently, it is the Milk Code that has the force and effect of law in this jurisdiction and not the ICMBS per se.

The Milk Code is almost a verbatim reproduction of the ICMBS, but it is well to emphasize at this point that the Code did not adopt the
provision in the ICMBS absolutely prohibiting advertising or other forms of promotion to the general public of products within the
scope of the ICMBS. Instead, the Milk Code expressly provides that advertising, promotion, or other marketing materials may be
allowed if such materials are duly authorized and approved by the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC).

On the other hand, Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, to wit:


SECTION 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of
international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and
amity with all nations. (Emphasis supplied)

embodies the incorporation method.14

In Mijares v. Ranada,15 the Court held thus:

[G]enerally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution, form part of the
laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations. The classical formulation in international law sees
those customary rules accepted as binding result from the combination [of] two elements: the established, widespread, and
consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as the opinion juris sive necessitates (opinion as to
law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is rendered obligatory by the existence of
a rule of law requiring it.16 (Emphasis supplied)

"Generally accepted principles of international law" refers to norms of general or customary international law which are binding on all
states,17 i.e., renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, the principle of sovereign immunity,18 a person's right to life,
liberty and due process,19 and pacta sunt servanda,20 among others. The concept of "generally accepted principles of law" has also been
depicted in this wise:

Some legal scholars and judges look upon certain "general principles of law" as a primary source of international law because they have
the "character of jus rationale" and are "valid through all kinds of human societies."(Judge Tanaka in his dissenting opinion in the 1966
South West Africa Case, 1966 I.C.J. 296). O'Connell holds that certain priniciples are part of international law because they are "basic to
legal systems generally" and hence part of the jus gentium. These principles, he believes, are established by a process of reasoning based
on the common identity of all legal systems. If there should be doubt or disagreement, one must look to state practice and determine
whether the municipal law principle provides a just and acceptable solution. x x x 21 (Emphasis supplied)

Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas defines customary international law as follows:

Custom or customary international law means "a general and consistent practice of states followed by them from a sense of
legal obligation [opinio juris]." (Restatement) This statement contains the two basic elements of custom: the material factor,
that is, how states behave, and the psychological or subjective factor, that is, why they behave the way they do.

xxxx

The initial factor for determining the existence of custom is the actual behavior of states. This includes several elements:
duration, consistency, and generality of the practice of states.

The required duration can be either short or long. x x x

xxxx

Duration therefore is not the most important element. More important is the consistency and the generality of the practice. x x
x

xxxx

Once the existence of state practice has been established, it becomes necessary to determine why states behave the way they do.
Do states behave the way they do because they consider it obligatory to behave thus or do they do it only as a matter of
courtesy? Opinio juris, or the belief that a certain form of behavior is obligatory, is what makes practice an international rule.
Without it, practice is not law.22(Underscoring and Emphasis supplied)

Clearly, customary international law is deemed incorporated into our domestic system.23

WHA Resolutions have not been embodied in any local legislation. Have they attained the status of customary law and should they then
be deemed incorporated as part of the law of the land?

The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the international specialized agencies allied with the United Nations (UN) by virtue of
Article 57,24 in relation to Article 6325 of the UN Charter. Under the 1946 WHO Constitution, it is the WHA which determines the
policies of the WHO,26 and has the power to adopt regulations concerning "advertising and labeling of biological, pharmaceutical and
similar products moving in international commerce,"27and to "make recommendations to members with respect to any matter within the
competence of the Organization."28 The legal effect of its regulations, as opposed to recommendations, is quite different.

Regulations, along with conventions and agreements, duly adopted by the WHA bind member states thus:

Article 19. The Health Assembly shall have authority to adopt conventions or agreements with respect to any matter within the
competence of the Organization. A two-thirds vote of the Health Assembly shall be required for the adoption of
such conventions or agreements, which shall come into force for each Member when accepted by it in accordance with its
constitutional processes.

Article 20. Each Member undertakes that it will, within eighteen months after the adoption by the Health Assembly of a
convention or agreement, take action relative to the acceptance of such convention or agreement. Each Member shall notify
the Director-General of the action taken, and if it does not accept such convention or agreement within the time limit, it will
furnish a statement of the reasons for non-acceptance. In case of acceptance, each Member agrees to make an annual report to
the Director-General in accordance with Chapter XIV.

Article 21. The Health Assembly shall have authority to adopt regulations concerning: (a) sanitary and quarantine requirements
and other procedures designed to prevent the international spread of disease; (b) nomenclatures with respect to diseases, causes
of death and public health practices; (c) standards with respect to diagnostic procedures for international use; (d) standards with
respect to the safety, purity and potency of biological, pharmaceutical and similar products moving in international commerce;
(e) advertising and labeling of biological, pharmaceutical and similar products moving in international commerce.

Article 22. Regulations adopted pursuant to Article 21 shall come into force for all Members after due notice has been given of
their adoption by the Health Assembly except for such Members as may notify the Director-General of rejection or reservations
within the period stated in the notice. (Emphasis supplied)

On the other hand, under Article 23, recommendations of the WHA do not come into force for members, in the same way that
conventions or agreements under Article 19 and regulations under Article 21 come into force. Article 23 of the WHO Constitution reads:

Article 23. The Health Assembly shall have authority to make recommendations to Members with respect to any matter within
the competence of the Organization. (Emphasis supplied)

The absence of a provision in Article 23 of any mechanism by which the recommendation would come into force for member states is
conspicuous.

The former Senior Legal Officer of WHO, Sami Shubber, stated that WHA recommendations are generally not binding, but they "carry
moral and political weight, as they constitute the judgment on a health issue of the collective membership of the highest international
body in the field of health."29 Even the ICMBS itself was adopted as a mere recommendation, as WHA Resolution No. 34.22 states:

"The Thirty-Fourth World Health Assembly x x x adopts, in the sense of Article 23 of the Constitution, the International Code
of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes annexed to the present resolution." (Emphasis supplied)

The Introduction to the ICMBS also reads as follows:

In January 1981, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization at its sixty-seventh session, considered the fourth draft
of the code, endorsed it, and unanimously recommended to the Thirty-fourth World Health Assembly the text of a resolution
by which it would adopt the code in the form of a recommendation rather than a regulation. x x x (Emphasis supplied)

The legal value of WHA Resolutions as recommendations is summarized in Article 62 of the WHO Constitution, to wit:

Art. 62. Each member shall report annually on the action taken with respect to recommendations made to it by the
Organization, and with respect to conventions, agreements and regulations.

Apparently, the WHA Resolution adopting the ICMBS and subsequent WHA Resolutions urging member states to implement the ICMBS
are merely recommendatory and legally non-binding. Thus, unlike what has been done with the ICMBS whereby the legislature enacted
most of the provisions into law which is the Milk Code, the subsequent WHA Resolutions, 30 specifically providing for exclusive
breastfeeding from 0-6 months, continued breastfeeding up to 24 months, and absolutely prohibiting advertisements and promotions of
breastmilk substitutes, have not been adopted as a domestic law.

It is propounded that WHA Resolutions may constitute "soft law" or non-binding norms, principles and practices that influence state
behavior.31
"Soft law" does not fall into any of the categories of international law set forth in Article 38, Chapter III of the 1946 Statute of the
International Court of Justice.32 It is, however, an expression of non-binding norms, principles, and practices that influence state
behavior.33 Certain declarations and resolutions of the UN General Assembly fall under this category.34 The most notable is the UN
Declaration of Human Rights, which this Court has enforced in various cases, specifically, Government of Hongkong Special
Administrative Region v. Olalia,35 Mejoff v. Director of Prisons,36 Mijares v. Raada37 and Shangri-la International Hotel Management,
Ltd. v. Developers Group of Companies, Inc..38

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency attached to the UN with the mandate to promote and
protect intellectual property worldwide, has resorted to soft law as a rapid means of norm creation, in order "to reflect and respond to
the changing needs and demands of its constituents."39 Other international organizations which have resorted to soft law include the
International Labor Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization (in the form of the Codex Alimentarius).40

WHO has resorted to soft law. This was most evident at the time of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Avian flu
outbreaks.

Although the IHR Resolution does not create new international law binding on WHO member states, it provides an excellent
example of the power of "soft law" in international relations. International lawyers typically distinguish binding rules of
international law-"hard law"-from non-binding norms, principles, and practices that influence state behavior-"soft law." WHO
has during its existence generated many soft law norms, creating a "soft law regime" in international governance for public
health.

The "soft law" SARS and IHR Resolutions represent significant steps in laying the political groundwork for improved
international cooperation on infectious diseases. These resolutions clearly define WHO member states' normative duty to
cooperate fully with other countries and with WHO in connection with infectious disease surveillance and response to
outbreaks.

This duty is neither binding nor enforceable, but, in the wake of the SARS epidemic, the duty is powerful politically for two
reasons. First, the SARS outbreak has taught the lesson that participating in, and enhancing, international cooperation on
infectious disease controls is in a country's self-interest x x x if this warning is heeded, the "soft law" in the SARS and IHR
Resolution could inform the development of general and consistent state practice on infectious disease surveillance and outbreak
response, perhaps crystallizing eventually into customary international law on infectious disease prevention and control.41

In the Philippines, the executive department implemented certain measures recommended by WHO to address the outbreaks of SARS
and Avian flu by issuing Executive Order (E.O.) No. 201 on April 26, 2003 and E.O. No. 280 on February 2, 2004, delegating to various
departments broad powers to close down schools/establishments, conduct health surveillance and monitoring, and ban importation of
poultry and agricultural products.

It must be emphasized that even under such an international emergency, the duty of a state to implement the IHR Resolution was still
considered not binding or enforceable, although said resolutions had great political influence.

As previously discussed, for an international rule to be considered as customary law, it must be established that such rule is being
followed by states because they consider it obligatory to comply with such rules (opinio juris). Respondents have not presented any
evidence to prove that the WHA Resolutions, although signed by most of the member states, were in fact enforced or practiced by at
least a majority of the member states; neither have respondents proven that any compliance by member states with said WHA
Resolutions was obligatory in nature.

Respondents failed to establish that the provisions of pertinent WHA Resolutions are customary international law that may be deemed
part of the law of the land.

Consequently, legislation is necessary to transform the provisions of the WHA Resolutions into domestic law. The provisions of the
WHA Resolutions cannot be considered as part of the law of the land that can be implemented by executive agencies without the need
of a law enacted by the legislature.

Second, the Court will determine whether the DOH may implement the provisions of the WHA Resolutions by virtue of its powers and
functions under the Revised Administrative Code even in the absence of a domestic law.

Section 3, Chapter 1, Title IX of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 provides that the DOH shall define the national health
policy and implement a national health plan within the framework of the government's general policies and plans, and issue orders and
regulations concerning the implementation of established health policies.

It is crucial to ascertain whether the absolute prohibition on advertising and other forms of promotion of breastmilk substitutes provided
in some WHA Resolutions has been adopted as part of the national health policy.
Respondents submit that the national policy on infant and young child feeding is embodied in A.O. No. 2005-0014, dated May 23,
2005. Basically, the Administrative Order declared the following policy guidelines: (1) ideal breastfeeding practices, such as early initiation
of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, extended breastfeeding up to two years and beyond; (2) appropriate
complementary feeding, which is to start at age six months; (3) micronutrient supplementation; (4) universal salt iodization; (5) the
exercise of other feeding options; and (6) feeding in exceptionally difficult circumstances. Indeed, the primacy of breastfeeding for
children is emphasized as a national health policy. However, nowhere in A.O. No. 2005-0014 is it declared that as part of such health
policy, the advertisement or promotion of breastmilk substitutes should be absolutely prohibited.

The national policy of protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding cannot automatically be equated with a total ban on
advertising for breastmilk substitutes.

In view of the enactment of the Milk Code which does not contain a total ban on the advertising and promotion of breastmilk
substitutes, but instead, specifically creates an IAC which will regulate said advertising and promotion, it follows that a total ban policy
could be implemented only pursuant to a law amending the Milk Code passed by the constitutionally authorized branch of
government, the legislature.

Thus, only the provisions of the Milk Code, but not those of subsequent WHA Resolutions, can be validly implemented by the DOH
through the subject RIRR.

Third, the Court will now determine whether the provisions of the RIRR are in accordance with those of the Milk Code.

In support of its claim that the RIRR is inconsistent with the Milk Code, petitioner alleges the following:

1. The Milk Code limits its coverage to children 0-12 months old, but the RIRR extended its coverage to "young children" or
those from ages two years old and beyond:

MILK CODE RIRR


WHEREAS, in order to ensure that safe and adequate Section 2. Purpose These Revised Rules and
nutrition for infants is provided, there is a need to Regulations are hereby promulgated to ensure the
protect and promote breastfeeding and to inform the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants
public about the proper use of breastmilk substitutes and young children by the promotion, protection and
and supplements and related products through support of breastfeeding and by ensuring the proper
adequate, consistent and objective information and use of breastmilk substitutes, breastmilk supplements
appropriate regulation of the marketing and and related products when these are medically
distribution of the said substitutes, supplements and indicated and only when necessary, on the basis of
related products; adequate information and through appropriate
marketing and distribution.
SECTION 4(e). "Infant" means a person falling within
the age bracket of 0-12 months. Section 5(ff). "Young Child" means a person from the
age of more than twelve (12) months up to the age of
three (3) years (36 months).

2. The Milk Code recognizes that infant formula may be a proper and possible substitute for breastmilk in certain instances; but
the RIRR provides "exclusive breastfeeding for infants from 0-6 months" and declares that "there is no substitute nor replacement
for breastmilk":

MILK CODE RIRR


WHEREAS, in order to ensure that safe and adequate Section 4. Declaration of Principles The following are
nutrition for infants is provided, there is a need to the underlying principles from which the revised rules
protect and promote breastfeeding and to inform the and regulations are premised upon:
public about the proper use of breastmilk substitutes
and supplements and related products through a. Exclusive breastfeeding is for infants from 0 to six
adequate, consistent and objective information and (6) months.
appropriate regulation of the marketing and
distribution of the said substitutes, supplements and
related products; b. There is no substitute or replacement for breastmilk.

3. The Milk Code only regulates and does not impose unreasonable requirements for advertising and promotion; RIRR imposes
an absolute ban on such activities for breastmilk substitutes intended for infants from 0-24 months old or beyond, and forbids
the use of health and nutritional claims. Section 13 of the RIRR, which provides for a "total effect" in the promotion of products
within the scope of the Code, is vague:
MILK CODE RIRR
SECTION 6. The General Public and Mothers. Section 4. Declaration of Principles The following are
the underlying principles from which the revised rules
(a) No advertising, promotion or other marketing and regulations are premised upon:
materials, whether written, audio or visual,
for products within the scope of this Code shall be xxxx
printed, published, distributed, exhibited and
broadcast unless such materials are duly authorized and f. Advertising, promotions, or sponsor-ships of infant
approved by an inter-agency committee created herein formula, breastmilk substitutes and other related
pursuant to the applicable standards provided for in products are prohibited.
this Code.
Section 11. Prohibition No advertising, promotions,
sponsorships, or marketing materials and activities for
breastmilk substitutes intended for infants and young
children up to twenty-four (24) months, shall be
allowed, because they tend to convey or give
subliminal messages or impressions that undermine
breastmilk and breastfeeding or otherwise exaggerate
breastmilk substitutes and/or replacements, as well as
related products covered within the scope of this Code.

Section 13. "Total Effect" - Promotion of products


within the scope of this Code must be objective and
should not equate or make the product appear to be as
good or equal to breastmilk or breastfeeding in the
advertising concept. It must not in any case undermine
breastmilk or breastfeeding. The "total effect" should
not directly or indirectly suggest that buying their
product would produce better individuals, or resulting
in greater love, intelligence, ability, harmony or in any
manner bring better health to the baby or other such
exaggerated and unsubstantiated claim.

Section 15. Content of Materials. - The following shall


not be included in advertising, promotional and
marketing materials:

a. Texts, pictures, illustrations or information which


discourage or tend to undermine the benefits or
superiority of breastfeeding or which idealize the use of
breastmilk substitutes and milk supplements. In this
connection, no pictures of babies and children together
with their mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, other
relatives or caregivers (or yayas) shall be used in any
advertisements for infant formula and breastmilk
supplements;

b. The term "humanized," "maternalized," "close to


mother's milk" or similar words in describing breastmilk
substitutes or milk supplements;

c. Pictures or texts that idealize the use of infant and


milk formula.

Section 16. All health and nutrition claims for products


within the scope of the Code are absolutely prohibited.
For this purpose, any phrase or words that connotes to
increase emotional, intellectual abilities of the infant
and young child and other like phrases shall not be
allowed.

4. The RIRR imposes additional labeling requirements not found in the Milk Code:
MILK CODE RIRR
SECTION 10. Containers/Label. Section 26. Content Each container/label shall
contain such message, in both Filipino and English
(a) Containers and/or labels shall be designed to languages, and which message cannot be readily
provide the necessary information about the separated therefrom, relative the following points:
appropriate use of the products, and in such a way as
not to discourage breastfeeding. (a) The words or phrase "Important Notice" or
"Government Warning" or their equivalent;
(b) Each container shall have a clear, conspicuous and
easily readable and understandable message in Pilipino (b) A statement of the superiority of breastfeeding;
or English printed on it, or on a label, which message
can not readily become separated from it, and which (c) A statement that there is no substitute for
shall include the following points: breastmilk;

(i) the words "Important Notice" or their equivalent; (d) A statement that the product shall be used only on
the advice of a health worker as to the need for its use
(ii) a statement of the superiority of breastfeeding; and the proper methods of use;

(iii) a statement that the product shall be used only on (e) Instructions for appropriate prepara-tion, and a
the advice of a health worker as to the need for its use warning against the health hazards of inappropriate
and the proper methods of use; and preparation; and

(iv) instructions for appropriate preparation, and a (f) The health hazards of unnecessary or improper use
warning against the health hazards of inappropriate of infant formula and other related products including
preparation. information that powdered infant formula may contain
pathogenic microorganisms and must be prepared and
used appropriately.

5. The Milk Code allows dissemination of information on infant formula to health professionals; the RIRR totally prohibits such
activity:

MILK CODE RIRR


SECTION 7. Health Care System. Section 22. No manufacturer, distributor, or
representatives of products covered by the Code shall
(b) No facility of the health care system shall be used be allowed to conduct or be involved in any activity
for the purpose of promoting infant formula or other on breastfeeding promotion, education and production
products within the scope of this Code. This Code does of Information, Education and Communication (IEC)
not, however, preclude the dissemination of materials on breastfeeding, holding of or participating
information to health professionals as provided in as speakers in classes or seminars for women and
Section 8(b). children activities and to avoid the use of these venues
to market their brands or company names.
SECTION 8. Health Workers. -
SECTION 16. All health and nutrition claims for
products within the scope of the Code are absolutely
(b) Information provided by manufacturers and prohibited. For this purpose, any phrase or words that
distributors to health professionals regarding products connotes to increase emotional, intellectual abilities of
within the scope of this Code shall be restricted the infant and young child and other like phrases shall
to scientific and factual matters and such information not be allowed.
shall not imply or create a belief that bottle-feeding is
equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It shall also
include the information specified in Section 5(b).

6. The Milk Code permits milk manufacturers and distributors to extend assistance in research and continuing education of
health professionals; RIRR absolutely forbids the same.

MILK CODE RIRR


SECTION 8. Health Workers Section 4. Declaration of Principles

(e) Manufacturers and distributors of products within The following are the underlying principles from which
the scope of this Code may assist in the research, the revised rules and regulations are premised upon:
scholarships and continuing education, of health
professionals, in accordance with the rules and
regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Health. i. Milk companies, and their representatives, should
not form part of any policymaking body or entity in
relation to the advancement of breasfeeding.

SECTION 22. No manufacturer, distributor, or


representatives of products covered by the Code shall
be allowed to conduct or be involved in any activity
on breastfeeding promotion, education and production
of Information, Education and Communication (IEC)
materials on breastfeeding, holding of or participating
as speakers in classes or seminars for women and
children activitiesand to avoid the use of these venues
to market their brands or company names.

SECTION 32. Primary Responsibility of Health


Workers - It is the primary responsibility of the health
workers to promote, protect and support breastfeeding
and appropriate infant and young child feeding. Part of
this responsibility is to continuously update their
knowledge and skills on breastfeeding. No assistance,
support, logistics or training from milk companies shall
be permitted.

7. The Milk Code regulates the giving of donations; RIRR absolutely prohibits it.

MILK CODE RIRR


SECTION 6. The General Public and Mothers. Section 51. Donations Within the Scope of This Code -
Donations of products, materials, defined and covered
(f) Nothing herein contained shall prevent donations under the Milk Code and these implementing rules and
from manufacturers and distributors of products within regulations, shall be strictly prohibited.
the scope of this Code upon request by or with the
approval of the Ministry of Health. Section 52. Other Donations By Milk Companies Not
Covered by this Code. - Donations of products,
equipments, and the like, not otherwise falling within
the scope of this Code or these Rules, given by milk
companies and their agents, representatives, whether in
kind or in cash, may only be coursed through the Inter
Agency Committee (IAC), which shall determine
whether such donation be accepted or otherwise.

8. The RIRR provides for administrative sanctions not imposed by the Milk Code.

MILK CODE RIRR


Section 46. Administrative Sanctions. The following
administrative sanctions shall be imposed upon any
person, juridical or natural, found to have violated the
provisions of the Code and its implementing Rules and
Regulations:

a) 1st violation Warning;

b) 2nd violation Administrative fine of a minimum of


Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand
(P50,000.00) Pesos, depending on the gravity and
extent of the violation, including the recall of the
offending product;

c) 3rd violation Administrative Fine of a minimum of


Sixty Thousand (P60,000.00) to One Hundred Fifty
Thousand (P150,000.00) Pesos, depending on the
gravity and extent of the violation, and in addition
thereto, the recall of the offending product, and
suspension of the Certificate of Product Registration
(CPR);

d) 4th violation Administrative Fine of a minimum of


Two Hundred Thousand (P200,000.00) to Five
Hundred (P500,000.00) Thousand Pesos, depending
on the gravity and extent of the violation; and in
addition thereto, the recall of the product, revocation
of the CPR, suspension of the License to Operate (LTO)
for one year;

e) 5th and succeeding repeated violations


Administrative Fine of One Million (P1,000,000.00)
Pesos, the recall of the offending product, cancellation
of the CPR, revocation of the License to Operate (LTO)
of the company concerned, including the blacklisting of
the company to be furnished the Department of Budget
and Management (DBM) and the Department of Trade
and Industry (DTI);

f) An additional penalty of Two Thou-sand Five


Hundred (P2,500.00) Pesos per day shall be made for
every day the violation continues after having received
the order from the IAC or other such appropriate body,
notifying and penalizing the company for the
infraction.

For purposes of determining whether or not there is


"repeated" violation, each product violation belonging
or owned by a company, including those of their
subsidiaries, are deemed to be violations of the
concerned milk company and shall not be based on the
specific violating product alone.

9. The RIRR provides for repeal of existing laws to the contrary.

The Court shall resolve the merits of the allegations of petitioner seriatim.

1. Petitioner is mistaken in its claim that the Milk Code's coverage is limited only to children 0-12 months old. Section 3 of the Milk Code
states:

SECTION 3. Scope of the Code The Code applies to the marketing, and practices related thereto, of the following products:
breastmilk substitutes, including infant formula; other milk products, foods and beverages, including bottle-fed complementary
foods, when marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable, with or without modification, for use as a partial or total
replacement of breastmilk; feeding bottles and teats. It also applies to their quality and availability, and to information
concerning their use.

Clearly, the coverage of the Milk Code is not dependent on the age of the child but on the kind of product being marketed to the
public. The law treats infant formula, bottle-fed complementary food, and breastmilk substitute as separate and distinct product
categories.

Section 4(h) of the Milk Code defines infant formula as "a breastmilk substitute x x x to satisfy the normal nutritional requirements of
infants up to between four to six months of age, and adapted to their physiological characteristics"; while under Section 4(b), bottle-fed
complementary food refers to "any food, whether manufactured or locally prepared, suitable as a complement to breastmilk or infant
formula, when either becomes insufficient to satisfy the nutritional requirements of the infant." An infant under Section 4(e) is a person
falling within the age bracket 0-12 months. It is the nourishment of this group of infants or children aged 0-12 months that is sought to be
promoted and protected by the Milk Code.

But there is another target group. Breastmilk substitute is defined under Section 4(a) as "any food being marketed or otherwise presented
as a partial or total replacement for breastmilk, whether or not suitable for that purpose." This section conspicuously lacks reference to
any particular age-group of children. Hence, the provision of the Milk Code cannot be considered exclusive for children aged 0-12
months. In other words, breastmilk substitutes may also be intended for young children more than 12 months of age. Therefore, by
regulating breastmilk substitutes, the Milk Code also intends to protect and promote the nourishment of children more than 12 months
old.

Evidently, as long as what is being marketed falls within the scope of the Milk Code as provided in Section 3, then it can be subject to
regulation pursuant to said law, even if the product is to be used by children aged over 12 months.

There is, therefore, nothing objectionable with Sections 242 and 5(ff)43 of the RIRR.

2. It is also incorrect for petitioner to say that the RIRR, unlike the Milk Code, does not recognize that breastmilk substitutes may be a
proper and possible substitute for breastmilk.

The entirety of the RIRR, not merely truncated portions thereof, must be considered and construed together. As held in De Luna v.
Pascual,44 "[t]he particular words, clauses and phrases in the Rule should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the
whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to produce a harmonious whole."

Section 7 of the RIRR provides that "when medically indicated and only when necessary, the use of breastmilk substitutes is proper if
based on complete and updated information." Section 8 of the RIRR also states that information and educational materials should include
information on the proper use of infant formula when the use thereof is needed.

Hence, the RIRR, just like the Milk Code, also recognizes that in certain cases, the use of breastmilk substitutes may be proper.

3. The Court shall ascertain the merits of allegations 345 and 446 together as they are interlinked with each other.

To resolve the question of whether the labeling requirements and advertising regulations under the RIRR are valid, it is important to deal
first with the nature, purpose, and depth of the regulatory powers of the DOH, as defined in general under the 1987 Administrative
Code,47 and as delegated in particular under the Milk Code.

Health is a legitimate subject matter for regulation by the DOH (and certain other administrative agencies) in exercise of police powers
delegated to it. The sheer span of jurisprudence on that matter precludes the need to further discuss it..48 However, health information,
particularly advertising materials on apparently non-toxic products like breastmilk substitutes and supplements, is a relatively new area for
regulation by the DOH.49

As early as the 1917 Revised Administrative Code of the Philippine Islands,50 health information was already within the ambit of the
regulatory powers of the predecessor of DOH.51 Section 938 thereof charged it with the duty to protect the health of the people, and
vested it with such powers as "(g) the dissemination of hygienic information among the people and especially the inculcation of
knowledge as to the proper care of infants and the methods of preventing and combating dangerous communicable diseases."

Seventy years later, the 1987 Administrative Code tasked respondent DOH to carry out the state policy pronounced under Section 15,
Article II of the 1987 Constitution, which is "to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health
consciousness among them."52 To that end, it was granted under Section 3 of the Administrative Code the power to "(6) propagate
health information and educate the population on important health, medical and environmental matters which have health
implications."53

When it comes to information regarding nutrition of infants and young children, however, the Milk Code specifically delegated to the
Ministry of Health (hereinafter referred to as DOH) the power to ensure that there is adequate, consistent and objective information on
breastfeeding and use of breastmilk substitutes, supplements and related products; and the power to control such information. These are
expressly provided for in Sections 12 and 5(a), to wit:

SECTION 12. Implementation and Monitoring

xxxx

(b) The Ministry of Health shall be principally responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this
Code. For this purpose, the Ministry of Health shall have the following powers and functions:

(1) To promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary or proper for the implementation of this Code and the
accomplishment of its purposes and objectives.

xxxx
(4) To exercise such other powers and functions as may be necessary for or incidental to the attainment of the
purposes and objectives of this Code.

SECTION 5. Information and Education

(a) The government shall ensure that objective and consistent information is provided on infant feeding, for use by families
and those involved in the field of infant nutrition. This responsibility shall cover the planning, provision, design and
dissemination of information, and the control thereof, on infant nutrition. (Emphasis supplied)

Further, DOH is authorized by the Milk Code to control the content of any information on breastmilk vis--visbreastmilk substitutes,
supplement and related products, in the following manner:

SECTION 5. x x x

(b) Informational and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants and intended
to reach pregnant women and mothers of infants, shall include clear information on all the following points: (1) the benefits and
superiority of breastfeeding; (2) maternal nutrition, and the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding; (3) the negative
effect on breastfeeding of introducing partial bottlefeeding; (4) the difficulty of reversing the decision not to breastfeed; and (5)
where needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared. When such materials
contain information about the use of infant formula, they shall include the social and financial implications of its use; the health
hazards of inappropriate foods or feeding methods; and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of
infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes. Such materials shall not use any picture or text which may idealize the use of
breastmilk substitutes.

SECTION 8. Health Workers

xxxx

(b) Information provided by manufacturers and distributors to health professionals regarding products within the scope of this
Code shall be restricted to scientific and factual matters, and such information shall not imply or create a belief that
bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It shall also include the information specified in Section 5(b).

SECTION 10. Containers/Label

(a) Containers and/or labels shall be designed to provide the necessary information about the appropriate use of the products,
and in such a way as not to discourage breastfeeding.

xxxx

(d) The term "humanized," "maternalized" or similar terms shall not be used. (Emphasis supplied)

The DOH is also authorized to control the purpose of the information and to whom such information may be disseminated under
Sections 6 through 9 of the Milk Code54 to ensure that the information that would reach pregnant women, mothers of infants, and
health professionals and workers in the health care system is restricted to scientific and factual matters and shall not imply or create a
belief that bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding.

It bears emphasis, however, that the DOH's power under the Milk Code to control information regarding breastmilk vis-a-
vis breastmilk substitutes is not absolute as the power to control does not encompass the power to absolutely prohibit the advertising,
marketing, and promotion of breastmilk substitutes.

The following are the provisions of the Milk Code that unequivocally indicate that the control over information given to the DOH is not
absolute and that absolute prohibition is not contemplated by the Code:

a) Section 2 which requires adequate information and appropriate marketing and distribution of breastmilk substitutes, to wit:

SECTION 2. Aim of the Code The aim of the Code is to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition
for infants by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes
and breastmilk supplements when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate
marketing and distribution.
b) Section 3 which specifically states that the Code applies to the marketing of and practices related to breastmilk substitutes,
including infant formula, and to information concerning their use;

c) Section 5(a) which provides that the government shall ensure that objective and consistent information is provided on infant
feeding;

d) Section 5(b) which provides that written, audio or visual informational and educational materials shall not use any picture or
text which may idealize the use of breastmilk substitutes and should include information on the health hazards of unnecessary or
improper use of said product;

e) Section 6(a) in relation to Section 12(a) which creates and empowers the IAC to review and examine advertising, promotion,
and other marketing materials;

f) Section 8(b) which states that milk companies may provide information to health professionals but such information should
be restricted to factual and scientific matters and shall not imply or create a belief that bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to
breastfeeding; and

g) Section 10 which provides that containers or labels should not contain information that would discourage breastfeeding and
idealize the use of infant formula.

It is in this context that the Court now examines the assailed provisions of the RIRR regarding labeling and advertising.

Sections 1355 on "total effect" and 2656 of Rule VII of the RIRR contain some labeling requirements, specifically: a) that there be a
statement that there is no substitute to breastmilk; and b) that there be a statement that powdered infant formula may contain
pathogenic microorganisms and must be prepared and used appropriately. Section 1657of the RIRR prohibits all health and nutrition
claims for products within the scope of the Milk Code, such as claims of increased emotional and intellectual abilities of the infant and
young child.

These requirements and limitations are consistent with the provisions of Section 8 of the Milk Code, to wit:

SECTION 8. Health workers -

xxxx

(b) Information provided by manufacturers and distributors to health professionals regarding products within the scope of this
Code shall be restricted to scientific and factual matters, and such information shall notimply or create a belief that
bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It shall also include the information specified in Section
5.58 (Emphasis supplied)

and Section 10(d)59 which bars the use on containers and labels of the terms "humanized," "maternalized," or similar terms.

These provisions of the Milk Code expressly forbid information that would imply or create a belief that there is any milk product
equivalent to breastmilk or which is humanized or maternalized, as such information would be inconsistent with the superiority of
breastfeeding.

It may be argued that Section 8 of the Milk Code refers only to information given to health workers regarding breastmilk substitutes, not
to containers and labels thereof. However, such restrictive application of Section 8(b) will result in the absurd situation in which milk
companies and distributors are forbidden to claim to health workers that their products are substitutes or equivalents of breastmilk, and
yet be allowed to display on the containers and labels of their products the exact opposite message. That askewed interpretation of the
Milk Code is precisely what Section 5(a) thereof seeks to avoid by mandating that all information regarding breastmilk vis-a-
vis breastmilk substitutes be consistent, at the same time giving the government control over planning, provision, design, and
dissemination of information on infant feeding.

Thus, Section 26(c) of the RIRR which requires containers and labels to state that the product offered is not a substitute for breastmilk, is
a reasonable means of enforcing Section 8(b) of the Milk Code and deterring circumvention of the protection and promotion of
breastfeeding as embodied in Section 260 of the Milk Code.

Section 26(f)61 of the RIRR is an equally reasonable labeling requirement. It implements Section 5(b) of the Milk Code which reads:

SECTION 5. x x x
xxxx

(b) Informational and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants and intended
to reach pregnant women and mothers of infants, shall include clear information on all the following points: x x x (5) where
needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared. When such materials contain
information about the use of infant formula, they shall include the social and financial implications of its use; the health hazards
of inappropriate foods or feeding methods; and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of infant
formula and other breastmilk substitutes. Such materials shall not use any picture or text which may idealize the use of
breastmilk substitutes. (Emphasis supplied)

The label of a product contains information about said product intended for the buyers thereof. The buyers of breastmilk substitutes are
mothers of infants, and Section 26 of the RIRR merely adds a fair warning about the likelihood of pathogenic microorganisms being
present in infant formula and other related products when these are prepared and used inappropriately.

Petitioners counsel has admitted during the hearing on June 19, 2007 that formula milk is prone to contaminations and there is as yet no
technology that allows production of powdered infant formula that eliminates all forms of contamination.62

Ineluctably, the requirement under Section 26(f) of the RIRR for the label to contain the message regarding health hazards including the
possibility of contamination with pathogenic microorganisms is in accordance with Section 5(b) of the Milk Code.

The authority of DOH to control information regarding breastmilk vis-a-vis breastmilk substitutes and supplements and related products
cannot be questioned. It is its intervention into the area of advertising, promotion, and marketing that is being assailed by petitioner.

In furtherance of Section 6(a) of the Milk Code, to wit:

SECTION 6. The General Public and Mothers.

(a) No advertising, promotion or other marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual, for products within the scope of
this Code shall be printed, published, distributed, exhibited and broadcast unless such materials are duly authorized and
approved by an inter-agency committee created herein pursuant to the applicable standards provided for in this Code.

the Milk Code invested regulatory authority over advertising, promotional and marketing materials to an IAC, thus:

SECTION 12. Implementation and Monitoring -

(a) For purposes of Section 6(a) of this Code, an inter-agency committee composed of the following members is hereby created:

Minister of Health ------------------- Chairman

Minister of Trade and Industry ------------------- Member

Minister of Justice ------------------- Member

Minister of Social Services and Development ------------------- Member

The members may designate their duly authorized representative to every meeting of the Committee.

The Committee shall have the following powers and functions:

(1) To review and examine all advertising. promotion or other marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual,
on products within the scope of this Code;

(2) To approve or disapprove, delete objectionable portions from and prohibit the printing, publication, distribution,
exhibition and broadcast of, all advertising promotion or other marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual,
on products within the scope of this Code;

(3) To prescribe the internal and operational procedure for the exercise of its powers and functions as well as the
performance of its duties and responsibilities; and
(4) To promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary or proper for the implementation of Section 6(a) of this
Code. x x x (Emphasis supplied)

However, Section 11 of the RIRR, to wit:

SECTION 11. Prohibition No advertising, promotions, sponsorships, or marketing materials and activities for breastmilk
substitutes intended for infants and young children up to twenty-four (24) months, shall be allowed, because they tend to
convey or give subliminal messages or impressions that undermine breastmilk and breastfeeding or otherwise exaggerate
breastmilk substitutes and/or replacements, as well as related products covered within the scope of this Code.

prohibits advertising, promotions, sponsorships or marketing materials and activities for breastmilk substitutes in line with the RIRRs
declaration of principle under Section 4(f), to wit:

SECTION 4. Declaration of Principles

xxxx

(f) Advertising, promotions, or sponsorships of infant formula, breastmilk substitutes and other related products are prohibited.

The DOH, through its co-respondents, evidently arrogated to itself not only the regulatory authority given to the IAC but also imposed
absolute prohibition on advertising, promotion, and marketing.

Yet, oddly enough, Section 12 of the RIRR reiterated the requirement of the Milk Code in Section 6 thereof for prior approval by IAC of
all advertising, marketing and promotional materials prior to dissemination.

Even respondents, through the OSG, acknowledged the authority of IAC, and repeatedly insisted, during the oral arguments on June 19,
2007, that the prohibition under Section 11 is not actually operational, viz:

SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA:

xxxx

x x x Now, the crux of the matter that is being questioned by Petitioner is whether or not there is an absolute prohibition on
advertising making AO 2006-12 unconstitutional. We maintained that what AO 2006-12 provides is not an absolute prohibition
because Section 11 while it states and it is entitled prohibition it states that no advertising, promotion, sponsorship or marketing
materials and activities for breast milk substitutes intended for infants and young children up to 24 months shall be allowed
because this is the standard they tend to convey or give subliminal messages or impression undermine that breastmilk or
breastfeeding x x x.

We have to read Section 11 together with the other Sections because the other Section, Section 12, provides for the inter agency
committee that is empowered to process and evaluate all the advertising and promotion materials.

xxxx

What AO 2006-12, what it does, it does not prohibit the sale and manufacture, it simply regulates the advertisement and the
promotions of breastfeeding milk substitutes.

xxxx

Now, the prohibition on advertising, Your Honor, must be taken together with the provision on the Inter-Agency Committee
that processes and evaluates because there may be some information dissemination that are straight forward information
dissemination. What the AO 2006 is trying to prevent is any material that will undermine the practice of breastfeeding, Your
Honor.

xxxx

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE SANTIAGO:

Madam Solicitor General, under the Milk Code, which body has authority or power to promulgate Rules and Regulations
regarding the Advertising, Promotion and Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes?
SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA:

Your Honor, please, it is provided that the Inter-Agency Committee, Your Honor.

xxxx

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE SANTIAGO:

x x x Don't you think that the Department of Health overstepped its rule making authority when it totally banned advertising
and promotion under Section 11 prescribed the total effect rule as well as the content of materials under Section 13 and 15 of the
rules and regulations?

SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA:

Your Honor, please, first we would like to stress that there is no total absolute ban. Second, the Inter-Agency Committee is
under the Department of Health, Your Honor.

xxxx

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NAZARIO:

x x x Did I hear you correctly, Madam Solicitor, that there is no absolute ban on advertising of breastmilk substitutes in the
Revised Rules?

SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA:

Yes, your Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NAZARIO:

But, would you nevertheless agree that there is an absolute ban on advertising of breastmilk substitutes intended for children
two (2) years old and younger?

SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA:

It's not an absolute ban, Your Honor, because we have the Inter-Agency Committee that can evaluate some advertising and
promotional materials, subject to the standards that we have stated earlier, which are- they should not undermine breastfeeding,
Your Honor.

xxxx

x x x Section 11, while it is titled Prohibition, it must be taken in relation with the other Sections, particularly 12 and 13 and 15,
Your Honor, because it is recognized that the Inter-Agency Committee has that power to evaluate promotional materials, Your
Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NAZARIO:

So in short, will you please clarify there's no absolute ban on advertisement regarding milk substitute regarding infants two (2)
years below?

SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA:

We can proudly say that the general rule is that there is a prohibition, however, we take exceptions and standards have been
set. One of which is that, the Inter-Agency Committee can allow if the advertising and promotions will not undermine
breastmilk and breastfeeding, Your Honor.63

Sections 11 and 4(f) of the RIRR are clearly violative of the Milk Code.
However, although it is the IAC which is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the approval or rejection of advertising,
promotional, or other marketing materials under Section 12(a) of the Milk Code, said provision must be related to Section 6 thereof
which in turn provides that the rules and regulations must be "pursuant to the applicable standards provided for in this Code." Said
standards are set forth in Sections 5(b), 8(b), and 10 of the Code, which, at the risk of being repetitious, and for easy reference, are
quoted hereunder:

SECTION 5. Information and Education

xxxx

(b) Informational and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants and intended
to reach pregnant women and mothers of infants, shall include clear information on all the following points: (1) the benefits and
superiority of breastfeeding; (2) maternal nutrition, and the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding; (3) the negative
effect on breastfeeding of introducing partial bottlefeeding; (4) the difficulty of reversing the decision not to breastfeed; and (5)
where needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared. When such materials
contain information about the use of infant formula, they shall include the social and financial implications of its use; the health
hazards of inappropriate foods of feeding methods; and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of
infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes. Such materials shall not use any picture or text which may idealize the use of
breastmilk substitutes.

xxxx

SECTION 8. Health Workers.

xxxx

(b) Information provided by manufacturers and distributors to health professionals regarding products within the scope of this
Code shall be restricted to scientific and factual matters and such information shall not imply or create a belief that bottle
feeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It shall also include the information specified in Section 5(b).

xxxx

SECTION 10. Containers/Label

(a) Containers and/or labels shall be designed to provide the necessary information about the appropriate use of the products,
and in such a way as not to discourage breastfeeding.

(b) Each container shall have a clear, conspicuous and easily readable and understandable message in Pilipino or English printed
on it, or on a label, which message can not readily become separated from it, and which shall include the following points:

(i) the words "Important Notice" or their equivalent;

(ii) a statement of the superiority of breastfeeding;

(iii) a statement that the product shall be used only on the advice of a health worker as to the need for its use and the
proper methods of use; and

(iv) instructions for appropriate preparation, and a warning against the health hazards of inappropriate preparation.

Section 12(b) of the Milk Code designates the DOH as the principal implementing agency for the enforcement of the provisions of the
Code. In relation to such responsibility of the DOH, Section 5(a) of the Milk Code states that:

SECTION 5. Information and Education

(a) The government shall ensure that objective and consistent information is provided on infant feeding, for use by families
and those involved in the field of infant nutrition. This responsibility shall cover the planning, provision, design and
dissemination of information, and the control thereof, on infant nutrition. (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, the DOH has the significant responsibility to translate into operational terms the standards set forth in Sections 5, 8, and 10 of the
Milk Code, by which the IAC shall screen advertising, promotional, or other marketing materials.
It is pursuant to such responsibility that the DOH correctly provided for Section 13 in the RIRR which reads as follows:

SECTION 13. "Total Effect" - Promotion of products within the scope of this Code must be objective and should not equate or
make the product appear to be as good or equal to breastmilk or breastfeeding in the advertising concept. It must not in any
case undermine breastmilk or breastfeeding. The "total effect" should not directly or indirectly suggest that buying their product
would produce better individuals, or resulting in greater love, intelligence, ability, harmony or in any manner bring better
health to the baby or other such exaggerated and unsubstantiated claim.

Such standards bind the IAC in formulating its rules and regulations on advertising, promotion, and marketing. Through that single
provision, the DOH exercises control over the information content of advertising, promotional and marketing materials on
breastmilk vis-a-vis breastmilk substitutes, supplements and other related products. It also sets a viable standard against which the IAC
may screen such materials before they are made public.

In Equi-Asia Placement, Inc. vs. Department of Foreign Affairs,64 the Court held:

x x x [T]his Court had, in the past, accepted as sufficient standards the following: "public interest," "justice and equity," "public
convenience and welfare," and "simplicity, economy and welfare."65

In this case, correct information as to infant feeding and nutrition is infused with public interest and welfare.

4. With regard to activities for dissemination of information to health professionals, the Court also finds that there is no inconsistency
between the provisions of the Milk Code and the RIRR. Section 7(b)66 of the Milk Code, in relation to Section 8(b)67 of the same Code,
allows dissemination of information to health professionals but such information is restricted to scientific and factual matters.

Contrary to petitioner's claim, Section 22 of the RIRR does not prohibit the giving of information to health professionals on scientific
and factual matters. What it prohibits is the involvement of the manufacturer and distributor of the products covered by the Code in
activities for the promotion, education and production of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials regarding
breastfeeding that are intended for women and children. Said provision cannot be construed to encompass even the dissemination of
information to health professionals, as restricted by the Milk Code.

5. Next, petitioner alleges that Section 8(e)68 of the Milk Code permits milk manufacturers and distributors to extend assistance in
research and in the continuing education of health professionals, while Sections 22 and 32 of the RIRR absolutely forbid the same.
Petitioner also assails Section 4(i)69 of the RIRR prohibiting milk manufacturers' and distributors' participation in any policymaking body
in relation to the advancement of breastfeeding.

Section 4(i) of the RIRR provides that milk companies and their representatives should not form part of any policymaking body or entity
in relation to the advancement of breastfeeding. The Court finds nothing in said provisions which contravenes the Milk Code. Note that
under Section 12(b) of the Milk Code, it is the DOH which shall be principally responsible for the implementation and enforcement of
the provisions of said Code. It is entirely up to the DOH to decide which entities to call upon or allow to be part of policymaking bodies
on breastfeeding. Therefore, the RIRR's prohibition on milk companies participation in any policymaking body in relation to the
advancement of breastfeeding is in accord with the Milk Code.

Petitioner is also mistaken in arguing that Section 22 of the RIRR prohibits milk companies from giving reasearch assistance and
continuing education to health professionals. Section 2270 of the RIRR does not pertain to research assistance to or the continuing
education of health professionals; rather, it deals with breastfeeding promotion and education for women and children. Nothing in
Section 22 of the RIRR prohibits milk companies from giving assistance for research or continuing education to health professionals;
hence, petitioner's argument against this particular provision must be struck down.

It is Sections 971 and 1072 of the RIRR which govern research assistance. Said sections of the RIRR provide that research assistance for
health workers and researchers may be allowed upon approval of an ethics committee, and with certain disclosure requirements imposed
on the milk company and on the recipient of the research award.

The Milk Code endows the DOH with the power to determine how such research or educational assistance may be given by milk
companies or under what conditions health workers may accept the assistance. Thus, Sections 9 and 10 of the RIRR imposing limitations
on the kind of research done or extent of assistance given by milk companies are completely in accord with the Milk Code.

Petitioner complains that Section 3273 of the RIRR prohibits milk companies from giving assistance, support, logistics or training to health
workers. This provision is within the prerogative given to the DOH under Section 8(e)74of the Milk Code, which provides that
manufacturers and distributors of breastmilk substitutes may assist in researches, scholarships and the continuing education, of health
professionals in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Health, now DOH.
6. As to the RIRR's prohibition on donations, said provisions are also consistent with the Milk Code. Section 6(f) of the Milk Code
provides that donations may be made by manufacturers and distributors of breastmilk substitutes upon the request or with the
approval of the DOH. The law does not proscribe the refusal of donations. The Milk Code leaves it purely to the discretion of the DOH
whether to request or accept such donations. The DOH then appropriately exercised its discretion through Section 51 75 of the RIRR
which sets forth its policy not to request or approve donations from manufacturers and distributors of breastmilk substitutes.

It was within the discretion of the DOH when it provided in Section 52 of the RIRR that any donation from milk companies not covered
by the Code should be coursed through the IAC which shall determine whether such donation should be accepted or refused. As
reasoned out by respondents, the DOH is not mandated by the Milk Code to accept donations. For that matter, no person or entity can
be forced to accept a donation. There is, therefore, no real inconsistency between the RIRR and the law because the Milk Code does not
prohibit the DOH from refusing donations.

7. With regard to Section 46 of the RIRR providing for administrative sanctions that are not found in the Milk Code, the Court upholds
petitioner's objection thereto.

Respondent's reliance on Civil Aeronautics Board v. Philippine Air Lines, Inc.76 is misplaced. The glaring difference in said case and the
present case before the Court is that, in the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) was expressly granted
by the law (R.A. No. 776) the power to impose fines and civil penalties, while the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) was granted by the
same law the power to review on appeal the order or decision of the CAA and to determine whether to impose, remit, mitigate, increase
or compromise such fine and civil penalties. Thus, the Court upheld the CAB's Resolution imposing administrative fines.

In a more recent case, Perez v. LPG Refillers Association of the Philippines, Inc.,77 the Court upheld the Department of Energy (DOE)
Circular No. 2000-06-10 implementing Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 33. The circular provided for fines for the commission of
prohibited acts. The Court found that nothing in the circular contravened the law because the DOE was expressly authorized by
B.P. Blg. 33 and R.A. No. 7638 to impose fines or penalties.

In the present case, neither the Milk Code nor the Revised Administrative Code grants the DOH the authority to fix or impose
administrative fines. Thus, without any express grant of power to fix or impose such fines, the DOH cannot provide for those fines in the
RIRR. In this regard, the DOH again exceeded its authority by providing for such fines or sanctions in Section 46 of the RIRR. Said
provision is, therefore, null and void.

The DOH is not left without any means to enforce its rules and regulations. Section 12(b) (3) of the Milk Code authorizes the DOH to
"cause the prosecution of the violators of this Code and other pertinent laws on products covered by this Code." Section 13 of the Milk
Code provides for the penalties to be imposed on violators of the provision of the Milk Code or the rules and regulations issued pursuant
to it, to wit:

SECTION 13. Sanctions

(a) Any person who violates the provisions of this Code or the rules and regulations issued pursuant to this Code shall, upon
conviction, be punished by a penalty of two (2) months to one (1) year imprisonment or a fine of not less than One Thousand
Pesos (P1,000.00) nor more than Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) or both. Should the offense be committed by a juridical
person, the chairman of the Board of Directors, the president, general manager, or the partners and/or the persons directly
responsible therefor, shall be penalized.

(b) Any license, permit or authority issued by any government agency to any health worker, distributor, manufacturer, or
marketing firm or personnel for the practice of their profession or occupation, or for the pursuit of their business, may, upon
recommendation of the Ministry of Health, be suspended or revoked in the event of repeated violations of this Code, or of the
rules and regulations issued pursuant to this Code. (Emphasis supplied)

8. Petitioners claim that Section 57 of the RIRR repeals existing laws that are contrary to the RIRR is frivolous.

Section 57 reads:

SECTION 57. Repealing Clause - All orders, issuances, and rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with these revised
rules and implementing regulations are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Section 57 of the RIRR does not provide for the repeal of laws but only orders, issuances and rules and regulations. Thus, said provision
is valid as it is within the DOH's rule-making power.

An administrative agency like respondent possesses quasi-legislative or rule-making power or the power to make rules and regulations
which results in delegated legislation that is within the confines of the granting statute and the Constitution, and subject to the doctrine of
non-delegability and separability of powers.78 Such express grant of rule-making power necessarily includes the power to amend, revise,
alter, or repeal the same.79 This is to allow administrative agencies flexibility in formulating and adjusting the details and manner by
which they are to implement the provisions of a law,80 in order to make it more responsive to the times. Hence, it is a standard provision
in administrative rules that prior issuances of administrative agencies that are inconsistent therewith are declared repealed or modified.

In fine, only Sections 4(f), 11 and 46 are ultra vires, beyond the authority of the DOH to promulgate and in contravention of the Milk
Code and, therefore, null and void. The rest of the provisions of the RIRR are in consonance with the Milk Code.

Lastly, petitioner makes a "catch-all" allegation that:

x x x [T]he questioned RIRR sought to be implemented by the Respondents is unnecessary and oppressive, and is offensive to
the due process clause of the Constitution, insofar as the same is in restraint of trade and because a provision therein is
inadequate to provide the public with a comprehensible basis to determine whether or not they have committed a
violation.81 (Emphasis supplied)

Petitioner refers to Sections 4(f),82 4(i),83 5(w),84 11,85 22,86 32,87 46,88 and 5289 as the provisions that suppress the trade of milk and,
thus, violate the due process clause of the Constitution.

The framers of the constitution were well aware that trade must be subjected to some form of regulation for the public good. Public
interest must be upheld over business interests.90 In Pest Management Association of the Philippines v. Fertilizer and Pesticide
Authority,91 it was held thus:

x x x Furthermore, as held in Association of Philippine Coconut Desiccators v. Philippine Coconut Authority, despite the fact
that "our present Constitution enshrines free enterprise as a policy, it nonetheless reserves to the government the power to
intervene whenever necessary to promote the general welfare." There can be no question that the unregulated use or
proliferation of pesticides would be hazardous to our environment. Thus, in the aforecited case, the Court declared that "free
enterprise does not call for removal of protective regulations." x x x It must be clearly explained and proven by competent
evidence just exactly how such protective regulation would result in the restraint of trade. [Emphasis and underscoring
supplied]

In this case, petitioner failed to show that the proscription of milk manufacturers participation in any policymaking body (Section 4(i)),
classes and seminars for women and children (Section 22); the giving of assistance, support and logistics or training (Section 32); and the
giving of donations (Section 52) would unreasonably hamper the trade of breastmilk substitutes. Petitioner has not established that the
proscribed activities are indispensable to the trade of breastmilk substitutes. Petitioner failed to demonstrate that the aforementioned
provisions of the RIRR are unreasonable and oppressive for being in restraint of trade.

Petitioner also failed to convince the Court that Section 5(w) of the RIRR is unreasonable and oppressive. Said section provides for the
definition of the term "milk company," to wit:

SECTION 5 x x x. (w) "Milk Company" shall refer to the owner, manufacturer, distributor of infant formula, follow-up milk,
milk formula, milk supplement, breastmilk substitute or replacement, or by any other description of such nature, including their
representatives who promote or otherwise advance their commercial interests in marketing those products;

On the other hand, Section 4 of the Milk Code provides:

(d) "Distributor" means a person, corporation or any other entity in the public or private sector engaged in the business
(whether directly or indirectly) of marketing at the wholesale or retail level a product within the scope of this Code. A "primary
distributor" is a manufacturer's sales agent, representative, national distributor or broker.

xxxx

(j) "Manufacturer" means a corporation or other entity in the public or private sector engaged in the business or function
(whether directly or indirectly or through an agent or and entity controlled by or under contract with it) of manufacturing a
products within the scope of this Code.

Notably, the definition in the RIRR merely merged together under the term "milk company" the entities defined separately under the
Milk Code as "distributor" and "manufacturer." The RIRR also enumerated in Section 5(w) the products manufactured or distributed by an
entity that would qualify it as a "milk company," whereas in the Milk Code, what is used is the phrase "products within the scope of this
Code." Those are the only differences between the definitions given in the Milk Code and the definition as re-stated in the RIRR.

Since all the regulatory provisions under the Milk Code apply equally to both manufacturers and distributors, the Court sees no harm in
the RIRR providing for just one term to encompass both entities. The definition of "milk company" in the RIRR and the definitions of
"distributor" and "manufacturer" provided for under the Milk Code are practically the same.
The Court is not convinced that the definition of "milk company" provided in the RIRR would bring about any change in the treatment
or regulation of "distributors" and "manufacturers" of breastmilk substitutes, as defined under the Milk Code.

Except Sections 4(f), 11 and 46, the rest of the provisions of the RIRR are in consonance with the objective, purpose and intent of the
Milk Code, constituting reasonable regulation of an industry which affects public health and welfare and, as such, the rest of the RIRR do
not constitute illegal restraint of trade nor are they violative of the due process clause of the Constitution.

WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. Sections 4(f), 11 and 46 of Administrative Order No. 2006-0012 dated May 12,
2006 are declared NULL and VOID for being ultra vires. The Department of Health and respondents are PROHIBITED from
implementing said provisions.

The Temporary Restraining Order issued on August 15, 2006 is LIFTED insofar as the rest of the provisions of Administrative Order No.
2006-0012 is concerned.

SO ORDERED.

Facts: Petition for certiorari seeking to nullify the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (RIRR) of E.O. 51 (Milk Code). Petitioner
claims that the RIRR is not valid as it contains provisions that are not constitutional and go beyond what it is supposed to implement.
Milk Code was issued by President Cory Aquino under the Freedom Constitution on Oct.1986. One of the preambular clauses of the
Milk Code states that the law seeks to give effect to Art 11 of the Intl Code of Marketing and Breastmilk Substitutes(ICBMS), a code
adopted by the World Health Assembly(WHA). From 1982-2006, The WHA also adopted severe resolutions to the effect that
breastfeeding should be supported, hence, it should be ensured that nutrition and health claims are not permitted for breastmilk
substitutes. In 2006, the DOH issued the assailed RIRR.

Issue:
Sub-Issue: W/N the pertinent intl agreements entered into by the Phil are part of the law of the land and may be implemented by DOH
through the RIRR. If yes, W/N the RIRR is in accord with intl agreements

MAIN: W/N the DOH acted w/o or in excess of their jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of excess of
jurisdiction and in violation of the Constitution by promulgating the RIRR.

Held:

Sub-issue:

Yes for ICBMS. Under 1987 Consti, intl law can become domestic law by transformation (thru constitutional mechanism such as local
legislation) or incorporation (mere constitutional declaration i.e treaties) The ICBMS and WHA resolutions were not treaties as they have
not been concurred by 2/3 of all members of the Senate as required under Sec, 21, Art 8. However, the ICBMS had been transformed
into domestic law through a local legislation such as the Milk Code. The Milk Code is almost a verbatim reproduction of ICBMS.

No for WHA Resolutions. The Court ruled that DOH failed to establish that the provisions pertinent WHA resolutions are customary intl
law that may be deemed part of the law of the land. For an intl rule to be considered as customary law, it must be established that such
rule is being followed by states because they consider it as obligatory to comply with such rules (opinion juris). The WHO resolutions,
although signed by most of the member states, were enforced or practiced by at least a majority of member states. Unlike the ICBMS
whereby legislature enacted most of the provisions into the law via the Milk Code, the WHA Resolutions (specifically providing for
exclusive breastfeeding from 0-6 months, breastfeeding up to 24 Months and absolutely prohibiting ads for breastmilk substitutes) have
not been adopted as domestic law nor are they followed in our country as well. The Filipinos have the option of how to take care of
their babies as they see fit. WHA Resolutions may be classified as SOFT LAW non-binding norms, principles and practices that influence
state behavior. Soft law is not part of intl law.

Main issue:

Yes. Some parts of the RIRR were not in consonance with the Milk Code such as Sec. 4(f) ->advertising, promotions of formula are
prohibited,

Sec 11 -> prohibitions for advertising breastmilk substitutes intended for infants and young children uo to 24 months

And Sec 46 -> sanctions for advertising .

These provisions are declared null and void. The DOH and respondents are prohibited from implementing said provisions.
SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 139325. April 12, 2005]

PRISCILLA C. MIJARES, LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, HILDA B. NARCISO, SR. MARIANI DIMARANAN, SFIC, and JOEL C. LAMANGAN
in their behalf and on behalf of the Class Plaintiffs in Class Action No. MDL 840, United States District Court of
Hawaii, petitioners, vs. HON. SANTIAGO JAVIER RANADA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 137, Regional Trial
Court, Makati City, and the ESTATE OF FERDINAND E. MARCOS, through its court appointed legal representatives in Class
Action MDL 840, United States District Court of Hawaii, namely: Imelda R. Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., respondents.

DECISION

TINGA, J.:

Our martial law experience bore strange unwanted fruits, and we have yet to finish weeding out its bitter crop. While the
restoration of freedom and the fundamental structures and processes of democracy have been much lauded, according to a significant
number, the changes, however, have not sufficiently healed the colossal damage wrought under the oppressive conditions of the martial
law period. The cries of justice for the tortured, the murdered, and the desaparecidos arouse outrage and sympathy in the hearts of the
fair-minded, yet the dispensation of the appropriate relief due them cannot be extended through the same caprice or whim that
characterized the ill-wind of martial rule. The damage done was not merely personal but institutional, and the proper rebuke to the
iniquitous past has to involve the award of reparations due within the confines of the restored rule of law.
The petitioners in this case are prominent victims of human rights violations [1] who, deprived of the opportunity to directly
confront the man who once held absolute rule over this country, have chosen to do battle instead with the earthly representative, his
estate. The clash has been for now interrupted by a trial court ruling, seemingly comported to legal logic, that required the petitioners to
pay a whopping filing fee of over Four Hundred Seventy-Two Million Pesos (P472,000,000.00) in order that they be able to enforce a
judgment awarded them by a foreign court. There is an understandable temptation to cast the struggle within the simplistic confines of a
morality tale, and to employ short-cuts to arrive at what might seem the desirable solution. But easy, reflexive resort to the equity
principle all too often leads to a result that may be morally correct, but legally wrong.

Nonetheless, the application of the legal principles involved in this case will comfort those who maintain that our substantive and
procedural laws, for all their perceived ambiguity and susceptibility to myriad interpretations, are inherently fair and just. The relief
sought by the petitioners is expressly mandated by our laws and conforms to established legal principles. The granting of this petition for
certiorari is warranted in order to correct the legally infirm and unabashedly unjust ruling of the respondent judge.
The essential facts bear little elaboration. On 9 May 1991, a complaint was filed with the United States District Court (US District
Court), District of Hawaii, against the Estate of former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos (Marcos Estate). The action was brought
forth by ten Filipino citizens[2] who each alleged having suffered human rights abuses such as arbitrary detention, torture and rape in the
hands of police or military forces during the Marcos regime.[3] The Alien Tort Act was invoked as basis for the US District Courts
jurisdiction over the complaint, as it involved a suit by aliens for tortious violations of international law. [4] These plaintiffs brought the
action on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, particularly consisting of all current civilian citizens of
the Philippines, their heirs and beneficiaries, who between 1972 and 1987 were tortured, summarily executed or had disappeared while
in the custody of military or paramilitary groups. Plaintiffs alleged that the class consisted of approximately ten thousand (10,000)
members; hence, joinder of all these persons was impracticable.

The institution of a class action suit was warranted under Rule 23(a) and (b)(1)(B) of the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the
provisions of which were invoked by the plaintiffs. Subsequently, the US District Court certified the case as a class action and created
three (3) sub-classes of torture, summary execution and disappearance victims.[5] Trial ensued, and subsequently a jury rendered a verdict
and an award of compensatory and exemplary damages in favor of the plaintiff class. Then, on 3 February 1995, the US District Court,
presided by Judge Manuel L. Real, rendered a Final Judgment (Final Judgment)awarding the plaintiff class a total of One Billion Nine
Hundred Sixty Four Million Five Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty Nine Dollars and Ninety Cents ($1,964,005,859.90). The Final
Judgment was eventually affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a decision rendered on 17 December 1996.[6]
On 20 May 1997, the present petitioners filed Complaint with the Regional Trial Court, City of Makati (Makati RTC) for the
enforcement of the Final Judgment. They alleged that they are members of the plaintiff class in whose favor the US District Court
awarded damages.[7] They argued that since the Marcos Estate failed to file a petition for certiorari with the US Supreme Court after the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had affirmed the Final Judgment, the decision of the US District Court had become final and executory,
and hence should be recognized and enforced in the Philippines, pursuant to Section 50, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court then in force.[8]
On 5 February 1998, the Marcos Estate filed a motion to dismiss, raising, among others, the non-payment of the correct filing fees.
It alleged that petitioners had only paid Four Hundred Ten Pesos (P410.00) as docket and filing fees, notwithstanding the fact that they
sought to enforce a monetary amount of damages in the amount of over Two and a Quarter Billion US Dollars (US$2.25 Billion). The
Marcos Estate cited Supreme Court Circular No. 7, pertaining to the proper computation and payment of docket fees. In response, the
petitioners claimed that an action for the enforcement of a foreign judgment is not capable of pecuniary estimation; hence, a filing fee of
only Four Hundred Ten Pesos (P410.00) was proper, pursuant to Section 7(c) of Rule 141.[9]

On 9 September 1998, respondent Judge Santiago Javier Ranada[10] of the Makati RTC issued the subject Order dismissing the
complaint without prejudice. Respondent judge opined that contrary to the petitioners submission, the subject matter of the complaint
was indeed capable of pecuniary estimation, as it involved a judgment rendered by a foreign court ordering the payment of definite sums
of money, allowing for easy determination of the value of the foreign judgment. On that score, Section 7(a) of Rule 141 of the Rules of
Civil Procedure would find application, and the RTC estimated the proper amount of filing fees was approximately Four Hundred
Seventy Two Million Pesos, which obviously had not been paid.

Not surprisingly, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which Judge Ranada denied in an Order dated 28 July 1999.
From this denial, petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 assailing the twin orders of respondent judge.[11] They prayed
for the annulment of the questioned orders, and an order directing the reinstatement of Civil Case No. 97-1052 and the conduct of
appropriate proceedings thereon.

Petitioners submit that their action is incapable of pecuniary estimation as the subject matter of the suit is the enforcement of a
foreign judgment, and not an action for the collection of a sum of money or recovery of damages. They also point out that to require
the class plaintiffs to pay Four Hundred Seventy Two Million Pesos (P472,000,000.00) in filing fees would negate and render inutile the
liberal construction ordained by the Rules of Court, as required by Section 6, Rule 1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, particularly the
inexpensive disposition of every action.

Petitioners invoke Section 11, Article III of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, which provides that Free access to the courts and
quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty, a mandate which is essentially
defeated by the required exorbitant filing fee. The adjudicated amount of the filing fee, as arrived at by the RTC, was characterized as
indisputably unfair, inequitable, and unjust.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) was permitted to intervene in this case.[12] It urged that the petition be granted and a
judgment rendered, ordering the enforcement and execution of the District Court judgment in accordance with Section 48, Rule 39 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. For the CHR, the Makati RTC erred in interpreting the action for the execution of a foreign judgment
as a new case, in violation of the principle that once a case has been decided between the same parties in one country on the same issue
with finality, it can no longer be relitigated again in another country.[13] The CHR likewise invokes the principle of comity, and of vested
rights.
The Courts disposition on the issue of filing fees will prove a useful jurisprudential guidepost for courts confronted with actions
enforcing foreign judgments, particularly those lodged against an estate. There is no basis for the issuance a limited pro hac vice ruling
based on the special circumstances of the petitioners as victims of martial law, or on the emotionally-charged allegation of human rights
abuses.

An examination of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court readily evinces that the respondent judge ignored the clear letter of the law when
he concluded that the filing fee be computed based on the total sum claimed or the stated value of the property in litigation.

In dismissing the complaint, the respondent judge relied on Section 7(a), Rule 141 as basis for the computation of the filing fee of
over P472 Million. The provision states:

SEC. 7. Clerk of Regional Trial Court.-

(a) For filing an action or a permissive counterclaim or money claim against an estate not based on judgment, or for
filing with leave of court a third-party, fourth-party, etc., complaint, or a complaint in intervention, and for all clerical services
in the same time, if the total sum claimed, exclusive of interest, or the started value of the property in litigation, is:

1. Less than P 100,00.00 P 500.00


2. P 100,000.00 or more - P 800.00
but less than P 150,000.00
3. P 150,000.00 or more but - P 1,000.00
less than P 200,000.00
4. P 200,000.00 or more but
less than P 250,000.00 - P 1,500.00
5. P 250,000.00 or more but
less than P 300,00.00 - P 1,750.00
6. P 300,000.00 or more but
not more than P 400,000.00 - P 2,000.00
7. P 350,000.00 or more but not
more than P400,000.00 - P 2,250.00
8. For each P 1,000.00 in excess of
P 400,000.00 - P 10.00

...
(Emphasis supplied)

Obviously, the above-quoted provision covers, on one hand, ordinary actions, permissive counterclaims, third-party, etc.
complaints and complaints-in-interventions, and on the other, money claims against estates which are not based on judgment. Thus, the
relevant question for purposes of the present petition is whether the action filed with the lower court is a money claim against an estate
not based on judgment.

Petitioners complaint may have been lodged against an estate, but it is clearly based on a judgment, the Final Judgment of the US
District Court. The provision does not make any distinction between a local judgment and a foreign judgment, and where the law does
not distinguish, we shall not distinguish.

A reading of Section 7 in its entirety reveals several instances wherein the filing fee is computed on the basis of the amount of the
relief sought, or on the value of the property in litigation. The filing fee for requests for extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage is based on
the amount of indebtedness or the mortgagees claim.[14] In special proceedings involving properties such as for the allowance of wills, the
filing fee is again based on the value of the property.[15] The aforecited rules evidently have no application to petitioners complaint.

Petitioners rely on Section 7(b), particularly the proviso on actions where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated. The
provision reads in full:

SEC. 7. Clerk of Regional Trial Court.-

(b) For filing

1. Actions where the value


of the subject matter
cannot be estimated --- P 600.00

2. Special civil actions except


judicial foreclosure which
shall be governed by
paragraph (a) above --- P 600.00

3. All other actions not


involving property --- P 600.00

In a real action, the assessed value of the property, or if there is none, the estimated value, thereof shall be alleged by the claimant and
shall be the basis in computing the fees.

It is worth noting that the provision also provides that in real actions, the assessed value or estimated value of the property shall be
alleged by the claimant and shall be the basis in computing the fees. Yet again, this provision does not apply in the case at bar. A real
action is one where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of real property or an action affecting title to or recovery of possession of real
property.[16] Neither the complaint nor the award of damages adjudicated by the US District Court involves any real property of the
Marcos Estate.

Thus, respondent judge was in clear and serious error when he concluded that the filing fees should be computed on the basis of the
schematic table of Section 7(a), as the action involved pertains to a claim against an estate based on judgment. What provision, if any,
then should apply in determining the filing fees for an action to enforce a foreign judgment?

To resolve this question, a proper understanding is required on the nature and effects of a foreign judgment in this jurisdiction.

The rules of comity, utility and convenience of nations have established a usage among civilized states by which final judgments of
foreign courts of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and rendered efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in
different countries.[17] This principle was prominently affirmed in the leading American case of Hilton v. Guyot[18] and expressly
recognized in our jurisprudence beginning with Ingenholl v. Walter E. Olsen & Co.[19] The conditions required by the Philippines for
recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment were originally contained in Section 311 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was
taken from the California Code of Civil Procedure which, in turn, was derived from the California Act of March 11, 1872.[20] Remarkably,
the procedural rule now outlined in Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Civil Procedure has remained unchanged down to the last word
in nearly a century. Section 48 states:

SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments. The effect of a judgment of a tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to pronounce the
judgment is as follows:

(a) In case of a judgment upon a specific thing, the judgment is conclusive upon the title to the thing;
(b) In case of a judgment against a person, the judgment is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in
interest by a subsequent title;

In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion,
fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.

There is an evident distinction between a foreign judgment in an action in rem and one in personam. For an action in rem, the
foreign judgment is deemed conclusive upon the title to the thing, while in an action in personam, the foreign judgment is
presumptive, and not conclusive, of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title.[21] However, in
both cases, the foreign judgment is susceptible to impeachment in our local courts on the grounds of want of jurisdiction or notice to the
party,[22] collusion, fraud,[23] or clear mistake of law or fact.[24] Thus, the party aggrieved by the foreign judgment is entitled to defend
against the enforcement of such decision in the local forum. It is essential that there should be an opportunity to challenge the foreign
judgment, in order for the court in this jurisdiction to properly determine its efficacy.[25]

It is clear then that it is usually necessary for an action to be filed in order to enforce a foreign judgment [26], even if such judgment
has conclusive effect as in the case of in rem actions, if only for the purpose of allowing the losing party an opportunity to challenge the
foreign judgment, and in order for the court to properly determine its efficacy.[27] Consequently, the party attacking a foreign judgment
has the burden of overcoming the presumption of its validity.[28]

The rules are silent as to what initiatory procedure must be undertaken in order to enforce a foreign judgment in the Philippines.
But there is no question that the filing of a civil complaint is an appropriate measure for such purpose. A civil action is one by which a
party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right,[29] and clearly an action to enforce a foreign judgment is in essence a
vindication of a right prescinding either from a conclusive judgment upon title or the presumptive evidence of a right. [30] Absent perhaps
a statutory grant of jurisdiction to a quasi-judicial body, the claim for enforcement of judgment must be brought before the regular
courts.[31]

There are distinctions, nuanced but discernible, between the cause of action arising from the enforcement of a foreign judgment,
and that arising from the facts or allegations that occasioned the foreign judgment. They may pertain to the same set of facts, but there is
an essential difference in the right-duty correlatives that are sought to be vindicated. For example, in a complaint for damages against a
tortfeasor, the cause of action emanates from the violation of the right of the complainant through the act or omission of the respondent.
On the other hand, in a complaint for the enforcement of a foreign judgment awarding damages from the same tortfeasor, for the
violation of the same right through the same manner of action, the cause of action derives not from the tortious act but from the foreign
judgment itself.

More importantly, the matters for proof are different. Using the above example, the complainant will have to establish before the
court the tortious act or omission committed by the tortfeasor, who in turn is allowed to rebut these factual allegations or prove
extenuating circumstances. Extensive litigation is thus conducted on the facts, and from there the right to and amount of damages are
assessed. On the other hand, in an action to enforce a foreign judgment, the matter left for proof is the foreign judgment itself, and not
the facts from which it prescinds.

As stated in Section 48, Rule 39, the actionable issues are generally restricted to a review of jurisdiction of the foreign court, the
service of personal notice, collusion, fraud, or mistake of fact or law. The limitations on review is in consonance with a strong and
pervasive policy in all legal systems to limit repetitive litigation on claims and issues. [32] Otherwise known as the policy of preclusion, it
seeks to protect party expectations resulting from previous litigation, to safeguard against the harassment of defendants, to insure that the
task of courts not be increased by never-ending litigation of the same disputes, and in a larger sense to promote what Lord Coke in
the Ferrers Case of 1599 stated to be the goal of all law: rest and quietness.[33] If every judgment of a foreign court were reviewable on
the merits, the plaintiff would be forced back on his/her original cause of action, rendering immaterial the previously concluded
litigation.[34]
Petitioners appreciate this distinction, and rely upon it to support the proposition that the subject matter of the complaintthe
enforcement of a foreign judgmentis incapable of pecuniary estimation. Admittedly the proposition, as it applies in this case, is counter-
intuitive, and thus deserves strict scrutiny. For in all practical intents and purposes, the matter at hand is capable of pecuniary estimation,
down to the last cent. In the assailed Order, the respondent judge pounced upon this point without equivocation:

The Rules use the term where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated. The subject matter of the present case is the judgment
rendered by the foreign court ordering defendant to pay plaintiffs definite sums of money, as and for compensatory damages. The Court
finds that the value of the foreign judgment can be estimated; indeed, it can even be easily determined. The Court is not minded to
distinguish between the enforcement of a judgment and the amount of said judgment, and separate the two, for purposes of determining
the correct filing fees. Similarly, a plaintiff suing on promissory note for P1 million cannot be allowed to pay only P400 filing fees (sic),
on the reasoning that the subject matter of his suit is not the P1 million, but the enforcement of the promissory note, and that the value
of such enforcement cannot be estimated.[35]

The jurisprudential standard in gauging whether the subject matter of an action is capable of pecuniary estimation is well-
entrenched. The Marcos Estate cites Singsong v. Isabela Sawmill and Raymundo v. Court of Appeals, which ruled:

[I]n determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the
criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the
claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts or in the courts of first instance
would depend on the amount of the claim. However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money,
where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as
cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of first instance
(now Regional Trial Courts).

On the other hand, petitioners cite the ponencia of Justice JBL Reyes in Lapitan v. Scandia,[36] from which the rule
in Singsong and Raymundo actually derives, but which incorporates this additional nuance omitted in the latter cases:

xxx However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely
incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, like in suits to have the defendant perform his part of the contract (specific
performance) and in actions for support, or for annulment of judgment or to foreclose a mortgage, this Court has considered such
actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of
first instance.[37]

Petitioners go on to add that among the actions the Court has recognized as being incapable of pecuniary estimation include legality
of conveyances and money deposits,[38] validity of a mortgage,[39] the right to support,[40] validity of documents,[41] rescission of
contracts,[42] specific performance,[43] and validity or annulment of judgments.[44] It is urged that an action for enforcement of a foreign
judgment belongs to the same class.
This is an intriguing argument, but ultimately it is self-evident that while the subject matter of the action is undoubtedly the
enforcement of a foreign judgment, the effect of a providential award would be the adjudication of a sum of money. Perhaps in theory,
such an action is primarily for the enforcement of the foreign judgment, but there is a certain obtuseness to that sort of argument since
there is no denying that the enforcement of the foreign judgment will necessarily result in the award of a definite sum of money.

But before we insist upon this conclusion past beyond the point of reckoning, we must examine its possible ramifications. Petitioners
raise the point that a declaration that an action for enforcement of foreign judgment may be capable of pecuniary estimation might lead
to an instance wherein a first level court such as the Municipal Trial Court would have jurisdiction to enforce a foreign judgment. But
under the statute defining the jurisdiction of first level courts, B.P. 129, such courts are not vested with jurisdiction over actions for the
enforcement of foreign judgments.

Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases. Metropolitan
Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:

(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and intestate, including the grant of
provisional remedies in proper cases, where the value of the personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not
exceed One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila where such personal property, estate, or amount of
the demand does not exceed Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) exclusive of interest damages of whatever kind,
attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the amount of which must be specifically alleged: Provided, That where there are
several claims or causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the
demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of
the same or different transactions;
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the
defendant raises the question of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without
deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession.

(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest
therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or,
in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of
interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs: Provided, That value of such property shall
be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots.[45]

Section 33 of B.P. 129 refers to instances wherein the cause of action or subject matter pertains to an assertion of rights and interests
over property or a sum of money. But as earlier pointed out, the subject matter of an action to enforce a foreign judgment is the foreign
judgment itself, and the cause of action arising from the adjudication of such judgment.

An examination of Section 19(6), B.P. 129 reveals that the instant complaint for enforcement of a foreign judgment, even if capable
of pecuniary estimation, would fall under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts, thus negating the fears of the petitioners. Indeed,
an examination of the provision indicates that it can be relied upon as jurisdictional basis with respect to actions for enforcement of
foreign judgments, provided that no other court or office is vested jurisdiction over such complaint:

Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:

xxx
(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising jurisdiction or any court, tribunal,
person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions.

Thus, we are comfortable in asserting the obvious, that the complaint to enforce the US District Court judgment is one capable of
pecuniary estimation. But at the same time, it is also an action based on judgment against an estate, thus placing it beyond the ambit of
Section 7(a) of Rule 141. What provision then governs the proper computation of the filing fees over the instant complaint? For this case
and other similarly situated instances, we find that it is covered by Section 7(b)(3), involving as it does, other actions not involving
property.

Notably, the amount paid as docket fees by the petitioners on the premise that it was an action incapable of pecuniary estimation
corresponds to the same amount required for other actions not involving property. The petitioners thus paid the correct amount of filing
fees, and it was a grave abuse of discretion for respondent judge to have applied instead a clearly inapplicable rule and dismissed the
complaint.

There is another consideration of supreme relevance in this case, one which should disabuse the notion that the doctrine affirmed in
this decision is grounded solely on the letter of the procedural rule. We earlier adverted to the the internationally recognized policy of
preclusion,[46] as well as the principles of comity, utility and convenience of nations[47] as the basis for the evolution of the rule calling
for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. The US Supreme Court in Hilton v. Guyot[48] relied heavily on the concept of
comity, as especially derived from the landmark treatise of Justice Story in his Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws of 1834.[49] Yet the
notion of comity has since been criticized as one of dim contours [50] or suffering from a number of fallacies.[51] Other conceptual bases
for the recognition of foreign judgments have evolved such as the vested rights theory or the modern doctrine of obligation.[52]

There have been attempts to codify through treaties or multilateral agreements the standards for the recognition and enforcement
of foreign judgments, but these have not borne fruition. The members of the European Common Market accede to the Judgments
Convention, signed in 1978, which eliminates as to participating countries all of such obstacles to recognition such as reciprocity
and rvision au fond.[53] The most ambitious of these attempts is the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign
Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, prepared in 1966 by the Hague Conference of International Law.[54] While it has not
received the ratifications needed to have it take effect,[55] it is recognized as representing current scholarly thought on the
topic.[56] Neither the Philippines nor the United States are signatories to the Convention.

Yet even if there is no unanimity as to the applicable theory behind the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments or a
universal treaty rendering it obligatory force, there is consensus that the viability of such recognition and enforcement is essential. Steiner
and Vagts note:

. . . The notion of unconnected bodies of national law on private international law, each following a quite separate path, is not one
conducive to the growth of a transnational community encouraging travel and commerce among its members. There is a contemporary
resurgence of writing stressing the identity or similarity of the values that systems of public and private international law seek to further a
community interest in common, or at least reasonable, rules on these matters in national legal systems. And such generic principles as
reciprocity play an important role in both fields.[57]

Salonga, whose treatise on private international law is of worldwide renown, points out:

Whatever be the theory as to the basis for recognizing foreign judgments, there can be little dispute that the end is to protect the
reasonable expectations and demands of the parties. Where the parties have submitted a matter for adjudication in the court of one
state, and proceedings there are not tainted with irregularity, they may fairly be expected to submit, within the state or elsewhere, to the
enforcement of the judgment issued by the court.[58]

There is also consensus as to the requisites for recognition of a foreign judgment and the defenses against the enforcement thereof.
As earlier discussed, the exceptions enumerated in Section 48, Rule 39 have remain unchanged since the time they were adapted in this
jurisdiction from long standing American rules. The requisites and exceptions as delineated under Section 48 are but a restatement of
generally accepted principles of international law. Section 98 of The Restatement, Second, Conflict of Laws, states that a valid judgment
rendered in a foreign nation after a fair trial in a contested proceeding will be recognized in the United States, and on its face, the term
valid brings into play requirements such notions as valid jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties.[59] Similarly, the notion that
fraud or collusion may preclude the enforcement of a foreign judgment finds affirmation with foreign jurisprudence and
commentators,[60] as well as the doctrine that the foreign judgment must not constitute a clear mistake of law or fact. [61] And finally, it
has been recognized that public policy as a defense to the recognition of judgments serves as an umbrella for a variety of concerns in
international practice which may lead to a denial of recognition.[62]

The viability of the public policy defense against the enforcement of a foreign judgment has been recognized in this
jurisdiction.[63] This defense allows for the application of local standards in reviewing the foreign judgment, especially when such
judgment creates only a presumptive right, as it does in cases wherein the judgment is against a person.[64] The defense is also recognized
within the international sphere, as many civil law nations adhere to a broad public policy exception which may result in a denial of
recognition when the foreign court, in the light of the choice-of-law rules of the recognizing court, applied the wrong law to the
case.[65] The public policy defense can safeguard against possible abuses to the easy resort to offshore litigation if it can be demonstrated
that the original claim is noxious to our constitutional values.
There is no obligatory rule derived from treaties or conventions that requires the Philippines to recognize foreign judgments, or
allow a procedure for the enforcement thereof. However, generally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the
incorporation clause of the Constitution, form part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations.[66] The
classical formulation in international law sees those customary rules accepted as binding result from the combination two elements: the
established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as the opinion juris sive
necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is rendered obligatory
by the existence of a rule of law requiring it.[67]

While the definite conceptual parameters of the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments have not been authoritatively
established, the Court can assert with certainty that such an undertaking is among those generally accepted principles of international
law.[68] As earlier demonstrated, there is a widespread practice among states accepting in principle the need for such recognition and
enforcement, albeit subject to limitations of varying degrees. The fact that there is no binding universal treaty governing the practice is
not indicative of a widespread rejection of the principle, but only a disagreement as to the imposable specific rules governing the
procedure for recognition and enforcement.

Aside from the widespread practice, it is indubitable that the procedure for recognition and enforcement is embodied in the rules of
law, whether statutory or jurisprudential, adopted in various foreign jurisdictions. In the Philippines, this is evidenced primarily by Section
48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which has existed in its current form since the early 1900s. Certainly, the Philippine legal system has
long ago accepted into its jurisprudence and procedural rules the viability of an action for enforcement of foreign judgment, as well as
the requisites for such valid enforcement, as derived from internationally accepted doctrines. Again, there may be distinctions as to the
rules adopted by each particular state,[69] but they all prescind from the premise that there is a rule of law obliging states to allow for,
however generally, the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment. The bare principle, to our mind, has attained the status
of opinio juris in international practice.

This is a significant proposition, as it acknowledges that the procedure and requisites outlined in Section 48, Rule 39 derive their
efficacy not merely from the procedural rule, but by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution. Rules of procedure are
promulgated by the Supreme Court,[70] and could very well be abrogated or revised by the high court itself. Yet the Supreme Court is
obliged, as are all State components, to obey the laws of the land, including generally accepted principles of international law which
form part thereof, such as those ensuring the qualified recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.[71]

Thus, relative to the enforcement of foreign judgments in the Philippines, it emerges that there is a general right recognized within
our body of laws, and affirmed by the Constitution, to seek recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, as well as a right to
defend against such enforcement on the grounds of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of
law or fact.

The preclusion of an action for enforcement of a foreign judgment in this country merely due to an exhorbitant assessment of
docket fees is alien to generally accepted practices and principles in international law. Indeed, there are grave concerns in conditioning
the amount of the filing fee on the pecuniary award or the value of the property subject of the foreign decision. Such pecuniary award
will almost certainly be in foreign denomination, computed in accordance with the applicable laws and standards of the forum. [72] The
vagaries of inflation, as well as the relative low-income capacity of the Filipino, to date may very well translate into an award virtually
unenforceable in this country, despite its integral validity, if the docket fees for the enforcement thereof were predicated on the amount
of the award sought to be enforced. The theory adopted by respondent judge and the Marcos Estate may even lead to absurdities, such
as if applied to an award involving real property situated in places such as the United States or Scandinavia where real property values
are inexorably high. We cannot very well require that the filing fee be computed based on the value of the foreign property as
determined by the standards of the country where it is located.
As crafted, Rule 141 of the Rules of Civil Procedure avoids unreasonableness, as it recognizes that the subject matter of an action for
enforcement of a foreign judgment is the foreign judgment itself, and not the right-duty correlatives that resulted in the foreign judgment.
In this particular circumstance, given that the complaint is lodged against an estate and is based on the US District Courts Final Judgment,
this foreign judgment may, for purposes of classification under the governing procedural rule, be deemed as subsumed under Section
7(b)(3) of Rule 141, i.e., within the class of all other actions not involving property. Thus, only the blanket filing fee of minimal amount
is required.

Finally, petitioners also invoke Section 11, Article III of the Constitution, which states that [F]ree access to the courts and quasi-
judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty. Since the provision is among the
guarantees ensured by the Bill of Rights, it certainly gives rise to a demandable right. However, now is not the occasion to elaborate on
the parameters of this constitutional right. Given our preceding discussion, it is not necessary to utilize this provision in order to grant the
relief sought by the petitioners. It is axiomatic that the constitutionality of an act will not be resolved by the courts if the controversy can
be settled on other grounds[73] or unless the resolution thereof is indispensable for the determination of the case.[74]

One more word. It bears noting that Section 48, Rule 39 acknowledges that the Final Judgment is not conclusive yet, but
presumptive evidence of a right of the petitioners against the Marcos Estate. Moreover, the Marcos Estate is not precluded to present
evidence, if any, of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. This ruling, decisive
as it is on the question of filing fees and no other, does not render verdict on the enforceability of the Final Judgment before the courts
under the jurisdiction of the Philippines, or for that matter any other issue which may legitimately be presented before the trial court.
Such issues are to be litigated before the trial court, but within the confines of the matters for proof as laid down in Section 48, Rule 39.
On the other hand, the speedy resolution of this claim by the trial court is encouraged, and contumacious delay of the decision on the
merits will not be brooked by this Court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed orders are NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE, and a new order REINSTATING Civil
Case No. 97-1052 is hereby issued. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 118295. May 2, 1997]

WIGBERTO E. TAADA and ANNA DOMINIQUE COSETENG, as members of the Philippine Senate and as taxpayers; GREGORIO
ANDOLANA and JOKER ARROYO as members of the House of Representatives and as taxpayers; NICANOR P. PERLAS and
HORACIO R. MORALES, both as taxpayers; CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, NATIONAL ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM
ASSOCIATION, CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES, LIKAS-KAYANG KAUNLARAN FOUNDATION,
INC., PHILIPPINE RURAL RECONSTRUCTION MOVEMENT, DEMOKRATIKONG KILUSAN NG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS,
INC., and PHILIPPINE PEASANT INSTITUTE, in representation of various taxpayers and as non-governmental
organizations, petitioners, vs. EDGARDO ANGARA, ALBERTO ROMULO, LETICIA RAMOS-SHAHANI, HEHERSON ALVAREZ,
AGAPITO AQUINO, RODOLFO BIAZON, NEPTALI GONZALES, ERNESTO HERRERA, JOSE LINA, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-
ARROYO, ORLANDO MERCADO, BLAS OPLE, JOHN OSMEA, SANTANINA RASUL, RAMON REVILLA, RAUL ROCO,
FRANCISCO TATAD and FREDDIE WEBB, in their respective capacities as members of the Philippine Senate who concurred in
the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization; SALVADOR
ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management; CARIDAD VALDEHUESA, in her capacity as National
Treasurer; RIZALINO NAVARRO, in his capacity as Secretary of Trade and Industry; ROBERTO SEBASTIAN, in his capacity as
Secretary of Agriculture; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance; ROBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity
as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, respondents.

DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J.:

The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade Organization, abetted by the membership thereto of the vast majority of
countries has revolutionized international business and economic relations amongst states. It has irreversibly propelled the world towards
trade liberalization and economic globalization. Liberalization, globalization, deregulation and privatization, the third-millennium buzz
words, are ushering in a new borderless world of business by sweeping away as mere historical relics the heretofore traditional modes of
promoting and protecting national economies like tariffs, export subsidies, import quotas, quantitative restrictions, tax exemptions and
currency controls. Finding market niches and becoming the best in specific industries in a market-driven and export-oriented global
scenario are replacing age-old beggar-thy-neighbor policies that unilaterally protect weak and inefficient domestic producers of goods and
services. In the words of Peter Drucker, the well-known management guru, Increased participation in the world economy has become
the key to domestic economic growth and prosperity.

Brief Historical Background

To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by the Second World War, plans for the establishment of three
multilateral institutions -- inspired by that grand political body, the United Nations -- were discussed at Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton
Woods. The first was the World Bank (WB) which was to address the rehabilitation and reconstruction of war-ravaged and later
developing countries; the second, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which was to deal with currency problems; and the third, the
International Trade Organization (ITO), which was to foster order and predictability in world trade and to minimize unilateral
protectionist policies that invite challenge, even retaliation, from other states. However, for a variety of reasons, including its non-
ratification by the United States, the ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, never took off. What remained was only GATT -- the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was a collection of treaties governing access to the economies of treaty adherents with no
institutionalized body administering the agreements or dependable system of dispute settlement.

After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations, principally the Kennedy Round, the Tokyo Round and the
Uruguay Round, the world finally gave birth to that administering body -- the World Trade Organization -- with the signing of the Final
Act in Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the WTO Agreement by its members.[1]

Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined WTO as a founding member with the goal, as articulated by President
Fidel V. Ramos in two letters to the Senate (infra), of improving Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major trading partners,
through the reduction of tariffs on its exports, particularly agricultural and industrial products. The President also saw in the WTO the
opening of new opportunities for the services sector x x x, (the reduction of) costs and uncertainty associated with exporting x x x, and
(the attraction of) more investments into the country. Although the Chief Executive did not expressly mention it in his letter, the
Philippines - - and this is of special interest to the legal profession - - will benefit from the WTO system of dispute settlement by judicial
adjudication through the independent WTO settlement bodies called (1) Dispute Settlement Panels and (2) Appellate
Tribunal. Heretofore, trade disputes were settled mainly through negotiations where solutions were arrived at frequently on the basis of
relative bargaining strengths, and where naturally, weak and underdeveloped countries were at a disadvantage.

The Petition in Brief

Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines to place nationals and products of member-countries on the same footing
as Filipinos and local products and (2) that the WTO intrudes, limits and/or impairs the constitutional powers of both Congress and the
Supreme Court, the instant petition before this Court assails the WTO Agreement for violating the mandate of the 1987 Constitution to
develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos x x x (to) give preference to qualified
Filipinos (and to) promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods.

Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine participation in worldwide trade liberalization and economic
globalization? Does it prescribe Philippine integration into a global economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized? These are
the main questions raised in this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court praying (1) for
the nullification, on constitutional grounds, of the concurrence of the Philippine Senate in the ratification by the President of the
Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement, for brevity) and (2) for the prohibition of its
implementation and enforcement through the release and utilization of public funds, the assignment of public officials and employees, as
well as the use of government properties and resources by respondent-heads of various executive offices concerned therewith. This
concurrence is embodied in Senate Resolution No. 97, dated December 14, 1994.

The Facts

On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (Secretary Navarro,
for brevity), representing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act Embodying the
Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations (Final Act, for brevity).

By signing the Final Act,[2] Secretary Navarro on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, agreed:

(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities, with a view to seeking
approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and

(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.

On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received a letter dated August 11, 1994 from the President of the
Philippines,[3] stating among others that the Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to
Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.

On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received another letter from the President of the Philippines [4] likewise
dated August 11, 1994, which stated among others that the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services are hereby
submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution.

On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified the necessity of the immediate adoption of P.S. 1083, a resolution
entitled Concurring in the Ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization.[5]

On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution No. 97 which Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that the Senate
concur, as it hereby concurs, in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization.[6] The text of the WTO Agreement is written on pages 137 et seq. of Volume I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of
Multilateral Trade Negotiations and includes various agreements and associated legal instruments (identified in the said Agreement as
Annexes 1, 2 and 3 thereto and collectively referred to as Multilateral Trade Agreements, for brevity) as follows:

ANNEX 1

Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreement on Trade in Goods

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994


Agreement on Agriculture

Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and

Phytosanitary Measures

Agreement on Textiles and Clothing

Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade

Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures

Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994

Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the General on Tariffs and Trade 1994

Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection

Agreement on Rules of Origin

Agreement on Imports Licensing Procedures

Agreement on Subsidies and Coordinating Measures

Agreement on Safeguards

Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in Services and Annexes

Annex 1C: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

ANNEX 2

Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes

ANNEX 3

Trade Policy Review Mechanism

On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines signed[7] the Instrument of Ratification, declaring:

NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, after having seen and considered
the aforementioned Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the agreements and associated legal instruments included
in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts thereof, signed at Marrakesh, Morocco on 15 April
1994, do hereby ratify and confirm the same and every Article and Clause thereof.

To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of the Philippines is composed of the Agreement Proper and the
associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts thereof.

On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro embodies not only the WTO Agreement (and its integral annexes
aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions and (2) the Understanding on Commitments in Financial
Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13, 1996,[8] the Solicitor General describes these two latter documents as follows:

The Ministerial Decisions and Declarations are twenty-five declarations and decisions on a wide range of matters, such as measures in
favor of least developed countries, notification procedures, relationship of WTO with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and
agreements on technical barriers to trade and on dispute settlement.

The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services dwell on, among other things, standstill or limitations and qualifications of
commitments to existing non-conforming measures, market access, national treatment, and definitions of non-resident supplier of
financial services, commercial presence and new financial service.
On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After careful deliberation on respondents comment and petitioners reply
thereto, the Court resolved on December 12, 1995, to give due course to the petition, and the parties thereafter filed their respective
memoranda. The Court also requested the Honorable Lilia R. Bautista, the Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations stationed in
Geneva, Switzerland, to submit a paper, hereafter referred to as Bautista Paper,[9] for brevity, (1) providing a historical background of
and (2) summarizing the said agreements.

During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court directed:

(a) the petitioners to submit the (1) Senate Committee Report on the matter in controversy and (2) the transcript of proceedings/hearings
in the Senate; and

(b) the Solicitor General, as counsel for respondents, to file (1) a list of Philippine treaties signed prior to the Philippine adherence to the
WTO Agreement, which derogate from Philippine sovereignty and (2) copies of the multi-volume WTO Agreement and other documents
mentioned in the Final Act, as soon as possible.

After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would consider the case submitted for resolution. In a Compliance dated
September 16, 1996, the Solicitor General submitted a printed copy of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
Negotiations, and in another Compliance dated October 24, 1996, he listed the various bilateral or multilateral treaties or international
instruments involving derogation of Philippine sovereignty. Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their Compliance dated January
28, 1997, on January 30, 1997.

The Issues

In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners summarized the issues as follows:

A. Whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable.

B. Whether the petitioner members of the Senate who participated in the deliberations and voting leading to the concurrence are
estopped from impugning the validity of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization or of the validity of the
concurrence.

C. Whether the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization contravene the provisions of Sec. 19,
Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, all of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

D. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization unduly limit, restrict and impair Philippine
sovereignty specifically the legislative power which, under Sec. 2, Article VI, 1987 Philippine Constitution is vested in the
Congress of the Philippines;

E. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization interfere with the exercise of judicial power.

F. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the constitutionally-infirm Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization.

G. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
when they concurred only in the ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, and not with the
Presidential submission which included the Final Act, Ministerial Declaration and Decisions, and the Understanding on
Commitments in Financial Services.

On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for respondents synthesized the several issues raised by petitioners into the
following:[10]

1. Whether or not the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the Agreements and Associated Legal
Instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that agreement cited by petitioners directly contravene or undermine
the letter, spirit and intent of Section 19, Article II and Sections 10 and 12, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.

2. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement unduly limit, restrict or impair the exercise of legislative power by Congress.

3. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement impair the exercise of judicial power by this Honorable Court in promulgating
the rules of evidence.
4. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement establishing the
World Trade Organization implied rejection of the treaty embodied in the Final Act.

By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven presented by petitioners, the Solicitor General has effectively ignored three,
namely: (1) whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable; (2) whether petitioner-members of the Senate
(Wigberto E. Taada and Anna Dominique Coseteng) are estopped from joining this suit; and (3) whether the respondent-members of the
Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the WTO Agreement. The foregoing
notwithstanding, this Court resolved to deal with these three issues thus:

(1) The political question issue -- being very fundamental and vital, and being a matter that probes into the very jurisdiction of this Court
to hear and decide this case -- was deliberated upon by the Court and will thus be ruled upon as the first issue;

(2) The matter of estoppel will not be taken up because this defense is waivable and the respondents have effectively waived it by not
pursuing it in any of their pleadings; in any event, this issue, even if ruled in respondents favor, will not cause the petitions dismissal as
there are petitioners other than the two senators, who are not vulnerable to the defense of estoppel; and

(3) The issue of alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent senators will be taken up as an integral part of the
disposition of the four issues raised by the Solicitor General.

During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the respondents did not question the locus standi of petitioners. Hence,
they are also deemed to have waived the benefit of such issue. They probably realized that grave constitutional issues, expenditures of
public funds and serious international commitments of the nation are involved here, and that transcendental public interest requires that
the substantive issues be met head on and decided on the merits, rather than skirted or deflected by procedural matters.[11]

To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are:

(1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY? OTHERWISE STATED, DOES THE PETITION INVOLVE
A POLITICAL QUESTION OVER WHICH THIS COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION?

(2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS THREE ANNEXES CONTRAVENE SEC. 19, ARTICLE II, AND
SECS. 10 AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?

(3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES LIMIT, RESTRICT, OR IMPAIR THE EXERCISE OF
LEGISLATIVE POWER BY CONGRESS?

(4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR INTERFERE WITH THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL POWER BY THIS COURT
IN PROMULGATING RULES ON EVIDENCE?

(5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE IN THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES SUFFICIENT AND/OR
VALID, CONSIDERING THAT IT DID NOT INCLUDE THE FINAL ACT, MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND
DECISIONS, AND THE UNDERSTANDING ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?

The First Issue: Does the Court Have Jurisdiction Over the Controversy?

In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises
a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not
only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty
(to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld.[12] Once a controversy as to the application or
interpretation of a constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the Court is
bound by constitutional mandate to decide.[13]

The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters[14] raised in the petition is clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution,[15] as
follows:

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.

The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial departments duty and power to strike down grave abuse of discretion on the part of any
branch or instrumentality of government including Congress. It is an innovation in our political law.[16] As explained by former Chief
Justice Roberto Concepcion,[17] the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question of whether or not a branch of government or any of its
officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to
excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.
As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases,[18] it will not shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and
authority to uphold the Constitution in matters that involve grave abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases, committed
by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the government.

As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that this petition should be given due course and the vital questions raised therein ruled upon
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, certiorari, prohibition and mandamus are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional
issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we have no equivocation.

We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this petition, this Court will not review the wisdom of the decision of
the President and the Senate in enlisting the country into the WTO, or pass upon the merits of trade liberalization as a policy espoused
by said international body. Neither will it rule on the propriety of the governments economic policy of reducing/removing tariffs,
taxes, subsidies, quantitative restrictions, and other import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only exercise its constitutional duty to determine
whether or not there had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the Senate in
ratifying the WTO Agreement and its three annexes.

Second Issue: The WTO Agreement and Economic Nationalism

This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition.

Petitioners vigorously argue that the letter, spirit and intent of the Constitution mandating economic nationalism are violated by the
so-called parity provisions and national treatment clauses scattered in various parts not only of the WTO Agreement and its annexes but
also in the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations and in the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.

Specifically, the flagship constitutional provisions referred to are Sec. 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, of the
Constitution, which are worded as follows:

Article II

DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES

xx xx xx xx

Sec. 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.

xx xx xx xx

Article XII

NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY

xx xx xx xx

Sec. 10. x x x. The Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly
owned by Filipinos.

In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give preference to
qualified Filipinos.

xx xx xx xx

Sec. 12. The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt
measures that help make them competitive.

Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are desecrated by the following WTO provisions quoted in their
memorandum:[19]

a) In the area of investment measures related to trade in goods (TRIMS, for brevity):

Article 2
National Treatment and Quantitative Restrictions.

1. Without prejudice to other rights and obligations under GATT 1994. no Member shall apply any TRIM that is inconsistent
with the provisions of Article III or Article XI of GATT 1994.

2. An Illustrative list of TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions
provided for in paragraph I of Article XI of GATT 1994 is contained in the Annex to this Agreement. (Agreement on Trade-
Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p.22121, emphasis supplied).

The Annex referred to reads as follows:

ANNEX

Illustrative List

1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation of national treatment provided for in paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994
include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic law or under administrative rulings, or compliance with which
is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which require:

(a) the purchase or use by an enterprise of products of domestic origin or from any domestic source, whether specified in
terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of proportion of volume or value of its
local production; or

(b) that an enterprises purchases or use of imported products be limited to an amount related to the volume or value of local
products that it exports.

2. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in paragraph 1 of
Article XI of GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic laws or under administrative rulings,
or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which restrict:

(a) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to the local production that it exports;

(b) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to its local production by restricting its access to foreign
exchange inflows attributable to the enterprise; or

(c) the exportation or sale for export specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in
terms of a preparation of volume or value of its local production. (Annex to the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment
Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round Legal Documents, p.22125, emphasis supplied).

The paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 referred to is quoted as follows:

The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the territory of any other contracting party shall be accorded
treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like products of national origin in respect of laws, regulations and requirements
affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or use. the provisions of this paragraph shall not
prevent the application of differential internal transportation charges which are based exclusively on the economic operation of the
means of transport and not on the nationality of the product. (Article III, GATT 1947, as amended by the Protocol Modifying Part II,
and Article XXVI of GATT, 14 September 1948, 62 UMTS 82-84 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade 1994, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments p.177, emphasis supplied).

b) In the area of trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS, for brevity):

Each Member shall accord to the nationals of other Members treatment no less favourable than that it accords to its own nationals with
regard to the protection of intellectual property... (par. 1, Article 3, Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property rights,
Vol. 31, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p.25432 (emphasis supplied)

(c) In the area of the General Agreement on Trade in Services:

National Treatment
1. In the sectors inscribed in its schedule, and subject to any conditions and qualifications set out therein, each Member shall
accord to services and service suppliers of any other Member, in respect of all measures affecting the supply of
services, treatment no less favourable than it accords to its own like services and service suppliers.

2. A Member may meet the requirement of paragraph I by according to services and service suppliers of any other Member,
either formally identical treatment or formally different treatment to that it accords to its own like services and service
suppliers.

3. Formally identical or formally different treatment shall be considered to be less favourable if it modifies the conditions of
completion in favour of services or service suppliers of the Member compared to like services or service suppliers of any
other Member. (Article XVII, General Agreement on Trade in Services, Vol. 28, Uruguay Round Legal Instruments, p.22610
emphasis supplied).

It is petitioners position that the foregoing national treatment and parity provisions of the WTO Agreement place nationals and
products of member countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products, in contravention of the Filipino First policy of the
Constitution. They allegedly render meaningless the phrase effectively controlled by Filipinos. The constitutional conflict becomes more
manifest when viewed in the context of the clear duty imposed on the Philippines as a WTO member to ensure the conformity of its
laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed agreements. [20] Petitioners further argue
that these provisions contravene constitutional limitations on the role exports play in national development and negate the preferential
treatment accorded to Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods.

On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General counter (1) that such Charter provisions are not self-executing and
merely set out general policies; (2) that these nationalistic portions of the Constitution invoked by petitioners should not be read in
isolation but should be related to other relevant provisions of Art. XII, particularly Secs. 1 and 13 thereof; (3) that read properly, the cited
WTO clauses do not conflict with the Constitution; and (4) that the WTO Agreement contains sufficient provisions to protect developing
countries like the Philippines from the harshness of sudden trade liberalization.

We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments.

Declaration of Principles Not Self-Executing

By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a declaration of principles and state policies. The counterpart of this article in the
1935 Constitution[21] is called the basic political creed of the nation by Dean Vicente Sinco.[22] These principles in Article II are not
intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement through the courts.[23] They are used by the judiciary as aids or as guides
in the exercise of its power of judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. As held in the leading case of Kilosbayan,
Incorporated vs. Morato,[24] the principles and state policies enumerated in Article II and some sections of Article XII are not self-
executing provisions, the disregard of which can give rise to a cause of action in the courts. They do not embody judicially enforceable
constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation.

In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor[25] that broad constitutional principles need legislative enactments to implement
them, thus:

On petitioners allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 (Personal Dignity) 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II; Section 13
(Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also that these
are merely statements of principles and policies. As such, they are basically not self-executing, meaning a law should be passed by
Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principles.

In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement through the
courts. They were rather directives addressed to the executive and to the legislature. If the executive and the legislature failed to heed
the directives of the article, the available remedy was not judicial but political. The electorate could express their displeasure with the
failure of the executive and the legislature through the language of the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2).

The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement of broad constitutional principles are sourced from basic
considerations of due process and the lack of judicial authority to wade into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy
making. Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his concurring opinion in Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr.,[26] explained these reasons as follows:

My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more specific legal right -- a right cast in language of a
significantly lower order of generality than Article II (15) of the Constitution -- that is or may be violated by the actions, or failures to act,
imputed to the public respondent by petitioners so that the trial court can validly render judgment granting all or part of the relief
prayed for. To my mind, the court should be understood as simply saying that such a more specific legal right or rights may well exist in
our corpus of law, considering the general policy principles found in the Constitution and the existence of the Philippine Environment
Code, and that the trial court should have given petitioners an effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the
proceedings on a motion to dismiss.

It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential component of a cause of action be a specific, operable legal right, rather
than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at least two (2) reasons. One is that unless the legal right claimed to have been violated or
disregarded is given specification in operational terms, defendants may well be unable to defend themselves intelligently and effectively;
in other words, there are due process dimensions to this matter.

The second is a broader-gauge consideration -- where a specific violation of law or applicable regulation is not alleged or proved,
petitioners can be expected to fall back on the expanded conception of judicial power in the second paragraph of Section 1 of Article VIII
of the Constitution which reads:

Section 1. x x x

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. (Emphases supplied)

When substantive standards as general as the right to a balanced and healthy ecology and the right to health are combined with remedial
standards as broad ranging as a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the result will be, it is respectfully
submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy making. At least in respect of the vast area of
environmental protection and management, our courts have no claim to special technical competence and experience and professional
qualification. Where no specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the policy making departments -- the legislative
and executive departments -- must be given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and
to implement them before the courts should intervene.

Economic Nationalism Should Be Read with Other Constitutional Mandates to Attain Balanced Development of Economy

On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from merely laying down general principles relating to the national
economy and patrimony, should be read and understood in relation to the other sections in said article, especially Secs. 1 and 13 thereof
which read:

Section 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase
in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to
raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.

The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through
industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign
markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.

In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. x
xx

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 13. The State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the
basis of equality and reciprocity.

As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down the basic goals of national economic development, as follows:

1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth;

2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services provided by the nation for the benefit of the people; and

3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the underprivileged.
With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the ideals of economic nationalism (1) by expressing preference in favor
of qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony[27] and in the use of
Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally-produced goods; (2) by mandating the State to adopt measures that help make them
competitive;[28] and (3) by requiring the State to develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by
Filipinos.[29] In similar language, the Constitution takes into account the realities of the outside world as it requires the pursuit of a trade
policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity;[30] and
speaks of industries which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets as well as of the protection of Filipino enterprises against
unfair foreign competition and trade practices.

It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service Insurance System, et al.,[31] this Court held that Sec.
10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is complete in itself and which needs no
further guidelines or implementing laws or rules for its enforcement. From its very words the provision does not require any legislation
to put it in operation. It is per se judicially enforceable. However, as the constitutional provision itself states, it is enforceable only in
regard to the grants of rights, privileges and concessions covering national economy and patrimony and not to every aspect of trade and
commerce. It refers to exceptions rather than the rule. The issue here is not whether this paragraph of Sec. 10 of Art. XII is self-executing
or not. Rather, the issue is whether, as a rule, there are enough balancing provisions in the Constitution to allow the Senate to ratify the
Philippine concurrence in the WTO Agreement. And we hold that there are.

All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of Filipino goods, services, labor and enterprises, at the same time,
it recognizes the need for business exchange with the rest of the world on the bases of equality and reciprocity and limits protection of
Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition and trade practices that are unfair. [32] In other words, the Constitution did not
intend to pursue an isolationist policy. It did not shut out foreign investments, goods and services in the development of the Philippine
economy. While the Constitution does not encourage the unlimited entry of foreign goods, services and investments into the country, it
does not prohibit them either. In fact, it allows an exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity, frowning only on foreign
competition that is unfair.

WTO Recognizes Need to Protect Weak Economies

Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself has some built-in advantages to protect weak and developing
economies, which comprise the vast majority of its members. Unlike in the UN where major states have permanent seats and veto
powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made on the basis of sovereign equality, with each members vote equal in
weight to that of any other. There is no WTO equivalent of the UN Security Council.

WTO decides by consensus whenever possible, otherwise, decisions of the Ministerial Conference and the General Council shall be taken
by the majority of the votes cast, except in cases of interpretation of the Agreement or waiver of the obligation of a member which
would require three fourths vote. Amendments would require two thirds vote in general. Amendments to MFN provisions and the
Amendments provision will require assent of all members. Any member may withdraw from the Agreement upon the expiration of six
months from the date of notice of withdrawals.[33]

Hence, poor countries can protect their common interests more effectively through the WTO than through one-on-one negotiations
with developed countries. Within the WTO, developing countries can form powerful blocs to push their economic agenda more
decisively than outside the Organization. This is not merely a matter of practical alliances but a negotiating strategy rooted in law. Thus,
the basic principles underlying the WTO Agreement recognize the need of developing countries like the Philippines to share in the
growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development. These basic principles are found in the
preamble[34] of the WTO Agreement as follows:

The Parties to this Agreement,

Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour should be conducted with a view to raising standards of
living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, and expanding the
production of and trade in goods and services, while allowing for the optimal use of the worlds resources in accordance with the
objective of sustainable development, seeking both to protect and preserve the environment and to enhance the means for doing so in a
manner consistent with their respective needs and concerns at different levels of economic development,

Recognizing further that there is need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries, and especially the least developed
among them, secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development,

Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the
substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and to the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international trade
relations,

Resolved, therefore, to develop an integrated, more viable and durable multilateral trading system encompassing the General Agreement
on Tariffs and Trade, the results of past trade liberalization efforts, and all of the results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
Negotiations,

Determined to preserve the basic principles and to further the objectives underlying this multilateral trading system, x x x. (underscoring
supplied.)
Specific WTO Provisos Protect Developing Countries

So too, the Solicitor General points out that pursuant to and consistent with the foregoing basic principles, the WTO Agreement
grants developing countries a more lenient treatment, giving their domestic industries some protection from the rush of foreign
competition. Thus, with respect to tariffs in general, preferential treatment is given to developing countries in terms of the amount of
tariff reduction and the period within which the reduction is to be spread out. Specifically, GATT requires an average tariff reduction
rate of 36% for developed countries to be effected within a period of six (6) years while developing countries -- including the
Philippines -- are required to effect an average tariff reduction of only 24% within ten (10) years.

In respect to domestic subsidy, GATT requires developed countries to reduce domestic support to agricultural products by 20%
over six (6) years, as compared to only 13% for developing countries to be effected within ten (10) years.

In regard to export subsidy for agricultural products, GATT requires developed countries to reduce their budgetary outlays for
export subsidy by 36% and export volumes receiving export subsidy by 21% within a period of six (6) years. For developing
countries, however, the reduction rate is only two-thirds of that prescribed for developed countries and a longer period of ten (10)
years within which to effect such reduction.

Moreover, GATT itself has provided built-in protection from unfair foreign competition and trade practices including anti-dumping
measures, countervailing measures and safeguards against import surges.Where local businesses are jeopardized by unfair foreign
competition, the Philippines can avail of these measures. There is hardly therefore any basis for the statement that under the WTO, local
industries and enterprises will all be wiped out and that Filipinos will be deprived of control of the economy. Quite the contrary, the
weaker situations of developing nations like the Philippines have been taken into account; thus, there would be no basis to say that in
joining the WTO, the respondents have gravely abused their discretion. True, they have made a bold decision to steer the ship of state
into the yet uncharted sea of economic liberalization. But such decision cannot be set aside on the ground of grave abuse of discretion,
simply because we disagree with it or simply because we believe only in other economic policies. As earlier stated, the Court in taking
jurisdiction of this case will not pass upon the advantages and disadvantages of trade liberalization as an economic policy. It will only
perform its constitutional duty of determining whether the Senate committed grave abuse of discretion.

Constitution Does Not Rule Out Foreign Competition

Furthermore, the constitutional policy of a self-reliant and independent national economy[35] does not necessarily rule out the entry
of foreign investments, goods and services. It contemplates neither economic seclusion nor mendicancy in the international
community. As explained by Constitutional Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, sponsor of this constitutional policy:

Economic self-reliance is a primary objective of a developing country that is keenly aware of overdependence on external assistance for
even its most basic needs. It does not mean autarky or economic seclusion; rather, it means avoiding mendicancy in the international
community. Independence refers to the freedom from undue foreign control of the national economy, especially in such strategic
industries as in the development of natural resources and public utilities.[36]

The WTO reliance on most favored nation, national treatment, and trade without discrimination cannot be struck down as
unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of equality and reciprocity that apply to all WTO members. Aside from envisioning a trade
policy based on equality and reciprocity,[37] the fundamental law encourages industries that are competitive in both domestic and foreign
markets, thereby demonstrating a clear policy against a sheltered domestic trade environment, but one in favor of the gradual
development of robust industries that can compete with the best in the foreign markets. Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino
enterprises have shown capability and tenacity to compete internationally. And given a free trade environment, Filipino entrepreneurs
and managers in Hongkong havedemonstrated the Filipino capacity to grow and to prosper against the best offered under a policy
of laissez faire.

Constitution Favors Consumers, Not Industries or Enterprises

The Constitution has not really shown any unbalanced bias in favor of any business or enterprise, nor does it contain any specific
pronouncement that Filipino companies should be pampered with a total
proscription of foreign competition. On the other hand, respondents claim that WTO/GATT aims to make available to the Filipino
consumer the best goods and services obtainable anywhere in the world at the most reasonable prices. Consequently, the question boils
down to whether WTO/GATT will favor the general welfare of the public at large.
Will adherence to the WTO treaty bring this ideal (of favoring the general welfare) to reality?

Will WTO/GATT succeed in promoting the Filipinos general welfare because it will -- as promised by its promoters -- expand the
countrys exports and generate more employment?
Will it bring more prosperity, employment, purchasing power and quality products at the most reasonable rates to the Filipino
public?

The responses to these questions involve judgment calls by our policy makers, for which they are answerable to our people during
appropriate electoral exercises. Such questions and the answers thereto are not subject to judicial pronouncements based on grave abuse
of discretion.

Constitution Designed to Meet Future Events and Contingencies

No doubt, the WTO Agreement was not yet in existence when the Constitution was drafted and ratified in 1987. That does not
mean however that the Charter is necessarily flawed in the sense that its framers might not have anticipated the advent of a borderless
world of business. By the same token, the United Nations was not yet in existence when the 1935 Constitution became effective. Did
that necessarily mean that the then Constitution might not have contemplated a diminution of the absoluteness of sovereignty when the
Philippines signed the UN Charter, thereby effectively surrendering part of its control over its foreign relations to the decisions of various
UN organs like the Security Council?

It is not difficult to answer this question. Constitutions are designed to meet not only the vagaries of contemporary events. They
should be interpreted to cover even future and unknown circumstances. It is to the credit of its drafters that a Constitution can withstand
the assaults of bigots and infidels but at the same time bend with the refreshing winds of change necessitated by unfolding events. As one
eminent political law writer and respected jurist[38] explains:

The Constitution must be quintessential rather than superficial, the root and not the blossom, the base and framework only of the edifice
that is yet to rise. It is but the core of the dream that must take shape, not in a twinkling by mandate of our delegates, but slowly in the
crucible of Filipino minds and hearts, where it will in time develop its sinews and gradually gather its strength and finally achieve its
substance. In fine, the Constitution cannot, like the goddess Athena, rise full-grown from the brow of the Constitutional Convention, nor
can it conjure by mere fiat an instant Utopia. It must grow with the society it seeks to re-structure and march apace with the progress of
the race, drawing from the vicissitudes of history the dynamism and vitality that will keep it, far from becoming a petrified rule, a pulsing,
living law attuned to the heartbeat of the nation.

Third Issue: The WTO Agreement and Legislative Power

The WTO Agreement provides that (e)ach Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative
procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements.[39]Petitioners maintain that this undertaking unduly limits, restricts
and impairs Philippine sovereignty, specifically the legislative power which under Sec. 2, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution is
vested in the Congress of the Philippines. It is an assault on the sovereign powers of the Philippines because this means that Congress
could not pass legislation that will be good for our national interest and general welfare if such legislation will not conform with the
WTO Agreement, which not only relates to the trade in goods x x x but also to the flow of investments and money x x x as well as to a
whole slew of agreements on socio-cultural matters x x x.[40]

More specifically, petitioners claim that said WTO proviso derogates from the power to tax, which is lodged in the
Congress.[41] And while the Constitution allows Congress to authorize the President to fix tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage
and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts, such authority is subject to specified limits and x x x such limitations and restrictions as
Congress may provide,[42]as in fact it did under Sec. 401 of the Tariff and Customs Code.

Sovereignty Limited by International Law and Treaties

This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by which petitioners stressed their arguments on this issue. However,
while sovereignty has traditionally been deemed absolute and all-encompassing on the domestic level, it is however subject to restrictions
and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines, expressly or impliedly, as a member of the family of nations. Unquestionably,
the Constitution did not envision a hermit-type isolation of the country from the rest of the world. In its Declaration of Principles and
State Policies, the Constitution adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to
the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity, with all nations." [43] By the doctrine of incorporation, the country
is bound by generally accepted principles of international law, which are considered to be automatically part of our own laws.[44] One of
the oldest and most fundamental rules in international law is pacta sunt servanda -- international agreements must be performed in
good faith. A treaty engagement is not a mere moral obligation but creates a legally binding obligation on the parties x x x. A state
which has contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its legislations such modifications as may be necessary to ensure
the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken.[45]
By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the absoluteness of sovereignty. By their voluntary act, nations may
surrender some aspects of their state power in exchange for greater benefits granted by or derived from a convention or pact. After all,
states, like individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit of mutually covenanted objectives and benefits, they also commonly agree to
limit the exercise of their otherwise absolute rights. Thus, treaties have been used to record agreements between States concerning such
widely diverse matters as, for example, the lease of naval bases, the sale or cession of territory, the termination of war, the regulation of
conduct of hostilities, the formation of alliances, the regulation of commercial relations, the settling of claims, the laying down of rules
governing conduct in peace and the establishment of international organizations.[46] The sovereignty of a state therefore cannot in fact
and in reality be considered absolute. Certain restrictions enter into the picture: (1) limitations imposed by the very nature of
membership in the family of nations and (2) limitations imposed by treaty stipulations. As aptly put by John F. Kennedy, Today, no
nation can build its destiny alone. The age of self-sufficient nationalism is over. The age of interdependence is here.[47]

UN Charter and Other Treaties Limit Sovereignty

Thus, when the Philippines joined the United Nations as one of its 51 charter members, it consented to restrict its sovereign rights
under the concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation.47-A Under Article 2 of the UN Charter, (a)ll members shall give the United Nations
every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against
which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action. Such assistance includes payment of its corresponding share not
merely in administrative expenses but also in expenditures for the peace-keeping operations of the organization. In its advisory opinion
of July 20, 1961, the International Court of Justice held that money used by the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East and
in the Congo were expenses of the United Nations under Article 17, paragraph 2, of the UN Charter. Hence, all its members must bear
their corresponding share in such expenses. In this sense, the Philippine Congress is restricted in its power to appropriate. It is compelled
to appropriate funds whether it agrees with such peace-keeping expenses or not. So too, under Article 105 of the said Charter, the UN
and its representatives enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities, thereby limiting again the exercise of sovereignty of members within
their own territory. Another example: although sovereign equality and domestic jurisdiction of all members are set forth as underlying
principles in the UN Charter, such provisos are however subject to enforcement measures decided by the Security Council for the
maintenance of international peace and security under Chapter VII of the Charter. A final example: under Article 103, (i)n the event of a
conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other
international agreement, their obligation under the present charter shall prevail, thus unquestionably denying the Philippines -- as a
member -- the sovereign power to make a choice as to which of conflicting obligations, if any, to honor.
Apart from the UN Treaty, the Philippines has entered into many other international pacts -- both bilateral and multilateral -- that
involve limitations on Philippine sovereignty. These are enumerated by the Solicitor General in his Compliance dated October 24, 1996,
as follows:

(a) Bilateral convention with the United States regarding taxes on income, where the Philippines agreed, among others, to exempt
from tax, income received in the Philippines by, among others, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, the
Export/Import Bank of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United States. Likewise, in said
convention, wages, salaries and similar remunerations paid by the United States to its citizens for labor and personal services
performed by them as employees or officials of the United States are exempt from income tax by the Philippines.

(b) Bilateral agreement with Belgium, providing, among others, for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on
income.

(c) Bilateral convention with the Kingdom of Sweden for the avoidance of double taxation.

(d) Bilateral convention with the French Republic for the avoidance of double taxation.

(e) Bilateral air transport agreement with Korea where the Philippines agreed to exempt from all customs duties, inspection fees and
other duties or taxes aircrafts of South Korea and the regular equipment, spare parts and supplies arriving with said aircrafts.

(f) Bilateral air service agreement with Japan, where the Philippines agreed to exempt from customs duties, excise taxes, inspection
fees and other similar duties, taxes or charges fuel, lubricating oils, spare parts, regular equipment, stores on board Japanese
aircrafts while on Philippine soil.

(g) Bilateral air service agreement with Belgium where the Philippines granted Belgian air carriers the same privileges as those
granted to Japanese and Korean air carriers under separate air service agreements.

(h) Bilateral notes with Israel for the abolition of transit and visitor visas where the Philippines exempted Israeli nationals from the
requirement of obtaining transit or visitor visas for a sojourn in the Philippines not exceeding 59 days.
(I) Bilateral agreement with France exempting French nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit and visitor visa for a
sojourn not exceeding 59 days.

(j) Multilateral Convention on Special Missions, where the Philippines agreed that premises of Special Missions in the Philippines are
inviolable and its agents can not enter said premises without consent of the Head of Mission concerned. Special Missions are
also exempted from customs duties, taxes and related charges.

(k) Multilateral Convention on the Law of Treaties. In this convention, the Philippines agreed to be governed by the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties.

(l) Declaration of the President of the Philippines accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. The
International Court of Justice has jurisdiction in all legal disputes concerning the interpretation of a treaty, any question of
international law, the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of international obligation.

In the foregoing treaties, the Philippines has effectively agreed to limit the exercise of its sovereign powers of taxation, eminent
domain and police power. The underlying consideration in this partial surrender of sovereignty is the reciprocal commitment of the
other contracting states in granting the same privilege and immunities to the Philippines, its officials and its citizens. The same reciprocity
characterizes the Philippine commitments under WTO-GATT.

International treaties, whether relating to nuclear disarmament, human rights, the environment, the law of the sea, or trade, constrain
domestic political sovereignty through the assumption of external obligations. But unless anarchy in international relations is preferred as
an alternative, in most cases we accept that the benefits of the reciprocal obligations involved outweigh the costs associated with any loss
of political sovereignty. (T)rade treaties that structure relations by reference to durable, well-defined substantive norms and objective
dispute resolution procedures reduce the risks of larger countries exploiting raw economic power to bully smaller countries, by subjecting
power relations to some form of legal ordering. In addition, smaller countries typically stand to gain disproportionately from trade
liberalization. This is due to the simple fact that liberalization will provide access to a larger set of potential new trading relationship than
in case of the larger country gaining enhanced success to the smaller countrys market.[48]

The point is that, as shown by the foregoing treaties, a portion of sovereignty may be waived without violating the Constitution,
based on the rationale that the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and
adheres to the policy of x x x cooperation and amity with all nations.

Fourth Issue: The WTO Agreement and Judicial Power

Petitioners aver that paragraph 1, Article 34 of the General Provisions and Basic Principles of the Agreement on Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)[49] intrudes on the power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning pleading,
practice and procedures.[50]

To understand the scope and meaning of Article 34, TRIPS,[51] it will be fruitful to restate its full text as follows:

Article 34

Process Patents: Burden of Proof

1. For the purposes of civil proceedings in respect of the infringement of the rights of the owner referred to in paragraph 1(b) of
Article 28, if the subject matter of a patent is a process for obtaining a product, the judicial authorities shall have the authority to
order the defendant to prove that the process to obtain an identical product is different from the patented process. Therefore,
Members shall provide, in at least one of the following circumstances, that any identical product when produced without the
consent of the patent owner shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be deemed to have been obtained by the patented
process:

(a) if the product obtained by the patented process is new;

(b) if there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the process and the owner of the patent has
been unable through reasonable efforts to determine the process actually used.

2. Any Member shall be free to provide that the burden of proof indicated in paragraph 1 shall be on the alleged infringer only if
the condition referred to in subparagraph (a) is fulfilled or only if the condition referred to in subparagraph (b) is fulfilled.
3. In the adduction of proof to the contrary, the legitimate interests of defendants in protecting their manufacturing and business
secrets shall be taken into account.

From the above, a WTO Member is required to provide a rule of disputable (note the words in the absence of proof to the
contrary) presumption that a product shown to be identical to one produced with the use of a patented process shall be deemed to have
been obtained by the (illegal) use of the said patented process, (1) where such product obtained by the patented product is new, or (2)
where there is substantial likelihood that the identical product was made with the use of the said patented process but the owner of the
patent could not determine the exact process used in obtaining such identical product.Hence, the burden of proof contemplated by
Article 34 should actually be understood as the duty of the alleged patent infringer to overthrow such presumption. Such burden,
properly understood, actually refers to the burden of evidence (burden of going forward) placed on the producer of the identical (or
fake) product to show that his product was produced without the use of the patented process.

The foregoing notwithstanding, the patent owner still has the burden of proof since, regardless of the presumption provided under
paragraph 1 of Article 34, such owner still has to introduce evidence of the existence of the alleged identical product, the fact that it is
identical to the genuine one produced by the patented process and the fact of newness of the genuine product or the fact of substantial
likelihood that the identical product was made by the patented process.

The foregoing should really present no problem in changing the rules of evidence as the present law on the subject, Republic Act
No. 165, as amended, otherwise known as the Patent Law, provides a similar presumption in cases of infringement of patented design or
utility model, thus:

SEC. 60. Infringement. - Infringement of a design patent or of a patent for utility model shall consist in unauthorized copying of the
patented design or utility model for the purpose of trade or industry in the article or product and in the making, using or selling of the
article or product copying the patented design or utility model. Identity or substantial identity with the patented design or utility model
shall constitute evidence of copying. (underscoring supplied)

Moreover, it should be noted that the requirement of Article 34 to provide a disputable presumption applies only if (1) the product
obtained by the patented process is NEW or (2) there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the process and
the process owner has not been able through reasonable effort to determine the process used. Where either of these two provisos does
not obtain, members shall be free to determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of TRIPS within their own
internal systems and processes.

By and large, the arguments adduced in connection with our disposition of the third issue -- derogation of legislative power - will
apply to this fourth issue also. Suffice it to say that the reciprocity clause more than justifies such intrusion, if any actually exists. Besides,
Article 34 does not contain an unreasonable burden, consistent as it is with due process and the concept of adversarial dispute settlement
inherent in our judicial system.

So too, since the Philippine is a signatory to most international conventions on patents, trademarks and copyrights, the adjustment
in legislation and rules of procedure will not be substantial.[52]

Fifth Issue: Concurrence Only in the WTO Agreement and Not in Other Documents Contained in the Final Act

Petitioners allege that the Senate concurrence in the WTO Agreement and its annexes -- but not in the other documents referred to
in the Final Act, namely the Ministerial Declaration and Decisions and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services -- is
defective and insufficient and thus constitutes abuse of discretion. They submit that such concurrence in the WTO Agreement alone is
flawed because it is in effect a rejection of the Final Act, which in turn was the document signed by Secretary Navarro, in representation
of the Republic upon authority of the President. They contend that the second letter of the President to the Senate[53] which enumerated
what constitutes the Final Act should have been the subject of concurrence of the Senate.

A final act, sometimes called protocol de clture, is an instrument which records the winding up of the proceedings of a diplomatic
conference and usually includes a reproduction of the texts of treaties, conventions, recommendations and other acts agreed upon and
signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the conference.[54] It is not the treaty itself. It is rather a summary of the proceedings of a
protracted conference which may have taken place over several years. The text of the Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay
Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations is contained in just one page[55] in Vol. I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral
Trade Negotiations. By signing said Final Act, Secretary Navarro as representative of the Republic of the Philippines undertook:

"(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities with a view to
seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and

(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions."

The assailed Senate Resolution No. 97 expressed concurrence in exactly what the Final Act required from its signatories, namely,
concurrence of the Senate in the WTO Agreement.
The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions were deemed adopted without need for ratification. They were approved by the
ministers by virtue of Article XXV: 1 of GATT which provides that representatives of the members can meet to give effect to those
provisions of this Agreement which invoke joint action, and generally with a view to facilitating the operation and furthering the
objectives of this Agreement.[56]

The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services also approved in Marrakesh does not apply to the Philippines. It applies
only to those 27 Members which have indicated in their respective schedules of commitments on standstill, elimination of monopoly,
expansion of operation of existing financial service suppliers, temporary entry of personnel, free transfer and processing of information,
and national treatment with respect to access to payment, clearing systems and refinancing available in the normal course of business.[57]

On the other hand, the WTO Agreement itself expresses what multilateral agreements are deemed included as its integral
parts,[58] as follows:

Article II

Scope of the WTO

1. The WTO shall provide the common institutional framework for the conduct of trade relations among its Members in matters to
the agreements and associated legal instruments included in the Annexes to this Agreement.

2. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annexes 1, 2, and 3 (hereinafter referred to as Multilateral
Agreements) are integral parts of this Agreement, binding on all Members.

3. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annex 4 (hereinafter referred to as Plurilateral Trade Agreements)
are also part of this Agreement for those Members that have accepted them, and are binding on those Members. The Plurilateral
Trade Agreements do not create either obligation or rights for Members that have not accepted them.

4. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 as specified in annex 1A (hereinafter referred to as GATT 1994) is legally
distinct from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, dated 30 October 1947, annexed to the Final Act adopted at the
conclusion of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment, as
subsequently rectified, amended or modified (hereinafter referred to as GATT 1947).

It should be added that the Senate was well-aware of what it was concurring in as shown by the members deliberation on August
25, 1994. After reading the letter of President Ramos dated August 11, 1994,[59] the senators of the Republic minutely dissected what the
Senate was concurring in, as follows: [60]

THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Now, the question of the validity of the submission came up in the first day hearing of this Committee
yesterday. Was the observation made by Senator Taada that what was submitted to the Senate was not the agreement on establishing
the World Trade Organization by the final act of the Uruguay Round which is not the same as the agreement establishing the World
Trade Organization? And on that basis, Senator Tolentino raised a point of order which, however, he agreed to withdraw upon
understanding that his suggestion for an alternative solution at that time was acceptable. That suggestion was to treat the proceedings of
the Committee as being in the nature of briefings for Senators until the question of the submission could be clarified.

And so, Secretary Romulo, in effect, is the President submitting a new... is he making a new submission which improves on the clarity of
the first submission?

MR. ROMULO: Mr. Chairman, to make sure that it is clear cut and there should be no misunderstanding, it was his intention to clarify
all matters by giving this letter.

THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

Can this Committee hear from Senator Taada and later on Senator Tolentino since they were the ones that raised this question yesterday?

Senator Taada, please.

SEN. TAADA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Based on what Secretary Romulo has read, it would now clearly appear that what is being submitted to the Senate for ratification is not
the Final Act of the Uruguay Round, but rather the Agreement on the World Trade Organization as well as the Ministerial Declarations
and Decisions, and the Understanding and Commitments in Financial Services.

I am now satisfied with the wording of the new submission of President Ramos.
SEN. TAADA. . . . of President Ramos, Mr. Chairman.

THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Taada. Can we hear from Senator Tolentino? And after him Senator Neptali Gonzales and
Senator Lina.

SEN TOLENTINO, Mr. Chairman, I have not seen the new submission actually transmitted to us but I saw the draft of his earlier, and I
think it now complies with the provisions of the Constitution, and with the Final Act itself. The Constitution does not require us to ratify
the Final Act. It requires us to ratify the Agreement which is now being submitted. The Final Act itself specifies what is going to be
submitted to with the governments of the participants.

In paragraph 2 of the Final Act, we read and I quote:

By signing the present Final Act, the representatives agree: (a) to submit as appropriate the WTO Agreement for the consideration of
the respective competent authorities with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures.

In other words, it is not the Final Act that was agreed to be submitted to the governments for ratification or acceptance as whatever their
constitutional procedures may provide but it is the World Trade Organization Agreement. And if that is the one that is being submitted
now, I think it satisfies both the Constitution and the Final Act itself.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tolentino, May I call on Senator Gonzales.

SEN. GONZALES. Mr. Chairman, my views on this matter are already a matter of record. And they had been adequately reflected in the
journal of yesterdays session and I dont see any need for repeating the same.

Now, I would consider the new submission as an act ex abudante cautela.

THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Gonzales. Senator Lina, do you want to make any comment on this?

SEN. LINA. Mr. President, I agree with the observation just made by Senator Gonzales out of the abundance of question. Then the new
submission is, I believe, stating the obvious and therefore I have no further comment to make.

Epilogue

In praying for the nullification of the Philippine ratification of the WTO Agreement, petitioners are invoking this Courts
constitutionally imposed duty to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of the Senate in giving its concurrence therein via Senate Resolution No. 97. Procedurally, a writ
of certiorari grounded on grave abuse of discretion may be issued by the Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court when it is amply
shown that petitioners have no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction.[61] Mere abuse of discretion is not enough. It must be grave abuse of discretion as when the power is exercised in an
arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of
a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. [62] Failure on the part of the
petitioner to show grave abuse of discretion will result in the dismissal of the petition.[63]

In rendering this Decision, this Court never forgets that the Senate, whose act is under review, is one of two sovereign houses of
Congress and is thus entitled to great respect in its actions. It is itself a constitutional body independent and coordinate, and thus its
actions are presumed regular and done in good faith. Unless convincing proof and persuasive arguments are presented to overthrow
such presumptions, this Court will resolve every doubt in its favor. Using the foregoing well-accepted definition of grave abuse of
discretion and the presumption of regularity in the Senates processes, this Court cannot find any cogent reason to impute grave abuse of
discretion to the Senates exercise of its power of concurrence in the WTO Agreement granted it by Sec. 21 of Article VII of the
Constitution.[64]

It is true, as alleged by petitioners, that broad constitutional principles require the State to develop an independent national
economy effectively controlled by Filipinos; and to protect and/or prefer Filipino labor, products, domestic materials and locally
produced goods. But it is equally true that such principles -- while serving as judicial and legislative guides -- are not in themselves sources
of causes of action.Moreover, there are other equally fundamental constitutional principles relied upon by the Senate which mandate the
pursuit of a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and
reciprocity and the promotion of industries which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets, thereby justifying its acceptance
of said treaty. So too, the alleged impairment of sovereignty in the exercise of legislative and judicial powers is balanced by the adoption
of the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and the adherence of the Constitution to the policy
of cooperation and amity with all nations.

That the Senate, after deliberation and voting, voluntarily and overwhelmingly gave its consent to the WTO Agreement thereby
making it a part of the law of the land is a legitimate exercise of its sovereign duty and power. We find no patent and gross arbitrariness
or despotism by reason of passion or personal hostility in such exercise. It is not impossible to surmise that this Court, or at least some of
its members, may even agree with petitioners that it is more advantageous to the national interest to strike down Senate Resolution No.
97. But that is not a legal reason to attribute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate and to nullify its decision. To do so would
constitute grave abuse in the exercise of our own judicial power and duty. Ineludably, what the Senate did was a valid exercise of its
authority. As to whether such exercise was wise, beneficial or viable is outside the realm of judicial inquiry and review. That is a matter
between the elected policy makers and the people. As to whether the nation should join the worldwide march toward trade
liberalization and economic globalization is a matter that our people should determine in electing their policy makers. After all, the
WTO Agreement allows withdrawal of membership, should this be the political desire of a member.

The eminent futurist John Naisbitt, author of the best seller Megatrends, predicts an Asian Renaissance[65] where the East will
become the dominant region of the world economically, politically and culturally in the next century. He refers to the free market
espoused by WTO as the catalyst in this coming Asian ascendancy. There are at present about 31 countries including China, Russia and
Saudi Arabia negotiating for membership in the WTO. Notwithstanding objections against possible limitations on national sovereignty,
the WTO remains as the only viable structure for multilateral trading and the veritable forum for the development of international trade
law. The alternative to WTO is isolation, stagnation, if not economic self-destruction. Duly enriched with original membership, keenly
aware of the advantages and disadvantages of globalization with its on-line experience, and endowed with a vision of the future, the
Philippines now straddles the crossroads of an international strategy for economic prosperity and stability in the new millennium. Let the
people, through their duly authorized elected officers, make their free choice.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

I. THE FACTS

Petitioners Senators Taada, et al. questioned the constitutionality of the concurrence by the Philippine Senate of the Presidents
ratification of the international Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO). They argued that the WTO Agreement
violates the mandate of the 1987 Constitution to develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by
Filipinos . . . (to) give preference to qualified Filipinos (and to) promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and
locally produced goods. Further, they contended that the national treatment and parity provisions of the WTO Agreement place
nationals and products of member countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products, in contravention of the Filipino First
policy of our Constitution, and render meaningless the phrase effectively controlled by Filipinos.

II. THE ISSUE

Does the 1987 Constitution prohibit our country from participating in worldwide trade liberalization and economic globalization
and from integrating into a global economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized?

III. THE RULING

[The Court DISMISSED the petition. It sustained the concurrence of the Philippine Senate of the Presidents ratification of the
Agreement establishing the WTO.]

NO, the 1987 Constitution DOES NOT prohibit our country from participating in worldwide trade liberalization and economic
globalization and from integrating into a global economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized.

There are enough balancing provisions in the Constitution to allow the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the WTO
Agreement.
[W]hile the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of Filipino goods, services, labor and enterprises, at the same time, it
recognizes the need for business exchange with the rest of the world on the bases of equality and reciprocity and limits protection of
Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition and trade practices that are unfair. In other words, the Constitution did not intend
to pursue an isolationist policy. It did not shut out foreign investments, goods and services in the development of the Philippine
economy. While the Constitution does not encourage the unlimited entry of foreign goods, services and investments into the country, it
does not prohibit them either.In fact, it allows an exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity, frowning only on foreign
competition that is unfair.

xxx xxx xxx

[T]he constitutional policy of a self-reliant and independent national economy does not necessarily rule out the entry of foreign
investments, goods and services. It contemplates neither economic seclusion nor mendicancy in the international community. As
explained by Constitutional Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, sponsor of this constitutional policy:

Economic self-reliance is a primary objective of a developing country that is keenly aware of overdependence on external assistance
for even its most basic needs. It does not mean autarky or economic seclusion; rather, it means avoiding mendicancy in the international
community. Independence refers to the freedom from undue foreign control of the national economy, especially in such strategic
industries as in the development of natural resources and public utilities.

The WTO reliance on most favored nation, national treatment, and trade without discrimination cannot be struck down as
unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of equality and reciprocity that apply to all WTO members. Aside from envisioning a trade
policy based on equality and reciprocity, the fundamental law encourages industries that are competitive in both domestic and foreign
markets, thereby demonstrating a clear policy against a sheltered domestic trade environment, but one in favor of the gradual
development of robust industries that can compete with the best in the foreign markets. Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino
enterprises have shown capability and tenacity to compete internationally. And given a free trade environment, Filipino entrepreneurs
and managers in Hongkong have demonstrated the Filipino capacity to grow and to prosper against the best offered under a policy
of laissez faire.

xxx xxx xxx

It is true, as alleged by petitioners, that broad constitutional principles require the State to develop an independent national
economy effectively controlled by Filipinos; and to protect and/or prefer Filipino labor, products, domestic materials and locally
produced goods. But it is equally true that such principles while serving as judicial and legislative guides are not in themselves
sources of causes of action. Moreover, there are other equally fundamental constitutional principles relied upon by the Senate which
mandate the pursuit of a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of
equality and reciprocity and the promotion of industries which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets, thereby
justifying its acceptance of said treaty. So too, the alleged impairment of sovereignty in the exercise of legislative and judicial powers is
balanced by the adoption of the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and the adherence of the
Constitution to the policy of cooperation and amity with all nations.

That the Senate, after deliberation and voting, voluntarily and overwhelmingly gave its consent to the WTO Agreement thereby
making it a part of the law of the land is a legitimate exercise of its sovereign duty and power. We find no patent and gross
arbitrariness or despotism by reason of passion or personal hostility in such exercise. It is not impossible to surmise that this Court, or at
least some of its members, may even agree with petitioners that it is more advantageous to the national interest to strike down Senate
Resolution No. 97. But that is not a legal reason to attribute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate and to nullify its decision. To do so
would constitute grave abuse in the exercise of our own judicial power and duty. Ineludibly, what the Senate did was a valid exercise of
its authority. As to whether such exercise was wise, beneficial or viable is outside the realm of judicial inquiry and review. That is a matter
between the elected policy makers and the people. As to whether the nation should join the worldwide march toward trade
liberalization and economic globalization is a matter that our people should determine in electing their policy makers. After all, the
WTO Agreement allows withdrawal of membership, should this be the political desire of a member.

SECOND DIVISION
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the G.R. No. 129406
PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD
GOVERNMENT (PCGG),

Petitioner, Present:

- versus - PUNO, J., Chairperson,

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
CORONA,

AZCUNA, and

SANDIGANBAYAN (SECOND DIVISION) and ROBERTO GARCIA, JJ.


S. BENEDICTO,

Respondents.

Promulgated:

March 6, 2006

x-------------------------- --------------x

DECISION

GARCIA, J.:

Before the Court is this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to nullify and set aside the March 28, 1995[1] and
March 13, 1997[2] Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan, Second Division, in Civil Case No. 0034, insofar as said resolutions ordered the
Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to pay private respondent Roberto S. Benedicto or his corporations the value of
227 shares of stock of the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club, Inc. (NOGCCI) at P150,000.00 per share, registered in the name of
said private respondent or his corporations.

The facts:

Civil Case No. 0034 entitled Republic of the Philippines, plaintiff, v. Roberto S. Benedicto, et al., defendants, is a complaint for
reconveyance, reversion, accounting, reconstitution and damages. The case is one of several suits involving ill-gotten or unexplained
wealth that petitioner Republic, through the PCGG, filed with the Sandiganbayan against private respondent Roberto S. Benedicto and
others pursuant to Executive Order (EO) No. 14,[3] series of 1986.

Pursuant to its mandate under EO No. 1,[4] series of 1986, the PCGG issued writs placing under sequestration all business enterprises,
entities and other properties, real and personal, owned or registered in the name of private respondent Benedicto, or of corporations in
which he appeared to have controlling or majority interest. Among the properties thus sequestered and taken over by PCGG fiscal agents
were the 227 shares in NOGCCI owned by private respondent Benedicto and registered in his name or under the names of
corporations he owned or controlled.
Following the sequestration process, PCGG representatives sat as members of the Board of Directors of NOGCCI, which passed,
sometime in October 1986, a resolution effecting a corporate policy change. The change consisted of assessing a monthly membership
due of P150.00 for each NOGCCI share. Prior to this resolution, an investor purchasing more than one NOGCCI share was exempt
from paying monthly membership due for the second and subsequent shares that he/she owned.

Subsequently, on March 29, 1987, the NOGCCI Board passed another resolution, this time increasing the monthly membership due
from P150.00 to P250.00 for each share.

As sequestrator of the 227 shares of stock in question, PCGG did not pay the corresponding monthly membership due thereon
totaling P2,959,471.00. On account thereof, the 227 sequestered shares were declared delinquent to be disposed of in an auction sale.

Apprised of the above development and evidently to prevent the projected auction sale of the same shares, PCGG filed a complaint for
injunction with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City, thereat docketed as Civil Case No. 5348. The complaint, however, was
dismissed, paving the way for the auction sale for the delinquent 227 shares of stock. On August 5, 1989, an auction sale was conducted.

On November 3, 1990, petitioner Republic and private respondent Benedicto entered into a Compromise Agreement in Civil Case
No. 0034. The agreement contained a general release clause[5] whereunder petitioner Republic agreed and bound itself to lift the
sequestration on the 227 NOGCCI shares, among other Benedictos properties, petitionerRepublic acknowledging that it was within
private respondent Benedictos capacity to acquire the same shares out of his income from business and the exercise of his
profession.[6]Implied in this undertaking is the recognition by petitioner Republic that the subject shares of stock could not have been ill-
gotten.

In a decision dated October 2, 1992, the Sandiganbayan approved the Compromise Agreement and accordingly rendered judgment in
accordance with its terms.

In the process of implementing the Compromise Agreement, either of the parties would, from time to time, move for a ruling by the
Sandiganbayan on the proper manner of implementing or interpreting a specific provision therein.

On February 22, 1994, Benedicto filed in Civil Case No. 0034 a Motion for Release from Sequestration and Return of Sequestered
Shares/Dividends praying, inter alia, that his NOGCCI shares of stock be specifically released from sequestration and returned,
delivered or paid to him as part of the parties Compromise Agreement in that case. In a Resolution [7] promulgated on December 6,
1994, the Sandiganbayan granted Benedictos aforementioned motion but placed the subject shares under the custody of its Clerk of
Court, thus:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the said Motion for Release From Sequestration and Return of Sequestered Shares/Dividends
is hereby GRANTED and it is directed that said shares/dividends be delivered/placed under the custody of the Clerk of Court,
Sandiganbayan, Manila subject to this Courts disposition.

On March 28, 1995, the Sandiganbayan came out with the herein first assailed Resolution,[8] which clarified its
aforementioned December 6, 1994 Resolution and directed the immediate implementation thereof by requiring PCGG, among other
things:

(b) To deliver to the Clerk of Court the 227 sequestered shares of [NOGCCI] registered in the name of nominees of ROBERTO S.
BENEDICTO free from all liens and encumbrances, or in default thereof, to pay their value at P150,000.00 per share which can be
deducted from [the Republics] cash share in the Compromise Agreement. [Words in bracket added] (Emphasis Supplied).

Owing to PCGGs failure to comply with the above directive, Benedicto filed in Civil Case No. 0034 a Motion for
Compliance dated July 25, 1995, followed by an Ex-Parte Motion for Early Resolution dated February 12, 1996. Acting thereon, the
Sandiganbayan promulgated yet another Resolution[9] on February 23, 1996, dispositively reading:

WHEREFORE, finding merit in the instant motion for early resolution and considering that, indeed, the PCGG has not shown any
justifiable ground as to why it has not complied with its obligation as set forth in the Order of December 6, 1994 up to this date and
which Order was issued pursuant to the Compromise Agreement and has already become final and executory, accordingly, the
Presidential Commission on Good Government is hereby given a final extension of fifteen (15) days from receipt hereof within which to
comply with the Order of December 6, 1994 as stated hereinabove.

On April 1, 1996, PCGG filed a Manifestation with Motion for Reconsideration,[10] praying for the setting aside of the Resolution
of February 23, 1996. On April 11, 1996, private respondent Benedicto filed a Motion to Enforce Judgment Levy. Resolving these
two motions, the Sandiganbayan, in its second assailed Resolution[11] dated March 13, 1997, denied that portion of the
PCGGs Manifestation with Motion for Reconsideration concerning the subject 227 NOGCCI shares and granted Benedictos Motion to
Enforce Judgment Levy.
Hence, the Republics present recourse on the sole issue of whether or not the public respondent Sandiganbayan, Second Division, gravely
abused its discretion in holding that the PCGG is at fault for not paying the membership dues on the 227 sequestered NOGCCI shares of
stock, a failing which eventually led to the foreclosure sale thereof.

The petition lacks merit.

To begin with, PCGG itself does not dispute its being considered as a receiver insofar as the sequestered 227 NOGCCI shares of stock are
concerned.[12] PCGG also acknowledges that as such receiver, one of its functions is to pay outstanding debts pertaining to the
sequestered entity or property,[13] in this case the 227 NOGCCI shares in question. It contends, however, that membership dues owing to
a golf club cannot be considered as an outstanding debt for which PCGG, as receiver, must pay. It also claims to have exercised due
diligence to prevent the loss through delinquency sale of the subject NOGCCI shares, specifically inviting attention to the injunctive
suit, i.e., Civil Case No. 5348, it filed before the RTC of Bacolod City to enjoin the foreclosure sale of the shares.

The filing of the injunction complaint adverted to, without more, cannot plausibly tilt the balance in favor of PCGG. To the mind of the
Court, such filing is a case of acting too little and too late. It cannot be over-emphasized that it behooved the PCGGs fiscal agents to
preserve, like a responsible father of the family, the value of the shares of stock under their administration. But far from acting as such
father, what the fiscal agents did under the premises was to allow the element of delinquency to set in before acting by embarking on a
tedious process of going to court after the auction sale had been announced and scheduled.

The PCGGs posture that to the owner of the sequestered shares rests the burden of paying the membership dues is untenable. For one, it
lost sight of the reality that such dues are basically obligations attached to the shares, which, in the final analysis, shall be made liable, thru
delinquency sale in case of default in payment of the dues. For another, the PCGG as sequestrator-receiver of such shares is, as stressed
earlier, duty bound to preserve the value of such shares. Needless to state, adopting timely measures to obviate the loss of those shares
forms part of such duty and due diligence.

The Sandiganbayan, to be sure, cannot plausibly be faulted for finding the PCGG liable for the loss of the 227 NOGCCI shares. There can
be no quibbling, as indeed the graft court so declared in its assailed and related resolutions respecting the NOGCCI shares of stock,
that PCGGs fiscal agents, while sitting in the NOGCCI Board of Directors agreed to the amendment of the rule pertaining to membership
dues. Hence, it is not amiss to state, as did the Sandiganbayan, that the PCGG-designated fiscal agents, no less, had a direct hand in the
loss of the sequestered shares through delinquency and their eventual sale through public auction. While perhaps anti-climactic to so
mention it at this stage, the unfortunate loss of the shares ought not to have come to pass had those fiscal agents prudently not agreed to
the passage of the NOGCCI board resolutions charging membership dues on shares without playing representatives.

Given the circumstances leading to the auction sale of the subject NOGCCI shares, PCGGs lament about public
respondent Sandiganbayan having erred or, worse still, having gravely abused its discretion in its determination as to who is at fault for
the loss of the shares in question can hardly be given cogency.

For sure, even if the Sandiganbayan were wrong in its findings, which does not seem to be in this case, it is a well-settled rule of
jurisprudence that certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction, not errors of judgment. Corollarily, errors of procedure or
mistakes in the courts findings and conclusions are beyond the corrective hand of certiorari.[14] The extraordinary writ of certiorari may
be availed only upon a showing, in the minimum, that the respondent tribunal or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has
acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion.[15]

The term grave abuse of discretion connotes capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to excess, or a lack of
jurisdiction.[16] The abuse must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty
enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason
of passion or hostility.[17] Sadly, this is completely absent in the present case. For, at bottom, the assailed resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan did no more than to direct PCGG to comply with its part of the bargain under the compromise agreement it freely
entered into with private respondent Benedicto. Simply put, the assailed resolutions of the Sandiganbayan have firm basis in fact and in
law.

Lest it be overlooked, the issue of liability for the shares in question had, as both public and private respondents asserted,
long become final and executory. Petitioners narration of facts in its present petition is even misleading as it conveniently fails to make
reference to two (2) resolutions issued by the Sandiganbayan. We refer to that courts resolutions of December 6, 1994[18] and February
23, 1996[19] as well as several intervening pleadings which served as basis for the decisions reached therein. As it were, the present
petition questions only and focuses on the March 28, 1995[20] and March 13, 1997[21] resolutions, which merely reiterated and
clarified the graft courts underlying resolution of December 6, 1994. And to place matters in the proper perspective, PCGGs failure to
comply with the December 6, 1994 resolution prompted the issuance of the clarificatory and/or reiteratory resolutions aforementioned.

In a last-ditch attempt to escape liability, petitioner Republic, through the PCGG, invokes state immunity from suit.[22] As argued, the
order for it to pay the value of the delinquent shares would fix monetary liability on a government agency, thus necessitating the
appropriation of public funds to satisfy the judgment claim.[23] But, as private respondent Benedicto correctly countered, the PCGG fails
to take stock of one of the exceptions to the state immunity principle, i.e., when the government itself is the suitor, as in Civil Case
No. 0034. Where, as here, the State itself is no less the plaintiff in the main case, immunity from suit cannot be effectively
invoked.[24] For, as jurisprudence teaches, when the State, through its duly authorized officers, takes the initiative in a suit against a
private party, it thereby descends to the level of a private individual and thus opens itself to whatever counterclaims or defenses the
latter may have against it.[25] Petitioner Republics act of filing its complaint in Civil Case No. 0034 constitutes a waiver of its immunity
from suit. Being itself the plaintiff in that case, petitioner Republic cannot set up its immunity against private
respondent Benedictos prayers in the same case.

In fact, by entering into a Compromise Agreement with private respondent Benedicto, petitioner Republic thereby stripped itself
of its immunity from suit and placed itself in the same level of its adversary. When the State enters into contract, through its officers
or agents, in furtherance of a legitimate aim and purpose and pursuant to constitutional legislative authority, whereby mutual or
reciprocal benefits accrue and rights and obligations arise therefrom, the State may be sued even without its express consent,
precisely because by entering into a contract the sovereign descends to the level of the citizen. Its consent to be sued is implied from the
very act of entering into such contract,[26] breach of which on its part gives the corresponding right to the other party to the agreement.

Finally, it is apropos to stress that the Compromise Agreement in Civil Case No. 0034 envisaged the immediate recovery of alleged ill-
gotten wealth without further litigation by the government, and buying peace on the part of the aging Benedicto.[27] Sadly, that stated
objective has come to naught as not only had the litigation continued to ensue, but, worse, private respondent Benedicto passed away
on May 15, 2000,[28] with the trial of Civil Case No. 0034 still in swing, so much so that the late Benedicto had to be substituted by the
administratrix of his estate.[29]

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

FACTS:The PCGG issued writs placing undersequestration all business enterprises, entitiesand other properties, real and personal,
ownedor registered in the name of privaterespondent Benedicto, or of corporations inwhich he appeared to have controlling
ormajority interest due to his involvement incases of ill-gotten wealth. Among theproperties thus sequestered and taken over
byPCGG fiscal agents were the 227 shares inNOGCCI owned by and registered under thename of private respondent. As sequester
of the 227 shares formerly owned by Benedicto,PCGG did not pay the monthly membershipfee. Later on, the shares were declared to
bedelinquent to be put into an auction sale.Despite filing a writ of injunction, it wasnevertheless dismissed. So petitioner
Republicand private respondent Benedicto entered intoa Compromise Agreement which contains ageneral release clause where
petitioner agreedand bound itself to lift the sequestration on the227 NOGCCI shares acknowledging that it waswithin private
respondents capacity to acquirethe same shares out of his income frombusiness and the exercise of hisprofession. Implied in this
undertaking is therecognition by petitioner that the subjectshares of stock could not have been ill-
gottenBenedicto filed a Motion for Releasefrom Sequestration and Return of SequesteredShares/Dividends praying, inter
alia, that hisNOGCCI shares of stock be specificallyreleased from sequestration and returned,delivered or paid to him as part of
the parties Compromise Agreement in that case. It wasgranted but the shares were ordered to be putunder the custody of the Clerk of
Court. Alongwith this, PCGG was ordered to deliver theshares to the Clerk of Court which it failed tocomply with without any
justifiable grounds.In a last-ditch attempt to escapeliability, petitioner Republic, through thePCGG, invokes state immunity from suit.

ISSUE: WON the Republic can invoke stateimmunity.

HELD: NO.In fact, by entering into a CompromiseAgreement with private respondent Benedicto,petitioner Republic thereby stripped
itself of itsimmunity from suit and placed itself in thesame level of its adversary. When the
Stateenters into contract, through its officers oragents, in furtherance of a legitimate aim
andpurpose and pursuant to constitutionallegislative authority, whereby mutual orreciprocal benefits accrue and rights andobliga
tions arise therefrom, the State may besued even without its express consent, precisely because by entering into a contract the
sovereign descends to the level of thecitizen. Its consent to be sued is implied
fromthe very act of entering into such contract,breach of which on its part gives thecorresponding right to the other party to
the agreement.

G.R. No. 159938 March 31, 2006

SHANGRI-LA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL MANAGEMENT, LTD., SHANGRI-LA PROPERTIES, INC., MAKATI SHANGRI-LA HOTEL &
RESORT, INC., AND KUOK PHILIPPINES PROPERTIES, INC., Petitioners,
vs.
DEVELOPERS GROUP OF COMPANIES, INC., Respondent.

DECISION

GARCIA, J.:

In this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioners Shangri-La International Hotel Management, Ltd. (SLIHM), et
al. assail and seek to set aside the Decision dated May 15, 20031 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 53351 and its
Resolution2 of September 15, 2003 which effectively affirmed with modification an earlier decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-91-8476, an action for infringement and damages, thereat commenced by respondent Developers
Group of Companies, Inc. (DGCI) against the herein petitioners.

The facts:

At the core of the controversy are the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo. Respondent DGCI claims ownership of said mark and logo in the
Philippines on the strength of its prior use thereof within the country. As DGCI stresses at every turn, it filed on October 18, 1982 with
the Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer (BPTTT) pursuant to Sections 2 and 4 of Republic Act (RA) No. 166,3 as
amended, an application for registration covering the subject mark and logo. On May 31, 1983, the BPTTT issued in favor of DGCI the
corresponding certificate of registration therefor, i.e., Registration No. 31904. Since then, DGCI started using the "Shangri-La" mark and
"S" logo in its restaurant business.

On the other hand, the Kuok family owns and operates a chain of hotels with interest in hotels and hotel-related transactions since 1969.
As far back as 1962, it adopted the name "Shangri-La" as part of the corporate names of all companies organized under the aegis of the
Kuok Group of Companies (the Kuok Group). The Kuok Group has used the name "Shangri-La" in all Shangri-La hotels and hotel-related
establishments around the world which the Kuok Family owned.

To centralize the operations of all Shangri-la hotels and the ownership of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo, the Kuok Group had
incorporated in Hong Kong and Singapore, among other places, several companies that form part of the Shangri-La International Hotel
Management Ltd. Group of Companies. EDSA Shangri-La Hotel and Resort, Inc., and Makati Shangri-La Hotel and Resort, Inc. were
incorporated in the Philippines beginning 1987 to own and operate the two (2) hotels put up by the Kuok Group in Mandaluyong and
Makati, Metro Manila.

All hotels owned, operated and managed by the aforesaid SLIHM Group of Companies adopted and used the distinctive lettering of the
name "Shangri-La" as part of their trade names.

From the records, it appears that Shangri-La Hotel Singapore commissioned a Singaporean design artist, a certain Mr. William Lee, to
conceptualize and design the logo of the Shangri-La hotels.

During the launching of the stylized "S" Logo in February 1975, Mr. Lee gave the following explanation for the logo, to wit:
The logo which is shaped like a "S" represents the uniquely Asean architectural structures as well as keep to the legendary Shangri-la theme
with the mountains on top being reflected on waters below and the connecting centre [sic] line serving as the horizon. This logo, which is
a bold, striking definitive design, embodies both modernity and sophistication in balance and thought.

Since 1975 and up to the present, the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo have been used consistently and continuously by all Shangri-La
hotels and companies in their paraphernalia, such as stationeries, envelopes, business forms, menus, displays and receipts.

The Kuok Group and/or petitioner SLIHM caused the registration of, and in fact registered, the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo in the
patent offices in different countries around the world.

On June 21, 1988, the petitioners filed with the BPTTT a petition, docketed as Inter Partes Case No. 3145, praying for the cancellation of
the registration of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo issued to respondent DGCI on the ground that the same were illegally and
fraudulently obtained and appropriated for the latter's restaurant business. They also filed in the same office Inter Partes Case No. 3529,
praying for the registration of the same mark and logo in their own names.

Until 1987 or 1988, the petitioners did not operate any establishment in the Philippines, albeit they advertised their hotels abroad since
1972 in numerous business, news, and/or travel magazines widely circulated around the world, all readily available in Philippine
magazines and newsstands. They, too, maintained reservations and booking agents in airline companies, hotel organizations, tour
operators, tour promotion organizations, and in other allied fields in the Philippines.

It is principally upon the foregoing factual backdrop that respondent DGCI filed a complaint for Infringement and Damages with the RTC
of Quezon City against the herein petitioners SLIHM, Shangri-La Properties, Inc., Makati Shangri-La Hotel & Resort, Inc., and Kuok
Philippine Properties, Inc., docketed as Civil Case No. Q-91-8476 and eventually raffled to Branch 99 of said court. The complaint with
prayer for injunctive relief and damages alleged that DGCI has, for the last eight (8) years, been the prior exclusive user in the Philippines
of the mark and logo in question and the registered owner thereof for its restaurant and allied services. As DGCI alleged in its complaint,
SLIHM, et al., in promoting and advertising their hotel and other allied projects then under construction in the country, had been using a
mark and logo confusingly similar, if not identical, with its mark and "S" logo. Accordingly, DGCI sought to prohibit the petitioners, as
defendants a quo, from using the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo in their hotels in the Philippines.

In their Answer with Counterclaim, the petitioners accused DGCI of appropriating and illegally using the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo,
adding that the legal and beneficial ownership thereof pertained to SLIHM and that the Kuok Group and its related companies had been
using this mark and logo since March 1962 for all their corporate names and affairs. In this regard, they point to the Paris Convention for
the Protection of Industrial Property as affording security and protection to SLIHM's exclusive right to said mark and logo. They further
claimed having used, since late 1975, the internationally-known and specially-designed "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo for all the hotels in
their hotel chain.

Pending trial on the merits of Civil Case No. Q-91-8476, the trial court issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction enjoining the petitioners
from using the subject mark and logo. The preliminary injunction issue ultimately reached the Court in G.R. No. 104583 entitled
Developers Group of Companies, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, et al. In a decision4 dated March 8, 1993, the Court nullified the writ of
preliminary injunction issued by the trial court and directed it to proceed with the main case and decide it with deliberate dispatch.

While trial was in progress, the petitioners filed with the court a motion to suspend proceedings on account of the pendency before the
BPTTT of Inter Partes Case No. 3145 for the cancellation of DGCI's certificate of registration. For its part, respondent DGCI filed a similar
motion in that case, invoking in this respect the pendency of its infringement case before the trial court. The parties' respective motions to
suspend proceedings also reached the Court via their respective petitions in G.R. No. 114802, entitled Developers Group of Companies,
Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, et al. and G.R. No. 111580, entitled Shangri-La International Hotel Management LTD., et al. vs. Court of
Appeals, et al., which were accordingly consolidated.

In a consolidated decision5 dated June 21, 2001, the Court, limiting itself to the core issue of whether, despite the petitioners' institution
of Inter Partes Case No. 3145 before the BPTTT, herein respondent DGCI "can file a subsequent action for infringement with the regular
courts of justice in connection with the same registered mark," ruled in the affirmative, but nonetheless ordered the BPTTT to suspend
further proceedings in said inter partes case and to await the final outcome of the main case.

Meanwhile, trial on the merits of the infringement case proceeded. Presented as DGCI's lone witness was Ramon Syhunliong, President
and Chairman of DGCI's Board of Directors. Among other things, this witness testified that:

1. He is a businessman, with interest in lumber, hotel, hospital, trading and restaurant businesses but only the restaurant business
bears the name "Shangri-La" and uses the same and the "S-logo" as service marks. The restaurant now known as "Shangri-La Finest
Chinese Cuisine" was formerly known as the "Carvajal Restaurant" until December 1982, when respondent took over said
restaurant business.

2. He had traveled widely around Asia prior to 1982, and admitted knowing the Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong as early as
August 1982.
3. The "S-logo" was one of two (2) designs given to him in December 1982, scribbled on a piece of paper by a jeepney
signboard artist with an office somewhere in Balintawak. The unnamed artist supposedly produced the two designs after about
two or three days from the time he (Syhunliong) gave the idea of the design he had in mind.

4. On October 15, 1982, or before the unknown signboard artist supposedly created the "Shangri-La" and "S" designs, DGCI was
incorporated with the primary purpose of "owning or operating, or both, of hotels and restaurants".

5. On October 18, 1982, again prior to the alleged creation date of the mark and logo, DGCI filed an application for trademark
registration of the mark "SHANGRI-LA FINEST CHINESE CUISINE & S. Logo" with the BPTTT. On said date, respondent DGCI
amended its Articles of Incorporation to reflect the name of its restaurant, known and operating under the style and name of
"SHANGRI-LA FINEST CHINESE CUISINE." Respondent DGCI obtained Certificate of Registration No. 31904 for the "Shangri-La"
mark and "S" logo.

Eventually, the trial court, on the postulate that petitioners', more particularly petitioner SLIHM's, use of the mark and logo in dispute
constitutes an infringement of DGCI's right thereto, came out with its decision6 on March 8, 1996 rendering judgment for DGCI, as
follows:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of [respondent DGCI] and against [SLIHM, et al.] -

a) Upholding the validity of the registration of the service mark "Shangri-la" and "S-Logo" in the name of [respondent];

b) Declaring [petitioners'] use of said mark and logo as infringement of [respondent's] right thereto;

c) Ordering [petitioners], their representatives, agents, licensees, assignees and other persons acting under their authority and
with their permission, to permanently cease and desist from using and/or continuing to use said mark and logo, or any copy,
reproduction or colorable imitation

thereof, in the promotion, advertisement, rendition of their hotel and allied projects and services or in any other manner
whatsoever;

d) Ordering [petitioners] to remove said mark and logo from any premises, objects, materials and paraphernalia used by them
and/or destroy any and all prints, signs, advertisements or other materials bearing said mark and logo in their possession and/or
under their control; and

e) Ordering [petitioners], jointly and severally, to indemnify [respondent] in the amounts of P2,000,000.00 as actual and
compensatory damages, P500,000.00 as attorney's fee and expenses of litigation.

Let a copy of this Decision be certified to the Director, Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer for his information and
appropriate action in accordance with the provisions of Section 25, Republic Act No. 166

Costs against [petitioners].

SO ORDERED. [Words in brackets added.]

Therefrom, the petitioners went on appeal to the CA whereat their recourse was docketed as CA G.R. SP No. 53351.

As stated at the threshold hereof, the CA, in its assailed Decision of May 15, 2003,7 affirmed that of the lower court with the
modification of deleting the award of attorney's fees. The appellate court predicated its affirmatory action on the strength or interplay of
the following premises:

1. Albeit the Kuok Group used the mark and logo since 1962, the evidence presented shows that the bulk use of the tradename
was abroad and not in the Philippines (until 1987). Since the Kuok Group does not have proof of actual use in commerce in the
Philippines (in accordance with Section 2 of R.A. No. 166), it cannot claim ownership of the mark and logo in accordance with
the holding in Kabushi Kaisha Isetan v. IAC8, as reiterated in Philip Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals.9

2. On the other hand, respondent has a right to the mark and logo by virtue of its prior use in the Philippines and the issuance
of Certificate of Registration No. 31904.

3. The use of the mark or logo in commerce through the bookings made by travel agencies is unavailing since the Kuok Group
did not establish any branch or regional office in the Philippines. As it were, the Kuok Group was not engaged in commerce in
the Philippines inasmuch as the bookings were made through travel agents not owned, controlled or managed by the Kuok
Group.

4. While the Paris Convention protects internationally known marks, R.A. No. 166 still requires use in commerce in the
Philippines. Accordingly, and on the premise that international agreements, such as Paris Convention, must yield to a municipal
law, the question on the exclusive right over the mark and logo would still depend on actual use in commerce in the
Philippines.

Petitioners then moved for a reconsideration, which motion was denied by the CA in its equally assailed Resolution of September 15,
2003.10

As formulated by the petitioners, the issues upon which this case hinges are:

1. Whether the CA erred in finding that respondent had the right to file an application for registration of the "Shangri-La" mark
and "S" logo although respondent never had any prior actual commercial use thereof;

2. Whether the CA erred in finding that respondent's supposed use of the identical "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo of the
petitioners was not evident bad faith and can actually ripen into ownership, much less registration;

3. Whether the CA erred in overlooking petitioners' widespread prior use of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo in their
operations;

4. Whether the CA erred in refusing to consider that petitioners are entitled to protection under both R.A. No. 166, the old
trademark law, and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property;

5. Whether the CA erred in holding that SLIHM did not have the right to legally own the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo by
virtue of and despite their ownership by the Kuok Group;

6. Whether the CA erred in ruling that petitioners' use of the mark and logo constitutes actionable infringement;

7. Whether the CA erred in awarding damages in favor of respondent despite the absence of any evidence to support the same,
and in failing to award relief in favor of the petitioners; and

8. Whether petitioners should be prohibited from continuing their use of the mark and logo in question.

There are two preliminary issues, however, that respondent DGCI calls our attention to, namely:

1. Whether the certification against forum-shopping submitted on behalf of the petitioners is sufficient;

2. Whether the issues posed by petitioners are purely factual in nature hence improper for resolution in the instant petition for
review on certiorari.

DGCI claims that the present petition for review should be dismissed outright for certain procedural defects, to wit: an insufficient
certification against forum shopping and raising pure questions of fact. On both counts, we find the instant petition formally and
substantially sound.

In its Comment, respondent alleged that the certification against forum shopping signed by Atty. Lee Benjamin Z. Lerma on behalf and as
counsel of the petitioners was insufficient, and that he was not duly authorized to execute such document. Respondent further alleged
that since petitioner SLIHM is a foreign entity based in Hong Kong, the Director's Certificate executed by Mr. Madhu Rama Chandra Rao,
embodying the board resolution which authorizes Atty. Lerma to act for SLIHM and execute the certification against forum shopping,
should contain the authentication by a consular officer of the Philippines in Hong Kong.

In National Steel Corporation v. CA,11 the Court has ruled that the certification on non-forum shopping may be signed, for and in behalf
of a corporation, by a specifically authorized lawyer who has personal knowledge of the facts required to be disclosed in such document.
The reason for this is that a corporation can only exercise its powers through its board of directors and/or its duly authorized officers and
agents. Physical acts, like the signing of documents, can be performed only by natural persons duly authorized for the purpose.12

Moreover, Rule 7, Section 5 of the Rules of Court concerning the certification against forum shopping does not require any consular
certification if the petitioner is a foreign entity. Nonetheless, to banish any lingering doubt, petitioner SLIHM furnished this Court with a
consular certification dated October 29, 2003 authenticating the Director's Certificate authorizing Atty. Lerma to execute the certification
against forum shopping, together with petitioners' manifestation of February 9, 2004.
Respondent also attacks the present petition as one that raises pure questions of fact. It points out that in a petition for review under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court, the questions that may properly be inquired into are strictly circumscribed by the express limitation that "the
petition shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth."13 We do not, however, find that the issues involved in this
petition consist purely of questions of fact. These issues will be dealt with as we go through the questions raised by the petitioners one by
one.

Petitioners' first argument is that the respondent had no right to file an application for registration of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo
because it did not have prior actual commercial use thereof. To respondent, such an argument raises a question of fact that was already
resolved by the RTC and concurred in by the CA.

First off, all that the RTC found was that respondent was the prior user and registrant of the subject mark and logo in the Philippines.
Taken in proper context, the trial court's finding on "prior use" can only be interpreted to mean that respondent used the subject mark
and logo in the country before the petitioners did. It cannot be construed as being a factual finding that there was prior use of the mark
and logo before registration.

Secondly, the question raised is not purely factual in nature. In the context of this case, it involves resolving whether a certificate of
registration of a mark, and the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions in the issuance thereof, are sufficient to
establish prior actual use by the registrant. It further entails answering the question of whether prior actual use is required before there
may be a valid registration of a mark.

Under the provisions of the former trademark law, R.A. No. 166, as amended, which was in effect up to December 31, 1997, hence, the
law in force at the time of respondent's application for registration of trademark, the root of ownership of a trademark is actual use in
commerce. Section 2 of said law requires that before a trademark can be registered, it must have been actually used in commerce and
service for not less than two months in the Philippines prior to the filing of an application for its registration.

Registration, without more, does not confer upon the registrant an absolute right to the registered mark. The certificate of registration is
merely a prima facie proof that the registrant is the owner of the registered mark or trade name. Evidence of prior and continuous use
of the mark or trade name by another can overcome the presumptive ownership of the registrant and may very well entitle the former
to be declared owner in an appropriate case.14

Among the effects of registration of a mark, as catalogued by the Court in Lorenzana v. Macagba,15 are:

1. Registration in the Principal Register gives rise to a presumption of the validity of the registration, the registrant's ownership
of the mark, and his right to the exclusive use thereof. x x x

2. Registration in the Principal Register is limited to the actual owner of the trademark and proceedings therein pass on the
issue of ownership, which may be contested through opposition or interference proceedings, or, after registration, in a petition
for cancellation. xxx

[Emphasis supplied]1avvphil.et

Ownership of a mark or trade name may be acquired not necessarily by registration but by adoption and use in trade or commerce. As
between actual use of a mark without registration, and registration of the mark without actual use thereof, the former prevails over the
latter. For a rule widely accepted and firmly entrenched, because it has come down through the years, is that actual use in commerce or
business is a pre-requisite to the acquisition of the right of ownership.16

While the present law on trademarks17 has dispensed with the requirement of prior actual use at the time of registration, the law in force
at the time of registration must be applied, and thereunder it was held that as a condition precedent to registration of trademark, trade
name or service mark, the same must have been in actual use in the Philippines before the filing of the application for
registration.18 Trademark is a creation of use and therefore actual use is a pre-requisite to exclusive ownership and its registration with
the Philippine Patent Office is a mere administrative confirmation of the existence of such right.19

By itself, registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. When the applicant is not the owner of the trademark being applied for, he
has no right to apply for registration of the same. Registration merely creates a prima facie presumption of the validity of the
registration, of the registrant's ownership of the trademark and of the exclusive right to the use thereof.20 Such presumption, just like the
presumptive regularity in the performance of official functions, is rebuttable and must give way to evidence to the contrary.

Here, respondent's own witness, Ramon Syhunliong, testified that a jeepney signboard artist allegedly commissioned to create the mark
and logo submitted his designs only in December 1982.21 This was two-and-a-half months after the filing of the respondent's trademark
application on October 18, 1982 with the BPTTT. It was also only in December 1982 when the respondent's restaurant was opened for
business.22 Respondent cannot now claim before the Court that the certificate of registration itself is proof that the two-month prior use
requirement was complied with, what with the fact that its very own witness testified otherwise in the trial court. And because at the
time (October 18, 1982) the respondent filed its application for trademark registration of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo, respondent
was not using these in the Philippines commercially, the registration is void.

Petitioners also argue that the respondent's use of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo was in evident bad faith and cannot therefore ripen
into ownership, much less registration. While the respondent is correct in saying that a finding of bad faith is factual, not legal,23 hence
beyond the scope of a petition for review, there are, however, noted exceptions thereto. Among these exceptions are:

1. When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;24

2. When there is grave abuse of discretion;25

3. When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;26

4. When the findings of fact are conflicting;27 and

5. When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the
respondent.28

And these are naming but a few of the recognized exceptions to the rule.

The CA itself, in its Decision of May 15, 2003, found that the respondent's president and chairman of the board, Ramon Syhunliong, had
been a guest at the petitioners' hotel before he caused the registration of the mark and logo, and surmised that he must have copied the
idea there:

Did Mr. Ramon Syhunliong, [respondent's] President copy the mark and devise from one of [petitioners'] hotel (Kowloon Shangri-la)
abroad? The mere fact that he was a visitor of [petitioners'] hotel abroad at one time (September 27, 1982) establishes [petitioners']
allegation that he got the idea there.29

Yet, in the very next paragraph, despite the preceding admission that the mark and logo must have been copied, the CA tries to make it
appear that the adoption of the same mark and logo could have been coincidental:

The word or name "Shangri-la" and the S-logo, are not uncommon. The word "Shangri-la" refers to a (a) remote beautiful imaginary place
where life approaches perfection or (b) imaginary mountain land depicted as a utopia in the novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. The
Lost Horizon was a well-read and popular novel written in 1976. It is not impossible that the parties, inspired by the novel, both adopted
the mark for their business to conjure [a] place of beauty and pleasure.

The S-logo is, likewise, not unusual. The devise looks like a modified Old English print.30

To jump from a recognition of the fact that the mark and logo must have been copied to a rationalization for the possibility that both
the petitioners and the respondent coincidentally chose the same name and logo is not only contradictory, but also manifestly mistaken
or absurd. Furthermore, the "S" logo appears nothing like the "Old English" print that the CA makes it out to be, but is obviously a symbol
with oriental or Asian overtones. At any rate, it is ludicrous to believe that the parties would come up with the exact same lettering for
the word "Shangri-La" and the exact same logo to boot. As correctly observed by the petitioners, to which we are in full accord:

x x x When a trademark copycat adopts the word portion of another's trademark as his own, there may still be some doubt that the
adoption is intentional. But if he copies not only the word but also the word's exact font and lettering style and in addition, he copies
also the logo portion of the trademark, the slightest doubt vanishes. It is then replaced by the certainty that the adoption was deliberate,
malicious and in bad faith.31

It is truly difficult to understand why, of the millions of terms and combination of letters and designs available, the respondent had to
choose exactly the same mark and logo as that of the petitioners, if there was no intent to take advantage of the goodwill of petitioners'
mark and logo.32

One who has imitated the trademark of another cannot bring an action for infringement, particularly against the true owner of the mark,
because he would be coming to court with unclean hands.33 Priority is of no avail to the bad faith plaintiff. Good faith is required in
order to ensure that a second user may not merely take advantage of the goodwill established by the true owner.

This point is further bolstered by the fact that under either Section 17 of R.A. No. 166, or Section 151 of R.A. No. 8293, or Article 6bis(3)
of the Paris Convention, no time limit is fixed for the cancellation of marks registered or used in bad faith.34 This is precisely why
petitioners had filed an inter partes case before the BPTTT for the cancellation of respondent's registration, the proceedings on which
were suspended pending resolution of the instant case.
Respondent DGCI also rebukes the next issue raised by the petitioners as being purely factual in nature, namely, whether the CA erred in
overlooking petitioners' widespread prior use of the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo in their operations. The question, however, is not
whether there had been widespread prior use, which would have been factual, but whether that prior use entitles the petitioners to use
the mark and logo in the Philippines. This is clearly a question which is legal in nature.

It has already been established in the two courts below, and admitted by the respondent's president himself, that petitioners had prior
widespread use of the mark and logo abroad:

There is, to be sure, an impressive mass of proof that petitioner SLIHM and its related companies abroad used the name and logo for
one purpose or another x x x.35 [Emphasis supplied]

In respondent's own words, "[T]he Court of Appeals did note petitioners' use of the mark and logo but held that such use did not confer
to them ownership or exclusive right to use them in the Philippines."36 To petitioners' mind, it was error for the CA to rule that their
worldwide use of the mark and logo in dispute could not have conferred upon them any right thereto. Again, this is a legal question
which is well worth delving into.

R.A. No. 166, as amended, under which this case was heard and decided provides:

Section 2. What are registrable. - Trademarks, trade names and service marks owned by persons, corporations, partnerships or
associations domiciled in the Philippines and by persons, corporations, partnerships or associations domiciled in any foreign country may
be registered in accordance with the provisions of this Act: Provided, That said trademarks trade names, or service marks are actually in
use in commerce and services not less than two months in the Philippines before the time the applications for registration are filed: And
provided, further, That the country of which the applicant for registration is a citizen grants by law substantially similar privileges to
citizens of the Philippines, and such fact is officially certified, with a certified true copy of the foreign law translated into the English
language, by the government of the foreign country to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Section 2-A. Ownership of trademarks, trade names and service marks; how acquired. - Anyone who lawfully produces or deals in
merchandise of any kind or who engages in any lawful business, or who renders any lawful service in commerce, by actual use thereof
in manufacture or trade, in business, and in the service rendered, may appropriate to his exclusive use a trademark, a trade name, or a
servicemark not so appropriated by another, to distinguish his merchandise, business or service from the merchandise, business or
services of others. The ownership or possession of a trademark, trade name, service mark, heretofore or hereafter appropriated, as in this
section provided, shall be recognized and protected in the same manner and to the same extent as are other property rights known to
this law. [Emphasis supplied]

Admittedly, the CA was not amiss in saying that the law requires the actual use in commerce of the said trade name and "S" logo in the
Philippines. Hence, consistent with its finding that the bulk of the petitioners' evidence shows that the alleged use of the Shangri-La trade
name was done abroad and not in the Philippines, it is understandable for that court to rule in respondent's favor. Unfortunately,
however, what the CA failed to perceive is that there is a crucial difference between the aforequoted Section 2 and Section 2-A of R.A.
No. 166. For, while Section 2 provides for what is registrable, Section 2-A, on the other hand, sets out how ownership is acquired.
These are two distinct concepts.

Under Section 2, in order to register a trademark, one must be the owner thereof and must have actually used the mark in commerce in
the Philippines for 2 months prior to the application for registration. Since "ownership" of the trademark is required for registration,
Section 2-A of the same law sets out to define how one goes about acquiring ownership thereof. Under Section 2-A, it is clear that actual
use in commerce is also the test of ownership but the provision went further by saying that the mark must not have been so appropriated
by another. Additionally, it is significant to note that Section 2-A does not require that the actual use of a trademark must be within the
Philippines. Hence, under R.A. No. 166, as amended, one may be an owner of a mark due to actual use thereof but not yet have the
right to register such ownership here due to failure to use it within the Philippines for two months.

While the petitioners may not have qualified under Section 2 of R.A. No. 166 as a registrant, neither did respondent DGCI, since the
latter also failed to fulfill the 2-month actual use requirement. What is worse, DGCI was not even the owner of the mark. For it to have
been the owner, the mark must not have been already appropriated (i.e., used) by someone else. At the time of respondent DGCI's
registration of the mark, the same was already being used by the petitioners, albeit abroad, of which DGCI's president was fully aware.

It is respondent's contention that since the petitioners adopted the "Shangri-La" mark and "S" logo as a mere corporate name or as the
name of their hotels, instead of using them as a trademark or service mark, then such name and logo are not trademarks. The two
concepts of corporate name or business name and trademark or service mark, are not mutually exclusive. It is common, indeed likely,
that the name of a corporation or business is also a trade name, trademark or service mark. Section 38 of R.A. No. 166 defines the terms
as follows:

Sec. 38. Words and terms defined and construed - In the construction of this Act, unless the contrary is plainly apparent from the context
- The term "trade name" includes individual names and surnames, firm names, trade names, devices or words used by manufacturers,
industrialists, merchants, agriculturists, and others to identify their business, vocations or occupations; the names or titles lawfully
adopted and used by natural or juridical persons, unions, and any manufacturing, industrial, commercial, agricultural or other
organizations engaged in trade or commerce.

The term "trade mark" includes any word, name, symbol, emblem, sign or device or any combination thereof adopted and used by a
manufacturer or merchant to identify his goods and distinguish them from those manufactured, sold or dealt in by others.

The term "service mark" means a mark used in the sale or advertising of services to identify the services of one person and distinguish
them from the services of others and includes without limitation the marks, names, symbols, titles, designations, slogans, character names,
and distinctive features of radio or other advertising. [Emphasis supplied]

Clearly, from the broad definitions quoted above, the petitioners can be considered as having used the "Shangri-La" name and "S" logo as
a tradename and service mark.

The new Intellectual Property Code (IPC), Republic Act No. 8293, undoubtedly shows the firm resolve of the Philippines to observe and
follow the Paris Convention by incorporating the relevant portions of the Convention such that persons who may question a mark (that
is, oppose registration, petition for the cancellation thereof, sue for unfair competition) include persons whose internationally well-
known mark, whether or not registered, is

identical with or confusingly similar to or constitutes a translation of a mark that is sought to be registered or is actually registered.37

However, while the Philippines was already a signatory to the Paris Convention, the IPC only took effect on January 1, 1988, and in the
absence of a retroactivity clause, R.A. No. 166 still applies.38 Under the prevailing law and jurisprudence at the time, the CA had not
erred in ruling that:

The Paris Convention mandates that protection should be afforded to internationally known marks as signatory to the Paris Convention,
without regard as to whether the foreign corporation is registered, licensed or doing business in the Philippines. It goes without saying
that the same runs afoul to Republic Act No. 166, which requires the actual use in commerce in the Philippines of the subject mark or
devise. The apparent conflict between the two (2) was settled by the Supreme Court in this wise -

"Following universal acquiescence and comity, our municipal law on trademarks regarding the requirement of actual use in the
Philippines must subordinate an international agreement inasmuch as the apparent clash is being decided by a municipal tribunal
(Mortensen vs. Peters, Great Britain, High Court of Judiciary of Scotland, 1906, 8 Sessions 93; Paras, International Law and World
Organization, 1971 Ed., p. 20). Withal, the fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not by any means
imply the primacy of international law over national law in the municipal sphere. Under the doctrine of incorporation as applied in most
countries, rules of international law are given a standing equal, not superior, to national legislative enactments (Salonga and Yap, Public
International Law, Fourth ed., 1974, p. 16)."39 [Emphasis supplied]

Consequently, the petitioners cannot claim protection under the Paris Convention. Nevertheless, with the double infirmity of lack of
two-month prior use, as well as bad faith in the respondent's registration of the mark, it is evident that the petitioners cannot be guilty of
infringement. It would be a great injustice to adjudge the petitioners guilty of infringing a mark when they are actually the originator and
creator thereof.

Nor can the petitioners' separate personalities from their mother corporation be an obstacle in the enforcement of their rights as part of
the Kuok Group of Companies and as official repository, manager and operator of the subject mark and logo. Besides, R.A. No. 166 did
not require the party seeking relief to be the owner of the mark but "any person who believes that he is or will be damaged by the
registration of a mark or trade name."40

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated May 15, 2003 and
September 15, 2003, respectively, and the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City dated March 8, 1996 are hereby SET
ASIDE. Accordingly, the complaint for infringement in Civil Case No. Q-91-8476 is ordered DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 141284. August 15, 2000]

INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, GEN. PANFILO M. LACSON, GEN. EDGAR B.
AGLIPAY, and GEN. ANGELO REYES, respondents.

DECISION

KAPUNAN, J.:

At bar is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order seeking to
nullify on constitutional grounds the order of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada commanding the deployment of the Philippine Marines
(the Marines) to join the Philippine National Police (the PNP) in visibility patrols around the metropolis.

In view of the alarming increase in violent crimes in Metro Manila, like robberies, kidnappings and carnappings, the President, in a
verbal directive, ordered the PNP and the Marines to conduct joint visibility patrols for the purpose of crime prevention and
suppression. The Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (the AFP), the Chief of the PNP
and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government were tasked to execute and implement the said order. In compliance with the
presidential mandate, the PNP Chief, through Police Chief Superintendent Edgar B. Aglipay, formulated Letter of Instruction
02/2000[1] (the LOI) which detailed the manner by which the joint visibility patrols, called Task Force Tulungan, would be
conducted.[2] Task Force Tulungan was placed under the leadership of the Police Chief of Metro Manila.
Subsequently, the President confirmed his previous directive on the deployment of the Marines in a Memorandum, dated 24
January 2000, addressed to the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the PNP Chief.[3]In the Memorandum, the President expressed his desire to
improve the peace and order situation in Metro Manila through a more effective crime prevention program including increased police
patrols.[4] The President further stated that to heighten police visibility in the metropolis, augmentation from the AFP is
necessary.[5] Invoking his powers as Commander-in-Chief under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President directed the AFP
Chief of Staff and PNP Chief to coordinate with each other for the proper deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in
preventing or suppressing criminal or lawless violence.[6] Finally, the President declared that the services of the Marines in the anti-crime
campaign are merely temporary in nature and for a reasonable period only, until such time when the situation shall have improved.[7]

The LOI explains the concept of the PNP-Philippine Marines joint visibility patrols as follows:

xxx

2. PURPOSE:

The Joint Implementing Police Visibility Patrols between the PNP NCRPO and the Philippine Marines partnership in the conduct of
visibility patrols in Metro Manila for the suppression of crime prevention and other serious threats to national security.

3. SITUATION:

Criminal incidents in Metro Manila have been perpetrated not only by ordinary criminals but also by organized syndicates whose
members include active and former police/military personnel whose training, skill, discipline and firepower prove well-above the present
capability of the local police alone to handle. The deployment of a joint PNP NCRPO-Philippine Marines in the conduct of police
visibility patrol in urban areas will reduce the incidence of crimes specially those perpetrated by active or former police/military
personnel.

4. MISSION:

The PNP NCRPO will organize a provisional Task Force to conduct joint NCRPO-PM visibility patrols to keep Metro Manila streets
crime-free, through a sustained street patrolling to minimize or eradicate all forms of high-profile crimes especially those perpetrated by
organized crime syndicates whose members include those that are well-trained, disciplined and well-armed active or former PNP/Military
personnel.

5. CONCEPT IN JOINT VISIBILITY PATROL OPERATIONS:

a. The visibility patrols shall be conducted jointly by the NCRPO [National Capital Regional Police Office] and the Philippine Marines to
curb criminality in Metro Manila and to preserve the internal security of the state against insurgents and other serious threat to national
security, although the primary responsibility over Internal Security Operations still rests upon the AFP.

b. The principle of integration of efforts shall be applied to eradicate all forms of high-profile crimes perpetrated by organized crime
syndicates operating in Metro Manila. This concept requires the military and police to work cohesively and unify efforts to ensure a
focused, effective and holistic approach in addressing crime prevention. Along this line, the role of the military and police aside from
neutralizing crime syndicates is to bring a wholesome atmosphere wherein delivery of basic services to the people and development is
achieved. Hand-in-hand with this joint NCRPO-Philippine Marines visibility patrols, local Police Units are responsible for the maintenance
of peace and order in their locality.

c. To ensure the effective implementation of this project, a provisional Task Force TULUNGAN shall be organized to provide the
mechanism, structure, and procedures for the integrated planning, coordinating, monitoring and assessing the security situation.

xxx.[8]

The selected areas of deployment under the LOI are: Monumento Circle, North Edsa (SM City), Araneta Shopping Center,
Greenhills, SM Megamall, Makati Commercial Center, LRT/MRT Stations and the NAIA and Domestic Airport.[9]
On 17 January 2000, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (the IBP) filed the instant petition to annul LOI 02/2000 and to declare
the deployment of the Philippine Marines, null and void and unconstitutional, arguing that:

THE DEPLOYMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE MARINES IN METRO MANILA IS VIOLATIVE OF THE CONSTITUTION, IN THAT:

A) NO EMERGENCY SITUATION OBTAINS IN METRO MANILA AS WOULD JUSTIFY, EVEN ONLY REMOTELY, THE DEPLOYMENT
OF SOLDIERS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT WORK; HENCE, SAID DEPLOYMENT IS IN DEROGATION OF ARTICLE II, SECTION 3 OF
THE CONSTITUTION;

B) SAID DEPLOYMENT CONSTITUTES AN INSIDIOUS INCURSION BY THE MILITARY IN A CIVILIAN FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT
(LAW ENFORCEMENT) IN DEROGATION OF ARTICLE XVI, SECTION 5 (4), OF THE CONSTITUTION;

C) SAID DEPLOYMENT CREATES A DANGEROUS TENDENCY TO RELY ON THE MILITARY TO PERFORM THE CIVILIAN FUNCTIONS
OF THE GOVERNMENT.

II

IN MILITARIZING LAW ENFORCEMENT IN METRO MANILA, THE ADMINISTRATION IS UNWITTINGLY MAKING THE MILITARY
MORE POWERFUL THAN WHAT IT SHOULD REALLY BE UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.[10]

Asserting itself as the official organization of Filipino lawyers tasked with the bounden duty to uphold the rule of law and the
Constitution, the IBP questions the validity of the deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in law enforcement.

Without granting due course to the petition, the Court in a Resolution,[11] dated 25 January 2000, required the Solicitor General to
file his Comment on the petition. On 8 February 2000, the Solicitor General submitted his Comment.
The Solicitor General vigorously defends the constitutionality of the act of the President in deploying the Marines, contending,
among others, that petitioner has no legal standing; that the question of deployment of the Marines is not proper for judicial scrutiny
since the same involves a political question; that the organization and conduct of police visibility patrols, which feature the team-up of
one police officer and one Philippine Marine soldier, does not violate the civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution.

The issues raised in the present petition are: (1) Whether or not petitioner has legal standing; (2) Whether or not the Presidents
factual determination of the necessity of calling the armed forces is subject to judicial review; and, (3) Whether or not the calling of the
armed forces to assist the PNP in joint visibility patrols violates the constitutional provisions on civilian supremacy over the military and
the civilian character of the PNP.

The petition has no merit.

First, petitioner failed to sufficiently show that it is in possession of the requisites of standing to raise the issues in the
petition. Second, the President did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction nor did he commit a
violation of the civilian supremacy clause of the Constitution.

The power of judicial review is set forth in Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, to wit:

Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
When questions of constitutional significance are raised, the Court can exercise its power of judicial review only if the following
requisites are complied with, namely: (1) the existence of an actual and appropriate case; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the
party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the
constitutional questionis the lis mota of the case.[12]

The IBP has not sufficiently complied with the requisites of standing in this case.

Legal standing or locus standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or
will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged.[13] The term interest means a material interest, an
interest in issue affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest.[14] The
gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete
adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional
questions.[15]

In the case at bar, the IBP primarily anchors its standing on its alleged responsibility to uphold the rule of law and the
Constitution. Apart from this declaration, however, the IBP asserts no other basis in support of its locus standi. The mere invocation by
the IBP of its duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, while undoubtedly true, is not sufficient to clothe it with standing in this
case. This is too general an interest which is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry. Based on the standards above-stated, the
IBP has failed to present a specific and substantial interest in the resolution of the case. Its fundamental purpose which, under Section 2,
Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court, is to elevate the standards of the law profession and to improve the administration of justice is alien to,
and cannot be affected by the deployment of the Marines. It should also be noted that the interest of the National President of the IBP
who signed the petition, is his alone, absent a formal board resolution authorizing him to file the present action. To be sure, members of
the BAR, those in the judiciary included, have varying opinions on the issue. Moreover, the IBP, assuming that it has duly authorized the
National President to file the petition, has not shown any specific injury which it has suffered or may suffer by virtue of the questioned
governmental act. Indeed, none of its members, whom the IBP purportedly represents, has sustained any form of injury as a result of the
operation of the joint visibility patrols. Neither is it alleged that any of its members has been arrested or that their civil liberties have
been violated by the deployment of the Marines. What the IBP projects as injurious is the supposed militarization of law enforcement
which might threaten Philippine democratic institutions and may cause more harm than good in the long run. Not only is the presumed
injury not personal in character, it is likewise too vague, highly speculative and uncertain to satisfy the requirement of standing. Since
petitioner has not successfully established a direct and personal injury as a consequence of the questioned act, it does not possess the
personality to assail the validity of the deployment of the Marines. This Court, however, does not categorically rule that the IBP has
absolutely no standing to raise constitutional issues now or in the future. The IBP must, by way of allegations and proof, satisfy this
Court that it has sufficient stake to obtain judicial resolution of the controversy.

Having stated the foregoing, it must be emphasized that this Court has the discretion to take cognizance of a suit which does not
satisfy the requirement of legal standing when paramount interest is involved.[16] In not a few cases, the Court has adopted a liberal
attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the
people.[17] Thus, when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public, the Court may brush aside technicalities of
procedure.[18] In this case, a reading of the petition shows that the IBP has advanced constitutional issues which deserve the attention of
this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Moreover, because peace and order are under constant threat
and lawless violence occurs in increasing tempo, undoubtedly aggravated by the Mindanao insurgency problem, the legal controversy
raised in the petition almost certainly will not go away. It will stare us in the face again. It, therefore, behooves the Court to relax the
rules on standing and to resolve the issue now, rather than later.

The President did not commit grave abuse of discretion in calling out the Marines.

In the case at bar, the bone of contention concerns the factual determination of the President of the necessity of calling the armed
forces, particularly the Marines, to aid the PNP in visibility patrols. In this regard, the IBP admits that the deployment of the military
personnel falls under the Commander-in-Chief powers of the President as stated in Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, specifically,
the power to call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. What the IBP questions, however,
is the basis for the calling of the Marines under the aforestated provision. According to the IBP, no emergency exists that would justify the
need for the calling of the military to assist the police force. It contends that no lawless violence, invasion or rebellion exist to warrant
the calling of the Marines.Thus, the IBP prays that this Court review the sufficiency of the factual basis for said troop [Marine]
deployment.[19]
The Solicitor General, on the other hand, contends that the issue pertaining to the necessity of calling the armed forces is not proper
for judicial scrutiny since it involves a political question and the resolution of factual issues which are beyond the review powers of this
Court.

As framed by the parties, the underlying issues are the scope of presidential powers and limits, and the extent of judicial
review. But, while this Court gives considerable weight to the parties formulation of the issues, the resolution of the controversy may
warrant a creative approach that goes beyond the narrow confines of the issues raised. Thus, while the parties are in agreement that the
power exercised by the President is the power to call out the armed forces, the Court is of the view that the power involved may be no
more than the maintenance of peace and order and promotion of the general welfare. [20] For one, the realities on the ground do not
show that there exist a state of warfare, widespread civil unrest or anarchy. Secondly, the full brunt of the military is not brought upon
the citizenry, a point discussed in the latter part of this decision. In the words of the late Justice Irene Cortes in Marcos v. Manglapus:

More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the Presidents powers as protector of the peace. [Rossiter, The American
Presidency]. The power of the President to keep the peace is not limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in times of
emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to its existence. The President is not only clothed with
extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked with attending to the day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and
order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of
law, in fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is not in any way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in the
commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President commander-in-chief the enumeration of powers that follow cannot be said to
exclude the Presidents exercising as Commander-in-Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security.

xxx[21]

Nonetheless, even if it is conceded that the power involved is the Presidents power to call out the armed forces to prevent or
suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, the resolution of the controversy will reach a similar result.

We now address the Solicitor Generals argument that the issue involved is not susceptible to review by the judiciary because it
involves a political question, and thus, not justiciable.

As a general proposition, a controversy is justiciable if it refers to a matter which is appropriate for court review.[22] It pertains to
issues which are inherently susceptible of being decided on grounds recognized by law. Nevertheless, the Court does not automatically
assume jurisdiction over actual constitutional cases brought before it even in instances that are ripe for resolution. One class of cases
wherein the Court hesitates to rule on are political questions. The reason is that political questions are concerned with issues dependent
upon the wisdom, not the legality, of a particular act or measure being assailed.Moreover, the political question being a function of the
separation of powers, the courts will not normally interfere with the workings of another co-equal branch unless the case shows a clear
need for the courts to step in to uphold the law and the Constitution.

As Taada v. Cuenco[23] puts it, political questions refer to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the
people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive
branch of government. Thus, if an issue is clearly identified by the text of the Constitution as matters for discretionary action by a
particular branch of government or to the people themselves then it is held to be a political question. In the classic formulation of Justice
Brennan in Baker v. Carr,[24] [p]rominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found a textually
demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and
manageable standards for resolving it; or the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for
nonjudicial discretion; or the impossibility of a courts undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due
coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or the
potentiality of embarassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on the one question.

The 1987 Constitution expands the concept of judicial review by providing that (T)he Judicial power shall be vested in one
Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government.[25] Under this definition, the Court cannot agree with the Solicitor General that the issue involved is a political question
beyond the jurisdiction of this Court to review. When the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the issue of
whether the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met or the limitations respected, is justiciable - the problem being one of
legality or validity, not its wisdom.[26] Moreover, the jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this
Court.[27] When political questions are involved, the Constitution limits the determination as to whether or not there has been a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is being questioned. [28]

By grave abuse of discretion is meant simply capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment that is patent and gross as to amount to
an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the
power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility.[29] Under this definition, a court is without
power to directly decide matters over which full discretionary authority has been delegated. But while this Court has no power to
substitute its judgment for that of Congress or of the President, it may look into the question of whether such exercise has been made in
grave abuse of discretion.[30] A showing that plenary power is granted either department of government, may not be an obstacle to
judicial inquiry, for the improvident exercise or abuse thereof may give rise to justiciable controversy.[31]

When the President calls the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, he necessarily exercises a
discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom. This is clear from the intent of the framers and from the text of the Constitution
itself. The Court, thus, cannot be called upon to overrule the Presidents wisdom or substitute its own. However, this does not prevent
an examination of whether such power was exercised within permissible constitutional limits or whether it was exercised in a manner
constituting grave abuse of discretion. In view of the constitutional intent to give the President full discretionary power to determine the
necessity of calling out the armed forces, it is incumbent upon the petitioner to show that the Presidents decision is totally bereft of
factual basis. The present petition fails to discharge such heavy burden as there is no evidence to support the assertion that there exist no
justification for calling out the armed forces. There is, likewise, no evidence to support the proposition that grave abuse was committed
because the power to call was exercised in such a manner as to violate the constitutional provision on civilian supremacy over the
military. In the performance of this Courts duty of purposeful hesitation[32] before declaring an act of another branch as
unconstitutional, only where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Presidents judgment. To
doubt is to sustain.

There is a clear textual commitment under the Constitution to bestow on the President full discretionary power to call out the
armed forces and to determine the necessity for the exercise of such power.Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, which embodies the
powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief, provides in part:

The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out
such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety
requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or
any part thereof under martial law.

xxx

The full discretionary power of the President to determine the factual basis for the exercise of the calling out power is also implied
and further reinforced in the rest of Section 18, Article VII which reads, thus:

xxx

Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the
President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all
its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the
President.Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a
period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its
rules without need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation
of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within
thirty days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative
assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to
function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly
connected with invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days,
otherwise he shall be released.

Under the foregoing provisions, Congress may revoke such proclamation or suspension and the Court may review the sufficiency of
the factual basis thereof. However, there is no such equivalent provision dealing with the revocation or review of the Presidents action
to call out the armed forces. The distinction places the calling out power in a different category from the power to declare martial law
and the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, otherwise, the framers of the Constitution would have simply
lumped together the three powers and provided for their revocation and review without any qualification. Expressio unius est exclusio
alterius. Where the terms are expressly limited to certain matters, it may not, by interpretation or construction, be extended to other
matters.[33] That the intent of the Constitution is exactly what its letter says, i.e., that the power to call is fully discretionary to the
President, is extant in the deliberation of the Constitutional Commission, to wit:

FR. BERNAS. It will not make any difference. I may add that there is a graduated power of the President as Commander-in-Chief. First,
he can call out such Armed Forces as may be necessary to suppress lawless violence; then he can suspend the privilege of the writ
of habeas corpus, then he can impose martial law. This is a graduated sequence.

When he judges that it is necessary to impose martial law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, his judgment is subject to
review. We are making it subject to review by the Supreme Court and subject to concurrence by the National Assembly. But when he
exercises this lesser power of calling on the Armed Forces, when he says it is necessary, it is my opinion that his judgment cannot be
reviewed by anybody.

xxx
FR. BERNAS. Let me just add that when we only have imminent danger, the matter can be handled by the first sentence: The President
may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. So we feel that that is sufficient for handling
imminent danger.

MR. DE LOS REYES. So actually, if a President feels that there is imminent danger, the matter can be handled by the First Sentence: The
President....may call out such Armed Forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. So we feel that that is sufficient
for handling imminent danger, of invasion or rebellion, instead of imposing martial law or suspending the writ of habeas corpus, he
must necessarily have to call the Armed Forces of the Philippines as their Commander-in-Chief. Is that the idea?

MR. REGALADO. That does not require any concurrence by the legislature nor is it subject to judicial review.[34]

The reason for the difference in the treatment of the aforementioned powers highlights the intent to grant the President the widest
leeway and broadest discretion in using the power to call out because it is considered as the lesser and more benign power compared to
the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the power to impose martial law, both of which involve the
curtailment and suppression of certain basic civil rights and individual freedoms, and thus necessitating safeguards by Congress and review
by this Court.

Moreover, under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, in the exercise of the power to suspend the privilege of the writ
of habeas corpus or to impose martial law, two conditions must concur: (1) there must be an actual invasion or rebellion and, (2) public
safety must require it. These conditions are not required in the case of the power to call out the armed forces. The only criterion is that
whenever it becomes necessary, the President may call the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion."
The implication is that the President is given full discretion and wide latitude in the exercise of the power to call as compared to the two
other powers.

If the petitioner fails, by way of proof, to support the assertion that the President acted without factual basis, then this Court cannot
undertake an independent investigation beyond the pleadings. The factual necessity of calling out the armed forces is not easily
quantifiable and cannot be objectively established since matters considered for satisfying the same is a combination of several factors
which are not always accessible to the courts. Besides the absence of textual standards that the court may use to judge necessity,
information necessary to arrive at such judgment might also prove unmanageable for the courts.Certain pertinent information might be
difficult to verify, or wholly unavailable to the courts. In many instances, the evidence upon which the President might decide that there
is a need to call out the armed forces may be of a nature not constituting technical proof.

On the other hand, the President as Commander-in-Chief has a vast intelligence network to gather information, some of which may
be classified as highly confidential or affecting the security of the state. In the exercise of the power to call, on-the-spot decisions may be
imperatively necessary in emergency situations to avert great loss of human lives and mass destruction of property. Indeed, the decision
to call out the military to prevent or suppress lawless violence must be done swiftly and decisively if it were to have any effect at
all. Such a scenario is not farfetched when we consider the present situation in Mindanao, where the insurgency problem could spill over
the other parts of the country. The determination of the necessity for the calling out power if subjected to unfettered judicial scrutiny
could be a veritable prescription for disaster, as such power may be unduly straitjacketed by an injunction or a temporary restraining
order every time it is exercised.

Thus, it is the unclouded intent of the Constitution to vest upon the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, full
discretion to call forth the military when in his judgment it is necessary to do so in order to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion
or rebellion. Unless the petitioner can show that the exercise of such discretion was gravely abused, the Presidents exercise of judgment
deserves to be accorded respect from this Court.

The President has already determined the necessity and factual basis for calling the armed forces. In his Memorandum, he
categorically asserted that, [V]iolent crimes like bank/store robberies, holdups, kidnappings and carnappings continue to occur in Metro
Manila...[35] We do not doubt the veracity of the Presidents assessment of the situation, especially in the light of present
developments. The Court takes judicial notice of the recent bombings perpetrated by lawless elements in the shopping malls, public
utilities, and other public places. These are among the areas of deployment described in the LOI 2000.Considering all these facts, we
hold that the President has sufficient factual basis to call for military aid in law enforcement and in the exercise of this constitutional
power.

The deployment of the Marines does not violate the civilian supremacy clause nor does it infringe the civilian character of the police
force.

Prescinding from its argument that no emergency situation exists to justify the calling of the Marines, the IBP asserts that by the
deployment of the Marines, the civilian task of law enforcement is militarized in violation of Section 3, Article II[36] of the Constitution.
We disagree. The deployment of the Marines does not constitute a breach of the civilian supremacy clause. The calling of the
Marines in this case constitutes permissible use of military assets for civilian law enforcement. The participation of the Marines in the
conduct of joint visibility patrols is appropriately circumscribed. The limited participation of the Marines is evident in the provisions of
the LOI itself, which sufficiently provides the metes and bounds of the Marines authority. It is noteworthy that the local police forces are
the ones in charge of the visibility patrols at all times, the real authority belonging to the PNP.In fact, the Metro Manila Police Chief is the
overall leader of the PNP-Philippine Marines joint visibility patrols.[37] Under the LOI, the police forces are tasked to brief or orient the
soldiers on police patrol procedures.[38] It is their responsibility to direct and manage the deployment of the Marines.[39] It is, likewise,
their duty to provide the necessary equipment to the Marines and render logistical support to these soldiers.[40] In view of the foregoing,
it cannot be properly argued that military authority is supreme over civilian authority. Moreover, the deployment of the Marines to
assist the PNP does not unmake the civilian character of the police force. Neither does it amount to an insidious incursion of the military
in the task of law enforcement in violation of Section 5(4), Article XVI of the Constitution.[41]
In this regard, it is not correct to say that General Angelo Reyes, Chief of Staff of the AFP, by his alleged involvement in civilian law
enforcement, has been virtually appointed to a civilian post in derogation of the aforecited provision. The real authority in these
operations, as stated in the LOI, is lodged with the head of a civilian institution, the PNP, and not with the military. Such being the case,
it does not matter whether the AFP Chief actually participates in the Task Force Tulungan since he does not exercise any authority or
control over the same. Since none of the Marines was incorporated or enlisted as members of the PNP, there can be no appointment to
civilian position to speak of. Hence, the deployment of the Marines in the joint visibility patrols does not destroy the civilian character
of the PNP.

Considering the above circumstances, the Marines render nothing more than assistance required in conducting the patrols. As such,
there can be no insidious incursion of the military in civilian affairs nor can there be a violation of the civilian supremacy clause in the
Constitution.
It is worth mentioning that military assistance to civilian authorities in various forms persists in Philippine jurisdiction. The
Philippine experience reveals that it is not averse to requesting the assistance of the military in the implementation and execution of
certain traditionally civil functions. As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, some of the multifarious activities wherein military
aid has been rendered, exemplifying the activities that bring both the civilian and the military together in a relationship of cooperation,
are:

1. Elections;[42]

2. Administration of the Philippine National Red Cross;[43]

3. Relief and rescue operations during calamities and disasters;[44]

4. Amateur sports promotion and development;[45]

5. Development of the culture and the arts;[46]

6. Conservation of natural resources;[47]


7. Implementation of the agrarian reform program;[48]

8. Enforcement of customs laws;[49]

9. Composite civilian-military law enforcement activities;[50]

10. Conduct of licensure examinations;[51]

11. Conduct of nationwide tests for elementary and high school students;[52]

12. Anti-drug enforcement activities;[53]


13. Sanitary inspections;[54]

14. Conduct of census work;[55]

15. Administration of the Civil Aeronautics Board;[56]

16. Assistance in installation of weather forecasting devices;[57]


17. Peace and order policy formulation in local government units.[58]

This unquestionably constitutes a gloss on executive power resulting from a systematic, unbroken, executive practice, long pursued
to the knowledge of Congress and, yet, never before questioned.[59]What we have here is mutual support and cooperation between the
military and civilian authorities, not derogation of civilian supremacy.

In the United States, where a long tradition of suspicion and hostility towards the use of military force for domestic purposes has
persisted,[60] and whose Constitution, unlike ours, does not expressly provide for the power to call, the use of military personnel by
civilian law enforcement officers is allowed under circumstances similar to those surrounding the present deployment of the Philippine
Marines.Under the Posse Comitatus Act[61] of the US, the use of the military in civilian law enforcement is generally prohibited, except
in certain allowable circumstances. A provision of the Act states:

1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus


Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of
the Army or the Air Force as posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not
more than two years, or both.[62]

To determine whether there is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act in the use of military personnel, the US courts[63] apply the
following standards, to wit:

Were Army or Air Force personnel used by the civilian law enforcement officers at Wounded Knee in such a manner that the military
personnel subjected the citizens to the exercise of military power which was regulatory, proscriptive, or compulsory[64] George
Washington Law Review, pp. 404-433 (1986), which discusses the four divergent standards for assessing acceptable involvement of
military personnel in civil law enforcement. See likewise HONORED IN THE BREECH: PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY TO EXECUTE THE
LAWS WITH MILITARY FORCE, 83 Yale Law Journal, pp. 130-152, 1973. 64 in nature, either presently or prospectively?

x x x

When this concept is transplanted into the present legal context, we take it to mean that military involvement, even when not expressly
authorized by the Constitution or a statute, does not violate the Posse Comitatus Act unless it actually regulates, forbids or compels some
conduct on the part of those claiming relief. A mere threat of some future injury would be insufficient. (emphasis supplied)

Even if the Court were to apply the above rigid standards to the present case to determine whether there is permissible use of the
military in civilian law enforcement, the conclusion is inevitable that no violation of the civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution is
committed. On this point, the Court agrees with the observation of the Solicitor General:

3. The designation of tasks in Annex A[65] does not constitute the exercise of regulatory, proscriptive, or compulsory military
power. First, the soldiers do not control or direct the operation. This is evident from Nos. 6,[66] 8(k)[67] and 9(a)[68] of Annex
A. These soldiers, second, also have no power to prohibit or condemn. In No. 9(d)[69] of Annex A, all arrested persons are
brought to the nearest police stations for proper disposition. And last, these soldiers apply no coercive force.The materials or
equipment issued to them, as shown in No. 8(c)[70] of Annex A, are all low impact and defensive in character. The conclusion is
that there being no exercise of regulatory, proscriptive or compulsory military power, the deployment of a handful of Philippine
Marines constitutes no impermissible use of military power for civilian law enforcement.[71]

It appears that the present petition is anchored on fear that once the armed forces are deployed, the military will gain ascendancy,
and thus place in peril our cherished liberties. Such apprehensions, however, are unfounded. The power to call the armed forces is just
that - calling out the armed forces. Unless, petitioner IBP can show, which it has not, that in the deployment of the Marines, the
President has violated the fundamental law, exceeded his authority or jeopardized the civil liberties of the people, this Court is not
inclined to overrule the Presidents determination of the factual basis for the calling of the Marines to prevent or suppress lawless
violence.

One last point. Since the institution of the joint visibility patrol in January, 2000, not a single citizen has complained that his
political or civil rights have been violated as a result of the deployment of the Marines. It was precisely to safeguard peace, tranquility
and the civil liberties of the people that the joint visibility patrol was conceived. Freedom and democracy will be in full bloom only
when people feel secure in their homes and in the streets, not when the shadows of violence and anarchy constantly lurk in their midst.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 77365 April 7, 1992

RITA CALEON, petitioner,


vs.
AGUS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.

BIDIN, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal of the January 28, 1987 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 10990 entitled "Rita Caleon V. Hon. Samilo Barlongay, et al." dismissing the petition for review of the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 34, which affirmed the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch XII, ejecting the petitioner.

The undisputed facts of the case are as follows:

Private respondent Agus Development Corporation is the owner of a parcel of land denominated as Lot 39, Block 28, situated at 1611-
1619 Lealtad, Sampaloc, Manila, which it leased to petitioner Rita Caleon for a monthly rental of P180.00. Petitioner constructed on the
lot leased a 4-door apartment building.

Without the consent of the private respondent, the petitioner sub-leased two of the four doors of the apartment to Rolando Guevarra
and Felicisima Estrada for a monthly rental of P350.00 each. Upon learning of the sub-lease, private respondent through counsel
demanded in writing that the petitioner vacate the leased premises (Rollo, Annex "A", p. 20).

For failure of petitioner to comply with the demand, private respondent filed a complaint for ejectment (Civil Case No. 048908) with
the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch XII against the petitioner citing as ground therefor the provisions of Batas Pambansa Blg.
25, Section 5, which is the unauthorized sub-leasing of part of the leased premises to third persons without securing the consent of the
lessor within the required sixty (60)-day period from the promulgation of the new law (B.P. 25). (Rollo, Petition, p. 8).

After trial, the court a quo rendered its decision ordering petitioner and all persons claiming possession under her (a) to vacate the
premises alluded to in the complaint; (b) to remove whatever improvement she introduced on the property; (c) to pay private
respondent the amount of P2,000.00 as attorney's fees; and (d) to pay the costs (Rollo, Annex "A", p. 19).

Petitioner appealed the decision to the Regional Trial Court and on November 24, 1980, presiding judge of the RTC, the Hon. Samilo
Barlongay, affirmed in toto the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court (Rollo, Annex "A", p. 19).

The decision of the Regional Trial Court was appealed to the Court of Appeals for review. The respondent Court of Appeals rendered its
decision dated January 28, 1987, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition not being prima facie meritorious, the same is outright dismissed.

SO ORDERED. (Rollo, Annex "A", p. 21)

Hence, the petition for review on certiorari.

The principal issue in this case is whether or not the lease of an apartment includes a sublease of the lot on which it is constructed, as
would constitute a ground for ejectment under Batas Pambansa BLg. 25.

Petitioner is of the view that Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 is not applicable because what she leased was her own apartment house which does
not include a sublease of the lot she leased from private respondent on which the apartment is constructed.

Petitioner's contention is untenable.

This issue has already been laid to rest in the case of Duellome v. Gotico (7 SCRA 841 [1963]) where this Court ruled that the lease of a
building naturally includes the lease of the lot, and the rentals of the building includes those of the lot. Thus:

. . . the lease of a building would naturally include the lease of the lot and that the rentals of the building include the
rentals of the lot.

xxx xxx xxx

Furthermore, under our Civil Code, the occupancy of a building or house not only suggests but implies the tenancy or
possession in fact of the land on which they are constructed. This is not a new pronouncement. An extensive
elaboration of this rule was discussed by this Court in the case of Baquiran, et al., v. Baquiran, et al., 53 O.G. p. 1130.

. . . the Court of Appeals should have found the herein appellees lessees of the house, and for all
legal purposes, of the lot on which it was built as well.

But petitioner insists that the ruling in the aforecited case is not applicable to the case at bar because the former is a damage suit while the
latter is an ejectment case.
Be that as it may, this Court has categorically answered in the affirmative, the principal question, common to both cases and on which
rests the resolution of the issues involved therein. Under the above ruling it is beyond dispute that petitioner in leasing her apartment has
also subleased the lot on which it is constructed which lot belongs to private respondent. Consequently, she has violated the provisions
of Section 5, Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 which is a ground for Ejectment.

Section 5 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 enumerates the grounds for judicial ejectment, among which is the subleasing of residential units
without the written consent of the owner/lessor, to wit:

Se. 5 Grounds for judicial ejectment. Ejectment shall be allowed on the following grounds:

a) Subleasing or assignment of lease of residential units in whole or in part, with the written consent of the
owner/lessor: Provided that in the case of subleases or assignments executed prior to the approval of this Act, the
sublessor/assignor shall have sixty days from the effectivity of this Act within which to obtain the written approval of
the owner/lessor or terminate the sublease or assignment.

Section 2(b) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 defines the term residential unit as follows:

Sec. 2. Definition of Terms Unless otherwise indicated wherever in this Act, the following shall have the following
meaning:

xxx xxx xxx

b. A residential unit refers to an apartment, house and/or land on which another's dwelling is located used for
residential purposes and shall include not only buildings, parts or units thereof used solely as dwelling places, except
motels, motel rooms, hotels, hotel rooms, boarding houses, dormitories, rooms and bedspaces for rent, but also those
used for home industries, retail stores, or other business purposes if the owner thereof and his family actually live
therein and use it principally for dwelling purposes: . . .

Petitioner argued further that Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 cannot be applied in this case because there is a perfected contract of lease without
any express prohibition on subleasing which had been in effect between petitioner and private respondent long before the enactment of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 25. Therefore, the application of said law to the case at bar is unconstitutional as an impairment of the obligation of
contracts.

It is well settled that all presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality; one who attacks a statute, alleging unconstitutionality
must prove its invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt (Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, 59 SCRA 54 [1974]). In fact, this Court
does not decide questions of a constitutional nature unless that question is properly raised and presented in appropriate cases and is
necessary to a determination of the case, i.e., the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota presented (Tropical Homes, Inc. v.
National Housing Authority, 152 SCRA 540 [1987]).

In any event, it is now beyond question that the constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of contract is limited by and
subject to the exercise of police power of the state in the interest of public health, safety, morals and general welfare (Kabiling, et al. v.
National Housing Authority, 156 SCRA 623 [1987]). In spite of the constitutional prohibition, the State continues to possess authority to
safeguard the vital interests of its people. Legislation appropriate to safeguarding said interest may modify or abrogate contracts already
in effect (Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, et al., supra). In fact, every contract affecting public interest suffers a congenital
infirmity in that it contains an implied reservation of the police power as a postulate of the existing legal order. This power can be
activated at anytime to change the provisions of the contract, or even abrogate it entirely, for the promotion or protection of the general
welfare. Such an act will not militate against the impairment clause, which is subject to and limited by the paramount police power
(Villanueva v. Castaeda, 154 SCRA 142 [1987]).

Batas Pambansa Blg. 25, "An Act Regulating Rentals of Dwelling Units or of Land On Which Another's Dwelling is Located and For Other
Purposes" shows that the subject matter of the law is the regulation of rentals and is intended only for dwelling units with specified
monthly rentals constructed before the law became effective (Baens v. Court of Appeals, 125 SCRA 634 [1983]).

Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 is derived from P.D. No. 20 which has been declared by this Court as a police power legislation, applicable to
leases entered into prior to July 14, 1971 (effectivity date of RA 6539), so that the applicability thereof to existing contracts cannot be
denied (Gutierrez v. Cantada, 90 SCRA 1 [1979]).

Finally, petitioner invokes, among others, the promotion of social justice policy of the New Constitution. Like P.D. No. 20, the objective
of Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 is to remedy the plight of lessees, but such objective is not subject to exploitation by the lessees for whose
benefit the law was enacted. Thus, the prohibition provided for in the law against the sublease of the premises without the consent of
the owner. As enunciated by this Court, it must be remembered that social justice cannot be invoked to trample on the rights of property
owners, who under our Constitution and laws are also entitled to protection. The social justice consecrated in our Constitution was not
intended to take away rights from a person and give them to another who is not entitled thereto (Salonga v. Farrales, 105 SCRA 360
[1981]).

WHEREFORE, the Petition is Denied for lack of merit and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is Affirmed.

SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 101083 July 30, 1993

JUAN ANTONIO, ANNA ROSARIO and JOSE ALFONSO, all surnamed OPOSA, minors, and represented by their parents ANTONIO
and RIZALINA OPOSA, ROBERTA NICOLE SADIUA, minor, represented by her parents CALVIN and ROBERTA SADIUA, CARLO,
AMANDA SALUD and PATRISHA, all surnamed FLORES, minors and represented by their parents ENRICO and NIDA FLORES, GIANINA
DITA R. FORTUN, minor, represented by her parents SIGRID and DOLORES FORTUN, GEORGE II and MA. CONCEPCION, all
surnamed MISA, minors and represented by their parents GEORGE and MYRA MISA, BENJAMIN ALAN V. PESIGAN, minor, represented
by his parents ANTONIO and ALICE PESIGAN, JOVIE MARIE ALFARO, minor, represented by her parents JOSE and MARIA VIOLETA
ALFARO, MARIA CONCEPCION T. CASTRO, minor, represented by her parents FREDENIL and JANE CASTRO, JOHANNA
DESAMPARADO,
minor, represented by her parents JOSE and ANGELA DESAMPRADO, CARLO JOAQUIN T. NARVASA, minor, represented by his
parents GREGORIO II and CRISTINE CHARITY NARVASA, MA. MARGARITA, JESUS IGNACIO, MA. ANGELA and MARIE GABRIELLE,
all surnamed SAENZ, minors, represented by their parents ROBERTO and AURORA SAENZ, KRISTINE, MARY ELLEN, MAY, GOLDA
MARTHE and DAVID IAN, all surnamed KING, minors, represented by their parents MARIO and HAYDEE KING, DAVID, FRANCISCO
and THERESE VICTORIA, all surnamed ENDRIGA, minors, represented by their parents BALTAZAR and TERESITA ENDRIGA, JOSE MA.
and REGINA MA., all surnamed ABAYA, minors, represented by their parents ANTONIO and MARICA ABAYA, MARILIN, MARIO, JR.
and MARIETTE, all surnamed CARDAMA, minors, represented by their parents MARIO and LINA CARDAMA, CLARISSA, ANN MARIE,
NAGEL, and IMEE LYN, all surnamed OPOSA, minors and represented by their parents RICARDO and MARISSA OPOSA, PHILIP
JOSEPH, STEPHEN JOHN and ISAIAH JAMES, all surnamed QUIPIT, minors, represented by their parents JOSE MAX and VILMI QUIPIT,
BUGHAW CIELO, CRISANTO, ANNA, DANIEL and FRANCISCO, all surnamed BIBAL, minors, represented by their parents FRANCISCO,
JR. and MILAGROS BIBAL, and THE PHILIPPINE ECOLOGICAL NETWORK, INC., petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE FULGENCIO S. FACTORAN, JR., in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, and THE HONORABLE ERIBERTO U. ROSARIO, Presiding Judge of the RTC, Makati, Branch 66, respondents.

Oposa Law Office for petitioners.

The Solicitor General for respondents.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:

In a broader sense, this petition bears upon the right of Filipinos to a balanced and healthful ecology which the petitioners dramatically
associate with the twin concepts of "inter-generational responsibility" and "inter-generational justice." Specifically, it touches on the issue
of whether the said petitioners have a cause of action to "prevent the misappropriation or impairment" of Philippine rainforests and
"arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the country's vital life support systems and continued rape of Mother Earth."

The controversy has its genesis in Civil Case No. 90-77 which was filed before Branch 66 (Makati, Metro Manila) of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial Region. The principal plaintiffs therein, now the principal petitioners, are all minors duly
represented and joined by their respective parents. Impleaded as an additional plaintiff is the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc. (PENI),
a domestic, non-stock and non-profit corporation organized for the purpose of, inter alia, engaging in concerted action geared for the
protection of our environment and natural resources. The original defendant was the Honorable Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr., then
Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). His substitution in this petition by the new Secretary, the
Honorable Angel C. Alcala, was subsequently ordered upon proper motion by the petitioners.1 The complaint2 was instituted as a
taxpayers' class suit3 and alleges that the plaintiffs "are all citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers, and entitled to the full
benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical forests." The same was filed for themselves
and others who are equally concerned about the preservation of said resource but are "so numerous that it is impracticable to bring them
all before the Court." The minors further asseverate that they "represent their generation as well as generations yet
unborn."4 Consequently, it is prayed for that judgment be rendered:

. . . ordering defendant, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf to

(1) Cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country;

(2) Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements.

and granting the plaintiffs ". . . such other reliefs just and equitable under the premises."5

The complaint starts off with the general averments that the Philippine archipelago of 7,100 islands has a land area of thirty million
(30,000,000) hectares and is endowed with rich, lush and verdant rainforests in which varied, rare and unique species of flora and fauna
may be found; these rainforests contain a genetic, biological and chemical pool which is irreplaceable; they are also the habitat of
indigenous Philippine cultures which have existed, endured and flourished since time immemorial; scientific evidence reveals that in order
to maintain a balanced and healthful ecology, the country's land area should be utilized on the basis of a ratio of fifty-four per cent
(54%) for forest cover and forty-six per cent (46%) for agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and other uses; the distortion and
disturbance of this balance as a consequence of deforestation have resulted in a host of environmental tragedies, such as (a) water
shortages resulting from drying up of the water table, otherwise known as the "aquifer," as well as of rivers, brooks and streams, (b)
salinization of the water table as a result of the intrusion therein of salt water, incontrovertible examples of which may be found in the
island of Cebu and the Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite, (c) massive erosion and the consequential loss of soil fertility and agricultural
productivity, with the volume of soil eroded estimated at one billion (1,000,000,000) cubic meters per annum approximately the size
of the entire island of Catanduanes, (d) the endangering and extinction of the country's unique, rare and varied flora and fauna, (e) the
disturbance and dislocation of cultural communities, including the disappearance of the Filipino's indigenous cultures, (f) the siltation of
rivers and seabeds and consequential destruction of corals and other aquatic life leading to a critical reduction in marine resource
productivity, (g) recurrent spells of drought as is presently experienced by the entire country, (h) increasing velocity of typhoon winds
which result from the absence of windbreakers, (i) the floodings of lowlands and agricultural plains arising from the absence of the
absorbent mechanism of forests, (j) the siltation and shortening of the lifespan of multi-billion peso dams constructed and operated for
the purpose of supplying water for domestic uses, irrigation and the generation of electric power, and (k) the reduction of the earth's
capacity to process carbon dioxide gases which has led to perplexing and catastrophic climatic changes such as the phenomenon of global
warming, otherwise known as the "greenhouse effect."

Plaintiffs further assert that the adverse and detrimental consequences of continued and deforestation are so capable of unquestionable
demonstration that the same may be submitted as a matter of judicial notice. This notwithstanding, they expressed their intention to
present expert witnesses as well as documentary, photographic and film evidence in the course of the trial.

As their cause of action, they specifically allege that:

CAUSE OF ACTION

7. Plaintiffs replead by reference the foregoing allegations.

8. Twenty-five (25) years ago, the Philippines had some sixteen (16) million hectares of rainforests constituting roughly
53% of the country's land mass.

9. Satellite images taken in 1987 reveal that there remained no more than 1.2 million hectares of said rainforests or four
per cent (4.0%) of the country's land area.

10. More recent surveys reveal that a mere 850,000 hectares of virgin old-growth rainforests are left, barely 2.8% of
the entire land mass of the Philippine archipelago and about 3.0 million hectares of immature and uneconomical
secondary growth forests.

11. Public records reveal that the defendant's, predecessors have granted timber license agreements ('TLA's') to various
corporations to cut the aggregate area of 3.89 million hectares for commercial logging purposes.

A copy of the TLA holders and the corresponding areas covered is hereto attached as Annex "A".

12. At the present rate of deforestation, i.e. about 200,000 hectares per annum or 25 hectares per hour nighttime,
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays included the Philippines will be bereft of forest resources after the end of this
ensuing decade, if not earlier.
13. The adverse effects, disastrous consequences, serious injury and irreparable damage of this continued trend of
deforestation to the plaintiff minor's generation and to generations yet unborn are evident and incontrovertible. As a
matter of fact, the environmental damages enumerated in paragraph 6 hereof are already being felt, experienced and
suffered by the generation of plaintiff adults.

14. The continued allowance by defendant of TLA holders to cut and deforest the remaining forest stands will work
great damage and irreparable injury to plaintiffs especially plaintiff minors and their successors who may never
see, use, benefit from and enjoy this rare and unique natural resource treasure.

This act of defendant constitutes a misappropriation and/or impairment of the natural resource property he holds in
trust for the benefit of plaintiff minors and succeeding generations.

15. Plaintiffs have a clear and constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology and are entitled to protection by
the State in its capacity as the parens patriae.

16. Plaintiff have exhausted all administrative remedies with the defendant's office. On March 2, 1990, plaintiffs served
upon defendant a final demand to cancel all logging permits in the country.

A copy of the plaintiffs' letter dated March 1, 1990 is hereto attached as Annex "B".

17. Defendant, however, fails and refuses to cancel the existing TLA's to the continuing serious damage and extreme
prejudice of plaintiffs.

18. The continued failure and refusal by defendant to cancel the TLA's is an act violative of the rights of plaintiffs,
especially plaintiff minors who may be left with a country that is desertified (sic), bare, barren and devoid of the
wonderful flora, fauna and indigenous cultures which the Philippines had been abundantly blessed with.

19. Defendant's refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is manifestly contrary to the public policy enunciated in the
Philippine Environmental Policy which, in pertinent part, states that it is the policy of the State

(a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under which man and nature can thrive in productive and
enjoyable harmony with each other;

(b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of Filipinos and;

(c) to ensure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conductive to a life of dignity and well-being. (P.D.
1151, 6 June 1977)

20. Furthermore, defendant's continued refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is contradictory to the
Constitutional policy of the State to

a. effect "a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth" and "make full and efficient use of natural
resources (sic)." (Section 1, Article XII of the Constitution);

b. "protect the nation's marine wealth." (Section 2, ibid);

c. "conserve and promote the nation's cultural heritage and resources (sic)" (Section 14, Article XIV, id.);

d. "protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and
harmony of nature." (Section 16, Article II, id.)

21. Finally, defendant's act is contrary to the highest law of humankind the natural law and violative of plaintiffs'
right to self-preservation and perpetuation.

22. There is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in law other than the instant action to arrest the unabated
hemorrhage of the country's vital life support systems and continued rape of Mother Earth. 6

On 22 June 1990, the original defendant, Secretary Factoran, Jr., filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint based on two (2) grounds,
namely: (1) the plaintiffs have no cause of action against him and (2) the issue raised by the plaintiffs is a political question which
properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of Government. In their 12 July 1990 Opposition to the Motion, the petitioners
maintain that (1) the complaint shows a clear and unmistakable cause of action, (2) the motion is dilatory and (3) the action presents a
justiciable question as it involves the defendant's abuse of discretion.

On 18 July 1991, respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to dismiss.7 In the said order, not only was the
defendant's claim that the complaint states no cause of action against him and that it raises a political question sustained, the
respondent Judge further ruled that the granting of the relief prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited
by the fundamental law of the land.

Plaintiffs thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court and ask this Court to rescind
and set aside the dismissal order on the ground that the respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in dismissing the action. Again,
the parents of the plaintiffs-minors not only represent their children, but have also joined the latter in this case.8

On 14 May 1992, We resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective Memoranda after the
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Comment in behalf of the respondents and the petitioners filed a reply thereto.

Petitioners contend that the complaint clearly and unmistakably states a cause of action as it contains sufficient allegations concerning
their right to a sound environment based on Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil Code (Human Relations), Section 4 of Executive Order
(E.O.) No. 192 creating the DENR, Section 3 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy), Section 16, Article
II of the 1987 Constitution recognizing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, the concept of generational genocide
in Criminal Law and the concept of man's inalienable right to self-preservation and self-perpetuation embodied in natural law. Petitioners
likewise rely on the respondent's correlative obligation per Section 4 of E.O. No. 192, to safeguard the people's right to a healthful
environment.

It is further claimed that the issue of the respondent Secretary's alleged grave abuse of discretion in granting Timber License Agreements
(TLAs) to cover more areas for logging than what is available involves a judicial question.

Anent the invocation by the respondent Judge of the Constitution's non-impairment clause, petitioners maintain that the same does not
apply in this case because TLAs are not contracts. They likewise submit that even if TLAs may be considered protected by the said clause,
it is well settled that they may still be revoked by the State when the public interest so requires.

On the other hand, the respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their complaint a specific legal right violated by the
respondent Secretary for which any relief is provided by law. They see nothing in the complaint but vague and nebulous allegations
concerning an "environmental right" which supposedly entitles the petitioners to the "protection by the state in its capacity as parens
patriae." Such allegations, according to them, do not reveal a valid cause of action. They then reiterate the theory that the question of
whether logging should be permitted in the country is a political question which should be properly addressed to the executive or
legislative branches of Government. They therefore assert that the petitioners' resources is not to file an action to court, but to lobby
before Congress for the passage of a bill that would ban logging totally.

As to the matter of the cancellation of the TLAs, respondents submit that the same cannot be done by the State without due process of
law. Once issued, a TLA remains effective for a certain period of time usually for twenty-five (25) years. During its effectivity, the same
can neither be revised nor cancelled unless the holder has been found, after due notice and hearing, to have violated the terms of the
agreement or other forestry laws and regulations. Petitioners' proposition to have all the TLAs indiscriminately cancelled without the
requisite hearing would be violative of the requirements of due process.

Before going any further, We must first focus on some procedural matters. Petitioners instituted Civil Case No. 90-777 as a class suit. The
original defendant and the present respondents did not take issue with this matter. Nevertheless, We hereby rule that the said civil case is
indeed a class suit. The subject matter of the complaint is of common and general interest not just to several, but to all citizens of the
Philippines. Consequently, since the parties are so numerous, it, becomes impracticable, if not totally impossible, to bring all of them
before the court. We likewise declare that the plaintiffs therein are numerous and representative enough to ensure the full protection of
all concerned interests. Hence, all the requisites for the filing of a valid class suit under Section 12, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court
are present both in the said civil case and in the instant petition, the latter being but an incident to the former.

This case, however, has a special and novel element. Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations
yet unborn. We find no difficulty in ruling that they can, for themselves, for others of their generation and for the succeeding
generations, file a class suit. Their personality to sue in behalf of the succeeding generations can only be based on the concept of
intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. Such a right, as hereinafter
expounded, considers
the "rhythm and harmony of nature." Nature means the created world in its entirety.9 Such rhythm and harmony indispensably
include, inter alia, the judicious disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land,
waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources to the end that their exploration, development and utilization be
equitably accessible to the present as well as future generations. 10Needless to say, every generation has a responsibility to the next to
preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. Put a little differently, the minors'
assertion of their right to a sound environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection
of that right for the generations to come.

The locus standi of the petitioners having thus been addressed, We shall now proceed to the merits of the petition.

After a careful perusal of the complaint in question and a meticulous consideration and evaluation of the issues raised and arguments
adduced by the parties, We do not hesitate to find for the petitioners and rule against the respondent Judge's challenged order for having
been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The pertinent portions of the said order reads as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

After a careful and circumspect evaluation of the Complaint, the Court cannot help but agree with the defendant. For
although we believe that plaintiffs have but the noblest of all intentions, it (sic) fell short of alleging, with sufficient
definiteness, a specific legal right they are seeking to enforce and protect, or a specific legal wrong they are seeking to
prevent and redress (Sec. 1, Rule 2, RRC). Furthermore, the Court notes that the Complaint is replete with vague
assumptions and vague conclusions based on unverified data. In fine, plaintiffs fail to state a cause of action in its
Complaint against the herein defendant.

Furthermore, the Court firmly believes that the matter before it, being impressed with political color and involving a
matter of public policy, may not be taken cognizance of by this Court without doing violence to the sacred principle of
"Separation of Powers" of the three (3) co-equal branches of the Government.

The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we stretch our jurisdiction, grant the reliefs
prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country and to cease and desist
from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements. For to do otherwise
would amount to "impairment of contracts" abhored (sic) by the fundamental law. 11

We do not agree with the trial court's conclusions that the plaintiffs failed to allege with sufficient definiteness a specific legal right
involved or a specific legal wrong committed, and that the complaint is replete with vague assumptions and conclusions based on
unverified data. A reading of the complaint itself belies these conclusions.

The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right the right to a balanced and healthful ecology which, for the first time in
our nation's constitutional history, is solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law. Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution
explicitly provides:

Sec. 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with
the rhythm and harmony of nature.

This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the preceding section of the same article:

Sec. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among
them.

While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under
the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a right
belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation aptly and
fittingly stressed by the petitioners the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions. As a
matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist from the inception of
humankind. If they are now explicitly mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because of the well-founded fear of its framers that
unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies by the Constitution itself, thereby
highlighting their continuing importance and imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and protect and advance
the second, the day would not be too far when all else would be lost not only for the present generation, but also for those to come
generations which stand to inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life.

The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment. During the
debates on this right in one of the plenary sessions of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the following exchange transpired between
Commissioner Wilfrido Villacorta and Commissioner Adolfo Azcuna who sponsored the section in question:

MR. VILLACORTA:

Does this section mandate the State to provide sanctions against all forms of pollution air, water
and noise pollution?
MR. AZCUNA:

Yes, Madam President. The right to healthful (sic) environment necessarily carries with it the
correlative duty of not impairing the same and, therefore, sanctions may be provided for
impairment of environmental balance. 12

The said right implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation of the country's forests.

Without such forests, the ecological or environmental balance would be irreversiby disrupted.

Conformably with the enunciated right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the right to health, as well as the other related
provisions of the Constitution concerning the conservation, development and utilization of the country's natural resources, 13 then
President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated on 10 June 1987 E.O. No. 192, 14 Section 4 of which expressly mandates that the Department
of Environment and Natural Resources "shall be the primary government agency responsible for the conservation, management,
development and proper use of the country's environment and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral, resources,
including those in reservation and watershed areas, and lands of the public domain, as well as the licensing and regulation of all natural
resources as may be provided for by law in order to ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the welfare of the
present and future generations of Filipinos." Section 3 thereof makes the following statement of policy:

Sec. 3. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared the policy of the State to ensure the sustainable use,
development, management, renewal, and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, off-shore areas and other
natural resources, including the protection and enhancement of the quality of the environment, and equitable access of
the different segments of the population to the development and the use of the country's natural resources, not only
for the present generation but for future generations as well. It is also the policy of the state to recognize and apply a
true value system including social and environmental cost implications relative to their utilization, development and
conservation of our natural resources.

This policy declaration is substantially re-stated it Title XIV, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987,15 specifically in Section 1 thereof
which reads:

Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. (1) The State shall ensure, for the benefit of the Filipino people, the full exploration
and development as well as the judicious disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the
country's forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources, consistent with the
necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment and
the objective of making the exploration, development and utilization of such natural resources equitably accessible to
the different segments of the present as well as future generations.

(2) The State shall likewise recognize and apply a true value system that takes into account social and environmental
cost implications relative to the utilization, development and conservation of our natural resources.

The above provision stresses "the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing the quality of the
environment." Section 2 of the same Title, on the other hand, specifically speaks of the mandate of the DENR; however, it makes
particular reference to the fact of the agency's being subject to law and higher authority. Said section provides:

Sec. 2. Mandate. (1) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall be primarily responsible for the
implementation of the foregoing policy.

(2) It shall, subject to law and higher authority, be in charge of carrying out the State's constitutional mandate to
control and supervise the exploration, development, utilization, and conservation of the country's natural resources.

Both E.O. NO. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which will serve as the bases for policy formulation, and
have defined the powers and functions of the DENR.

It may, however, be recalled that even before the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, specific statutes already paid special attention to
the "environmental right" of the present and future generations. On 6 June 1977, P.D. No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy) and
P.D. No. 1152 (Philippine Environment Code) were issued. The former "declared a continuing policy of the State (a) to create, develop,
maintain and improve conditions under which man and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each other, (b) to
fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of Filipinos, and (c) to insure the attainment of an
environmental quality that is conducive to a life of dignity and well-being." 16 As its goal, it speaks of the "responsibilities of each
generation as trustee and guardian of the environment for succeeding generations." 17 The latter statute, on the other hand, gave flesh to
the said policy.
Thus, the right of the petitioners (and all those they represent) to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as the DENR's duty
under its mandate and by virtue of its powers and functions under E.O. No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 to protect and
advance the said right.

A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the corelative duty or obligation to respect or protect the same gives rise to a
cause of action. Petitioners maintain that the granting of the TLAs, which they claim was done with grave abuse of discretion, violated
their right to a balanced and healthful ecology; hence, the full protection thereof requires that no further TLAs should be renewed or
granted.

A cause of action is defined as:

. . . an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights of the other; and its essential elements are
legal right of the plaintiff, correlative obligation of the defendant, and act or omission of the defendant in violation of
said legal right. 18

It is settled in this jurisdiction that in a motion to dismiss based on the ground that the complaint fails to state a cause of action, 19 the
question submitted to the court for resolution involves the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the complaint itself. No other matter should
be considered; furthermore, the truth of falsity of the said allegations is beside the point for the truth thereof is deemed hypothetically
admitted. The only issue to be resolved in such a case is: admitting such alleged facts to be true, may the court render a valid judgment in
accordance with the prayer in the complaint? 20 In Militante vs. Edrosolano, 21 this Court laid down the rule that the judiciary should
"exercise the utmost care and circumspection in passing upon a motion to dismiss on the ground of the absence thereof [cause of action]
lest, by its failure to manifest a correct appreciation of the facts alleged and deemed hypothetically admitted, what the law grants or
recognizes is effectively nullified. If that happens, there is a blot on the legal order. The law itself stands in disrepute."

After careful examination of the petitioners' complaint, We find the statements under the introductory affirmative allegations, as well as
the specific averments under the sub-heading CAUSE OF ACTION, to be adequate enough to show, prima facie, the claimed violation of
their rights. On the basis thereof, they may thus be granted, wholly or partly, the reliefs prayed for. It bears stressing, however, that
insofar as the cancellation of the TLAs is concerned, there is the need to implead, as party defendants, the grantees thereof for they are
indispensable parties.

The foregoing considered, Civil Case No. 90-777 be said to raise a political question. Policy formulation or determination by the
executive or legislative branches of Government is not squarely put in issue. What is principally involved is the enforcement of a
right vis-a-vis policies already formulated and expressed in legislation. It must, nonetheless, be emphasized that the political question
doctrine is no longer, the insurmountable obstacle to the exercise of judicial power or the impenetrable shield that protects executive and
legislative actions from judicial inquiry or review. The second paragraph of section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states that:

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

Commenting on this provision in his book, Philippine Political Law, 22 Mr. Justice Isagani A. Cruz, a distinguished member of this Court,
says:

The first part of the authority represents the traditional concept of judicial power, involving the settlement of
conflicting rights as conferred as law. The second part of the authority represents a broadening of judicial power to
enable the courts of justice to review what was before forbidden territory, to wit, the discretion of the political
departments of the government.

As worded, the new provision vests in the judiciary, and particularly the Supreme Court, the power to rule upon even
the wisdom of the decisions of the executive and the legislature and to declare their acts invalid for lack or excess of
jurisdiction because tainted with grave abuse of discretion. The catch, of course, is the meaning of "grave abuse of
discretion," which is a very elastic phrase that can expand or contract according to the disposition of the judiciary.

In Daza vs. Singson, 23 Mr. Justice Cruz, now speaking for this Court, noted:

In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even
if we were to assume that the issue presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from
revolving it under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the political
question. Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution clearly provides: . . .

The last ground invoked by the trial court in dismissing the complaint is the non-impairment of contracts clause found in the Constitution.
The court a quo declared that:
The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we stretch our jurisdiction, grant the reliefs
prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country and to cease and desist
from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements. For to do otherwise
would amount to "impairment of contracts" abhored (sic) by the fundamental law. 24

We are not persuaded at all; on the contrary, We are amazed, if not shocked, by such a sweeping pronouncement. In the first place, the
respondent Secretary did not, for obvious reasons, even invoke in his motion to dismiss the non-impairment clause. If he had done so, he
would have acted with utmost infidelity to the Government by providing undue and unwarranted benefits and advantages to the timber
license holders because he would have forever bound the Government to strictly respect the said licenses according to their terms and
conditions regardless of changes in policy and the demands of public interest and welfare. He was aware that as correctly pointed out by
the petitioners, into every timber license must be read Section 20 of the Forestry Reform Code (P.D. No. 705) which provides:

. . . Provided, That when the national interest so requires, the President may amend, modify, replace or rescind any
contract, concession, permit, licenses or any other form of privilege granted herein . . .

Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It is not a contract, property or a property
right protested by the due process clause of the Constitution. In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, 25 this Court held:

. . . A timber license is an instrument by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to
the end that public welfare is promoted. A timber license is not a contract within the purview of the due process
clause; it is only a license or privilege, which can be validly withdrawn whenever dictated by public interest or public
welfare as in this case.

A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be unlawful, and is not a contract between the
authority, federal, state, or municipal, granting it and the person to whom it is granted; neither is it property or a
property right, nor does it create a vested right; nor is it taxation (37 C.J. 168). Thus, this Court held that the granting
of license does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights (People vs. Ong Tin, 54 O.G.
7576).

We reiterated this pronouncement in Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co., Inc. vs. Deputy Executive Secretary: 26

. . . Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal instruments by which the State regulates the
utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid
that they merely evidence a privilege granted by the State to qualified entities, and do not vest in the latter a
permanent or irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest products therein. They may be validly
amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by the Chief Executive when national interests so require. Thus, they are not
deemed contracts within the purview of the due process of law clause [See Sections 3(ee) and 20 of Pres. Decree No.
705, as amended. Also, Tan v. Director of Forestry, G.R. No. L-24548, October 27, 1983, 125 SCRA 302].

Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads:

Sec. 10. No law impairing, the obligation of contracts shall be passed. 27

cannot be invoked.

In the second place, even if it is to be assumed that the same are contracts, the instant case does not involve a law or even an executive
issuance declaring the cancellation or modification of existing timber licenses. Hence, the non-impairment clause cannot as yet be
invoked. Nevertheless, granting further that a law has actually been passed mandating cancellations or modifications, the same cannot
still be stigmatized as a violation of the non-impairment clause. This is because by its very nature and purpose, such as law could have
only been passed in the exercise of the police power of the state for the purpose of advancing the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology, promoting their health and enhancing the general welfare. In Abe vs. Foster Wheeler
Corp. 28 this Court stated:

The freedom of contract, under our system of government, is not meant to be absolute. The same is understood to be
subject to reasonable legislative regulation aimed at the promotion of public health, moral, safety and welfare. In other
words, the constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of contract is limited by the exercise of the police
power of the State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral and general welfare.

The reason for this is emphatically set forth in Nebia vs. New York, 29 quoted in Philippine American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor
General,30 to wit:
Under our form of government the use of property and the making of contracts are normally matters of private and
not of public concern. The general rule is that both shall be free of governmental interference. But neither property
rights nor contract rights are absolute; for government cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his property to the
detriment of his fellows, or exercise his freedom of contract to work them harm. Equally fundamental with the private
right is that of the public to regulate it in the common interest.

In short, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state. 31

Finally, it is difficult to imagine, as the trial court did, how the non-impairment clause could apply with respect to the prayer to enjoin
the respondent Secretary from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber licenses for, save in cases of renewal,
no contract would have as of yet existed in the other instances. Moreover, with respect to renewal, the holder is not entitled to it as a
matter of right.

WHEREFORE, being impressed with merit, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED, and the challenged Order of respondent Judge of 18
July 1991 dismissing Civil Case No. 90-777 is hereby set aside. The petitioners may therefore amend their complaint to implead as
defendants the holders or grantees of the questioned timber license agreements.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

FACTS:

The plaintiffs in this case are all minors duly represented and joined by their parents. The first complaint was filed as a taxpayer's class suit
at the Branch 66 (Makati, Metro Manila), of the Regional Trial Court, National capital Judicial Region against defendant (respondent)
Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Reasources (DENR). Plaintiffs alleged that they are entitled to the full benefit,
use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical forests. They further asseverate that they represent
their generation as well as generations yet unborn and asserted that continued deforestation have caused a distortion and disturbance of
the ecological balance and have resulted in a host of environmental tragedies.

Plaintiffs prayed that judgement be rendered ordering the respondent, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf to
cancel all existing Timber License Agreement (TLA) in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing
or approving new TLAs.

Defendant, on the other hand, filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint had no cause of action against him and that it
raises a political question.

The RTC Judge sustained the motion to dismiss, further ruling that granting of the relief prayed for would result in the impairment of
contracts which is prohibited by the Constitution.

Plaintiffs (petitioners) thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari and asked the court to rescind and set aside the dismissal order
on the ground that the respondent RTC Judge gravely abused his discretion in dismissing the action.

ISSUES:

(1) Whether or not the plaintiffs have a cause of action.


(2) Whether or not the complaint raises a political issue.
(3) Whether or not the original prayer of the plaintiffs result in the impairment of contracts.

RULING:

First Issue: Cause of Action.

Respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their complaint a specific legal right violated by the respondent Secretary for
which any relief is provided by law. The Court did not agree with this. The complaint focuses on one fundamental legal right -- the right
to a balanced and healthful ecology which is incorporated in Section 16 Article II of the Constitution. The said right carries with it the
duty to refrain from impairing the environment and implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation of
the country's forests. Section 4 of E.O. 192 expressly mandates the DENR to be the primary government agency responsible for the
governing and supervising the exploration, utilization, development and conservation of the country's natural resources. The policy
declaration of E.O. 192 is also substantially re-stated in Title XIV Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987. Both E.O. 192 and
Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which will serve as the bases for policy formation, and have defined the powers and
functions of the DENR. Thus, right of the petitioners (and all those they represent) to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as
DENR's duty to protect and advance the said right.
A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the correlative duty or obligation to respect or protect or respect the same gives
rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain that the granting of the TLA, which they claim was done with grave abuse of discretion,
violated their right to a balance and healthful ecology. Hence, the full protection thereof requires that no further TLAs should be
renewed or granted.

After careful examination of the petitioners' complaint, the Court finds it to be adequate enough to show, prima facie, the claimed
violation of their rights.

Second Issue: Political Issue.

Second paragraph, Section 1 of Article VIII of the constitution provides for the expanded jurisdiction vested upon the Supreme Court. It
allows the Court to rule upon even on the wisdom of the decision of the Executive and Legislature and to declare their acts as invalid for
lack or excess of jurisdiction because it is tainted with grave abuse of discretion.

Third Issue: Violation of the non-impairment clause.

The Court held that the Timber License Agreement is an instrument by which the state regulates the utilization and disposition of forest
resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. It is not a contract within the purview of the due process clause thus, the non-
impairment clause cannot be invoked. It can be validly withdraw whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare as in this case.
The granting of license does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights.

Moreover, the constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of contract is limit by the exercise by the police power of the
State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral and general welfare. In short, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police
power of the State.

The instant petition, being impressed with merit, is hereby GRANTED and the RTC decision is SET ASIDE.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 78164 July 31, 1987

TERESITA TABLARIN, MA, LUZ CIRIACO, MA NIMFA B. ROVIRA, EVANGELINA S. LABAO, in their behalf and in behalf of applicants
for admission into the Medical Colleges during the school year 1987-88 and future years who have not taken or successfully hurdled tile
National Medical Admission Test (NMAT).petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE JUDGE ANGELINA S. GUTIERREZ, Presiding Judge of Branch XXXVII of the Regional Trial Court of the National
Capital Judicial Region with seat at Manila, THE HONORABLE SECRETARY LOURDES QUISUMBING, in her capacity as Chairman of the
BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION, and THE CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT (CEM), respondents.

FELICIANO, J.:

The petitioners sought admission into colleges or schools of medicine for the school year 1987-1988. However, the petitioners either did
not take or did not successfully take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) required by the Board of Medical Education, one of
the public respondents, and administered by the private respondent, the Center for Educational Measurement (CEM).

On 5 March 1987, the petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, a Petition for Declaratory
Judgment and Prohibition with a prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. The petitioners sought to enjoin
the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, the Board of Medical Education and the Center for Educational Measurement from
enforcing Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, series of 1985, dated 23 August 1985
and from requiring the taking and passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing certificates of eligibility for admission, from
proceeding with accepting applications for taking the NMAT and from administering the NMAT as scheduled on 26 April 1987 and in the
future. After hearing on the petition for issuance of preliminary injunction, the trial court denied said petition on 20 April 1987. The
NMAT was conducted and administered as previously scheduled.

Petitioners accordingly filed this Special Civil Action for certiorari with this Court to set aside the Order of the respondent judge denying
the petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.
Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 4224 and 5946, known as the "Medical Act of 1959" defines its basic objectives in
the following manner:

Section 1. Objectives. This Act provides for and shall govern (a) the standardization and regulation of medical
education (b) the examination for registration of physicians; and (c) the supervision, control and regulation of the practice of
medicine in the Philippines. (Underscoring supplied)

The statute, among other things, created a Board of Medical Education which is composed of (a) the Secretary of Education, Culture and
Sports or his duly authorized representative, as Chairman; (b) the Secretary of Health or his duly authorized representative; (c) the
Director of Higher Education or his duly authorized representative; (d) the Chairman of the Medical Board or his duly authorized
representative; (e) a representative of the Philippine Medical Association; (f) the Dean of the College of Medicine, University of the
Philippines; (g) a representative of the Council of Deans of Philippine Medical Schools; and (h) a representative of the Association of
Philippine Medical Colleges, as members. The functions of the Board of Medical Education specified in Section 5 of the statute include the
following:

(a) To determine and prescribe equirements for admission into a recognized college of medicine;

(b) To determine and prescribe requirements for minimum physical facilities of colleges of medicine, to wit: buildings, including
hospitals, equipment and supplies, apparatus, instruments, appliances, laboratories, bed capacity for instruction purposes,
operating and delivery rooms, facilities for outpatient services, and others, used for didactic and practical instruction in
accordance with modern trends;

(c) To determine and prescribe the minimum number and minimum qualifications of teaching personnel, including student-
teachers ratio;

(d) To determine and prescribe the minimum required curriculum leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine;

(e) To authorize the implementation of experimental medical curriculum in a medical school that has exceptional faculty and
instrumental facilities. Such an experimental curriculum may prescribe admission and graduation requirements other than those
prescribed in this Act; Provided, That only exceptional students shall be enrolled in the experimental curriculum;

(f) To accept applications for certification for admission to a medical school and keep a register of those issued said certificate;
and to collect from said applicants the amount of twenty-five pesos each which shall accrue to the operating fund of the Board
of Medical Education;

(g) To select, determine and approve hospitals or some departments of the hospitals for training which comply with the
minimum specific physical facilities as provided in subparagraph (b) hereof; and

(h) To promulgate and prescribe and enforce the necessary rules and regulations for the proper implementation of the
foregoing functions. (Emphasis supplied)

Section 7 prescribes certain minimum requirements for applicants to medical schools:

Admission requirements. The medical college may admit any student who has not been convicted by any court of
competent jurisdiction of any offense involving moral turpitude and who presents (a) a record of completion of a bachelor's
degree in science or arts; (b) a certificate of eligibility for entrance to a medical school from the Board of Medical
Education; (c) a certificate of good moral character issued by two former professors in the college of liberal arts; and (d) birth
certificate. Nothing in this act shall be construed to inhibit any college of medicine from establishing, in addition to the
preceding, other entrance requirements that may be deemed admissible.

xxx xxx x x x (Emphasis supplied)

MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, issued by the then Minister of Education, Culture and Sports and dated 23 August 1985, established a
uniform admission test called the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) as an additional requirement for issuance of a certificate of
eligibility for admission into medical schools of the Philippines, beginning with the school year 1986-1987. This Order goes on to state
that:

2. The NMAT, an aptitude test, is considered as an instrument toward upgrading the selection of applicants for admission into
the medical schools and its calculated to improve the quality of medical education in the country. The cutoff score for the
successful applicants, based on the scores on the NMAT, shall be determined every year by the Board of Medical Education after
consultation with the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges. The NMAT rating of each applicant, together with the other
admission requirements as presently called for under existing rules, shall serve as a basis for the issuance of the prescribed
certificate of elegibility for admission into the medical colleges.

3. Subject to the prior approval of the Board of Medical Education, each medical college may give other tests for applicants
who have been issued a corresponding certificate of eligibility for admission that will yield information on other aspects of the
applicant's personality to complement the information derived from the NMAT.

xxx xxx xxx

8. No applicant shall be issued the requisite Certificate of Eligibility for Admission (CEA), or admitted for enrollment as first year
student in any medical college, beginning the school year, 1986-87, without the required NMAT qualification as called for under
this Order. (Underscoring supplied)

Pursuant to MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, the private respondent Center conducted NMATs for entrance to medical colleges during the
school year 1986-1987. In December 1986 and in April 1987, respondent Center conducted the NMATs for admission to medical colleges
during the school year 1987.1988.1avvphi1

Petitioners raise the question of whether or not a writ of preliminary injunction may be issued to enjoin the enforcement of Section 5 (a)
and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, pending resolution of the issue of constitutionality of
the assailed statute and administrative order. We regard this issue as entirely peripheral in nature. It scarcely needs documentation that a
court would issue a writ of preliminary injunction only when the petitioner assailing a statute or administrative order has made out a case
of unconstitutionality strong enough to overcome, in the mind of the judge, the presumption of constitutionality, aside from showing a
clear legal right to the remedy sought. The fundamental issue is of course the constitutionality of the statute or order assailed.

1. The petitioners invoke a number of provisions of the 1987 Constitution which are, in their assertion, violated by the continued
implementation of Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act 2381, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985. The provisions invoked
read as follows:

(a) Article 11, Section 11: "The state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect of human rights. "

(b) ArticleII, Section l3: "The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation building and shall promote and protect their
physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and
encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs."

(c) Article II, Section 17: "The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture and sports to foster
patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress and to promote total human liberation and development. "

(d) Article XIV, Section l: "The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and take
appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all. "

(e) Article XIV, Section 5 (3): "Every citizen has a right to select a profession or course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and
equitable admission and academic requirements."

Article II of the 1987 Constitution sets forth in its second half certain "State policies" which the government is enjoined to pursue and
promote. The petitioners here have not seriously undertaken to demonstrate to what extent or in what manner the statute and the
administrative order they assail collide with the State policies embodied in Sections 11, 13 and 17. They have not, in other words,
discharged the burden of proof which lies upon them. This burden is heavy enough where the constitutional provision invoked is
relatively specific, rather than abstract, in character and cast in behavioral or operational terms. That burden of proof becomes of
necessity heavier where the constitutional provision invoked is cast, as the second portion of Article II is cast, in language descriptive of
basic policies, or more precisely, of basic objectives of State policy and therefore highly generalized in tenor. The petitioners have not
made their case, even a prima facie case, and we are not compelled to speculate and to imagine how the legislation and regulation
impugned as unconstitutional could possibly offend the constitutional provisions pointed to by the petitioners.

Turning to Article XIV, Section 1, of the 1987 Constitution, we note that once more petitioners have failed to demonstrate that the
statute and regulation they assail in fact clash with that provision. On the contrary we may note-in anticipation of discussion infra
that the statute and the regulation which petitioners attack are in fact designed to promote "quality education" at the level of
professional schools. When one reads Section 1 in relation to Section 5 (3) of Article XIV as one must one cannot but note that the latter
phrase of Section 1 is not to be read with absolute literalness. The State is not really enjoined to take appropriate steps to make quality
education " accessible to all who might for any number of reasons wish to enroll in a professional school but rather merely to make such
education accessible to all who qualify under "fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements. "
2. In the trial court, petitioners had made the argument that Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, offend against
the constitutional principle which forbids the undue delegation of legislative power, by failing to establish the necessary standard to be
followed by the delegate, the Board of Medical Education. The general principle of non-delegation of legislative power, which both
flows from the reinforces the more fundamental rule of the separation and allocation of powers among the three great departments of
government,1 must be applied with circumspection in respect of statutes which like the Medical Act of 1959, deal with subjects as
obviously complex and technical as medical education and the practice of medicine in our present day world. Mr. Justice Laurel stressed
this point 47 years ago in Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc. vs. The Public Service Commission:2

One thing, however, is apparent in the development of the principle of separation of powers and that is that the maxim
of delegatus non potest delegare or delegate potestas non potest delegare, adopted this practice (Delegibus et Consuetudiniis
Anglia edited by G.E. Woodbine, Yale University Press, 1922, Vol. 2, p. 167) but which is also recognized in principle in the
Roman Law (d. 17.18.3) has been made to adapt itself to the complexities of modern government, giving rise to the adoption,
within certain limits of the principle of "subordinate legislation," not only in the United States and England but in practically all
modern governments. (People vs. Rosenthal and Osmena [68 Phil. 318, 1939]. Accordingly, with the growing complexity of
modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulation and the increased difficulty of administering the laws,
there is a constantly growing tendency toward the delegation of greater power by the legislature, and toward the approval of
the practice by the courts." 3

The standards set for subordinate legislation in the exercise of rule making authority by an administrative agency like the Board of
Medical Education are necessarily broad and highly abstract. As explained by then Mr. Justice Fernando in Edu v. Ericta4

The standard may be either expressed or implied. If the former, the non-delegation objection is easily met. The standard
though does not have to be spelled out specifically. It could be implied from the policy and purpose of the act considered as a
whole. In the Reflector Law, clearly the legislative objective is public safety. What is sought to be attained as in Calalang v.
Williams is "safe transit upon the roads. 5

We believe and so hold that the necessary standards are set forth in Section 1 of the 1959 Medical Act: "the standardization and
regulation of medical education" and in Section 5 (a) and 7 of the same Act, the body of the statute itself, and that these considered
together are sufficient compliance with the requirements of the non-delegation principle.

3. The petitioners also urge that the NMAT prescribed in MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, is an "unfair, unreasonable and inequitable
requirement," which results in a denial of due process. Again, petitioners have failed to specify just what factors or features of the NMAT
render it "unfair" and "unreasonable" or "inequitable." They appear to suggest that passing the NMAT is an unnecessary requirement when
added on top of the admission requirements set out in Section 7 of the Medical Act of 1959, and other admission requirements
established by internal regulations of the various medical schools, public or private. Petitioners arguments thus appear to relate to utility
and wisdom or desirability of the NMAT requirement. But constitutionality is essentially a question of power or authority: this Court has
neither commission or competence to pass upon questions of the desirability or wisdom or utility of legislation or administrative
regulation. Those questions must be address to the political departments of the government not to the courts.

There is another reason why the petitioners' arguments must fail: the legislative and administrative provisions impugned by them
constitute, to the mind of the Court, a valid exercise of the police power of the state. The police power, it is commonplace learning, is
the pervasive and non-waivable power and authority of the sovereign to secure and promote an the important interests and needs in
a word, the public order of the general community.6 An important component of that public order is the health and physical safety
and well being of the population, the securing of which no one can deny is a legitimate objective of governmental effort and regulation.7

Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether there is some reasonable relation between the prescribing of passing the
NMAT as a condition for admission to medical school on the one hand, and the securing of the health and safety of the general
community, on the other hand. This question is perhaps most usefully approached by recalling that the regulation of the practice of
medicine in all its branches has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of the public.8 That the
power to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to
practice medicine, is also well recognized. thus, legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine
first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been recognized as valid exercises of governmental power.9 Similarly,
the establishment of minimum medical educational requirements i.e., the completion of prescribed courses in a recognized medical
school for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the
state.10 What we have before us in the instant case is closely related: the regulation of access to medical schools. MECS Order No. 52, s.
1985, as noted earlier, articulates the rationale of regulation of this type: the improvement of the professional and technical quality of the
graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those admitted to the student body of the medical schools. That upgrading is
sought by selectivity in the process of admission, selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission to those who exhibit in
the required degree the aptitude for medical studies and eventually for medical practice. The need to maintain, and the difficulties of
maintaining, high standards in our professional schools in general, and medical schools in particular, in the current stage of our social and
economic development, are widely known.

We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an admission test like the NMAT as a means for achieving its stated objective of
"upgrading the selection of applicants into [our] medical schools" and of "improv[ing] the quality of medical education in the country."
Given the widespread use today of such admission tests in, for instance, medical schools in the United States of America (the Medical
College Admission Test [MCAT]11 and quite probably in other countries with far more developed educational resources than our own,
and taking into account the failure or inability of the petitioners to even attempt to prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the
NMAT is reasonably related to the securing of the ultimate end of legislation and regulation in this area. That end, it is useful to recall, is
the protection of the public from the potentially deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance in those who would undertake to treat
our bodies and minds for disease or trauma.

4. Petitioners have contended, finally, that MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, is in conflict with the equal protection clause of the
Constitution. More specifically, petitioners assert that that portion of the MECS Order which provides that

the cutoff score for the successful applicants, based on the scores on the NMAT, shall be determined every-year by the Board
of Medical 11 Education after consultation with the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges. (Emphasis supplied)

infringes the requirements of equal protection. They assert, in other words, that students seeking admission during a given school year,
e.g., 1987-1988, when subjected to a different cutoff score than that established for an, e.g., earlier school year, are discriminated against
and that this renders the MECS Order "arbitrary and capricious." The force of this argument is more apparent than real. Different cutoff
scores for different school years may be dictated by differing conditions obtaining during those years. Thus, the appropriate cutoff score
for a given year may be a function of such factors as the number of students who have reached the cutoff score established the preceding
year; the number of places available in medical schools during the current year; the average score attained during the current year; the
level of difficulty of the test given during the current year, and so forth. To establish a permanent and immutable cutoff score regardless
of changes in circumstances from year to year, may wen result in an unreasonable rigidity. The above language in MECS Order No. 52,
far from being arbitrary or capricious, leaves the Board of Medical Education with the measure of flexibility needed to meet
circumstances as they change.

We conclude that prescribing the NMAT and requiring certain minimum scores therein as a condition for admission to medical schools in
the Philippines, do not constitute an unconstitutional imposition.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari is DISMISSED and the Order of the respondent trial court denying the petition for a writ of
preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

Facts:

Teresita Tablarin, Ma. Luz Ciriaco, Ma. Nimfa B. Rovira, and Evangelina S. Labao sought admission into colleges or schools of medicine
for the school year 1987-1988. However, they either did not take or did not successfully take the National Medical Admission Test
(NMAT) required by the Board of Medical Education and administered by the Center for Educational Measurement (CEM). On 5 March
1987, Tablarin, et. al., in behalf of applicants for admission into the Medical Colleges who have not taken up or successfully hurdled the
NMAT, filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial Region, a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Prohibition
with a prayer for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Preliminary Injunction, to enjoin the Secretary of Education, Culture and
Sports, the Board of Medical Education and the Center for Educational Measurement from enforcing Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act
2382, as amended, and MECS Order 52 (series of 1985), dated 23 August 1985 [which established a uniform admission test (NMAT) as
an additional requirement for issuance of a certificate of eligibility for admission into medical schools of the Philippines, beginning with
the school year 1986-1987] and from requiring the taking and passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing certificates of eligibility for
admission, from proceeding with accepting applications for taking the NMAT and from administering the NMAT as scheduled on 26
April 1987 and in the future. After hearing on the petition for issuance of preliminary injunction, the trial court denied said petition on 20
April 1987. The NMAT was conducted and administered as previously scheduled. Tablarin, et. al. accordingly filed a Special Civil Action
for Certiorari with the Supreme Court to set aside the Order of the RTC judge denying the petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction.

Issue:

Whether NMAT requirement for admission to medical colleges contravenes the Constitutional guarantee for the accessibility of education
to all, and whether such regulation is invalid and/or unconstitutional.

Held:

No. Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts 4224 and 5946, known as the Medical Act of 1959 defines its basic objectives to
govern (a) the standardization and regulation of medical education; (b) the examination for registration of physicians; and (c) the
supervision, control and regulation of the practice of medicine in the Philippines. The Statute created a Board of Medical Education and
prescribed certain minimum requirements for applicants to medical schools.
The petitioners invoke a number of provisions of the 1987 Constitution which are, in their assertion, violated by the continued
implementation of Section 5(a) and (f) of RA 238, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52 series 1985. One of the provision is Article 14,
Section 1 which states The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and take appropriate
steps to make such education accessible to all.

The State is not really enjoined to take appropriate steps to make quality education accessible to all who might for any number of
reasons wish to enroll in a professional school but rather merely to make such education accessible to all who qualify under fair,
reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements.

Also, the legislative and administrative provisions impugned by the petitioners, to the mind of the Court, is a valid exercise of the Police
Power of the State. The police power is the pervasive and non-waivable power and authority of the sovereign to secure and promote
important interest and needs -- in other words, the public order -- of the general community. An important component of that public
order is health and physical safety and well being of the population, the securing of which no one can deny is a legitimate objective of
governmental effort and regulation.

The regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health
and safety of the public. The power to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate admission to the
ranks of those authorized to practice medicine. Legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine
first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been recognized as valid exercises of governmental powers. Similarly,
the establishment of minimum medical educational requirements for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a
legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state.

Thus, prescribing the NMAT and requiring certain scores as a condition for admission to medical schools do not constitute
unconstitutional imposition. Wherefore, the petition is DISMISSED

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 111097 July 20, 1994

MAYOR PABLO P. MAGTAJAS & THE CITY OF CAGAYAN DE ORO, petitioners,


vs.
PRYCE PROPERTIES CORPORATION, INC. & PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION, respondents.

Aquilino G. Pimentel, Jr. and Associates for petitioners.

R.R. Torralba & Associates for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:

There was instant opposition when PAGCOR announced the opening of a casino in Cagayan de Oro City. Civic organizations angrily
denounced the project. The religious elements echoed the objection and so did the women's groups and the youth. Demonstrations were
led by the mayor and the city legislators. The media trumpeted the protest, describing the casino as an affront to the welfare of the city.

The trouble arose when in 1992, flush with its tremendous success in several cities, PAGCOR decided to expand its operations to Cagayan
de Oro City. To this end, it leased a portion of a building belonging to Pryce Properties Corporation, Inc., one of the herein private
respondents, renovated and equipped the same, and prepared to inaugurate its casino there during the Christmas season.

The reaction of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City was swift and hostile. On December 7, 1992, it enacted Ordinance
No. 3353 reading as follows:

ORDINANCE NO. 3353


AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ISSUANCE OF BUSINESS PERMIT AND CANCELLING EXISTING BUSINESS
PERMIT TO ANY ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE USING AND ALLOWING TO BE USED ITS PREMISES OR PORTION
THEREOF FOR THE OPERATION OF CASINO.

BE IT ORDAINED by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro, in session assembled that:

Sec. 1. That pursuant to the policy of the city banning the operation of casino within its territorial jurisdiction, no
business permit shall be issued to any person, partnership or corporation for the operation of casino within the city
limits.

Sec. 2. That it shall be a violation of existing business permit by any persons, partnership or corporation to use its
business establishment or portion thereof, or allow the use thereof by others for casino operation and other gambling
activities.

Sec. 3. PENALTIES. Any violation of such existing business permit as defined in the preceding section shall suffer
the following penalties, to wit:

a) Suspension of the business permit for sixty (60) days for the first offense and a
fine of P1,000.00/day

b) Suspension of the business permit for Six (6) months for the second offense, and
a fine of P3,000.00/day

c) Permanent revocation of the business permit and imprisonment of One (1) year,
for the third and subsequent offenses.

Sec. 4. This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days from publication thereof.

Nor was this all. On January 4, 1993, it adopted a sterner Ordinance No. 3375-93 reading as follows:

ORDINANCE NO. 3375-93

AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE OPERATION OF CASINO AND PROVIDING PENALTY FOR VIOLATION
THEREFOR.

WHEREAS, the City Council established a policy as early as 1990 against CASINO under its Resolution No. 2295;

WHEREAS, on October 14, 1992, the City Council passed another Resolution No. 2673, reiterating its policy against
the establishment of CASINO;

WHEREAS, subsequently, thereafter, it likewise passed Ordinance No. 3353, prohibiting the issuance of Business Permit
and to cancel existing Business Permit to any establishment for the using and allowing to be used its premises or
portion thereof for the operation of CASINO;

WHEREAS, under Art. 3, section 458, No. (4), sub paragraph VI of the Local Government Code of 1991 (Rep. Act
7160) and under Art. 99, No. (4), Paragraph VI of the implementing rules of the Local Government Code, the City
Council as the Legislative Body shall enact measure to suppress any activity inimical to public morals and general
welfare of the people and/or regulate or prohibit such activity pertaining to amusement or entertainment in order to
protect social and moral welfare of the community;

NOW THEREFORE,

BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council in session duly assembled that:

Sec. 1. The operation of gambling CASINO in the City of Cagayan de Oro is hereby prohibited.

Sec. 2. Any violation of this Ordinance shall be subject to the following penalties:

a) Administrative fine of P5,000.00 shall be imposed against the proprietor, partnership or corporation undertaking
the operation, conduct, maintenance of gambling CASINO in the City and closure thereof;
b) Imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than one (1) year or a fine in the amount of P5,000.00 or
both at the discretion of the court against the manager, supervisor, and/or any person responsible in the establishment,
conduct and maintenance of gambling CASINO.

Sec. 3. This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days after its publication in a local newspaper of general circulation.

Pryce assailed the ordinances before the Court of Appeals, where it was joined by PAGCOR as intervenor and supplemental petitioner.
Their challenge succeeded. On March 31, 1993, the Court of Appeals declared the ordinances invalid and issued the writ prayed for to
prohibit their enforcement. 1 Reconsideration of this decision was denied on July 13, 1993. 2

Cagayan de Oro City and its mayor are now before us in this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 3 They aver that
the respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that:

1. Under existing laws, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro does not have the power and
authority to prohibit the establishment and operation of a PAGCOR gambling casino within the City's territorial limits.

2. The phrase "gambling and other prohibited games of chance" found in Sec. 458, par. (a), sub-par. (1) (v) of R.A.
7160 could only mean "illegal gambling."

3. The questioned Ordinances in effect annul P.D. 1869 and are therefore invalid on that point.

4. The questioned Ordinances are discriminatory to casino and partial to cockfighting and are therefore invalid on that
point.

5. The questioned Ordinances are not reasonable, not consonant with the general powers and purposes of the
instrumentality concerned and inconsistent with the laws or policy of the State.

6. It had no option but to follow the ruling in the case of Basco, et al. v. PAGCOR, G.R. No. 91649, May 14, 1991,
197 SCRA 53 in disposing of the issues presented in this present case.

PAGCOR is a corporation created directly by P.D. 1869 to help centralize and regulate all games of chance, including casinos on land and
sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines. In Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation, 4 this Court
sustained the constitutionality of the decree and even cited the benefits of the entity to the national economy as the third highest
revenue-earner in the government, next only to the BIR and the Bureau of Customs.

Cagayan de Oro City, like other local political subdivisions, is empowered to enact ordinances for the purposes indicated in the Local
Government Code. It is expressly vested with the police power under what is known as the General Welfare Clause now embodied in
Section 16 as follows:

Sec. 16. General Welfare. Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those
necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective
governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial
jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of
culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the
development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance
economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and
preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.

In addition, Section 458 of the said Code specifically declares that:

Sec. 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The Sangguniang Panlungsod, as the legislative body
of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its
inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:

(1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city government, and in this
connection, shall:

xxx xxx xxx


(v) Enact ordinances intended to prevent, suppress and impose appropriate
penalties for habitual drunkenness in public places, vagrancy, mendicancy,
prostitution, establishment and maintenance of houses of ill repute, gamblingand
other prohibited games of chance, fraudulent devices and ways to obtain money
or property, drug addiction, maintenance of drug dens, drug pushing, juvenile
delinquency, the printing, distribution or exhibition of obscene or pornographic
materials or publications, and such other activities inimical to the welfare and
morals of the inhabitants of the city;

This section also authorizes the local government units to regulate properties and businesses within their territorial limits in the interest of
the general welfare. 5

The petitioners argue that by virtue of these provisions, the Sangguniang Panlungsod may prohibit the operation of casinos because they
involve games of chance, which are detrimental to the people. Gambling is not allowed by general law and even by the Constitution
itself. The legislative power conferred upon local government units may be exercised over all kinds of gambling and not only over "illegal
gambling" as the respondents erroneously argue. Even if the operation of casinos may have been permitted under P.D. 1869, the
government of Cagayan de Oro City has the authority to prohibit them within its territory pursuant to the authority entrusted to it by
the Local Government Code.

It is submitted that this interpretation is consonant with the policy of local autonomy as mandated in Article II, Section 25, and Article X
of the Constitution, as well as various other provisions therein seeking to strengthen the character of the nation. In giving the local
government units the power to prevent or suppress gambling and other social problems, the Local Government Code has recognized the
competence of such communities to determine and adopt the measures best expected to promote the general welfare of their inhabitants
in line with the policies of the State.

The petitioners also stress that when the Code expressly authorized the local government units to prevent and suppress gambling and
other prohibited games of chance, like craps, baccarat, blackjack and roulette, it meant allforms of gambling without distinction. Ubi lex
non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemos. 6 Otherwise, it would have expressly excluded from the scope of their power casinos and
other forms of gambling authorized by special law, as it could have easily done. The fact that it did not do so simply means that the local
government units are permitted to prohibit all kinds of gambling within their territories, including the operation of casinos.

The adoption of the Local Government Code, it is pointed out, had the effect of modifying the charter of the PAGCOR. The Code is not
only a later enactment than P.D. 1869 and so is deemed to prevail in case of inconsistencies between them. More than this, the powers of
the PAGCOR under the decree are expressly discontinued by the Code insofar as they do not conform to its philosophy and provisions,
pursuant to Par. (f) of its repealing clause reading as follows:

(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and administrative
regulations, or part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Code are hereby repealed
or modified accordingly.

It is also maintained that assuming there is doubt regarding the effect of the Local Government Code on P.D. 1869, the doubt must be
resolved in favor of the petitioners, in accordance with the direction in the Code calling for its liberal interpretation in favor of the local
government units. Section 5 of the Code specifically provides:

Sec. 5. Rules of Interpretation. In the interpretation of the provisions of this Code, the following rules shall apply:

(a) Any provision on a power of a local government unit shall be liberally interpreted in its favor, and in case of
doubt, any question thereon shall be resolved in favor of devolution of powers and of the lower local government
unit. Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of the local
government unit concerned;

xxx xxx xxx

(c) The general welfare provisions in this Code shall be liberally interpreted to give more powers to local government
units in accelerating economic development and upgrading the quality of life for the people in the community; . . .
(Emphasis supplied.)

Finally, the petitioners also attack gambling as intrinsically harmful and cite various provisions of the Constitution and several decisions of
this Court expressive of the general and official disapprobation of the vice. They invoke the State policies on the family and the proper
upbringing of the youth and, as might be expected, call attention to the old case of U.S. v. Salaveria,7 which sustained a municipal
ordinance prohibiting the playing of panguingue. The petitioners decry the immorality of gambling. They also impugn the wisdom of
P.D. 1869 (which they describe as "a martial law instrument") in creating PAGCOR and authorizing it to operate casinos "on land and sea
within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines."
This is the opportune time to stress an important point.

The morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not illegal per se. While it is generally considered inimical to the interests
of the people, there is nothing in the Constitution categorically proscribing or penalizing gambling or, for that matter, even mentioning it
at all. It is left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit. In the exercise of its own discretion, the legislature may prohibit gambling
altogether or allow it without limitation or it may prohibit some forms of gambling and allow others for whatever reasons it may
consider sufficient. Thus, it has prohibited jueteng and monte but permits lotteries, cockfighting and horse-racing. In making such
choices, Congress has consulted its own wisdom, which this Court has no authority to review, much less reverse. Well has it been said
that courts do not sit to resolve the merits of conflicting theories. 8 That is the prerogative of the political departments. It is settled that
questions regarding the wisdom, morality, or practicibility of statutes are not addressed to the judiciary but may be resolved only by the
legislative and executive departments, to which the function belongs in our scheme of government. That function is exclusive. Whichever
way these branches decide, they are answerable only to their own conscience and the constituents who will ultimately judge their acts,
and not to the courts of justice.

The only question we can and shall resolve in this petition is the validity of Ordinance No. 3355 and Ordinance No. 3375-93 as enacted
by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City. And we shall do so only by the criteria laid down by law and not by our own
convictions on the propriety of gambling.

The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions 9 has held that to be valid, an ordinance must conform to the
following substantive requirements:

1) It must not contravene the constitution or any statute.

2) It must not be unfair or oppressive.

3) It must not be partial or discriminatory.

4) It must not prohibit but may regulate trade.

5) It must be general and consistent with public policy.

6) It must not be unreasonable.

We begin by observing that under Sec. 458 of the Local Government Code, local government units are authorized to prevent or
suppress, among others, "gambling and other prohibited games of chance." Obviously, this provision excludes games of chance which
are not prohibited but are in fact permitted by law. The petitioners are less than accurate in claiming that the Code could have excluded
such games of chance but did not. In fact it does. The language of the section is clear and unmistakable. Under the rule of noscitur a
sociis, a word or phrase should be interpreted in relation to, or given the same meaning of, words with which it is associated.
Accordingly, we conclude that since the word "gambling" is associated with "and other prohibited games of chance," the word should be
read as referring to only illegal gambling which, like the other prohibited games of chance, must be prevented or suppressed.

We could stop here as this interpretation should settle the problem quite conclusively. But we will not. The vigorous efforts of the
petitioners on behalf of the inhabitants of Cagayan de Oro City, and the earnestness of their advocacy, deserve more than short shrift
from this Court.

The apparent flaw in the ordinances in question is that they contravene P.D. 1869 and the public policy embodied therein insofar as they
prevent PAGCOR from exercising the power conferred on it to operate a casino in Cagayan de Oro City. The petitioners have an
ingenious answer to this misgiving. They deny that it is the ordinances that have changed P.D. 1869 for an ordinance admittedly cannot
prevail against a statute. Their theory is that the change has been made by the Local Government Code itself, which was also enacted by
the national lawmaking authority. In their view, the decree has been, not really repealed by the Code, but merely "modified pro tanto"
in the sense that PAGCOR cannot now operate a casino over the objection of the local government unit concerned. This modification of
P.D. 1869 by the Local Government Code is permissible because one law can change or repeal another law.

It seems to us that the petitioners are playing with words. While insisting that the decree has only been "modifiedpro tanto," they are
actually arguing that it is already dead, repealed and useless for all intents and purposes because the Code has shorn PAGCOR of all
power to centralize and regulate casinos. Strictly speaking, its operations may now be not only prohibited by the local government unit;
in fact, the prohibition is not only discretionary but mandated by Section 458 of the Code if the word "shall" as used therein is to be
given its accepted meaning. Local government units have now no choice but to prevent and suppress gambling, which in the petitioners'
view includes both legal and illegal gambling. Under this construction, PAGCOR will have no more games of chance to regulate or
centralize as they must all be prohibited by the local government units pursuant to the mandatory duty imposed upon them by the Code.
In this situation, PAGCOR cannot continue to exist except only as a toothless tiger or a white elephant and will no longer be able to
exercise its powers as a prime source of government revenue through the operation of casinos.
It is noteworthy that the petitioners have cited only Par. (f) of the repealing clause, conveniently discarding the rest of the provision
which painstakingly mentions the specific laws or the parts thereof which are repealed (or modified) by the Code. Significantly, P.D. 1869
is not one of them. A reading of the entire repealing clause, which is reproduced below, will disclose the omission:

Sec. 534. Repealing Clause. (a) Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise known as the "Local Government Code,"
Executive Order No. 112 (1987), and Executive Order No. 319 (1988) are hereby repealed.

(b) Presidential Decree Nos. 684, 1191, 1508 and such other decrees, orders, instructions, memoranda and issuances
related to or concerning the barangay are hereby repealed.

(c) The provisions of Sections 2, 3, and 4 of Republic Act No. 1939 regarding hospital fund; Section 3, a (3) and b (2)
of Republic Act. No. 5447 regarding the Special Education Fund; Presidential Decree No. 144 as amended by
Presidential Decree Nos. 559 and 1741; Presidential Decree No. 231 as amended; Presidential Decree No. 436 as
amended by Presidential Decree No. 558; and Presidential Decree Nos. 381, 436, 464, 477, 526, 632, 752, and 1136
are hereby repealed and rendered of no force and effect.

(d) Presidential Decree No. 1594 is hereby repealed insofar as it governs locally-funded projects.

(e) The following provisions are hereby repealed or amended insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of
this Code: Sections 2, 16, and 29 of Presidential Decree No. 704; Sections 12 of Presidential Decree No. 87, as
amended; Sections 52, 53, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74 of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended; and
Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 972, as amended, and

(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and administrative
regulations, or part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Code are hereby repealed
or modified accordingly.

Furthermore, it is a familiar rule that implied repeals are not lightly presumed in the absence of a clear and unmistakable showing of such
intention. In Lichauco & Co. v. Apostol, 10 this Court explained:

The cases relating to the subject of repeal by implication all proceed on the assumption that if the act of later date
clearly reveals an intention on the part of the lawmaking power to abrogate the prior law, this intention must be given
effect; but there must always be a sufficient revelation of this intention, and it has become an unbending rule of
statutory construction that the intention to repeal a former law will not be imputed to the Legislature when it appears
that the two statutes, or provisions, with reference to which the question arises bear to each other the relation of
general to special.

There is no sufficient indication of an implied repeal of P.D. 1869. On the contrary, as the private respondent points out, PAGCOR is
mentioned as the source of funding in two later enactments of Congress, to wit, R.A. 7309, creating a Board of Claims under the
Department of Justice for the benefit of victims of unjust punishment or detention or of violent crimes, and R.A. 7648, providing for
measures for the solution of the power crisis. PAGCOR revenues are tapped by these two statutes. This would show that the PAGCOR
charter has not been repealed by the Local Government Code but has in fact been improved as it were to make the entity more
responsive to the fiscal problems of the government.

It is a canon of legal hermeneutics that instead of pitting one statute against another in an inevitably destructive confrontation, courts
must exert every effort to reconcile them, remembering that both laws deserve a becoming respect as the handiwork of a coordinate
branch of the government. On the assumption of a conflict between P.D. 1869 and the Code, the proper action is not to uphold one and
annul the other but to give effect to both by harmonizing them if possible. This is possible in the case before us. The proper resolution of
the problem at hand is to hold that under the Local Government Code, local government units may (and indeed must) prevent and
suppress all kinds of gambling within their territories except only those allowed by statutes like P.D. 1869. The exception reserved in such
laws must be read into the Code, to make both the Code and such laws equally effective and mutually complementary.

This approach would also affirm that there are indeed two kinds of gambling, to wit, the illegal and those authorized by law. Legalized
gambling is not a modern concept; it is probably as old as illegal gambling, if not indeed more so. The petitioners' suggestion that the
Code authorizes them to prohibit all kinds of gambling would erase the distinction between these two forms of gambling without a clear
indication that this is the will of the legislature. Plausibly, following this theory, the City of Manila could, by mere ordinance, prohibit the
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office from conducting a lottery as authorized by R.A. 1169 and B.P. 42 or stop the races at the San
Lazaro Hippodrome as authorized by R.A. 309 and R.A. 983.

In light of all the above considerations, we see no way of arriving at the conclusion urged on us by the petitioners that the ordinances in
question are valid. On the contrary, we find that the ordinances violate P.D. 1869, which has the character and force of a statute, as well
as the public policy expressed in the decree allowing the playing of certain games of chance despite the prohibition of gambling in
general.
The rationale of the requirement that the ordinances should not contravene a statute is obvious. Municipal governments are only agents
of the national government. Local councils exercise only delegated legislative powers conferred on them by Congress as the national
lawmaking body. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than those of the latter. It is a heresy to
suggest that the local government units can undo the acts of Congress, from which they have derived their power in the first place, and
negate by mere ordinance the mandate of the statute.

Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers and rights wholly from the legislature. It breathes
into them the breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As it creates, so it may destroy. As it may destroy, it may
abridge and control. Unless there is some constitutional limitation on the right, the legislature might, by a single act,
and if we can suppose it capable of so great a folly and so great a wrong, sweep from existence all of the municipal
corporations in the State, and the corporation could not prevent it. We know of no limitation on the right so far as to
the corporation themselves are concerned. They are, so to phrase it, the mere tenants at will of the legislature. 11

This basic relationship between the national legislature and the local government units has not been enfeebled by the new provisions in
the Constitution strengthening the policy of local autonomy. Without meaning to detract from that policy, we here confirm that
Congress retains control of the local government units although in significantly reduced degree now than under our previous
Constitutions. The power to create still includes the power to destroy. The power to grant still includes the power to withhold or recall.
True, there are certain notable innovations in the Constitution, like the direct conferment on the local government units of the power to
tax, 12 which cannot now be withdrawn by mere statute. By and large, however, the national legislature is still the principal of the local
government units, which cannot defy its will or modify or violate it.

The Court understands and admires the concern of the petitioners for the welfare of their constituents and their apprehensions that the
welfare of Cagayan de Oro City will be endangered by the opening of the casino. We share the view that "the hope of large or easy gain,
obtained without special effort, turns the head of the workman" 13 and that "habitual gambling is a cause of laziness and
ruin." 14 In People v. Gorostiza, 15 we declared: "The social scourge of gambling must be stamped out. The laws against gambling must
be enforced to the limit." George Washington called gambling "the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity and the father of mischief."
Nevertheless, we must recognize the power of the legislature to decide, in its own wisdom, to legalize certain forms of gambling, as was
done in P.D. 1869 and impliedly affirmed in the Local Government Code. That decision can be revoked by this Court only if it
contravenes the Constitution as the touchstone of all official acts. We do not find such contravention here.

We hold that the power of PAGCOR to centralize and regulate all games of chance, including casinos on land and sea within the
territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines, remains unimpaired. P.D. 1869 has not been modified by the Local Government Code, which
empowers the local government units to prevent or suppress only those forms of gambling prohibited by law.

Casino gambling is authorized by P.D. 1869. This decree has the status of a statute that cannot be amended or nullified by a mere
ordinance. Hence, it was not competent for the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City to enact Ordinance No. 3353
prohibiting the use of buildings for the operation of a casino and Ordinance No. 3375-93 prohibiting the operation of casinos. For all
their praiseworthy motives, these ordinances are contrary to P.D. 1869 and the public policy announced therein and are therefore ultra
vires and void.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the challenged decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED, with costs against
the petitioners. It is so ordered.

Facts:

PAGCOR decided to expand its operations to Cagayan de Oro City. It leased a portion of a building belonging to Pryce Properties
Corporations, Inc., renovated & equipped the same, and prepared to inaugurate its casino during the Christmas season.

Civil organizations angrily denounced the project. Petitioners opposed the casinos opening and enacted Ordinance No. 3353,
prohibiting the issuance of business permit and canceling existing business permit to the establishment for the operation of the casino, and
Ordinance No. 3375-93, prohibiting the operation of the casino and providing a penalty for its violation.

Respondents assailed the validity of the ordinances on the ground that they both violated Presidential Decree No. 1869. Petitioners
contend that, pursuant to the Local Government Code, they have the police power authority to prohibit the operation of casino for the
general welfare.

Issue:
Whether the Ordinances are valid.

Ruling:

No. Cagayan de Oro City, like other local political subdivisions, is empowered to enact ordinances for the purposes indicated in the Local
Government Code. It is expressly vested with the police power under what is known as the General Welfare Clause now embodied in
Section 16 as follows:Sec. 16.

General Welfare. Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well
as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion
of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other
things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology,
encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals,
enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve
the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.

Local Government Code, local government units are authorized to prevent or suppress, among others, "gambling and other prohibited
games of chance." Obviously, this provision excludes games of chance which are not prohibited but are in fact permitted by law.

The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions has held that to be valid, an ordinance must conform to the
following substantive requirements:

1) It must not contravene the constitution or any statute.

2) It must not be unfair or oppressive.

3) It must not be partial or discriminatory.

4) It must not prohibit but may regulate trade.

5) It must be general and consistent with public policy.

6) It must not be unreasonable.

The rationale of the requirement that the ordinances should not contravene a statute is obvious.Casino gambling is authorized by P.D.
1869. This decree has the status of a statute that cannot be amended or nullified by a mere ordinance. Local councils exercise only
delegated legislative powers conferred on them by Congress as the national lawmaking body. The delegate cannot be superior to the
principal or exercise powers higher than those of the latter. It is a heresy to suggest that the local government units can undo the acts of
Congress, from which they have derived their power in the first place, and negate by mere ordinance the mandate of the statute.Hence,
it was not competent for the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City to enact Ordinance No. 3353 prohibiting the use of
buildings for the operation of a casino and Ordinance No. 3375-93 prohibiting the operation of casinos. For all their praiseworthy
motives, these ordinances are contrary to P.D. 1869 and the public policy announced therein and are therefore ultra vires and void.

Wherefore, the petition is denied.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 120865-71 December 7, 1995

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE HERCULANO TECH, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 70, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
BINANGONAN RIZAL; FLEET DEVELOPMENT, INC. and CARLITO ARROYO; THE MUNICIPALITY OF BINANGONAN and/or
MAYOR ISIDRO B. PACIS, respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE AURELIO C. TRAMPE, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 163, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG;
MANILA MARINE LIFE BUSINESS RESOURCES, INC. represented by, MR. TOBIAS REYNALD M. TIANGCO; MUNICIPALITY OF
TAGUIG, METRO MANILA and/or MAYOR RICARDO D. PAPA, JR., respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE ALEJANDRO A. MARQUEZ, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 79, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
MORONG, RIZAL; GREENFIELD VENTURES INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and R. J. ORION DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION; MUNICIPALITY OF JALA-JALA and/or MAYOR WALFREDO M. DE LA VEGA, respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE MANUEL S. PADOLINA, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 162, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG,
METRO MANILA; IRMA FISHING & TRADING CORP.; ARTM FISHING CORP.; BDR CORPORATION, MIRT CORPORATION and
TRIM CORPORATION; MUNICIPALITY OF BINANGONAN and/or MAYOR ISIDRO B. PACIS, respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE ARTURO A. MARAVE, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 78, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
MORONG, RIZAL; BLUE LAGOON FISHING CORP. and ALCRIS CHICKEN GROWERS, INC.; MUNICIPALITY OF JALA-JALA and/or
MAYOR WALFREDO M. DE LA VEGA, respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE ARTURO A. MARAVE, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 78, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
MORONG, RIZAL; AGP FISH VENTURES, INC., represented by its PRESIDENT ALFONSO PUYAT; MUNICIPALITY OF JALA-JALA
and/or MAYOR WALFREDO M. DE LA VEGA, respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE EUGENIO S. LABITORIA, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 161, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG,
METRO MANILA; SEA MAR TRADING CO. INC.; EASTERN LAGOON FISHING CORP.; MINAMAR FISHING CORP.; MUNICIPALITY
OF BINANGONAN and/or MAYOR ISIDRO B. PACIS, respondents.

HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:

It is difficult for a man, scavenging on the garbage dump created by affluence and profligate consumption and extravagance of the rich or
fishing in the murky waters of the Pasig River and the Laguna Lake or making a clearing in the forest so that he can produce food for his
family, to understand why protecting birds, fish, and trees is more important than protecting him and keeping his family alive.

How do we strike a balance between environmental protection, on the one hand, and the individual personal interests of people, on the
other?

Towards environmental protection and ecology, navigational safety, and sustainable development, Republic Act No. 4850 created the
"Laguna Lake Development Authority." This Government Agency is supposed to carry out and effectuate the aforesaid declared policy, so
as to accelerate the development and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces, cities and towns, in the
act clearly named, within the context of the national and regional plans and policies for social and economic development.

Presidential Decree No. 813 of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos amended certain sections of Republic Act No. 4850 because of the
concern for the rapid expansion of Metropolitan Manila, the suburbs and the lakeshore towns of Laguna de Bay, combined with current
and prospective uses of the lake for municipal-industrial water supply, irrigation, fisheries, and the like. Concern on the part of the
Government and the general public over: the environment impact of development on the water quality and ecology of the lake and
its related river systems; the inflow of polluted water from the Pasig River, industrial, domestic and agricultural wastes from developed
areas around the lake; the increasing urbanization which induced the deterioration of the lake, since water quality studies have shown
that the lake will deteriorate further if steps are not taken to check the same; and the floods in Metropolitan Manila area and the
lakeshore towns which will influence the hydraulic system of Laguna de Bay, since any scheme of controlling the floods will necessarily
involve the lake and its river systems, likewise gave impetus to the creation of the Authority.

Section 1 of Republic Act No. 4850 was amended to read as follows:

Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared to be the national policy to promote, and accelerate the
development and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces, cities and towns
hereinafter referred to as the region, within the context of the national and regional plans and policies for social and
economic development and to carry out the development of the Laguna Lake region with due regard and adequate
provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of human life and ecological
systems, and the prevention of undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and pollution.1

Special powers of the Authority, pertinent to the issues in this case, include:

Sec. 3. Section 4 of the same Act is hereby further amended by adding thereto seven new paragraphs to be known as
paragraphs (j), (k), (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) which shall read as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

(j) The provisions of existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding, to engage in fish production and
other aqua-culture projects in Laguna de Bay and other bodies of water within its jurisdiction and in
pursuance thereof to conduct studies and make experiments, whenever necessary, with the
collaboration and assistance of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, with the end in view
of improving present techniques and practices. Provided, that until modified, altered or amended
by the procedure provided in the following sub-paragraph, the present laws, rules and permits or
authorizations remain in force;

(k) For the purpose of effectively regulating and monitoring activities in Laguna de Bay, the
Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue new permit for the use of the lake waters for any
projects or activities in or affecting the said lake including navigation, construction, and operation of
fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the like, and to impose necessary safeguards for lake quality
control and management and to collect necessary fees for said activities and projects: Provided,
That the fees collected for fisheries may be shared between the Authority and other government
agencies and political sub-divisions in such proportion as may be determined by the President of the
Philippines upon recommendation of the Authority's Board: Provided, further, That the Authority's
Board may determine new areas of fishery development or activities which it may place under the
supervision of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources taking into account the overall
development plans and programs for Laguna de Bay and related bodies of water: Provided, finally,
That the Authority shall subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines promulgate such
rules and regulations which shall govern fisheries development activities in Laguna de Bay which
shall take into consideration among others the following: socio-economic amelioration of bonafide
resident fishermen whether individually or collectively in the form of cooperatives, lakeshore town
development, a master plan for fishpen construction and operation, communal fishing ground for
lake shore town residents, and preference to lake shore town residents in hiring laborer for fishery
projects;

(l) To require the cities and municipalities embraced within the region to pass appropriate zoning
ordinances and other regulatory measures necessary to carry out the objectives of the Authority and
enforce the same with the assistance of the Authority;

(m) The provisions of existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding, to exercise water rights over
public waters within the Laguna de Bay region whenever necessary to carry out the Authority's
projects;

(n) To act in coordination with existing governmental agencies in establishing water quality
standards for industrial, agricultural and municipal waste discharges into the lake and to cooperate
with said existing agencies of the government of the Philippines in enforcing such standards, or to
separately pursue enforcement and penalty actions as provided for in Section 4 (d) and Section 39-A
of this Act: Provided, That in case of conflict on the appropriate water quality standard to be
enforced such conflict shall be resolved thru the NEDA Board.2

To more effectively perform the role of the Authority under Republic Act No. 4850, as though Presidential Decree No. 813 were not
thought to be completely effective, the Chief Executive, feeling that the land and waters of the Laguna Lake Region are limited natural
resources requiring judicious management to their optimal utilization to insure renewability and to preserve the ecological balance, the
competing options for the use of such resources and conflicting jurisdictions over such uses having created undue constraints on the
institutional capabilities of the Authority in the light of the limited powers vested in it by its charter, Executive Order No. 927 further
defined and enlarged the functions and powers of the Authority and named and enumerated the towns, cities and provinces
encompassed by the term "Laguna de Bay Region".

Also, pertinent to the issues in this case are the following provisions of Executive Order No. 927 which include in particular the sharing of
fees:

Sec 2. Water Rights Over Laguna de Bay and Other Bodies of Water within the Lake Region: To effectively regulate
and monitor activities in the Laguna de Bay region, the Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue permit for
the use of all surface water for any projects or activities in or affecting the said region including navigation,
construction, and operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the like.

For the purpose of this Executive Order, the term "Laguna de Bay Region" shall refer to the Provinces of Rizal and
Laguna; the Cities of San Pablo, Pasay, Caloocan, Quezon, Manila and Tagaytay; the towns of Tanauan, Sto. Tomas
and Malvar in Batangas Province; the towns of Silang and Carmona in Cavite Province; the town of Lucban in Quezon
Province; and the towns of Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Muntinlupa, and Pateros in Metro Manila.

Sec 3. Collection of Fees. The Authority is hereby empowered to collect fees for the use of the lake water and its
tributaries for all beneficial purposes including but not limited to fisheries, recreation, municipal, industrial, agricultural,
navigation, irrigation, and waste disposal purpose; Provided, that the rates of the fees to be collected, and the sharing
with other government agencies and political subdivisions, if necessary, shall be subject to the approval of the President
of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Authority's Board, except fishpen fee, which will be shared in the
following manner; 20 percent of the fee shall go to the lakeshore local governments, 5 percent shall go to the Project
Development Fund which shall be administered by a Council and the remaining 75 percent shall constitute the share of
LLDA. However, after the implementation within the three-year period of the Laguna Lake Fishery Zoning and
Management Plan, the sharing will be modified as follows: 35 percent of the fishpen fee goes to the lakeshore local
governments, 5 percent goes to the Project Development Fund and the remaining 60 percent shall be retained by
LLDA; Provided, however, that the share of LLDA shall form part of its corporate funds and shall not be remitted to
the National Treasury as an exception to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1234. (Emphasis supplied)

It is important to note that Section 29 of Presidential Decree No. 813 defined the term "Laguna Lake" in this manner:

Sec 41. Definition of Terms.

(11) Laguna Lake or Lake. Whenever Laguna Lake or lake is used in this Act, the same shall refer to Laguna de Bay
which is that area covered by the lake water when it is at the average annual maximum lake level of elevation 12.50
meters, as referred to a datum 10.00 meters below mean lower low water (M.L.L.W). Lands located at and below such
elevation are public lands which form part of the bed of said lake.

Then came Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991. The municipalities in the Laguna Lake Region interpreted the
provisions of this law to mean that the newly passed law gave municipal governments the exclusive jurisdiction to issue fishing privileges
within their municipal waters because R.A. 7160 provides:

Sec. 149. Fishery Rentals, Fees and Charges.

(a) Municipalities shall have the exclusive authority to grant fishery privileges in the municipal waters and impose rental
fees or charges therefor in accordance with the provisions of this Section.

(b) The Sangguniang Bayan may:

(1) Grant fishing privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussel or other aquatic beds or bangus fry
areas, within a definite zone of the municipal waters, as determined by it; . . . .
(2) Grant privilege to gather, take or catch bangus fry, prawn fry or kawag-kawag or fry of other
species and fish from the municipal waters by nets, traps or other fishing gears to marginal fishermen
free from any rental fee, charges or any other imposition whatsoever.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 447. Power, Duties, Functions and Compensation. . . . .

xxx xxx xxx

(XI) Subject to the provisions of Book II of this Code, grant exclusive privileges of constructing fish
corrals or fishpens, or the taking or catching of bangus fry, prawn fry or kawag-kawag or fry of any
species or fish within the municipal waters.

xxx xxx xxx

Municipal governments thereupon assumed the authority to issue fishing privileges and fishpen permits. Big fishpen operators took
advantage of the occasion to establish fishpens and fishcages to the consternation of the Authority. Unregulated fishpens and fishcages, as
of July, 1995, occupied almost one-third of the entire lake water surface area, increasing the occupation drastically from 7,000 hectares in
1990 to almost 21,000 hectares in 1995. The Mayor's permit to construct fishpens and fishcages were all undertaken in violation of the
policies adopted by the Authority on fishpen zoning and the Laguna Lake carrying capacity.

To be sure, the implementation by the lakeshore municipalities of separate independent policies in the operation of fishpens and fishcages
within their claimed territorial municipal waters in the lake and their indiscriminate grant of fishpen permits have already saturated the
lake area with fishpens, thereby aggravating the current environmental problems and ecological stress of Laguna Lake.

In view of the foregoing circumstances, the Authority served notice to the general public that:

In compliance with the instructions of His Excellency PRESIDENT FIDEL V. RAMOS given on June 23, 1993 at Pila,
Laguna pursuant to Republic Act 4850 as amended by Presidential Decree 813 and Executive Order 927 series of 1983
and in line with the policies and programs of the Presidential Task Force on Illegal Fishpens and Illegal Fishing, the
general public is hereby notified that:

1. All fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures in the Laguna de Bay Region, which were not registered or to
which no application for registration and/or permit has been filed with Laguna Lake Development Authority as of
March 31, 1993 are hereby declared outrightly as illegal.

2. All fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures so declared as illegal shall be subject to demolition which
shall be undertaken by the Presidential Task Force for Illegal Fishpen and Illegal Fishing.

3. Owners of fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures declared as illegal shall, without prejudice to
demolition of their structures be criminally charged in accordance with Section 39-A of Republic Act 4850 as amended
by P.D. 813 for violation of the same laws. Violations of these laws carries a penalty of imprisonment of not exceeding
3 years or a fine not exceeding Five Thousand Pesos or both at the discretion of the court.

All operators of fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures declared as illegal in accordance with the
foregoing Notice shall have one (1) month on or before 27 October 1993 to show cause before the LLDA why their
said fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures should not be demolished/dismantled.

One month, thereafter, the Authority sent notices to the concerned owners of the illegally constructed fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-
culture structures advising them to dismantle their respective structures within 10 days from receipt thereof, otherwise, demolition shall be
effected.

Reacting thereto, the affected fishpen owners filed injunction cases against the Authority before various regional trial courts, to wit: (a)
Civil Case No. 759-B, for Prohibition, Injunction and Damages, Regional Trial Court, Branch 70, Binangonan, Rizal, filed by Fleet
Development, Inc. and Carlito Arroyo; (b) Civil Case No. 64049, for Injunction, Regional Trial Court, Branch 162, Pasig, filed by IRMA
Fishing and Trading Corp., ARTM Fishing Corp., BDR Corp., MIRT Corp. and TRIM Corp.; (c) Civil Case No. 566, for Declaratory Relief
and Injunction, Regional Trial Court, Branch 163, Pasig, filed by Manila Marine Life Business Resources, Inc. and Tobias Reynaldo M.
Tianco; (d) Civil Case No. 556-M, for Prohibition, Injunction and Damages, Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Morong, Rizal, filed by
AGP Fishing Ventures, Inc.; (e) Civil Case No. 522-M, for Prohibition, Injunction and Damages, Regional Trial Court, Branch 78,
Morong, Rizal, filed by Blue Lagoon and Alcris Chicken Growers, Inc.; (f) Civil Case No. 554-, for Certiorari and Prohibition, Regional
Trial Court, Branch 79, Morong, Rizal, filed by Greenfields Ventures Industrial Corp. and R.J. Orion Development Corp.; and (g) Civil
Case No. 64124, for Injunction, Regional Trial Court, Branch 15, Pasig, filed by SEA-MAR Trading Co., Inc. and Eastern Lagoon Fishing
Corp. and Minamar Fishing Corporation.

The Authority filed motions to dismiss the cases against it on jurisdictional grounds. The motions to dismiss were invariably denied.
Meanwhile, temporary restraining order/writs of preliminary mandatory injunction were issued in Civil Cases Nos. 64124, 759 and 566
enjoining the Authority from demolishing the fishpens and similar structures in question.

Hence, the herein petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction, G.R. Nos. 120865-71, were filed by the Authority with this court.
Impleaded as parties-respondents are concerned regional trial courts and respective private parties, and the municipalities and/or
respective Mayors of Binangonan, Taguig and Jala-jala, who issued permits for the construction and operation of fishpens in Laguna de
Bay. The Authority sought the following reliefs, viz.:

(A) Nullification of the temporary restraining order/writs of preliminary injunction issued in Civil Cases Nos. 64125,
759 and 566;

(B) Permanent prohibition against the regional trial courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases involving the
Authority which is a co-equal body;

(C) Judicial pronouncement that R.A. 7610 (Local Government Code of 1991) did not repeal, alter or modify the
provisions of R.A. 4850, as amended, empowering the Authority to issue permits for fishpens, fishcages and other
aqua-culture structures in Laguna de Bay and that, the Authority the government agency vested with exclusive
authority to issue said permits.

By this Court's resolution of May 2, 1994, the Authority's consolidated petitions were referred to the Court of Appeals.

In a Decision, dated June 29, 1995, the Court of Appeals dismissed the Authority's consolidated petitions, the Court of Appeals holding
that: (A) LLDA is not among those quasi-judicial agencies of government whose decision or order are appealable only to the Court of
Appeals; (B) the LLDA charter does vest LLDA with quasi-judicial functions insofar as fishpens are concerned; (C) the provisions of the
LLDA charter insofar as fishing privileges in Laguna de Bay are concerned had been repealed by the Local Government Code of 1991; (D)
in view of the aforesaid repeal, the power to grant permits devolved to and is now vested with their respective local government units
concerned.

Not satisfied with the Court of Appeals decision, the Authority has returned to this Court charging the following errors:

1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PROBABLY COMMITTED AN ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT THE
LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY IS NOT A QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCY.

2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT R.A. 4850 AS
AMENDED BY P.D. 813 AND E.O. 927 SERIES OF 1983 HAS BEEN REPEALED BY REPUBLIC ACT 7160. THE SAID
RULING IS CONTRARY TO ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLES AND JURISPRUDENCE OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION.

3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT THE POWER TO
ISSUE FISHPEN PERMITS IN LAGUNA DE BAY HAS BEEN DEVOLVED TO CONCERNED (LAKESHORE) LOCAL
GOVERNMENT UNITS.

We take a simplistic view of the controversy. Actually, the main and only issue posed is: Which agency of the Government the Laguna
Lake Development Authority or the towns and municipalities comprising the region should exercise jurisdiction over the Laguna Lake
and its environs insofar as the issuance of permits for fishery privileges is concerned?

Section 4 (k) of the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, Republic Act No. 4850, the provisions of Presidential Decree No.
813, and Section 2 of Executive Order No. 927, cited above, specifically provide that the Laguna Lake Development Authority shall have
exclusive jurisdiction to issue permits for the use of all surface water for any projects or activities in or affecting the said region, including
navigation, construction, and operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the like. On the other hand, Republic Act No. 7160,
the Local Government Code of 1991, has granted to the municipalities the exclusive authority to grant fishery privileges in municipal
waters. The Sangguniang Bayan may grant fishery privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussels or other aquatic beds or bangus fry area
within a definite zone of the municipal waters.

We hold that the provisions of Republic Act No. 7160 do not necessarily repeal the aforementioned laws creating the Laguna Lake
Development Authority and granting the latter water rights authority over Laguna de Bay and the lake region.
The Local Government Code of 1991 does not contain any express provision which categorically expressly repeal the charter of the
Authority. It has to be conceded that there was no intent on the part of the legislature to repeal Republic Act No. 4850 and its
amendments. The repeal of laws should be made clear and expressed.

It has to be conceded that the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority constitutes a special law. Republic Act No. 7160, the
Local Government Code of 1991, is a general law. It is basic in statutory construction that the enactment of a later legislation which is a
general law cannot be construed to have repealed a special law. It is a well-settled rule in this jurisdiction that "a special statute, provided
for a particular case or class of cases, is not repealed by a subsequent statute, general in its terms, provisions and application, unless the
intent to repeal or alter is manifest, although the terms of the general law are broad enough to include the cases embraced in the special
law."3

Where there is a conflict between a general law and a special statute, the special statute should prevail since it evinces the legislative
intent more clearly than the general statute. The special law is to be taken as an exception to the general law in the absence of special
circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion. This is because implied repeals are not favored and as much as possible, effect must be given
to all enactments of the legislature. A special law cannot be repealed, amended or altered by a subsequent general law by mere
implication.4

Thus, it has to be concluded that the charter of the Authority should prevail over the Local Government Code of 1991.

Considering the reasons behind the establishment of the Authority, which are environmental protection, navigational safety, and
sustainable development, there is every indication that the legislative intent is for the Authority to proceed with its mission.

We are on all fours with the manifestation of petitioner Laguna Lake Development Authority that "Laguna de Bay, like any other single
body of water has its own unique natural ecosystem. The 900 km lake surface water, the eight (8) major river tributaries and several
other smaller rivers that drain into the lake, the 2,920 km basin or watershed transcending the boundaries of Laguna and Rizal
provinces, greater portion of Metro Manila, parts of Cavite, Batangas, and Quezon provinces, constitute one integrated delicate natural
ecosystem that needs to be protected with uniform set of policies; if we are to be serious in our aims of attaining sustainable
development. This is an exhaustible natural resource a very limited one which requires judicious management and optimal
utilization to ensure renewability and preserve its ecological integrity and balance."

"Managing the lake resources would mean the implementation of a national policy geared towards the protection, conservation,
balanced growth and sustainable development of the region with due regard to the inter-generational use of its resources by the
inhabitants in this part of the earth. The authors of Republic Act 4850 have foreseen this need when they passed this LLDA law the
special law designed to govern the management of our Laguna de Bay lake resources."

"Laguna de Bay therefore cannot be subjected to fragmented concepts of management policies where lakeshore local government units
exercise exclusive dominion over specific portions of the lake water. The garbage thrown or sewage discharged into the lake, abstraction
of water therefrom or construction of fishpens by enclosing its certain area, affect not only that specific portion but the entire 900 km of
lake water. The implementation of a cohesive and integrated lake water resource management policy, therefore, is necessary to conserve,
protect and sustainably develop Laguna de Bay."5

The power of the local government units to issue fishing privileges was clearly granted for revenue purposes. This is evident from the fact
that Section 149 of the New Local Government Code empowering local governments to issue fishing permits is embodied in Chapter 2,
Book II, of Republic Act No. 7160 under the heading, "Specific Provisions On The Taxing And Other Revenue Raising Power Of Local
Government Units."

On the other hand, the power of the Authority to grant permits for fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures is for the purpose
of effectively regulating and monitoring activities in the Laguna de Bay region (Section 2, Executive Order No. 927) and for lake quality
control and management.6 It does partake of the nature of police power which is the most pervasive, the least limitable and the most
demanding of all State powers including the power of taxation. Accordingly, the charter of the Authority which embodies a valid exercise
of police power should prevail over the Local Government Code of 1991 on matters affecting Laguna de Bay.

There should be no quarrel over permit fees for fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures in the Laguna de Bay area. Section 3
of Executive Order No. 927 provides for the proper sharing of fees collected.

In respect to the question as to whether the Authority is a quasi-judicial agency or not, it is our holding that, considering the provisions of
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 4850 and Section 4 of Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, and the ruling of this Court in Laguna
Lake Development Authority vs. Court of Appeals, 231 SCRA 304, 306, which we quote:

xxx xxx xxx


As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB),
except in cases where the special law provides for another forum. It must be recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as
a specialized administrative agency, is specifically mandated under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws to
carry out and make effective the declared national policy of promoting and accelerating the development and
balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities of San
Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan with due regard and adequate provisions for environmental management
and control, preservation of the quality of human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological
disturbances, deterioration and pollution. Under such a broad grant of power and authority, the LLDA, by virtue of its
special charter, obviously has the responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region from the
deleterious effects of pollutants emanating from the discharge of wastes from the surrounding areas. In carrying out the
aforementioned declared policy, the LLDA is mandated, among others, to pass upon and approve or disapprove all
plans, programs, and projects proposed by local government offices/agencies within the region, public corporations,
and private persons or enterprises where such plans, programs and/or projects are related to those of the LLDA for the
development of the region.

xxx xxx xxx

. . . . While it is a fundamental rule that an administrative agency has only such powers as are expressly granted to it by
law, it is likewise a settled rule that an administrative agency has also such powers as are necessarily implied in the
exercise of its express powers. In the exercise, therefore, of its express powers under its charter, as a regulatory and
quasi-judicial body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority of the LLDA to issue a "cease
and desist order" is, perforce, implied. Otherwise, it may well be reduced to a "toothless" paper agency.

there is no question that the Authority has express powers as a regulatory and quasi-judicial body in respect to pollution cases
with authority to issue a "cease and desist order" and on matters affecting the construction of illegal fishpens, fishcages and other
aqua-culture structures in Laguna de Bay. The Authority's pretense, however, that it is co-equal to the Regional Trial Courts such
that all actions against it may only be instituted before the Court of Appeals cannot be sustained. On actions necessitating the
resolution of legal questions affecting the powers of the Authority as provided for in its charter, the Regional Trial Courts have
jurisdiction.

In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that Section 149 of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of
1991, has not repealed the provisions of the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended.
Thus, the Authority has the exclusive jurisdiction to issue permits for the enjoyment of fishery privileges in Laguna de Bay to the exclusion
of municipalities situated therein and the authority to exercise such powers as are by its charter vested on it.

Removal from the Authority of the aforesaid licensing authority will render nugatory its avowed purpose of protecting and developing
the Laguna Lake Region. Otherwise stated, the abrogation of this power would render useless its reason for being and will in effect
denigrate, if not abolish, the Laguna Lake Development Authority. This, the Local Government Code of 1991 had never intended to do.

WHEREFORE, the petitions for prohibition, certiorari and injunction are hereby granted, insofar as they relate to the authority of the
Laguna Lake Development Authority to grant fishing privileges within the Laguna Lake Region.

The restraining orders and/or writs of injunction issued by Judge Arturo Marave, RTC, Branch 78, Morong, Rizal; Judge Herculano Tech,
RTC, Branch 70, Binangonan, Rizal; and Judge Aurelio Trampe, RTC, Branch 163, Pasig, Metro Manila, are hereby declared null and
void and ordered set aside for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.

The Municipal Mayors of the Laguna Lake Region are hereby prohibited from issuing permits to construct and operate fishpens, fishcages
and other aqua-culture structures within the Laguna Lake Region, their previous issuances being declared null and void. Thus, the fishing
permits issued by Mayors Isidro B. Pacis, Municipality of Binangonan; Ricardo D. Papa, Municipality of Taguig; and Walfredo M. de la
Vega, Municipality of Jala-jala, specifically, are likewise declared null and void and ordered cancelled.

The fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures put up by operators by virtue of permits issued by Municipal Mayors within the
Laguna Lake Region, specifically, permits issued to Fleet Development, Inc. and Carlito Arroyo; Manila Marine Life Business Resources,
Inc., represented by, Mr. Tobias Reynald M. Tiangco; Greenfield Ventures Industrial Development Corporation and R.J. Orion
Development Corporation; IRMA Fishing And Trading Corporation, ARTM Fishing Corporation, BDR Corporation, Mirt Corporation
and Trim Corporation; Blue Lagoon Fishing Corporation and ALCRIS Chicken Growers, Inc.; AGP Fish Ventures, Inc., represented by its
President Alfonso Puyat; SEA MAR Trading Co., Inc., Eastern Lagoon Fishing Corporation, and MINAMAR Fishing Corporation, are
hereby declared illegal structures subject to demolition by the Laguna Lake Development Authority.

SO ORDERED.
FACTS: The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) was created through Republic Act No. 4850. It was granted, inter alia, exclusive
jurisdiction to issue permits for the use of all surface water for any project or activity in or affecting the said region including navigation,
construction, and operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the like.

Then came RA 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991. The municipalities in the Laguna Lake region interpreted its provisions to mean
that the newly passed law gave municipal governments the exclusive jurisdiction to issue fishing privileges within their municipal waters.

ISSUE:Who should exercise jurisdiction over the Laguna Lake and its environs insofar as the issuance of permits for fishing privileges is
concerned, the LLDA or the towns and municipalities comprising the region?

HELD:LLDA has jurisdiction over such matters because the charter of the LLDA prevails over the Local Government Code of 1991. The
said charter constitutes a special law, while the latter is a general law. It is basic in statutory construction that the enactment of a later
legislation which is a general law, cannot be construed to have repealed a special law. The special law is to be taken as an exception to
the general law in the absence of special circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion.

In addition, the charter of the LLDA embodies a valid exercise of police power for the purpose of protecting and developing the Laguna
Lake region, as opposed to the Local Government Code, which grants powers to municipalities to issue fishing permits for revenue
purposes.

Thus it has to be concluded that the charter of the LLDA should prevail over the Local Government Code of 1991 on matters affecting
Laguna de Bay.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 88211 September 15, 1989

FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR., IRENE M. ARANETA, IMEE MANOTOC, TOMAS
MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA, PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR YIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION
(PHILCONSA), represented by its President, CONRADO F. ESTRELLA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOEZ, MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS,
RENATO DE VILLA, in their capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner,
Secretary of National Defense and Chief of Staff, respectively, respondents.

CORTES, J.:

Before the Court is a contreversy of grave national importance. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in this
case would undeniably have a profound effect on the political, economic and other aspects of national life.

We recall that in February 1986, Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent "people power" revolution
and forced into exile. In his stead, Corazon C. Aquino was declared President of the Republic under a revolutionary government. Her
ascension to and consilidation of power have not been unchallenged. The failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by political leaders of
Mr. Marcos, the takeover of television station Channel 7 by rebel troops led by Col. Canlas with the support of "Marcos loyalists" and
the unseccessful plot of the Marcos spouses to surreptitiously return from Hawii with mercenaries aboard an aircraft chartered by a
Lebanese arms dealer [Manila Bulletin, January 30, 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of the Marcoses to stir trouble even from
afar and to the fanaticism and blind loyalty of their followers in the country. The ratification of the 1987 Constitution enshrined the
victory of "people power" and also clearly reinforced the constitutional moorings of Mrs. Aquino's presidency. This did not, however,
stop bloody challenges to the government. On August 28, 1987, Col. Gregorio Honasan, one of the major players in the February
Revolution, led a failed coup that left scores of people, both combatants and civilians, dead. There were several other armed sorties of
lesser significance, but the message they conveyed was the same a split in the ranks of the military establishment that thraetened
civilian supremacy over military and brought to the fore the realization that civilian government could be at the mercy of a fractious
military.
But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in misguided elements and among rabid followers of Mr. Marcos. There
are also the communist insurgency and the seccessionist movement in Mindanao which gained ground during the rule of Mr. Marcos, to
the extent that the communists have set up a parallel government of their own on the areas they effectively control while the separatist
are virtually free to move about in armed bands. There has been no let up on this groups' determination to wrest power from the
govermnent. Not only through resort to arms but also to through the use of propaganda have they been successful in dreating chaos and
destabilizing the country.

Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. The accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of the nation attributed to Mr. Marcos
and his cronies left the economy devastated. The efforts at economic recovery, three years after Mrs. Aquino assumed office, have yet to
show concrete results in alleviating the poverty of the masses, while the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses has remained
elusive.

Now, Mr. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to the Philipppines to die. But Mrs. Aquino, considering the dire
consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is threatened from various directions and the
economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood firmly on the decision to bar the return of Mr. Marcos and his family.

The Petition

This case is unique. It should not create a precedent, for the case of a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty
years of political, economic and social havoc in the country and who within the short space of three years seeks to return, is in a class by
itself.

This petition for mandamus and prohibition asks the Courts to order the respondents to issue travel documents to Mr. Marcos and the
immediate members of his family and to enjoin the implementation of the President's decision to bar their return to the Philippines.

The Issue

Th issue is basically one of power: whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the Constitution, the President may prohibit
the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines.

According to the petitioners, the resolution of the case would depend on the resolution of the following issues:

1. Does the President have the power to bar the return of former President Marcos and family to the Philippines?

a. Is this a political question?

2. Assuming that the President has the power to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the
Philippines, in the interest of "national security, public safety or public health

a. Has the President made a finding that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a
clear and present danger to national security, public safety or public health?

b. Assuming that she has made that finding

(1) Have the requirements of due process been complied with in making such finding?

(2) Has there been prior notice to petitioners?

(3) Has there been a hearing?

(4) Assuming that notice and hearing may be dispensed with, has the President's decision, including
the grounds upon which it was based, been made known to petitioners so that they may controvert
the same?

c. Is the President's determination that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear
and present danger to national security, public safety, or public health a political question?

d. Assuming that the Court may inquire as to whether the return of former President Marcos and his family is a clear
and present danger to national security, public safety, or public health, have respondents established such fact?
3. Have the respondents, therefore, in implementing the President's decision to bar the return of former President
Marcos and his family, acted and would be acting without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse
of discretion, in performing any act which would effectively bar the return of former President Marcos and his family
to the Philippines? [Memorandum for Petitioners, pp. 5-7; Rollo, pp. 234-236.1

The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of the Marcoses to return to the Philippines is guaranteed under the
following provisions of the Bill of Rights, to wit:

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be
denied the equal protection of the laws.

xxx xxx xxx

Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired
except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national
security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

The petitioners contend that the President is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses because only a court may do
so "within the limits prescribed by law." Nor may the President impair their right to travel because no law has authorized her to do so.
They advance the view that before the right to travel may be impaired by any authority or agency of the government, there must be
legislation to that effect.

The petitioners further assert that under international law, the right of Mr. Marcos and his family to return to the Philippines is
guaranteed.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides:

Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Likewise, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which had been ratified by the Philippines, provides:

Article 12

1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement
and freedom to choose his residence.

2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are
necessary to protect national security, public order (order public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of
others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

On the other hand, the respondents' principal argument is that the issue in this case involves a political question which is non-justiciable.
According to the Solicitor General:

As petitioners couch it, the question involved is simply whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family
have the right to travel and liberty of abode. Petitioners invoke these constitutional rights in vacuo without reference
to attendant circumstances.

Respondents submit that in its proper formulation, the issue is whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and
family have the right to return to the Philippines and reside here at this time in the face of the determination by the
President that such return and residence will endanger national security and public safety.

It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners, the question is not a political question as it involves merely a
determination of what the law provides on the matter and application thereof to petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and
family. But when the question is whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family
impinge on or collide with the more primordial and transcendental right of the State to security and safety of its
nationals, the question becomes political and this Honorable Court can not consider it.

There are thus gradations to the question, to wit:

Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their
residence here? This is clearly a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide.

Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have their right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their
residence here even if their return and residence here will endanger national security and public safety? this is still a
justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide.

Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family shall return to the
Philippines and establish their residence here? This is now a political question which this Honorable Court can not
decide for it falls within the exclusive authority and competence of the President of the Philippines. [Memorandum for
Respondents, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 297-299.]

Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over individual rights. In support thereof, they cite Article
II of the Constitution, to wit:

Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the
people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by
law, to render personal, military, or civil service.

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the
general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.

Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and family from returning to the Philippines for reasons of national
security and public safety has international precedents. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Anastacio Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua,
Jorge Ubico of Guatemala, Fulgencio batista of Cuba, King Farouk of Egypt, Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, and
Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among the deposed dictators whose return to their homelands was prevented by their
governments. [See Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul S. Manglapus, quoted in Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 26-32; Rollo,
pp. 314-319.]

The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the scope of presidential power and its limits. We, however, view this
issue in a different light. Although we give due weight to the parties' formulation of the issues, we are not bound by its narrow confines
in arriving at a solution to the controversy.

At the outset, we must state that it would not do to view the case within the confines of the right to travel and the import of the
decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the leading cases of Kent v. Dulles [357 U.S. 116, 78 SCt 1113, 2 L Ed. 2d 1204] and Haig v.
Agee [453 U.S. 280, 101 SCt 2766, 69 L Ed. 2d 640) which affirmed the right to travel and recognized exceptions to the exercise thereof,
respectively.

It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the Philippines to other countries or within the
Philippines. These are what the right to travel would normally connote. Essentially, the right involved is the right to return to one's
country, a totally distinct right under international law, independent from although related to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal
Declaration of Humans Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and
abode within the territory of a state, the right to leave a country, and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. The
Declaration speaks of the "right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" [Art. 13(l)] separately from the
"right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." [Art. 13(2).] On the other hand, the Covenant guarantees
the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence" [Art. 12(l)] and the right to "be free to leave any country,
including his own." [Art. 12(2)] which rights may be restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect national security, public order,
public health or morals or enter qqqs own country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily deprived." [Art. 12(4).] It would therefore be
inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to return to one's country in the same context as those pertaining to the liberty of
abode and the right to travel.

The right to return to one's country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which treats only of the liberty of
abode and the right to travel, but it is our well-considered view that the right to return may be considered, as a generally accepted
principle of international law and, under our Constitution, is part of the law of the land [Art. II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution.] However, it
is distinct and separate from the right to travel and enjoys a different protection under the International Covenant of Civil and Political
Rights, i.e., against being "arbitrarily deprived" thereof [Art. 12 (4).]
Thus, the rulings in the cases Kent and Haig which refer to the issuance of passports for the purpose of effectively exercising the right to
travel are not determinative of this case and are only tangentially material insofar as they relate to a conflict between executive action
and the exercise of a protected right. The issue before the Court is novel and without precedent in Philippine, and even in American
jurisprudence.

Consequently, resolution by the Court of the well-debated issue of whether or not there can be limitations on the right to travel in the
absence of legislation to that effect is rendered unnecessary. An appropriate case for its resolution will have to be awaited.

Having clarified the substance of the legal issue, we find now a need to explain the methodology for its resolution. Our resolution of the
issue will involve a two-tiered approach. We shall first resolve whether or not the President has the power under the Constitution, to bar
the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. Then, we shall determine, pursuant to the express power of the Court under the
Constitution in Article VIII, Section 1, whether or not the President acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction when she determined that the return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a serious threat to national interest
and welfare and decided to bar their return.

Executive Power

The 1987 Constitution has fully restored the separation of powers of the three great branches of government. To recall the words of
Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral Commission [63 Phil. 139 (1936)], "the Constitution has blocked but with deft strokes and in bold
lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government." [At 157.1 Thus, the 1987
Constitution explicitly provides that "[the legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines" Art VI, Sec. 11, "[t]he
executive power shall bevested in the President of the Philippines" [Art. VII, Sec. 11, and "[te judicial power shall be vested in one
Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1.] These provisions not only establish a separation
of powers by actual division [Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra] but also confer plenary legislative, executive and judicial powers
subject only to limitations provided in the Constitution. For as the Supreme Court in Ocampo v. Cabangis [15 Phil. 626 (1910)] pointed
out "a grant of the legislative power means a grant of all legislative power; and a grant of the judicial power means a grant of all the
judicial power which may be exercised under the government." [At 631-632.1 If this can be said of the legislative power which is
exercised by two chambers with a combined membership of more than two hundred members and of the judicial power which is vested
in a hierarchy of courts, it can equally be said of the executive power which is vested in one official the President.

As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines." [Art. VII, Sec.
1]. However, it does not define what is meant by executive power" although in the same article it touches on the exercise of certain
powers by the President, i.e., the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute the laws,
the appointing power, the powers under the commander-in-chief clause, the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, the
power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the power to enter into
treaties or international agreements, the power to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to address Congress [Art. VII, Sec. 14-
23].

The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers of the Constitution intend that the
President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are these se enumerated powers the breadth and scope of "executive power"?
Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers are limited to those specifically enumerated in the 1987 Constitution. Thus, they
assert: "The President has enumerated powers, and what is not enumerated is impliedly denied to her. Inclusion unius est exclusio
alterius[Memorandum for Petitioners, p. 4- Rollo p. 233.1 This argument brings to mind the institution of the U.S. Presidency after which
ours is legally patterned.**

Corwin, in his monumental volume on the President of the United States grappled with the same problem. He said:

Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. To those who think that a constitution ought to settle
everything beforehand it should be a nightmare; by the same token, to those who think that constitution makers ought
to leave considerable leeway for the future play of political forces, it should be a vision realized.

We encounter this characteristic of Article 11 in its opening words: "The executive power shall be vested in a President
of the United States of America." . . .. [The President: Office and Powers, 17871957, pp. 3-4.]

Reviewing how the powers of the U.S. President were exercised by the different persons who held the office from Washington to the
early 1900's, and the swing from the presidency by commission to Lincoln's dictatorship, he concluded that "what the presidency is at any
particular moment depends in important measure on who is President." [At 30.]

This view is shared by Schlesinger who wrote in The Imperial Presidency:

For the American Presidency was a peculiarly personal institution. it remained of course, an agency of government
subject to unvarying demands and duties no remained, of cas President. But, more than most agencies of government,
it changed shape, intensity and ethos according to the man in charge. Each President's distinctive temperament and
character, his values, standards, style, his habits, expectations, Idiosyncrasies, compulsions, phobias recast the
WhiteHouse and pervaded the entire government. The executive branch, said Clark Clifford, was a chameleon, taking
its color from the character and personality of the President. The thrust of the office, its impact on the constitutional
order, therefore altered from President to President. Above all, the way each President understood it as his personal
obligation to inform and involve the Congress, to earn and hold the confidence of the electorate and to render an
accounting to the nation and posterity determined whether he strengthened or weakened the constitutional order. [At
212- 213.]

We do not say that the presidency is what Mrs. Aquino says it is or what she does but, rather, that the consideration of tradition and the
development of presidential power under the different constitutions are essential for a complete understanding of the extent of and
limitations to the President's powers under the 1987 Constitution. The 1935 Constitution created a strong President with explicitly
broader powers than the U.S. President. The 1973 Constitution attempted to modify the system of government into the parliamentary
type, with the President as a mere figurehead, but through numerous amendments, the President became even more powerful, to the
point that he was also the de facto Legislature. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and
restored the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution among three distinct branches of
government with provision for checks and balances.

It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the President is head of state as
well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it.
Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the
President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.

On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise of specific powers of the
President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the
President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is
more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated,

It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial has to be executive. Thus, in
the landmark decision of Springer v. Government of the Philippine Islands, 277 U.S. 189 (1928), on the issue of who between the
Governor-General of the Philippines and the Legislature may vote the shares of stock held by the Government to elect directors in the
National Coal Company and the Philippine National Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the power of the Governor-General to
do so, said:

...Here the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of the "board" and "committee" respectively, are not
charged with the performance of any legislative functions or with the doing of anything which is in aid of performance
of any such functions by the legislature. Putting aside for the moment the question whether the duties devolved upon
these members are vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-General, it is clear that they are not legislative in
character, and still more clear that they are not judicial. The fact that they do not fall within the authority of either of
these two constitutes logical ground for concluding that they do fall within that of the remaining one among which the
powers of government are divided ....[At 202-203; Emphasis supplied.]

We are not unmindful of Justice Holmes' strong dissent. But in his enduring words of dissent we find reinforcement for the view that it
would indeed be a folly to construe the powers of a branch of government to embrace only what are specifically mentioned in the
Constitution:

The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the more specific
of them are found to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other. ....

xxx xxx xxx

It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot
carry out the distinction between legislative and executive action with mathematical precision and divide the branches
into watertight compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I am far from believing that it is, or that the
Constitution requires. [At 210- 211.]

The Power Involved

The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he prime duty of theGovernment is to serve and protect the people" and
that "[t]he maintenance of peace and order,the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are
essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy." [Art. II, Secs. 4 and 5.]

Admittedly, service and protection of the people, the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and
the promotion of the general welfare are essentially ideals to guide governmental action. But such does not mean that they are empty
words. Thus, in the exercise of presidential functions, in drawing a plan of government, and in directing implementing action for these
plans, or from another point of view, in making any decision as President of the Republic, the President has to consider these principles,
among other things, and adhere to them.

Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow the Marcoses to return to the Philippines, the President is, under the
Constitution, constrained to consider these basic principles in arriving at a decision. More than that, having sworn to defend and uphold
the Constitution, the President has the obligation under the Constitution to protect the people, promote their welfare and advance the
national interest. It must be borne in mind that the Constitution, aside from being an allocation of power is also a social contract
whereby the people have surrendered their sovereign powers to the State for the common good. Hence, lest the officers of the
Government exercising the powers delegated by the people forget and the servants of the people become rulers, the Constitution
reminds everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them." [Art. II, Sec. 1.]

The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons who seek to return to the country are the deposed dictator and his
family at whose door the travails of the country are laid and from whom billions of dollars believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought to
be recovered. The constitutional guarantees they invoke are neither absolute nor inflexible. For the exercise of even the preferred
freedoms of speech and ofexpression, although couched in absolute terms, admits of limits and must be adjusted to the requirements of
equally important public interests [Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, October 7, 1981.]

To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against the exercise of rights of certain
individuals. The power involved is the President's residual power to protect the general welfare of the people. It is founded on the duty
of the President, as steward of the people. To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, it is not only the power of the President but also his duty
to do anything not forbidden by the Constitution or the laws that the needs of the nation demand [See Corwin, supra, at 153]. It is a
power borne by the President's duty to preserve and defend the Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the President's
duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed [see Hyman, The American President, where the author advances the view that an
allowance of discretionary power is unavoidable in any government and is best lodged in the President].

More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President's powers as protector of the peace. Rossiter The American
Presidency].The power of the President to keep the peace is not limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in times of
emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to its existence. The President is not only clothed with
extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked with attending to the day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and
order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of law,
in fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is not in any way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in the
commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President commander-in-chief the enumeration of powers that follow cannot be said to
exclude the President's exercising as Commander-in- Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security.

That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the Marcose's from returning has been recognized by memembers of the
Legislature, and is manifested by the Resolution proposed in the House of Representatives and signed by 103 of its members urging the
President to allow Mr. Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a genuine unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation and as
irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to uncompromising respect for human rights under the Constitution and our laws." [House
Resolution No. 1342, Rollo, p. 321.1 The Resolution does not question the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning to the
Philippines, rather, it appeals to the President's sense of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his country.

What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the Philippines cannot be
considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing liberty of abode and the right to travel, subject to certain
exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated situations even remotely similar to the present one. It must be treated as a
matter that is appropriately addressed to those residual unstated powers of the President which are implicit in and correlative to the
paramount duty residing in that office to safeguard and protect general welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit
to the exercise of a broader discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied.

The Extent of Review

Under the Constitution, judicial power includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." [Art. VIII, Sec. 1] Given this
wording, we cannot agree with the Solicitor General that the issue constitutes a political question which is beyond the jurisdiction of the
Court to decide.

The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry into areas which the
Court, under previous constitutions, would have normally left to the political departments to decide. But nonetheless there remain issues
beyond the Court's jurisdiction the determination of which is exclusively for the President, for Congress or for the people themselves
through a plebiscite or referendum. We cannot, for example, question the President's recognition of a foreign government, no matter
how premature or improvident such action may appear. We cannot set aside a presidential pardon though it may appear to us that the
beneficiary is totally undeserving of the grant. Nor can we amend the Constitution under the guise of resolving a dispute brought before
us because the power is reserved to the people.
There is nothing in the case before us that precludes our determination thereof on the political question doctrine. The deliberations of the
Constitutional Commission cited by petitioners show that the framers intended to widen the scope of judicial review but they did not
intend courts of justice to settle all actual controversies before them. When political questions are involved, the Constitution limits the
determination to whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the
official whose action is being questioned. If grave abuse is not established, the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the official
concerned and decide a matter which by its nature or by law is for the latter alone to decide. In this light, it would appear clear that the
second paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution, defining "judicial power," which specifically empowers the courts to
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government,
incorporates in the fundamental law the ruling in Lansang v. Garcia [G.R. No. L-33964, December 11, 1971, 42 SCRA 4481 that:]

Article VII of the [1935] Constitution vests in the Executive the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus under specified conditions. Pursuant to the principle of separation of powers underlying our system of
government, the Executive is supreme within his own sphere. However, the separation of powers, under the
Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes hand in hand with the system of checks and balances, under which
the Executive is supreme, as regards the suspension of the privilege, but only if and when he acts within the sphere
alloted to him by the Basic Law, and the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in the Judicial
Department, which, in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally supreme. In the exercise of such authority, the function
of the Court is merely to check not to supplant the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he has gone beyond
the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in him or to determine the wisdom of his
act [At 479-480.]

Accordingly, the question for the Court to determine is whether or not there exist factual bases for the President to conclude that it was
in the national interest to bar the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines. If such postulates do exist, it cannot be said that she has
acted, or acts, arbitrarily or that she has gravely abused her discretion in deciding to bar their return.

We find that from the pleadings filed by the parties, from their oral arguments, and the facts revealed during the briefing in chambers by
the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Adviser, wherein petitioners and respondents were
represented, there exist factual bases for the President's decision..

The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that the country is not besieged from within by a well-organized
communist insurgency, a separatist movement in Mindanao, rightist conspiracies to grab power, urban terrorism, the murder with
impunity of military men, police officers and civilian officials, to mention only a few. The documented history of the efforts of the
Marcose's and their followers to destabilize the country, as earlier narrated in this ponencia bolsters the conclusion that the return of the
Marcoses at this time would only exacerbate and intensify the violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos.

As divergent and discordant forces, the enemies of the State may be contained. The military establishment has given assurances that it
could handle the threats posed by particular groups. But it is the catalytic effect of the return of the Marcoses that may prove to be the
proverbial final straw that would break the camel's back. With these before her, the President cannot be said to have acted arbitrarily and
capriciously and whimsically in determining that the return of the Marcoses poses a serious threat to the national interest and welfare and
in prohibiting their return.

It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines will cause the escalation of violence against the State, that
would be the time for the President to step in and exercise the commander-in-chief powers granted her by the Constitution to suppress or
stamp out such violence. The State, acting through the Government, is not precluded from taking pre- emptive action against threats to
its existence if, though still nascent they are perceived as apt to become serious and direct. Protection of the people is the essence of the
duty of government. The preservation of the State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation in the highest order. The
President, sworn to preserve and defend the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the laws, cannot shirk from that responsibility.

We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the hardships brought about by the plunder
of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close associates and relatives, many of whom are still here in the Philippines in a
position to destabilize the country, while the Government has barely scratched the surface, so to speak, in its efforts to recover the
enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in foreign jurisdictions. Then, We cannot ignore the continually increasing burden
imposed on the economy by the excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is
one of the root causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting precarious state of our economy is of common
knowledge and is easily within the ambit of judicial notice.

The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the gains achieved during
the past few years and lead to total economic collapse. Given what is within our individual and common knowledge of the state of the
economy, we cannot argue with that determination.

WHEREFORE, and it being our well-considered opinion that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in
determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family at the present time and under present circumstances poses a serious
threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the Philippines, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 88211 October 27, 1989

FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS. JR., IRENE M. ARANETA, IMEE M. MANOTOC, TOMAS
MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA, PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR YIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION
(PHILCONSA), represented by its President, CONRADO F. ESTRELLA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOEZ, MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS,
RENATO DE VILLA, in their capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner,
Secretary of National Defense and Chief of Staff, respectively, respondents.

RESOLUTION

EN BANC:

In its decision dated September 15,1989, the Court, by a vote of eight (8) to seven (7), dismissed the petition, after finding that the
President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family
at the present time and under present circumstances pose a threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the
Philippines. On September 28, 1989, former President Marcos died in Honolulu, Hawaii. In a statement, President Aquino said:

In the interest of the safety of those who will take the death of Mr. Marcos in widely and passionately conflicting
ways, and for the tranquility of the state and order of society, the remains of Ferdinand E. Marcos will not be allowed
to be brought to our country until such time as the government, be it under this administration or the succeeding one,
shall otherwise decide. [Motion for Reconsideration, p. 1; Rollo, p, 443.]

On October 2, 1989, a Motion for Reconsideration was filed by petitioners, raising the following major arguments:

1. to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the Philippines is to deny them not only the inherent right of citizens
to return to their country of birth but also the protection of the Constitution and all of the rights guaranteed to Filipinos under the
Constitution;

2. the President has no power to bar a Filipino from his own country; if she has, she had exercised it arbitrarily; and

3. there is no basis for barring the return of the family of former President Marcos. Thus, petitioners prayed that the Court reconsider its
decision, order respondents to issue the necessary travel documents to enable Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Irene M.
Araneta, Imee M. Manotoc, Tommy Manotoc and Gregorio Araneta to return to the Philippines, and enjoin respondents from
implementing President Aquino's decision to bar the return of the remains of Mr. Marcos, and the other petitioners, to the Philippines.

Commenting on the motion for reconsideration, the Solicitor General argued that the motion for reconsideration is moot and academic
as to the deceased Mr. Marcos. Moreover, he asserts that "the 'formal' rights being invoked by the Marcoses under the label 'right to
return', including the label 'return of Marcos' remains, is in reality or substance a 'right' to destabilize the country, a 'right' to hide the
Marcoses' incessant shadowy orchestrated efforts at destabilization." [Comment, p. 29.] Thus, he prays that the Motion for
Reconsideration be denied for lack of merit.

We deny the motion for reconsideration.

1. It must be emphasized that as in all motions for reconsideration, the burden is upon the movants, petitioner herein, to show that there
are compelling reasons to reconsider the decision of the Court.

2. After a thorough consideration of the matters raised in the motion for reconsideration, the Court is of the view that no compelling
reasons have been established by petitioners to warrant a reconsideration of the Court's decision.
The death of Mr. Marcos, although it may be viewed as a supervening event, has not changed the factual scenario under which the
Court's decision was rendered. The threats to the government, to which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed to provide a
catalytic effect, have not been shown to have ceased. On the contrary, instead of erasing fears as to the destabilization that will be caused
by the return of the Marcoses, Mrs. Marcos reinforced the basis for the decision to bar their return when she called President Aquino
"illegal," claiming that it is Mr. Marcos, not Mrs. Aquino, who is the "legal" President of the Philippines, and declared that the matter
"should be brought to all the courts of the world." [Comment, p. 1; Philippine Star, October 4, 1989.]

3. Contrary to petitioners' view, it cannot be denied that the President, upon whom executive power is vested, has unstated residual
powers which are implied from the grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the
Constitution. The powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the Executive Department
and in scattered provisions of the Constitution. This is so, notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional
Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a
limitation of specific power of the President, particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the
general grant of executive power.

That the President has powers other than those expressly stated in the Constitution is nothing new. This is recognized under the U.S.
Constitution from which we have patterned the distribution of governmental powers among three (3) separate branches.

Article II, [section] 1, provides that "The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of
America." In Alexander Hamilton's widely accepted view, this statement cannot be read as mere shorthand for the
specific executive authorizations that follow it in [sections] 2 and 3. Hamilton stressed the difference between the
sweeping language of article II, section 1, and the conditional language of article I, [section] 1: "All legislative
Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States . . ." Hamilton submitted that "[t]he [article
III enumeration [in sections 2 and 31 ought therefore to be considered, as intended merely to specify the principal
articles implied in the definition of execution power; leaving the rest to flow from the general grant of that power,
interpreted in confomity with other parts of the Constitution...

In Myers v. United States, the Supreme Court accepted Hamilton's proposition, concluding that the federal
executive, unlike the Congress, could exercise power from sources not enumerated, so long as not forbidden by the
constitutional text: the executive power was given in general terms, strengthened by specific terms where emphasis was
regarded as appropriate, and was limited by direct expressions where limitation was needed. . ." The language of Chief
Justice Taft in Myers makes clear that the constitutional concept of inherent power is not a synonym for power
without limit; rather, the concept suggests only that not all powers granted in the Constitution are themselves
exhausted by internal enumeration, so that, within a sphere properly regarded as one of "executive' power, authority is
implied unless there or elsewhere expressly limited. [TRIBE, AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 158-159 (1978).]

And neither can we subscribe to the view that a recognition of the President's implied or residual powers is tantamount to setting the
stage for another dictatorship. Despite petitioners' strained analogy, the residual powers of the President under the Constitution should
not be confused with the power of the President under the 1973 Constitution to legislate pursuant to Amendment No. 6 which provides:

Whenever in the judgment of the President (Prime Minister), there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence
thereof, or whenever the interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act
adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the
exigency, issue the necessary decrees, orders, or letters of instruction, which shall form part of the law of the land,

There is no similarity between the residual powers of the President under the 1987 Constitution and the power of the President under the
1973 Constitution pursuant to Amendment No. 6. First of all, Amendment No. 6 refers to an express grant of power. It is not implied.
Then, Amendment No. 6 refers to a grant to the President of the specific power of legislation.

4. Among the duties of the President under the Constitution, in compliance with his (or her) oath of office, is to protect and promote the
interest and welfare of the people. Her decision to bar the return of the Marcoses and subsequently, the remains of Mr. Marcos at the
present time and under present circumstances is in compliance with this bounden duty. In the absence of a clear showing that she had
acted with arbitrariness or with grave abuse of discretion in arriving at this decision, the Court will not enjoin the implementation of this
decision.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to DENY the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit."

EN BANC
G.R. No. 182498
GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, JR., Chief,
Philippine National Police (PNP); Police Present:
Chief Superintendent RAUL CASTAEDA,
Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detection PUNO, C.J.,
Group (CIDG); Police Senior Superintendent CARPIO,
LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti- CORONA,
Crime and Emergency Response (PACER); CARPIO MORALES,
and GEN. JOEL R. GOLTIAO, Regional CHICO-NAZARIO,
Director of ARMM, PNP, VELASCO, JR.,
Petitioners, NACHURA,
- versus - LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BRION,
PERALTA,
MARY JEAN B. TAGITIS, herein represented BERSAMIN,
by ATTY. FELIPE P. ARCILLA, JR., Attorney- DEL CASTILLO,
in-Fact, ABAD, and
Respondent. VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.

Promulgated:

December 3, 2009

x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
BRION, J.:

We review in this petition for review on certiorari[1] the decision dated March 7, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in C.A-
G.R. AMPARO No. 00009.[2] This CA decision confirmed the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis ( Tagitis) and
granted the Writ of Amparo at the petition of his wife, Mary Jean B. Tagitis (respondent). The dispositive portion of the CA decision
reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court hereby FINDS that this is
an enforced disappearance within the meaning of the United Nations instruments, as used in the Amparo
Rules. The privileges of the writ of amparo are hereby extended to Engr. Morced Tagitis.

Consequently: (1) respondent GEN. EDGARDO M. DOROMAL, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detention
Group (CIDG) who should order COL. JOSE VOLPANE PANTE, CIDG-9 Chief, Zamboanga City, to aid him; (2)
respondent GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, Chief, PNP, who should order his men, namely: (a) respondent GEN. JOEL
GOLTIAO, Regional Director of ARMM PNP, (b) COL. AHIRON AJIRIM, both head of TASK FORCE TAGITIS, and (c)
respondent SR. SUPERINTENDENT LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response, to aid
him as their superior- are hereby DIRECTED to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts, not only to protect the life,
liberty and security of Engr. Morced Tagitis, but also to extend the privileges of the writ of amparo to Engr. Morced
Tagitis and his family, and to submit a monthly report of their actions to this Court, as a way of PERIODIC
REVIEW to enable this Court to monitor the action of respondents.

This amparo case is hereby DISMISSED as to respondent LT. GEN. ALEXANDER YANO, Commanding
General, Philippine Army, and as to respondent GEN. RUBEN RAFAEL, Chief Anti-Terror Task Force Comet,
Zamboanga City, both being with the military, which is a separate and distinct organization from the police and the
CIDG, in terms of operations, chain of command and budget.

This Decision reflects the nature of the Writ of Amparo a protective remedy against violations or threats of violation against the rights
to life, liberty and security.[3] It embodies, as a remedy, the courts directive to police agencies to undertake specified courses of action to
address the disappearance of an individual, in this case, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis. It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal
culpability for the disappearance; rather, it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced disappearance for
purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance. Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been
established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a
measure of the remedies this Court shall craft, among them, the directive to file the appropriate criminal and civil cases against the
responsible parties in the proper courts.Accountability, on the other hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to
those who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of
responsibility defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of
disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced
disappearance. In all these cases, the issuance of the Writ of Amparo is justified by our primary goal of addressing the disappearance, so
that the life of the victim is preserved and his liberty and security are restored.

We highlight this nature of a Writ of Amparo case at the outset to stress that the unique situations that call for the issuance of the writ,
as well as the considerations and measures necessary to address these situations, may not at all be the same as the standard measures and
procedures in ordinary court actions and proceedings. In this sense, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo[4] (Amparo Rule) issued by this
Court is unique. The Amparo Rule should be read, too, as a work in progress, as its directions and finer points remain to evolve
through time and jurisprudence and through the substantive laws that Congress may promulgate.

THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS

The background facts, based on the petition and the records of the case, are summarized below.
The established facts show that Tagitis, a consultant for the World Bank and the Senior Honorary Counselor for the Islamic Development
Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, was last seen in Jolo, Sulu. Together with Arsimin Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB scholar, Tagitis
arrived in Jolo by boat in the early morning of October 31, 2007 from a seminar in Zamboanga City. They immediately checked-in at
ASY Pension House. Tagitis asked Kunnong to buy him a boat ticket for his return trip the following day to Zamboanga. When Kunnong
returned from this errand, Tagitis was no longer around.[5] The receptionist related that Tagitis went out to buy food at around 12:30 in
the afternoon and even left his room key with the desk.[6] Kunnong looked for Tagitis and even sent a text message to the latters Manila-
based secretary who did not know of Tagitis whereabouts and activities either; she advised Kunnong to simply wait.[7]

On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli, a UP professor of Muslim studies and Tagitis fellow student
counselor at the IDB, reported Tagitis disappearance to the Jolo Police Station.[8] On November 7, 2007, Kunnong executed a sworn
affidavit attesting to what he knew of the circumstances surrounding Tagitis disappearance.[9]

More than a month later (on December 28, 2007), the respondent filed a Petition for the Writ of Amparo (petition) with the CA
through her Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Felipe P. Arcilla.[10] The petition was directed against Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano, Commanding General,
Philippine Army; Gen. Avelino I. Razon, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, Chief, Criminal
Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG); Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response; Gen. Joel
Goltiao, Regional Director, ARMM-PNP; and Gen. Ruben Rafael, Chief, Anti-Terror Task Force Comet [collectively referred to
as petitioners]. After reciting Tagitis personal circumstances and the facts outlined above, the petition went on to state:
xxxx
7. Soon after the student left the room, Engr. Tagitis went out of the pension house to take his early lunch but while out on the
street, a couple of burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives, forcibly took him and boarded the latter
on a motor vehicle then sped away without the knowledge of his student, Arsimin Kunnong;

8. As instructed, in the late afternoon of the same day, Kunnong returned to the pension house, and was surprised to find out
that subject Engr. Tagitis cannot [sic] be contacted by phone and was not also around and his room was closed and
locked;

9. Kunnong requested for the key from the desk of the pension house who [sic] assisted him to open the room of Engr. Tagitis,
where they discovered that the personal belongings of Engr. Tagitis, including cell phones, documents and other
personal belongings were all intact inside the room;

10. When Kunnong could not locate Engr. Tagitis, the former sought the help of another IDB scholar and reported the matter
to the local police agency;

11. Arsimin Kunnong including his friends and companions in Jolo, exerted efforts in trying to locate the whereabouts of Engr.
Tagitis and when he reported the matter to the police authorities in Jolo, he was immediately given a ready answer
that Engr. Tagitis could have been abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group and other groups known to be fighting against
the government;

12. Being scared with [sic] these suggestions and insinuations of the police officers, Kunnong reported the matter to the
[respondent, wife of Engr. Tagitis] by phone and other responsible officers and coordinators of the IDB Scholarship
Programme in the Philippines, who alerted the office of the Governor of ARMM who was then preparing to attend
the OIC meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia;

13. [Respondent], on the other hand, approached some of her co-employees with the Land Bank in Digos branch, Digos City,
Davao del Sur who likewise sought help from some of their friends in the military who could help them find/locate the
whereabouts of her husband;
14. All of these efforts of the [respondent] did not produce any positive results except the information from persons in the
military who do not want to be identified that Engr. Tagitis is in the hands of the uniformed men;

15. According to reliable information received by the [respondent], subject Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police intelligence
operatives, specifically with the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an earnest attempt of the
police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different terrorist groups;

xxxx
17. [Respondent] filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station in the ARMM in Cotobato and in Jolo, as suggested by her
friends, seeking their help to find her husband, but [respondents] request and pleadings failed to produce any positive
results;

18. Instead of helping the [respondent], she [sic] was told of an intriguing tale by the police that her husband, subject of the
petition, was not missing but was with another woman having good time somewhere, which is a clear indication of
the [petitioners] refusal to help and provide police assistance in locating her missing husband;

19. The continued failure and refusal of the [petitioners] to release and/or turn-over subject Engr. Tagitis to his family or even
to provide truthful information to [the respondent] of the subjects whereabouts, and/or allow [the respondent] to
visit her husband Engr. Morced Tagitis, caused so much sleepless nights and serious anxieties;

20. Lately, [the respondent] was again advised by one of the [petitioners] to go to the ARMM Police Headquarters again in
Cotobato City and also to the different Police Headquarters including [those] in Davao City, in Zamboanga City, in
Jolo, and in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and all these places have been visited by the [respondent] in search for her
husband, which entailed expenses for her trips to these places thereby resorting her to borrowings and beggings [ sic]
for financial help from friends and relatives only to try complying [sic] to the different suggestions of these police
officers, despite of which, her efforts produced no positive results up to the present time;

21. In fact at times, some police officers, who [sympathized with] the sufferings undergone by the [respondent], informed her
that they are not the proper persons that she should approach, but assured her not to worry because her husband is
[sic] in good hands;

22. The unexplained uncooperative behavior of the [petitioners] to the [respondents] request for help and failure and refusal of
the [petitioners] to extend the needed help, support and assistance in locating the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis who
had been declared missing since October 30, 2007 which is almost two (2) months now, clearly indicates that the
[petitioners] are actually in physical possession and custody of [respondents] husband, Engr. Tagitis;

xxxx

25. [The respondent] has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies but to no avail, and under the circumstances,
[the respondent] has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of subject Engr.
Morced Tagitis from the illegal clutches of the [petitioners], their intelligence operatives and the like which are in total
violation of the subjects human and constitutional rights, except the issuance of a WRIT OF AMPARO. [Emphasis
supplied]

On the same day the petition was filed, the CA immediately issued the Writ of Amparo, set the case for hearing on January 7, 2008, and
directed the petitioners to file their verified return within seventy-two (72) hours from service of the writ.[11]

In their verified Return filed during the hearing of January 27, 2008, the petitioners denied any involvement in or knowledge of
Tagitis alleged abduction. They argued that the allegations of the petition were incomplete and did not constitute a cause of action
against them; were baseless, or at best speculative; and were merely based on hearsay evidence. [12]

The affidavit of PNP Chief Gen. Avelino I. Razon, attached to the Return, stated that: he did not have any personal knowledge
of, or any participation in, the alleged disappearance; that he had been designated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the head of
a special body called TASK FORCE USIG, to address concerns about extralegal killings and enforced disappearances; the Task Force, inter
alia, coordinated with the investigators and local police, held case conferences, rendered legal advice in connection to these cases; and
gave the following summary:[13]

xxxx
4.
a) On November 5, 2007, the Regional Director, Police Regional Office ARMM
submitted a report on the alleged disappearance of one Engr. Morced Tagitis. According to the said report, the victim
checked-in at ASY Pension House on October 30, 2007 at about 6:00 in the morning and then roamed around Jolo,
Sulu with an unidentified companion. It was only after a few days when the said victim did not return that the matter
was reported to Jolo MPS. Afterwards, elements of Sulu PPO conducted a thorough investigation to trace and locate
the whereabouts of the said missing person, but to no avail. The said PPO is still conducting investigation that will lead
to the immediate findings of the whereabouts of the person.

b) Likewise, the Regional Chief, 9RCIDU submitted a Progress Report to the Director,
CIDG. The said report stated among others that: subject person attended an Education Development Seminar set on
October 28, 2007 conducted at Ateneo de Zamboanga, Zamboanga City together with a Prof. Matli. On October 30,
2007, at around 5:00 oclock in the morning, Engr. Tagitis reportedly arrived at Jolo Sulu wharf aboard M/V Bounty
Cruise, he was then billeted at ASY Pension House. At about 6:15 oclock in the morning of the same date, he
instructed his student to purchase a fast craft ticket bound for Zamboanga City and will depart from Jolo, Sulu on
October 31, 2007. That on or about 10:00 oclock in the morning, Engr. Tagitis left the premises of ASY Pension House
as stated by the cashier of the said pension house. Later in the afternoon, the student instructed to purchase the ticket
arrived at the pension house and waited for Engr. Tagitis, but the latter did not return. On its part, the elements of
9RCIDU is now conducting a continuous case build up and information gathering to locate the whereabouts of Engr.
Tagitis.

c) That the Director, CIDG directed the conduct of the search in all divisions of the
CIDG to find Engr. Tagitis who was allegedly abducted or illegally detained by covert CIDG-PNP Intelligence
Operatives since October 30, 2007, but after diligent and thorough search, records show that no such person is being
detained in CIDG or any of its department or divisions.

5. On this particular case, the Philippine National Police exhausted all possible efforts, steps and actions available
under the circumstances and continuously search and investigate [sic] the instant case. This immense mandate,
however, necessitates the indispensable role of the citizenry, as the PNP cannot stand alone without the cooperation of
the victims and witnesses to identify the perpetrators to bring them before the bar of justice and secure their conviction
in court.

The petitioner PNP-CIDG Chief, Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, submitted as well his affidavit, also attached to the Return of the Writ,
attesting that upon receipt of the Writ of Amparo, he caused the following:[14]
xxxx
That immediately upon receipt on December 29, 2007 of the Resolution of the Honorable Special Fourth Division of the Court
of Appeals, I immediately directed the Investigation Division of this Group [CIDG] to conduct urgent investigation on
the alleged enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced Tagitis.

That based on record, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis attended an Education Development Seminar on October 28, 2007 at
Ateneo de Zamboanga at Zamboanga City together with Prof. Abdulnasser Matli. On October 30, 2007, at around six
oclock in the morning he arrived at Jolo, Sulu. He was assisted by his student identified as Arsimin Kunnong of the
Islamic Development Bank who was also one of the participants of the said seminar. He checked in at ASY pension
house located [sic] Kakuyagan, Patikul, Sulu on October 30, 2007 with [sic] unidentified companion. At around six
oclock in the morning of even date, Engr. Tagitis instructed his student to purchase a fast craft ticket for Zamboanga
City. In the afternoon of the same date, Kunnong arrived at the pension house carrying the ticket he purchased for
Engr. Tagitis, but the latter was nowhere to be found anymore. Kunnong immediately informed Prof. Abdulnasser
Matli who reported the incident to the police. The CIDG is not involved in the disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis
to make out a case of an enforced disappearance which presupposes a direct or indirect involvement of the
government.

That herein [petitioner] searched all divisions and departments for a person named Engr. Morced N. Tagitis, who was
allegedly abducted or illegally detained by covert CIDG-PNP Intelligence Operatives since October 30, 2007 and after
a diligent and thorough research records show that no such person is being detained in CIDG or any of its department
or divisions.

That nevertheless, in order to determine the circumstances surrounding Engr. Morced Tagitis [sic] alleged enforced
disappearance, the undersigned had undertaken immediate investigation and will pursue investigations up to its full
completion in order to aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible therefore.

Likewise attached to the Return of the Writ was PNP-PACER[15] Chief PS Supt. Leonardo A. Espinas affidavit which alleged that:[16]

xxxx

That, I and our men and women in PACER vehemently deny any participation in the alleged abduction or illegally [ sic]
detention of ENGR. MORCED N. TAGITS on October 30, 2007. As a matter of fact, nowhere in the writ was
mentioned that the alleged abduction was perpetrated by elements of PACER nor was there any indication that the
alleged abduction or illegal detention of ENGR. TAGITIS was undertaken jointly by our men and by
the alleged covert CIDG-PNP intelligence operatives alleged to have abducted or illegally detained ENGR. TAGITIS.
That I was shocked when I learned that I was implicated in the alleged disappearance of ENGR. MORCED in my
capacity as the chief PACER [sic] considering that our office, the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER), a
special task force created for the purpose of neutralizing or eradicating kidnap-for-ransom groups which until now
continue to be one of the menace of our society is a respondent in kidnapping or illegal detention case. Simply put,
our task is to go after kidnappers and charge them in court and to abduct or illegally detain or kidnap anyone is
anathema to our mission.

That right after I learned of the receipt of the WRIT OF AMPARO, I directed the Chief of PACER Mindanao Oriental
(PACER-MOR) to conduct pro-active measures to investigate, locate/search the subject, identify and apprehend the
persons responsible, to recover and preserve evidence related to the disappearance of ENGR. MORCED TAGITIS,
which may aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible, to identify witnesses and obtain statements
from them concerning the disappearance and to determine the cause, manner, location and time of disappearance as
well as any pattern or practice that may have brought about the disappearance.

That I further directed the chief of PACER-MOR, Police Superintendent JOSE ARNALDO BRIONES JR., to submit a
written report regarding the disappearance of ENGR. MORCED.

That in compliance with my directive, the chief of PACER-MOR sent through fax his written report.

That the investigation and measures being undertaken to locate/search the subject in coordination with Police Regional
Office, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (PRO-ARMM) and Jolo Police Provincial Office (PPO) and other
AFP and PNP units/agencies in the area are ongoing with the instruction not to leave any stone unturned so to speak in
the investigation until the perpetrators in the instant case are brought to the bar of justice.

That I have exercised EXTRAORDINARY DILIGENCE in dealing with the WRIT OF AMPARO just issued.

Finally, the PNP PRO ARMM Regional Director PC Supt. Joel R. Goltiao ( Gen. Goltiao), also submitted his affidavit detailing the actions
that he had taken upon receipt of the report on Tagitis disappearance, viz:[17]
xxxx

3) For the record:

1. I am the Regional Director of Police Regional Office ARMM now and during the
time of the incident;

xxxx

4. It is my duty to look into and take appropriate measures on any cases of reported enforced
disappearances and when they are being alluded to my office;

5. On November 5, 2007, the Provincial Director of Sulu Police Provincial Office reported to me through Radio
Message Cite No. SPNP3-1105-07-2007 that on November 4, 2007 at around 3:30 p.m., a certain Abdulnasser Matli,
an employee of Islamic Development Bank, appeared before the Office of the Chief of Police, Jolo Police Station, and
reported the disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis, scholarship coordinator of Islamic Development Bank, Manila;

6. There was no report that Engr. Tagibis was last seen in the company of or taken by any member of the Philippine
National Police but rather he just disappeared from ASY Pension House situated at Kakuyagan Village, Village, Patikul,
Sulu, on October 30, 2007, without any trace of forcible abduction or arrest;

7. The last known instance of communication with him was when Arsimin Kunnong, a student scholar, was requested
by him to purchase a vessel ticket at the Office of Weezam Express, however, when the student returned back to ASY
Pension House, he no longer found Engr. Tagitis there and when he immediately inquired at the information counter
regarding his whereabouts [sic], the person in charge in the counter informed him that Engr. Tagitis had left the
premises on October 30, 2007 around 1 oclock p.m. and never returned back to his room;

8. Immediately after learning the incident, I called and directed the Provincial Director of Sulu Police Provincial Office
and other units through phone call and text messages to conduct investigation [sic] to determine the whereabouts of
the aggrieved party and the person or persons responsible for the threat, act or omission, to recover and preserve
evidence related to the disappearance of Engr. Tagitis, to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them
concerning his disappearance, to determine the cause and manner of his disappearance, to identify and apprehend the
person or persons involved in the disappearance so that they shall be brought before a competent court;

9. Thereafter, through my Chief of the Regional Investigation and Detection Management Division, I have caused the
following directives:

a) Radio Message Cite No. RIDMD-1122-07-358 dated November 22, 2007 directing PD Sulu PPO to
conduct joint investigation with CIDG and CIDU ARMM on the matter;
b) Radio Message Cite No. RIDMD-1128-07-361 dated November 28, 2007 directing PD Sulu PPO to
expedite compliance to my previous directive;

c) Memorandum dated December 14, 2007 addressed to PD Sulu PPO reiterating our series of directives
for investigation and directing him to undertake exhaustive coordination efforts with the owner of ASY
Pension House and student scholars of IDB in order to secure corroborative statements regarding the
disappearance and whereabouts of said personality;

d) Memorandum dated December 24, 2007 addressed to PD Sulu PPO directing him to maximize efforts to
establish clues on the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis by seeking the cooperation of Prof. Abdulnasser Matli and
Arsimin Kunnong and/or whenever necessary, for them to voluntarily submit for polygraph examination with
the NBI so as to expunge all clouds of doubt that they may somehow have knowledge or idea to his
disappearance;

e) Memorandum dated December 27, 2007 addressed to the Regional Chief, Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group, Police Regional Office 9, Zamboanga City, requesting assistance to investigate the cause and
unknown disappearance of Engr. Tagitis considering that it is within their area of operational jurisdiction;

f) Memorandum from Chief, Intelligence Division, PRO ARMM dated December 30, 2007 addressed to PD
Sulu PPO requiring them to submit complete investigation report regarding the case of Engr. Tagitis;

10. In compliance to our directives, PD Sulu PPO has exerted his [sic] efforts to conduct investigation [sic] on the
matter to determine the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis and the circumstances related to his disappearance and submitted
the following:

a) Progress Report dated November 6, 2007 through Radio Message Cite No. SPNP3-1106-10-2007;

b) Radio Message Cite No. SPIDMS-1205-47-07 informing this office that they are still monitoring the
whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis;

c) Investigation Report dated December 31, 2007 from the Chief of Police, Jolo Police Station, Sulu PPO;

11. This incident was properly reported to the PNP Higher Headquarters as shown in the following:

a) Memorandum dated November 6, 2007 addressed to the Chief, PNP informing him of the facts of the
disappearance and the action being taken by our office;

b) Memorandum dated November 6, 2007 addressed to the Director, Directorate for Investigation and
Detection Management, NHQ PNP;

c) Memorandum dated December 30, 2007 addressed to the Director, DIDM;

4) In spite of our exhaustive efforts, the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis cannot be determined but our office is
continuously intensifying the conduct of information gathering, monitoring and coordination for the immediate
solution of the case.

Since the disappearance of Tagistis was practically admitted and taking note of favorable actions so far taken on the disappearance, the
CA directed Gen. Goltiao as the officer in command of the area of disappearance to form TASK FORCE TAGITIS. [18]

Task Force Tagitis

On January 11, 2008, Gen. Goltiao designated PS Supt. Ahiron Ajirim (PS Supt. Ajirim) to head TASK FORCE TAGITIS.[19] The CA
subsequently set three hearings to monitor whether TASK FORCE TAGITIS was exerting extraordinary efforts in handling the
disappearance of Tagitis.[20] As planned, (1) the first hearing would be to mobilize the CIDG, Zamboanga City; (2) the second hearing
would be to mobilize intelligence with Abu Sayyaf and ARMM; and (3) the third hearing would be to mobilize the Chief of Police of
Jolo, Sulu and the Chief of Police of Zamboanga City and other police operatives.[21]
In the hearing on January 17, 2008, TASK FORCE TAGITIS submitted to the CA an intelligence report from PSL Usman S. Pingay, the
Chief of Police of the Jolo Police Station, stating a possible motive for Tagitis disappearance. [22] The intelligence report was apparently
based on the sworn affidavit dated January 4, 2008 of Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli ( Prof. Matli), Professor of Islamic Studies at the
University of the Philippines and an Honorary Student Counselor of the IDB Scholarship Program in the Philippines, who told the
Provincial Governor of Sulu that:[23]

[Based] on reliable information from the Office of Muslim Affairs in Manila, Tagitis has reportedly taken and carried
away more or less Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00) deposited and entrusted to his [personal] bank accounts by the
Central Office of IDB, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which [was] intended for the IDB Scholarship Fund.
In the same hearing, PS Supt. Ajirim testified that since the CIDG was alleged to be responsible, he personally went to the CIDG office in
Zamboanga City to conduct an ocular inspection/investigation, particularly of their detention cells. [24] PS Supt. Ajirim stated that the
CIDG, while helping TASK FORCE TAGITIS investigate the disappearance of Tagitis, persistently denied any knowledge or complicity in
any abduction.[25] He further testified that prior to the hearing, he had already mobilized and given specific instructions to their
supporting units to perform their respective tasks; that they even talked to, but failed to get any lead from the respondent in Jolo.[26] In
his submitted investigation report dated January 16, 2008, PS Supt. Ajirim concluded:[27]

9. Gleaned from the undersigned inspection and observation at the Headquarters 9 RCIDU and the documents at hand, it is my
own initial conclusion that the 9RCIDU and other PNP units in the area had no participation neither [ sic] something to
do with [sic] mysterious disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis last October 30, 2007. Since doubt has been raised
regarding the emolument on the Islamic Development Bank Scholar program of IDB that was reportedly deposited in
the personal account of Engr. Tagitis by the IDB central office in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Secondly, it could
might [sic] be done by resentment or sour grape among students who are applying for the scholar [sic] and were
denied which was allegedly conducted/screened by the subject being the coordinator of said program.

20. It is also premature to conclude but it does or it may and [sic] presumed that the motive behind the disappearance of the
subject might be due to the funds he maliciously spent for his personal interest and wanted to elude responsibilities
from the institution where he belong as well as to the Islamic student scholars should the statement of Prof. Matli be
true or there might be a professional jealousy among them.

xxxx
It is recommended that the Writ of Amparo filed against the respondents be dropped and dismissed considering on
[sic] the police and military actions in the area particularly the CIDG are exerting their efforts and religiously doing their
tasked [sic] in the conduct of its intelligence monitoring and investigation for the early resolution of this instant
case. But rest assured, our office, in coordination with other law-enforcement agencies in the area, are continuously
and religiously conducting our investigation for the resolution of this case.

On February 4, 2008, the CA issued an ALARM WARNING that TASK FORCE TAGITIS did not appear to be exerting extraordinary
efforts in resolving Tagitis disappearance on the following grounds:[28]

(1) This Court FOUND that it was only as late as January 28, 2008, after the hearing, that
GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO and COL. AHIRON AJIRIM had requested for clear photographs when it should have been
standard operating procedure in kidnappings or disappearances that the first agenda was for the police to secure clear
pictures of the missing person, Engr. Morced Tagitis, for dissemination to all parts of the country and to neighboring
countries. It had been three (3) months since GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO admitted having been informed on November 5,
2007 of the alleged abduction of Engr. Morced Tagitis by alleged bad elements of the CIDG. It had been more than
one (1) month since the Writ of Amparo had been issued on December 28, 2007. It had been three (3) weeks when
battle formation was ordered through Task Force Tagitis, on January 17, 2008. It was only on January 28, 2008
when the Task Force Tagitis requested for clear and recent photographs of the missing person, Engr. Morced Tagitis,
despite the Task Force Tagitis claim that they already had an all points bulletin, since November 5, 2007, on the
missing person, Engr. Morced Tagitis. How could the police look for someone who disappeared if no clear
photograph had been disseminated?

(2) Furthermore, Task Force Tagitis COL. AHIROM AJIRIM informed this Court that
P/Supt KASIM was designated as Col. Ahirom Ajirims replacement in the latters official designated post. Yet, P/Supt
KASIMs subpoena was returned to this Court unserved. Since this Court was made to understand that it was P/Supt
KASIM who was the petitioners unofficial source of the military intelligence information that Engr. Morced Tagitis was
abducted by bad elements of the CIDG (par. 15 of the Petition), the close contact between P/Supt KASIM and Col.
Ahirom Ajirim of TASK FORCE TAGITIS should have ensured the appearance of Col. KASIM in response to this courts
subpoena and COL. KASIM could have confirmed the military intelligence information that bad elements of the CIDG
had abducted Engr. Morced Tagitis.

Testimonies for the Respondent


On January 7, 2008, the respondent, Mary Jean B. Tagitis, testified on direct examination that she went to Jolo and Zamboanga in her
efforts to locate her husband. She said that a friend from Zamboanga holding a high position in the military (whom she did not then
identify) gave her information that allowed her to specify her allegations, particularly paragraph 15 of the petition.[29]This friend also told
her that her husband [was] in good hands.[30] The respondent also testified that she sought the assistance of her former boss in Davao
City, Land Bank Bajada Branch Manager Rudy Salvador, who told her that PNP CIDG is holding [her husband], Engineer Morced
Tagitis.[31] The respondent recounted that she went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City where she met Col. Julasirim Ahadin Kasim ( Col.
Kasim/Sr. Supt Kasim) who read to her and her friends (who were then with her) a highly confidential report that contained the alleged
activities of Engineer Tagitis and informed her that her husband was abducted because he is under custodial investigation for being a
liaison for J.I. or Jemaah Islamiah.[32]
On January 17, 2008, the respondent on cross-examination testified that she is Tagitis second wife, and they have been married for
thirteen years; Tagitis was divorced from his first wife.[33] She last communicated with her husband on October 29, 2007 at around 7:31
p.m. through text messaging; Tagitis was then on his way to Jolo, Sulu, from Zamboanga City.[34]

The respondent narrated that she learned of her husbands disappearance on October 30, 2007 when her stepdaughter, Zaynah Tagitis
(Zaynah), informed her that she had not heard from her father since the time they arranged to meet in Manila on October 31,
2007.[35] The respondent explained that it took her a few days (or on November 5, 2007) to personally ask Kunnong to report her
husbands disappearance to the Jolo Police Station, since she had the impression that her husband could not communicate with her
because his cellular phones battery did not have enough power, and that he would call her when he had fully-charged his cellular phones
battery.[36]

The respondent also identified the high-ranking military friend, who gave her the information found in paragraph 15 of her petition, as
Lt. Col. Pedro L. Ancanan, Jr (Col. Ancanan). She met him in Camp Karingal, Zamboanga through her boss.[37] She also testified that she
was with three other people, namely, Mrs. Marydel Martin Talbin and her two friends from Mati City, Davao Oriental, when Col. Kasim
read to them the contents of the highly confidential report at Camp Katitipan, Davao City. The respondent further narrated that the
report indicated that her husband met with people belonging to a terrorist group and that he was under custodial investigation. She then
told Col. Kasim that her husband was a diabetic taking maintenance medication, and asked that the Colonel relay to the persons holding
him the need to give him his medication.[38]

On February 11, 2008, TASK FORCE TAGITIS submitted two narrative reports,[39] signed by the respondent, detailing her efforts
to locate her husband which led to her meetings with Col. Ancanan of the Philippine Army and Col. Kasim of the PNP. In her narrative
report concerning her meeting with Col. Ancanan, the respondent recounted, viz:[40]
On November 11, 2007, we went to Zamboanga City with my friend Mrs. Marydel Talbin. Our flight from Davao
City is 9:00 oclock in the morning; we arrived at Zamboanga Airport at around 10:00 oclock. We [were] fetched by
the two staffs of Col. Ancanan. We immediately proceed [sic] to West Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM).
On that same day, we had private conversation with Col. Ancanan. He interviewed me and got information about the
personal background of Engr. Morced N. Tagitis. After he gathered all information, he revealed to us the contents of
text messages they got from the cellular phone of the subject Engr. Tagitis. One of the very important text messages of
Engr. Tagitis sent to his daughter Zaynah Tagitis was that she was not allowed to answer any telephone calls in his
condominium unit.

While we were there he did not tell us any information of the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis. After the said meeting
with Col. Ancanan, he treated us as guests to the city. His two staffs accompanied us to the mall to purchase our plane
ticket going back to Davao City on November 12, 2007.
When we arrived in Davao City on November 12, 2007 at 9:00 in the morning, Col. Ancanan and I were discussing
some points through phone calls. He assured me that my husband is alive and hes last looked [sic] in Talipapao, Jolo,
Sulu. Yet I did not believe his given statements of the whereabouts of my husband, because I contacted some of my
friends who have access to the groups of MILF, MNLF and ASG. I called up Col. Ancanan several times begging to tell
me the exact location of my husband and who held him but he refused.

While I was in Jolo, Sulu on November 30, 2007, I called him up again because the PNP, Jolo did not give me any
information of the whereabouts of my husband. Col. Ancanan told me that Sana ngayon alam mo na kung saan ang
kinalalagyan ng asawa mo. When I was in Zamboanga, I was thinking of dropping by the office of Col. Ancanan, but I
was hesitant to pay him a visit for the reason that the Chief of Police of Jolo told me not to contact any AFP officials
and he promised me that he can solve the case of my husband (Engr. Tagitis) within nine days.

I appreciate the effort of Col. Ancanan on trying to solve the case of my husband Engr. Morced Tagitis, yet failed to do
so.

The respondent also narrated her encounter with Col. Kasim, as follows:[41]
On November 7, 2007, I went to Land Bank of the Philippines, Bajada Branch, Davao City to meet Mr. Rudy
Salvador. I told him that my husband, Engineer Morced Tagitis was presumed to be abducted in Jolo, Sulu on October
30, 2007. I asked him a favor to contact his connections in the military in Jolo, Sulu where the abduction of Engr.
Tagitis took place. Mr. Salvador immediately called up Camp Katitipan located in Davao City looking for high-ranking
official who can help me gather reliable information behind the abduction of subject Engineer Tagitis.

On that same day, Mr. Salvador and my friend, Anna Mendoza, Executive Secretary, accompanied me to Camp
Katitipan to meet Col. Kasim. Mr. Salvador introduced me to Col. Kasim and we had a short conversation. And he
assured me that hell do the best he can to help me find my husband.

After a few weeks, Mr. Salvador called me up informing me up informing me that I am to go to Camp Katitipan to
meet Col. Kasim for he has an urgent, confidential information to reveal.
On November 24, 2007, we went back to Camp Katitipan with my three friends. That was the time that Col. Kasim
read to us the confidential report that Engr. Tagitis was allegedly connected [with] different terrorist [groups], one of
which he mentioned in the report was OMAR PATIK and a certain SANTOS - a Balik Islam.
It is also said that Engr. Tagitis is carrying boxes of medicines for the injured terrorists as a supplier. These are the two
information that I can still remember. It was written in a long bond paper with PNP Letterhead. It was not shown to
us, yet Col. Kasim was the one who read it for us.

He asked a favor to me that Please dont quote my Name! Because this is a raw report. He assured me that my
husband is alive and he is in the custody of the military for custodial investigation. I told him to please take care of my
husband because he has aliments and he recently took insulin for he is a diabetic patient.

In my petition for writ of amparo, I emphasized the information that I got from Kasim.
On February 11, 2008, the respondent presented Mrs. Marydel Martin Talbin (Mrs. Talbin) to corroborate her testimony regarding her
efforts to locate her husband, in relation particularly with the information she received from Col. Kasim. Mrs. Talbin testified that she
was with the respondent when she went to Zamboanga to see Col. Ancanan, and to Davao City at Camp Katitipan to meet Col.
Kasim.[42]

In Zamboanga, Mrs. Talbin recounted that they met with Col. Ancanan, who told them that there was a report and that he showed them
a series of text messages from Tagitis cellular phone, which showed that Tagitis and his daughter would meet in Manila on October 30,
2007.[43]

She further narrated that sometime on November 24, 2007, she went with the respondent together with two other companions,
namely, Salvacion Serrano and Mini Leong, to Camp Katitipan to talk to Col. Kasim. [44] The respondent asked Col. Kasim if he knew the
exact location of Engr. Tagitis. Col. Kasim told them that Tagitis was in good hands, although he was not certain whether he was with
the PNP or with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). She further recounted that based on the report Col. Kasim read in their
presence, Tagitis was under custodial investigation because he was being charged with terrorism; Tagitis in fact had been under
surveillance since January 2007 up to the time he was abducted when he was seen talking to Omar Patik and a certain Santos of Bulacan,
a Balik Islam charged with terrorism. Col. Kasim also told them that he could not give a copy of the report because it was a raw
report.[45] She also related that the Col. Kasim did not tell them exactly where Tagitis was being kept, although he mentioned Talipapao,
Sulu.Prof., lalabas din yan.[50] Prof. Matli also emphasized that despite what his January 4, 2008 affidavit indicated, [51] he never told PS Supt.
Pingay, or made any accusation, that Tagitis took away money entrusted to him.[52] Prof. Matli confirmed, however, that that he had
received an e-mail report[53] from Nuraya Lackian of the Office of Muslim Affairs in Manila that the IDB was seeking assistance of the
office in locating the funds of IDB scholars deposited in Tagitis personal account.[54]

On cross-examination by the respondents counsel, Prof. Matli testified that his January 4, 2008 affidavit was already prepared when PS
Supt. Pingay asked him to sign it.[55] Prof Matli clarified that although he read the affidavit before signing it, he was not so much aware
of [its] contents.[56]

On February 11, 2008, the petitioners presented Col. Kasim to rebut material portions of the respondents testimony, particularly the
allegation that he had stated that Tagitis was in the custody of either the military or the PNP. [57] Col. Kasim categorically denied the
statements made by the respondent in her narrative report, specifically: (1) that Tagitis was seen carrying boxes of medicines as supplier
for the injured terrorists; (2) that Tagitis was under the custody of the military, since he merely said to the respondent that your husband
is in good hands and is probably taken cared of by his armed abductors; and (3) that Tagitis was under custodial investigation by the
military, the PNP or the CIDG Zamboanga City.[58] Col. Kasim emphasized that the informal letter he received from his informant in Sulu
did not indicate that Tagitis was in the custody of the CIDG.[59] He also stressed that the information he provided to the respondent was
merely a raw report sourced from barangay intelligence that still needed confirmation and follow-up as to its veracity.[60]
On cross-examination, Col. Kasim testified that the information he gave the respondent was given to him by his informant, who was a
civilian asset, through a letter which he considered as unofficial.[61] Col. Kasim stressed that the letter was only meant for his consumption
and not for reading by others.[62] He testified further that he destroyed the letter right after he read it to the respondent and her
companions because it was not important to him and also because the information it contained had no importance in relation with the
abduction of Tagitis.[63] He explained that he did not keep the letter because it did not contain any information regarding the
whereabouts of Tagitis and the person(s) responsible for his abduction.[64]

In the same hearing on February 11, 2008, the petitioners also presented Police Senior Superintendent Jose Volpane Pante ( Col. Pante),
Chief of the CIDG-9, to disprove the respondents allegation that Tagitis was in the custody of CIDG-Zamboanga City.[65] Col. Pante
clarified that the CIDG was the investigative arm of the PNP, and that the CIDG investigates and prosecutes all cases involving violations
in the Revised Penal Code particularly those considered as heinous crimes.[66] Col. Pante further testified that the allegation that 9 RCIDU
personnel were involved in the disappearance of Tagitis was baseless, since they did not conduct any operation in Jolo, Sulu before or
after Tagitis reported disappearance.[67] Col. Pante added that the four (4) personnel assigned to the Sulu CIDT had no capability to
conduct any operation, since they were only assigned to investigate matters and to monitor the terrorism situation. [68] He denied that his
office conducted any surveillance on Tagitis prior to the latters disappearance. [69] Col. Pante further testified that his investigation of
Tagitis disappearance was unsuccessful; the investigation was still facing a blank wall on the whereabouts of Tagitis. [70]

THE CA RULING
On March 7, 2008, the CA issued its decision[71] confirming that the disappearance of Tagitis was an enforced disappearance under the
United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances.[72] The CA ruled that when military
intelligence pinpointed the investigative arm of the PNP (CIDG) to be involved in the abduction, the missing-person case qualified as an
enforced disappearance. The conclusion that the CIDG was involved was based on the respondents testimony, corroborated by her
companion, Mrs. Talbin. The CA noted that the information that the CIDG, as the police intelligence arm, was involved in Tagitis
abduction came from no less than the military an independent agency of government. The CA thus greatly relied on the raw report from
Col. Kasims asset, pointing to the CIDGs involvement in Tagitis abduction. The CA held that raw reports from an asset carried great
weight in the intelligence world. It also labeled as suspect Col. Kasims subsequent and belated retraction of his statement that the
military, the police, or the CIDG was involved in the abduction of Tagitis.

The CA characterized as too farfetched and unbelievable and a bedlam of speculation police theories painting the disappearance as
intentional on the part of Tagitis. He had no previous brushes with the law or any record of overstepping the bounds of any trust
regarding money entrusted to him; no student of the IDB scholarship program ever came forward to complain that he or she did not get
his or her stipend. The CA also found no basis for the police theory that Tagitis was trying to escape from the clutches of his second wife,
on the basis of the respondents testimony that Tagitis was a Muslim who could have many wives under the Muslim faith, and that there
was no issue at all when the latter divorced his first wife in order to marry the second. Finally, the CA also ruled out kidnapping for
ransom by the Abu Sayyaf or by the ARMM paramilitary as the cause for Tagitis disappearance, since the respondent, the police and the
military noted that there was no acknowledgement of Tagitis abduction or demand for payment of ransom the usual modus
operandi of these terrorist groups.

Based on these considerations, the CA thus extended the privilege of the writ to Tagitis and his family, and directed the CIDG Chief, Col.
Jose Volpane Pante, PNP Chief Avelino I. Razon, TASK FORCE TAGITIS heads Gen. Joel Goltiao and Col. Ahiron Ajirim, and PACER
Chief Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts to protect the life, liberty and security of Tagitis, with the
obligation to provide monthly reports of their actions to the CA. At the same time, the CA dismissed the petition against the then
respondents from the military, Lt. Gen Alexander Yano and Gen. Ruben Rafael, based on the finding that it was PNP-CIDG, not the
military, that was involved.
On March 31, 2008, the petitioners moved to reconsider the CA decision, but the CA denied the motion in its Resolution of April 9,
2008.[73]

THE PETITION
In this Rule 45 appeal questioning the CAs March 7, 2008 decision, the petitioners mainly dispute the sufficiency in form and substance of
the Amparo petition filed before the CA; the sufficiency of the legal remedies the respondent took before petitioning for the writ; the
finding that the rights to life, liberty and security of Tagitis had been violated; the sufficiency of evidence supporting the conclusion that
Tagitis was abducted; the conclusion that the CIDG Zamboanga was responsible for the abduction; and, generally, the ruling that the
respondent discharged the burden of proving the allegations of the petition by substantial evidence.[74]

THE COURTS RULING

We do not find the petition meritorious.

Sufficiency in Form and Substance

In questioning the sufficiency in form and substance of the respondents Amparo petition, the petitioners contend that the
petition violated Section 5(c), (d), and (e) of the Amparo Rule.Specifically, the petitioners allege that the respondent failed to:

1) allege any act or omission the petitioners committed in violation of Tagitis rights to life, liberty and security;
2) allege in a complete manner how Tagitis was abducted, the persons responsible for his disappearance, and the
respondents source of information;
3) allege that the abduction was committed at the petitioners instructions or with their consent;
4) implead the members of CIDG regional office in Zamboanga alleged to have custody over her husband;
5) attach the affidavits of witnesses to support her accusations;
6) allege any action or inaction attributable to the petitioners in the performance of their duties in the investigation of
Tagitis disappearance; and
7) specify what legally available efforts she took to determine the fate or whereabouts of her husband.

A petition for the Writ of Amparo shall be signed and verified and shall allege, among others (in terms of the portions the
petitioners cite):[75]

(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful
act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is committed with the attendant circumstances
detailed in supporting affidavits;
(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal circumstances, and addresses of the
investigating authority or individuals, as well as the manner and conduct of the investigation, together with any
report;

(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and
the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or omission; and

The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be complete in every detail in stating the threatened or actual
violation of a victims rights. As in any other initiatory pleading, the pleader must of course state the ultimate facts constituting the cause
of action, omitting the evidentiary details.[76] In an Amparo petition, however, this requirement must be read in light of the nature and
purpose of the proceeding, which addresses a situation of uncertainty; the petitioner may not be able to describe with certainty how the
victim exactly disappeared, or who actually acted to kidnap, abduct or arrest him or her, or where the victim is detained, because these
information may purposely be hidden or covered up by those who caused the disappearance. In this type of situation, to require the
level of specificity, detail and precision that the petitioners apparently want to read into the Amparo Rule is to make this Rule a token
gesture of judicial concern for violations of the constitutional rights to life, liberty and security.

To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings while addressing the unique Amparo situation, the test in reading the
petition should be to determine whether it contains the details available to the petitioner under the circumstances, while presenting a
cause of action showing a violation of the victims rights to life, liberty and security through State or private party action. The petition
should likewise be read in its totality, rather than in terms of its isolated component parts, to determine if the required elements namely,
of the disappearance, the State or private action, and the actual or threatened violations of the rights to life, liberty or security are
present.

In the present case, the petition amply recites in its paragraphs 4 to 11 the circumstances under which Tagitis suddenly dropped
out of sight after engaging in normal activities, and thereafter was nowhere to be found despite efforts to locate him. The petition
alleged, too, under its paragraph 7, in relation to paragraphs 15 and 16, that according to reliable information, police operatives were
the perpetrators of the abduction. It also clearly alleged how Tagitis rights to life, liberty and security were violated when he was
forcibly taken and boarded on a motor vehicle by a couple of burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives, and then taken
into custody by the respondents police intelligence operatives since October 30, 2007, specifically by the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, x
x x held against his will in an earnest attempt of the police to involve and connect [him] with different terrorist groups.[77]

These allegations, in our view, properly pleaded ultimate facts within the pleaders knowledge about Tagitis disappearance, the
participation by agents of the State in this disappearance, the failure of the State to release Tagitis or to provide sufficient information
about his whereabouts, as well as the actual violation of his right to liberty. Thus, the petition cannot be faulted for any failure in its
statement of a cause of action.

If a defect can at all be attributed to the petition, this defect is its lack of supporting affidavit, as required by Section 5(c) of
the Amparo Rule. Owing to the summary nature of the proceedings for the writ and to facilitate the resolution of the petition,
the Amparo Rule incorporated the requirement for supporting affidavits, with the annotation that these can be used as the affiants
direct testimony.[78] This requirement, however, should not be read as an absolute one that necessarily leads to the dismissal of the
petition if not strictly followed. Where, as in this case, the petitioner has substantially complied with the requirement by submitting
a verified petition sufficiently detailing the facts relied upon, the strict need for the sworn statement that an affidavit represents is
essentially fulfilled. We note that the failure to attach the required affidavits was fully cured when the respondent and her witness (Mrs.
Talbin) personally testified in the CA hearings held on January 7 and 17 and February 18, 2008 to swear to and flesh out the allegations
of the petition. Thus, even on this point, the petition cannot be faulted.
Section 5(d) of the Amparo Rule requires that prior investigation of an alleged disappearance must have been made, specifying
the manner and results of the investigation. Effectively, this requirement seeks to establish at the earliest opportunity the level of
diligence the public authorities undertook in relation with the reported disappearance.[79]
We reject the petitioners argument that the respondents petition did not comply with the Section 5(d) requirements of
the Amparo Rule, as the petition specifies in its paragraph 11 that Kunnong and his companions immediately reported Tagitis
disappearance to the police authorities in Jolo, Sulu as soon as they were relatively certain that he indeed had disappeared. The police,
however, gave them the ready answer that Tagitis could have been abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group or other anti-government
groups. The respondent also alleged in paragraphs 17 and 18 of her petition that she filed a complaint with the PNP Police Station in
Cotobato and in Jolo, but she was told of an intriguing tale by the police that her husband was having a good time with another
woman. The disappearance was alleged to have been reported, too, to no less than the Governor of the ARMM, followed by the
respondents personal inquiries that yielded the factual bases for her petition.[80]

These allegations, to our mind, sufficiently specify that reports have been made to the police authorities, and that investigations
should have followed. That the petition did not state the manner and results of the investigation that the Amparo Rule requires, but
rather generally stated the inaction of the police, their failure to perform their duty to investigate, or at the very least, their reported
failed efforts, should not be a reflection on the completeness of the petition. To require the respondent to elaborately specify the names,
personal circumstances, and addresses of the investigating authority, as well the manner and conduct of the investigation is an overly
strict interpretation of Section 5(d), given the respondents frustrations in securing an investigation with meaningful results. Under these
circumstances, we are more than satisfied that the allegations of the petition on the investigations undertaken are sufficiently complete for
purposes of bringing the petition forward.

Section 5(e) is in the Amparo Rule to prevent the use of a petition that otherwise is not supported by sufficient allegations to
constitute a proper cause of action as a means to fish for evidence.[81] The petitioners contend that the respondents petition did not
specify what legally available efforts were taken by the respondent, and that there was an undue haste in the filing of the petition when,
instead of cooperating with authorities, the respondent immediately invoked the Courts intervention.

We do not see the respondents petition as the petitioners view it.

Section 5(e) merely requires that the Amparo petitioner (the respondent in the present case) allege the actions and recourses
taken to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or
omission. The following allegations of the respondents petition duly outlined the actions she had taken and the frustrations she
encountered, thus compelling her to file her petition.
xxxx
7. Soon after the student left the room, Engr. Tagitis went out of the pension house to take his early lunch but while out on the
street, a couple of burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives, forcibly took him and boarded the latter on
a motor vehicle then sped away without the knowledge of his student, Arsimin Kunnong;

xxxx

10. When Kunnong could not locate Engr. Tagitis, the former sought the help of another IDB scholar and reported the matter
to the local police agency;

11. Arsimin Kunnong, including his friends and companions in Jolo, exerted efforts in trying to locate the whereabouts of Engr.
Tagitis and when he reported the matter to the police authorities in Jolo, he was immediately given a ready answer
that Engr. Tagitis could [have been] abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group and other groups known to be fighting against
the government;

12. Being scared with these suggestions and insinuations of the police officers, Kunnong reported the matter to the
[respondent](wife of Engr. Tagitis) by phone and other responsible officers and coordinators of the IDB Scholarship
Programme in the Philippines who alerted the office of the Governor of ARMM who was then preparing to attend the
OIC meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia;
13. [The respondent], on the other hand, approached some of her co-employees with the Land Bank in Digos branch,
Digos City, Davao del Sur, who likewise sought help from some of their friends in the military who could help them
find/locate the whereabouts of her husband;

xxxx
15. According to reliable information received by the [respondent], subject Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police intelligence
operatives, specifically with the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an earnest attempt of the
police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different terrorist groups;

xxxx
17. [The respondent] filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station at the ARMM in Cotobato and in Jolo, as suggested by
her friends, seeking their help to find her husband, but [the respondents] request and pleadings failed to produce any
positive results
xxxx
20. Lately, [respondent] was again advised by one of the [petitioners] to go to the ARMM Police Headquarters again in
Cotobato City and also to the different Police Headquarters including the police headquarters in Davao City, in
Zamboanga City, in Jolo, and in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and all these places have been visited by the [respondent]
in search for her husband, which entailed expenses for her trips to these places thereby resorting her to borrowings and
beggings [sic] for financial help from friends and relatives only to try complying to the different suggestions of these
police officers, despite of which, her efforts produced no positive results up to the present time;

xxxx
25. [The respondent] has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies but to no avail, and under the
circumstances, [respondent] has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of subject
Engr. Morced Tagitis from the illegal clutches of [the petitioners], their intelligence operatives and the like which are in
total violation of the subjects human and constitutional rights, except the issuance of a WRIT OF AMPARO.

Based on these considerations, we rule that the respondents petition for the Writ of Amparo is sufficient in form and substance
and that the Court of Appeals had every reason to proceed with its consideration of the case.

The Desaparecidos

The present case is one of first impression in the use and application of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo in an enforced
disappearance situation. For a deeper appreciation of the application of this Rule to an enforced disappearance situation, a brief look at
the historical context of the writ and enforced disappearances would be very helpful.

The phenomenon of enforced disappearance arising from State action first attracted notice in Adolf Hitlers Nact und Nebel
Erlass or Night and Fog Decree of December 7, 1941.[82] The Third Reichs Night and Fog Program, a State policy, was directed at persons
in occupied territories endangering German security; they were transported secretly to Germany where they disappeared without a trace.
In order to maximize the desired intimidating effect, the policy prohibited government officials from providing information about the
fate of these targeted persons.[83]

In the mid-1970s, the phenomenon of enforced disappearances resurfaced, shocking and outraging the world when individuals,
numbering anywhere from 6,000 to 24,000, were reported to have disappeared during the military regime in Argentina. Enforced
disappearances spread in Latin America, and the issue became an international concern when the world noted its widespread and
systematic use by State security forces in that continent under Operation Condor[84] and during the Dirty War[85] in the 1970s and 1980s.
The escalation of the practice saw political activists secretly arrested, tortured, and killed as part of governments counter-insurgency
campaigns. As this form of political brutality became routine elsewhere in the continent, the Latin American media standardized the term
disappearance to describe the phenomenon. The victims of enforced disappearances were called the desaparecidos,[86] which literally
means the disappeared ones.[87] In general, there are three different kinds of disappearance cases:

1) those of people arrested without witnesses or without positive identification of the arresting agents and are
never found again;
2) those of prisoners who are usually arrested without an appropriate warrant and held in complete isolation
for weeks or months while their families are unable to discover their whereabouts and the military authorities
deny having them in custody until they eventually reappear in one detention center or another; and

3) those of victims of salvaging who have disappeared until their lifeless bodies are later discovered.[88]

In the Philippines, enforced disappearances generally fall within the first two categories, [89] and 855 cases were recorded during
the period of martial law from 1972 until 1986. Of this number, 595 remained missing, 132 surfaced alive and 127 were found dead.
During former President Corazon C. Aquinos term, 820 people were reported to have disappeared and of these, 612 cases were
documented. Of this number, 407 remain missing, 108 surfaced alive and 97 were found dead. The number of enforced disappearances
dropped during former President Fidel V. Ramos term when only 87 cases were reported, while the three-year term of former President
Joseph E. Estrada yielded 58 reported cases. KARAPATAN, a local non-governmental organization, reports that as of March 31, 2008,
the records show that there were a total of 193 victims of enforced disappearance under incumbent President Gloria M. Arroyos
administration. The Commission on Human Rights records show a total of 636 verified cases of enforced disappearances from 1985 to
1993. Of this number, 406 remained missing, 92 surfaced alive, 62 were found dead, and 76 still have undetermined
status.[90] Currently, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance[91] reports 619 outstanding cases of
enforced or involuntary disappearances covering the period December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008.[92]

Enforced Disappearances
Under Philippine Law

The Amparo Rule expressly provides that the writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats
thereof.[93] We note that although the writ specifically covers enforced disappearances, this concept is neither defined nor penalized in
this jurisdiction. The records of the Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of Rules (Committee) reveal that the drafters of
the Amparo Rule initially considered providing an elemental definition of the concept of enforced disappearance:[94]

JUSTICE MARTINEZ: I believe that first and foremost we should come up or formulate a specific definition [for]
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. From that definition, then we can proceed to formulate the rules,
definite rules concerning the same.

CHIEF JUSTICE PUNO: As things stand, there is no law penalizing extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances so
initially also we have to [come up with] the nature of these extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances [to be
covered by the Rule] because our concept of killings and disappearances will define the jurisdiction of the courts. So
well have to agree among ourselves about the nature of killings and disappearances for instance, in other jurisdictions,
the rules only cover state actors. That is an element incorporated in their concept of extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances. In other jurisdictions, the concept includes acts and omissions not only of state actors but also of non
state actors. Well, more specifically in the case of the Philippines for instance, should these rules include the killings, the
disappearances which may be authored by let us say, the NPAs or the leftist organizations and others. So, again we
need to define the nature of the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances that will be covered by these rules.
[Emphasis supplied] [95]

In the end, the Committee took cognizance of several bills filed in the House of Representatives [96] and in the Senate[97] on
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, and resolved to do away with a clear textual definition of these terms in the Rule. The
Committee instead focused on the nature and scope of the concerns within its power to address and provided the appropriate remedy
therefor, mindful that an elemental definition may intrude into the ongoing legislative efforts.[98]

As the law now stands, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are not crimes penalized separately
from the component criminal acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced disappearances and are now penalized under the
Revised Penal Code and special laws.[99] The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on the matter; the determination of
what acts are criminal and what the corresponding penalty these criminal acts should carry are matters of substantive law that only the
Legislature has the power to enact under the countrys constitutional scheme and power structure.
Even without the benefit of directly applicable substantive laws on extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, however,
the Supreme Court is not powerless to act under its own constitutional mandate to promulgate rules concerning the protection and
enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, [100] since extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances, by their nature and purpose, constitute State or private party violation of the constitutional rights of individuals to life,
liberty and security. Although the Courts power is strictly procedural and as such does not diminish, increase or modify substantive
rights, the legal protection that the Court can provide can be very meaningful through the procedures it sets in addressing extrajudicial
killings and enforced disappearances. The Court, through its procedural rules, can set the procedural standards and thereby directly
compel the public authorities to act on actual or threatened violations of constitutional rights. To state the obvious, judicial intervention
can make a difference even if only procedurally in a situation when the very same investigating public authorities may have had a hand
in the threatened or actual violations of constitutional rights.

Lest this Court intervention be misunderstood, we clarify once again that we do not rule on any issue of criminal culpability for
the extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance. This is an issue that requires criminal action before our criminal courts based on our
existing penal laws. Our intervention is in determining whether an enforced disappearance has taken place and who is responsible or
accountable for this disappearance, and to define and impose the appropriate remedies to address it. The burden for the public
authorities to discharge in these situations, under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, is twofold. The first is to ensure that all efforts
at disclosure and investigation are undertaken under pain of indirect contempt from this Court when governmental efforts are less
than what the individual situations require. The second is to address the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his
or her liberty and security restored. In these senses, our orders and directives relative to the writ are continuing efforts that are not truly
terminated until the extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance is fully addressed by the complete determination of the fate and the
whereabouts of the victim, by the production of the disappeared person and the restoration of his or her liberty and security, and, in the
proper case, by the commencement of criminal action against the guilty parties.

Enforced Disappearance
Under International Law

From the International Law perspective, involuntary or enforced disappearance is considered a flagrant violation of human
rights.
[101] It does not only violate the right to life, liberty and security of the desaparecido; it affects their families as well through the
denial of their right to information regarding the circumstances of the disappeared family member. Thus, enforced disappearances have
been said to be a double form of torture, with doubly paralyzing impact for the victims, as they are kept ignorant of their own fates,
while family members are deprived of knowing the whereabouts of their detained loved ones and suffer as well the serious economic
hardship and poverty that in most cases follow the disappearance of the household breadwinner.[102]

The UN General Assembly first considered the issue of Disappeared Persons in December 1978 under Resolution 33/173. The
Resolution expressed the General Assemblys deep concern arising from reports from various parts of the world relating to enforced or
involuntary disappearances, and requested the UN Commission on Human Rights to consider the issue of enforced disappearances with a
view to making appropriate recommendations.[103]

In 1992, in response to the reality that the insidious practice of enforced disappearance had become a global phenomenon, the
UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Declaration).[104] This
Declaration, for the first time, provided in its third preambular clause a working description of enforced disappearance, as follows:

Deeply concerned that in many countries, often in a persistent manner, enforced disappearances occur, in
the sense that persons are arrested, detained or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty by
officials of different branches or levels of Government, or by organized groups or private individuals acting on behalf
of, or with the support, direct or indirect, consent or acquiescence of the Government, followed by a refusal to
disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of their
liberty, which places such persons outside the protection of the law. [Emphasis supplied]
Fourteen years after (or on December 20, 2006), the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the
Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Convention).[105] The Convention was opened for signature in Paris, France on
February 6, 2007.[106] Article 2 of the Convention defined enforced disappearance as follows:

For the purposes of this Convention, enforced disappearance is considered to be the arrest, detention,
abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting
with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of
liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the
protection of the law. [Emphasis supplied]

The Convention is the first universal human rights instrument to assert that there is a right not to be subject to enforced
disappearance[107] and that this right is non-derogable.[108] It provides that no one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance under
any circumstances, be it a state of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency. It obliges State Parties to codify
enforced disappearance as an offense punishable with appropriate penalties under their criminal law. [109] It also recognizes the right of
relatives of the disappeared persons and of the society as a whole to know the truth on the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared and
on the progress and results of the investigation.[110] Lastly, it classifies enforced disappearance as a continuing offense, such that statutes of
limitations shall not apply until the fate and whereabouts of the victim are established.[111]

Binding Effect of UN
Action on the Philippines

To date, the Philippines has neither signed nor ratified the Convention, so that the country is not yet committed to enact any law
penalizing enforced disappearance as a crime. The absence of a specific penal law, however, is not a stumbling block for action from this
Court, as heretofore mentioned; underlying every enforced disappearance is a violation of the constitutional rights to life, liberty and
security that the Supreme Court is mandated by the Constitution to protect through its rule-making powers.

Separately from the Constitution (but still pursuant to its terms), the Court is guided, in acting on Amparo cases, by the reality
that the Philippines is a member of the UN, bound by its Charter and by the various conventions we signed and ratified, particularly the
conventions touching on humans rights. Under the UN Charter, the Philippines pledged to promote universal respect for, and
observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinctions as to race, sex, language or religion. [112] Although no
universal agreement has been reached on the precise extent of the human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all by the
Charter,[113] it was the UN itself that issued the Declaration on enforced disappearance, and this Declaration states: [114]

Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to dignity. It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the
Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms
proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed and developed in international instruments
in this field. [Emphasis supplied]

As a matter of human right and fundamental freedom and as a policy matter made in a UN Declaration, the ban on enforced
disappearance cannot but have its effects on the country, given our own adherence to generally accepted principles of international law
as part of the law of the land.[115]

In the recent case of Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines v. Duque III,[116] we held that:

Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either
by transformation or incorporation. The transformation method requires that an international law be transformed
into a domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation. The incorporation method applies
when, by mere constitutional declaration, international law is deemed to have the force of domestic law. [Emphasis
supplied]

We characterized generally accepted principles of international law as norms of general or customary international law that are binding
on all states. We held further:[117]
[G]enerally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution,
form part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations. The classical formulation in
international law sees those customary rules accepted as binding result from the combination [of] two elements: the
established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as
the opinion juris sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the
practice in question is rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it. [Emphasis in the original]

The most widely accepted statement of sources of international law today is Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International
Court of Justice, which provides that the Court shall apply international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as
law.[118] The material sources of custom include State practice, State legislation, international and national judicial decisions, recitals in
treaties and other international instruments, a pattern of treaties in the same form, the practice of international organs, and resolutions
relating to legal questions in the UN General Assembly.[119] Sometimes referred to as evidence of international law,[120] these sources
identify the substance and content of the obligations of States and are indicative of the State practice and opinio juris requirements of
international law.[121] We note the following in these respects:

First, barely two years from the adoption of the Declaration, the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly
adopted the Inter-American Convention on Enforced Disappearance of Persons in June 1994.[122] State parties undertook under this
Convention not to practice, permit, or tolerate the forced disappearance of persons, even in states of emergency or suspension of
individual guarantees.[123] One of the key provisions includes the States obligation to enact the crime of forced disappearance in their
respective national criminal laws and to establish jurisdiction over such cases when the crime was committed within their jurisdiction,
when the victim is a national of that State, and when the alleged criminal is within its territory and it does not proceed to extradite him,
which can be interpreted as establishing universal jurisdiction among the parties to the Inter-American Convention.[124] At present,
Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela have enacted separate laws in accordance with the Inter-American Convention and
have defined activities involving enforced disappearance to be criminal.[125]

Second, in Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights has no explicit provision dealing with the protection against
enforced disappearance. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), however, has applied the Convention in a way that provides
ample protection for the underlying rights affected by enforced disappearance through the Conventions Article 2 on the right to life;
Article 3 on the prohibition of torture; Article 5 on the right to liberty and security; Article 6, paragraph 1 on the right to a fair trial; and
Article 13 on the right to an effective remedy. A leading example demonstrating the protection afforded by the European Convention
is Kurt v. Turkey,[126] where the ECHR found a violation of the right to liberty and security of the disappeared person when the
applicants son disappeared after being taken into custody by Turkish forces in the Kurdish village of Agilli in November 1993. It further
found the applicant (the disappeared persons mother) to be a victim of a violation of Article 3, as a result of the silence of the authorities
and the inadequate character of the investigations undertaken. The ECHR also saw the lack of any meaningful investigation by the State
as a violation of Article 13.[127]

Third, in the United States, the status of the prohibition on enforced disappearance as part of customary international law is
recognized in the most recent edition of Restatement of the Law: The Third,[128] which provides that [a] State violates international law
if, as a matter of State policy, it practices, encourages, or condones (3) the murder or causing the disappearance of individuals.[129] We
significantly note that in a related matter that finds close identification with enforced disappearance the matter of torture the United
States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Court held in Filartiga v. Pena-Irala[130] that the prohibition on torture had attained the
status of customary international law. The court further elaborated on the significance of UN declarations, as follows:

These U.N. declarations are significant because they specify with great precision the obligations of member
nations under the Charter. Since their adoption, "(m)embers can no longer contend that they do not know what
human rights they promised in the Charter to promote. Moreover, a U.N. Declaration is, according to one
authoritative definition, "a formal and solemn instrument, suitable for rare occasions when principles of great and
lasting importance are being enunciated. Accordingly, it has been observed that the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights "no longer fits into the dichotomy of binding treaty against non-binding pronouncement,' but is rather an
authoritative statement of the international community." Thus, a Declaration creates an expectation of adherence, and
"insofar as the expectation is gradually justified by State practice, a declaration may by custom become recognized as
laying down rules binding upon the States." Indeed, several commentators have concluded that the Universal
Declaration has become, in toto, a part of binding, customary international law. [Citations omitted]
Fourth, in interpreting Article 2 (right to an effective domestic remedy) of the International Convention on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is both a signatory and a State Party, the UN Human Rights Committee, under the Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights, has stated that the act of enforced disappearance violates Articles 6 (right to life), 7 (prohibition
on torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) and 9 (right to liberty and security of the person) of the ICCPR, and
the act may also amount to a crime against humanity.[131]

Fifth, Article 7, paragraph 1 of the 1998 Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court ( ICC) also covers enforced
disappearances insofar as they are defined as crimes against humanity,[132] i.e., crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic
attack against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack. While more than 100 countries have ratified the Rome
Statute,[133] the Philippines is still merely a signatory and has not yet ratified it. We note that Article 7(1) of the Rome Statute has been
incorporated in the statutes of other international and hybrid tribunals, including Sierra Leone Special Court, the Special Panels for Serious
Crimes in Timor-Leste, and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.[134] In addition, the implementing legislation of State
Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC has given rise to a number of national criminal provisions also covering enforced
disappearance.[135]

While the Philippines is not yet formally bound by the terms of the Convention on enforced disappearance (or by the specific
terms of the Rome Statute) and has not formally declared enforced disappearance as a specific crime, the above recital shows
that enforced disappearance as a State practice has been repudiated by the international community, so that the ban on it is now
a generally accepted principle of international law, which we should consider a part of the law of the land, and which we should act
upon to the extent already allowed under our laws and the international conventions that bind us.
The following civil or political rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR and the International
Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR) may be infringed in the course of a disappearance:[136]

1) the right to recognition as a person before the law;


2) the right to liberty and security of the person;
3) the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
4) the right to life, when the disappeared person is killed;
5) the right to an identity;
6) the right to a fair trial and to judicial guarantees;
7) the right to an effective remedy, including reparation and compensation;
8) the right to know the truth regarding the circumstances of a disappearance.
9) the right to protection and assistance to the family;
10) the right to an adequate standard of living;
11) the right to health; and
12) the right to education [Emphasis supplied]

Article 2 of the ICCPR, which binds the Philippines as a state party, provides:
Article 2
3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:
(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective
remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;
(b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial,
administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the
State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;
(c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted. [Emphasis supplied]

In General Comment No. 31, the UN Human Rights Committee opined that the right to an effective remedy under Article 2 of the ICCPR
includes the obligation of the State to investigate ICCPR violations promptly, thoroughly, and effectively, viz:[137]

15. Article 2, paragraph 3, requires that in addition to effective protection of Covenant rights, States Parties must
ensure that individuals also have accessible and effective remedies to vindicate those rights The Committee attaches
importance to States Parties' establishing appropriate judicial and administrative mechanisms for addressing claims of
rights violations under domestic law Administrative mechanisms are particularly required to give effect to the general
obligation to investigate allegations of violations promptly, thoroughly and effectively through independent and
impartial bodies. A failure by a State Party to investigate allegations of violations could in and of itself give rise to a
separate breach of the Covenant. Cessation of an ongoing violation is an essential element of the right to an effective
remedy. [Emphasis supplied]
The UN Human Rights Committee further stated in the same General Comment No. 31 that failure to investigate as well as
failure to bring to justice the perpetrators of ICCPR violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach of the Covenant,
thus:[138]

18. Where the investigations referred to in paragraph 15 reveal violations of certain Covenant rights, States Parties
must ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. As with failure to investigate, failure to bring to justice
perpetrators of such violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach of the Covenant. These obligations
arise notably in respect of those violations recognized as criminal under either domestic or international law, such as
torture and similar cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (article 7), summary and arbitrary killing (article 6) and
enforced disappearance (articles 7 and 9 and, frequently, 6). Indeed, the problem of impunity for these violations, a
matter of sustained concern by the Committee, may well be an important contributing element in the recurrence of the
violations. When committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population, these violations of
the Covenant are crimes against humanity (see Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, article 7). [Emphasis
supplied]

In Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo,[139] this Court, in ruling that the right to security of persons is a guarantee of the
protection of ones right by the government, held that:

The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State guarantees full respect for
human rights under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order
and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if
government does not afford protection to these rights especially when they are under threat. Protection includes
conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims of
extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the
bar of justice. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights stressed the importance of investigation in the Velasquez
Rodriguez Case, viz:

(The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere
formality preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed
by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests that depends upon the
initiative of the victim or his family or upon their offer of proof, without an effective search for the
truth by the government. [Emphasis supplied]

Manalo significantly cited Kurt v. Turkey,[140] where the ECHR interpreted the right to security not only as a prohibition on the State
against arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but also as the imposition of a positive duty to afford protection to the right to liberty. The
Court notably quoted the following ECHR ruling:

[A]ny deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in conformity with the substantive and procedural rules
of national law but must equally be in keeping with the very purpose of Article 5, namely to protect the individual
from arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that individual, it is incumbent on the authorities to account for his
or her whereabouts. For this reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take effective measures to
safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a prompt effective investigation into an arguable claim that
a person has been taken into custody and has not been seen since. [Emphasis supplied]

These rulings effectively serve as the backdrop for the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, which the Court made effective on
October 24, 2007. Although the Amparo Rule still has gaps waiting to be filled through substantive law, as evidenced primarily by the
lack of a concrete definition of enforced disappearance, the materials cited above, among others, provide ample guidance and standards
on how, through the medium of the Amparo Rule, the Court can provide remedies and protect the constitutional rights to life, liberty
and security that underlie every enforced disappearance.

Evidentiary Difficulties Posed


by the Unique Nature of an
Enforced Disappearance

Before going into the issue of whether the respondent has discharged the burden of proving the allegations of the petition for
the Writ of Amparo by the degree of proof required by the Amparo Rule, we shall discuss briefly the unique evidentiary difficulties
presented by enforced disappearance cases; these difficulties form part of the setting that the implementation of the Amparo Rule shall
encounter.
These difficulties largely arise because the State itself the party whose involvement is alleged investigates enforced
disappearances. Past experiences in other jurisdictions show that the evidentiary difficulties are generally threefold.

First, there may be a deliberate concealment of the identities of the direct perpetrators. [141] Experts note that abductors are well
organized, armed and usually members of the military or police forces, thus:

The victim is generally arrested by the security forces or by persons acting under some form of governmental authority.
In many countries the units that plan, implement and execute the program are generally specialized, highly-secret
bodies within the armed or security forces. They are generally directed through a separate, clandestine chain of
command, but they have the necessary credentials to avoid or prevent any interference by the "legal" police forces.
These authorities take their victims to secret detention centers where they subject them to interrogation and torture
without fear of judicial or other controls.[142]

In addition, there are usually no witnesses to the crime; if there are, these witnesses are usually afraid to speak out publicly or to
testify on the disappearance out of fear for their own lives.[143] We have had occasion to note this difficulty in Secretary of Defense v.
Manalo[144] when we acknowledged that where powerful military officers are implicated, the hesitation of witnesses to surface and
testify against them comes as no surprise.

Second, deliberate concealment of pertinent evidence of the disappearance is a distinct possibility; the central piece of evidence
in an enforced disappearance i.e., the corpus delicti or the victims body is usually concealed to effectively thwart the start of any
investigation or the progress of one that may have begun.[145] The problem for the victims family is the States virtual monopoly of access
to pertinent evidence. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) observed in the landmark case of Velasquez
Rodriguez[146] that inherent to the practice of enforced disappearance is the deliberate use of the States power to destroy the pertinent
evidence. The IACHR described the concealment as a clear attempt by the State to commit the perfect crime.[147]

Third is the element of denial; in many cases, the State authorities deliberately deny that the enforced disappearance ever
occurred.[148] Deniability is central to the policy of enforced disappearances, as the absence of any proven disappearance makes it easier
to escape the application of legal standards ensuring the victims human rights.[149] Experience shows that government officials typically
respond to requests for information about desaparecidos by saying that they are not aware of any disappearance, that the missing
people may have fled the country, or that their names have merely been invented.[150]

These considerations are alive in our minds, as these are the difficulties we confront, in one form or another, in our
consideration of this case.

Evidence and Burden of Proof in


Enforced Disappearances Cases

Sections 13, 17 and 18 of the Amparo Rule define the nature of an Amparo proceeding and the degree and burden of proof
the parties to the case carry, as follows:
Section 13. Summary Hearing. The hearing on the petition shall be summary. However, the court, justice or judge
may call for a preliminary conference to simplify the issues and determine the possibility of obtaining stipulations and
admissions from the parties.
xxxx
Section 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. The parties shall establish their claims by substantial
evidence.
The respondent who is a private individual must prove that ordinary diligence as required by applicable laws,
rules and regulations was observed in the performance of duty.
The respondent who is a public official or employee must prove that extraordinary diligence as required by
applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in the performance of duty.
The respondent public official or employee cannot invoke the presumption that official duty has been
regularly performed or evade responsibility or liability.
Section 18. Judgment. If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court shall grant the
privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be denied.
[Emphasis supplied]

These characteristics namely, of being summary and the use of substantial evidence as the required level of proof (in contrast to
the usual preponderance of evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt in court proceedings) reveal the clear intent of the framers of
the Amparo Rule to have the equivalent of an administrative proceeding, albeit judicially conducted, in
addressing Amparo situations. The standard of diligence required the duty of public officials and employees to observe extraordinary
diligence point, too, to the extraordinary measures expected in the protection of constitutional rights and in the consequent handling and
investigation of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearance cases.

Thus, in these proceedings, the Amparo petitioner needs only to properly comply with the substance and form requirements of
a Writ of Amparo petition, as discussed above, and prove the allegations by substantial evidence. Once a rebuttable case has been
proven, the respondents must then respond and prove their defenses based on the standard of diligence required. The rebuttable case, of
course, must show that an enforced disappearance took place under circumstances showing a violation of the victims constitutional rights
to life, liberty or security, and the failure on the part of the investigating authorities to appropriately respond.

The landmark case of Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations[151] provided the Court its first opportunity to define the
substantial evidence required to arrive at a valid decision in administrative proceedings. To directly quote Ang Tibay:

Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion. [citations omitted] The statute provides that the rules of evidence
prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling. The obvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to
free administrative boards from the compulsion of technical rules so that the mere admission of matter which would be
deemed incompetent in judicial proceedings would not invalidate the administrative order. [citations omitted] But this
assurance of a desirable flexibility in administrative procedure does not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in
evidence having rational probative force. [Emphasis supplied]

In Secretary of Defense v. Manalo,[152] which was the Courts first petition for a Writ of Amparo, we recognized that the full
and exhaustive proceedings that the substantial evidence standard regularly requires do not need to apply due to the summary nature
of Amparo proceedings. We said:

The remedy [of the writ of amparo] provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary proceeding that
requires only substantial evidence to make the appropriate reliefs available to the petitioner; it is not an action to
determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring preponderance of
evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive
proceedings. [Emphasis supplied]
Not to be forgotten in considering the evidentiary aspects of Amparo petitions are the unique difficulties presented by the
nature of enforced disappearances, heretofore discussed, which difficulties this Court must frontally meet if the Amparo Rule is to be
given a chance to achieve its objectives. These evidentiary difficulties compel the Court to adopt standards appropriate and responsive
to the circumstances, without transgressing the due process requirements that underlie every proceeding.

In the seminal case of Velasquez Rodriguez,[153] the IACHR faced with a lack of direct evidence that the government of
Honduras was involved in Velasquez Rodriguez disappearance adopted a relaxed and informal evidentiary standard, and established the
rule that presumes governmental responsibility for a disappearance if it can be proven that the government carries out a general practice
of enforced disappearances and the specific case can be linked to that practice.[154] The IACHR took note of the realistic fact that enforced
disappearances could be proven only through circumstantial or indirect evidence or by logical inference; otherwise, it was impossible to
prove that an individual had been made to disappear. It held:

130. The practice of international and domestic courts shows that direct evidence, whether testimonial or
documentary, is not the only type of evidence that may be legitimately considered in reaching a
decision. Circumstantial evidence, indicia, and presumptions may be considered, so long as they lead to conclusions
consistent with the facts.
131. Circumstantial or presumptive evidence is especially important in allegations of disappearances, because this type
of repression is characterized by an attempt to suppress all information about the kidnapping or the whereabouts and
fate of the victim. [Emphasis supplied]
In concluding that the disappearance of Manfredo Velsquez (Manfredo) was carried out by agents who acted under cover of
public authority, the IACHR relied on circumstantial evidence including the hearsay testimony of Zenaida Velsquez, the victims sister,
who described Manfredos kidnapping on the basis of conversations she had with witnesses who saw Manfredo kidnapped by men in
civilian clothes in broad daylight. She also told the Court that a former Honduran military official had announced that Manfredo was
kidnapped by a special military squadron acting under orders of the Chief of the Armed Forces.[155] The IACHR likewise considered the
hearsay testimony of a second witness who asserted that he had been told by a Honduran military officer about the disappearance, and a
third witness who testified that he had spoken in prison to a man who identified himself as Manfredo.[156]

Velasquez stresses the lesson that flexibility is necessary under the unique circumstances that enforced disappearance cases pose to the
courts; to have an effective remedy, the standard of evidence must be responsive to the evidentiary difficulties faced. On the one hand,
we cannot be arbitrary in the admission and appreciation of evidence, as arbitrariness entails violation of rights and cannot be used as an
effective counter-measure; we only compound the problem if a wrong is addressed by the commission of another wrong. On the other
hand, we cannot be very strict in our evidentiary rules and cannot consider evidence the way we do in the usual criminal and civil cases;
precisely, the proceedings before us are administrative in nature where, as a rule, technical rules of evidence are not strictly
observed. Thus, while we must follow the substantial evidence rule, we must observe flexibility in considering the evidence we shall take
into account.

The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces of evidence adduced in their totality, and to consider any evidence
otherwise inadmissible under our usual rules to be admissible if it is consistent with the admissible evidence adduced. In other words, we
reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason i.e., to the relevance of the evidence to the issue at hand and its consistency with all
other pieces of adduced evidence. Thus, even hearsay evidence can be admitted if it satisfies this basic minimum test.

We note in this regard that the use of flexibility in the consideration of evidence is not at all novel in the Philippine legal system. In child
abuse cases, Section 28 of the Rule on Examination of a Child Witness [157] is expressly recognized as an exception to the hearsay
rule. This Rule allows the admission of the hearsay testimony of a child describing any act or attempted act of sexual abuse in any
criminal or non-criminal proceeding, subject to certain prerequisites and the right of cross-examination by the adverse party. The
admission of the statement is determined by the court in light of specified subjective and objective considerations that provide sufficient
indicia of reliability of the child witness.[158] These requisites for admission find their counterpart in the present case under the above-
described conditions for the exercise of flexibility in the consideration of evidence, including hearsay evidence, in extrajudicial killings and
enforced disappearance cases.

Assessment of the Evidence

The threshold question for our resolution is: was there an enforced disappearance within the meaning of this term under the UN
Declaration we have cited?

The Convention defines enforced disappearance as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty
by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by
a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place
such a person outside the protection of the law.[159] Under this definition, the elements that constitute enforced disappearance are
essentially fourfold:[160]

(a) arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;

(b) carried out by agents of the State or persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or
acquiescence of the State;
(c) followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention, or a concealment of the fate of the disappeared person;
and
(d) placement of the disappeared person outside the protection of the law. [Emphasis supplied]

We find no direct evidence indicating how the victim actually disappeared. The direct evidence at hand only shows that
Tagitis went out of the ASY Pension House after depositing his room key with the hotel desk and was never seen nor heard of
again. The undisputed conclusion, however, from all concerned the petitioner, Tagitis colleagues and even the police authorities is that
Tagistis disappeared under mysterious circumstances and was never seen again. The respondent injected the causal element in her
petition and testimony, as we shall discuss below.

We likewise find no direct evidence showing that operatives of PNP CIDG Zamboanga abducted or arrested Tagitis. If at all,
only the respondents allegation that Tagistis was under CIDG Zamboanga custody stands on record, but it is not supported by any other
evidence, direct or circumstantial.

In her direct testimony, the respondent pointed to two sources of information as her bases for her allegation that Tagistis had
been placed under government custody (in contrast with CIDG Zamboanga custody). The first was an unnamed friend in Zamboanga
(later identified as Col. Ancanan), who occupied a high position in the military and who allegedly mentioned that Tagitis was in good
hands. Nothing came out of this claim, as both the respondent herself and her witness, Mrs. Talbin, failed to establish that Col. Ancanan
gave them any information that Tagitis was in government custody. Col. Ancanan, for his part, admitted the meeting with the
respondent but denied giving her any information about the disappearance.

The more specific and productive source of information was Col. Kasim, whom the respondent, together with her witness Mrs.
Talbin, met in Camp Katitipan in Davao City. To quote the relevant portions of the respondents testimony:

Q: Were you able to speak to other military officials regarding the whereabouts of your husband particularly those in
charge of any records or investigation?

A: I went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City. Then one military officer, Col. Casim, told me that my husband is being
abducted [sic] because he is under custodial investigation because he is allegedly parang liason ng J.I., sir.

Q: What is J.I.?

A: Jemaah Islamiah, sir.

Q: Was there any information that was read to you during one of those visits of yours in that Camp?

A: Col. Casim did not furnish me a copy of his report because he said those reports are highly confidential, sir.

Q: Was it read to you then even though you were not furnished a copy?

A: Yes, sir. In front of us, my friends.

Q: And what was the content of that highly confidential report?

A: Those alleged activities of Engineer Tagitis, sir.[161] [Emphasis supplied]

She confirmed this testimony in her cross-examination:

Q: You also mentioned that you went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: And a certain Col. Kasim told you that your husband was abducted and under custodial investigation?

A: Yes, maam.

Q: And you mentioned that he showed you a report?

A: Yes, maam.
Q: Were you able to read the contents of that report?

A: He did not furnish me a copy of those [sic] report because those [sic] were highly confidential. That is a military
report, maam.

Q: But you were able to read the contents?

A: No. But he read it in front of us, my friends, maam.

Q: How many were you when you went to see Col. Kasim?

A: There were three of us, maam.

Q: Who were your companions?

A: Mrs. Talbin, tapos yung dalawang friends nya from Mati City, Davao Oriental, maam.[162]
xxxx
Q: When you were told that your husband is in good hands, what was your reaction and what did you do?

A: May binasa kasi sya that my husband has a parang meeting with other people na parang mga terorista na mga
tao. Tapos at the end of the report is [sic] under custodial investigation. So I told him Colonel, my husband
is sick. He is diabetic at nagmemaintain yun ng gamot. Pakisabi lang sa naghohold sa asawa ko na bigyan
siya ng gamot, maam.[163]

xxxx
Q: You mentioned that you received information that Engineer Tagitis is being held by the CIDG in Zamboanga, did
you go to CIDG Zamboanga to verify that information?

A: I did not go to CIDG Zamboanga. I went to Camp Karingal instead. Enough na yun na effort ko because I
know that they would deny it, maam.[164]

On February 11, 2008, the respondent presented Mrs. Talbin to corroborate her testimony that her husband was abducted and
held under custodial investigation by the PNP-CIDG Zamboanga City, viz:

Q: You said that you went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City sometime November 24, 2007, who was with you when
you went there?

A: Mary Jean Tagitis, sir.

Q: Only the two of you?

A: No. We have some other companions. We were four at that time, sir.

Q: Who were they?

A: Salvacion Serrano, Mini Leong, Mrs. Tagitis and me, sir.

Q: Were you able to talk, see some other officials at Camp Katitipan during that time?
A: Col. Kasim (PS Supt. Julasirim Ahadin Kasim) only, sir.

Q: Were you able to talk to him?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: The four of you?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What information did you get from Col. Kasim during that time?

A: The first time we met with [him] I asked him if he knew of the exact location, if he can furnish us the location of
Engr. Tagitis. And he was reading this report. He told us that Engr. Tagitis is in good hands. He is with the
military, but he is not certain whether he is with the AFP or PNP. He has this serious case. He was charged of
terrorism because he was under surveillance from January 2007 up to the time that he was abducted. He
told us that he was under custodial investigation. As Ive said earlier, he was seen under surveillance from
January. He was seen talking to Omar Patik, a certain Santos of Bulacan who is also a Balik Islam and
charged with terrorism. He was seen carrying boxes of medicines. Then we asked him how long will he be in
custodial investigation. He said until we can get some information. But he also told us that he cannot give us
that report because it was a raw report. It was not official, sir.

Q: You said that he was reading a report, was that report in document form, in a piece of paper or was it in the
computer or what?

A: As far as I can see it, sir, it is written in white bond paper. I dont know if it was computerized but Im certain that it
was typewritten. Im not sure if it used computer, fax or what, sir.

Q: When he was reading it to you, was he reading it line by line or he was reading in a summary form?

A: Sometimes he was glancing to the report and talking to us, sir.[165]

xxxx
Q: Were you informed as to the place where he was being kept during that time?

A: He did not tell us where he [Tagitis] was being kept. But he mentioned this Talipapao, Sulu, sir.

Q: After that incident, what did you do if any?

A: We just left and as Ive mentioned, we just waited because that raw information that he was reading to us [ sic] after
the custodial investigation, Engineer Tagitis will be released. [Emphasis supplied][166]

Col. Kasim never denied that he met with the respondent and her friends, and that he provided them information based on the
input of an unnamed asset. He simply claimed in his testimony that the informal letter he received from his informant in Sulu did not
indicate that Tagitis was in the custody of the CIDG. He also stressed that the information he provided the respondent was merely a raw
report from barangay intelligence that still needed confirmation and follow up as to its veracity.[167]

To be sure, the respondents and Mrs. Talbins testimonies were far from perfect, as the petitioners pointed out. The respondent
mistakenly characterized Col. Kasim as a military officer who told her that her husband is being abducted because he is under custodial
investigation because he is allegedly parang liason ng J.I. The petitioners also noted that Mrs. Talbins testimony imputing certain
statements to Sr. Supt. Kasim that Engr. Tagitis is with the military, but he is not certain whether it is the PNP or AFP is not worthy of
belief, since Sr. Supt. Kasim is a high ranking police officer who would certainly know that the PNP is not part of the military.

Upon deeper consideration of these inconsistencies, however, what appears clear to us is that the petitioners never really
steadfastly disputed or presented evidence to refute the credibility of the respondent and her witness, Mrs. Talbin. The inconsistencies
the petitioners point out relate, more than anything else, to details that should not affect the credibility of the respondent and Mrs.
Talbin; the inconsistencies are not on material points.[168] We note, for example, that these witnesses are lay people in so far as military
and police matters are concerned, and confusion between the police and the military is not unusual. As a rule, minor inconsistencies such
as these indicate truthfulness rather than prevarication[169]and only tend to strengthen their probative value, in contrast to testimonies
from various witnesses dovetailing on every detail; the latter cannot but generate suspicion that the material circumstances they testified
to were integral parts of a well thought of and prefabricated story.[170]

Based on these considerations and the unique evidentiary situation in enforced disappearance cases, we hold it duly established
that Col. Kasim informed the respondent and her friends, based on the informants letter, that Tagitis, reputedly a liaison for the JI and
who had been under surveillance since January 2007, was in good hands and under custodial investigation for complicity with the JI
after he was seen talking to one Omar Patik and a certain Santos of Bulacan, a Balik Islam charged with terrorism. The respondents and
Mrs. Talbins testimonies cannot simply be defeated by Col. Kasims plain denial and his claim that he had destroyed his informants letter,
the critical piece of evidence that supports or negates the parties conflicting claims. Col. Kasims admitted destruction of this letter
effectively, a suppression of this evidence raises the presumption that the letter, if produced, would be proof of what the respondent
claimed.[171] For brevity, we shall call the evidence of what Col. Kasim reported to the respondent to be the Kasim evidence.
Given this evidence, our next step is to decide whether we can accept this evidence, in lieu of direct evidence, as proof that the
disappearance of Tagitis was due to action with government participation, knowledge or consent and that he was held for custodial
investigation. We note in this regard that Col. Kasim was never quoted to have said that the custodial investigation was by the CIDG
Zamboanga. The Kasim evidence only implies government intervention through the use of the term custodial investigation, and does not
at all point to CIDG Zamboanga as Tagitis custodian.

Strictly speaking, we are faced here with a classic case of hearsay evidence i.e., evidence whose probative value is not based on
the personal knowledge of the witnesses (the respondent, Mrs. Talbin and Col. Kasim himself) but on the knowledge of some other
person not on the witness stand (the informant).[172]

To say that this piece of evidence is incompetent and inadmissible evidence of what it substantively states is to acknowledge as
the petitioners effectively suggest that in the absence of any direct evidence, we should simply dismiss the petition. To our mind, an
immediate dismissal for this reason is no different from a statement that the Amparo Rule despite its terms is ineffective, as it cannot
allow for the special evidentiary difficulties that are unavoidably present in Amparo situations, particularly in extrajudicial killings and
enforced disappearances. The Amparo Rule was not promulgated with this intent or with the intent to make it a token gesture of
concern for constitutional rights. It was promulgated to provide effective and timely remedies, using and profiting from local and
international experiences in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, as the situation may require. Consequently, we have no
choice but to meet the evidentiary difficulties inherent in enforced disappearances with the flexibility that these difficulties demand.

To give full meaning to our Constitution and the rights it protects, we hold that, as in Velasquez, we should at least take a close
look at the available evidence to determine the correct import of every piece of evidence even of those usually considered inadmissible
under the general rules of evidence taking into account the surrounding circumstances and the test of reason that we can use as basic
minimum admissibility requirement. In the present case, we should at least determine whether the Kasim evidence before us is relevant
and meaningful to the disappearance of Tagistis and reasonably consistent with other evidence in the case.

The evidence about Tagitis personal circumstances surrounded him with an air of mystery. He was reputedly a consultant of the
World Bank and a Senior Honorary Counselor for the IDB who attended a seminar in Zamboanga and thereafter proceded to Jolo for an
overnight stay, indicated by his request to Kunnong for the purchase of a return ticket to Zamboanga the day after he arrived in
Jolo. Nothing in the records indicates the purpose of his overnight sojourn in Jolo . A colleague in the IDB, Prof. Matli, early on
informed the Jolo police that Tagitis may have taken funds given to him in trust for IDB scholars. Prof Matli later on stated that he never
accused Tagitis of taking away money held in trust, although he confirmed that the IDB was seeking assistance in locating funds of IDB
scholars deposited in Tagitis personal account. Other than these pieces of evidence, no other information exists in the records relating to
the personal circumstances of Tagitis.

The actual disappearance of Tagitis is as murky as his personal circumstances. While the Amparo petition recited that he was
taken away by burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives, no evidence whatsoever was introduced to support this
allegation. Thus, the available direct evidence is that Tagitis was last seen at 12.30 p.m. of October 30, 2007 the day he arrived in Jolo
and was never seen again.

The Kasim evidence assumes critical materiality given the dearth of direct evidence on the above aspects of the case, as it
supplies the gaps that were never looked into and clarified by police investigation. It is the evidence, too, that colors a simple missing
person report into an enforced disappearance case, as it injects the element of participation by agents of the State and thus brings into
question how the State reacted to the disappearance.
Denials on the part of the police authorities, and frustration on the part of the respondent, characterize the attempts to locate
Tagitis. Initially in Jolo, the police informed Kunnong that Tagitis could have been taken by the Abu Sayyaf or other groups fighting the
government. No evidence was ever offered on whether there was active Jolo police investigation and how and why the Jolo police
arrived at this conclusion. The respondents own inquiry in Jolo yielded the answer that he was not missing but was with another
woman somewhere. Again, no evidence exists that this explanation was arrived at based on an investigation . As already related above,
the inquiry with Col. Ancanan in Zamboanga yielded ambivalent results not useful for evidentiary purposes. Thus, it was only the inquiry
from Col. Kasim that yielded positive results. Col. Kasims story, however, confirmed only the fact of his custodial investigation (and,
impliedly, his arrest or abduction), without identifying his abductor/s or the party holding him in custody. The more significant part of
Col. Kasims story is that the abduction came after Tagitis was seen talking with Omar Patik and a certain Santos of Bulacan, a Balik Islam
charged with terrorism. Mrs. Talbin mentioned, too, that Tagitis was being held at Talipapao, Sulu. None of the police agencies
participating in the investigation ever pursued these leads . Notably, TASK FORCE TAGITIS to which this information was relayed did
not appear to have lifted a finger to pursue these aspects of the case.

More denials were manifested in the Returns on the writ to the CA made by the petitioners. Then PNP Chief Gen. Avelino I.
Razon merely reported the directives he sent to the ARMM Regional Director and the Regional Chief of the CIDG on Tagitis, and these
reports merely reiterated the open-ended initial report of the disappearance. The CIDG directed a search in all of its divisions with
negative results. These, to the PNP Chief, constituted the exhaustion of all possible efforts. PNP-CIDG Chief General Edgardo M.
Doromal, for his part, also reported negative results after searching all divisions and departments [of the CIDG] for a person named Engr.
Morced N. Tagitis . . . and after a diligent and thorough research, records show that no such person is being detained in the CIDG or any
of its department or divisions. PNP-PACER Chief PS Supt. Leonardo A. Espina and PNP PRO ARMM Regional Director PC
Superintendent Joel R. Goltiao did no better in their affidavits-returns, as they essentially reported the results of their directives to their
units to search for Tagitis.

The extent to which the police authorities acted was fully tested when the CA constituted TASK FORCE TAGITIS, with specific
directives on what to do. The negative results reflected in the Returns on the writ were again replicated during the three hearings the CA
scheduled. Aside from the previously mentioned retraction that Prof. Matli made to correct his accusation that Tagitis took money held
in trust for students, PS Supt. Ajirim reiterated in his testimony that the CIDG consistently denied any knowledge or complicity in any
abduction and said that there was no basis to conclude that the CIDG or any police unit had anything to do with the disappearance of
Tagitis; he likewise considered it premature to conclude that Tagitis simply ran away with the money in his custody. As already noted
above, the TASK FORCE notably did not pursue any investigation about the personal circumstances of Tagitis, his background in
relation to the IDB and the background and activities of this Bank itself, and the reported sighting of Tagistis with terrorists and his
alleged custody in Talipapao, Sulu. No attempt appears to have ever been made to look into the alleged IDB funds that Tagitis held in
trust, or to tap any of the assets who are indispensable in investigations of this nature. These omissions and negative results were
aggravated by the CA findings that it was only as late as January 28, 2008 or three months after the disappearance that the police
authorities requested for clear pictures of Tagitis. Col. Kasim could not attend the trial because his subpoena was not served, despite the
fact that he was designated as Ajirims replacement in the latters last post. Thus, Col. Kasim was not then questioned. No investigation
even an internal one appeared to have been made to inquire into the identity of Col. Kasims asset and what he indeed wrote.

We glean from all these pieces of evidence and developments a consistency in the governments denial of any complicity in the
disappearance of Tagitis, disrupted only by the report made by Col. Kasim to the respondent at Camp Katitipan. Even Col. Kasim,
however, eventually denied that he ever made the disclosure that Tagitis was under custodial investigation for complicity in
terrorism. Another distinctive trait that runs through these developments is the governments dismissive approach to the
disappearance, starting from the initial response by the Jolo police to Kunnongs initial reports of the disappearance, to the responses
made to the respondent when she herself reported and inquired about her husbands disappearance, and even at TASK FORCE
TAGITIS itself.
As the CA found through TASK FORCE TAGITIS, the investigation was at best haphazard since the authorities were looking for
a man whose picture they initially did not even secure. The returns and reports made to the CA fared no better, as the CIDG efforts
themselves were confined to searching for custodial records of Tagitis in their various departments and divisions. To point out the
obvious, if the abduction of Tagitis was a black operation because it was unrecorded or officially unauthorized, no record of custody
would ever appear in the CIDG records; Tagitis, too, would not be detained in the usual police or CIDG detention places. In sum, none
of the reports on record contains any meaningful results or details on the depth and extent of the investigation made. To be sure,
reports of top police officials indicating the personnel and units they directed to investigate can never constitute exhaustive and
meaningful investigation, or equal detailed investigative reports of the activities undertaken to search for Tagitis. Indisputably, the police
authorities from the very beginning failed to come up to the extraordinary diligence that the AmparoRule requires.

CONCLUSIONS AND THE AMPARO REMEDY

Based on these considerations, we conclude that Col. Kasims disclosure, made in an unguarded moment, unequivocally point to
some government complicity in the disappearance. The consistent but unfounded denials and the haphazard investigations cannot but
point to this conclusion. For why would the government and its officials engage in their chorus of concealment if the intent had not
been to deny what they already knew of the disappearance? Would not an in-depth and thorough investigation that at least credibly
determined the fate of Tagitis be a feather in the governments cap under the circumstances of the disappearance? From this perspective,
the evidence and developments, particularly the Kasim evidence, already establish a concrete case of enforced disappearance that
the Amparo Rule covers. From the prism of the UN Declaration, heretofore cited and quoted,[173] the evidence at hand and the
developments in this case confirm the fact of the enforced disappearance and government complicity, under a background of consistent
and unfounded government denials and haphazard handling. The disappearance as well effectively placed Tagitis outside the protection
of the law a situation that will subsist unless this Court acts.

This kind of fact situation and the conclusion reached are not without precedent in international enforced disappearance
rulings. While the facts are not exactly the same, the facts of this case run very close to those of Timurtas v. Turkey,[174] a case decided
by ECHR. The European tribunal in that case acted on the basis of the photocopy of a post-operation report in finding that Abdulvahap
Timurtas (Abdulvahap) was abducted and later detained by agents (gendarmes) of the government of Turkey. The victim's father in this
case brought a claim against Turkey for numerous violations of the European Convention, including the right to life (Article 2) and the
rights to liberty and security of a person (Article 5). The applicant contended that on August 14, 1993, gendarmes apprehended his son,
Abdulvahap for being a leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in the Silopi region. The petition was filed in southeast Turkey nearly
six and one half years after the apprehension. According to the father, gendarmes first detained Abdulvahap and then transferred him to
another detainment facility. Although there was no eyewitness evidence of the apprehension or subsequent detainment, the applicant
presented evidence corroborating his version of events, including a photocopy of a post-operation report signed by the commander of
gendarme operations in Silopi, Turkey. The report included a description of Abdulvahap's arrest and the result of a subsequent
interrogation during detention where he was accused of being a leader of the PKK in the Silopi region. On this basis, Turkey was held
responsible for Abdulvahaps enforced disappearance.

Following the lead of this Turkish experience - adjusted to the Philippine legal setting and the Amparo remedy this Court has
established, as applied to the unique facts and developments of this case we believe and so hold that the government in general, through
the PNP and the PNP-CIDG, and in particular, the Chiefs of these organizations together with Col. Kasim, should be held fully
accountable for the enforced disappearance of Tagitis.

The PNP and CIDG are accountable because Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the PNP
Law, [175] specifies the PNP as the governmental office with the mandate to investigate and prevent crimes, effect the arrest of criminal
offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution. The PNP-CIDG, as Col. Jose Volpane Pante (then Chief of CIDG
Region 9) testified, is the investigative arm of the PNP and is mandated to investigate and prosecute all cases involving violations of the
Revised Penal Code, particularly those considered as heinous crimes.[176] Under the PNP organizational structure, the PNP-CIDG is tasked
to investigate all major crimes involving violations of the Revised Penal Code and operates against organized crime groups, unless the
President assigns the case exclusively to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).[177] No indication exists in this case showing that the
President ever directly intervened by assigning the investigation of Tagitis disappearance exclusively to the NBI.

Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members were the ones who were remiss in their duties when the
government completely failed to exercise the extral'>To fully enforce the Amparo remedy, we refer this case back to the CA for
appropriate proceedings directed at the monitoring of the PNP and the PNP-CIDG investigations and actions, and the validation of their
results through hearings the CA may deem appropriate to conduct. For purposes of these investigations, the PNP/PNP-CIDG shall initially
present to the CA a plan of action for further investigation, periodically reporting the detailed results of its investigation to the CA for its
consideration and action. On behalf of this Court, the CA shall pass upon: the need for the PNP and the PNP-CIDG to make disclosures
of matters known to them as indicated in this Decision and as further CA hearings may indicate; the petitioners submissions; the
sufficiency of their investigative efforts; and submit to this Court a quarterly report containing its actions and recommendations, copy
furnished the petitioners and the respondent, with the first report due at the end of the first quarter counted from the finality of this
Decision. The PNP and the PNP-CIDG shall have one (1) full year to undertake their investigation. The CA shall submit its full
report for the consideration of this Court at the end of the 4th quarter counted from the finality of this Decision.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petitioners petition for review on certiorari for lack of merit,
and AFFIRM the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 7, 2008 under the following terms:

a. Recognition that the disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis is an enforced disappearance


covered by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo;
b. Without any specific pronouncement on exact authorship and responsibility, declaring the government
(through the PNP and the PNP-CIDG) and Colonel Julasirim Ahadin Kasim accountable for the
enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis;
c. Confirmation of the validity of the Writ of Amparo the Court of Appeals issued;
d. Holding the PNP, through the PNP Chief, and the PNP-CIDG, through its Chief, directly responsible for
the disclosure of material facts known to the government and to their offices regarding the disappearance of Engineer
Morced N. Tagitis, and for the conduct of proper investigations using extraordinary diligence, with the obligation to
show investigation results acceptable to this Court;
e. Ordering Colonel Julasirim Ahadin Kasim impleaded in this case and holding him accountable with
the obligation to disclose information known to him and to his assets in relation with the enforced disappearance of
Engineer Morced N. Tagitis;
f. Referring this case back to the Court of Appeals for appropriate proceedings directed at the
monitoring of the PNP and PNP-CIDG investigations, actions and the validation of their results; the PNP and the PNP-
CIDG shall initially present to the Court of Appeals a plan of action for further investigation, periodically reporting
their results to the Court of Appeals for consideration and action;
g. Requiring the Court of Appeals to submit to this Court a quarterly report with its recommendations,
copy furnished the incumbent PNP and PNP-CIDG Chiefs as petitioners and the respondent, with the first report due at
the end of the first quarter counted from the finality of this Decision;
h. The PNP and the PNP-CIDG shall have one (1) full year to undertake their investigations; the Court of
Appeals shall submit its full report for the consideration of this Court at the end of the 4 th quarter counted from the
finality of this Decision;

These directives and those of the Court of Appeals made pursuant to this Decision shall be given to, and shall be directly
enforceable against, whoever may be the incumbent Chiefs of the Philippine National Police and its Criminal Investigation and Detection
Group, under pain of contempt from this Court when the initiatives and efforts at disclosure and investigation constitute less than the
extraordinary diligence that the Rule on the Writ of Amparo and the circumstances of this case demand. Given the unique nature
of Amparo cases and their varying attendant circumstances, these directives particularly, the referral back to and monitoring by the CA
are specific to this case and are not standard remedies that can be applied to every Amparo situation.

The dismissal of the Amparo petition with respect to General Alexander Yano, Commanding General, Philippine Army, and
General Ruben Rafael, Chief, Anti-Terrorism Task Force Comet, Zamboanga City, is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
We review in this petition for review on certiorari the decision dated March 7, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in C.A-G.R. AMPARO
No. 00009. This CA decision confirmed the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis (Tagitis) and granted the Writ of
Amparo at the petition of his wife, Mary Jean B. Tagitis (respondent). The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court hereby FINDS that this is an "enforced disappearance"
within the meaning of the United Nations instruments, as used in the Amparo Rules. The privileges of the writ of amparo are hereby
extended to Engr. Morced Tagitis.

Consequently: (1) respondent GEN. EDGARDO M. DOROMAL, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) who should
order COL. JOSE VOLPANE PANTE, CIDG-9 Chief, Zamboanga City, to aid him; (2) respondent GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, Chief, PNP,
who should order his men, namely: (a) respondent GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO, Regional Director of ARMM PNP, (b) COL. AHIRON AJIRIM,
both head of TASK FORCE TAGITIS, and (c) respondent SR. SUPERINTENDENT LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and
Emergency Response, to aid him as their superior- are hereby DIRECTED to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts, not only to protect
the life, liberty and security of Engr. Morced Tagitis, but also to extend the privileges of the writ of amparo to Engr. Morced Tagitis and
his family, and to submit a monthly report of their actions to this Court, as a way of PERIODIC REVIEW to enable this Court to monitor
the action of respondents.

This amparo case is hereby DISMISSED as to respondent LT. GEN. ALEXANDER YANO, Commanding General, Philippine Army, and as
to respondent GEN. RUBEN RAFAEL, Chief Anti-Terror Task Force Comet, Zamboanga City, both being with the military, which is a
separate and distinct organization from the police and the CIDG, in terms of operations, chain of command and budget.

This Decision reflects the nature of the Writ of Amparo a protective remedy against violations or threats of violation against the rights
to life, liberty and security. It embodies, as a remedy, the courts directive to police agencies to undertake specified courses of action to
address the disappearance of an individual, in this case, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis. It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal
culpability for the disappearance; rather, it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced disappearance for
purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance.

Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by
action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Court shall craft, among them, the directive to file the
appropriate criminal and civil cases against the responsible parties in the proper courts.

Accountability, on the other hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to those who exhibited involvement in the
enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or who are imputed
with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to
discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced disappearance. In all these cases, the issuance of the
Writ of Amparo is justified by our primary goal of addressing the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his liberty
and security are restored.
FACTS:

The established facts show that Tagitis, a consultant for the World Bank and the Senior Honorary Counselor for the Islamic Development
Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, was last seen in Jolo, Sulu. Together with Arsimin Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB scholar, Tagitis
arrived in Jolo by boat in the early morning of October 31, 2007 from a seminar in Zamboanga City. They immediately checked-in at
ASY Pension House. Tagitis asked Kunnong to buy him a boat ticket for his return trip the following day to Zamboanga. When Kunnong
returned from this errand, Tagitis was no longer around. The receptionist related that Tagitis went out to buy food at around 12:30 in
the afternoon and even left his room key with the desk. Kunnong looked for Tagitis and even sent a text message to the latters Manila-
based secretary who did not know of Tagitis whereabouts and activities either; she advised Kunnong to simply wait.

On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli, a UP professor of Muslim studies and Tagitis fellow student
counselor at the IDB, reported Tagitis disappearance to the Jolo Police Station. On November 7, 2007, Kunnong executed a sworn
affidavit attesting to what he knew of the circumstances surrounding Tagitis disappearance.

More than a month later (on December 28, 2007), Mary Jean Tagitis filed a Petition for the Writ of Amparo (petition) with the CA
through her Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Felipe P. Arcilla.The petition was directed against Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano, Commanding General,
Philippine Army; Gen. Avelino I. Razon, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, Chief, Criminal
Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG); Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response; Gen. Joel
Goltiao, Regional Director, ARMM-PNP; and Gen. Ruben Rafael, Chief, Anti-Terror Task Force Comet.

Mary Jean said in her statement that she approached some of her co-employees with the Land Bank in Digos branch, Digos City, Davao
del Sur who likewise sought help from some of their friends in the military who could help them find/locate the whereabouts of her
husband. All of her efforts did not produce any positive results except the information from persons in the military who do not want to
be identified that Engr. Tagitis is in the hands of the uniformed men. According to reliable information she received, subject Engr. Tagitis
is in the custody of police intelligence operatives, specifically with the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an
earnest attempt of the police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different terrorist groups particularly the Jemaah Islamiyah or
JI.

She then filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station in the ARMM in Cotobato and in Jolo, seeking their help to find her husband,
but was told of an intriguing tale by the police that her husband was not missing but was with another woman having good time
somewhere, which is a clear indication of the refusal of the PNP to help and provide police assistance in locating her missing husband.

Heeding an advise of one police officer, she went to the different police headquarters namely Police Headquarters in Cotabato City,
Davao City, Zamboanga City and eventually in the National Headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City but her efforts produced no
positive results. These trips exhausted all of her resources which pressed her to ask for financial help from friends and relatives.

She has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies but to no avail, and under the circumstances, she has no other plain, speedy
and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of her husband, Engr. Morced Tagitis, from the illegal clutches of his captors, their
intelligence operatives and the like which are in total violation of the subjects human and constitutional rights, except the issuance of a
WRIT OF AMPARO.

On the same day the petition was filed, the CA immediately issued the Writ of Amparo, set the case for hearing on January 7, 2008, and
directed the petitioners to file their verified return within seventy-two (72) hours from service of the writ.
In their verified Return filed during the hearing of January 27, 2008, the petitioners denied any involvement in or knowledge of Tagitis
alleged abduction. They argued that the allegations of the petition were incomplete and did not constitute a cause of action against
them; were baseless, or at best speculative; and were merely based on hearsay evidence. In addition, they all claimed that they exhausted
all means, particularly taking pro-active measures to investigate, search and locate Tagitis and to apprehend the persons responsible for
his disappearance.

THE CA RULING

On March 7, 2008, the CA issued its decision confirming that the disappearance of Tagitis was an "enforced disappearance" under the
United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. The CA held that "raw reports" from an
"asset" carried "great weight" in the intelligence world. It also labeled as "suspect" Col. Kasims subsequent and belated retraction of his
statement that the military, the police, or the CIDG was involved in the abduction of Tagitis.

The CA characterized as "too farfetched and unbelievable" and "a bedlam of speculation" police theories painting the disappearance as
"intentional" on the part of Tagitis. He had no previous brushes with the law or any record of overstepping the bounds of any trust
regarding money entrusted to him; no student of the IDB scholarship program ever came forward to complain that he or she did not get
his or her stipend. The CA also found no basis for the police theory that Tagitis was "trying to escape from the clutches of his second
wife," on the basis of the respondents testimony that Tagitis was a Muslim who could have many wives under the Muslim faith, and that
there was "no issue" at all when the latter divorced his first wife in order to marry the second. Finally, the CA also ruled out kidnapping
for ransom by the Abu Sayyaf or by the ARMM paramilitary as the cause for Tagitis disappearance, since the respondent, the police and
the military noted that there was no acknowledgement of Tagitis abduction or demand for payment of ransom the usual modus
operandi of these terrorist groups.

Based on these considerations, the CA thus extended the privilege of the writ to Tagitis and his family, and directed the CIDG Chief, Col.
Jose Volpane Pante, PNP Chief Avelino I. Razon, Task Force Tagitis heads Gen. Joel Goltiao and Col. Ahiron Ajirim, and PACER Chief Sr.
Supt. Leonardo A. Espina to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts to protect the life, liberty and security of Tagitis, with the obligation
to provide monthly reports of their actions to the CA. At the same time, the CA dismissed the petition against the then respondents from
the military, Lt. Gen Alexander Yano and Gen. Ruben Rafael, based on the finding that it was PNP-CIDG, not the military, that was
involved.

On March 31, 2008, the petitioners moved to reconsider the CA decision, but the CA denied the motion in its Resolution of April 9,
2008.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the privilege of the Writ of Amparo should be extended to Engr. Morced Tagitis.

RULING:

The disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis is classified as an enforced disappearance, thus the privilege of the Writ of Amparo applies.

Under the UN Declaration enforced disappearance as "the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by
agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a
refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place
such a person outside the protection of the law." Under this definition, the elements that constitute enforced disappearance are essentially
fourfold:
(a) arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;

(b) carried out by agents of the State or persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State;

(c) followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention, or a concealment of the fate of the disappeared person;

(d) placement of the disappeared person outside the protection of the law.

There was no direct evidence indicating how the victim actually disappeared. The direct evidence at hand only shows that Tagitis went
out of the ASY Pension House after depositing his room key with the hotel desk and was never seen nor heard of again. The undisputed
conclusion, however, from all concerned the petitioner, Tagitis colleagues and even the police authorities is that Tagistis disappeared
under mysterious circumstances and was never seen again.

A petition for the Writ of Amparo shall be signed and verified and shall allege, among others (in terms of the portions the petitioners
cite):

(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of
the respondent, and how such threat or violation is committed with the attendant circumstances detailed in supporting affidavits;

(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal circumstances, and addresses of the investigating authority or
individuals, as well as the manner and conduct of the investigation, together with any report;(e) The actions and recourses taken by the
petitioner to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or
omission.

The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be complete in every detail in stating the threatened or actual violation
of a victims rights. As in any other initiatory pleading, the pleader must of course state the ultimate facts constituting the cause of action,
omitting the evidentiary details.76 In an Amparo petition, however, this requirement must be read in light of the nature and purpose of
the proceeding, which addresses a situation of uncertainty; the petitioner may not be able to describe with certainty how the victim
exactly disappeared, or who actually acted to kidnap, abduct or arrest him or her, or where the victim is detained, because these
information may purposely be hidden or covered up by those who caused the disappearance. In this type of situation, to require the
level of specificity, detail and precision that the petitioners apparently want to read into the Amparo Rule is to make this Rule a token
gesture of judicial concern for violations of the constitutional rights to life, liberty and security.

To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings while addressing the unique Amparo situation, the test in reading the petition
should be to determine whether it contains the details available to the petitioner under the circumstances, while presenting a cause of
action showing a violation of the victims rights to life, liberty and security through State or private party action. The petition should
likewise be read in its totality, rather than in terms of its isolated component parts, to determine if the required elements namely, of the
disappearance, the State or private action, and the actual or threatened violations of the rights to life, liberty or security are present.

The properly pleaded ultimate facts within the pleaders knowledge about Tagitis disappearance, the participation by agents of the State
in this disappearance, the failure of the State to release Tagitis or to provide sufficient information about his whereabouts, as well as the
actual violation of his right to liberty. Thus, the petition cannot be faulted for any failure in its statement of a cause of action.

If a defect can at all be attributed to the petition, this defect is its lack of supporting affidavit, as required by Section 5(c) of the Amparo
Rule. Owing to the summary nature of the proceedings for the writ and to facilitate the resolution of the petition, the Amparo Rule
incorporated the requirement for supporting affidavits, with the annotation that these can be used as the affiants direct testimony. This
requirement, however, should not be read as an absolute one that necessarily leads to the dismissal of the petition if not strictly followed.
Where, as in this case, the petitioner has substantially complied with the requirement by submitting a verified petition sufficiently
detailing the facts relied upon, the strict need for the sworn statement that an affidavit represents is essentially fulfilled. We note that the
failure to attach the required affidavits was fully cured when the respondent and her witness (Mrs. Talbin) personally testified in the CA
hearings held on January 7 and 17 and February 18, 2008 to swear to and flesh out the allegations of the petition. Thus, even on this
point, the petition cannot be faulted.

The phenomenon of enforced disappearance arising from State action first attracted notice in Adolf Hitlers Nact und Nebel Erlass or
Night and Fog Decree of December 7, 1941. The Third Reichs Night and Fog Program, a State policy, was directed at persons in occupied
territories "endangering German security"; they were transported secretly to Germany where they disappeared without a trace. In order
to maximize the desired intimidating effect, the policy prohibited government officials from providing information about the fate of these
targeted persons.

In the Philippines, enforced disappearances generally fall within the first two categories, and 855 cases were recorded during the period
of martial law from 1972 until 1986. Of this number, 595 remained missing, 132 surfaced alive and 127 were found dead. During former
President Corazon C. Aquinos term, 820 people were reported to have disappeared and of these, 612 cases were documented. Of this
number, 407 remain missing, 108 surfaced alive and 97 were found dead. The number of enforced disappearances dropped during
former President Fidel V. Ramos term when only 87 cases were reported, while the three-year term of former President Joseph E.
Estrada yielded 58 reported cases. KARAPATAN, a local non-governmental organization, reports that as of March 31, 2008, the records
show that there were a total of 193 victims of enforced disappearance under incumbent President Gloria M. Arroyos administration. The
Commission on Human Rights records show a total of 636 verified cases of enforced disappearances from 1985 to 1993. Of this number,
406 remained missing, 92 surfaced alive, 62 were found dead, and 76 still have undetermined status.Currently, the United Nations
Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance reports 619 outstanding cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances
covering the period December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008.

Under Philippine Law

The Amparo Rule expressly provides that the "writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof."We note
that although the writ specifically covers "enforced disappearances," this concept is neither defined nor penalized in this jurisdiction. The
records of the Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of Rules (Committee) reveal that the drafters of the Amparo Rule initially
considered providing an elemental definition of the concept of enforced disappearance:

Justice Puno stated that, as the law now stands, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are not crimes
penalized separately from the component criminal acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced disappearances and are now
penalized under the Revised Penal Code and special laws.

Although the Courts power is strictly procedural and as such does not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights, the legal protection
that the Court can provide can be very meaningful through the procedures it sets in addressing extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances. The Court, through its procedural rules, can set the procedural standards and thereby directly compel the public
authorities to act on actual or threatened violations of constitutional rights. To state the obvious, judicial intervention can make a
difference even if only procedurally in a situation when the very same investigating public authorities may have had a hand in the
threatened or actual violations of constitutional rights.

The burden for the public authorities to discharge in these situations, under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, is twofold. The first is to
ensure that all efforts at disclosure and investigation are undertaken under pain of indirect contempt from this Court when governmental
efforts are less than what the individual situations require. The second is to address the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is
preserved and his or her liberty and security restored. In these senses, our orders and directives relative to the writ are continuing efforts
that are not truly terminated until the extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance is fully addressed by the complete determination of
the fate and the whereabouts of the victim, by the production of the disappeared person and the restoration of his or her liberty and
security, and, in the proper case, by the commencement of criminal action against the guilty parties.

During the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (in Paris, France on February 6,
2007, "enforced disappearance" is considered to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents
of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal
to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a
person outside the protection of the law.

In the recent case of Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines v. Duque III, we held that:

Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either by transformation or incorporation.
The transformation method requires that an international law be transformed into a domestic law through a constitutional mechanism
such as local legislation. The incorporation method applies when, by mere constitutional declaration, international law is deemed to have
the force of domestic law.

The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State "guarantees full respect for human rights" under
Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee
of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford protection to these rights
especially when they are under threat.

Protection includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims of
extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice. The
duty to investigate must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be ineffective.

Evidentiary Difficulties Posed by the Unique Nature of an Enforced Disappearance

The unique evidentiary difficulties presented by enforced disappearance cases; these difficulties form part of the setting that the
implementation of the Amparo Rule shall encounter. These difficulties largely arise because the State itself the party whose involvement
is alleged investigates enforced disappearances. Past experiences in other jurisdictions show that the evidentiary difficulties are generally
threefold.

First, there may be a deliberate concealment of the identities of the direct perpetrators. In addition, there are usually no witnesses to the
crime; if there are, these witnesses are usually afraid to speak out publicly or to testify on the disappearance out of fear for their own
lives.

Second, deliberate concealment of pertinent evidence of the disappearance is a distinct possibility; the central piece of evidence in an
enforced disappearance

Third is the element of denial; in many cases, the State authorities deliberately deny that the enforced disappearance ever occurred.
"Deniability" is central to the policy of enforced disappearances, as the absence of any proven disappearance makes it easier to escape the
application of legal standards ensuring the victims human rights.
Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.

The remedy of the writ of amparo provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary proceeding that requires only substantial
evidence to make the appropriate reliefs available to the petitioner; it is not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond
reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring substantial
evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.

We note in this regard that the use of flexibility in the consideration of evidence is not at all novel in the Philippine legal system. In child
abuse cases, Section 28 of the Rule on Examination of a Child Witness is expressly recognized as an exception to the hearsay rule. This
Rule allows the admission of the hearsay testimony of a child describing any act or attempted act of sexual abuse in any criminal or non-
criminal proceeding, subject to certain prerequisites and the right of cross-examination by the adverse party.

CONCLUSIONS AND THE AMPARO REMEDY

Based on these considerations, we conclude that Col. Kasims disclosure, made in an unguarded moment, unequivocally point to some
government complicity in the disappearance. The consistent but unfounded denials and the haphazard investigations cannot but point to
this conclusion. For why would the government and its officials engage in their chorus of concealment if the intent had not been to deny
what they already knew of the disappearance? Would not an in-depth and thorough investigation that at least credibly determined the
fate of Tagitis be a feather in the governments cap under the circumstances of the disappearance? From this perspective, the evidence
and developments, particularly the Kasim evidence, already establish a concrete case of enforced disappearance that the Amparo Rule
covers. From the prism of the UN Declaration, heretofore cited and quoted, evidence at hand and the developments in this case confirm
the fact of the enforced disappearance and government complicity, under a background of consistent and unfounded government denials
and haphazard handling. The disappearance as well effectively placed Tagitis outside the protection of the law a situation that will
subsist unless this Court acts.

Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members were the ones who were remiss in their duties when the
government completely failed to exercise the extral.'

To fully enforce the Amparo remedy, we refer this case back to the CA for appropriate proceedings directed at the monitoring of the
PNP and the PNP-CIDG investigations and actions, and the validation of their results through hearings the CA may deem appropriate to
conduct.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 183591 October 14, 2008

THE PROVINCE OF NORTH COTABATO, duly represented by GOVERNOR JESUS SACDALAN and/or VICE-GOVERNOR EMMANUEL
PIOL, for and in his own behalf, petitioners,
vs.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP), represented by SEC.
RODOLFO GARCIA, ATTY. LEAH ARMAMENTO, ATTY. SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN and/or GEN. HERMOGENES
ESPERON, JR., the latter in his capacity as the present and duly-appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) or the so-
called Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, respondents.

x--------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 183752 October 14, 2008

CITY GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBOANGA, as represented by HON. CELSO L. LOBREGAT, City Mayor of Zamboanga, and in his personal
capacity as resident of the City of Zamboanga, Rep. MA. ISABELLE G. CLIMACO, District 1, and Rep. ERICO BASILIO A. FABIAN, District
2, City of Zamboanga, petitioners,
vs.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL (GRP), as represented by RODOLFO C.
GARCIA, LEAH ARMAMENTO, SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN and HERMOGENES ESPERON, in his capacity as the
Presidential Adviser on Peace Process,respondents.

x--------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 183893 October 14, 2008

THE CITY OF ILIGAN, duly represented by CITY MAYOR LAWRENCE LLUCH CRUZ, petitioner,
vs.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP), represented by SEC.
RODOLFO GARCIA, ATTY. LEAH ARMAMENTO, ATTY. SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN; GEN. HERMOGENES
ESPERON, JR., in his capacity as the present and duly appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process; and/or SEC. EDUARDO
ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary. respondents.

x--------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 183951 October 14, 2008

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, as represented by HON. ROLANDO E. YEBES, in his capacity as
Provincial Governor, HON. FRANCIS H. OLVIS, in his capacity as Vice-Governor and Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,
HON. CECILIA JALOSJOS CARREON, Congresswoman, 1st Congressional District, HON. CESAR G. JALOSJOS, Congressman,
3rd Congressional District, and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Zamboanga del Norte, namely, HON.
SETH FREDERICK P. JALOSJOS, HON. FERNANDO R. CABIGON, JR., HON. ULDARICO M. MEJORADA II, HON. EDIONAR M.
ZAMORAS, HON. EDGAR J. BAGUIO, HON. CEDRIC L. ADRIATICO, HON. FELIXBERTO C. BOLANDO, HON. JOSEPH BRENDO C.
AJERO, HON. NORBIDEIRI B. EDDING, HON. ANECITO S. DARUNDAY, HON. ANGELICA J. CARREON and HON. LUZVIMINDA E.
TORRINO, petitioners,
vs.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL [GRP], as represented by HON.
RODOLFO C. GARCIA and HON. HERMOGENES ESPERON, in his capacity as the Presidential Adviser of Peace Process, respondents.

x--------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 183962 October 14, 2008

ERNESTO M. MACEDA, JEJOMAR C. BINAY, and AQUILINO L. PIMENTEL III, petitioners,


vs.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL, represented by its Chairman RODOLFO
C. GARCIA, and the MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL, represented by its Chairman MOHAGHER
IQBAL, respondents.

x--------------------------------------------x

FRANKLIN M. DRILON and ADEL ABBAS TAMANO, petitioners-in-intervention.

x--------------------------------------------x

SEN. MANUEL A. ROXAS, petitioners-in-intervention.

x--------------------------------------------x

MUNICIPALITY OF LINAMON duly represented by its Municipal Mayor NOEL N. DEANO, petitioners-in-intervention,

x--------------------------------------------x

THE CITY OF ISABELA, BASILAN PROVINCE, represented by MAYOR CHERRYLYN P. SANTOS-AKBAR,petitioners-in-intervention.

x--------------------------------------------x

THE PROVINCE OF SULTAN KUDARAT, rep. by HON. SUHARTO T. MANGUDADATU, in his capacity as Provincial Governor and a
resident of the Province of Sultan Kudarat, petitioner-in-intervention.

x-------------------------------------------x

RUY ELIAS LOPEZ, for and in his own behalf and on behalf of Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao Not Belonging to the MILF, petitioner-
in-intervention.

x--------------------------------------------x

CARLO B. GOMEZ, GERARDO S. DILIG, NESARIO G. AWAT, JOSELITO C. ALISUAG and RICHALEX G. JAGMIS, as citizens and
residents of Palawan, petitioners-in-intervention.

x--------------------------------------------x

MARINO RIDAO and KISIN BUXANI, petitioners-in-intervention.

x--------------------------------------------x

MUSLIM LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOUNDATION, INC (MUSLAF), respondent-in-intervention.

x--------------------------------------------x

MUSLIM MULTI-SECTORAL MOVEMENT FOR PEACE & DEVELOPMENT (MMMPD), respondent-in-intervention.

x--------------------------------------------x

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Subject of these consolidated cases is the extent of the powers of the President in pursuing the peace process.While the facts surrounding
this controversy center on the armed conflict in Mindanao between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the
legal issue involved has a bearing on all areas in the country where there has been a long-standing armed conflict. Yet again, the Court is
tasked to perform a delicate balancing act. It must uncompromisingly delineate the bounds within which the President may lawfully
exercise her discretion, but it must do so in strict adherence to the Constitution, lest its ruling unduly restricts the freedom of action vested
by that same Constitution in the Chief Executive precisely to enable her to pursue the peace process effectively.
I. FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS OF THE PETITIONS

On August 5, 2008, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MILF, through the Chairpersons of their respective
peace negotiating panels, were scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) Aspect of the GRP-
MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The MILF is a rebel group which was established in March 1984 when, under the leadership of the late Salamat Hashim, it splintered from
the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) then headed by Nur Misuari, on the ground, among others, of what Salamat perceived to
be the manipulation of the MNLF away from an Islamic basis towards Marxist-Maoist orientations.1

The signing of the MOA-AD between the GRP and the MILF was not to materialize, however, for upon motion of petitioners, specifically
those who filed their cases before the scheduled signing of the MOA-AD, this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining the
GRP from signing the same.

The MOA-AD was preceded by a long process of negotiation and the concluding of several prior agreements between the two parties
beginning in 1996, when the GRP-MILF peace negotiations began. On July 18, 1997, the GRP and MILF Peace Panels signed the
Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities. The following year, they signed the General Framework of Agreement of Intent on
August 27, 1998.

The Solicitor General, who represents respondents, summarizes the MOA-AD by stating that the same contained, among others, the
commitment of the parties to pursue peace negotiations, protect and respect human rights, negotiate with sincerity in the resolution and
pacific settlement of the conflict, and refrain from the use of threat or force to attain undue advantage while the peace negotiations on
the substantive agenda are on-going.2

Early on, however, it was evident that there was not going to be any smooth sailing in the GRP-MILF peace process. Towards the end of
1999 up to early 2000, the MILF attacked a number of municipalities in Central Mindanao and, in March 2000, it took control of the
town hall of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.3 In response, then President Joseph Estrada declared and carried out an "all-out-war" against
the MILF.

When President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed office, the military offensive against the MILF was suspended and the government
sought a resumption of the peace talks. The MILF, according to a leading MILF member, initially responded with deep reservation, but
when President Arroyo asked the Government of Malaysia through Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to help convince the MILF to
return to the negotiating table, the MILF convened its Central Committee to seriously discuss the matter and, eventually, decided to meet
with the GRP.4

The parties met in Kuala Lumpur on March 24, 2001, with the talks being facilitated by the Malaysian government, the parties signing on
the same date the Agreement on the General Framework for the Resumption of Peace Talks Between the GRP and the MILF. The MILF
thereafter suspended all its military actions.5

Formal peace talks between the parties were held in Tripoli, Libya from June 20-22, 2001, the outcome of which was the GRP-MILF
Tripoli Agreement on Peace (Tripoli Agreement 2001) containing the basic principles and agenda on the following aspects of the
negotiation: Security Aspect, Rehabilitation Aspect, and Ancestral Domain Aspect. With regard to the Ancestral Domain Aspect, the
parties in Tripoli Agreement 2001 simply agreed "that the same be discussed further by the Parties in their next meeting."

A second round of peace talks was held in Cyberjaya, Malaysia on August 5-7, 2001 which ended with the signing of the Implementing
Guidelines on the Security Aspect of the Tripoli Agreement 2001 leading to a ceasefire status between the parties. This was followed by
the Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian Rehabilitation and Development Aspects of the Tripoli Agreement 2001, which was
signed on May 7, 2002 at Putrajaya, Malaysia. Nonetheless, there were many incidence of violence between government forces and the
MILF from 2002 to 2003.

Meanwhile, then MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim passed away on July 13, 2003 and he was replaced by Al Haj Murad, who was then
the chief peace negotiator of the MILF. Murad's position as chief peace negotiator was taken over by Mohagher Iqbal.6

In 2005, several exploratory talks were held between the parties in Kuala Lumpur, eventually leading to the crafting of the draft MOA-
AD in its final form, which, as mentioned, was set to be signed last August 5, 2008.

II. STATEMENT OF THE PROCEEDINGS

Before the Court is what is perhaps the most contentious "consensus" ever embodied in an instrument - the MOA-AD which is assailed
principally by the present petitions bearing docket numbers 183591, 183752, 183893, 183951 and 183962.
Commonly impleaded as respondents are the GRP Peace Panel on Ancestral Domain7 and the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
(PAPP) Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

On July 23, 2008, the Province of North Cotabato8 and Vice-Governor Emmanuel Piol filed a petition, docketed as G.R. No. 183591,
for Mandamus and Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining
Order.9 Invoking the right to information on matters of public concern, petitioners seek to compel respondents to disclose and furnish
them the complete and official copies of the MOA-AD including its attachments, and to prohibit the slated signing of the MOA-AD,
pending the disclosure of the contents of the MOA-AD and the holding of a public consultation thereon. Supplementarily, petitioners
pray that the MOA-AD be declared unconstitutional.10

This initial petition was followed by another one, docketed as G.R. No. 183752, also for Mandamus and Prohibition11 filed by the City
of Zamboanga,12 Mayor Celso Lobregat, Rep. Ma. Isabelle Climaco and Rep. Erico Basilio Fabian who likewise pray for similar injunctive
reliefs. Petitioners herein moreover pray that the City of Zamboanga be excluded from the Bangsamoro Homeland and/or Bangsamoro
Juridical Entity and, in the alternative, that the MOA-AD be declared null and void.

By Resolution of August 4, 2008, the Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order commanding and directing public respondents and
their agents to cease and desist from formally signing the MOA-AD.13 The Court also required the Solicitor General to submit to the
Court and petitioners the official copy of the final draft of the MOA-AD,14 to which she complied.15

Meanwhile, the City of Iligan16 filed a petition for Injunction and/or Declaratory Relief, docketed as G.R. No. 183893, praying that
respondents be enjoined from signing the MOA-AD or, if the same had already been signed, from implementing the same, and that the
MOA-AD be declared unconstitutional. Petitioners herein additionally implead Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as respondent.

The Province of Zamboanga del Norte,17 Governor Rolando Yebes, Vice-Governor Francis Olvis, Rep. Cecilia Jalosjos-Carreon, Rep.
Cesar Jalosjos, and the members18 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Zamboanga del Norte filed on August 15, 2008 a petition for
Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition,19 docketed as G.R. No. 183951. They pray, inter alia, that the MOA-AD be declared null and
void and without operative effect, and that respondents be enjoined from executing the MOA-AD.

On August 19, 2008, Ernesto Maceda, Jejomar Binay, and Aquilino Pimentel III filed a petition for Prohibition,20docketed as G.R. No.
183962, praying for a judgment prohibiting and permanently enjoining respondents from formally signing and executing the MOA-AD
and or any other agreement derived therefrom or similar thereto, and nullifying the MOA-AD for being unconstitutional and illegal.
Petitioners herein additionally implead as respondent the MILF Peace Negotiating Panel represented by its Chairman Mohagher Iqbal.

Various parties moved to intervene and were granted leave of court to file their petitions-/comments-in-intervention. Petitioners-in-
Intervention include Senator Manuel A. Roxas, former Senate President Franklin Drilon and Atty. Adel Tamano, the City of Isabela21 and
Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar, the Province of Sultan Kudarat22 and Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu, the Municipality of Linamon in Lanao
del Norte,23 Ruy Elias Lopez of Davao City and of the Bagobo tribe, Sangguniang Panlungsod member Marino Ridao and businessman
Kisin Buxani, both of Cotabato City; and lawyers Carlo Gomez, Gerardo Dilig, Nesario Awat, Joselito Alisuag, Richalex Jagmis, all of
Palawan City. The Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. (Muslaf) and the Muslim Multi-Sectoral Movement for Peace and
Development (MMMPD) filed their respective Comments-in-Intervention.

By subsequent Resolutions, the Court ordered the consolidation of the petitions. Respondents filed Comments on the petitions, while
some of petitioners submitted their respective Replies.

Respondents, by Manifestation and Motion of August 19, 2008, stated that the Executive Department shall thoroughly review the MOA-
AD and pursue further negotiations to address the issues hurled against it, and thus moved to dismiss the cases. In the succeeding
exchange of pleadings, respondents' motion was met with vigorous opposition from petitioners.

The cases were heard on oral argument on August 15, 22 and 29, 2008 that tackled the following principal issues:

1. Whether the petitions have become moot and academic

(i) insofar as the mandamus aspect is concerned, in view of the disclosure of official copies of the final draft of the
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA); and

(ii) insofar as the prohibition aspect involving the Local Government Units is concerned, if it is considered that
consultation has become fait accompli with the finalization of the draft;

2. Whether the constitutionality and the legality of the MOA is ripe for adjudication;

3. Whether respondent Government of the Republic of the Philippines Peace Panel committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it negotiated and initiated the MOA vis--vis ISSUES Nos. 4 and 5;
4. Whether there is a violation of the people's right to information on matters of public concern (1987 Constitution, Article III,
Sec. 7) under a state policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest (1987 Constitution, Article II, Sec. 28)
including public consultation under Republic Act No. 7160 (LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991)[;]

If it is in the affirmative, whether prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is an appropriate remedy;

5. Whether by signing the MOA, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines would be BINDING itself

a) to create and recognize the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) as a separate state, or a juridical, territorial or political
subdivision not recognized by law;

b) to revise or amend the Constitution and existing laws to conform to the MOA;

c) to concede to or recognize the claim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for ancestral domain in violation of
Republic Act No. 8371 (THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ACT OF 1997), particularly Section 3(g) & Chapter VII
(DELINEATION, RECOGNITION OF ANCESTRAL DOMAINS)[;]

If in the affirmative, whether the Executive Branch has the authority to so bind the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines;

6. Whether the inclusion/exclusion of the Province of North Cotabato, Cities of Zamboanga, Iligan and Isabela, and the
Municipality of Linamon, Lanao del Norte in/from the areas covered by the projected Bangsamoro Homeland is a justiciable
question; and

7. Whether desistance from signing the MOA derogates any prior valid commitments of the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines.24

The Court, thereafter, ordered the parties to submit their respective Memoranda. Most of the parties submitted their memoranda on
time.

III. OVERVIEW OF THE MOA-AD

As a necessary backdrop to the consideration of the objections raised in the subject five petitions and six petitions-in-intervention against
the MOA-AD, as well as the two comments-in-intervention in favor of the MOA-AD, the Court takes an overview of the MOA.

The MOA-AD identifies the Parties to it as the GRP and the MILF.

Under the heading "Terms of Reference" (TOR), the MOA-AD includes not only four earlier agreements between the GRP and MILF, but
also two agreements between the GRP and the MNLF: the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, and the Final Peace Agreement on the
Implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, signed on September 2, 1996 during the administration of President Fidel Ramos.

The MOA-AD also identifies as TOR two local statutes - the organic act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)25 and
the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA),26 and several international law instruments - the ILO Convention No. 169 Concerning
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries in relation to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, and
the UN Charter, among others.

The MOA-AD includes as a final TOR the generic category of "compact rights entrenchment emanating from the regime of dar-ul-
mua'hada (or territory under compact) and dar-ul-sulh (or territory under peace agreement) that partakes the nature of a treaty
device."

During the height of the Muslim Empire, early Muslim jurists tended to see the world through a simple dichotomy: there was the dar-ul-
Islam (the Abode of Islam) and dar-ul-harb (the Abode of War). The first referred to those lands where Islamic laws held sway, while
the second denoted those lands where Muslims were persecuted or where Muslim laws were outlawed or ineffective.27 This way of
viewing the world, however, became more complex through the centuries as the Islamic world became part of the international
community of nations.

As Muslim States entered into treaties with their neighbors, even with distant States and inter-governmental organizations, the classical
division of the world into dar-ul-Islam and dar-ul-harb eventually lost its meaning. New terms were drawn up to describe novel ways
of perceiving non-Muslim territories. For instance, areas like dar-ul-mua'hada (land of compact) and dar-ul-sulh (land of treaty)
referred to countries which, though under a secular regime, maintained peaceful and cooperative relations with Muslim States, having
been bound to each other by treaty or agreement. Dar-ul-aman (land of order), on the other hand, referred to countries which, though
not bound by treaty with Muslim States, maintained freedom of religion for Muslims.28

It thus appears that the "compact rights entrenchment" emanating from the regime of dar-ul-mua'hada and dar-ul-sulh simply refers to
all other agreements between the MILF and the Philippine government - the Philippines being the land of compact and peace agreement
- that partake of the nature of a treaty device, "treaty" being broadly defined as "any solemn agreement in writing that sets out
understandings, obligations, and benefits for both parties which provides for a framework that elaborates the principles declared in the
[MOA-AD]."29

The MOA-AD states that the Parties "HAVE AGREED AND ACKNOWLEDGED AS FOLLOWS," and starts with its main body.

The main body of the MOA-AD is divided into four strands, namely, Concepts and Principles, Territory, Resources, and Governance.

A. CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES

This strand begins with the statement that it is "the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous peoples of Mindanao to identify themselves
and be accepted as Bangsamoros.'" It defines "Bangsamoro people" as the natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent
islands including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization, and their descendants whether mixed or of
full blood, including their spouses.30

Thus, the concept of "Bangsamoro," as defined in this strand of the MOA-AD, includes not only "Moros" as traditionally understood even
by Muslims,31 but all indigenous peoples of Mindanao and its adjacent islands. The MOA-AD adds that the freedom of choice of
indigenous peoples shall be respected. What this freedom of choice consists in has not been specifically defined.

The MOA-AD proceeds to refer to the "Bangsamoro homeland," the ownership of which is vested exclusively in the Bangsamoro people
by virtue of their prior rights of occupation.32 Both parties to the MOA-AD acknowledge that ancestral domain does not form part of
the public domain.33

The Bangsamoro people are acknowledged as having the right to self-governance, which right is said to be rooted on ancestral
territoriality exercised originally under the suzerain authority of their sultanates and the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw. The sultanates
were described as states or "karajaan/kadatuan" resembling a body politic endowed with all the elements of a nation-state in the modern
sense.34

The MOA-AD thus grounds the right to self-governance of the Bangsamoro people on the past suzerain authority of the sultanates. As
gathered, the territory defined as the Bangsamoro homeland was ruled by several sultanates and, specifically in the case of the Maranao,
by the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw, a confederation of independent principalities (pangampong) each ruled by datus and sultans, none
of whom was supreme over the others.35

The MOA-AD goes on to describe the Bangsamoro people as "the First Nation' with defined territory and with a system of government
having entered into treaties of amity and commerce with foreign nations."

The term "First Nation" is of Canadian origin referring to the indigenous peoples of that territory, particularly those known as Indians. In
Canada, each of these indigenous peoples is equally entitled to be called "First Nation," hence, all of them are usually described
collectively by the plural "First Nations."36 To that extent, the MOA-AD, by identifying the Bangsamoro people as "the First Nation" -
suggesting its exclusive entitlement to that designation - departs from the Canadian usage of the term.

The MOA-AD then mentions for the first time the "Bangsamoro Juridical Entity" (BJE) to which it grants the authority and jurisdiction
over the Ancestral Domain and Ancestral Lands of the Bangsamoro.37

B. TERRITORY

The territory of the Bangsamoro homeland is described as the land mass as well as the maritime, terrestrial, fluvial and alluvial domains,
including the aerial domain and the atmospheric space above it, embracing the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan geographic region.38

More specifically, the core of the BJE is defined as the present geographic area of the ARMM - thus constituting the following areas:
Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Marawi City. Significantly, this core also includes certain municipalities of
Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite.39

Outside of this core, the BJE is to cover other provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, which are grouped into two categories,
Category A and Category B. Each of these areas is to be subjected to a plebiscite to be held on different dates, years apart from each
other. Thus, Category A areas are to be subjected to a plebiscite not later than twelve (12) months following the signing of the MOA-
AD.40 Category B areas, also called "Special Intervention Areas," on the other hand, are to be subjected to a plebiscite twenty-five (25)
years from the signing of a separate agreement - the Comprehensive Compact.41

The Parties to the MOA-AD stipulate that the BJE shall have jurisdiction over all natural resources within its "internalwaters," defined as
extending fifteen (15) kilometers from the coastline of the BJE area;42 that the BJE shall also have "territorial waters," which shall stretch
beyond the BJE internal waters up to the baselines of the Republic of the Philippines (RP) south east and south west of mainland
Mindanao; and that within these territorial waters, the BJE and the "Central Government" (used interchangeably with RP) shall
exercise joint jurisdiction, authority and management over all natural resources.43 Notably, the jurisdiction over the internal waters is
not similarly described as "joint."

The MOA-AD further provides for the sharing of minerals on the territorial waters between the Central Government and the BJE, in
favor of the latter, through production sharing and economic cooperation agreement.44 The activities which the Parties are allowed to
conduct on the territorial waters are enumerated, among which are the exploration and utilization of natural resources, regulation of
shipping and fishing activities, and the enforcement of police and safety measures.45 There is no similar provision on the sharing of
minerals and allowed activities with respect to the internal waters of the BJE.

C. RESOURCES

The MOA-AD states that the BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries and shall have
the option to establish trade missions in those countries. Such relationships and understandings, however, are not to include aggression
against the GRP. The BJE may also enter into environmental cooperation agreements.46

The external defense of the BJE is to remain the duty and obligation of the Central Government. The Central Government is also bound
to "take necessary steps to ensure the BJE's participation in international meetings and events" like those of the ASEAN and the specialized
agencies of the UN. The BJE is to be entitled to participate in Philippine official missions and delegations for the negotiation of border
agreements or protocols for environmental protection and equitable sharing of incomes and revenues involving the bodies of water
adjacent to or between the islands forming part of the ancestral domain.47

With regard to the right of exploring for, producing, and obtaining all potential sources of energy, petroleum, fossil fuel, mineral oil and
natural gas, the jurisdiction and control thereon is to be vested in the BJE "as the party having control within its territorial jurisdiction."
This right carries the proviso that, "in times of national emergency, when public interest so requires," the Central Government may, for a
fixed period and under reasonable terms as may be agreed upon by both Parties, assume or direct the operation of such resources.48

The sharing between the Central Government and the BJE of total production pertaining to natural resources is to be 75:25 in favor of
the BJE.49

The MOA-AD provides that legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people arising from any unjust dispossession of their territorial and
proprietary rights, customary land tenures, or their marginalization shall be acknowledged. Whenever restoration is no longer possible,
reparation is to be in such form as mutually determined by the Parties.50

The BJE may modify or cancel the forest concessions, timber licenses, contracts or agreements, mining concessions, Mineral Production
and Sharing Agreements (MPSA), Industrial Forest Management Agreements (IFMA), and other land tenure instruments granted by the
Philippine Government, including those issued by the present ARMM.51

D. GOVERNANCE

The MOA-AD binds the Parties to invite a multinational third-party to observe and monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive
Compact. This compact is to embody the "details for the effective enforcement" and "the mechanisms and modalities for the actual
implementation" of the MOA-AD. The MOA-AD explicitly provides that the participation of the third party shall not in any way affect
the status of the relationship between the Central Government and the BJE.52

The "associative" relationship


between the Central Government
and the BJE

The MOA-AD describes the relationship of the Central Government and the BJE as "associative," characterized by shared authority and
responsibility. And it states that the structure of governance is to be based on executive, legislative, judicial, and administrative institutions
with defined powers and functions in the Comprehensive Compact.

The MOA-AD provides that its provisions requiring "amendments to the existing legal framework" shall take effect upon signing of the
Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the aforesaid amendments, with due regard to the non-derogation of prior
agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact. As will be discussed later, much of the
present controversy hangs on the legality of this provision.

The BJE is granted the power to build, develop and maintain its own institutions inclusive of civil service, electoral, financial and banking,
education, legislation, legal, economic, police and internal security force, judicial system and correctional institutions, the details of which
shall be discussed in the negotiation of the comprehensive compact.

As stated early on, the MOA-AD was set to be signed on August 5, 2008 by Rodolfo Garcia and Mohagher Iqbal, Chairpersons of the
Peace Negotiating Panels of the GRP and the MILF, respectively. Notably, the penultimate paragraph of the MOA-AD identifies the
signatories as "the representatives of the Parties," meaning the GRP and MILF themselves, and not merely of the negotiating panels.53 In
addition, the signature page of the MOA-AD states that it is "WITNESSED BY" Datuk Othman Bin Abd Razak, Special Adviser to the Prime
Minister of Malaysia, "ENDORSED BY" Ambassador Sayed Elmasry, Adviser to Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary
General and Special Envoy for Peace Process in Southern Philippines, and SIGNED "IN THE PRESENCE OF" Dr. Albert G. Romulo,
Secretary of Foreign Affairs of RP and Dato' Seri Utama Dr. Rais Bin Yatim, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia, all of whom were
scheduled to sign the Agreement last August 5, 2008.

Annexed to the MOA-AD are two documents containing the respective lists cum maps of the provinces, municipalities, and barangays
under Categories A and B earlier mentioned in the discussion on the strand on TERRITORY.

IV. PROCEDURAL ISSUES

A. RIPENESS

The power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies.54 Courts decline to issue advisory opinions or to resolve
hypothetical or feigned problems, or mere academic questions.55 The limitation of the power of judicial review to actual cases and
controversies defines the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite allocation of power, to assure that the courts will not intrude into
areas committed to the other branches of government.56

An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims, susceptible of judicial resolution as
distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute. There must be a contrariety of legal rights that can be interpreted and
enforced on the basis of existing law and jurisprudence.57 The Court can decide the constitutionality of an act or treaty only when a
proper case between opposing parties is submitted for judicial determination.58

Related to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the requirement of ripeness. A question is ripe for adjudication when the
act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it.59 For a case to be considered ripe for adjudication, it
is a prerequisite that something had then been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into the
picture,60 and the petitioner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to itself as a result of the challenged
action.61 He must show that he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of the act
complained of.62

The Solicitor General argues that there is no justiciable controversy that is ripe for judicial review in the present petitions, reasoning that

The unsigned MOA-AD is simply a list of consensus points subject to further negotiations and legislative enactments as well as
constitutional processes aimed at attaining a final peaceful agreement. Simply put, the MOA-AD remains to be a proposal that
does not automatically create legally demandable rights and obligations until the list of operative acts required have been duly
complied with. x x x

xxxx

In the cases at bar, it is respectfully submitted that this Honorable Court has no authority to pass upon issues based on
hypothetical or feigned constitutional problems or interests with no concrete bases. Considering the preliminary character of
the MOA-AD, there are no concrete acts that could possibly violate petitioners' and intervenors' rights since the acts complained
of are mere contemplated steps toward the formulation of a final peace agreement. Plainly, petitioners and intervenors'
perceived injury, if at all, is merely imaginary and illusory apart from being unfounded and based on mere conjectures.
(Underscoring supplied)

The Solicitor General cites63 the following provisions of the MOA-AD:

TERRITORY

xxxx
2. Toward this end, the Parties enter into the following stipulations:

xxxx

d. Without derogating from the requirements of prior agreements, the Government stipulates to conduct and deliver, using all
possible legal measures, within twelve (12) months following the signing of the MOA-AD, a plebiscite covering the areas as
enumerated in the list and depicted in the map as Category A attached herein (the "Annex"). The Annex constitutes an integral
part of this framework agreement. Toward this end, the Parties shall endeavor to complete the negotiations and resolve all
outstanding issues on the Comprehensive Compact within fifteen (15) months from the signing of the MOA-AD.

xxxx

GOVERNANCE

xxxx

7. The Parties agree that mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation of this MOA-AD shall be spelt out in the
Comprehensive Compact to mutually take such steps to enable it to occur effectively.

Any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon the signing
of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to non-
derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive
Compact.64 (Underscoring supplied)

The Solicitor General's arguments fail to persuade.

Concrete acts under the MOA-AD are not necessary to render the present controversy ripe. In Pimentel, Jr. v. Aguirre,65 this Court held:

x x x [B]y the mere enactment of the questioned law or the approval of the challenged action, the dispute is said to have
ripened into a judicial controversy even without any other overt act. Indeed, even a singular violation of the Constitution
and/or the law is enough to awaken judicial duty.

xxxx

By the same token, when an act of the President, who in our constitutional scheme is a coequal of Congress, is seriously alleged
to have infringed the Constitution and the laws x x x settling the dispute becomes the duty and the responsibility of the courts.66

In Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe,67 the United States Supreme Court held that the challenge to the constitutionality of the
school's policy allowing student-led prayers and speeches before games was ripe for adjudication, even if no public prayer had yet been
led under the policy, because the policy was being challenged as unconstitutional on its face.68

That the law or act in question is not yet effective does not negate ripeness. For example, in New York v. United States,69 decided in
1992, the United States Supreme Court held that the action by the State of New York challenging the provisions of the Low-Level
Radioactive Waste Policy Act was ripe for adjudication even if the questioned provision was not to take effect until January 1, 1996,
because the parties agreed that New York had to take immediate action to avoid the provision's consequences.70

The present petitions pray for Certiorari,71 Prohibition, and Mandamus. Certiorari and Prohibition are remedies granted by law when
any tribunal, board or officer has acted, in the case of certiorari, or is proceeding, in the case of prohibition, without or in excess of its
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.72 Mandamus is a remedy granted by law when
any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a
duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use or enjoyment of a right or office to which
such other is entitled.73 Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review
and/or prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials.74

The authority of the GRP Negotiating Panel is defined by Executive Order No. 3 (E.O. No. 3), issued on February 28, 2001.75 The said
executive order requires that "[t]he government's policy framework for peace, including the systematic approach and the administrative
structure for carrying out the comprehensive peace process x x x be governed by this Executive Order."76

The present petitions allege that respondents GRP Panel and PAPP Esperon drafted the terms of the MOA-AD without consulting the
local government units or communities affected, nor informing them of the proceedings. As will be discussed in greater detail later, such
omission, by itself, constitutes a departure by respondents from their mandate under E.O. No. 3.
Furthermore, the petitions allege that the provisions of the MOA-AD violate the Constitution. The MOA-AD provides that "any
provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon the signing of a
Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework," implying an amendment of the Constitution
to accommodate the MOA-AD. This stipulation, in effect, guaranteed to the MILF the amendment of the Constitution. Such act
constitutes another violation of its authority. Again, these points will be discussed in more detail later.

As the petitions allege acts or omissions on the part of respondent that exceed their authority, by violating their duties under E.O. No. 3
and the provisions of the Constitution and statutes, the petitions make a prima facie case for Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus,
and an actual case or controversy ripe for adjudication exists. When an act of a branch of government is seriously alleged to have
infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute.77

B. LOCUS STANDI

For a party to have locus standi, one must allege "such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete
adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional
questions."78

Because constitutional cases are often public actions in which the relief sought is likely to affect other persons, a preliminary question
frequently arises as to this interest in the constitutional question raised.79

When suing as a citizen, the person complaining must allege that he has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which
he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained
of.80 When the issue concerns a public right, it is sufficient that the petitioner is a citizen and has an interest in the execution of the laws.81

For a taxpayer, one is allowed to sue where there is an assertion that public funds are illegally disbursed or deflected to an illegal
purpose, or that there is a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.82 The Court retains
discretion whether or not to allow a taxpayer's suit.83

In the case of a legislator or member of Congress, an act of the Executive that injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but
nonetheless substantial injury that can be questioned by legislators. A member of the House of Representatives has standing to maintain
inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in his office.84

An organization may be granted standing to assert the rights of its members,85 but the mere invocation by the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines or any member of the legal profession of the duty to preserve the rule of law does not suffice to clothe it with standing.86

As regards a local government unit (LGU), it can seek relief in order to protect or vindicate an interest of its own, and of the other
LGUs.87

Intervenors, meanwhile, may be given legal standing upon showing of facts that satisfy the requirements of the law authorizing
intervention,88 such as a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties.

In any case, the Court has discretion to relax the procedural technicality on locus standi, given the liberal attitude it has exercised,
highlighted in the case of David v. Macapagal-Arroyo,89 where technicalities of procedure were brushed aside, the constitutional issues
raised being of paramount public interest or of transcendental importance deserving the attention of the Court in view of their
seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents.90 The Court's forbearing stance on locus standi on issues involving constitutional issues
has for its purpose the protection of fundamental rights.

In not a few cases, the Court, in keeping with its duty under the Constitution to determine whether the other branches of government
have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and have not abused the discretion given them, has brushed aside
technical rules of procedure.91

In the petitions at bar, petitioners Province of North Cotabato (G.R. No. 183591) Province of Zamboanga del Norte (G.R. No.
183951), City of Iligan (G.R. No. 183893) and City of Zamboanga (G.R. No. 183752) and petitioners-in-intervention Province of
Sultan Kudarat, City of Isabela and Municipality of Linamon have locus standi in view of the direct and substantial injury that they, as
LGUs, would suffer as their territories, whether in whole or in part, are to be included in the intended domain of the BJE. These
petitioners allege that they did not vote for their inclusion in the ARMM which would be expanded to form the BJE territory. Petitioners'
legal standing is thus beyond doubt.

In G.R. No. 183962, petitioners Ernesto Maceda, Jejomar Binay and Aquilino Pimentel III would have no standing as citizens and
taxpayers for their failure to specify that they would be denied some right or privilege or there would be wastage of public funds. The
fact that they are a former Senator, an incumbent mayor of Makati City, and a resident of Cagayan de Oro, respectively, is of no
consequence. Considering their invocation of the transcendental importance of the issues at hand, however, the Court grants them
standing.

Intervenors Franklin Drilon and Adel Tamano, in alleging their standing as taxpayers, assert that government funds would be expended
for the conduct of an illegal and unconstitutional plebiscite to delineate the BJE territory. On that score alone, they can be given legal
standing. Their allegation that the issues involved in these petitions are of "undeniable transcendental importance" clothes them with
added basis for their personality to intervene in these petitions.

With regard to Senator Manuel Roxas, his standing is premised on his being a member of the Senate and a citizen to enforce compliance
by respondents of the public's constitutional right to be informed of the MOA-AD, as well as on a genuine legal interest in the matter in
litigation, or in the success or failure of either of the parties. He thus possesses the requisite standing as an intervenor.

With respect to Intervenors Ruy Elias Lopez, as a former congressman of the 3rd district of Davao City, a taxpayer and a member of the
Bagobo tribe; Carlo B. Gomez, et al., as members of the IBP Palawan chapter, citizens and taxpayers; Marino Ridao, as taxpayer,
resident and member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cotabato City; and Kisin Buxani, as taxpayer, they failed to allege any proper
legal interest in the present petitions. Just the same, the Court exercises its discretion to relax the procedural technicality on locus
standi given the paramount public interest in the issues at hand.

Intervening respondents Muslim Multi-Sectoral Movement for Peace and Development, an advocacy group for justice and the
attainment of peace and prosperity in Muslim Mindanao; and Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation Inc., a non-government organization
of Muslim lawyers, allege that they stand to be benefited or prejudiced, as the case may be, in the resolution of the petitions concerning
the MOA-AD, and prays for the denial of the petitions on the grounds therein stated. Such legal interest suffices to clothe them with
standing.

B. MOOTNESS

Respondents insist that the present petitions have been rendered moot with the satisfaction of all the reliefs prayed for by petitioners and
the subsequent pronouncement of the Executive Secretary that "[n]o matter what the Supreme Court ultimately decides[,] the
government will not sign the MOA."92

In lending credence to this policy decision, the Solicitor General points out that the President had already disbanded the GRP Peace
Panel.93

In David v. Macapagal-Arroyo,94 this Court held that the "moot and academic" principle not being a magical formula that automatically
dissuades courts in resolving a case, it will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if it finds that (a) there is a grave violation of the
Constitution;95 (b) the situation is of exceptional character and paramount public interest is involved;96 (c) the constitutional issue raised
requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public;97 and (d) the case is capable of repetition yet
evading review.98

Another exclusionary circumstance that may be considered is where there is a voluntary cessation of the activity complained of by the
defendant or doer. Thus, once a suit is filed and the doer voluntarily ceases the challenged conduct, it does not automatically deprive the
tribunal of power to hear and determine the case and does not render the case moot especially when the plaintiff seeks damages or prays
for injunctive relief against the possible recurrence of the violation.99

The present petitions fall squarely into these exceptions to thus thrust them into the domain of judicial review. The grounds cited above
in David are just as applicable in the present cases as they were, not only in David, but also in Province of Batangas v.
Romulo100 and Manalo v. Calderon101 where the Court similarly decided them on the merits, supervening events that would ordinarily
have rendered the same moot notwithstanding.

Petitions not mooted

Contrary then to the asseverations of respondents, the non-signing of the MOA-AD and the eventual dissolution of the GRP Peace Panel
did not moot the present petitions. It bears emphasis that the signing of the MOA-AD did not push through due to the Court's issuance
of a Temporary Restraining Order.

Contrary too to respondents' position, the MOA-AD cannot be considered a mere "list of consensus points," especially given
its nomenclature, the need to have it signed or initialed by all the parties concerned on August 5, 2008, and the far-reaching
Constitutional implications of these "consensus points," foremost of which is the creation of the BJE.

In fact, as what will, in the main, be discussed, there is a commitment on the part of respondents to amend and effect necessary
changes to the existing legal framework for certain provisions of the MOA-AD to take effect. Consequently, the present petitions are not
confined to the terms and provisions of the MOA-AD, but to other on-going and future negotiations and agreements necessary for its
realization. The petitions have not, therefore, been rendered moot and academic simply by the public disclosure of the MOA-AD,102 the
manifestation that it will not be signed as well as the disbanding of the GRP Panel not withstanding.

Petitions are imbued with paramount public interest

There is no gainsaying that the petitions are imbued with paramount public interest, involving a significant part of the country's territory
and the wide-ranging political modifications of affected LGUs. The assertion that the MOA-AD is subject to further legal enactments
including possible Constitutional amendments more than ever provides impetus for the Court to formulate controlling principles to
guide the bench, the bar, the public and, in this case, the government and its negotiating entity.

Respondents cite Suplico v. NEDA, et al.103 where the Court did not "pontificat[e] on issues which no longer legitimately constitute an
actual case or controversy [as this] will do more harm than good to the nation as a whole."

The present petitions must be differentiated from Suplico. Primarily, in Suplico, what was assailed and eventually cancelled was a stand-
alone government procurement contract for a national broadband network involving a one-time contractual relation between two
parties-the government and a private foreign corporation. As the issues therein involved specific government procurement policies and
standard principles on contracts, the majority opinion in Suplico found nothing exceptional therein, the factual circumstances being
peculiar only to the transactions and parties involved in the controversy.

The MOA-AD is part of a series of agreements

In the present controversy, the MOA-AD is a significant part of a series of agreements necessary to carry out the Tripoli Agreement
2001. The MOA-AD which dwells on the Ancestral Domain Aspect of said Tripoli Agreement is the third such component to be
undertaken following the implementation of the Security Aspect in August 2001 and the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and
Development Aspect in May 2002.

Accordingly, even if the Executive Secretary, in his Memorandum of August 28, 2008 to the Solicitor General, has stated that "no matter
what the Supreme Court ultimately decides[,] the government will not sign the MOA[-AD]," mootness will not set in in light of the terms
of the Tripoli Agreement 2001.

Need to formulate principles-guidelines

Surely, the present MOA-AD can be renegotiated or another one will be drawn up to carry out the Ancestral Domain Aspect of the
Tripoli Agreement 2001, in another or in any form, which could contain similar or significantly drastic provisions. While the Court notes
the word of the Executive Secretary that the government "is committed to securing an agreement that is both constitutional and equitable
because that is the only way that long-lasting peace can be assured," it is minded to render a decision on the merits in the present
petitions to formulate controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, the public and, most especially, the government in negotiating
with the MILF regarding Ancestral Domain.

Respondents invite the Court