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PHILIPPINEJURISPRUDENCEFULLTEXT
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation
G.R.No.106971October20,1992
TEOFISTOT.GUINGONA,JR.,ETAL.vs.NEPTALIA.GONZALES,ETAL.

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

ENBANC

G.R.No.106971October20,1992

TEOFISTOT.GUINGONA,JR.,ANDLAKASNATIONALUNIONOFCHRISTIANDEMOCRATS(LAKASNUCD),petitioners,
vs.
NEPTALIA.GONZALES,ALBERTOROMULOandWIGBERTOE.TAADA,respondents.

NATIONALISTPEOPLE'SCOALITION,petitionerinintervention.

CAMPOS,JR.,J.:

ThisisapetitionforProhibitiontoprohibitrespondentsSenatorAlbertoRomuloandWigbertoTaadafromsittingandassuming
thepositionofmembersoftheCommissiononAppointmentsandtoprohibitSenatorsNeptaliGonzales,asexofficioChairman,
ofsaidCommissionfromrecognizingandallowingtherespondentsenatorstositasmembersthereof.

As a result of the national elections held last May 11, 1992, the Senate is composed of the following members or Senators
representingtherespectivepoliticalaffiliations:

LDP15senators
NPC5senators
LAKASNUCD3senators
LPPDPLABAN1senator

Applyingthemathematicalformulaagreedtobythepartiesasfollowas:

No.ofsenatorsofapoliticalpartyx12seats

Totalno.ofsenatorselected

the resulting composition of the senate based on the rule of proportional representation of each political party with
electedrepresentativesintheSenate,isasfollows:

PoliticalParty/Proportional

PoliticalCoalitionMembershipRepresentatives

LDP157.5members
NPC52.5members
LAKASNUCD31.5members
LPPDPLABAN1.5members

AttheorganizationmeetingoftheSenateheldonAugust27,1992,SenatorRomuloinhiscapacityasMajorityFloorLeader
nominated, for and in his behalf of the LDP, eight (8) senators for membership in the Commission on Appointments, namely
Senators Angara, Herrera, Alvarez, Aquino, Mercado, Ople, Sotto and Romulo. The nomination of the eight senators 2 was
objectedtobyPetitioner,SenatorGuingona,asMinorityFloorLeader,andSenatorJohnOsmea,inrepresentation
oftheNPC.Toresolvetheimpasse,SenatorArturoTolentinoproposedacompromisetotheeffectthatSenateelect3

...12memberstotheCommissiononAppointments,eightcomingfromtheLDP,twocomingfromNPC,one
comingfromtheLiberalParty,withtheunderstandingthattherearestrongreservationsagainstthisproportionof
these numbers so that if later on in action in the Supreme Court, if any party is found to have an excess in
representation, and if any party is found to have a deficiency in representation, that party will be entitled to
nominateandhaveelectedbythisbodyitsadditionalrepresentatives.

The proposed compromise above stated was a temporary arrangement and, inspite of the objections of Senator
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GuingonaandOsmea,toenabletheCommissiononAppointmentstobeorganizedbytheelectionofitsmembers,it
wasapproved.TheelectedmembersconsistedofeightLDP,oneLPPDPLABAN,twoNPCandoneLAKASNUCD.

On September 23, 1992, Senator Teofisto Guingona. Jr., in his behalf and in behalf of LakasNational Union of Christian
Democrats(LAKASNUCD),filedapetitionfortheissuanceofawritofprohibitiontoprohibittherespondentSenatePresident
NeptaliGonzales,asexofficioChairmanoftheCommissiononAppointments,fromrecognizingthemembershipofSenators
AlbertoRomuloastheeightsenatorelectedbytheLDP,andWigbertoE.Taada,asthelonememberrepresentingtheLP
PDPLABAN, in the Commission on Appointments, on the ground that the proposed compromise of Senator Tolentino was
violativeoftheruleofproportionalrepresentation,andthatitistherightoftheminoritypoliticalpartiesintheSenate,consistent
withtheConstitution, 4tocombinetheirfractionalrepresentationintheCommissiononAppointmentstocompleteone
seat therein, and to decide who, among the senators in their ranks, shall be additionally nominated and elected
thereto.

Section18ArticleVIoftheConstitutionof1987providesfrothecreationofaCommissiononAppointmentsandtheallocation
ofitsmembership,asfollows:

Sec.18.ThereshallbeaCommissiononAppointmentsconsistingofthePresidentoftheSenateasexofficio
Chairman,twelvemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives,electedbyeachhouseonthebasisofproportional
representation from the political parties or organizations registered under the party list system represented
therein.TheChairmanoftheCommissionshallnotvoteexceptincaseofatie.TheCommissionshallactonall
appointmentssubmittedtoitwithinthesessiondaysoftheCongressfromtheirsubmissionofallthemembers.
(Emphasissupplied.)

Basedonthemathematicalcomputationofproportionalrepresentationofthevariouspoliticalpartieswithelectedsenatorsin
the senators in the Senate, each of these political parties is entitled to a fractional membership in the Commission on
Appointmentsasstatedinthefirstparagraphofthisdecision.5Eachpoliticalpartyhasaclaimtoanextrahalfseat,and
the election of respondents Senator Romulo and Senator Taada to the Commission on Appointments by the LDP
majorityispreciselyquestionedbythepetitionersbecause,accordingtothem,itundulyincreasedthemembershipof
LDP and LPPDPLABAN in the commission and reduced the membership of the LAKASNUCD and NPC
correspondingly. In view of the conflicting claims of each of the political parties/coalition duly represented in the
SenatetoafractionalmembershipintheCommissiononAppointments,theelectionofrespondentsSenatorRomulo
and Senator Taada has become controversial and its validity questionable. Hence, this petition. It has been
establishedthatthelegalityoffillingupthemembershipoftheCommissiononAppointmentsisajusticiableissueand
notapoliticalquestion.6

Wedeemitnecessarytoresolvetherespondents'argumentastothenatureoftheinstantpetition.Thereisnodoubtthatthe
issuesinvolvedhereinareconstitutionalinnatureandareofvitalimportancetoournation.Theyinvolvetheinterpretationof
Section 18, Article VI of the Constitution which creates a Commission on Appointments. Where constitutional issues are
properly raised in the context of the alleged facts, procedural questions acquire a relatively minor significance 7 and the
"transcendental importance to the public of the case demands that they be settled promptly and definitely brushing
aside...technicalitiesofprocedure".8

Forthepurposeofresolvingthecaseatbar,theinstantpetitionmayberegardedasoneofprohibition9whereintheSenateis
claimedtohaveactedwithoutorinexcessofitsjurisdictionwhenitdesignatedrespondentSenatorRomuloaseighth
memberoftheCommissiononAppointments,uponnominationbytheLDP,andrespondentSenatorTaadaasLP
nominee, notwithstanding, that, in both instance, LDP and LP are each entitled only to "half a member". In the
alternative,thepetitionmayberegardedasoneformandamus,10inwhichitisclaimedthattheLAKASNUCDand
NPCwereunlawfullyexcludedfromtheuseandenjoymentofarightorofficetowhicheachisentitled.Considering
the importance of the case at bar and in keeping with the Court's duty under the Constitution to keep the other
branchesofthegovernment withinthelimitsoftheConstitutionandthelawsoftheland,thisCourthasdecidedto
brushasidelegaltechnicalitiesofprocedureandtakecognizanceofthiscase.

TheissuesfordeterminationbythisCourtmaybestatedasfollows:

1)WhethertheelectionofSenatorsAlbertoRomuloandWigbertoE.TaadaasmembersoftheCommissionon
AppointmentsisinaccordancewiththeprovisionofSection18ofArticleVIofthe1987Constitution.

2)IfsaidmembershipoftherespondentsenatorsintheCommissionisviolativeoftheConstitutionalprovision,
didtherespondentSenateactingraveabuseofdiscretioninelectingtherespondentSenators?

3)IftherewasgraveabuseofdiscretionbyrespondentSenate,actingthroughtheLDPmajority,shouldawritof
prohibition enjoining, prohibiting and restraining respondent Senators from sitting as members of and
participatingintheproceedingoftheCommissiononAppointmentsbeissued?

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It is an established fact to which all the parties agree that the mathematical representation of each of the political parties
representedintheSenateisasfollows:

LDP7.5

NPC.5

LAKASNUCD2.5

LPPDPLABAN1.5

Itisalsoafactacceptedbyallsuchpartiesthateachofthementitledtoafractionalmembershiponthebasisoftherule
on proportional representation of each of the political parties. A literal interpretation of Section 18 of Article VI of the
Constitutionleadstonoothermannerofapplicationthanasabove.Theproblemiswhattodowiththefractionof.5or
1/2towhicheachofthepartiesisentitled.TheLDPmajorityintheSenateconvertedafractionalhalfmembershipintoa
wholemembershipofonesenatorbyaddingonehalfor.5to7.5tobeabletoelectSenatorRomulo.Insodoingone
otherparty'sfractionalmembershipwascorrespondinglyreducedleavingthelatter'srepresentationintheCommission
on Appointments to less than their proportional representation in the Senate. This is clearly a violation of Section 18
becauseitisnolongerincompliancewithitsmandatethatmembershipintheCommissionbebasedontheproportional
representationofthepoliticalparties.TheelectionofSenatorRomulogavemorerepresentationtotheLDPandreduced
therepresentationofonepoliticalpartyeithertheLAKASNUCDortheNPC.

OntheclaimofSenatorTaadathatundertherulinginthecaseofSenatorLorenzoTaada, 11andthecasesofSenator
JuanPonceEnrile,hehasarighttobeelectedasamemberoftheCommissiononAppointmentsbecauseof:(a)the
physicalimpossibilityofdividingaperson,sothatthefractionalmembershipmustberoundedupintoonesenator(b)
beingthesoleelectedsenatorofhisparty,hispartyisentitledtoberepresentedintheCommissiononAppointments
(c) having been elected senator, rounding up into one full senator his fractional membership is consistent with the
provisionandspiritoftheConstitutionandwouldbeinfullaccordwiththeprincipleofrepublicanismthatemphasizes
democracy.

ThecasesofthetwoformersenatorsmentionedcannotbeinvokedasaprecedentinsupportofincumbentSenatorTaada's
claim to a membership in the present Commission on Appointments. In the time of his illustrious father, out of 24 elected
senators in the upper chamber of Congress, 23 belonged to the Nacionalista Party, while Senator Lorenzo Taada, who
belongedtotheCitizen'sParty,wastheloneopposition.Byforceofcircumstance,hebecameamemberoftheCommissionon
Appointmentsbecausehealonerepresentedtheminorityparty.Hadtherebeenanothersenatorbelongingtoapartyotherthan
theCitizens'Party,thisproblemofwhoshouldsitasthesolerepresentativeoftheoppositionpartywouldhavearisen.Inthe
case of Senator Ponce Enrile, there were two senators elected from the opposition party, namely, he and Senator Estrada.
Applyingtheruleofproportionalrepresentationmentionedearlier(seeformula),theoppositionwasentitledtofullmember(not
afractionalmembership).SenatorEnrilewasthuslegallynominatedandelectedastheminorityrepresentativeintheSenate.In
thepresentcase,iftherewereapoliticalpartiesintheSenate,andWefollowSenatorsTaada'sclaimthatheisentitledtofull
membership as lone representative of his party, We the anomaly of having 13 senators, where the Constitution allows only
twelve(12)intheCommissiononAppointments.

We find the respondents' claim to membership in the Commission on Appointments by nomination and election of the LDP
majorityintheSenateasnotinaccordancewithSection18ofArticleVIofthe1987Constitutionandthereforeviolativeofthe
samebecauseitisnotincompliancewiththerequirementsthattwelvesenatorsshallbeelectedonthebasisofproportional
representation of the resulting fractional membership of the political parties represented therein. To disturb the resulting
fractional membership of the political parties in the Commission on Appointments by adding together two halves to make a
wholeisabreachoftheruleonproportionalrepresentationbecauseitwillgivetheLDPanaddedmemberintheCommission
byutilizingthefractionalmembershipoftheminoritypoliticalparty,whoisdeprivedofhalfarepresentation.

TheprovisionofSection18onproportionalrepresentationismandatoryincharacteranddoesnotleaveanydiscretiontothe
majoritypartyintheSenatetodisobeyordisregardtheruleonproportionalrepresentationotherwise,thepartywithamajority
representation in the Senate or the House of Representatives can by sheer force of number impose its will on the hapless
minority.ByrequiringaproportionalrepresentationintheCommissiononAppointments,Section18ineffectworksasacheck
onthemajoritypartyintheSenateandhelpstomaintainthebalanceofpower.Nopartycanclaimmorethanwhatitisentitled
to under such rule. To allow it to elect more than its proportional share of members is to confer upon such a party a greater
shareinthemembershipintheCommissiononAppointmentsandmorepowertoimposeitswillontheminority,whobythe
sametoken,suffersadiminutionofitsrightfulmembershipintheCommission.

Section 18, also assures representation in the Commission on Appointments of any political party who succeeds in electing
memberstotheSenate,providedthatthenumberofsenatorssoelectedenablesittoputarepresentativeintheCommission
onAppointments.DrawingfromtherulinginthecaseofCosetengvs.Mitra,Jr., 12apoliticalpartymusthaveatleasttwo
senatorsintheSenatetobeabletohavearepresentativesintheCommissiononAppointments,sothatanynumber
less than 2 will not entitle such a party a membership in the Commission on Appointments. This applies to the

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respondentSenatorTaada.

Welaydownthefollowingguidelinesaccordingly:

1) In the Senate, political party or coalition must have at least two duly elected senators for every seat in the
CommissiononAppointments.

2) Where there are more than two political parties represented in the Senate, a political party/coalition with a
singlesenatorintheSenatecannotconstitutionallyclaimsseatintheCommission.

Wedonotagreewithrespondents'claimthatitismandatorytoelect12SenatorstotheCommissiononAppointments.
The Constitution does not contemplate that the Commission on Appointments must necessarily include twelve (12)
senatorsandtwelve(12)membersoftheHouseofRepresentatives.WhattheConstitutionrequiresisthattherebeat
least a majority of the entire membership. Under Section 18, the Commission shall rule by majority vote of all the
membersandinSection19,theCommissionshallmeetonlywhilecongressisinsession,atthecallofitsChairmanora
majorityofallitsmembers"todischargesuchpowersandfunctionshereinconferreduponit".Implementingtheabove
provisions of the Constitution, Section 10 Chapter 3 of the Rules of the Commission on Appointments, provides as
follows:

Sec.10.PlaceofMeetingandQuorum:TheCommissionshallmeetateitherthesessionhalloftheSenateor
theHouseofRepresentativesuponcalloftheChairmanorastheCommissionmaydesignate.Thepresenceof
atleastthirteen(13)membersisnecessarytoconstituteaquorum.Provided,however,thatatleastfour(4)of
themembersconstitutingthequorumshouldcomefromeitherhouse....

It is quite evident that the Constitution does not require the election and presence of twelve (12) senators and twelve (12)
membersoftheHouseofRepresentativesinorderthattheCommissionmayfunction.Otherinstancesmaybementionedof
ConstitutionalcollegialbodieswhichperformtheircompositionisexpresslyspecifiedbytheConstitution.Amongthesearethe
Supreme
Court, 13 Civil Service Commission, 14 Commission on Election, 15 Commission on Audit. 16 They perform their
function so long and there is the required quorum, usually a majority of its membership. The Commission on
Appointmentsmayperformitsfunctionsandtransactitsbusinessevenifonlyten(10)senatorsareelectedtheretoas
longasaquorumexists.

It may also be mentioned that while the Constitution provides for equal membership from the Senate and the House of
RepresentativesintheCommissiononAppointments,thesenatorsontheonehand,andtherepresentatives,ontheother,do
notvoteseparatelybutjointly,andusuallyalongpartylines.EvenifSenatorTaadawouldnotbeablesitintheCommissionon
Appointments, the LPLDPLABAN would still be represented in the Commission by congressman Ponce Enrile who has
become a member of the LP. On the other hand, there is nothing to stop any of the political party in order to fill up the two
vacanciesresultingfromthisdecision.

Assuming that the Constitution intended that there be always twelve (12) senators in the Commission on Appointments, the
instantsituationcannotberectifiedbytheSenateindisregardoftheruleonproportionalrepresentation.Theelectionofsenator
RomuloandSenatorTaadaasmembersoftheCommissiononAppointmentsbytheLDPmajorityintheSenatewasclearlya
violationofSection18ofArticleVIofthe1987Constitution.TheirnominationandelectionbytheLDPmajoritybysheerforceof
superiority in numbers during the Senate organization meeting of August 27, 1992 was done in grave abuse of discretion.
WherepowerisexercisedinamannerinconsistentwiththecommandoftheConstitution,andbyreasonofnumericalstrength,
knowingly and not merely inadvertently, said exercise amounts to abuse of authority granted by law and grave abuse of
discretionisproperlyfoundtoexist.

In the light of the foregoing and on the basis of the applicable rules and jurisprudence on the matter before this Court, We
declaretheelectionofSenatorAlbertoRomuloandSenatorWigbertoTaadaasmembersoftheCommissiononAppointments
as null and void for being in violation of the rule on proportional representation under Section 18 of Article VI of the 1987
ConstitutionofthePhilippines.Accordingly,awritofprohibitionisherebyissuedorderingthesaidrespondentsSenatorRomulo
and Senator Taada to desist from assuming, occupying and discharging the functions of members of the Commission on
AppointmentsandorderingtherespondentsSenatePresidentNeptaliGonzales,inhiscapacityasexofficioChairmanofthe
CommissiononAppointments,todesistfromrecognizingthemembershipoftherespondentSenatorsandfromallowingand
permittingthemfromsittingandparticipatingasmembersofsaidCommission.

SOORDERED.

NarvasaC.J.,Gutierrez,Jr.,Cruz,Feliciano,Padilla,Bidin,GrioAquino,Regalado,Davide,Romero,NoconandBellosillo,JJ.,
concur.

Medialdea,J.,isonleave,

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Footnotes

1IncludesSenatorTeofistoT.Guingona,Jr.

2SenatorAlbertoRomulo.

3T.S.N.,SessionofAugust27,1992,p.29asAnnextoPetitions

4Section18,ArticleVIoftheConstitution.

5Seepage2oftheDecision.

6Cosetengvs.Mitra,Jr.,187SCRA377(1990).

7Dazavs.Sinson,180SCRA496(1989).

8Osmeavs.CommissiononElections,199SCRA750(1991).

9Section2,Rule65oftheRulesofCourt.

10Section3,Rule65oftheRulesofCourt.

11Taadavs.Cuenco,103Phil.1051(1957).

12Supra,note6.

13Section4,ArticleVIII.

14Section1(1),ArticleIXA.

15Section1(1),ArticleIXC.

15Section1(1),ArticleIXD.

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